Challenges are emerging for electric vehicles (EVs) in 2024, with issues ranging from malfunctioning chargers and frozen EVs to declining resale values. This setback follows a period where EVs were anticipated to gain significant momentum in reshaping the American automotive landscape.
A few years ago, U.S. automakers seemed committed to phasing out internal combustion engines, with General Motors’ CEO, Mary Barra, boldly declaring a complete shift to all-electric vehicles (EVs) by 2035. However, recent developments indicate a shift in strategy, with companies like GM reconsidering aggressiv.
sales forecasts, trimming jobs at EV manufacturing plants, and scaling back production targets for EV batteries. Hertz even removed 20,000 Tesla, BMW, and Chevrolet EVs from its rental fleet due to a significant drop in resale value.
The confusion surrounding this apparent U-turn is understandable, especially considering the rapid increase in EV sales in the United States from virtually zero to over a million within a short span. In 2023, approximately 1.2 million EVs were sold nationwide, a fivefold increase in just five years. Automakers are gearing up to introduce around 75 new EV models by 2030.
However, reality seems to be catching up with the ambitious dreams of a widespread EV transition. Robby DeGraff, a product and consumer insights analyst at AutoPacific, suggests that 2024 will be a defining year for the future of EVs.
Historically, skepticism has surrounded major transitions predicted by car companies, often dubbed as the “silver bullet” solution. In the current scenario, profitability remains a significant concern for Detroit carmakers, as SUVs and pickup trucks continue to generate the majority of their revenue.
The shift towards larger vehicles was evident during the pandemic-induced chip shortage when automakers prioritized production of bigger vehicles. Consequently, trucks and SUVs constituted 80% of auto sales in 2022, compared to just 50% in 2012.
The recent challenges faced by EVs, including operational issues in extreme weather conditions and infrastructure concerns, provide a seemingly convenient excuse for automakers to slow down their EV initiatives.
Cold temperatures have led to frozen EVs, battery issues, and extended charging times. Charging infrastructure improvements, promised by the Biden administration’s $7.5 billion investment, are yet to materialize.
While there are currently 1.7 million EVs in use in the United States, this remains a fraction compared to the over 283 million gasoline-powered vehicles on the roads. Additionally, changes in IRS eligibility for the $7,500 EV tax credit and potential consumer hesitations could further impact EV sales.
Despite plans to introduce new EV models and the ongoing transition, the road to a fully electric future in the United States appears to be facing delays and uncertainties.
Micheline Maynard, a business journalist and author, based in Ann Arbor, Mich., shares her insights on the challenges faced by the EV market in 2024.