DENVER, Colo. — In cities across the country, electric vehicles are becoming more prominent. President Biden just announced the first round of funding for an electric vehicle charging network across 35 states.
"The changes that we've seen in the last few years have been pretty dramatic," said Bonnie Trowbridge, the executive director of Drive Clean Colorado.
You may have heard that by 2035, California will require all new vehicles sold in the state to be zero-emission vehicles.
"I follow California's policies really carefully because they are a leader for that mindset of let's push things, in many cases, as far as we can. Manufacturers are going to have to stand up and step up to that goal," Trowbridge said.
Some states like Washington, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon and Vermont are expected to adopt this requirement. Others like Colorado and Pennsylvania say they won't however; they still have major plans for EV.
"The state goal is 940,000 EVs by 2030 which is pretty aggressive," Trowbridge said.
Michael Aschenbrener, the founder and CEO of EV rides, says these quick yet massive changes are necessary.
"From my perspective, I'm glad to see it. I think it's the direction we need to go for sustainability purposes and I don't think it's too aggressive from a consumer standpoint. I think the challenge with it if any will be on the supply side," Aschenbrener said.
He points out there are currently many barriers in the way.
"Can they get the parts? Can they get the raw materials in order to make the parts? But I think the only way to make sure that happens if to set these goals officially and legally," Aschenbrener said.
The supply chain issues have created a backlog of orders. Many of the manufacturers have a 6-month or longer wait times.
"Finding used EVs is also still a challenge because most of us who drive EVs have only had them for a little while," said Trowbridge.
That relates to one of the biggest hurdles: making them accessible to people of all socio-economic statuses.
"Now, to really move things forward and to serve folks who don't have easy access to charge at their homes, we're going to need more public charging, and more infrastructure there to enable that to happen," Aschenbrener said.
"So, we would love to see the manufacturers come to the table with vehicles that are more appropriate for the mass market. Smaller cars, less expensive cars," Trowbridge said.
Aschenbrener points out there is a reason for these current high costs.
"So, it's not just the cost of the cars we're paying for right now; it's the cost of the facilities the manufacturing facilities, which are huge robust places, and we need to pay for that right now through the cars," Aschenbrener said.
He believes once they are in place and settled, we'll see prices start to drop.
"Other constraints are there's not a lot of public charging and that's a very important optic for people," Trowbridge said.
States such as Colorado are coming forward with incentives to implement fleets of charging locations at places like apartment complexes, workplaces, and shopping centers. The federal government has allocated funding too, and major vehicle companies are also committing.
"Ford, for example, has committed to these new EV facilities, so has General Motors, and these traditional automakers are not just saying we're gonna build the cars, but here's the new factory we're going to build. Here's the number of people we're going to employ to build the cars there, and those are more of the concrete efforts that demonstrate not just the commitment but the actuality," Aschenbrener said.
It may seem farfetched to some to accomplish these goals, but these experts say it's possible if the right steps are taken.