- Oct 9, 2004
I've thought about that too. We will see what happens, but I have serious doubts that gasoline infrastructure will be phased out that quickly. The average age of cars on the road is over a decade and increasing today .. it's easy to be a six-figure ATOT posting person and claim that EVs will take over by 2035 or 2040, but most people are still driving cars from the 2000s as cost for all new and lightly used vehicles increases. Gas stations that accommodate new customers by adding chargers certainly aren't going to remove all of their pumps when even 10-20% of cars on the road are ICE. That's 10-20% of customers who definitely will not stop into the store and buy something that actually generates a profit.
Not to mention we are already seeing cost for lithium increase and demand outstrip supply, and vehicle manufacturers are stupidly producing crossovers and huge SUVs to cater to dumb American consumers who want the biggest heaviest vehicle that needs twice the battery capacity of a normal car with equivalent range ... so we will see come 2035 whether car manufacturers will be able to sell even close to the number of vehicles they can today once ICE sales are illegal.
But yeah, my ICE vehicles are for fun, so I'd be willing to have a bi-weekly or monthly fun drive on back roads to a gas station 50 miles away if that was the case. I work from home and walk or bike around town rather than create traffic and noise pollution in a car, really don't put too many miles on the cars.
I don't expect gas stations and ICE repair shops to vanish quickly, but there may be a tipping point where the conventional infrastructure loses some of its appeal. You don't have to see half the gas pumps vanish; it may just be that you have to drive 10 minutes to fill up instead of five, or that the must-have parts for your car regularly take ages to arrive.
I'd say EVs actually represent an opportunity to rethink how we handle travel stops. Gas stations can't do much more than offer convenience stores because virtually no one stays there for more than a few minutes. But with EVs, even the fastest charges will likely take 15-20 minutes, at least for the next while. You could have more extensive stores, coffee shops and restaurants. I still hope charging times improve, but there is a way to profit from the shift to EVs.
The lithium supply is an issue, but that's why companies are moving to solid-state and even sodium-ion batteries. The resource issue isn't a permanent one.
Crossovers and SUVs dominate EVs because they're popular in general and because it's currently harder to stuff large battery packs into sedans. You'd effectively have to reverse a couple of decades of changing preferences to undo that.
I'm not in a huge rush to get an EV, and there's a real chance my next car is a hybrid (hopefully a PHEV). But I'd say we should mentally prepare ourselves to transition, recognize that the industry will change and keep an open mind.