In Geoffrey Moore’s book Crossing the Chasm, he describes the life cycle of new technologies based on the progress of public adoption. Electric vehicles (EVs) are on a growth trajectory that indicates they have clearly achieved the difficult task of crossing the chasm.

Most new products gain early acceptance by tech enthusiasts and innovators who are always the first to try out shiny new things. In the case of EVs, climate activists joined the ranks of those who love to be part of the emergence of new technologies.

Visionaries are a larger group of early adopters willing to jump on board when they realize a new technology represents a major breakthrough over the incumbent solution. The chasm is what Moore describes as the frightening void between early adopters and widespread market success. Many new technologies like Google Glass fail to bridge the chasm.

Pragmatists are the early majority of mainstream adopters. They represent approximately one-third of the market and they’re people who wait until a technology is more mature and offers a wider variety of choices. Pragmatists will pile in when a product is rising in popularity and offering desirable benefits and superior performance.

The late majority is described as a more conservative group about the same size as the pragmatist group, but more resistant to change. Conservatives are only ready to jump on the bandwagon when a technology is proven to be simple to use, low-cost and hassle-free. Inconvenience can be a major turnoff for the late majority.

The final group is the skeptics. They will be the most hostile to any disruptive technology and cling to the incumbent solution until it becomes too costly or begins to disappear from the marketplace.

The growth of EVs is remarkable given the fossil fuel industry’s efforts to erect public opinion ramparts to hinder their journey beyond the chasm. You may have noticed a lot of anti-EV rhetoric popping up on social media and search engine recommendations lately. These effective communication tools are shifting the EV narrative towards environmental, supply and ethical issues without equally examining the same issues for gas-powered vehicles.

Chevron has been staffing up a corporate newsroom similar to Alberta’s provincially funded Canadian Energy Centre. Conservative media outlets, politicians and influencers are also joining the fray, casting doubt on the continued success of a proven technology that has grown exponentially to over 25 million vehicles on the road in 2022 and nearly 40 million vehicles in 2023.

Canada and other countries looking to fulfil their commitment to the Paris Agreement are countering efforts by pro-fossil organizations to cast EV technology back into the chasm. Governments around the world are creating policy initiatives to encourage the adoption of zero-emission vehicles. Canada’s Electric Vehicle Availability Standard sets EV sales targets starting in 2026 that rise each year until 100 per cent of light-duty vehicle sales are zero-emission by 2035.

If you find yourself thinking you’ll never drive an #EV, then you’ve been successfully converted to a skeptic by oil industry narratives designed for that very purpose, writes @winexus #ClimateChange #StopFossilFuels #cdnpoli

The light-duty EV policy uses a credit system that allows automakers to receive credits for exceeding their annual EV sales targets or by investing in public supercharger infrastructure. Automakers failing to meet sales targets are compelled to help build the charging infrastructure needed as the number of EVs travelling our highways increases.

This policy has been portrayed as a ban on gasoline vehicle sales and Alberta Premier Danielle Smith recently told Canadians that gas-powered vehicles wouldn’t be allowed on the roads after 2035. The growing trend to attack climate solutions like EVs and any policies that support them is part of a massive campaign designed to sow doubt about climate solutions in the same way fossil fuel corporations and their supporters once sowed doubt about climate change science.

Efforts to impede the growth of EVs are failing because people want clean and quiet vehicles that are less expensive to operate and fun to drive. Business Insider recently cited a study by GBK Collective showing over 50 per cent of the U.S. car consumers it interviewed were interested in purchasing an EV. The results indicate there is still strong support for EVs and the study confirmed a willingness to pay more for these vehicles.

EV sales are growing steadily in China, the European Union and the United States, while low-cost EVs are rapidly capturing market share in India. The rate of adoption speaks to the popularity of EVs on a global scale. How has this technology successfully crossed the chasm in spite of a concerted and successful effort to instill negative opinion in the public?

The answer may be found in the most common use case for non-commercial vehicles — everyday city driving. The majority of urban drivers use their vehicles for commutes and short trips. EVs perform flawlessly in this scenario, under any weather condition.

An electric vehicle doesn’t spew toxic gases from its tailpipe. That one feature should be enough to kill the internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle unless you believe that climate change isn’t going to become an increasingly costly health, environmental and economic crisis for society in the coming decades.

New EVs are currently more expensive than equivalent ICE models, but multiple studies have shown the lifetime cost of operating an EV is lower than owning a comparable ICE vehicle. Annual fuel and maintenance costs are lower for EVs and there are fewer components that can fail. The lower parts count will also lead to reduced production costs as economies of scale drive down battery prices and vehicle manufacturing costs.

You can fill up an EV battery at home, where the energy is cheaper than going to a public supercharger. The conservative/late majority market would be thrilled if a technology was invented that allowed them to fill their gas tank at home at a fraction of what it costs at the pumps. That’s essentially what an EV brings to the table.

What about those occasional days when the thermometer drops to -30 C? EV drivers can use their cellphones to start heating the cars while they're still plugged into the home charger. Unlike a gas engine, a battery vehicle has no trouble starting in extremely cold temperatures. A battery heater ensures the electric motor runs on the coldest days. It’s like having a self-powered block heater and battery blanket in your ICE car that only turns on when you’re ready to drive.

Most EV drivers are able to adapt to the inconvenience of reduced range and supercharging time. I recently drove from Calgary to Red Deer in a friend’s Tesla on our way to watch the Grand Slam of Curling. It was -22 C and the drive that could normally be done on a single charge in the summer required a battery top-up. The charge time was 20 minutes on top of a 15-minute wait for a supercharger to become available because four of the eight chargers had iced-up connectors.

If you’re a motorist who frequently drives long distances, there is always the option of a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) or you could wait for Volkswagen and Toyota to commercialize their solid-state batteries, which offer longer range and faster charge times. However, if you find yourself thinking you’ll never drive an EV, then you’ve been successfully converted to a skeptic by oil industry narratives designed for that very purpose.

Rob Miller is a retired systems engineer, formerly with General Dynamics Canada, who now volunteers with the Calgary Climate Hub and writes on behalf of Eco-Elders for Climate Action, but any opinions expressed in his work are his own.

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I have a plug-in hybrid Toyota Rav 4 and I love it. Once you get in the habit, it's easy and convenient to charge at home. I rarely go to the gas station. I only need gas when I'm taking trips out of town. However, it's true that you get significantly less mileage on the battery during cold weather. I hope that EV's become more affordable for people in the future.

Now it's time for infrastructure to catch up.

"However, if you find yourself thinking you’ll never drive an EV, then you’ve been successfully converted to a skeptic by oil industry narratives designed for that very purpose."

Or else you perceive — correctly — that cars, car culture, and sprawl — are the real problem, not the drive train per se.
In which case, the solution is not billions of EVs and billions of dollars in EV subsidies.
The only green solution is public transit, billions of bicycles, millions of miles of sidewalks and bike paths, and cities designed for people, not cars — with amenities close to where people live.

EVs are the yuppie response to climate change. Not for nothing that most of the first EV models were luxury cars beyond the reach of most citizens. Wealthy progressives want EV subsidies so they can salve their guilty conscience over their outsize footprint without having to make any real change in their unsustainable lifestyles.

EVs are not a green solution. Car culture is unsustainable. Climate change is not our only problem.
Cars and car culture are an environmental and human catastrophe even without a tailpipe.
Handing out EV subsidies to wealthy people who don't need them while ignoring the transportation needs of people who cannot afford cars or choose not to drive is unjust.

There is no 'only' solution Geoff............but I guess if we've been raised in a conservative capitalist economy, we can be forgiven for coming to believe in the ONE BIG ANSWER. Ev's are a part of the are bikes, public transit, 15 minutes cities.........local economies and living simply so others can simply live.

Diversity is the secret of Nature's continued ability to stand up against what we've done to her so far.....diversity is also going to be a big part of the just transition. But we'd be well advised to outlaw War before we tried to short circuit the electric revolution.

We've had solar panels since 2009...and wish we had $100 for every climate 'activist' who told us solar wasn't the way to go either. Let me end by repeating...diversitiy, many roads forward, but for the love of god...let's get rid of those gas leaf blowers, gas lawn mowers and gas guzzlin SUVs. ASAP

It's a no brainer.
We've had our Kona since 2019...and love it. The first year when we received our Co-op rebate, it listed $3000 we'd spent on gas for our hybrid every year we drive, approx 3000 dollars in gas is saved. This last summer we had a bump up with a gravel road....and minor damage occurred to our battery.......but guess what???

Our Kona came with a ten year warranty on the battery.....AT NO EXTRA we now have a 2020 Kona, with a 2022 brand new battery. The Fossil Fools are lyin to EV is in every way superior to those toxin spewing ICE cars. As soon as our 'more than one idea hurts my head' know it alls get over their fear of any kind of change....EV adoption is going to come on very fast.

And we're not visionaries. We're just two old people who can read......and pay attention to actual science.