Electric Car Market Impact Remains Minimal
Green technology still only 2 percent of 2019 vehicle rollout
While many are clamoring to get the rest of the world to dedicate more attention to climate change, it doesn’t seem that automakers are paying much attention and for good reason. It’s turning out that most consumers simply aren’t flocking towards a green-friendly vehicle. Whether it be on account of interest or affordability, the electric car market is still somewhat limited.
Cox Automotive’s report on the car industry revealed that electric car sales haven’t exactly been burning up the showrooms so far in 2019. Of all the vehicle transactions conducted during the year so far, electric vehicles comprise only two percent of the tallies. Leading that pack by far is Tesla 3 with roughly a half-million vehicles delivered or sold at this point in 2019, followed by the Chevy Bolt, which is managing to roll out 10,000 vehicles a month.
Car rental companies aren’t exactly pushing the amenities of its rather small electric fleet. Back in 2017, major players like Enterprise and Hertz announced they were rolling back their electric fleet simply because their customers didn’t want to rent them. Much of their motives had to do with “range anxiety,” or fear of being stranded with an empty car battery, even when most vehicles were available in cities where charging stations are available. Others simply said they were uncomfortable over the way electric vehicles performed as opposed to their more familiar internal combustion counterparts.
While there haven’t been any radical announcements from the big corporations that they planned to reverse that trend, whatever progress they’ve made has had little to do with green technology. Instead, much of their focus has been on connectivity to boost customer service and streamline company infrastructure. In the case of the latter, there has been an environmental component, namely reduction in fuel usage and costs, although the intent was more economical and ecological.
That same attitude towards electric cars from consumers still seems to dominate consumer tastes, despite the increased focus on environmental stewardship. But according to Forbes, it hasn’t been enough to steer much interest towards greener technology, especially when recharging is a much longer process than refueling a gas-powered equivalent. Should attitudes change, however, most car rental firms will be ready for that shift.
“If [customers] start asking for more of them,” said Kurt Kohler, Enterprise’s senior vice president in charge of fleet acquisitions to Car and Driver, “I think we feel like, structurally, we could pivot pretty quickly and make sure we have the right cars for them.”
It certainly isn’t happening this year.