Interesting post. Some automakers have many of the same concerns outlined in your post, which is why they make prospective EV buyers go through an extensive list of questions to make sure they understand what they are buying.
Wow, lots of ideas and inputs ranging from cautious acceptance to complete rejection. It validates that diversity is our strength, as most posts offer valid speculations (except perhaps towing the EV in a little garage shaped trailer).But boiling down all the various posts to 'Just the Facts' I saw two key points to reiterate:
1)Electric state-of-the-art efficiencies are still limited; therefore range is severely limited (by American expectations) – hence the Asian market is a logical choice, explaining the limited fanfare in American marketing and awareness.
2)Design of Experiment [DOE] as suggested by [MIROX10/22/2011 7:03:53 PM]. This proposal details a very logical simulated use-case to experience the challenges of EVs with one exception. That being, MIROX prefaced the suggestion with "...a very simple test you can perform"; I counter this DOE preparation is a bit extensive for the casual user. But I rated the post as "5 stars" anyway.
Regardless of your opinion on EVs, the bottom-line is that American Industry is moving forward with plans which are counter-cultural to the 100 year-old standard of internal combustion. It represents an encouraging direction from what previously seemed stuck, where both Big-oil and Auto-Makers seemed intent on maintaining the Status-Quo indefinitely.
Let's face it most Americans just don't really want to have an electric car...Or maybe I should say are not willing to give up all the other stuff you can do with a gas powered car in favor of an electric car. Most Americans want to be a ble to tow our boats, 4-wheelers, campers and such. We want to drive a bigger badder truck then the neighbor. We want to live in the country. We are willing to drive 30 or 40 miles to work in order to live in the school districts we want so our kids can go to school somewhere other than where we work. Electric cars just don't fit that style of life right now. That doesn't mean that it won't in the future someday. it just means not right now.
You said the magic words, "towing a trailer". I mentioned towing a boat in another thread on this same subject and got blistered and accused of everything from destroying the world to expecting other people to pay for my kid's education. (I never did follow the logic of that remark.) So put your helmet on and get ready for all of the insults. If you cannot see the logic of EV's today there are people ready to crucify you.
There is a very very simple test you can perform on any vehicle to find out if EV is for you and matches your lifestyle.
Disconnect the OEM fuel pump and cut the fuel line somewhere where it is convenient to get to, then since most cars today are Fuel Injected with high pressure fuel pump, get aftermarket pump that can deliver about 100 PSI, and hook it up to one gallon gas tank.
Fill the tank up to only 3/4 (3 quarts) which is about all the useable energy you will get in any reasonable priced battery pack (no matter what the chemistry).
Then get yourself a 5 gallon gasoline can and keep that one in your garage.
NEVER EVER buy any gasoline at a service station and put it into your car (that will simulate the lack of public charging stations) that is unless it is located NEXT to "charge point".
Wait 6 to 8 hours any time you add fuel to you vehicle.
And refuel it each morning before you take off.
IF YOU NEVER run out of fuel, IF you NEVER have to be towed back to your garage to "refuel" and if you can wait 6 to 8 hours each time you fill up, then and ONLY then will EV fit your lifestyle PERFECTLY !!!
This experiment will cost you at most $1,000 (or under $200 if you use low cost or used parts).
The depreciation on any EV once you buy it will be at least 5 times that.
And you can experiment as much as you wish - keep in mind that the energy that can be stored in about $4,000 worth of batteries (that have a limited life) is about how far will 3 US Quarts of fuel get you, in the exactly same vehicle.
And also do not forget to stop using the Heater or A/C, if you do then refill with just TWO Quarts rather than 3 and see if that works for you or not.
And as for the NEV (Neighborhood Electric Vehicle) the best I know of (and also own) is OKA NEV ZEV roadworthy for $8,250
Great for a in major city driving, and I find that I never drive more than 16 miles between charges (Burbank, California), but of course for any greater distance I drive conventional ICE car (have 5 to choose from).
EV business is tough, the NEV even tougher, ZENN, Wheego, Miles, ZAP, Mayer Motor, and GEM all found it to be a charity business with no possibility to ever turn profit. And that is at prices as high as $32,000 for a car that at best is worth less than $10,000 and has features of cars that were made 30 years ago (and similar non existent safety features).
j-allen and Stirling are on the nose ... electric cars charged from the grid are NOT really zero-emission (though I guess a handle is needed for measuring ... why is it we guys think we always have to measure it) and solar power on parking lots and commercial buildings ... WHY NOT?!?! The government is spending billions and trillions on all kinds of junk (like ethanol* for crying out loud what a failure that's been), why not divert some of that to grid-attached solar panel systems over parking lots and malls. Maybe Solyndra (and our hundreds of millions in tax dollars) would still be with us! And doing something useful to boot! Ooooh.
* ethanol: a liquid fuel that costs more to produce and use that the fuel it replaces, corrodes the inside of your motor, and -- because the laws of physics have to be obeyed by us mere mortals -- delivers less power per gallon (compared to the standard fossil fuel in use) resulting in lower power available resulting in LOWER miles per gallon and vehicle performance. In other words, a text-book boondoggle all the way around which has resulted in a few crony millionaires and sharply higher food prices (which means some people -- not the crony millionaires obviously -- have to go without).
We'll know when the car people get serious about mainstream electric vehicles when they agree on a standardized battery outline with a standardized interface which mounts in a standardized way that allows the battery to be swapped out in 3 minutes or less. In other words, a standard fuel tank that can be refuelled in a standard manner at any standard fueling station. Yes, Alice, we call them "gas stations" now. [Don't bother, Alice was my best friend growing up ... and she'd say, "Don't bother!" also.]
Until then, they're just building lots of prototypes and marketing toys.
No, I like the Prius / Volt / Tesla / etc. just fine. Well, I would really like the latter if you're giving one away. ;-)
Some cars are more reliable than others, but even the vehicles at the bottom of this year’s Consumer Reports reliability survey are vastly better than those of 20 years ago in the key areas of powertrain and hardware, experts said this week.
As it does every year, Consumers Union recently surveyed its members on the reliability of their vehicles. This year, it collected data on approximately 1.1 million cars and trucks, categorizing the members’ likes and dislikes, not only of their vehicles, but of the vehicle sub-systems, as well.
A few weeks ago, Ford Motor Co. quietly announced that it was rolling out a new wrinkle to the powerful safety feature called stability control, adding even more lifesaving potential to a technology that has already been very successful.
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