“The American public, environmental sentiment aside, goes where the gas prices are.”
-Bob Lutz, GM
Environmental sentiment aside… funny how that epitomizes GM’s mindset even today. Sure, they sell plug-in hybrids, but they won’t even put them on TV. They’re not sure if America is ready for electric cars yet.
I don’t doubt Bob’s statement was true in 2009 when he said it, but things have changed a bit in the past seven years. Gas prices have recently plummeted, so it’s a good time to check whether that notion still holds.
Ten years ago, the price of gas may have factored into the decision of whether to buy an electric car. The idea of owning an electric car was so new, so different, that there had to be a compelling reason to bother learning the nuances. If gas got expensive enough, maybe it would motivate people to do some research.
Now that gas prices are in free fall, it would make sense to expect the opposite. Why would I buy an electric car when gas is so darn cheap?
Because it’s not about gas prices anymore. Ignoring the fact that everyone knows today’s cheap gas prices are only temporary anyway, the more important point is that the mass public’s understanding of electric cars has changed. EVs are not a thing people haven’t heard of any more. They’re actually a viable option now in most people’s minds.
Still, most people don’t know what it means to have a 50kWh battery vs. a 100kWh battery. That’s okay. People don’t really need to know the ins and outs. Once upon a time, they didn’t know what it meant to have a 10 gallon gas tank either. They just knew that any gas tank was better than a horse. All they need to know about electric cars right now is that EVs will get them everywhere they need to go without the slightest concern of running out of juice, and if they’re curious, it’s certain to be a hell of a lot cheaper than gas no matter how you slice it.
Problem solved. Range anxiety is officially a thing of the past starting in 2017. That’s why gas prices will no longer affect the mass market’s decisions about electric cars.
Will the price of oil affect $TSLA’s stock prices in the short run? Sure, but that’s just because there are stock traders who haven’t read this article yet. They’ll figure it out too.
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