Government subsidies also have played a role, according to analysts. Nissan and Tesla were awarded nearly $2 billion between them from the Department of Energy's Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing loan program to build electric vehicles. Many other companies, including EV battery makers, have also received subsidies. "On the surface, it appears to be a huge risk to roll out these vehicles that people might not buy," See said. "But in many cases, a lot of the cost and risk has been subsidized by the government."
Moreover, the appearance of risk may not be as great as it first seems, at least for some automakers. Experts say pure electric cars can be much easier to manufacture than hybrids. "If you look at the Ford operation in Wayne [Mich.], they can do four different kinds of powertrains: conventional engines, plug-in hybrids, conventional hybrids, and electrics," David Cole, chairman emeritus of the Center for Automotive Research, told us. "EV technology is a walk in the park compared to hybrids. You just have to build flexibility into your manufacturing systems."
Still, the road to EV sales success is a hard one. Sales of the most prominent pure electric car available today, the Nissan Leaf, totaled just 8,720 units for the first 11 months of this year, according to plugincars.com, despite company projections that it would sell 500,000 EVs a year by the end of 2013. A Wall Street Journal report this year (subscription required) indicated that Nissan was sticking with its plan to sell 1.5 million EVs cumulatively by 2016, "in part due to demands by major cities for zero-emission taxis."
That's why Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn has predicted pure EVs will make up 10 percent of the market by 2020. And, as we reported this summer, Tesla CEO Elon Musk took Ghosn's prediction up another notch by saying he believes half of all cars on the road will be pure electric ones in 15 years.
However, industry analysts say much of the auto industry doesn't share the rosy views of Nissan and Tesla. Cole chaired a session at the recent Battery Show Conference in Novi, Mich., and he said automakers expressed concerns at the conference about the state of EV batteries. The sesison was "an opportunity for the automakers to tell the battery guys what the reality is," Cole said. "Right now, the battery is still a killer for them."
Analysts also say the automakers building compliance cars want to be ready if battery technology makes a sudden leap forward. Until then, they're treading lightly. "The bottom line is that the technology is not a slam dunk," See said. "That's why they need to keep looking for the innovation that could make it happen."
It is funny that all of the criticism of EV's is from people who don't own or drive one. They complain about range, cost, recharging time, or a number of other shortcomings. I don't hear the same complaints about pickups, sports cars, or other established vehicle types. The truth is that many types of vehicles are good within a specific use case, and not very good outside it. For example, my F-150 gets much better gas mileage than your prius when hauling a load of 16 ft 2x12's or a thousand pounds of concrete blocks, but your prius wins as a commuter vehicle or for long trips if it holds the number of people you want to take.
About 6 monts ago, we purchased a Think, a small pure EV, which is mostly used for commuting. It is great for that, but not a car for longer trips. It is an application specific vehicle, like a pickup, sports car, 18 wheeler, box van, and I am sure you can name other examples. That it has limitations is without question. So does every other type of vehicle. The issue for the potential buyer is if it fits their needs. For multi-car families, this is often the case, but not always. If you have a driving pattern that fits an EV, you may find your attitude can change. The current subsidies make it financially reasonable, but these should be considered temporary. The EV industry will either reap the benefits of this jump start, with battery costs declining as volume and technology improve, or go back to servicing a small niche market. The current crop of EV offerings are real vehicles. Most will meet the needs of a large percentage of urban drivers, but we need to look at them for what they do, rather than for what they don't. And wipe that EV smile off your face when you drive past the gas station (not).
Here's a funny statement from Amclaussen: "even the electrical power generation by solar panels HAS to have SOME adverse impact too". Boy... talk about desperate to make a point, this guy is Totally Lost. (LOL:)
Amclaussen. While you do make some valid points, they do not negate the necessity for changing the way we use power. We adopted oil and coal as the main form of energy production, before we knew the full impact of its use. We spent many decades polluting the hell out of the country before we started taking steps to curb it's dangerous excrement. It is still a huge problem that is becoming a global issue. You are correct that some people got rich off the light bulbs, but conversely, others were getting rich polluting far worse. We know the dangers here, and the savings in power and freedom outweigh the negatives. It really irks me when people talk about politicians like they are stupid and sucked into crazy things by evil scientists. On the contrary, they are very smart, but are driven by greed in many cases. Many, actually care about the people in the country and the environment, so when they see an opportunity to get their buddies (and themselves) rich and do good for the environment, it happens. Sometimes you have to look further into the truth than sensationlizing flashy headlines and FOX news reports. Let's face it, someone is going to get rich no matter what we do, I say we get the people who care about our health and welfare rich.
Energy savings. A CFL bulb uses about 75 percent less energy than a traditional light bulb. Nationwide, a 60 percent to 70 percent decrease in light energy usage would save as much energy annually as the total amount of energy used by all the homes in Texas.
Here's another statistic: The United States could eliminate greenhouse gas emissions equal to 800,000 cars if each household in the country replaced just one incandescent bulb with a CFL bulb, according to Energy Star. Energy Star is a program of the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency designed to help consumers save money and protect the environment by using energy efficient products and practices.
Longevity. CFL bulbs last about 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs. It's not unusual for a CFL bulb to last for five years, and even as long as nine years.
I often wondered what my motorcycle would look like with a body.... not so sure if this is much safer than a motorcycle. It may just give you a false sense of security. Of course, being a motorcyclist, safety is not my first concern when purchasing a vehicle.
Totally off topic, the bashing of Al Gore is absurd, considering his theories he has proposed for decades is being proven true. I wish that oil loving people would try to use science to make their point instead of trying to blow smoke and mirrors to hide the truth. It turns out that natural gas is the cleanest burning fossil fuel (I still don't like it, but it beats coal and oil), and considering that Al Gore is rich, I wouldn't expect him to live in a house the size of mine. Also, considering, that through his actions, he has erased his carbon footprint many times over. How are you doing with that?
Gas just isn't going to last forever. I'm amazed that it's taken this long to realize our personal transportation system is not sustainable - and considering the Chinas and Indias of the world "coming of age" the US gas prices are sure to more closely resemble the rest of the world's prices. It's only a matter of time before EVs completely take over.
I have never seen open air flames except on memorials, so I was assuming a gas lamp with a silk mantel, very efficient technology that has been around over 100 years.
Not sure why we should assume 24/7/365 though? I would assume they were turned on specifically for the camera, for effect.
We can judge some systems as being more efficient then others based on energy loss, pollution, etc. For example, external combustion like jet turbines and steam are more efficient and cleaner than internal combustion.
But I agree politicians may be simply exploiting situations, and adding little.
That is the whole point of mandating a standard. There should not be different capacities in battery packs for EVs. If you want heavier extended range capability, then you put in multiple batteries, but you do not alter the capacity of the standard battery. And it does not matter if a user turns in an old battery nearing the end of its lifespan while getting a new one in exchange. They got the old one from the last exchange anyway, and turned in a new one at some point as well. That is the whole point of a battery exchange. It all averages out.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.