It wasn't as if I didn't see any on the highways and roads we traversed — I think I saw around 15 Teslas. You can't help but see their distinctive logo.
I did see the occasional Volt and Leaf and other such EVs, but frankly, those vehicles were as indistinguishable as speed limit signs.
We stayed at six different hotels or bed-and-breakfasts, and only one — a Hampton Inn in Peabody, Mass. — offered charging stations.
Which got me thinking — when you drive that many miles over the course of nine days, it leaves a lot of time for such endeavors — how ready are we for the EV revolution that experts say is inevitable?
The infrastructure clearly isn't there. According to the Pew Research Center, the U.S. has more than 42,000 publicly accessible charging stations as of May 25 of this year (accounting for 102,000 individual outlets). Of those, almost a third are in California.
As a comparison, the U.S. has between 145,000-150,000 gas retailers.
Auto makers clearly believe EVs provide the backbone for sustainable mobility.
General Motors has plans to introduce 20 battery-powered vehicles into its North American lineup by the end of 2025, powered by GM's Ultium batteries, which offer 60% more power than the batteries in the Chevrolet Bolt. That includes three electric pickups, at least two electric SUVs and several electric CUVs.
The plan is to offer an all-EV light-vehicle lineup by 2035.
Ford has committed $22 billion to EV development, and it stated that 40% of its vehicles will be electrified by 2030. Other auto makers are making similar promises.
But are consumers ready and willing to use the technology?
Pew Research reports that in pandemic-tainted 2020, 64,300 plug-in hybrids were sold, half as many as two years ago. And the sale of EVs, meanwhile, dropped 3.2% from 2018, to about 231,000 vehicles. In the past three years, Pew said EVs accounted for about 2% of the U.S. new-car market.
Still, compared to 2016, EV growth has more than tripled. As of 2020, Pew said that there are nearly 1.8 million EVs registered in the U.S.
Tire manufacturers, of course, are investing millions in research to develop tires for these new vehicles. A week doesn't pass when we don't receive notice from a tire maker, informing us and our readers that their product was chosen as the OE fitment on this particular EV model.
So what does this all mean for the tire dealer?
It's important to keep an eye on your market. If EVs, indeed, are one of the most important inflection points in our industry, as many industry experts say, it might behoove you to embrace the technology soon.
But rest assured: A long drive through New England has convinced me, at least anecdotally, that internal combustion engines will be here for years to come.
In the meantime, I have another problem to solve: Which state makes better maple syrup: Maine or Vermont?
It doesn't really matter, but it's going to be deliciously fun to try and figure that out.