Reality check — we'll still be driving gas cars in 2019

Publish Date: 2017-07-10


  The headline was a head scratcher. Volvo, the company whose cars and trucks have lined our roads for decades, to ditch gasoline engines by 2019.

  Wait a minute—does this mean we won't be stopping into Chevron, Shell, Exxon or Arco stations to gas up every week? Will we really be going all-electric or hybrid in just a year and a half? 

  What you need to know: we're not going all electric anytime soon. In fact, if the trend is to truly take off, it won't be for decades to come. 

  The Volvo announcement "doesn't match up with what we're seeing," said Bomey.

  Electric sales and hybrid sales are currently anemic, with less than 1% U.S. market share in 2016, compared to 43% for gas-guzzling small SUVs, according to Kelley Blue Book. (ICYMI, one more time—we are a nation that loves big cars that cost mucho bucks to fill up with unleaded and premium.)

  But Volvo believes the demand will eventually get there for electric cars, especially in other markets like Asia and Europe. So it's pivoting towards a different kind of future. 

  For now, a handful of pure electric cars are available, from Ford, BMW, Nissan, Chevrolet and Tesla, none of which are at the top of the best-seller lists.

  That could change soon. But not this year. 

  Tesla has serious buzz as the cutting-edge car company, led by charismatic CEO Elon Musk, and this month releases its first consumer-priced vehicle, the $35,000 Model 3.(Other Teslas can sell in the $90,000 to $120,000 range.)

  While no electric car has turned into a mass market hit, veteran tech analyst turned investor Gene Munster thinks the Model 3 will be the one—and as big of a game changer as the introduction of the iPhone ten years ago.

  "We believe we will eventually look back at the launch of the Model 3 and compare it to the iPhone, which proved to be the catalyst for the shift to mobile computing," he wrote in a recent note to investors.

  Only customers who pre-ordered the Model 3 could get their vehicles this year. Customers who decide to buy now won't see them until mid-2018, early 2019. Just in time for Volvo's electric cars to start taking off, perhaps?

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