From SUVs to pickups, Americans love a powerful automobile. But who says it has to run on gasoline?
"If you love horsepower, electric vehicles are something you may want to consider because that's what they're about," said Brian Sloboda of NRECA's Business and Technology Strategies Department (BTS).
"I think once people start to see more electric vehicles on the road they're going to start to realize these are performance cars. These are about power and torque," said Sloboda.
While the internal combustion engine (ICE) has dominated light-duty vehicles for more than a century, a new report from the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) notes that automakers are making big investments in electrification. The report notes that Ford is spending $11 billion on plans to offer 40 electrified vehicles by 2022, and Honda plans to have two-thirds of its lineup electrified by 2030.
"They aren't 'golf carts.' These are truly performance vehicles," Sloboda said.
CAR's report points out that developing advanced batteries "is a critical enabler for the successful adoption" of EVs. It says that today's cost of about $200 per kilowatt-hour could be cut in half—or more—by 2025, making EVs "much more purchase-price competitive with ICE vehicles."
And that's why Sloboda isn't worried that Americans only bought about 190,000 electric cars in 2017, according to an Argonne National Laboratory report.
"It is a disruptive product. It's like introducing an iPhone in a flip-phone market," Sloboda said. And he noted that early adopters "are totally in love with the technology."
He believes it's critical for co-ops to educate members about "the reality of electric cars—that they're not all small vehicles. You do have crossover sport utility vehicles—which is the most popular segment in the United States right now—you have luxury vehicles, sedans. So you have a variety of models to meet your needs and right now what we need is education."
That education should extend to local car dealers, Sloboda said, so that dealers know to send would-be EV buyers to the co-op for information on rates and incentives.
For skeptics, Sloboda suggests brushing up on co-op history.
"The co-op educated folks on electric appliances, on how electricity can improve your life," he said. "And now we have this really revolutionary, disruptive product: the electric vehicle."