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."
Yes, and since I generate my power from solar, there are no powerplant emissions associated with my Leaf either. (There are of course emissions during the manufacturing process, as there are for all cars - for all products we use, in fact.)
"... if electrics made sense they would sell like hotcakes."
Being in love with a car is an emotional state. Tesla makes cars pepole want to own once they drive it. Those that can afford a Mercedes or a Panamera often do, and Tesla is only shooting for a 10th of the 250,000 premium market cars sold.
It took about 12 years for digital camera to totaly replace photochemical photography. I figure starting with the Leaf, double that before most cars sold will be fully battery electric.
That "study" is prety vauge with phrases like, "In contrast, if plug-in vehicles are charged using coal-generated electricity, they could cause several thousands of dollars more damage per vehicle."
Really? "could cause"?? That's opinion, not a study and only a shrinking handfull of states are running on 100% coal. All other states have EVs as cleaner. It does go on to say, " There are myriad other arguments for supporting vehicle electrification beyond human health, environmental, and oil-displacement effects. This long list might include job creation, reducing the trade deficit by shifting from foreign to domestic fuel sources, enabling a distributed storage resource to support the integration of intermittent renewable electricity generation, reducing oil revenues to states hostile to U.S. interests, hedging against an anticipated oil-scarce or carbon-constrained future, improving regulatory control over emissions associated with poor vehicle maintenance, generating positive externalities by encouraging innovation, encouraging domestic development of strategic technical competency and intellectual property, reducing nonfinancial political and human suffering effects from war and political instability, and promoting international environmental justice. However, because HEVs and PHEVs with smaller battery packs provide more air-emissions reduction and oil displacement per dollar spent and offer lifetime costs competitive with conventional vehicles, it is not clear that directing near-term subsidies toward vehicles with large battery packs would produce superior results on any of these objectives.
So if you are referencing it as an attack on "green" transpotation, it sure makes up for it by pointing out all the other reasons for getting off oil.
Try again? You brought up Al Gore - I simply responded.
As for addressing climate change, we need to be wiser than to keep falling for the problem-reaction-solution gimmicks played on us to keep funneling money from the masses to the "elite". Funny that their "solutions" always seem to place more limitations on us than on them.
Nonetheless, I'm curious to know why the very concerning issue of oxygen depletion isn't getting the same attention that's being given to rising CO2 levels. It would not surprise me to discover how much it has to do with how the "solutions" meet the moneychangers' true objectives.
I guess it depends on whose twisted version of reality we want to adhere to. The oil cartels have stood in the way of developing other energy paradigms while limiting their product for maximum profit. Al Gore tried to convince and manipulate the masses that consensus could be reached in premature scratching-the-surface "science" for the financial and political gain of his side of the energy market. Neither side has represented themselves in an ethically honest manner, and have been unable to hide that their true motivation is for money and control rather than for the empowerment and good of the rest of us.
Should we expect a more radically abrupt shift? How many early car companies survived the sharpest growth decades for automobiles? How many dot com businesses survived the '90s boom and did that result in the internet going out of business? I'm not saying EV makers will go bankrupt, but the quick high profit strategy of selling as many high margin gas guzzlers while they are hot, with no eye toward the future, hasn't worked out too well either.
Keep trying to scare off early adapters, Mr. Murray. But your anti-EV bias is showing.
Which reminds me it's about time again for another Global Warming is an Al Gore Hoax article from UBM.
If the government would have used the bail outs to force car makers to devise a common battery standard, then electric and hybrid cars would be much more attractive.
If all of them used the exact same form factor battery back, then you could establish battery exchanges. You could buy a membership, and it would be not only an insurance policy to cover battery failure risk, but allow for greatly extenede range, simply by replacing the battery pack instead of waiting for it to recharge.
Then many more people would feel there was not longer any risk involved in buying an electric or hybrid vehicle.
Tesla Motors plans to roll out a “compelling, affordable electric car” that will sell for about half the price of its high-profile Model S by the end of 2016, company chairman Elon Musk said last week.
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 radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.