Growing EV Market Faces Obstacles

By Jeffrey Bellant September 29, 2022

DALLASGlenn Mercer, an independent automotive researcher, discussed the challenges and promise of electric vehicles during last month’s National Auto Auction Association Convention & Expo.

Mercer worked with the National Auto Dealers Association on a report he described as “275 pages of sleep-inducing exhibits.”

The findings, from early this summer, looked at various issues connected to EVs.

The first concern is what consumers want.

EV manufacturers are transitioning from making sedans to crossovers, SUVs and pickups, because of consumer demand.

Glenn Mercer discusses EVs during a session at the NAAA Expo in Dallas recently. *

The vehicles themselves have gotten better as battery range grows longer.

“Technology continues to advance fairly rapidly, getting better and better,” Mercer said. “Though still with issues, such as the ever-popular battery fire.” Charging is a critical concern, not just in quantity but in quality. Mercer said while more and more charging stations have been built, more of them seem not to be working.

Firms like ChargePoint, however, are working on the problem, he said

One thing the industry needs is the “Model T” moment.

“We haven’t had the ‘Wow, this is a cheap alternative to a horse,’ moment,” Mercer said.

Because of the semiconductor chip shortage, the manufacturers have been selling $60,000 to $70,000 EVs.

The amount of incentives on EVs depends on where you live.

Mercer said China feels that EVs are established enough that it no longer has to drive customers to buy them.

However, another country offers loads of EV incentives.

“I was in Oslo in June,” Mercer said. “Norway is EV heaven. I have never seen more than one Mach-E on the road at one time in America, but there were three parked on the street by my Airbnb.

“It was very odd to be in a country where at night you just hear cars humming past quietly.”

EV cars in Norway account for more than half of the entire auto market.

Mercer said EV incentives in Norway are approximately $65,000 per car and include free parking in every state-owned parking lot in the country, no road tolls, no ferry tolls and use of the bus lanes.

EV adoption here will face challenges in manufacturing costs and concerns over geopolitics.

“For manufacturers, the lithium they thought would cost $5,000 a ton is now $30,000 a ton – and nobody builds a lithium mine quickly,” Mercer said.

Geopolitics, however, is even trickier.

“Let me say this very bluntly, and I don’t mean to criticize the EV movement,” Mercer said, “but every EV we sell in America increases our dependence on China. This is just a fact.”

In terms of the environment, it is greener to operate an EV, but, on the other hand, it causes a lot more environmental damage to make an EV.

“Generally speaking, it takes about 25,000 mils of running an EV to work it’s debt off and become greener than an ICE (internal combustion engine) car,” Mercer said.

“It’s kind of interesting, we’re going from a world that’s going from drilling holes in the ground to now digging stuff out of the ground for batteries. I don’t know how much has actually changed.”


*image attribute @ Jeffery Bellant



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Last modified on Saturday, 01 October 2022 12:36