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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Are We at a Tipping Point in the Electrification of Transportation?

By JIM SMITH, Realtor 
Regular readers of my YourHub column know that I am a big proponent of electric vehicles (EVs) and that I write from the perspective of someone who has driven electric since 2012 — probably over 150,000 miles. I can’t remember the last time I purchased gasoline — except for the trucks Golden Real Estate offers free to our clients.

Rita and I have owned two Teslas that consume no gas at all, and my Chevrolet Volt gets 2,000 to 3,000 miles on every tank of gas — which holds only 8 gallons.

Perhaps you have viewed the PowerPoint presentation on the topic of electric vs. gas-powered vehicles that I deliver to service clubs and other organizations. If you haven’t seen it, there’s a 35-minute video of that presentation online at

A decade from now, I suspect we’ll look back at 2017 as the tipping point in terms of EVs replacing cars with internal combustion engines (ICEs). This is not only because the prices of new electric vehicles are becoming comparable to those of ICEs, but because several nations have said they will ban the sale of ICE cars — Netherlands, starting in 2025; Norway and India in 2030; and France & the UK in 2040. China had said that it, too, will ban the sale of ICE cars but hasn’t specified a year. You can be sure that auto manufacturers are scrambling to join the likes of Volvo, Volkswagen and BMW, who have already announced their intention to produce only electrified vehicles in coming years.

EVs have been around long enough that there is a large supply of used ones, many of them priced under $10,000.  That’s because the industry is applying similar depreciation rates on EVs as they do on ICE cars, despite the fact that there are far fewer components to fail (often at considerable expense) in an EV than there are in used ICE cars.  For example, my 2012 Chevy Volt has over 75,000 miles on it, but the gas engine, which functions solely as a generator, has run less than 10,000 miles – miles that are very light duty when compared with gas or diesel engines which provide all the propulsion for a car. There has been no perceptible loss of battery range in my Volt, and the car is, for all intents and purposes, as sound as when I bought it over 5 years ago.  I paid $42,000 for it in 2010, but on the used market it’s worth under $10,000.  What a deal that would be, if I were willing to part with it!

If you’re not in a position to buy a new EV, I urge you to consider buying a used one. If electric range is an issue for you, I recommend the Volt, as its range-extending engine allows for a total range of 300-400 miles, making it suitable for use as one’s only car. As EVs continue to grow in popularity, the value of used ones could increase, so you might want take advantage of current low resale prices before the market corrects itself.

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