2016 Chevrolet VoltEnlarge Photo
Regarding the prospects for electric cars in future years, our readers are nothing if not an optimistic bunch.
We recently polled our Twitter followers on their views of how much and how fast cars with plugs would move into the sales mainstream.
Last year, plug-in cars represented slightly less than 1 percent of total U.S. sales of about 16.5 million light-duty vehicles.
We asked readers to choose what percentage of new-car sales in 10 years would come with a plug.
That includes both battery-electric cars like the Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S, and plug-in hybrids like the Chevrolet Volt and upcoming Toyota Prius Prime.
The options were 1, 5, 10, and 20 percent.
In 2025, what percent of new cars in the U.S. will have plugs?— Green Car Reports (@GreenCarReports) August 8, 2016
As you can see, more than half our respondents chose the highest number: 20 percent.
And that would be a remarkable thing if it were to happen, given how slowly truly major changes in technology tend to filter into automobiles.
Working in favor of plug-in cars are the steady decline in the cost of lithium-ion cells, which has historically run about 7 percent a year.
That's the figure for consumer-format small cells, but it seems likely to apply to larger-format automotive cells as well.
Tour of Tesla battery gigafactory for invited owners, Reno, Nevada, July 2016Enlarge Photo
The battery, of course, is the main cost component of electric cars.
On the other hand, however, numerous hurdles remain, from manufacturer reluctance and dealer apathy or dislike to the many challenges of educating buyers about why plugging in a car makes more sense (and is cheaper per mile) than filling it full of gasoline.
Given the general comments on our articles—and we thank our readers for their largely civil, respectful, and fact-based commentary—we suspect it could go higher.
Perhaps there's a future poll starting at 20 percent of the market in 2025, and going higher yet?