EV Revolution


In this 10th and nearly final article pulled from Electric Cars: What Early Adopters & First Followers Want — a new report from CleanTechnica, EV Obsession, and GAS2 — we get to an exciting topic — EV Revolution!!

Revolution, baby!

I’ve mentioned “EV revolution” a few times already in this report. What am I talking about? By “EV revolution,” I’m referring to EVs taking over the personal transportation market in a relatively short period of time, something which I’m convinced will happen due to the significant benefits of electric cars (eight of them, by my count). However, when that will really start to happen is very debatable, even among those who are convinced it is on the way. So, I posed a handful of questions to the respondents to crowdsource opinions on this matter.

The first such question on this matter was, “In which year do you think electric cars will make up at least 10% of US car sales in a single month?” 33% of EV drivers and 33% of non-EV drivers responded 2020. In second place, 13% of EV drivers and 17% of non-EV drivers chose 2018. In third place, 17% of EV drivers and 11% of non-EV drivers chose 2025+. In addition, significant percentages chose 2022 (11% and 9%), 2019 (9% and 11%), and 2017 (4% and 7%). In other words, responses were all over the place, but 83% of EV drivers and 89% of non-EV drivers see this happening within the next decade.

EV rev 1


The next question raised the bar quite a bit. It asked, “In which year do you think electric cars will make up at least 50% of US car sales in a single month?”

71% of EV drivers and 63% of non-EV drivers chose 2025+. Only 8% of EV drivers and 11% of non-EV drivers see this happening by 2020.

In other words, while these EV enthusiasts see strong electric car sales growth coming in the next few years, they think we are still at least a decade away from electric cars accounting for the majority of the new car market.

EV rev 2

With Tesla Motors being the clear leader in the EV market from most angles, I also wanted to better understand how respondents felt about the company and how disruptive (economically speaking) they thought Tesla would be. The responses shocked me, even knowing that Tesla was a very popular company.

70% of EV drivers and 71% of non-EV drivers think Tesla will disrupt the auto industry, 16% and 18% are not sure, respectively, and 13% and 11% don’t think Tesla will disrupt the industry. On the whole, that’s a strong expectation that Tesla will really shake things up in one of the largest industries in the world.

Competitive advantages Tesla currently has over conventional automakers include the Supercharger network, lower battery prices, the under-construction Tesla Gigafactory (which will further reduce battery prices), a reputation for high-performance and hi-tech cars, frequent over-the-air software updates to fix or improve cars, a sales and service-center system that trumps dealerships from the consumer perspective, and an undeniable “cool” factor.

Tesla disruption 1 Tesla disruption 2

There’s still a lot of room for other EV pioneers like Nissan, GM, Mitsubishi, BMW, and Volkswagen to succeed in this realm, but many responses to this survey seem to indicate that the best way to do so is through association and partnership with Tesla.

Specifically, partnering on the Supercharger network and perhaps future battery production plans could be very helpful to these other automakers. And simply being “friends with” the “cool kid on the block” could open up more consumers to their brands. These are big decisions for the heads of large auto companies to consider, but if I were in their shoes, I believe I would be working feverishly to walk alongside Tesla and partner on critical pieces of the EV lifestyle — particularly, Supercharging capability and growth.

HappyNo matter what EV consumers buy, though, one thing is clear: they love driving electric. We asked the EV drivers, “Are you happy that you bought/leased your electric vehicle(s)?” 96% responded “Yes,” only 3% responded “Meh,” and only 1% responded “No.” See if you can find any other consumers so happy with their vehicles.

Also, just before this report was released, it was revealed in the latest Consumer Reports Annual Auto Survey that the three cars topping the list for owner satisfaction were electric cars — #1 Tesla Model S, #2 Chevy Volt, #3 Nissan LEAF. In other words, the owners of these electric cars are happier with their cars, on average, than the owners of all the gasoline and diesel models on the market. That’s pretty telling.

And to reiterate a point made earlier, friends and family who drove their EVs seemed to love them as well. Under 1% disagreed with the statement, “People who drive my EV tend to love it,” and only moderately so.


You can download the full “Electric Cars: What Early Adopters & First Followers Want” report here.

Report sponsors include Cost of SolarPlugless, the Low Voltage Vehicle Electrification Event, and Pono Home.

About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009.

Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he’s the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity.

To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.

  • Carl Raymond S

    EV Revolution is coming indeed… or… is it already here?

    I’ve spent the last couple of hours reading articles like “Why the price of oil is down” and “Why demand for oil is low”. Reputable sources like the NYT and The Guardian.

    My interest was sparked by the latest US jobless figures, down below 5% for the first time in recent history, and reports of wages growth. Does that sound like a recession to you? No, it sounds like good times, which historically push up the price of oil, and yet…

    They give a myriad of reasons why there’s an oil glut – from shale oil to warm winters to Iran coming on line to the breakdown of the OPEC cartel. But both NYT and the Guardian conceded that demand for oil is on the decline, due to more energy efficient cars.

    I you were an oil producer telling this story, which way would you angle it? Would you say that it’s getting harder to sell your stinking product, or would you talk about all the reasons above, and tell your sad story about cancelled investments and job layoffs – hoping for government sympathy?

    Here’s the thing about all those dollars spent on oil – if there’s another way to get from A to B, and keep the economy rolling along, without using that oil, it’s all dead money – pay now, pay again next week. The fact that wages are on the incline, and the jobless rate is on the decline, indicates that the dollars we previously spent on oil are now going elsewhere. Perhaps putting panels on your roof, or building superchargers, or gigafactories, or whatever.

    But how can such a nascent revolution have such a dramatic effect? I’m glad I paid attention in economics. Oil the perfect example of an inelastic product. The amount we use shows very little response to price. So if 100 barrels are available and we want 110 barrels, there’s a mad auction to see who misses out. The price jumps. Conversely, if there’s 100 barrels available and we only want 95, the price goes down and down till somebody decides to use more.

    I believe we are seeing that now – demand has fallen below supply, thanks to efficiency measures, hybrids and of course EVs. And because we don’t buy EVs to save on petrol – we do it because EVs are more convenient and simply better cars – this trend is going to continue. Oil is dead. Long live the economy.