For most In the past decade, Americans have largely ignored electric vehicles. Some brands, such as Chevy Bolt or Nissan Leaf, have sold a decent number of vehicles, but they have mostly been aimed at the budget-conscious commuter or EV enthusiast. Others, such as the Ford Focus Electric, were only meant to comply with laws mandating a small number of electric vehicle sales. Still others, like the early Tesla models, were desirable but out of reach for most people.
However, over the past couple of years, automakers have ceased to resist, and consumers have also shed their indifference. The adoption of new technologies often follows an S-curve, where people are slow to embrace them at first, but then rush as soon as the tipping point is reached. EVs seem to be at that tipping point today, with car buyers snapping up almost twice as many EVs last year as they did a year earlier.
The sudden surge has observers wondering if the momentum can be maintained, especially in the US. Their concerns are not unfounded: apart from Tesla factories, there is no significant infrastructure in the US for the production of electric vehicles or batteries, at least not yet. And as far as public chargers go, we have fewer for every road-going electric car than any other country except Norway, where the population’s sudden love for electric vehicles has led to a wave of new registrations, according to the recent International Energy Agency. report.
Innovation could help U.S. battery manufacturers become more independent of Chinese supply chains, a priority for many manufacturers.
It may seem that the US is lagging behind, but is it really hopeless? Can the country pull the rabbit out of the hat? It has happened before, of course. The US didn’t invent the automobile – that honor belongs to Germany’s Karl Benz – but it did produce the Model T, which helped the country take the lead in car adoption.
The Interstate Highway System was not the first controlled-access highway network, but today it is much wider than the Autobahn and was the longest in the world a decade ago. This trend continues outside of transportation—Americans didn’t use mobile phones at first, but domestic subscription rates continue to rise, while they have stabilized or fallen in more zealous countries.
It’s not guaranteed, but there are many reasons why the US has a good chance of catching up in the race. And if it does, it will mean a lot of opportunities for investors, especially in infrastructure.
Credit: techcrunch.com /