Automotive

From the Model T to Model 3: Shifting Perceptions in Transportation Innovation

By February 24, 2020 February 28th, 2020 No Comments

Those considering purchasing a Model T at the turn of the century had to contend with a lack of paved roads, limited availability of gas and a hefty price tag. Despite these hurdles, cars replaced horses in a surprisingly quick timeframe—about 10 to 15 years. 

Drivers considering going electric today have fewer impediments. Yet according to a recent AAA study, 91% of those considering buying an electric car say they have at least one lingering concern. Getting stuck on the side of the road with a dead battery was at the top of the list. But what are the chances of that actually happening? 

The term “range anxiety” was first used by the press in 1997 while referring to feedback from drivers of General Motors EV1 electric car. Keep in mind that the model initially provided a range of 60 miles per charge. While they overwhelmingly loved their cars, EV1 drivers became worried as they reached the limits of the car’s driving range.

Although eventually scrapped, the EV1 program helped inspire today’s proliferation of electric vehicles that have a range of up to 370 miles. Elon Musk even claimed it as the inspiration for starting Tesla. Drivers have many models to choose from in 2020, from nearly every car manufacturer, and there is a variety of charging options outside of the home.

This is where Volta comes in. For a decade now we have been building out a nationwide charging network where drivers want to spend their time. Volta gives drivers the opportunity to charge where they shop and hang out—even while they catch a movie or the big game. The expansion of infrastructure and improved battery range helps to explain the AAA study, which revealed that while drivers still had worries before purchasing an electric vehicle, they melted away once behind the wheel. Another factor is that most households drive an average of 30 to 40 miles per day, which fits well with the current state of driving electric. The survey was conducted at the end of 2019 and included 1,090 plug-in electric vehicle drivers, most were first time owners.

Other results from the AAA survey showed overall satisfaction with electric vehicle capabilities and driving experience:

  • 96% said they would buy or lease another electric vehicle the next time they were in the market for a new car.
  • 43% of electric vehicle owners said they drive more now than when they owned a gas-powered car.
  • 78% indicated that they also had a gas-powered car in the household, but reported doing most of their driving (87%) in their electric vehicle.

We are in the midst of a massive shift in transportation and in the perception of electric vehicles. Volta is at the forefront by using data-driven modeling to predict when, where and how charging needs are evolving across the country. While driving electric still involves a spirit of adventure and innovation—the leap of faith is paying off for drivers—just as it did over 100 years ago when the first adopters of the Model T set off onto streets crowded with horse-drawn carriages.