The U.S. last year bought a record 17 million gasoline powered cars and trucks. To most Americans the idea of driving an electric car is a “California thing.”
But this perception of electric cars will soon be tested. In 2017 both GM and Tesla will be selling all electric cars with a single charge 200 miles driving range and a less than $30,000 price after incentives.
These electric cars will also be cheaper to fuel than gasoline cars even at $2 per gallon gasoline. Refueling an electric car from the utility grid costs about 75 cents per gallon equivalent. An increasing number of homeowners are buying their own solar system and refueling their electric cars for “free.”
Most importantly, all electric cars are more fun than gasoline cars to drive. If you have never test driven an electric car like the Tesla S then it is easy to think of electric cars as a Prius without an engine. Wrong! The Tesla S will smoke a V-8 car in 0-60. This 5 minute video of my Tesla S test drive includes me hollering with joy from rocketing forward at the speed of electrons:
No range anxiety
Range anxiety is typically the number one reason people do not even consider electric cars. This is a short video of my Nissan Leaf test drive:
It is great urban car. I never ran out of electricity. But the whole driving experience was diminished because I was so worried about running out of electricity.
The next generation of electric cars solve range anxiety.The “smart” onboard navigation system in the Tesla S calculates your trips to insure you do not run out of electricity and that a recharging stop is only about 10 minutes long. On most days you will not even need that assistance. The next generation of electric cars are designed to go at least 200 miles on a single charge. Most of us drive less than 50 miles a day.
How electric cars could deliver 50 cents per gallon gasoline prices
If we bought millions of electric cars it would cut gasoline demand so significantly that gasoline prices will be slashed back to the 50 cents per gallon prices we had before the 1974 Oil Embargo. 50 cents per gallons might make you want to continue driving a gasoline power car but by then the driving experience will feel like using a landline phone rather than a mobile smartphone. And that means we will finally have moved from political promises of energy independence to a reality where we are freed from imported oil.
Solar + Electric Cars Is a Winner
It would seem obvious that electric utilities will win big if we all switched to electric cars. The recent Tesla merger with SolarCity raises an alternative future for fueling electric cars. When the new Tesla 3 is launched in 2017 it will probably include an offer for a solar system to fuel the car. This package of car plus solar system could deliver a cleaner, more reliable and competitively priced alternative to buying a utility’s electricity.
In addition, what commercial property owner is not looking for new revenues? Most have roofs or parking lots where a solar system could be installed. A solar system could not only reduce the building’s electric bills (where utilities and their regulators allow such a practice) but it could also sell electricity to electric cars parked at the building.
What if you lived in an apartment? In states like New York and Massachusetts consumers can buy into a “solar farm.” Today that solar power can be used to reduce the monthly electric utility bill. In future it could be used to refuel electric cars.
The question the electric utility industry fears the most is whether future electric car owners/voters will demand cleaner, more competitively priced electricity that customer-owned solar systems can deliver.
How electric cars can restore America’s growth economy
The biggest impact of electric cars could be in promoting a resurgence in our economy delivering jobs and income equality. Today the all-electric cars that you are most likely to buy are made in America. The European and Japanese car companies are still playing catch up to America’s electric car technologies.
Now imagine if all 17 million cars and trucks we buy every year were electric and made in America. Also imagine that solar systems become their major fuel source.
Today, even with only a limited number of states truly enabling customer owned solar, the solar industry employs more people than the coal industry. California alone has created over 500,000 “advanced energy” jobs that is almost equal to the entire utility industry’s 560,000 work associates. Imagine the job growth in every American town and city if Americans began buying American made electric cars fueled with solar systems installed on roofs and parking lots.
Electric cars are a disruptive technology that have a path for beating gasoline cars on price, fuel costs and driving fun. The country that wins this technology race will realize real and sustained economic growth. Electric cars are uniquely positioned to drive America’s economic growth, restore our middle class jobs and increase our health through a cleaner environment.
What if electric cars win? Then we win!
About the author
Bill Roth is the author of The Boomer Generation Diet, now on sale at Amazon! Here’s what Jen Boynton, Editor in Chief of Triple Pundit says about the book: ”Written in Bill Roth’s lovable, relatable tone. The Boomer Generation Diet is a must-read for any Boomer who is looking to jumpstart their health and have fun at the same time. I hope my parents read it!” Follow Bill on Twitter and Facebook.