Detroit Automakers Announce Commitments to Electric Vehicles

Two Detroit-based automakers are strengthening their commitment to producing electric vehicles. On Monday, October 2, 2017, General Motors and Ford both announced their plans to drastically increase their production of electric vehicles in the coming years. According to the Detroit Free Press, GM is planning on releasing two new electric vehicles in the next 17 months, and Ford plans on adding 13 electric vehicles to their lineup over the next 5 years.

Mark Reuss, the Chief of Product Development at GM’s Warren Tech Center, GM believes that, “the future is electric.” One such electric GM vehicle will be a mid-sized luxury SUV, and another will be a large, sleek, crossover with three rows of seating and is rumored to be a “futuristic” version of one GMs current electric models, the Chevy Bolt. The two vehicles GM is releasing in the near future are part of a larger plan to have 20 electric vehicles on the road by 2023, and is looking to “begin production of hydrogen fuel cells at its Brownstown battery plant in Michigan by 2020.” The automaker says that some of these vehicles will be battery operated and others will be fuel cell operated (meaning they use hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity). The good new for the environment about fuel cell technology is that the only emission of a fuel cell vehicle is water.

GM's announcement for an electric SUV comes at a great time as the market for SUVs is growing quickly (even millennials are interested in larger vehicles), and GM is looking to capitalize on that. 

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Meanwhile Ford has created “Team Edison," a team within the company that is dedicated exclusively to the development of electric vehicles. Ford will be investing $4.5 billion over the next 5 years to develop 13 new battery electric vehicles. These are likely to include hybrid versions of the F-150 pickup truck, Mustang, police responder vehicle, and maybe even an autonomous vehicle. The company is also developing a battery operated small electric SUV. Sherif Marakby, Ford’s Vice President of Autonomous Vehicles and Electrification said that, “by 2020, Ford plans to produce an electric car that can go 300 miles before needing to recharge.”

Despite the push from large automakers, and the fact that electric car sales reached a record high in 2016, as previously mentioned by The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog, electric vehicles are still fairly uncommon sights on the road. According to Bloomberg, there were 2 million electric vehicles on the road in 2016. While this is a whopping 60% increase from 2015, electric vehicles still only account for just .2% of total lightweight duty vehicles. The New York Times reported that in the first 8 months of 2017, “Americans purchased only about 60,000 battery-powered electric vehicles, and about the same number of plug-in hybrid models...accounting for only 1% of the market.”

If anything, it will be government regulations, not consumer interest, that drive the demand for electric vehicles. China, the United States, and countries in Europe are moving towards tighter emission regulations that could eventually lead to getting rid of gas powered vehicles all together. China, home to strict pollution regulations, is also home to the greatest number of electric vehicles on the road. Bloomberg reported that the US, Germany, China, France, and the UK, among others are part of the Electric Vehicle Initiative, which aims to have “30 percent market share for battery power cars, buses, trucks and vans by 2030.”

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One company that is almost synonymous with electric vehicles is Tesla. While they have shown that there is a demand for electric vehicles, they have also shown how they can be difficult to produce. Tesla’s Model 3 sedan had hundreds of thousands of people paying $1,000 deposits just to be put on a waiting list for the vehicle. But the company recently announced that in the third quarter of this year, they were only able to produce 260 vehicles due to production issues. When it comes to fuel cell vehicles, they are difficult to produce as hydrogen is expensive and not widely available.

Detroit automakers showing such a strong commitment to electric vehicles is encouraging. It’s exciting to know that in a few years there will be many “clean” cars on the road, cutting down on emissions and pollution. Hopefully other automakers will join GM and Ford and make electric vehicles a priority as well, and research and development will make these vehicles easier and cheaper to produce, making them more easily available. Electric vehicles are good for everyone - they will save drivers money on gas, and they help the planet reduce its carbon footprint.


Electric vehicles are good for the environment, but car accidents happen regardless of how fuel efficient a vehicle is. If you have been involved in an automobile accident involving an electric car, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation with an experienced car accident attorney today. 

Electric Car Sales Reached Record High in 2016

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Today, environmental issues have become a primary concern in society. With many policymakers, activists, and corporations alike, all seeking to inspire a greater movement to sustain the Earth, it is not surprising that the “green movement” is beginning to impact certain industries, specifically the automotive industry. According to Greentech Media, the electric car market hit a record high last year in 2016 when 750,000 electric cars were sold. There are 2 million electric cars being driven in the world today, meaning that almost half of the world's electric cars were sold last year! Although 2 million only accounts for 2% of the market for small, passenger vehicles, it is a large feat for the industry that just began scratching the surface in 2010.

China has led the electric car market, competing directly with the Detroit, Michigan automakers. Of the 750,000 electric vehicles sold last year, China sold 336,000, with much credit due to BYD, a Chinese automaker that has dominated the electric vehicle (EV) market and was responsible for roughly 1/3rd of the country's EV sales. Yet, according to electrek, BYD has recently seen sales drop 34% in early 2017 due to the Chinese government reducing electric vehicle subsidies and incentives, which have been the main reason behind the market’s rapid growth.

After China, Europe sold the second highest amount of electric vehicles, accounting for 215,000. Norway saw the highest EV sales in Europe, selling about 62,000 vehicles. Other European countries that have contributed to sales include the Netherlands, UK, France, Germany, and Sweden. The United States trailed China and Europe selling 160,000 vehicles last year.

Credit:  IEA

Credit: IEA

The International Energy Agency (IEA) is optimistic about future growth in the electric car market, projecting car sales between 9 million and 20 million by 2020, and sales between 40 million and 70 million by 2025. Since this is quite a leap from last year's three quarters of a million, many wonder if these numbers are attainable. The answer is that car sales are dependent on the green movement continuing to motivate consumers into seeking more environmentally friendly transportation, as well as automakers designing more practical and less expensive electric vehicles. 

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It's tough enough to buy a regular gasoline car without doing a ton of research, that it's even more difficult for some people to consider electric cars too. Until electric vehicles gain more popularity, the average person may not know enough about them to know how to purchase one of if it's the right vehicle for them. Below is a list of pros and cons provided by PluginCars to aid in decision making.

Cons of Electric Cars:

  1. Limited driving range. A main concern about EVs is that they have a limited driving range of about 80 to 100 miles before they need to recharge. This makes it difficult to take long trips with the car because charging stations may be many miles away and it takes hours to fully recharge.
  2. That leads to the next con, long charging time. However, the time it takes to charge an EV completely depends on the size of its battery. As a general measure for all EVs, 1 hour of charging can put about 20-25 miles back into the car.
  3. EVs are expensive. The average price for an EV is between $30,000 and $40,000, which is more expensive than a standard gas-powered vehicle of its size. However, most U.S. states offer incentives for purchasing electric cars, you can view the incentives by each state here.
  4. Minimal consumer choice. Many of the EV models look similar, and some people do not care for the typical design of an electric car. However, this has been an issue well-addressed by automakers and many new designs have been developed or are in the development process.

Pros of Electric Cars:

  1. They are quiet and quick. An EV delivers a much smoother and quieter ride, and electric cars possess more torque allowing the car to accelerate faster.
  2. EVs can be recharged at home. Electric cars can be easily charged in the confines of your home by simply plugging in the charger into an outlet and letting it charge overnight. In the morning it will be fully charged and ready to be driven.
  3. EVs are cheaper to drive. The cost per mile to fuel an electric vehicle is about 1/4th the cost of gasoline. Also, because the vehicle is electric, the only maintenance costs incurred are tire rotations and maintaining inflated tires.
  4. They do not produce carbon emissions. Of course, the largest benefit to electric vehicles is that they do not include a tailpipe that gives off harmful chemicals into the air, therefore they produce better air quality and benefit the environment.

 

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Clearly, there are both benefits and issues with electric cars, but with the ongoing movement to help sustain the environment, it is foreseeable that EV sales will continue to rise. Given the ongoing creation of new designs and longer lasting batteries from innovative companies such as Tesla, these vehicles are becoming more attractive and appealing to the consumer. It remains to be seen whether electric cars will take over the automotive industry in the future, but it is safe to say the market for electric vehicles will experience considerable growth in the upcoming years.


Electric vehicles are better for the environment and can help reduce our carbon footprint, however, they do not reduce the chance of getting into a car accident. If you or anyone you know has been in an accident of any kind, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.