What will America’s roads look like in the future with the rapid shift to electric vehicles? We dive into the details and what that could mean if the market doesn’t keep up.
There is a worldwide movement to end the manufacture of gasoline vehicles and reduce carbon emissions. Some countries are targeting a complete end to gasoline-powered cars by 2050, while the United States is working toward a 50% decline in newly manufactured gasoline-powered vehicles by 2030. This change will hurt low-income areas, which may Maybe they can never catch up.
A 2021 New York Times article on the big shift to electric vehicles pointed to parallels between this shift and that of Cuba’s ongoing struggle to find suitable vehicles. While the streets of Cuba today are lined with vintage American vehicles due to persistent trade embargoes, parts of the United States are likely to experience the same aesthetic.
In this article we will explore this idea and what this parallel between Cuba and the United States could mean for the future of Americans living in rural or urban areas.
deserted charging station in america
Some people would trade their gas vehicle for an EV today if it weren’t for what people call “charging station desserts,” or large areas where there are no available charging stations or other means of charging a vehicle.
In an urban environment where residents do not usually have a dedicated parking lot or place to park their car, this problem is more prevalent. The urban infrastructure does not support, as it is in 2021, an environment for sustainable vehicle charging stations. Instead, there are stations outside of the city where it would create an awkward or dangerous situation for city dwellers to charge their car.
Range anxiety can overwhelm drivers who want to switch to an EV but are concerned about the practicality of charging their vehicle in a location far from home. Retrieving your vehicle on time “to avoid hogging charger space,” as Queens resident Jonathan Spira put it in an interview with the New York Times, is a typical problem faced by city dwellers.
In Chicago, where charging stations are scattered throughout the city in convenient locations, Audrey Henderson of the Energy News Network notes that stations can be found mostly in more affluent areas and less often in poorer neighborhoods.
When there is no access to charging stations and range anxiety is a growing concern, car buyers who were on the fence about buying an EV are less likely to choose it.
Without access to sustainable vehicle options in inner cities, we could see a country where affluent areas drive modern electric vehicles thanks to the infrastructure that supports them. Meanwhile, poor or rural areas will continue to rely on old-fashioned, ecologically wasteful vehicles. These issues could result in an inconsistent or even non-existent transition of the country to zero emissions.
Lack of parts available for gasoline vehicles
When the world finally stops production of gasoline cars, the parts available to repair and maintain them will quickly become scarce. NPR conducted a series of interviews in Cuba with residents who drove and maintained their vintage vehicles. As a result, residents needed to become their mechanics, and because good cars and parts were in short supply, prices to maintain and purchase a vehicle were high. A 2005 Honda Civic with 60,000 miles, for example, was selling for $65,000. In the United States, in 2021, this same car will cost between $5,500 and $7,000.
The supply and demand for gasoline vehicles could experience a similar disparity if the country cannot support the switch to EVs across the country, in all areas.
What you can do
While the future lies ahead, you can encourage your friends and family to invest in more sustainable solutions across the country. You can also contact your government representatives to install more charging stations in your community or find out how you can campaign for them.
Webasto and our team of experts can walk you through the process, how to plan, and what to expect when you own your EV. We can answer any of your questions and help you prepare for the next step in driving clean energy.
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