EV naysayers 'missing forest for trees' - CEC chair
Chair of California Energy Commission says there are always temporary setbacks on the road to mainstream adoption
Growth headwinds faced by the global EV industry are only temporary and mainstream adoption is "inevitable", according to the chair of California regulator the California Energy Commission.
High interest rates, lower demand and supply chain constraints have hampered EV automakers and suppliers in 2023. But commentators who believe that these factors will ultimately prevent EVs from being adopted are missing the "forest for the trees", according to CEC Chair David Hochschild, speaking on a webinar hosted by US newspaper the Washington Post.
"There are always temporary setbacks on the road to going mainstream. It happened with solar power and cell phones," he says. "A tipping point will come where EVs are better and cheaper [than ICE vehicles]."
Hochschild notes the enormous amount of R&D money being spent on battery technologies, which will reduce costs and improve performance.
"Demand for EV models is only going to grow, following a similar model to rooftop solar," he says. "Having more EVs out there is the best advertisement for them and you are getting a lot of peer-to-peer adoption as a result."
The incentives contained within the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the standardisation of Tesla's NACS charger will help boost adoption in California and more widely in the US.
"There is a lot of help coming with 650kw charging," says Hochschild.
California currently has around 90,000 EV charging ports but only 10,000 fast chargers. The state will invest $4bn in its charging infrastructure and has a goal of reaching 1mn EV chargers, with a higher ratio of 650kW chargers. There are currently 6,000 Tesla chargers in California but this number will triple over the next two years, according to Hochschild.
Current demand for hybrids is driven by range anxiety, which will diminish as the charging infrastructure improves, the regulator concludes.
"When fast charging is ubiquitous we will see EVs everywhere," he says.