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Electric Cars Are Suddenly Becoming Affordable

Electric Cars Are Suddenly Becoming Affordable

Alex Lawrence, a dealer in Salt Lake City who specializes in used electric cars, has seen a change over the last year in the kinds of customers who are coming into his showroom. They used to be well-heeled professionals who could drop $70,000 on a Rivian luxury pickup truck.

Recently, Mr. Lawrence said, customers have been snapping up used Teslas for a little over $20,000, after applying a $4,000 federal tax credit.

“We’re seeing younger people,” Mr. Lawrence said. “We are seeing more blue-collar and entry-level white-collar people. The purchase price of the car has suddenly become in reach.”

Regarded by conservative politicians and other critics as playthings of the liberal elite, electric vehicles are fast becoming more accessible. Prices are falling because of increased competition, lower raw-material costs and more efficient manufacturing. Federal tax credits of up to $7,500 for new electric cars, often augmented by thousands of dollars in state incentives, push prices even lower.

At the same time, technology is improving quickly and making electric vehicles more practical. Cars that can travel more than 300 miles on a fully charged battery are becoming common, and charging times are dropping below 30 minutes. The number of fast chargers, which can top up a battery in less than half an hour, grew 36 percent from April 2023 to April 2024.

Carmakers including Tesla, Ford, General Motors and Stellantis, the owner of Jeep, have announced plans for electric vehicles that would sell new for as little as $25,000.

“The E.V. market has hit an inflection point,” said Randy Parker, chief executive of Hyundai Motor America, which will begin producing electric vehicles at a factory in Georgia by the end of the year. “The early adopters have come. They’ve got their cars. Now you’re starting to see us transition to a mass market.”


All this is good news for proponents of electric vehicles and the Biden administration, which is aiming for half of new cars sold to be electric by 2030 as part of the president’s plan to combat climate change. Even if Republicans gain control of the White House and Congress and follow through on promises to dismantle electric vehicle subsidies, they may not be able to undo the market forces pushing down prices.

“There may be some hiccups in the exact pace and scale of E.V. sales if there are major policy changes, but I wouldn’t expect the E.V. market to flatline,” said Peter Slowik, who leads research on passenger cars at the International Council on Clean Transportation, a research organization. “Most automakers are committed to an all-electric future, and many are planning on a timeline that goes far beyond the next administration.”


Electric cars, sales of which have slowed in recent months, are still more expensive than gasoline models, costing an average of $55,252 in the United States in April, according to estimates by Kelley Blue Book. That is a decline of 9 percent from April 2023, but still about $6,700 more than the average for all vehicles.

But Mr. Slowik’s group estimates that cars and sport-utility vehicles capable of traveling 400 miles on a full battery will cost less than cars with internal combustion engines in 2030, even before taking into account government subsidies. (Pickup trucks, which require bigger batteries, will take a little longer, not reaching parity for 400-mile models until 2033.)

Those calculations do not take into account lower fuel and maintenance costs that strengthen the financial argument for electric vehicles. Electricity is almost always cheaper per mile than gasoline, and battery-powered vehicles don’t need oil changes, engine air filters or spark plugs. For people who drive a lot, electric cars may already be a better deal. At the same time, some automakers are offering strong discounts on E.V. models as an enticement for buyers.

While prices are clearly trending downward, there are risks. China supplies more than half of the lithium-ion batteries used in cars sold in the United States, according to Interact Analysis, a research firm. Those batteries will become more expensive because the Biden administration announced in May that it would raise tariffs on them to 25 percent from 7.5 percent.

About Garage Centraal

The goal of Garage Centraal Aruba is simple: that everyone that needs a vehicle is able to have a vehicle that satisfies their needs and expectations, with expert service and parts support. We offer award winning quality vehicles from Hyundai, Isuzu and Volkswagen, along with an extensive catalog of pre-owned vehicles.

We are open from 8:00am till 5:30pm on weekdays and saturday from 8:00 to 12:00pm. Come visit us or call us at 522-6200