Going Electric: Current Trends in Electric Cars

by Joel Harper on 2017-06-07 3:01pm

Going Electric: Current Trends in Electric Cars

By Joel Harper

Photo by: evgonetwork

The future is here, especially when it comes to cars. While they don’t yet fly, the nature of the car is changing. The internal combustion engine, the engine that has powered cars since their creation, is not the only option any more. In the last five years, electric cars have exploded onto the scene, gaining popularity year after year. And this looks to continue in the future. Which is good news for people who are looking to drive something that has a limited impact on the environment. New innovations are currently being developed to improve the performance and quality of plug-in electric cars. So what can we expect to see in the way of electric cars in the near future?

Electric Cars More Popular Than Hybrids?

It’s a possibility. When comparing the sales of new hybrid cars and new plug-in electric cars over the past four years, hybrids have outsold plug-in electrics by an average of more than three to one. But, when you look at the numbers, sales of new hybrids have been decreasing since they peaked in 2013, while sales of new plug-in electric cars have been increasing, reaching an all-time high in 2016. In addition, if you compare the sales of new hybrid cars and new plug-in electric cars over the four years after each type was introduced, plug-in electric cars far outsold hybrid cars. Between 2000, when the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight were introduced, and 2003, sales of hybrid cars increased by an average of 76%, or 12,750 units, each year. By comparison, between 2011, when the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt were introduced, and 2014, the sales of new plug-in electric cars increased by an average of 101%, or 33,680 units, each year.

If this trend continues, the sales of new plug-in electric cars may end up outpacing the sales of new hybrids. Auto dealers may see more of their stock shifting to plug-in electrics as they become the dominant form of green car.

Longer Range

One of the most common drawbacks of electric cars has been their range. These limitations on how far electric cars can be driven before being recharged has limited their use to short commuting and in-town driving. Anyone who wanted a car for longer highway driving would need to get another car with a longer range.

That might soon be thing of the past, though. The technology of electric cars and their batteries is constantly being improved and upgraded. In the not too distant future, electric cars with ranges to rival gasoline cars may be common place. For the immediate future, look for electric cars to begin having standard operating ranges of 200 miles or greater.

The other side of electric car range is the prevalence and availability of charging stations. As the infrastructure of charging stations increases, the ability for electric cars to be driven long distances will increase.

A Better Electric Car

Photo by: pgottschalk

It’s not just the batteries of electric cars that are being improved. Innovations and advances in technology and materials will only make electric cars better. Stronger and lighter materials will allow electric cars to travel at higher speeds while using less power. Improvements in the design of the moving parts will reduce the amount of power that is lost to things like friction, which will allow the car to use it’s power more efficiently. Improvements and advances will also mean lower costs overall. As the cost of electric cars fall, their availability, and popularity, will rise. This all adds up to electric cars that will run better and run longer, but will also cost less to own.

Looking Forward

Auto dealers need to be ready for the changes to come. There is a demand for electric cars, and it appears to be increasing. As the technology and design of electric cars is improved, the demand is likely to go up even more. The hurdles that are holding them back may soon be overcome, and electric cars may move from niche to commonplace.

A move of electric cars into the mainstream may also trigger changes in the regulatory structure surrounding cars and car dealerships. Don’t be surprised if you begin to see changes to the auto dealers continuing education course you take to renew your license that are result of the increasing presence of electric cars.

The electric car is no longer a someday thing. It’s not something that is only seen in sci-fi movies. It’s here, and it looks like it’s here to stay.


Joel Harper is a content writer for At Your Pace Online. In his nearly five years with the company, he has written on numerous educational topics. Joel is a graduate of Southern Oregon University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology. He lives in Ashland, Oregon with his wife, dog, and 2006 Hyundai Sonata.

At Your Pace Online is a provider of quality education courses for auto dealers across the country. If you are needing to renew your auto dealer license in Florida, we have the car dealer continuing education courses you need. We also have dealer continuing education courses for auto dealers in California. We are your one stop source for auto dealer education.