What Is the Future for Electric Vehicles?

Updated: Jan. 18, 2024

With lower prices, increased driving range, longer battery life and new ultramodern models on the way, the future of electric vehicles looks bright.

Not long ago, I believed electric vehicles (EV) were a nice idea that would soon fade into the sunset. But new and innovative battery technologies, private sector and government investments in EV infrastructure and concerns about internal combustion engine (ICE) emissions have many skeptics, including me, rethinking EVs.

Since 2018, major automotive manufacturers and startups have invested more than $80 billion in EV development. Other recent actions that signal EVs are here to stay include:

I have no problem admitting when I’m wrong, and now have no reservations about purchasing a new EV.

Lower Overall Operating Costs

EVs don’t require oil and filter changes and other services ICE vehicles do. According to AAA, EV owners can save more than $1,300 in annual maintenance costs and an additional $800 in fuel costs compared to its ICE equivalent. (This presumes a vehicle driven 15,000 miles a year getting 27 miles per gallon.)

On average, drivers in the U.S. hold onto new cars for almost nine years, which would mean potentially saving almost $19,000 over an EV’s lifespan.

Range Anxiety

According to Kevin Mazzucola, executive director of the Auto Dealers Association of Greater Philadelphia, the No. 1 reason consumers are slow to purchase EVs remains concern about the battery, aka “range anxiety.”

But things are changing. The charging infrastructure in the U.S. is growing, and innovative new chemistries promise an EV battery with a driving range of 600 miles or more on a single charge.

Battery Life

Tesla Gigafactory Berlin Brandenburgpicture alliance/Getty Images

Significant improvements in designs have already made EV batteries safer, lighter and longer lasting.

Reducing expensive cobalt in EV batteries will also greatly decrease battery costs. By 2025, batteries made from carbon fiber solid-state cells will have greater energy density, dramatically increasing miles per charge.

A recent study by the U.S. Department of Energy Alternative Fuels Data Center found new EV lithium-ion batteries already may last between 12 and 15 years in moderate climates, and eight to 12 years in extreme ones. Expect future EV batteries to last at least 20 years and reach an 80 percent charge in one-third the time of current models.

Second Life for EV Batteries

Recycling EV batteries can be slow, complex, expensive and environmentally unfriendly. However, the U.S. Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds new EV battery recycling and second-life technologies.

Sustainable lithium battery packs are built with a second life already in mind, as battery storage systems providing backup during a power failure.

Researchers at the University of Maryland developed zinc batteries with a biodegradable electrolyte made from crab shells. They’re naturally decomposing and biodegradable, which makes recycling ecologically and economically responsible.


Companies like Electrify America are investing more than $2 billion to roll out and expanded zero emission vehicle (ZEV) charging infrastructure. Additionally, Electrify America provides funds to STEM and workforce development programs to help promote ZEV technology.

EV charging companies can also partner with local utilities and major retailers — Walmart, Target, Bank of America and auto dealerships — to greatly increase charging station sites.

The future and face of charging stations also continues to change. Electrify America charging stations will be built with solar canopies, Level 2 and Level 3 chargers, lounges and valet services.

Mazzucola believes that apprehension of owning an EV will greatly decrease once private and public sector entities spread the word that charging your EV is as simple as filling up at the corner gas station.

Lower Emissions

EVs don’t burn fossil fuels and produce zero “tailpipe” emissions. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, EVs generate measurable emissions during normal driving and require energy to charge the battery, but leave a substantially smaller carbon footprint.

But even considering the environmental impact of manufacturing an EV, total greenhouse gas emissions remain significantly lower over an EV’s lifetime compared to ICE vehicles.

Are EVs Safer?

EVs have been around for more than a decade, but remain a relative novelty. Highly publicized battery fires and recalls make EVs appear more dangerous than a gas-powered car.

However, insurance data shows that of the approximately two million EVs on U.S. roads, less than two out of 1,000 will catch fire. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives EVs high safety crash and rollover ratings due to the weight of their batteries.

What Are the Cons?

While several large companies are committed to switching to electric vehicle fleets, a few hurdles still stand in the way of the public fully embracing EVs, including:

  • Initial cost. In 2022, an average EV cost almost $17,000 more than a comparable internal combustion engine (ICE) powered vehicle.
  • Annual car insurance costs for an EV can run $200 more than the same ICE model.
  • Several state governments are charging EV owners extra fees. EVs don’t use gasoline and therefore don’t pay gas taxes used to build and maintain transportation infrastructure.
  • Battery weight reduces tire lifespan.
  • Away from home charging fees can be expensive.
  • Long EV battery recharging times.