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Road to electrification has potholes

Leaders speak on the EPA’s recent emissions rule and consumer demand for EVs at the 2024 Automotive Forum New York

New York—The transition to vehicle electrification and the governing emissions regulations are having a defining impact on the automotive industry, but just as significantly is their impact on consumers.

John Bozzella, president and CEO of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, and Mike Stanton, president and CEO of NADA, spoke on the EPA’s recent emissions rule and consumer demand for EVs at the 2024 Automotive Forum New York, in a new NADA report.

Both associations have been vocal in the administration’s development of the rule and agreed that the initial proposal was “completely unworkable.” Stanton said that the final rule remains unworkable for dealers. “We’re concerned about this. It does not match what we’re seeing in showrooms,” he says.

According to J.D. Power’s data, not only is consumer demand in EVs slowing, but consumer interest is also softening. New vehicle shoppers “very likely” to consider an EV has declined in the past five months, while those “very unlikely” to consider an EV has increased.

“The EV market is growing, but it’s spiky,” Bozzella says, and he expects it to remain thorny as the market transitions from the first adopters (consumers who wanted to be at the cutting edge) to easy adopters (those who already have access to the necessary infrastructure) and finally to the mass market.

Stanton referred to this transition from the early adopters to the mass market as a chasm and offered hybrid and plug-in hybrids as an aid to cross it, advocating for more models to enter the market.

Stanton and Bozzella agree that the biggest challenge to the industry is charging infrastructure. While the private sector and government are both involved in expanding access, Stanton argued there is a long way to go.

“We need to see these charging stations pop up like mushrooms,” he says. 

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