Former Governor of New York City George Pataki made an appearance at the Washington Auto Show awhile back. At the show, he made a bold statement that he hopes will ring true. Pataki called for 40% of all the vehicles on the roads in 2020 to be electric vehicles. His numbers are significantly higher than anyone else expects to see and probably much higher than is feasibly possibly, but he insists that anything less may indeed be a failure.
As Pataki told AutoBlogGreen reporter Sebastian Blanco in an interview, "It is an ambitious goal, but I also think it is achievable. The key here is to end our over reliance on foreign oil, and to do that we need to break the transportation monopoly of petroleum products providing fuel, which is currently the case. One of the best ways, I believe, technologically and from a market standpoint, to do that is through electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles."
Now we agree with Pataki's statement that EVs are certainly a key way to eliminate our dependence on foreign oil, but it's unlikely to happen as fast as he would like to see. Simply put, 2020 is only 10 years away and that short time frame causes problems with the goals of Pataki.
First, automakers will not be able to produce the millions of EVs and plug-in hybrids needed to replace 40% of the cars on the roads today in such a short time frame. Second, many cars purchased today will certainly be on the roads for more than ten years and the bulk majority of those vehicles are gasoline powered.
Pataki refers to Apple and their success with the iPod. He states that if one company can effectively wipe out CD sales in just ten years, then several automakers workings together could greatly reduce sales of gasoline vehicles in ten years. The statement ignores the fact that iPods cost a little over $100 and buyers may be willing to risk that amount of money whereas EVs cost around $30,000 and that's a much more significant risk and commitment on behalf of buyers.
It's widely believed that EVs will gain market share in the coming years, but most analysts predict that it will be a slow going process over the course of several decades.