Lesson 3, Topic 4
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Paradigm-Shifting Electric Vehicles

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When there is a paradigm shift, a movement begins when the prevailing technology is adopted by a new technology. Think of how this change occurred when cell phones became the new way of communicating over landline phones. Another example is how listening to music changed from records to 8-track tapes to cassettes to CDs to MP3 players to streaming on your smart speaker. Depending on how old you are, you may have never experienced the former technologies. Paradigms can change quickly or gradually over time. The paradigm shift from internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles to EVs is occurring right now.

Nissan LEAF

The Nissan LEAF was considered the first mass-market mainstream EV from a major automaker. The 2011 model year LEAF was fitted with a 24 kWh lithium-ion battery that achieved a range of 73 miles according to the EPA. Over the years, the Nissan LEAF saw larger battery packs, improved efficiency, and increased performance. The 2020 Nissan LEAF had a 40 kWh or 62 kWh battery that achieved 151 or 226 miles respectively. In December of 2020, Nissan marked the delivery of its 500,000th LEAF.


Chevrolet Bolt EV

GM worked its way back into the EV market with the Chevrolet Bolt EV. GM sold about 80,000 Bolt EVs between 2017 to 2020. Early model Bolts had a 60 kWh battery with an EPA range of 238 miles. In 2020, the Bolt had a larger 66 kWh battery with an EPA range of 259 miles. The 2017 Bolt’s base Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) was $37,495. In the United States, with a $7500 tax credit for qualifying customers, the price was under $30,000. This was an affordable EV, from a major automaker with a network of local dealers, that had the range and cargo space that could compete with internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.  

Tesla Model 3

The Tesla Model 3 made the case that EVs are the new paradigm. With the unveiling in 2016 consumer interest was intense. By the time the Model 3 was released in 2017, there were over 500,000 reservations. This affordable mass-market car had the range and performance that customers wanted. The interior featured a minimalistic design with a signal touchscreen to run the driver controls. Within a year, Tesla had delivered over 100,000 Model 3s. In early 2020 the Model 3 became the world’s best-selling EV ever, surpassing the Nissan LEAF. The 2021 Model 3 offer a lithium-ion battery option up to 82 kWh with a range of 353 miles.


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