Quora: What kind of advancements are going to occur in the electric car world in the next 10 years?

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The following is my answer to the above question on Quora:

Over the next decade, we’ll obviously see a broader breadth of model choices and more manufacturers in the game. Most manufacturers will be looking beyond cars and into the crossover-SUV and (likely) pickup truck arenas as that’s where the sales are in most major markets. It’s very likely that all major manufacturers in automotive will have at least one EV in their model lineup, perhaps more. Many will (intelligently) incorporate it into existing models for branding purposes since a battery-electric will no longer be “swanky new tech” to show off.

We’ll also see much more in the way of electric-combustion hybrids happening. Plug-ins are already beginning to proliferate, so we’ll see even more of that across varied lineups. Expect to see things like plug-in hybrid off-road rigs, longer-range PHEV diesel-based options for larger vehicles, etc.

Batteries will change, but slowly, as automotive manufacturers (and the buying public) are not eager to jump on unproven tech just because it’s new and shiny. Witness the slow sales of the Tesla models early on and the sales losses incurred by most EV models of the past decade for proof of that.

Perhaps the greatest changes will occur in infrastructure rather than in automotive itself. With the added number of EVs offered and on the road, manufacturers, businesses, and governments will see an increased need to add charging infrastructure. This will mean more charging options, broader coverage for charging, etc. We’re already seeing many housing markets have new home builders adding a 220V plug to garages as standard practice, in anticipation of a charging system being installed.

With the infrastructure changes will come calls for changes to taxation for roadways. This is beginning to ramp up already and will continue to do so. Governments will begin looking for alternatives to fuel taxes as a way to fund roadways. In addition, power generation will become a concern again, especially in places already heavily burdened like Southern California and Arizona during the summer months.

In short, lots of changes are coming, but most will take the full ten years to really come to fruition. We’ll see a lot of EV models being introduced over the next 2–3 years (along with the tech that is associated, such as autonomous driving), but we won’t see the other effects until later in the 10-year window we’re considering here.

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