Springer Nature by Jennifer Lynes June 2018
There was a time when one in three cars on the streets of New York City was an electric vehicle. The year was 1900. The popularity of electric vehicles (EVs) would continue to grow over the next decade. Considered a luxury car at the time, EVs were easier to drive, less noisy and had elegant interiors. However, by the 1920s EVs were no longer a viable commercial product. Ultimately, the high cost, low top-speed and short battery range of EVs could not keep pace with the introduction of the mass-produced internal combustion engine of the Ford Model T. Fast-forward 100 years and many of the barriers to the wide-spread adoption of EVs remain largely the same, despite tremendous technological progress. While Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster literally orbits in space around us, on the ground, adoption of EVs is still constrained by a multitude of barriers. Writing in Nature Energy, Gerardo Zarazua de Rubens and colleagues address a largely unexplored barrier to EV adoption — the point of sale — and find that sales personnel at car dealerships often discourage shoppers from purchasing an EV. Overcoming this barrier will be a vital step if the global goal of 100 million EVs on the road by 2030 is to be achieved.