A key component of President Joe Biden’s strategy to address the climate catastrophe is electrifying the massive fleet of vehicles in the United States. This objective, however, is in danger of being undermined by the exploding size of EVs, which are displacing smaller, more cost-effective vehicles that use less of the environment’s resources.
In the past week, GM revealed that it would be ending production of the Chevy Bolt later this year. The Bolt is smaller and the most affordable of the greener electric vehicles available, with prices under $30,000. This price is in addition to qualifying for a $7,500 incentive provided to electric vehicle drivers in the significant Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.
The United States’ obsession with huge pickup trucks and SUVs is currently infecting the emerging market for electric vehicles, as evidenced by the fact that General Motors will convert to new electric versions of the hulking GMC Sierra and the Silverado, more costly options that would likely yield the automaker bigger profits than the tiny Bolt, as part of its goal to sell a million electric vehicles in America by the year 2025.
Experts caution that this supersized design of the new electric vehicles is actually worse for our climate than smaller alternatives since more energy is needed to move their giant frames through American streets. The vehicles also require significant quantities of scarce minerals such as lithium as well as cobalt, which must be mined, for the enormous batteries they use.
Whereas EVs are considered better than their gas counterparts for our climate, according to ACEEE rankings, large electric vehicles can be worse than compact gas burners due to emissions from power plants. It appears that the size and source of the fuel are important.
Alissa Kendall affirmed that there is no counterbalance to compact and less-expensive electric automobiles. Large, expensive, luxurious vehicles currently account for almost all of the market for electric vehicles.
According to Peter Huether, the proliferation of these supersized vehicles in general raises significant concerns as automakers are increasing the number of these supersized electric vehicles. He asserted that this materially reduces the ability to cut emissions. Other disadvantages of larger vehicles include the danger they present to cyclists and pedestrians on both urban and suburban roads as a result of their needlessly oversized presence.
Long-term, the goal is to offer electric vehicles to the greatest number of people without requiring everyone to travel in massive vehicles, according to Kendall. There is a general need for legislation to favor smaller, more cost-effective vehicles.
Startups such as QuantumScape Corp. (NYSE: QS) that are focused on bringing the next generation of batteries onto the market would have a bigger market to serve if automakers pay more attention to smaller vehicles, which could be more popular because more people are able to buy them as the switch to electric mobility gains momentum in different markets.
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