Electric vehicles at the Detroit Auto Show? Consumers have questions
The emerging fleet of electric vehicles (EVs) sparked fascination at the Detroit Auto Show, but many consumers weren’t yet ready to take the plunge to own one themselves.
Some, like Justin Tata, wanted a first-hand look at new electric vehicle offerings, saying “he embraces the change that’s coming because I think the internal combustion engine (ICE) is on its way out.”
But Tata, which works in the packaging industry, still has questions about disposing of EV batteries. He came to the Detroit auto show, which ends Sunday, to take stock of the situation, but does not plan to buy an electric vehicle for five to ten years.
Among the other attendees, those less enthusiastic about EVs included Tim Stokes.
“I think that will eventually be the only option,” Stokes said as he admired a new gasoline-powered Ford Mustang, adding that he wanted to “extend (driving ICE vehicles) as long as possible.”
Friends in the auto industry have advised waiting three or four years for the industry to “fix the problems” with electric vehicles, said Stokes, who works in telecommunications.
Long seen as a niche showcase in the automotive world, the prominence of electric vehicles at this year‘s Detroit rally underscored their newfound mainstream status as major automakers address growing concerns about change. climate and government policies in favor of electric vehicles.
Chevrolet’s showcase featured electric versions of three of the GM brand’s best-selling products: the Silverado pickup, as well as the Blazer and Equinox, two SUVs. Chevy plans to begin deliveries of the vehicles in 2023.
Ford has also targeted its EV campaign at its most popular vehicles, unveiling a battery-powered version of its best-selling F-150 pickup and launching the Mustang Mach-E, a new SUV that has also generated strong interest among consumers. consumers.
A 2022 Consumer Reports survey showed that 14% of Americans said they would “definitely” buy or lease an electric vehicle if they were looking for a vehicle, up from 4% in 2020.
While vehicle launches have drawn unprecedented attention to electric vehicles, automotive experts say a significant transformation of the ICE-dominated U.S. fleet is still years away.
Price remains a big issue, with the average price of an EV nearing $67,000, according to Cox Automotive.
Experts also cite the lack of electric vehicle charging stations as a concern. President Biden signed into law a $7.5 billion bill to build more stations, as his administration announced the first tranche of funding alongside a presidential speech at the Detroit auto show.
Auto insiders are also raising doubts about the availability of critical materials such as lithium and cobalt needed for batteries.
These issues came to the fore during the Covid-19 pandemic, when semiconductor shortages and other supply chain issues forced automakers to curtail vehicle production and stockpile dozens of thousands of partially built cars.
Ford said on Monday it expects to have between 40,000 and 45,000 mostly built vehicles in stock by the end of the third quarter due to needed parts. The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that the company had delayed some vehicle deliveries due to a shortage of badges with the company’s blue oval logo.
Don Lamos, who works for an auto supplier, had placed an order for a Ford Lightning, but is backing down after Ford raised the price of that version above the $80,000 cap that would allow car buyers to benefit from a $7,500 tax credit under new US legislation.
Lamos and his wife, Janice, have been drawn to Chevy offerings, including the Equinox, which starts at $30,000.
“If they can hold that at $30,000, then great,” he said. “I don’t know if they’ll really be able to meet production next year, so we’ll see.”
Don Lamos cited cost savings as the main driver, while Janice Lamos described climate change as a priority. Torque is sold on electric vehicles, but wonders how much to spend now when battery technologies are likely to improve in the future.
Many liberated vehicles are touted to be able to travel 300 miles without recharging, but the capacity is much lower if the vehicle is towing cargo.
“You know, when you need gas, you can go around the corner and there’s a station. I don’t think there are enough (refill) stations for one of them. them,” Carlos Rubante said of the Lightning.
Consumers at the show described climate change as a concern, but weren’t necessarily convinced electric vehicles were the solution.
Besides battery disposal, another concern is the undesirable consequences of the critical materials mining boom, such as the use of child labor in the Democratic Republic of Congo to produce cobalt, said Cristian Damboiu, who works for an equipment manufacturer. automobile.
“When you consider all these things, maybe they’re not as clean as they seem,” Damboiu said.
“I understand that (electric vehicles) have certain advantages, so we’ll see how that plays out.”