Technology advancement is driving electric vehicle adoption

Electric vehicle sales have been growing rapidly in the United States and around the world. This study explores the drivers of demand for electric vehicles, examining whether this trend is primarily a result of technology improvements or changes in consumer preferences for the technology over time. We conduct a discrete choice experiment of new vehicle consumers in the United States, weighted to be representative of the population. Results suggest that improved technology has been the stronger force. Estimates of consumer willingness to pay for vehicle attributes show that when consumers compare a gasoline vehicle to its battery electric vehicle (BEV) counterpart, the improved operating cost, acceleration, and fast-charging capabilities of today’s BEVs mostly or entirely compensate for their perceived disadvantages, particularly for longer-range BEVs. Moreover, forecasted improvements of BEV range and price suggest that consumer valuation of many BEVs is expected to equal or exceed their gasoline counterparts by 2030. A suggestive market-wide simulation extrapolation indicates that if every gasoline vehicle had a BEV option in 2030, the majority of new car and near-majority of new sport-utility vehicle choice shares could be electric in that year due to projected technology improvements alone.

PNAS = Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences


At the heart of the public relationship to the battery is the laptop and the cellphone. We charge devices religiously these days. That is not new. In an earlier time that would have stymied a lot of people.

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You are so right. Back in the BC era (before charging) prior to laptops and cell phones people did not know how to plug things in.



Funny, but the old guard are still claiming they wont get an EV.

You know what I mean? I hope you do. There was a time when you have to charge a laptop or a cellphone for the first time. Big deal. But to charge a car? If people were not experienced enough with batteries they would stick to gasoline.

How long has it been since everyone finally got the message that EV’s generally have more torque?

A big constraint on electrical vehicle adoption is the availability of chargers. If you don’t have a charging station at home, then you have to find an available charging station elsewhere.

Rural America is especially subject to the chicken-and-egg issue. People won’t buy an electric vehicle if they don’t have easy access to a charging station. Nobody will build charging infrastructure that will just sit idle most of the time.

And in urban and suburban areas, the issue is not having enough chargers for everyone who needs them.

Ultimately, at least one of these developments is needed to address the issues:

  1. A technological breakthrough makes charging nearly as fast as filling the gas tank.
  2. A technological breakthrough makes charging stations extremely cheap and easy to build.
  3. Landlords and other business owners get compensated generously for providing enough charging stations for everyone. (This means lots of government subsidies.)

Not true. “most” of the time is 12+ hours per day, right? The vast majority of Tesla Superchargers that are not in a city are idle most of the time. Only Tesla knows the real data. But take a look at the Supercharger map. There is no way all those stations in the middle of nowhere with 6 or 8 stations are being used constantly for ~12 hrs per day, 365 days a year.

This is not going to happen in a significant way. The current limits are 250 kw for Tesla V3 Superchargers and 350 kw for the EA chargers. And they can only sustain this for ~5 minutes before heat buildup (in the cable and the battery) causes them to start ramping down the current. The Tesla 150 kw V2 are not actually that much slower because of the ramping down. Even if, perhaps, some breakthrough happened it would be much more expensive for both the car and the chargers. IMO, lots more chargers is better than a few faster ones. You can usually get ~200 miles in ~15 minutes.

Note that Tesla’s economy of scale and the fact that they are now usually installing 8-16 chargers in one location is causing them to get cheaper.
And with Ford, GM and all jumping on the Tesla standard it will also make them cheaper, sooner.

Note: semi trucks will have bigger, faster chargers as already being used but they will cost more too.


This is a slight variant on the electrification of rural America in the early 20th century. Power companies didn’t want to run expensive lines to isolated farms, farms wouldn’t (couldn’t) covert to electric machinery because there was no power available. (A decent business was to be had selling small gas generators to farmers. It was Henry Ford’s first job in the late 1800’s.)

  1. Government decides to subsidize the industry until it reaches some sort of critical mass - not unlike how it has subsidized the adoption of EVs themselves.

Norway’s new car sales is now about 82% EVs (although only 20% of cars on the road are EVs, thanks to how long cars last). They got there that quick through subsidy programs, originally intended to aid a Norwegian EV manufacturer (now defunct) but they kept at it anyway. There were monetary subsidies, of course: for car purchases and for charging station installation. And there were other incentives: EVs were allowed to use bus lanes and car-pool lanes among others (those latter incentives have been withdrawn).

It’s worth noting that Norway is not experiencing big disruptions adapting the grid. Partly that’s a function of where their power comes from: hydro, which is pretty stable. It’s also noteworthy that even with 80+% of car sales being EV, the transition of hydrocarbon use is going much slower - and most of the EVs get charged at homes, and overnight. They are still wrestling with apartment dwellers, etc but they’re well ahead of the rest of the world.


You would think that Rural America would be more likely to live in single family housing where charging at home is the norm. So building public chargers should be less necessary. (For the portion able to afford a new car, anyway.)

It’s the apartment dwellers who are most reliant on a network of public chargers. Well, them and road warriors. But I don’t expect the hard core road warriors to be EV adopters yet.



A big constraint on personal vehicle adoption is the availability of parking. If you don’t have a parking space at/near home, then you have to find an available parking space elsewhere.

Many hard core road warriors, especially the ones that pay their own expenses, seem to be increasingly adopting EVs. That’s because it saves them a TON of money.


I was thinking in the rural space, where public chargers are less common. In urban and suburban areas, where public charging isn’t that hard to find, I agree.


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For “road warriors”, at least for Teslas, fast charging is easy to find. Superchargers are within reach almost everywhere when you’re traveling any great distance, at least in the US and Europe. And slow charging is available anywhere there’s electricity.

Check out

(My road trip car is my 2017 Model S. Free supercharging for life! Much cheaper than gas.)

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Trivially simple to find. It’s right on the display inside the car. Engage FSD and the car will take you right to the closest supercharger.

But heaven help you if your road warrior needs take you to the great plains away from interstates. There’s a vast stretch of country there with precious few Superchargers.

As you note, you can still charge anywhere there’s a level 2 charger. But those take a whole lot longer. Superchargers will charge you up at something approaching 300 miles of range per hour of charging. Ordinary public chargers will be around 100 miles of range per hour, and potentially less. Perfectly fine for overnight charging. Not great if you want to grab a quick-ish meal and get back on the road. An hour stop nets you maybe an hour and a half of driving.

Listen, I like EVs. A lot. If I could get one the size of a minivan that could also carry my son in his wheelchair, I’d probably have it.* But I also live in the vast urban sprawl that is Southern California. I’d have exactly zero range anxiety for my daily use. But unless you have a Tesla (or Ford or GM starting with 2025 or 2026 models) you don’t really have really fast charging options. You need fast charging for long distance travel. No, doing 200 miles a day isn’t long distance travel in my book. Long distance is knocking out 400-500 miles a day or more. Yes, you can easily do that in a Tesla, but only if you’re going down the right roads.


*No, that Rivian box van is not an option. First, it’s ugly as sin. Second, I’ve been driving a giant van for several years now. (Mercedes Sprinter) I’m ready to get back down to a more reasonable size for daily use.


Your numbers are a bit off. At least for Tesla’s using Superchargers. You get ~200 miles in the first 15-20 minutes. This is about 3 hours of driving if going 65 mph. If you really want 300 miles it will take much longer. The nav in the car actually tries to optimize/balance your charging time and driving time with the Superchargers on your route.
Most people seem to make a bigger deal of this than it is. If you charge at home to start the day with ~300 miles, then do one 200 mile top off after 250 miles you get 450 miles in a day with one 15-20 minute stop. Then maybe you do another one (or not) and charge where you stop for the night and/or for longer dinner. If you are really doing more than 450 or 600 miles day after day frequently then maybe you don’t want an EV yet or need to get one with 400+ mile range.
(These numbers based on my 2018 Model 3 that started with 310 mile range, YMMV)

For L2 charging you aren’t going to get 100 miles of range per hour. Most L2 chargers will get you about 25 miles in an hour (typical 6KW ChargePoint) Some Tesla destination chargers are up to ~double that but not all.