A mix of forces has propelled the vehicles from a niche choice to a mainstream option.
Governments have enacted policies compelling automakers to retool and incentivizing consumers to make the switch. Notably, California and New York will require all new cars, trucks, and SUVs to be zero-emissions by 2035, and the EU had nearly finalized a similar rule at press time.
Auto companies, in turn, are setting up supply chains, building manufacturing capacity, and releasing more models with better performance, across price points and product types.
The Hongguang Mini, a tiny car that starts a little below $5,000, has become the best-selling electric vehicle in the world, reinforcing China’s dominance as the largest manufacturer of EVs.
A growing line-up of two- and three-wheelers from Hero Electric, Ather, and other companies helped EV sales triple in India over the last year (though the total number is still only around 430,000). And models ranging in size and price from the Chevy Bolt to the Ford F-150 Lightning are bringing more Americans into the electric fold.
There are still big challenges ahead. Most of the vehicles must become cheaper. Charging options need to be more convenient. Clean electricity generation will have to increase dramatically to accommodate the surge in vehicle charging. And it will be a massive undertaking to make enough batteries. But it’s now clear that the heyday of the gas-guzzler is dimming.