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Electric Vehicles – 5 Big Ideas For 2018

Each year brings the electric vehicle future 12 months closer to fruition. Is that a tautology? Sure. But sometimes it’s the obvious things that need the most repeating. And it turns out that those of us who have been paying close attention to EVs for a decade or more know that even as we move closer to electric ubiquity, there remain many steps to go. As we stand on the brink of a new year, it seems appropriate to take stock of where things stand now, and get excited about what’s to come. If nothing else, 2018 will be another year of big changes in the industry. Here are five big ideas to pay attention to in the new calendar year.

For Some, Electric Vehicles Will Remain Futuristic. For Others, They’ll be Mundane

As The New York Times writes, there are a few more things that need to happen before EVs can take over the world, but the subtext of that article is that this whole concept of electric mobility is still a bit of a noodle-scratcher for many people. Yes, the article’s descriptions of lithium mining are important for us to know, but imagine a similar article at the dawn of the gasoline-powered car era. How much of an impossibility would our world today have seemed? There are many issues to solve when it comes to EVs, but for every article like the one linked above, there are dozens of people for whom driving and EV is an everyday activity. There are hundreds of thousands of EVs in operation today, and despite all of the changes these people had to make to their daily lives to plug in instead of gas up, these people will certainly look at you funny if you tell them the the electric future is yet to come.

Start-Ups Will Continue To Have an Impact on Electric Vehicles

There’s really only one electric vehicle start-up from the past decade that has played a major role on the auto industry as a whole, and its name will be no surprise: Tesla. But the EV world has had more than its fair share of small companies with big dreams. From the names of bygone days like Aptera and Bright Automotive to the long-term dreamers who haven’t given up yet like Karma Automotive and Arcimoto, thousands of people have worked in the field or gotten behind the wheel. That means more electric miles and more electric smiles.

Looking forward, there are still a fair number of small electric vehicle companies that will make headlines in the New Year. First up, most likely is Byton, which will unveil its new all-electric CUV with a giant computer screen for a dashboard at CES in just a few weeks. While the established OEMs have little to fear from Byton in 2018, expect the EV to dominate the automotive headlines from the busy event. One thing that most old-school automakers haven’t quite figured out yet is just how much good will you can generate by simply building and promoting EVs. This is one reason why Tesla is able to have a roaring stock price despite being well behind where it said it would be with its Model 3 deliveries.

Another small electric vehicle company that has big plans for 2018 is Nikola, which is launching an electric-hydrogen semi-truck in the next few years. The coming year should see the company getting more test vehicles on the road and release more information about where it plans to build its network of H2 refuelling stations.

Tesla’s Next Big Steps in Electric Vehicles

Ok, this one is a bit of a cheat, because of course Tesla is going to be a big factor in the EV world in 2018. But it would also be crystal ball malfeasance to try and peer into the future and not look at what’s happening in Fremont and Palo Alto. Electric vehicle headlines will continue to be dominated by Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s Twitter announcements as well as whatever news we can get about the Model 3, the Tesla Semi and pick-up, and the new Roadster. Given TSLA’s stock price – driven by the EV enthusiasm mentioned above – the company still has time to focus on its fans and products without really worrying about making a profit for a few years. This is part of what allows Musk to deliver big ideas like hyper loops and The Boring Company, even when a more traditional automotive CEO would be laser focused on, you know, building the actual cars.

Critics Will Still Be Listened To

If the Internet loves a hot take, it loves a critical hot take even more. Even with the normalness of EV life for some people mentioned above, you can go far in the pundit world if you want to say that Tesla will fail or that EVs are a fad. While it is true that EV sales are lower than some expected, they’re doing well (see #5, below) and that’s unlikely to change, even with continued low gas prices and, in the U.S. at least, an administration that doesn’t seem to put a lot of energy into cleaner transportation. At least the $7,500 federal tax credit for electric vehicles was spared the axe in the recent tax overhaul bill, so that incentive will remain for people to take advantage of. And for critics to rail against.

More – So Many More – Electric Vehicles Choices

No surprises here, but the auto industry is going to be offering more and more plug-in vehicle options. Bloomberg notes that an expected “127 battery-electric models will be introduced worldwide in the next five years.” To point to just two examples of the industry not stopping with the EVs, BMW sold 100,000 plug-in vehicles in 2017 and is aiming for 500,000 in total by 2020 and GM CEO Mary Barra says the company will sell over a million electric vehicles a year by 2026, and turning a profit doing so. This, plus the nitty-gritty behind-the-scenes work that’s happening in battery labs and test circuits means that we’re getting ever closer to the day when it won’t be if you drive electric, but which electric do you drive.

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(Source: Forbes)