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Demand for electric vehicles increases, but supply is on the way

Posted at 5:52 PM, Mar 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-28 19:52:07-04

SALT LAKE CITY — With crippling gas prices topping $4 a gallon, some drivers are turning to more economical options, including electric vehicles.

But supply chain issues are making finding that new ride difficult.

Ron Zarbock switched to driving electric five years ago. Growing up in Utah and witnessing the smog and inversion, he was hoping adopting EV could help the environment. Now it’s helping his wallet.

“It gives you a good feeling to have an electric car when gas prices are soaring. It’s clean, and by the way, it’s very inexpensive to operate," Zarbock said. "There’s no maintenance costs, except for tires and the charging."

He’s glad he ditched the traditional ICE — or internal combustion engine — vehicle years ago.

“When I first got my Tesla, I was a little bit hesitant, like, 'Is this going to make it?' And now I know, electric cars are here to stay,” Zarbock said.

But anyone looking to adopt EV now will have to have some patience.

Many Tesla models are now sold out until 2023, even after price increases.

“There’s a lot of demand on a lot of products, EV included," said Craig Bickmore, the executive director for new car dealers of Utah. "Chips are a big issue, getting vehicles, inventories are down on car lots. It’s just supply and demand.

Bickmore has been in the car industry for nearly 35 years, and he says the demand for EVs will soon be met with nearly all automakers getting on board.

“That competition from the EV market is going to be hugely intense. You watch what happens in the next year and a half — you will have scores to choose from, in the fit, and model, and towing capacity, and range. It’s going to be remarkable,” he said.

But for now, electric vehicles are in short supply, making up just over 4 percent of U.S. sales.

But with major manufacturers pivoting to producing electric vehicles, the EV market will continue to grow.

Bickmore represents 150 new car dealers in the state of Utah.

“Nearly all of those manufacturers have EVs and hybrids," he said. "When I say there will be scores, there will be scores — lots. They’re here now, but they will now continue to increase as supply gets better."

It’s not just supply that’s being built up. It’s also infrastructure across the state.

“The biggest problem with electric vehicles is: Where do you charge them? And they charge sometimes slow, but Tesla has superchargers and they’re within 100 miles of other superchargers,” Zarbock said.

According to a brand-new paper by the Zero Emission Transportation Association, the gas price increase is now making electric vehicles between three to six times cheaper than gas-powered vehicles, depending on the state.