Timing the Shift to Electric Vehicles

In a conversation with NPR, Navigant Research discusses when electric motors are likely to overtake internal combustion engines in the US

Electric vehicles currently represent a small fraction of the U.S. car market, which is dominated by internal combustion engines. Yet leading industry analysts say this is poised to change as electric vehicles (EVs) take over the market.

In an interview with NPR, Sam Abuelsamid, senior research analyst with Navigant Research, discussed the likely time frame for greater electrification of road transport in the U.S.

"Probably in the mid-2020s time frame, it becomes comparable or cheaper to actually buy and operate an EV than an internal combustion vehicle," said Abuelsamid.

At the same time, Abuelsamid does not expect battery-powered cars to fully replace gas-powered ones initially, anticipating that the two vehicle types will coexist on the road for a while longer.

"The average age of a vehicle on the road today is almost 12 years old in the United States," Abuelsamid explained. "Even if ... 100 percent of vehicles sold were electric starting today, it would still take 20 to 25 years to replace the entire vehicle fleet with electric vehicles."

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