Why the Car After Your Next Car Will Be an Electric:

Around the globe, automakers and governments are betting big on electric cars. Plans to limit climate change count on getting more carbon-burning vehicles off the road. The projected transformation is enormous: Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates that by 2040 there will be 530 million electric vehicles in use. There’s only one problem: So far, electric cars have been anything but popular. In 2017 they made up about 1 percent of global sales. The good news? They’re getting cheaper fast and able to go farther between charges. Still, it’s not clear how soon the trip from the gasoline present to an electric future will be driven by consumer desire rather than government muscle. It’s a trip that could be complicated in the U.S. by a Republican tax plan.
The Situation
In the U.S., the tax bill passed by Republicans in the House of Representatives would end the current $7,500 per vehicle tax credit for electric cars and plug-in hybrids. The Senate version would not. Elsewhere,  a growing number of countries are setting goals for ending sales of new vehicles with internal-combustion engines. Norway’s timetable is 2025; France and the U.K. have set deadlines of 2040; and Germany, China and India say they’ll take similar measures. China’s intervention will start in 2019, when automakers there will have to meet steadily rising production targets for electric vehicles or buy credits from rivals. Automakers are getting the message. Volkswagen AG announced plans to spend 70 billion euros ($81 billion) to develop electric versions of all its models by 2030 and pay for their batteries. General Motors Co. plans 20 all-electric models by 2023. Volvo AB will begin phasing out cars that run just on fossil fuels in 2019. Tesla Inc., Elon Musk’s electric-car company, delivered the first of its mid-market Model 3 sedans in July, although it’s since fallen short of production goals. The extended range version of the Model 3 offers 310 miles between charges. That’s not that much less than many gas-powered cars, though even Tesla’s supercharger can take about 30 minutes to provide a bit more than half that range.  

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