Let’s hear it for the convergence of two exciting trends: Electric vehicle (EV) sales are poised to explode. And positive energy homes, which create more energy than they use, can supply all home energy plus much of a household’s transportation energy. Building professionals can capitalize on these trends by building positive energy homes for homebuyers who will soon be driving and charging EVs. This will create a path forward for zero carbon living that is lower cost and healthier than our current fossil-fuel based lifestyle.

But will the projected growth of EVs actually happen? One analyst predicts that worldwide electric vehicle sales will be 74% higher in 2021 than 2020; and they will continue to grow fast. Here is why.

Owners Love ‘Em

A recent poll shows that EV owners will not go back to combustion-powered cars. They like their EVs. That is a clear sign that the future EV trend line has a secure foundation. This favorable rating is likely due to the fact that the cost of ownership of EVs is significantly lower than for internal combustion cars. They have fewer moving parts, break down less, and need less regular maintenance and repair. In most locations it’s cheaper to fuel with electricity than with gas, and it generates less atmospheric pollution. On top of that the EV road performance is outstanding.


Major Manufacturers Are Going Electric

Major vehicle manufacturers seem to agree that EVs will dominate future sales. Dozens of new EV models are coming out in 2021. Here is a listing of EV models expected to be introduced by major car makers and startups between 2021 and 2023. GM is investing $27 billion to introduce 30 electric models by 2025 and has committed to selling only electric cars and trucks by 2035. Most major car manufacturers are showing their commitment by reintroducing some of their classic models as EVs. GM is reintroducing the Hummer in electric truck and SUV models. Ford is selling a new all-electric Mustang Mach-E and VW, which is investing $91 billion to develop its lines of EVs, has trademarked the name “E-Beetle” — keeping open the possibility of reintroducing its highly popular discontinued car in an electric incarnation. And as major manufacturers move toward self-driving cars, EVs provide the best platform, further ensuring the future of EVs.


Innovation May Assure Success

A number of small startup companies, such as Tesla and Aptera, are bringing on innovative new EVs. Startups like these will ensure that EVs are at the forefront of technological innovation and will broaden the concept of what an EV can be and do. Aptera’s new two-passenger, three wheeled, aerodynamically designed EV has solar collectors built into the surface of the vehicle, which can contribute 40 miles of range per day or up to 11,000 miles per year. The maximum range when it’s battery is fully charged is 1,000 miles on the most advanced model. Most people who purchase an Aptera could run it on the solar charge alone and be able to fill all their day-to-day transportation needs without paying for fuel. On top of all this, Apple may have an EV entry between 2025 and 2027.


Pickups and SUVs are Going Electric

Pickups and SUVs are the top selling vehicle category and the first crop of electric pickups and SUVs should arrive at dealers this year. Startup manufacturers such as Rivian, Workhorse, and Bollinger are the technology leaders, and all the major manufacturers, including Ford and GM will soon offer all-electric trucks, too. The electric Ford F-150 will be the most powerful and versatile member of its lineage yet. Buyers who prefer pickups and SUVs will soon have many choices of electric models with driving ranges comparable to fossil-powered trucks.


Prices Are Declining

Although upfront costs are still higher, with growing volume, EV prices are expected to continue to decline. According to Industry Week, new electric vehicles may have a lower purchase price than new gasoline vehicles as soon as 2025. For example, Tesla is promising a $25,000 model within three or so years.


Government Support Is Growing

As the country gets on the path to zero carbon, EVs will be encouraged by the government. For example, California’s stricter fuel economy and vehicle emissions standards will not be challenged in court by the new administration, helping ensure that manufacturers produce and sell more EVs to meet the standards. Also, the new administration has set the goal that the entire federal fleet will transition to electric and will be asking Congress to fund the installation of 500,000 new public charging stations nationwide by 2030. Bloomberg suggests these could service 25 million EVs — not including private sector chargers installed by other companies. The Alliance for Automotive Innovation, an industry lobbying group that includes all major U.S. automobile manufacturers, is calling on the new administration to maintain and expand incentives for EVs and to invest in EV infrastructure.


Lower Fuel Costs and Better Health

With sales of EVs and energy efficient homes growing, homebuyers are beginning to realize they can power both their homes and their transportation needs with solar panels — dramatically lowering energy costs and carbon emissions while creating much healthier indoor and outdoor air.


It’s Time To Build and Buy EV-Ready Homes

High performance home professionals should prepare for this transportation revolution. The path is clear, zero energy home designers, builders, and renovators must put EV chargers on their checklist of energy-efficient upgrades and build positive energy homes with enough extra renewable energy to power EVs — making them truly EV-ready. Designers, builders, and solar installers should ask their customers if they want enough renewable capacity to charge an EV or two. Designers as well as energy and solar modelers need to provide enough renewable energy production to not only meet home energy needs but also residents’ EVs based on their average annual mileage. Homebuyers and homeowners need to contemplate how they can best get their homes and transportation on the path to zero carbon and work with their builder, architect, and/or real estate agent to get there.

While predicting the future is impossible, the ascendency of EVs seems assured. To be prepared for it, all construction professionals should offer positive energy homes fully equipped for EV charging. It’s the future — and it is coming fast. It’s time to build and sell EV-ready homes and it’s time for homebuyers to demand them.