After four months of electric vehicle ownership, my perspectives about the mass transition to electric vehicles have evolved. I no longer think that everyone should run out and buy an EV right now (besides, that’s not possible). I have a greater understanding of the skepticism that accompanies the push to EVs. All-in-all, I feel that I now understand the arguments from both sides: electric vehicles are amazing, better for the planet (in the long run) and fun to drive, however EVs are not even close to being ready for mass adoption.
Automakers have committed well over half a trillion dollars to electric vehicle research and development, marketing and most importantly, charging infrastructure buildout. But the grid isn’t ready, charging providers aren’t ready, and the American public has a LOT to learn before making the switch. EVs could still fail, and bring down the automotive industry with them. We’d hate to see that. These are 5 things that must happen in this decade to prepare the world for electric mobility.
EV Cost Parity: Electric Cars Are Much Too Expensive
The average price paid for an EV surpassed $66,000, on par with the overall luxury segment.
For years and years, I touted the coming cost parity that would finally make EVs just as affordable as any other car. Industry experts always told us that EV price parity would come when battery costs dropped below $100 per kilowatt-hour. Just as that milestone arrived, the world was turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Global factory shutdowns disrupted the supply chains that all automakers rely on, and most notably those related to semiconductor chip production. Without the parts to make the cars, electric vehicle growth was held back just as the public warmed up to them. Raw materials used in both vehicle and battery manufacturing increased in cost by over 100%, and many automakers have passed the premiums on to consumers.
Today, electric vehicles cost more, and inventory is slim. Kelley Blue Book’s June 2022 car price data shows that the average EV transaction was $66,000, $18,000 over the overall car market average of $48,000. One year ago, the average EV transaction was $52,486, or 10.8% less than it was in June of 2020. In short, EV prices are headed in the wrong direction just as automakers are getting serious about making them.
Monthly Payments Are ALREADY Out of Control
In the age of record smashing, here’s one that will give pause: In June, the estimated average monthly payment increased to $730, which is a new record high. A new car monthly payment now costs as much as rent in many parts of the country. We’re seeing more and more car payments over $1,000 a month. The insane records don’t end there.
More cars are being repossessed as more auto payments are going past-due. With the way things stand today, either EVs will have to become more affordable, or their luxury pricing will soon risk worsening the auto loan crisis.
Avoid the Next Shortage: Batteries Will Be the New Oil
Earlier this year, Rivian CEO and Founder RJ Scaringe predicted that battery shortages would be the next disruption that the automotive industry would face. In fact, automakers are already rationing the batteries they have, and those they have lined up. Ever wondered why there are so few electric full-sized SUVs? Building those at scale would require a lot more batteries.
The average EV contains $8,255 of raw materials according to CNBC. That’s more than double the amount in combustion-powered counterparts. President Biden has even authorized use of the Defense Production Act to aid the situation by increasing domestic EV production and related supply chains.
For the most part, automakers don’t make their own batteries. They rely on contracts with battery manufacturers like Panasonic, LG Chem, and CATL to supply what their lofty plans for electric vehicles will need. That’s changing little by little. Tesla has started to produce small quantities of its new 4680 battery cells next to Giga Austin.
General Motors just received a $2.5 BILLION dollar loan from the U.S. Department of Energy for manufacturing the Ultium battery in Tennessee. Slowly but surely, some OEMs are taking control of their own battery supply chains. This will be key to avoiding battery shortages.
Over 62% of Americans support building out a nationwide charging network, and 39% of American drivers are considering buying an electric vehicle next time they’re in the market for a car. Frugal drivers are welcoming the fuel savings, albeit at a higher upfront cost. At current residential electricity rates, charging up is equivalent to spending about $1.00 per gallon of gas. The most expensive public chargers may approach $2.50 per gallon equivalent.
However, many Americans live in a charging desert. What good is the EV revolution if there’s nowhere to charge? Most EV drivers plug in at home, but not everyone can do that. From apartment dwellers to rural residents, owning an EV simply isn’t viable if there aren’t chargers for road trips, family visits and work transportation needs. When it makes sense for consumers, electric vehicles offer plenty of benefits. Cheaper fuel, less maintenance, sporty performance and no tailpipe emissions to name a few. But EVs risk remaining a symbol of luxury and impracticality if it doesn’t get a lot easier to charge up in America.
2021’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Act included $7.5 billion for the build-out of a national charging network. In summary, federal funding is supposed to get the ball rolling, and the private sector will take it from there. EV charging stations, particularly DC fast chargers, are really expensive to install. On top of upfront costs, America’s electrical grid is not ready for the demand that would be generated by mass adoption of EVs.
The deadline is nearing for states to submit their plans for how they will spend their allocated funding for EV charging. Will they use the funding to install reliable, standardized fast charging stations along major transportation corridors and rural areas alike? We’ll soon find out.
Public Education: Tell the World What It’s Like to Drive Electric
The following are all things I’ve encountered at Electrify America charging stations:
A driver standing in pouring rain for five minutes trying to charge
Using the wrong connector type on a $60k car
Many, many Chevy Bolts, Audi e-trons and VW ID.4s using the 350 kilowatt stations, despite their cars only accepting half of that.
We need to do better to educate EV buyers and prospective EV buyers about how to drive electric without the hassles. We can’t blame the consumer, EVs bring a very different ownership experience. But whose responsibility is it to educate drivers? The dealership? The automaker? The driver themself? Guys like me?
In reality, it will need to be all of the above. General Motors is leaning heavily on the success of what they call affordable EVs to dominate sales by the end of this decade. In the first real sign that OEMs might be taking their newfound responsibility seriously, Chevrolet just launched a great live chat and immersive experience on their website that is entirely devoted to educating the public about their EVs, with an emphasis on the ownership experience. We need more of that, and soon.
The woman I met who arrived at a charging station with 0% state of charge and no A/C should, in my opinion, be upset with her Kia dealer. She loved the car, but no one had explained to her how to plan for interstate travel in an EV. Dealers sell most vehicles in America, but the dealership sales model is under serious threat from the rising popularity of direct-to-consumer sales. Everyone wants to be Tesla. If legacy automakers are to stand a chance in the EV race, more OEMs need to prepare their dealer networks for the public education that comes along with selling EVs.
Don’t Forget the Power of Innovation
Does the lack of affordability, charging infrastructure and public awareness mean the electrification of the auto industry is doomed for failure? No, not at all. That’s because there’s still time to right wrongs, and to build out the nation’s charging infrastructure the right way. EVs are still under 6% market share in the U.S. (See the latest EV market share numbers here.) If these same problems persist when we exceed 15%, that will be real cause for concern.
It’s true that the electrical grid isn’t ready for mass adoption of EVs, but it’s getting there. Grid-scale battery megapacks (also pioneered by Tesla) are already being deployed to provide grid stability in times when the supply of electricity is not keeping up with demand. The sun only shines in the day, the wind is intermittent, but grid-scale batteries store and supply power from these renewable sources whenever they are most needed. Now, it’s like the sun is shining at night. These changes take time. Plus, the push for grid-scale battery storage could throw a wrench in EV battery supply chains. Nothing is certain, but things are moving in the right direction.
5 Innovations On the Way
These are some innovations that have the potential to make electric vehicles more affordable with longer ranges, faster charging and improved safety. These innovations also make EV supply chains less damaging to the environment and less harmful to vulnerable communities worldwide.
Solid-state batteries are expected to enter mass production in just a few years. They promise higher energy density, lighter weight, and less rare earth metals for production.
Cobalt-free batteries are entering production now, reducing the need for this element that is too often associated with child labor and environmental degradation
Newer battery technologies are more energy-dense, meaning that more range is powered from the same-sized battery. In reality, automakers are likely to keep range figures around 250-350 miles, but they’ll require fewer batteries to get there.
EVs burn through tires quickly. Michelin, Goodyear and others are designing EV-specific tires that will have longer lives on the road.
Battery recycling and reuse efforts have recently received more attention as automakers and environmental health agencies work to avoid batteries ending up in landfills.
How can the nation as a whole get to where it needs to be by, say, 2025? I’ll leave you with my own suggestion for legacy automakers and policymakers: don’t be afraid to learn from Tesla. A seamless, almost hassle-free EV ownership experience already exists in America, from plug-and-charge, reliable fast charging to the peace of mind that comes with the vast Supercharger network. I encourage all policymakers and engineers to learn from Tesla’s successful growth strategies. Will automakers and politicians have the courage to consult Elon Musk’s Tesla, or will they try to figure it all out on their own? What do you think?
You want to go electric, but dread the thought of waiting around the charging station for 45 minutes to an hour. While most electric vehicle charging is done at home overnight (for pennies on the dollar), the occasional road trip necessitates visits to public fast charging stations. Also known as ‘level 3’ DC fast chargers, the amount of time spent charging here varies widely from one electric vehicle model to another.
These are the fastest charging electric vehicles on the market today. Plus, we’ll take a sneak peek at a few EVs that are just around the corner.
*Note: Charge times are reflected as 10% to 80% because in all EVs, charging speeds slow significantly beyond 80% state of charge as the battery management system (the car’s computer) balances out the energy distribution at the ‘top of the pack’. In many cases, it may take the same amount of time to charge from 10% to 80% as it does to charge from 80% to 100%.
You don’t have to spend one hundred grand to purchase an electric vehicle with great range in 2022. EVs aren’t cheap, but with fuel savings taken into account, the electric lifestyle starts to sound a lot more appealing. There’s a saying in electric mobility: range is king. That’s especially true for frequent road-trippers and those who live in one of America’s remaining charging deserts. These are the electric vehicles with the most range in 2022.
Note: We’ve decided to place an emphasis on affordable electric vehicles with the most range. Affordability is a moving target in 2022’s crazy auto market, but in the realm of EVs, we’ve defined ‘affordable’ as EVs under $65,000. If you’re in the market for luxury, we’ve got those covered too.
Electric Cars With the Best Range
Tesla Model 3 Long Range (Dual Motor)
Range: 358 miles
Price: $57,190 with destination
Max charging speed: 250 kW (20-80% in 20 minutes, adding 214 miles of range)
0-60 mph (fun factor):
Federal EV tax credit qualification: No, credits were exhausted. Learn about EV incentives here.
See our full review of the 2022 Tesla Model 3 Long Range here.
Polestar 2 Front-Wheel Drive
Range: 270 miles
Price: $49,800 with destination
Max charging speed: 250 kW (20-80% in 20 minutes, adding 214 miles of range)
0-60 mph (fun factor): 6.8 seconds
Federal EV tax credit qualification: Yes, learn more about EV incentives here.
There are now three electric pickup trucks on American roads, but buying one is easier said than done. Everyone wants one, and wait lists extend months and in some cases, years. We’ve decided to include electric trucks that are not yet available for purchase, so long as specs have been released and reservations or orders can be placed today.
Ford F-150 Lightning XLT Extended Range
Range: 320 miles
Max charging speed: 130 kW (15-80% in 40 minutes)
0-60 mph (fun factor): estimated 4.5 seconds
Federal EV tax credit qualification: Yes, learn more about EV incentives here.
What does the future hold? Not necessarily more range, surprisingly. Many auto analysts expect range for relatively affordable EVs to settle in around the 250-350 mile range. Why? Battery shortages loom on the horizon. Raw materials are in high demand, and there are only so many places on Earth to get lithium, cobalt and other materials.
Should you buy an EV now or wait? If you can find what you want for MSRP or very close to it, it just might be the right time to buy or lease. All signs point towards higher EV prices for 2023 and 2024 model years.
Electric trucks are few and far between on highways, but they’re all the rage online. There are fewer than 3,000 electric trucks on the road today, but at least 1.5 million reservations are in the books for upcoming electric truck models. Will trucks ever catch up to crossovers in the electrification of the auto industry? With how many models are in the development pipeline, it will be interesting to find out. Let’s take a look at every electric truck on the way, and the few you might catch a glimpse of in 2022.
Introduced: Late 2021
Range: 314 miles
Fuel economy: 71 MPGe
Cost to charge 0 – 100% at home: $19
Price: $78,975 – $121,690
“It’s bigger than a Ford Ranger, smaller than a F-150, and a whole lot more expensive.”
The 2022 Rivian R1T is the most common electric truck on the road today, but that doesn’t mean it will be easy to find one. About 2,000 have been sold as of spring 2022. As is often the case, supply shortages (and inflation) have put a damper on the much-anticipated rollout of Rivian’s first model.
Nevertheless, it’s a very capable truck. The R1T can tow more than 11,000 pounds and the pickup offers a payload capacity of 1760 pounds. And it’s fast, with a 0-60 time of 3.3 seconds. It’s a rugged, outdoorsy-themed truck for those who use their pickup for more play than work. If you’re in the market for one, get in line. If you’re lucky (and have a deep wallet), you just might take delivery of one by the end of 2023. Rivian prices recently jumped by $10,000 – $20,000, so don’t expect a Rivian for the original price of $69,000.
GMC Hummer EV
Introduced: Late 2021
Range: 329 miles
Fuel economy: 47 MPGe
Cost to charge 0 – 100% at home: $30
Price: $80,000 – $110,000+
“American excess at its finest….. and least efficient.”
If you would like a 9,000-pound, crab-walking mammoth of a truck that can seemingly overcome physics to reach 60 miles per hour in three seconds, General Motors has you covered. The revived Hummer is a large luxury truck meant to turn heads more than it’s meant to haul stuff to the worksite.
The Hummer EV’s #1 party trick is the crab-walk. That’s when the truck turns using all four weeks, allowing it to slide through traffic. The EPA-rated range of 329 miles is a bit misleading. It has a MASSIVE 212 kilowatt-hour battery. That’s triple the capacity of most electric crossovers! While technically it starts around $80,000, used ones are already selling for a quarter of a million dollars.
Ford F-150 Lightning
Introduced: Late 2022
Range: 230 – 300 miles
Fuel economy: 68 MPGe
Cost to charge 0 – 100% at home: $14 – $20
Price: $39,974 – $90,874
“This will be the first mass-produced electric truck on the market, but we’re bracing for the dealer markups.”
We recently detailed all we know about the upcoming electric F-150 in a special CarEdge preview. It turns out that truck fans are REALLY looking forward to the Lightning. The question remains, can Ford make enough of them?
Here’s What Stands Out With the F-150 Lightning:
It’s the most powerful F-150 ever
You can power tools, other EVs and even your entire home with the truck
The Lightning looks normal, but features state-of-the-art technology
The front trunk is bigger than most regular trunks
Up to 320 miles of range, but mediocre charging speeds
Ford has 200,000 reservations in the books for the F-150 Lightning, so new orders can expect a 2024 delivery. If you’re patient, this just might be worth the wait.
Range: Up to 400 miles (depending on battery size/trim)
Cost to charge 0 – 100% at home: $28
Price: $39,900 – $80,000+
“It’s the direct competitor to the F-150 Lightning, but it will charge a LOT faster.”
When Ford made such a big deal with the unveiling of the F-150 Lightning, we all knew General Motors would be cooking up something special. The Chevrolet Silverado EV was unveiled at last, and the specs and looks have exceeded expectations. Chevy claims it has faster charging, more power, and more range than the Ford.
It’s a flexible truck too, and one that’s definitely going to see some worksite use. The storage capacity of the 5-foot-11-inch bed can be extended to 9 feet with the ’available’ Multi-Flex Midgate.
GM says that the new Silverado is basically a rolling generator, if you buy the required accessories. “When combined with the available accessory power bar, the Silverado EV’s PowerBase charging system offers up to 10 outlets, to provide a total of 10.2kW of all-electric power for countless worksite or recreational needs, including powering your home, with the required equipment.” It can even charge other electric vehicles!
Ever since Tesla pulled the curtains back in November 2019, the world has divided into two camps: those who adore the Cybertruck’s angular, Mars-ready looks, and those who abhor it. No matter what your opinion is, it’s still just an idea for now. Tesla has repeatedly pushed back its arrival, and now says that 2023 will be the start of production.
The Cybertruck will have 3,500 pounds of payload capacity, and can tow 14,000 pounds. Those specs are on another level for sure. It’s also a performance-oriented truck, with a 0-60 time of 2.9 seconds. Pricing had previously been announced to start at $40,000 for rear-wheel drive base variants, but that was later removed from the Tesla website. We expect pricing to range from $55,000 to over $80,000, but it’s pure speculation at this point.
Toyota’s Electric Truck
In late 2021, Toyota teased the above image of an electric truck. It closely resembles an electric Tacoma, which would be a dream come true for many Toyota fans. They haven’t said a word since, but we’ll update you with the latest once we know more.
Ram 1500 Electric Truck
Stellantis has taken its sweet time getting into EVs. In 2024, the Ram 1500 electric truck will make a debut with a range of up to 500 miles and futuristic design cues. It will be capable of fast-charging, a quick 0-60 time, andthe latest tech from Stellantis.
The electric Ram 1500 will be built on the new STLA platform that is currently in development. More to come.
GMC Sierra Electric Truck
They say it’s coming, but we don’t know much yet. The electric Sierra will share the same powertrain engineering as the Silverado EV.
“Like the GMC Hummer EV, the electric Sierra will be purposefully built on the Ultium Platform with the premium materials and capability customers have come to expect from GMC trucks,” says GMC.
The Canoo ‘Pickup Truck’ has more in common with the Tesla Cybertruck that one might suspect. It’s weird-looking, has space-age ambitions, and has been repeatedly delayed. Canoo has undergone multiple leadership shakeups, and that has delayed the launch of Canoo’s first products by a few years (and counting).
The Canoo truck has a targeted payload capacity of 1,800 pounds, a 6’ 8” bed when extended, and about 500 horsepower. At least 200 miles of range are to be expected on a charge. Hopefully it turns out to be at least 250 miles considering the competition.
As odd and mysterious as the Canoo Pickup Truck is for now, the EV startup already scored a significant contract, at least symbolically. NASA selected Canoo to transport astronauts to the upcoming Artemis spaceships for missions to the moon in 2025.
My very own Hyundai IONIQ 5 has a special trick up its sleeve. In fact, even Tesla can’t claim it. In 2022, very few electric cars are engineered with 800-volt architecture. While still an outlier, all signs point towards an auto industry heading in the direction of faster charging, better efficiency, and smaller battery sizes – all of which are unlocked by promising 800-volt electrical systems in EVs.
800-Volt Electric Powertrains Bring Faster Charging and Engineering Benefits
The mass adoption of electric vehicles largely depends on the ability to find real solutions for a few ownership challenges for today’s EV drivers:
Charging is too slow
Range is not enough
Batteries are too expensive to replace
Most electric vehicles in 2022 are built on 400-volt systems, but these systems have limits. Indeed, some automakers are quite happy with their 400-volt EV platforms. Tesla manages to find other ways of mastering efficiency and power delivery, and has not mentioned plans for a voltage upgrade. One BMW senior engineer called settling with a 400-volt platform the “best compromise”, but not everyone agrees.
800-volt systems can deliver double the power through the same current, or if desired, the same power through half the current. The result is roughly 50% faster charging for the same battery size. As a result, batteries can be made smaller and overall weight is reduced, increasing efficiency and ideally lowering the cost of the vehicle.
Would a car need a massive battery with a 500-mile range if it can charge a smaller battery that’s good for 250 miles in just 15 minutes? What is that smaller battery was A LOT cheaper?
Which Electric Vehicles Use 800-Volt Architecture?
In 2022, just a few electric vehicles use 800-volt systems for power delivery and charging.
Of particular interest is the different paths taken by Ford and GM for their upcoming electric trucks. The F-150 Lightning is built on 400-volt architecture, while the Chevrolet Silverado EV is jumping to 800-volt architecture, and the result is much faster charging speeds for the Chevy. Will this matter to consumers, or will brand loyalty win out?
Why doesn’t Tesla use 800-volt charging? We’re not sure, but clearly they’ve found success with their existing 400-volt architecture.
Solid-State Batteries Approach Production
Fortunately, a whole host of solutions are uniting to offer a better way forward for EVs. And it’s not all about charging speeds. Solid-state batteries are finally approaching real-world usability following decades of research and development. For the better part of the last decade, $100 per kilowatt-hour was the affordability target for battery development. That goal was reached, but the latest raw material shortages are sending prices back up, and electric car prices have gone up accordingly. The U.S. Department of Energy thinks that $60 per kilowatt-hour is within reach, however it’s increasingly looking like solid-state batteries may offer the only path to such low-cost batteries.
Toyota says it will be the first to bring a solid-state battery into a production vehicle. In typical Toyota fashion, their solid-state battery will debut in a hybrid powertrain rather than a full battery-electric vehicle. It looks like the world will see what solid-state battery chemistry is capable of in 2025.
Innovation Continues at Lightning Speed
Faster charging, better range, and (hopefully) lower prices are promised time and time again with every new EV model announcement. 800-volt architecture and solid-state batteries are the headlining developments that automakers are working on behind the scenes. We didn’t even touch on new battery chemistries, manufacturing methods, and electric motor breakthroughs in the works. We’ll have to save that for another day, as there’s always something new to talk about in the EV space.
But the promise of faster charging and energy-dense batteries begs the question: would you take faster charging over more range? It’s looking like that will be the EV debate of the decade. What are your thoughts? Let us know in a comment or over at the CarEdge Community Forum. What matters most when you head out on a journey?