“It’s not a question of if we are going to electrify our transportation sector, it’s a question of when,” said Ben Prochazka, vice president of the Electrification Coalition, a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that supports EV adoption.
For many in the industry, stricter vehicle emissions targets abroad, as well as in some states, have sparked these ambitions.
Just last month, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state plans to ban the sale of new gasoline-powered passenger vehicles starting in 2035 and that it will require the sale of nothing but zero-emission vehicles starting that year.
Still, EV makers targeting the U.S. have some work to do.
The low cost of oil in the U.S. is a large incentive for Americans to stick with internal combustion engines; at the same time, questions remain about the charging infrastructure needed to accommodate EVs.
Since concerns about range often take precedence over the environmental benefits of an EV, a surefire way to get consumers interested is to assure them they have access to charging.
“It’s not chicken and egg; it’s peanut butter and jelly,” said Jonathan Levy, vice president of business development at charging network EVgo.
EVgo builds its chargers just ahead of the market in order to accommodate existing demand, while making sure not to build too many so they go unused or aren’t located effectively.
“We need both,” Levy argued. “We need more chargers to accommodate the growth of vehicles.”