How soon can all new-car sales realistically be electric? Take our Twitter poll

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BMW and Nissan electric car fast-charging station

Israel and Britain recently joined a growing list of countries that plan to phase out sales of gas and diesel cars and trucks.

Most of the countries have set a target date between 2030 and 2050 to convert all new-vehicle sales to electric power. A few, such as China, have announced plans to set such a date in the future but have not yet determined when it will be.

That led us to wonder how soon our Twitter followers think such a thing might be feasible.

In considering the question, it’s important to keep a few things in mind:

– First, only a few types of cars are currently available as all-electric models: small hatchbacks, and luxury sedans and SUVs at various price levels. Lots of Americans and others around the world need more space or utility than current selections offer. 

– Second, although quite a few automakers have announced plans to introduce new electric SUVs in 2019, and there are a few pickups on the drawing boards, it takes about five years to develop a new model from start to finish, and longer for companies that also have to set up manufacturing facilities and find new suppliers for parts such as batteries. With a few exceptions, these vehicles won’t arrive in the next year, and the pickups are even farther out on the horizon.

– Third, many buyers still don’t live in places where chargers are plentiful or where they have the ability to install their own home chargers. About 40 percent of Americans rent, and among those who live in homes they own, many live in condominiums or other multi-unit dwellings where they may or may not have a private place to park and the authority to installing equipment there.

With all that in mind, our Twitter poll for this week asks: “How soon can all new car sales realistically be electric?

Options include: 2020, essentially next year, in car development terms; 2030, two product generations; 2040, or not for a long time.

As always, remember that our Twitter polls are not scientific, because our respondents are neither random nor plentiful enough to be representative of the population at large.

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