Is 2017 the Year of the EV?

Is 2017 the Year of the EV?

GM is going out on a limb with the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt. Coming later this year, the impressive little car sets its sights on the Tesla Model 3 which should be available late 2017.

The EPA announced last night that the new $37,500 Bolt will boast a 238 mile range in combined city and highway driving. That’s more than the $66,000 base model Tesla S (210 miles per charge) and the $35,000 Tesla 3 (215). These vehicles all qualify for a federal tax credit up to $7,500.

bad photoshop Bolt vs Tesla 3

Tesla does seem to have the upper hand with it’s Supercharger network spanning much of the country, and (up until recently) much more positive press and word of mouth than GM. Luckily the Bolt comes with a nationally recognized brand name, a network of dealerships, and is built upon a tried and tested platform.

The U.S. Department of Energy has said that there are now 14,349 electric vehicle charging stations nationwide which will charge nearly any Electric Vehicle (EV) on the market today, so range anxiety should subside as long as owners plan their long distance trips accordingly. Currently, most EV owners charge their choice in vehicle at home over night.

The propagation of EVs in the market place may falter if gas prices hold steady. In June, U.S. drivers bought 9.7 million gallons of gas…per day. This is according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, more than they have since we started tracking these numbers back in 1945. Gas prices this past Labor Day weekend were the lowest they’ve been in 12 years.

This kind of pricing and consumer consumption unquestionably has raised some eyebrows in board rooms, where owners were convinced years ago that $4.00 per gallon was the new norm, and EV was the next big thing.

Until gas prices go back up, or energy prices come down, the EV “idea” isn’t really saving consumers any money. Charging your vehicle at home costs roughly the same as a tank of gas these days but that’s likely to change as we move to the winter blend of gasoline, and air conditioners at home stop getting used.

Bottom line, Tesla finally has some comparable competition, but it may take a serious uptick in gas prices or EV efficiency for any sort of traction in the marketplace for automakers.

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