Ford, Nissan, Honda, and Fiat have cut prices on their pure electric cars, and Chevy has shaved the sticker on its Volt plug-in hybrid. Now the auto industry will hold its collective breath and see what happens.
"The automakers are certainly keeping a close eye on this," Dave Hurst, senior analyst for Navigant Research, told us.
Last week, Ford slashed the price for its Focus EV by $4,000 to $35,995. This followed similar moves involving the Nissan Leaf ($6,400 price cut), Honda Fit (new lease rate of $259 a month), and Chevy Volt ($5,000 in incentives). Fiat is offering a rebate of up to $2,000 rebate for its 500e, along with 12 days of free annual access to a gasoline rental car.
The question is when EVs will begin to look like a good buy. To some degree, that's already starting to happen. In the first six months of 2013, Nissan Leaf Sales more than tripled from the first half of last year to 9,839. Chevy Volt sales rose 11.8 percent to 9,855.
Ford hopes to do the same for the Focus EV. Reuters reported that the company has built 2,517 Focus EVs and sold 1,593, including about 900 in the first half of 2013.
"Ford is finally recognizing that $40,000 for a Focus is a hefty price, even if it doesn't use any gasoline," Hurst told us.
Still, when government incentives are figured in, the costs are becoming tougher to pass up. A Wall Street Journal article in May discussed a suburban Atlanta man whose cost for a Nissan Leaf could be construed as less than $0. After signing up for a 24-month discounted lease, he got a $7,500 federal incentive and a $5,000 Georgia state subsidy -- to go with about $2,400 a year in gasoline savings. "Suddenly, the car puts $2,000 in my pocket," he told the WSJ.
It's not clear how long such incentives will remain in place or whether auto companies can afford more cuts. At this spring's Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress, Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne said his company loses about $10,000 on every Fiat 500e it sells.
Experts say the incentives will help sell the cars for now. "The price cuts won't be enough to create a huge boost in sales," Hurst said. "But we're definitely going to see a bump up."
What would it take to put you in an electric car? If the prices were comparable with those for gasoline-based vehicles, would you make the jump? Tell us in the comment section below.
The only true green is an electric light rail mass transit train and a segway. Beyond that, most solutions involving high density electric storage or megajoule gas tanks produce directly or indirectly irrecoverable harmful byproducts. There is no free lunch. If you believe your Honda Insight is representative of a common conveyance for all, I'm happy for your delusional pursuit of happiness.
It looks like gafisher can see into the future, because oil may last a century... if we stop using it. Not even the oil companies are fooling themselves like gafisher! They know better. Renewable energy is the future whether some want to believe it or not. H2 is the near future solution, that is here today. You can either run it in your internal combustion engine if you like, or you can use it to power your electric car. Use hydrides to store it safely and batteries are a thing of the past, because H2 solves the problem of expensive energy storage.
I stongly suggest that you do a bit of research and check your figures carefully. Coal there might be plenty of, but oil and gas - sorry, finite resource, my grandchildren will probably live in a world in which it has been and gone. Take into account he increase in usage due to population expansion and industrialization of developing countries, and you will be counting oil in decades, not centurys.
Back in March 1 2001, the IEEE Spectrum had an article "Are Hybrid Vehicles Worth It?" Gas was $1.50 a gallon and the writer thought that gas prices woild have to rise to $5.10 for hybrids to make economic sense. Texaco was one of the contributors to that article. The article was far from "fair and balanced". The industry continued to make hybrids, the subsidies disappeared and today hybrids are popular and profitable.
The recent The IEEE Spectrum article "Unclean at Any Speed - Electric cars don't solve the automobile's environmental problems" is written with the same bias. If you like FOX News, you will probably love the author's book.
The article claims that the car is unclean because electricity is made from coal. If electricity were made from another source, then the car would be clean. It's not the cars fault.
To your point.
If 75% of the public charged their cars at night, the utilities would be delighted to upgrade their infrastructure with the profits from the increased sale of their product. Many of those cars would be charged during the day at the increased number of chargers that will be installed at office parking lots etc. The utilities would gladly build more power plants to meet the demand. Those plants would be built using natural gas, since the plants are now cheaper to build and operate than coal fired units
Those dirty electric cars would then become cleaner than ICE technology.
I bought a 2000 Honda Insight new. It has 176K miles and still runs fine. It's becoming something of a collector's car so the residual value is better than I expected. I ordered a Volt when they first were introduced. I kept the Insight in case there was the usual start up bugs in the Volt. Only problem so far was a software patch to make the braking system smoother during low speed operation. The weight of the batteries makes for a smooth ride. Their low center of gravity makes cornering far better than average. On long trips I get 40 MPG. I'm happy with the car and would buy another in the future.
I'm a member of the IEEE. I like their Technical Publications, The Spectrum magazine is included with the membership fee. The articles tend to be more informative than technical. "Unclean at Any Speed" was neither.
Sorry, Pubudu, but those figures are from the same pseudoscientific alarmists who warned us of more than one previous "end of the world." From their track record I'd guess that at worst their graphic could be inverted. There's more than enough oil, coal and gas to last well over a century and perhaps more than twice that.
Of course, that doesn't mean we should be profligate in using these resources, but it does mean we ought not jump immediately to radical and faddish "solutions." Let's get the politicians and policy wonks out of the car business and give it back to actual Engineers.
I agree with your 50% conclusion, Ralphy Boy, It would be similar for me. Last year I had two kids in college and had to drive 300 miles (one way) to see one and 170 (one way) to see the other. A pure EV wouldn't work very well in those situations, For me to buy an EV for local use, it would have to be a lot less expensive than my IC-based car.
But, my short answer to the question of the thread is; about half what I would pay for the same auto in the ICE version. For me an EV would be about half as useful as an ICE, and so as long as it was to be my second car, I'd go about 50% on the price... being the adventurous type I might even try driving it to work in the winter a time or two.
I don't believe these numbers. I believe there is more oil than ever. Only governments won't let it go to push this other nonsense. Sorry, but I don't think we are running out of fossil fuels. The earth is full and ready for harvest.
Not that we should not be trying to use other methods, however. I just believe the government should get out of the energy non-business and let the marketplace develop it. No matter what Obama, Bush, Clinton, Reid, etc. says. What do these boneheads and their grant-adicted minions say.
Tesla Motors’ $35,000, 200-mile electric car may not revolutionize the auto industry by itself, but it could serve as a starting point for a long, steady climb to a day when half of the world’s vehicles will be plug-ins.
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