What kind of vehicle do you drive to your manufacturing job every day? Is it a car, truck, van, or SUV? Now dig a little deeper. Which make and model did you choose — and why? Was it based on price, features, gas mileage, or do you have a long family history of purchasing vehicles from a certain manufacturer? Whatever your reasoning, the vehicle manufacturing market is changing, and your next decision might just be based on whether the vehicle you have in mind is electric.
The rise in electric vehicles
The increased interest in and emphasis on electric vehicles is being led by China, where governmental rules are requiring the nation’s vehicle manufacturers to produce more electric-only vehicles — or cease producing gas-fueled cars. How are the Chinese leading this push? It’s based on financial support from the government and easy access to advanced manufacturing tech. And the reasons behind the shift might not be surprising: In addition to being tech leaders, Chinese automakers are also focused on reducing pollution. With its dependence on oil imports and burning coal, smog is part of the push to green vehicles — and the Chinese government is set to ban gasoline vehicles altogether, which is good news for consumers as electric vehicles are less pricey to operate, offsetting their higher initial prices.
As more Chinese consumers purchase electric, competition with American-made vehicles also increases. And because Chinese car consumers tend to favor American-made vehicles as opposed to those made in their own country, it’s forcing American automakers to produce more electric vehicles as well. General Motors (GM) and Ford, among others, are stepping up to the plate, increasing research budgets for electric vehicles and announcing new electric models. For GM, that means a plan to release 20 new electric-only models in the next five years with two of those models planned for release by 2019. And Ford is also set to release 13 electric vehicles in the same time span with both automakers working toward reducing emissions to meet new standards.
More international competition
But Ford and GM are only a couple of the manufacturers moving to electric on a global scale. In Germany, Daimler and Volkswagen are also on trend with electric as is Sweden’s Volvo, which is moving to hybrids and electric models. Plus, gas-banning countries include Norway, Great Britain, France, and the Netherlands. And other manufacturers are getting in on the competition, too. Vacuum cleaner manufacturer Dyson is also building an electric vehicle.
Could the next generation of Americans be familiar only with electric vehicles? It’s a possibility with some states considering banning gas-powered autos within that time frame. And a growing market — with strong potential for growing profits — also means a shift for American vehicle manufacturers who will likely see the trend firsthand on their plant floors.