News Treehugger Voices EVs Will Take Over Because They’re Better Cars It’s not a goal for the future, a fantasy, or communist plot—it’s happening now. By Jim Motavalli Jim Motavalli Writer University of Connecticut Jim Motavalli is a journalist, author, speaker, and radio host who specializes in environmental issues. He is a regular contributor to The New York Times, Barron's, Environmental Defense Fund's Solutions, MediaVillage, and Wharton School reports. Learn about our editorial process Updated September 1, 2021 09:03PM EDT Fact checked by Haley Mast Fact checked by Haley Mast LinkedIn Harvard University Extension School Haley Mast is a freelance writer, fact-checker, and small organic farmer in the Columbia River Gorge. She enjoys gardening, reporting on environmental topics, and spending her time outside snowboarding or foraging. Topics of expertise and interest include agriculture, conservation, ecology, and climate science. Learn about our fact checking process The Mercedes-Benz EQS will be a formidable entry when it goes on sale late in 2021. No luxury sacrifices are necessary. Mercedes-Benz Share Twitter Pinterest Email News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices News Archive In April, I wrote a piece that quoted the world’s automakers saying that they’re phasing out internal combustion and going electric. It gave dates and concrete plans. Many automakers are now introducing their last gas- and diesel-powered cars, and by 2035 (or even earlier) they’ll be all electric. The story wasn’t opinion, just stating facts. But in the comments section, readers denied all that. “Come talk to me when they have a 400- to 500-mile range and can recharge in 10 minutes.” “To go all electric is stupid. I guess I’ll be holding on to my gas-powered car for a long time.” “Never happen in most of the world.” “Not buying the propaganda. The technology is not ready to go mainstream no matter what the news divisions of major corporations try to tell us.” In Politico, Daniel Yergin—best known for "The Prize," his definitive history of the oil industry—sees a lot of obstacles to EVs, including ensuring a supply of the rare earth minerals that go into batteries, getting the charging infrastructure built, and getting the public to buy them. He remains skeptical about the world getting to net zero emissions by 2050. “Today 80% of world energy comes from fossil fuel; 30 years to transition is a pretty short time,” he told the Journal of Petroleum Technology. These are real issues with electrification, but I’m convinced the naysayers are wrong, and the fossil-fueled car is in its last days. And it’s not, as one reader put it, “a testament to the power of the worldwide Leftist movement and their media 'water carriers' to use the super lie of Manmade Global Climate Change to frighten the world's population.” No, this transformation would be happening even without the very real specter of climate change, and even in the absence of worldwide regulation. It’s because EVs are rapidly becoming better, more efficient, and even more fun as automobiles than the competition with tailpipes. A case in point: In a real-world test, the Lucid Air Dream Edition “Range” car, which will be on the market later this year, just proved that its stellar range boasts are not hypothetical. It traveled 445 miles on a single charge, with 72 miles remaining—so that’s 517 miles total. Now recall the irritated reader who said, “Come talk to me when they have a 400- to 500-mile range.” Well, they do now, and it’s more than most gas cars will travel on a tankful. Another case: The 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS is a no-expense-spared electric S-Class, recently tested by Jay Leno, a known Tesla fan. Despite being big and heavy, the EQS has a super-efficient 0.20 coefficient of drag—and almost 400 miles of range. Leno’s comments: “Very impressive. It’s everything you’d expect in an S-Class Mercedes-Benz, but electric ... There’s not a gas car to compete in terms of ease of operation, no shifting, and smoothness—it’s like driving around in your den.” Here’s the video: Mercedes is one of the world’s oldest automakers. It’s been making internal combustion engines for well over a century, and it’s going electric, folks. “All newly launched architectures will be electric-only from 2025 onwards,” the company says. I talked to Audi’s corporate heads on an August 31 online panel, and they told Treehugger, “The company has made it clear that by 2026 we will be launching only purely electric vehicles. We are firmly convinced that the industry is going in this direction, and that customer demand will follow. The reaction to the recent Audi e-tron GT shows that people are more than ready.” The GT has 637 horsepower and can reach 60 mph in 3.1 seconds. On August 31, the venerable English brand Lotus announced not one but four new electric cars by 2026: Two SUVs, a four-door coupe, and a new all-electric sports car. Lotus is now owned by Chinese brand Geely, which also owns Volvo, which will be all-electric by 2030. Price is still an obstacle. The Lucid Dream Edition sells for $169,000. The e-tron GT will start at $99,990. The EQS will be well over $100,000. Easing the bite somewhat is a $7,500 federal income tax credit, but these are still expensive EVs. But there are much cheaper alternatives such as the Chevrolet Bolt, Nissan Leaf, Volkswagen I.D.4, Hyundai Kona Electric, and Tesla Model 3, all very credible and under $45,000. The Mustang Mach-E, which is selling very well, starts at $43,995. The Audi e-tron GT is a rapid transit system, arriving at 60 mph in 3.1 seconds. And it charges in 22 minutes. Audi It’s true that EV sales are not as robust as they could be, but they’re increasing—and not just in EV-friendly California. A new report from Atlas Public Policy finds EV sales for the past 12 months up 46% in the Southeast. It also finds a 57% increase in charging ports in that region, to 15,376. A third of those were deployed in just the last year. Nationally, EV sales were up more than 254%, growing from 33,312 in the second quarter of 2020 to 118,233 units in the same period of 2021. But the pandemic has to be factored in there. According to a Cox Automotive poll, 30% of consumers are either “extremely or very likely” to buy an EV as their next car, up from a more usual five to seven percent. Across the country, there are now 49,000 EV charging stations, a huge increase from a few years ago. About 5,000 of these are DC fast chargers, which can get a vehicle to 80% in 20 to 30 minutes. Not as fast as a gas station fill-up, but getting there. It’s easily possible to drive a Tesla across the country without major inconvenience, though it’s harder for owners of other cars. Tesla’s fast-charging network is still unparalleled. And speed? Lucid claims it can add 20 miles of range in a minute, so in the five minutes it takes the above skeptic to gas up, he could add 100 miles to his EV. A five-to-80-percent Audi GT charge takes 22 minutes. Plus, an Israeli company, StoreDot, says its new extreme fast charging (XFC) cylindrical cells can be fully charged in, get this, 10 minutes. The Lucid Air Dream Edition can go more than 500 miles on a charge. Really. Lucid There’s a reason Tesla is valued at $739 billion (ten times more than GM) and could soon be a $1 trillion company. The future belongs to EVs, which already dominate the luxury and premium segments. The Tesla Model 3 outsells the BMW 3-Series, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and the competition from Audi, Lexus, and Infiniti in the premium market. The point of all this is that owning an EV is not likely to be a big sacrifice. That EQS has a full-width screen, seat massagers, and every possible modern convenience. The Porsche Taycan is as fun to drive as any modern car, and EVs are faster off the line than any V8-powered muscle car. Range is no longer much of an issue. Despite the challenges Yergin sees, he concludes that public acceptance is likely to increase rapidly. “Confidence will grow as [consumers] see EVs on the road and in their neighbors’ driveways, as the choice and range of models and features increases, and as automakers step up their commercial drive to push buyers to make the switch,” he wrote. Indeed.