You’ve probably heard of the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Bolt and Tesla Model 3.
And most car companies, if they are not selling an electric vehicle, are working on bringing one to market.
But consumers in the market for new cars have a right to ask “are we there yet?” when it comes to whether it makes sense to own an electric vehicle — both for financial and environmental reasons.
Electric vehicles nearly doubled their market share from 2017 to 2018, according to car research company Edmunds. Still, they represent a small portion of the market.
Electric vehicles — including plug-in hybrid cars — accounted for 2% of vehicle sales last year, up from 1.1% in 2017.
Much of that jump can be attributed to Tesla’s cars, which represented 79% of pure electric vehicle sales in 2018, according to Edmunds. The Model 3 was in the lead, with 59% of electric vehicle sales.
While the current market share may seem low, that could be poised to change. Travel organization AAA has found that 20% of individuals indicated this year that they plan to consider an electric vehicle when purchasing their next car. That is up from 15% last year.
“We do believe the future is electric,” Greg Brannon, director of automotive engineering and industry relations at AAA, said.
How quickly that transformation happens will depend on factors including gas prices, which often drive alternative vehicle sales, as well the choices available to consumers, Brannon said.
For consumers considering an electric vehicle now, they need to weigh the advantages — and growing pains — that come with acquiring these emerging products.
Consumers who buy an electric vehicle are currently eligible for up to $7,500 in tax credits.
But those credits have started to phase out for some brands. Once automakers have sold more than 200,000 units, their tax credits are reduced.
For Tesla, for example, the tax credit was cut in half on Jan. 1, and is scheduled to be cut in half again on July 1.
But a congressional bill proposed last week aims to put a halt to those cuts. The bipartisan legislation — from Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Mich., and Sens. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., Gary Peters, D-Mich., and Susan Collins, R-Maine — would extend the tax credits to an additional 400,000 electric vehicles per manufacturer.