The 2010s were a formative period for the automotive industry; anyone familiar with the space can look back at the beginning of the 21st century and recognize with only a cursory glance precisely how far the market has come. One very poignant area in which cars have advanced significantly over the course of the last decade is the quest toward sustainability with electric vehicles (EVs).
For much of automobiles’ existence, fossil fuels have been the name of the game when it comes to power, but that’s all changing. At this critical juncture, it doesn’t take much hindsight to look back and see how the automotive industry reached its present point with EVs.
The Car That Started It All
To be strictly accurate about it, electric cars have been around for far longer than a decade. In fact, savvy auto-enthusiasts have been attempting to perfect the concept since the 1800s with little success—until Tesla released its Roadster just over 10 years ago.
Tesla broke the formidable barrier of 200 miles per battery charge, but its Roadster came with a whopping $100,000 price tag, meaning that it was hardly an economical choice for the average consumer.
Still, Tesla proved that modern advancements had made long-range EVs an attainable goal, and the flood gates opened.
A Wellspring of Electric Vehicles
After the Roadster was released, Tesla quickly improved upon its design with new models, driving down price and heightening efficiency. Likewise, other manufacturers jumped on the EV trend, and within a few years, any brand worth their salt had a hybrid or totally electric vehicle in the works.
From the BMW i3 and Nissan Leaf to the Chevy Bolt and Audi E-Tron, there was soon an electric vehicle available to meet virtually any price point; just like that, a concept which had been relegated largely to theory for more than a century became mainstream in just a few years.
Charging Stations Pop Up Everywhere
In 2011, there were a little over 3,000 EV charging stations across the United States; as of early 2019, that number had increased by more than 60,000. This explosion speaks to the fact that EVs are not just a passing craze, but an important movement within the automotive industry.
From brand-specific super-charging stations at shopping malls to generally-available ones at rest areas, it’s clear that the American infrastructure is shifting to include electric vehicles.
The Price Gap Is Shrinking
Though the Tesla Roadster was far out of the average consumer’s price range just over a decade ago, EVs have gotten far more affordable since then. As of 2019, the average cost of an electric vehicle had fallen to $55,600 (more than a 13% decrease from the previous year), with some electric cars dipping as low in price as roughly $33,000.
Given that the average price of a new car hovers around $36,000, it’s clear that EVs are becoming a viable option for everyday buyers.
Though there’s no doubt that the technology of these smart cars will continue to advance in the coming years, the last decade has been critical in shaping the future of electric vehicles and the automotive industry as a whole.