As America's auto dealers virtually roll into the online NADA Show, they should be rightfully cautious about electric vehicle hype. Companies may promise some interesting models, and Wall Street investors may think EVs are the wave of the future. But in the present — when profits must be earned and bills paid — actual EV customers remain scarce.
While some of our peers write hopefully about electric vehicles reaching a tipping point of mass adoption, the current reality in the U.S. is that fewer than 3 percent of shoppers buy EVs — and half of those are Teslas. Smart analysts project that electric vehicles will finally be competitive on a cost basis with gasoline-powered models toward the middle of this decade. But few of them predict more than 10 percent market share for EVs by 2030.
Range anxiety, lack of charging options, concerns about the electrical grid — for any number of reasons, consumers are not exactly flocking to battery-powered autos, even those that are shaped like crossovers. Meanwhile, shoppers pay top dollar for pickups and three-row sport utility vehicles. Do those vehicles have more capacity and capability than consumers need? Perhaps, but it's what they are willing to pay for. That's their choice in a free market.