By Megan Cerullo
Rising prices at the gas pump are leading more consumers to consider electric vehicles in hopes of saving on monthly bills.
Today, a gallon of gas across the U.S. costs $4.14, up $1.25 compared to one year ago, leading to higher monthly expenses for families who rely on their cars to get around.
Improvements in electric vehicle technology coupled with sticker shock at the pump have led the U.S. to “an extraordinary moment in time” for electric vehicle adoption, one expert told CBS News.
“We are definitely at a true inflection point…for mass adoption of electric vehicles,” said Roger Atkins, founder of Electric Vehicles Outlook, a UK-based electric vehicle research firm.
He added that there’s a direct, positive link between the price of a barrel of oil and interest in electric vehicles.
Industry leader Tesla has continuously improved its technology and paved the way for newcomers to enter the field as well. Automaker Ford this week launched its all-electric Ford F-150 Lightning pickup truck — an event Atkins called “truly significant.”
He anticipates that more commercial fleets of taxis, buses and vans will go electric, too. For example, a new terminal at Kansas City International airport will feature a fleet of dozens of electric buses, all of which can charge wirelessly.
“It’s just elegant”
But charging an EV isn’t always easy or convenient, as the network of charging stations in the U.S. remains limited. There are just 47,000 EV charging stations across the country, according to the Department of Energy — less than one-third of the number of retail gas stations.
Atkins believes that the ability to charge wirelessly will lead to greater consumer interest in electric vehicles.
“I think wireless charging could be the real key to rapid EV adoption and I have seen it for myself,” said Atkins, who is also an advisor to Momentum Dynamics, a corporation that develops wireless charging solutions for electric vehicles.
“It just means it’s a bit like with software that’s plug and play. This is stop and charge,” he said.
“There is no faffing around with your card and your charger and does it work and all of this stuff,” he said. “It’s just elegant.”