We Need to Accelerate The Electric Vehicle Revolution Like Our Future Depends On It — Because It Does. Here's How. Simultaneous development of vehicles and charging stations will take individuals, businesses and governments working together, but it's the fastest way to electrification.

By Brendan P. Keegan

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

There is a chicken-and-egg dilemma facing electric vehicles (EVs). If there's no or little infrastructure — including charging stations, purchasing an EV isn't the most logical. But if it seems that no one is buying EVs, it's hard to justify building the infrastructure. As businesses and consumers face the point of no return for climate change and try to save money in a sustainable way, getting out of this pickle can't be a "someday" dream. Here's what we can do right now to get out of the gridlock.

Related: Sustainability: How EVs Are Trying To Make a Difference

Tackling the pricing issue

Just like internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, EVs have a price spectrum. The more power and battery life you need, the more cash you should expect to cough up. Thus, the cost of your EV connects to your daily routine.

Do you drive 50 miles a day and live in a city like Los Angeles — which has the most charging stations in the country? If price is a factor, then you can probably settle on a more cost-effective EV with a smaller range. On the other hand, what if you're in rural North Dakota — where chargers are harder to come by — and your commute is 150 miles round-trip? That more expensive EV with a top-level battery would start looking pretty attractive.

The first thing you can do to help solve the EV chicken-and-egg riddle is to make your buy personal. If you buy for your own use case — not your neighbor's, coworker's or mom's — you're more likely to hone in on the most appropriate price point. Focus on what you actually need out of an EV. This will help you calculate the point when it becomes cheaper for you to buy the EV than to continue driving an ICE vehicle. Keep in mind, there are many variables that can come into play here, like how easy it is to get parts for or how often you have to do maintenance on each vehicle.

This said, EVs can already function at half the operating cost of an ICE vehicle, so you'll win out in total cost of ownership. And thanks to the relaxation of Covid-19-related supply chain woes (among other factors), the industry could reach price parity between ICE and EV options within the next two years. More conservative assessments say we'll cross the parity threshold between 2024 and 2026 for short-range models and 2027 and 2030 for long-range models. And if enough consumers buy EVs based on an understanding of their individual use, they'll drive manufacturers to increase their production. Subsequently, an increase in supply will drive down costs for general consumers and companies.

Related: Sustainability: How EVs Are Trying To Make a Difference

Individuals, companies and governments all have roles to play

Some people will always be diehard ICE fans — they'll be laggard adopters who buy an EV only when they have no other choice. But increasingly, people are becoming more socially conscious. They want to live sustainably, and they want the companies they buy from to operate sustainably, too.

Some consumers are installing their own chargers in their homes. Companies like Walmart also are committing to EV fleets and attempting to build infrastructure. But even where people and corporations are willing to support electrification, they can't always guarantee their power grid is going to support their goals.

Because individuals and companies have to depend on the capacity of their power grid, public-private partnerships must be made to meet infrastructure demand. At the same time, the government looks at how sustainability connects to the larger ability to compete and maintain a good quality of life. So when they set regulations, it dramatically influences whether individuals and companies buy EVs and drive infrastructure demand.

Related: The U.S. Is Way Behind In Driving EVs. How Do We Catch Up With the World?

Some parts of the world are already phasing out or banning ICE vehicles. By comparison, the United States is behind. But states like California are leading regional charges toward development, and the Biden administration is taking steps to accelerate EV adoption. Through the Investing in America agenda, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and other initiatives, the administration is adding and expanding tax credits and incentivizing support for transitioning away from ICE models. The goal is to have 50 percent of all new vehicle sales be electric by 2030. Both consumers and businesses can lobby legislators for additional regulations that might help on a local, state or national level.

Related: Tesla's Charging Stations Will Be Available to All EVs by 2024

If you can't go EV now, go sustainable where you can

Even as public-private partnerships take shape and the government tries to speed along EV adoption, electric vehicles can still come with a higher upfront cost than ICE models. Lots of buyers can't afford a few extra hundred bucks a month on their payment. And many are still waiting on that infrastructure to reach where they live.

If this sounds like you and there's just no way you can hop on the EV train right now, there are still plenty of ways to show your support for sustainability. You can start simply by expressing your interest in EVs and infrastructure to friends, business leaders or representatives. They might be able to champion your cause by proxy or help you educate others. But you can also carpool, repurpose products or recycle more, buy from companies committed to ESG initiatives or opt to eat more plant-based meals.

Not chicken, not egg, but with everyone working together, both

The shift to electric vehicles is already underway for economic and environmental reasons. But outpacing the sales of ICE vehicles to stay competitive and save the planet requires individuals, companies and governments to work cooperatively to build EVs and the related infrastructure simultaneously. Because no one individual or agency can solve the problem alone, you can help by committing to cooperate in whatever role you happen to have.

Wavy Line
Brendan P. Keegan

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

Chairman, CEO and President of Merchants Fleet

Brendan P. Keegan serves as Chairman, CEO and President at Merchants Fleet and was recently named the World’s Most Innovative CEO by CEO World Awards. Keegan is also the silver winner of Executive of the Year by Best in Biz Awards and a Stevie Awards bronze winner by American Business Awards.

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