Published on October 18th, 2020 |
by Daryl Elliott
October 18th, 2020 by Daryl Elliott
Norway just hit 82% plugin vehicle new car sales in September 2020. This raises the question: “Why are 18% of the purchases non-plugin vehicles?” That got me dreaming up ideas for how to get a country from moderate EV market share (5–10%, for example) to 100% EV market share. Perhaps some of those ideas could be effective in Norway now, and other countries later as they get closer and closer to a high percentage of plugin vehicles.
The “Gas Car Laugh”
Let’s start with a premise. There have been very many stories in recent years of people who drove EVs proclaiming that they would never own an internal combustion engine vehicle (ICEV) again. EVs are that much better. Perhaps it’s how quiet EVs are, that the drivers don’t have to deal with smelly gas stations any more, the environmental benefit, the low maintenance, the lower fuel costs, “the fun of instant torque and fast acceleration,” or other reasons.
Recently, at the local National Drive Electric Week event here in Las Vegas, Paul Bordenkircher, who drives a Chevy Spark, told me that when he gets into his wife’s gasoline car, he laughs. The technology just feels so old, outdated. This sentiment about ICE cars from EV drivers is not altogether uncommon. So many times, EV drivers have said that they will never drive a gas car again. I’ve never heard it go the other way around, whereby an EV driver decides that driving a gas car is better and leaves behind her or his EV (though, I’m sure that there are a few examples somewhere).
That provided the second stimulus for this article.
Why Are the 18% Buying ICEVs?
When more than 4 out of 5 new vehicle sales are for plugless vehicles, what is causing the other 1/5 to delay?
Some of these vehicles are likely purchased by people who simply have no experience with an EV, and aren’t motivated to learn. Maybe they are hesitant to learn something new, especially since there’s new technology involved. However, if they were put into a position where they had decent exposure to them, they might like driving an EV. With this exposure, some percentage of them might decide to buy an EV.
Is There a Solution Right in Front of Us?
One possible solution, then, could be to require that the driver seeking to buy an ICEV first trial an EV for a week (or month) prior to buying an ICEV. The hope is that the driver would, by the end of the trial, decide to buy an EV instead of an ICEV.
This might be an approach for an intermediary stage along a series of stages that ultimately could get a country to 100%* EV participation. (*Regarding the “100%” figure, there would naturally be some exceptions for some period of time, such as specialty vehicles and classic cars. These could be reduced over time until the time that there is a final ban on driving ICE vehicles.)
Case In Point
Never say “never.”
Getting a Country to 100% EVs
Now let’s explore ideas that government administrators might use to incentivize citizens to finish with their addiction to fossil fuel vehicles. This list of stages through which a country (or other jurisdiction) could pass might be considered a proposal for how to get from being a “moderate EV” or “high EV” country to an “all EV” country.
This article lays out a series of stages a country could go through to methodically reach that end stage. It is not intended to be the final word on the stages, but it is rather a starting place for jurisdictions to take up the matter for discussion when the timing is right for that jurisdiction.
Stages for a Country to Get to 100% EVs
Please note that there are no timelines given, as these would be determined by the country. Some steps could take years.
1. Jurisdictions develop and provide a large spate of incentives such as use of carpool and bus lanes, parking advantages, lower car loan rates, reduction of auto taxes, and other possible incentives for buying an EV and possibly disincentives for buying an ICEV. (Norway has many of these in place.)
2. Fossil fuel industries must pay a fee to cover the balance of the external costs associated with fossil fuels, such as healthcare costs and environmental cleanup for existing and future sites. A report created by the Environmental Protection Agency states that the US has 3.2 million abandoned oil and gas wells, and about half of them are unplugged, which means that some could still leaking methane (aka natural gas), which is a dangerous greenhouse gas.
3. Gas station owners must pay all costs to…