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Captain Hybrid
Slideshow: Spotlight on Plug-In Vehicles
4/16/2013

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The Fiat 500e, unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November, is the firstretail electric car in Chrysler's 87-year history.(Source: Chrysler Group)
The Fiat 500e, unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November, is the first
retail electric car in Chrysler's 87-year history.
(Source: Chrysler Group)

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Rob Spiegel
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Electric inside and out
Rob Spiegel   4/16/2013 9:41:06 AM
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Impressive slideshow, Chuck. It's interesting to see both the outside and the inside of these vehicles. Clearly automakers are committed to designing and producing EVs. Now all we need are the customers.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Electric inside and out
Elizabeth M   4/16/2013 12:27:09 PM
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I agree with Rob, it's great to get a closer look at these vehicles and see what the latest designs for them are. Hopefully the diversity will start to bring in those customers that Rob mentioned. I think the trend is on its way up, though, according to market research. At least customers now have a big of choice as well.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Electric inside and out
Rob Spiegel   4/17/2013 12:07:00 PM
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I agree, Elizabeth, that the variety of EVs is good news for the sector. Ultimately, though, I think costs will have to come down before EVs can gain significant market share. Right now they're a specialty market. Lower gas costs -- likely to come as energy supplies grow through expanded exploration and fracking -- may put a damper on EV sales. Low energy costs will make it that much harder for EVs to pay for themselves in gas savings.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Electric inside and out
Elizabeth M   4/18/2013 8:30:36 AM
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You're probably right, Rob, and I do hope that the industry figures out a way to broaden the appeal of EVs, especially cost-wise, even if the price of gas does decrease.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Electric inside and out
Rob Spiegel   4/22/2013 12:46:16 PM
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I have a hard seeing how the EV goes mainstream, Elizabeth. The hybrid, however, has a chance to become an affordable car even in a world of lower gas costs.

NadineJ
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Re: Electric inside and out
NadineJ   4/17/2013 5:36:41 PM
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It's good to see so many choices in one slide show but I don't see variety.  For those, like me, who don't like hatchbacks, station wagons or, coupes that look like hatchbacks, there's very little.

It's no wonder that the Tesla Model S is outselling some luxury car models in the first quarter of 2013.  It's the only decent looking EV on the market.

Charles Murray
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Re: Electric inside and out
Charles Murray   4/16/2013 6:11:50 PM
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Good point, Rob. The customers aren't there yet. And for the reasons you cite, I'm getting a strong feeling that the winds are changing. A lot of electric cars and plug-ins are coming out now because it takes three to four to five years to design, develop and produce a car. Four years ago, EV optimism was in the air. I'm not feeling it now, though.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Electric inside and out
Rob Spiegel   4/17/2013 5:08:52 PM
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Good points, Chuck. With the sliding cost of oil, the EVs have their work cut out for them. New oil deposits, new oil retrieval technologies -- these will the cost per barrell down, making it that much harder for the EV to offset its cost in fuel cost savings. Add to that, a coming wave of high efficient traditional engines. Ultimately, I believe there will be a strong market for EVs. We may have to wait until battery technology supports an EV that can go long distances. EV prices will also be a factor.

Charles Murray
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Re: Electric inside and out
Charles Murray   4/17/2013 6:03:57 PM
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I agree, Rob. If the price of oil rose sharply, it would change the economic picture. But right now, automakers are still struggling to find buyers for pure electrics beyond the core of early adopters. Electrics make good cars for buyers who already have a reliable, longer-range vehicle. But people with limited budgets often can't afford a pure electric as a second car. In the long run, plug-in hybrids are a better bet. When the cost of Volt-type cars comes down another $10K, they'll be really popular.  

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Electric inside and out
Rob Spiegel   4/19/2013 12:22:21 AM
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I agree, Chuck. Hybrids stand a much better chance for success. They can arguably be used as someone's sole vehicle. Bring down the price a tad and they could catch fire. 

Charles Murray
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Re: Electric inside and out
Charles Murray   4/20/2013 11:36:36 AM
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Engineers from both Ford and GM have told me they expect the cost of lithium-ion battery packs to dip to $250/kWh some time after 2020. If that's so, it would probably cut about $8,000 out of the price of a Volt battery. That would be a huge boost for the Volt and for every plug-in hybrid, especially those with larger batteries.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Electric inside and out
Rob Spiegel   4/22/2013 3:57:45 PM
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Yes, that would be helpful if they could bring the cost down, even if it does take another eight years. In the meantime, the automakers are digging deep to develop this technology.

Mydesign
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Re: Electric inside and out
Mydesign   4/17/2013 1:04:32 AM
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1 saves
"Clearly automakers are committed to designing and producing EVs. Now all we need are the customers."

Rob, there is no doubt that the market is driving in such a way that both industry and customers are looking for multi/hybrid fuel based vehicles.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Electric inside and out
Rob Spiegel   4/18/2013 4:37:59 PM
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MyDesign, do you think that's as true for EVs as it is for hybrids? Seems to me the hybrids are more ready for primetime than the EVs. That's looking at it from a customer/user point of view.

Mydesign
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Re: Electric inside and out
Mydesign   4/24/2013 11:51:43 PM
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"Seems to me the hybrids are more ready for primetime than the EVs. That's looking at it from a customer/user point of view"

Rob, exactly. More peoples may prefer only hybrid vehicles than single fueled. Eventhough I had an EV, I prefer for the hybrid one because I can switch between the fuels, depends on my usage.



Rob Spiegel
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Re: Electric inside and out
Rob Spiegel   4/25/2013 1:33:24 PM
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Good point, MyDesign. I can see that hybrids will continue to improve and continue to come down in price. They will come down in price partly because of increased volume over the next decade and because of competition. I can't see this path for EVs.

Trenth
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Re: Electric inside and out
Trenth   2/12/2014 7:22:00 PM
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It seems plug in hybrids like the Volt are the ideal choice for now.  The vast majority of trips are less than 30 miles.  

jhankwitz
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Re: Electric inside and out
jhankwitz   4/17/2013 10:17:36 AM
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It looks like there's a lot of money being spent on developing these EV's by a lot of manufacturers.  It's going to be a hard sell in a market focused on value and price. We may be seeing a lot of early adopters buying now that there's a larger selection, but time will tell if the general public will ever be willing to take on the extra cost and inconvenience.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Electric inside and out
Rob Spiegel   4/19/2013 12:05:45 AM
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Good points, jhankwitz. It's not just the automakers investing in the EV/hybrid technology. It's the tier 1 suppliers as well. Some companies such as Lear are engineering the entire drive train for their customers. 

ChasChas
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Re: Electric inside and out
ChasChas   4/17/2013 11:16:52 AM
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Bob,

Your right about the customers. Lack of customers mean the problems haven't been addressed.

Most customers don't even know what the problems are - or that there are any problems. The problem most customers see is cost. The rest seems to be political.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Electric inside and out
Rob Spiegel   4/19/2013 12:14:58 AM
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Cost is a major factor, ChasChas. Automakers are expecting a lot out of their customers. They're expecting customers to buy a car with limited performance and high costs. And as Chuck mentioned, these cars may have low resale value if they need a new battery.

apresher
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Plug-In Vehicles
apresher   4/16/2013 3:45:41 PM
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Excellent slide show and interesting look at this market space.  Really like the design of the Tesla Model X.  Thanks.

Charles Murray
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Re: Plug-In Vehicles
Charles Murray   4/16/2013 6:21:14 PM
I agree, Al. It's a nice vehicle. I still can't imagine how it seats seven, though.

Mydesign
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Hybrid vehicles
Mydesign   4/17/2013 1:01:46 AM
Charles, thanks for the slide shop and nice snaps. Any additional info's are available about these vehicles. I mean, when it will be available in market, cost, engines power etc.

SunitaT
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Iron
Battery spec
SunitaT   4/17/2013 7:26:46 AM
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BMW's three-door i3 Concept Coupe takes three hours to charge.

It a pretty long time to charge compared to fuel refilling. Its something like keep your car for charging and forget it. What are the spec of battery, like how much is the mileage if the battery is charged upto 10% full battery charging? What is the life span of these batteries?

RichardBradleySmith
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Bronze
The photo of the Audi A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid is funny.
RichardBradleySmith   4/17/2013 11:46:31 AM
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Think about it. It looks like your dad filling the car up with gas. Anyone who wants this wants robots to change the battery in 30 seconds. It looks like Audi has their head up their... oh, never mind.

For my part I have been waiting for this as I live where we have sun, it is the shade that is the problem. Or not. We cover our parking lots with solar panels.

A special thanks to Design News for sending me a T-Shirt. I found it not so good to wear to a Netflix event as people thought I was "media".

 

tekochip
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Overnight Charging
tekochip   4/17/2013 12:34:38 PM
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Overnight charging would fit the needs of most consumers, so adopting an EV would be a consumer preference similar to buying an SUV, pick-up or a sub-compact. The real issue is the cost, because nobody would want a sub-compact that cost more that a luxury SUV.

imagineer1000
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Iron
Re: Overnight Charging
imagineer1000   4/17/2013 5:30:45 PM
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Totally agree.  I want a pure electric.  Car manufacturers seem intent on selling electrics as an expensive inconvenient option relative to ICE.  My spin would be to relate it to cell phones.  Which would you rather have - your current cell phone that you plug into a charger in the safety of your home at night when you sleep, or a cell phone that will last a week on a charge (tank), but can only be recharged by a trip to the Apple/Microshaft store where a bunch of sketchy characters hang out nearby and you are required to breath chemicals of dubious health "benefits"? 

Why are we making "electrics" so complicated by adding an ICE for additional range?  My car doesn't need to fulfill 100% of my driving needs (even any one ICE vehicle can't) .  All I want is a basic car that has an honest 60-70 mi. range (meaning A/C and headlights on if appropriate, with modest hills and heavy accelerator foot).  Since I exceed 50mi/day only once  a week on average (that's almost two hours of driving around here), and 100 miles only a few times a year that would cover 90% of my mileage (I drive roughly 15,000mi/year), and almost 97% of my total trips in a year. 

Charles Murray
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Re: Overnight Charging
Charles Murray   4/17/2013 5:55:22 PM
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Right, tekochip, the issue still comes back to cost, which comes back to the battery. The costs of the entire pack (according to virtually every expert who isn't selling something) are still above $700/kWh.

Gorski
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Ne EVs
Gorski   4/17/2013 3:25:15 PM
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An interesting display of EVs by many manufacturers. I like the iE that recharges in 20 minutes. If it could go a reasonable distance between charges I could see it in an urban environment, like taxi cabs.

Gorski

Charles Murray
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Re: Ne EVs
Charles Murray   4/17/2013 6:39:01 PM
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I imagine you're right about taxi use, Gorski. But the taxi company ould have to have 400V three-phase current in order to recharg in 20 minutes, which isn't available everywhere.

Charles Murray
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Re: Ne EVs
Charles Murray   8/26/2013 8:24:55 PM
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You're right, Gorksi. The 20-minute charge makes a big difference. The problem right now is finding a fast-charge station. A 440-V charge won't be allowed in homes.

apresher
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EVs
apresher   4/18/2013 5:25:57 PM
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I agree that pure EVs seem to be trailing, compared to the hybrid alternatives.

Charles Murray
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Effect of temperature
Charles Murray   3/21/2014 5:51:56 PM
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AAA Motor Club says electric car range can be hurt by temperature extremes.

 http://www.freep.com/article/20140320/BUSINESS0104/303200084/AAA-electric-vehicles

 

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