There was a time when Gas was dirt cheap and there were no emission standards in place. Most of the major manufacturers had a big burly V8 under the hood of most of their vehicles. Cadillac was the first American manufacturer to come out with a V8 all the way back in 1914. The number of vehicles with a big gas-guzzling V8 kept on rising till the Oil Crisis of the early 1970s. It was October 1973 when the first shock came and by March of 1974 prices had already increased by 400% globally. Fuel prices in America were even higher. There were long lines outside gas stations. This was followed by the second shock which came six years later in 1979. Fuel prices had sky-rocketed again. Motorists were buying and hoarding fuel in case things got worse. Not just the prices but even the environment was getting worse. Pollution levels were at an all-time high. Major cities like New York were covered by a dense layer of smoke. The country was in dire need of fuel regulations.
It was after this that new fuel and emission regulations came into place and manufacturers had to follow these rules. They started downsizing their engines. Manufacturers used different ways to make their vehicles more fuel-efficient. Apart from downsizing the engines, some used forced induction, some used hybrid powertrains. The change was inevitable.
Porsche came out with the first hybrid vehicle all the way back in 1899 but it never managed to grab the public eye and bombed the sales charts. It was not until almost 2 decades ago that Toyota came out with the Prius Hybrid. The Toyota Prius became the first hybrid vehicle that was a commercial success. Since then, most of the major manufacturers have invested heavily in hybrid technology. But as time is moving forward, the hybrid isn’t enough. The trend is moving towards fully electric vehicles.
What Toyota’s Prius had done to the automotive industry two decades ago, Tesla did that with the fully electric Model S in 2012. With the Model S, Tesla changed everyone’s perception of electric vehicles. EVs were no longer boring and ugly. Tesla made the EV cool. The Tesla Model X P100D or the Model X Performance as they call it now can outrun a gas-powered V12 Lamborghini Aventador like a walk in the park. The Tesla Model X probably has more tech than all the Apollo Missions combined! Not just EV technology but Tesla also made automated driving technology mainstream which is not just a convenience feature but also a safety feature.
Let’s talk about numbers. The number of hybrid vehicles being sold in the United States kept on increasing from 1999 to 2013 with slight dips in 2008 which can be blamed on the economic slowdown. The market share of hybrid vehicles was on an all-time high in 2013 at 3.19%. Ever since the number has been tumbling. This pattern can be connected with the launch of the Tesla Model S in 2012. This is how Tesla has affected the EV market. This fact can be ascertained by the fact that the EV sales in the country also shot up drastically in the 4th Quarter of 2012- 2 months after the Model S went on sale. This shows us the tendency to move from hybrid to fully electric vehicles.
The number of hybrid models being produced by major manufacturers has been stagnant for a few years now. Whereas, the number of fully electric vehicles has been on a continuous rise. In the immediate future, almost every major vehicle manufacturer is coming out with a new EV. Mercedes is coming out with the EQC, Audi with the e-Tron, BMW with the iX3, Volvo with the XC40 Electric and Volkswagen with the ID Crozz. These were some of the biggest manufacturers and their plans for the future. This list is never-ending and is only going to get longer. EVs are expected to have a market share of 22% by 2030 compared to 2% in 2016.
While hybrids have helped the environment a lot in the past, the future is completely electric. To add to that, the world is moving towards cleaner renewable energy as well. Adding to that is the ever-increasing range of the EVs. With the increase in the range of EVs, they are getting more and more practical and easy to live with. Range anxiety is something that is often related to completely electric vehicles. With the increase in range and the number of charging stations, it is also being taken care of.
While many would agree that the near future can’t sustain fully electric vehicles but with the ever-growing infrastructure, owning an electric vehicle is only going to get easier. Tesla has been the industry leader when it comes to electric vehicles but the other major manufacturers are catching up very fast. Change is inevitable and things are going to change once again. Drastically. We need a better future, we need electric vehicles.