Electric Vehicles

The Rise of the Electric Vehicle

Daniel Gonzalez and Henry Tregenza

In 2020, EVs make up about 2% of the U.S. auto market. That may not sound like a lot, but it is actually quite impressive when taking into consideration the year after year growth. In 2011, EVs made up about 0.1% of the U.S. market share, growing to 2% is nothing to ignore. California alone had more than 500,000 registered plug-in vehicles by the end of November in 2018, and by the end of 2019, that number grew to over 670,000. 

Interestingly, the idea of an electric vehicle is not a new idea by any means. According to the United States Department of Energy, in 1832, Robert Anderson developed the first crude EV, but they didn’t become more practical until the 1870s. The first EV debuted in the United States came from William Morrison in 1889. The introduction of the Model T and its mass-production made gas-powered cars more readily available and stunted the development of electric vehicles. The year 2000 brought the first mass-produced hybrid in the form of the Toyota Prius.  This production came after some revised legislation that encouraged automakers to move back into the EV space. Finally, in 2009 we started developing infrastructure to enable EV charging that was more readily available and since then, there’s been nothing but growth. 

Companies across the planet are committing to net-zero emission goals which require reliance on vehicle fleets that are 100% electric. Electric and hydrogen-powered commercial jet engines are in development and 100% electric powered boats are being pioneered right now. The truth is, the planet’s wellbeing relies on responsible energy usage and the fossil-fuel-powered infrastructure we currently rely on will need to change. 

EVs have a long road behind them and a long (and exciting!) road ahead of them. There’s a ton of potential in creating a more sustainable commuting experience worldwide. If everyone made the switch to all-electric or hybrid vehicles, we’d reduce our dependence on oil by 30%-60% while also lowering the carbon pollution from transportation by as much as 20%. It will take time, but with the initiatives that are already pushing towards a cleaner future, I’m optimistic about the direction that we’re going as a society to have these green dreams come to fruition.