In the past, Americans all but rejected electric cars, but in the last few years companies like Tesla, Nissan and GM have filled the streets with full electric and hybrid electric vehicles. Recent data suggests that owning a Tesla Model S has become a "must have" for the wealthy.
Interestingly, the popularity of less expensive electric cars, like the Chevrolet Volt and the Nissan Leaf, has further propelled electric cars into the limelight in recent years. Statistics suggest that there were more than 160,000 electric plug-in vehicles on the roads in the United States as of November 2013. This is an incredible number given there were only a few hundred hybrid electric vehicles on the road as of 2010.
Barriers to Electric Vehicle Ownership
Industry experts often suggest that one of the biggest barriers to ownership is energy management while on the road due to few existing charging stations. Congress has gone so far as to offer a hefty tax credit of $7,500 to help cover the costs of owning an electric vehicle, but this tax incentive doesn't help residents of apartments and other living spaces where a charger isn't available.
When comparing the price of an electric vehicle to a gasoline-powered car, the price might seem the same; however, buyers are often nervous about having access to the necessary electrical services required to keep the car running and charged. The dream of electric car ownership today is often elusive for families who live in small-town apartment complexes.
Overcoming Charging Station Worries
Along with the tax break offered to new electric car owners, the U. S. Department of Energy also provides a handy map that points out the locations of all the charging stations in the nation. With more than 6,800 stations around the country, many residents have access to a close station.
Unfortunately, the wide-open spaces of the West do make it hard for residents living west of the Mississippi (who aren't on the Pacific coast) to find charging options. There are more charging stations in California than anywhere else, but the explosive growth of stations from 2011, when there were less than 2,000 stations, to nearly 7,000 stations by the end of 2013, suggests that electric car ownership might not be so elusive in 2014 and beyond.
Looking Toward the Future with Electric Cars
With electric cars giving drivers the opportunity to cover greater distances, the lure of the open road and travel has gotten manufacturers to thinking about where travelers might recharge vehicles when they aren't sitting at home or in an electric vehicle charging station at work.
Northern California is known as a tech-savvy area of the United States, and it would appear that one city has gone so far as to place a requirement that all new homes require wiring that would allow charging of an electric vehicle. It is the intent of lawmakers that creating opportunities to charge electric vehicles will boost future sales of zero emissions transportation options.
Owning an electric vehicle is an exciting and new experience for people who have driven traditional gasoline-powered cars for decades. Electric vehicles roll silently down the road with just a whisper of an electric "whirr" while costing just a few dollars in electricity for the daily commute.