National EV target unlikely to be met by 2030 without lower prices and better policy – Eurasia Review

The United States government has set an ambitious national goal of reaching 50% penetration of plug-in electric vehicles by 2030, but a new study by researchers at the Paul H. O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs from Indiana University shows that the United States is unlikely to meet this goal unless electric vehicles become more affordable to consumers.

The study, “Affordable Electric Vehicles: Their Role in Meeting the US Contribution to the Paris Climate Goals,” was recently published in the journal Borders. The research was conducted by Professor John D. Graham and Eva Brungard, who is a research assistant at IU and has completed internships at an electric vehicle manufacturer and a trade association.

“We need to focus policymakers, automakers and electric utilities on how to drive consumer demand for — and automaker offerings — of affordable electric vehicles,” said Graham, who is also the author of the book 2021. The global rise of the modern plug-in electric vehicle: public policy, innovation and strategy (Elgar Editions).

In 2021, President Joe Biden pledged to achieve net zero carbon emissions across the economy by 2050, a pledge that is now an official U.S. submission under the 2015 Paris Accords of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Currently, transportation is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, and 58% of transportation emissions come from light passenger vehicles, such as cars and light trucks.

Achieving Biden’s goal of lowering emissions requires a transition from internal combustion engines to zero-emission vehicles, such as plug-in electric vehicles, but a number of factors are slowing that transition, including the price of PEVs. PEVs tend to cost between $10,000 and $20,000 more than their internal combustion engine counterparts, a price that slows customer acceptance. Soaring prices for raw materials used in the manufacture of batteries and electric motors also hampered the closing of the price gap.

Graham and Brungard found that the midpoint price of all new vehicles sold in the United States in 2021 — both PEVs and ICE vehicles — was around $45,000. Of the total 108 PEV models available to US consumers in 2022, only 17 had a base price below $46,000. Few of these affordable models are appealing to consumers. The good news is that the number of affordable PEVs on the market is growing, but America’s leading electric vehicle producer, Tesla, isn’t prioritizing affordable models.

Without faster penetration of plug-ins in the affordable segment of the new-vehicle market, Biden’s goals may be impossible. However, the commercialization of plug-in models in Europe gives hope of reaching the standards, but it will require sufficiently favorable public policies to generate greater acceptance by consumers.

“Instead of relying on unrealistic mandates from California and other states, the federal government needs a comprehensive electric vehicle policy — performance standards and incentives — similar to what was passed in the United States. European Union,” Graham said.

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