American farmers in the 1960s had a surprising amount in common with electric car buyers in the UK in 2024. 

EM Rogers’ diffusion of innovations theory looks at how quickly new ideas and technologies are adopted by different parts of societies over time. Of the five types of people identified in Rogers’ bell curve, innovators and early adopters account for just 16% - the exact figure the UK’s electric car has stalled at en route to the legislated 80% needed by 2030. 

Some 60 years ago, American farmers stalled at this point in their willingness to adopt new technologies to aid farming methods, and as Rogers’ theory has shown, many other industries since have witnessed similar stagnation of innovation.  

Using Rogers’ theory, the 16% stall point for EV adoption in the UK could have been predicted decades ago, and it suggests that the growth electric cars have enjoyed to date will by no means see them inevitably continue to become the mainstream, rather than merely...