What Should We Do With All The Old Cars?
Updated: May 4
As you might imagine, at GAINTECH, we’ve been considering what happens to all of the vehicles we currently have as we make the transition to EVs. Currently, only about 2% of all the cars in the US are EVs and while this is set to grow exponentially, the transition to all-electric vehicles will likely be slow. Currently, EV manufacturers have more orders than they can fill and the waiting list to get an electric vehicle is sometimes years long. In fact, it was recently reported that when GM announced the release of a behemoth electric Hummer vehicle, they received 65,000 pre-orders alone! While we would all love to see electric vehicles become dominant as quickly as possible, it seems like production is going to slow that down a bit. So are batteries actually, (something we at GAINTECH know a lot about), as companies and researchers attempt to make better, lighter, safer, and more robust battery packs for their vehicles. The next 10-20 years will represent a lot of work in the transition, and of course, there will be bumps in the road, (pun intended). But signs are that we can and will arrive at our destination when it comes to transforming our transportation systems to be cleaner, more efficient, and better for our environment.
There may be other ways of solving the problem as well. One way might just be retrofitting current internal combustion cars to be either hybrids or fully electric models. Estimates put the number of internal combustion vehicles in the US at over 250 million! That means there is currently more than one functioning vehicle in service for every 2 people in the US, and that number is actually a little closer to one for every single person in the US. That’s a LOT of vehicles! So what should we do with all of them? Many of the vehicles currently on the road will simply age out and be replaced with electric vehicles in the future. Some vehicles will retain a certain appeal for collectors and enthusiasts but even among these vehicles, a collector’s item that remains intact, and in pristine condition, is generally rare among a certain vehicle model or type. It is very possible that a market could develop for retrofitted vehicles that could not only extend the life of a given vehicle/vehicle type but would also transition it away from a polluting internal combustion engine. It's fun to think about the possibilities of what cars might be ideal for this purpose. A naturally lighter vehicle would be an ideal fit for an electric retrofit, models like the Pontiac Fiero, Toyota MR2, Mazda Miata, Triumph TR7, and Volkswagon Karmann Ghia all come to mind. Come to think of it, any one of these cars, reissued as a new electric model would be amazing to see, (big hint to the automakers out there...if you're listening). If you could drive or even fix up an older vehicle, retrofitting it as an EV, which one would you choose?