Commuter park and ride lot. Image credit:Virginia DOT.
Post about a transformational technology here and comments are sure to contain one-off criticisms. Many of these critiques become memes that return any time a certain phrase is mentioned. 'Wind power is unreliable.' 'Hydrogen cars will never work because...' 'Green jobs programs are socialist.' No matter that the success of transformational technologies must hang on many factors.
For example, setting aside design for a moment, a bright future for electric vehicles depends on many factors coming into play. For EV's to rapidly become a well-loved and commonplace part of American culture, several inter-related things will have to happen over a few years. Government incentives can only be a momentary trigger. See if you think I've missed any key factors in the list that follows.
- Facing massive amounts of unpaid debt, credit card companies ban use of credit cards for buying things like gasoline and groceries. No cash, no drive.
- Gas goes over $5/gallon and stays there.
- Power companies compete directly with fuel retailers, building charge stations in secure public parking garages and at Park and Ride lots (as pictured). Net monitored use tax can substitute for parking meters.
- El Nino cycle ends and for a decade to follow there are extended gas shortages following hurricane season.
- Upgradeable driving distance EV's are offered by the major car companies. The first time buyer can start with a low-cost 40-mile drive range model and add battery capacity up to 200+ miles, as budget and circumstances permit. Models with ranges over 100 miles are offered with a Volt-like hybrid option
- Battery prices fall by 50% as manufacturing costs go down.
- Corporate fleets and local governments decide they need EV's just to keep operations going and to buffer budgets against unpredictable operating cost fluctuations.
- Very large numbers of rural US poor move to the cities and inner ring suburbs. Small, inexpensive EV's that can be rented and recharged at work are an option for those who left the big truck back home.
- Large tax credits are offered for those who purchase or lease US-made EV's.
- EV dealers put satellite lots near mass transit hubs, industrial parks, and corporate office centers, offering discount charging for regular customers and shuttle services for those who need them.
You probably noticed that these 'drivers' are in random order and that some of them represent private and some public sector possibilities. Others are just random things out of anyone's control. I bet some clever people are making lists like this one and using them to develop plausible scenarios to support a business investment.
I can't wait to see an EV with an NRA sticker on the bumper. Then we will have arrived.