Most major automakers are shifting toward implementing electric vehicles as at least some portion of their lineups. This change is coming ahead of major sweeping changes that experts are expecting to hit the auto industry in the coming years. Interest in conventional engines is waning as more and more customers look to curtail their carbon footprint in the face of rampaging global warming.
However, one major issue is scaring automakers when it comes to EVs: the costs of recalling faulty vehicles. GM took a massive hit this year when they had to issue a recall for the Chevrolet Bolt over a faulty battery that could catch fire, even when idling. The cost of the recall was estimated to be around $800 million, easily the most expensive recall in automotive history.
The pressure on automakers to shift to EVs is coming from many directions. Oil and gas won’t be readily available forever, and electric vehicles are very good for both the environment and automakers’ images. Adding to this, environmentalists are pushing for major shifts in the auto industry, and they’re being joined now by politicians. For instance, US President Joe Biden is pushing for the auto industry to shift to at least half of all new vehicles being EVs.
One of the most successful American automakers in the modern era is Tesla, a luxury brand that only makes electric cars. The demand for new electric vehicles is expected to only go up as a new generation of environmentally-conscious drivers become financially stable enough to buy their own vehicles, instead of relying on secondhand vehicles from family members or used cars that fit their budgets.
Automakers are encountering a serious learning curve in the realm of EVs. The companies have spent decades making the same kind of vehicle. As much as things have changed for the automobile over the past century, at least all conventional engines are operating on the same basic principles. EVs are a paradigm shift, a completely different variety of vehicles with its own host of potential issues.
This means that when things fail for major automakers’ EVs, they fail spectacularly. There are no simple failures: there are only vehicle-crippling battery failures, software hiccups that cause fatalities, and the ever-present fire risks. Companies are betting big on EVs, but their haste to put competition into the marketplace might just be endangering drivers more than conventional engines are endangering the environment.