Every so often, Green Car Reports is asked to take part in panels and industry events discussing the future of advanced auto technologies—particularly electric cars.
Two weeks ago, at the New York Auto Show, site editor John Voelcker joined electric-car advocate Chelsea Sexton and Salim Morsy of Bloomberg New Energy Finance to discuss "the EV era" now arriving in fits and starts.
The 28-minute segment, broadcast on Autoline TV, was moderated by long-time host John McElroy.
(Note that the "2012" on the episode title refers to the number of the show—it's Autoline's 2012th episode—and not the year it was recorded.)
The panels covered an enormous amount of ground over its half hour, including why car shoppers may choose electric cars, the presently higher retail prices of battery-electric vehicles.
Electric-car advocate Chelsea Sexton on Autoline TV at NY Auto Show, Apr 2016
The panel kicks off with a nod to a new study by Bloomberg's energy finance wing, which projects that average automotive high-voltage battery cost will fall to $120 per kilowatt-hour by 2023.
Last year, that cost had fallen to less than $250, he said, much faster than originally projected when the first modern, high-volume plug-in electric cars hit the market in 2010.
That, suggested Morsy, is when even buyers motivated solely by cost can start to see an immediate or very short-term payback to buying an electric car.
But several notes of caution were immediately added by Sexton, well known among electric-car advocates for her participation in the documentary Who Killed the Electric Car?
Salim Morsy of Bloomberg New Energy Finance on Autoline TV at NY Auto Show, Apr 2016
Automakers largely still aren't committed to plug-in cars, she argued, and the range of affordable vehicles is still restricted mostly to small passenger hatchbacks, not the SUVs that are so popular in a market driven by low gasoline prices.
The economics aren't enough, she says, because automobiles are a hugely emotional purchase. No one bought a cellphone because it was cheaper than a landline, she noted.
The discussion ranges across multiple strains of the many aspects to electrifying road transport.
Tesla Motors got frequent nods as a trend-setter and a company that has shaken up the auto industry like few others in recent decades.
Green Car Reports editor John Voelcker on Autoline TV at NY Auto Show, Apr 2016
By 2040, Morsy said, 40 percent of light-duty vehicle sales are likely to be plug-in cars, Bloomberg projects.
Tightening fuel-efficiency standards across the majority of large global markets, and the transition to vehicles that use no or very little fuel, will cut oil demand, he said—though he notes that Bloomberg declines to make projections on the impact of such reductions.
State laws, the importance of smart, informed marketing and education for mass-market buyers, and the huge importance of a pervasive nationwide DC fast-charging network came up in the fast-paced discussion.
Will low gas prices kill the electric car all over again?
Not a chance, the panelists agreed. They could delay it by four to seven years, Morsy said, but it won't derail the trend.
Give it a watch and see what you think.