The problem with a lot of the numbers in the news stories is that they leave the impression that we're about to get hit by a tsunami of battery-powered cars. That just isn't the case. Because the words "electric" and "electrified" serve as catch-alls, they can include hybrids and plug-in hybrids. And many consumers simply don't understand that.
In truth, pure electrics will be a bug on the windshield compared with the emergence of start-stop or micro-hybrid vehicles (cars that turn themselves off at stop signs and stoplights). In a study released in September, Pike predicted that 9.8 milion start-stop vehicles will be sold annually in the US by 2020. That's more than half of the vehicles sold in this country. It's also 91 times more than the number of battery electrics expected to be sold in 2020.
"We're expecting start-stop hybrids to play a huge role in meeting the coming CAFE [corporate average fuel economy] standards," Dave Hurst, author of the Pike electric car study, told us. "Start-stop is already a big market in Europe."
For some reason, though, the pure electric car is much more captivating. We write stories about it while virtually ignoring the stunning rise of the start-stop vehicle.
So, yes, last week's stories were generally accurate. But a little more context might have been in order. A seven-year climb to a 0.6 percent marketshare is hardly the major triumph that we're being led to believe.
Please read this and think a bit about the fact that the energy to power these vehicles needs to be generated somewhere. Also note that last I looked, the energy available at outlet at your house is about 25% of the energy consumed at the point of generation. Coal fired plants being less efficient than other fuels. Yes, Hydro requires no fuel but there are only so many hydro plants that can be built and utilized on a large scale. Are you willing to build, fuel, and live with the waste from nuclear powered plants to run your EV's? I bet most folks would say NO.
There is no simple answer here. I personally believe that small hybrid vehicles are a better more efficient solution than pure EV vehicles. Problem is that there are limited use vehicles. I can't pull a trailer with these, and they are small with little cargo capacity. Nice for commuting. The larger Hybrids like the Toyota Highlander hybrids don't get the mileage that makes them worth buying.
> Sounds more like a whiner that can't let go of his ICE engine.
I clearly stated that I really like internal combustion engines. I don't consider it to be 'whining' when I mention the FACTS that electric cars are simply not practical yet for the majority of drivers in the USA.
> Oh yea... let's not forget that we could STILL be chained to the pump
I don't mind the pump so much, and I clearly remember gasoline being under $2 a gallon. I have no idea what the heck happened since 2008.
> I prefer an electric with a solar panel array on my property to power it.
Good for you. I prefer an ICE powered car, and buying pump gas. As with electric cars, solar power just isn't 'there' yet for me now (and I worked in the solar industry before).
Yea, electrics aren't for everybody, but that argument is mainly for people who have stock in oil companies and those who don't properly research electric technology, and it's use for Americans. Broad, misinformed drool, spoken by an oil lover, not a scientist or engineer.
I am an engineer, I don't own oil stock (well, unless it's in my 401K) and I was stating facts about the limitation of electrical energy, and my opinion towards liking internal combustion engines. Way to go off on me like a single point of view, left-leaning, daily-koz reader.... Please tell me where my 'misinformed drool' is, when I only state that existing electric car have limited range and a long charging time?
Not sure if Jim was referring to powering the car "off the grid" or getting power off OF the grid. Powering "off the grid" is generally accomplished without fossil fuels
I meant charging the car via the electrical power grid, not in your backyard off of an array of solar cells, over four sunny days.... ;)
My next car will be electric (BEV), and I can't find a reason why here in the US at least one electric car per household isn't completely feasible. I know the batteries are expensive but so is gas. The ~$60 per week I spend on gas translates to about $175/month of energy savings which adds >$10k to the price I can pay for the car. I drive less than 50 miles per day 95% of the time, and when I need to drive farther I can trade cars with my wife, or rent a car for that matter. All the naysayers are just resistant to change and can't see the forest through the trees. It is a better solution for everyone, and years from now I will look at the person in the gas car at the signal light and feel just like I do now when I sit down at an outside restaurant and someone lights up a cigarette.
Or it could be someone who puts 40000 miles a year on their vehicle like I do. I'll stick to ICE or hybrid as long as I'm getting more thaan 50 miles from the nearest city of a population of at least 200000. Besides electric plug in cars only move the pollution from the tailpipe to the smokestack. As for photovoltaic charging of the batteries, Solar cells are not economically of environmentally viablle. It requires more energy and produces more greenhouse gas to produce the pure silicon and make the solar panel than you can recover or offset from the panel in it's lifetime. I know this because I helped to develop a more efficient silicon purification process that is in beta testing right now, and it still doesn't balance out energy wise. Solar cells have their purposes but saving the planet isn't one of them.
What was UBM's entire Avnet Drive for Innovation series other than a hyped-up infomercial for UBM, Avnet, Chevrolet, and all of UBM's advertisers vying to ride the coattails of one of the biggest growth markets in electronics? http://www.driveforinnovation.com/?cid=TOLTechPaperNL
Yet the series was interesting, informative, and got people excited about EVs. Many readers probably looked into the car further and because of that, especially if they saw that Volt at one of the tour stops or subsequently drove one on their own, they might now own one or plan to within the next few years! That was serving the technology, the public, and I'll bet was consistent with the goals Avnet and UBM set out to achieve.
First, great article! Neutral to the issue of "green" energy, as it should be. My only complaint (and a pet peeve of mine) is to the use of the term "start-stop hybrid". THAT"S NOT A HYBRID (it's just a gas car with an oversized starter motor). Unless it's motivated by electric energy, it's not a hybrid.
As to the pessimism, it's well due! "Green" energy (along with the anti-carbon extremists) has been the next big thing for as long as I've been alive. And I'm no spring chicken (and neither is "green" energy). Or, for that matter, how about electric cars? They have been around LONGER than gas cars, and after more than 100 years are still irrelevent to the vast majority of car owners.
At some point, unrealized hype (and its fantasy driven cultist followers) becomes stale, even to people who want to believe.
BTW - I drive a hybrid and have been searching the market for a practical electric car for more than 15 years. Still waiting...
Sounds more like a whiner that can't let go of his ICE engine. Sure who wouldn't want a motor with a thousand parts, 14 thousand regulators and a multitude of things to break down and don't forget the high cost and cost of regular maintenance that requires...oh yea... oil to lubricate it. All that instead of a simple electric motor. HMMM. Oh yea... let's not forget that we could STILL be chained to the pump and dealing with an over-priced commodity (oil or biofuel) to power our car. I prefer an electric with a solar panel array on my property to power it. Yea, electrics aren't for everybody, but that argument is mainly for people who have stock in oil companies and those who don't properly research electric technology, and it's use for Americans. Broad, misinformed drool, spoken by an oil lover, not a scientist or engineer.
Not sure if Jim was referring to powering the car "off the grid" or getting power off OF the grid. Powering "off the grid" is generally accomplished without fossil fuels.
Smartphones give people something they like, want, or need. EV's don't do that, save maybe a "like" for low emissions (which is specious) or to be environmentally fashionable. They're otherwise a lesser performing and more expensive solution to what people already have. Is there any wonder why they're not flying out of showrooms like iPhones? If EV's were really what people wanted you wouldn't have to obfuscate sales figures, the demand and deployed fleets would speak for themselves.
Simply put, a pure electric vehicle with limited range, and a long recharge time is of limited usefulness to a majority of people in this country.
I suppose they would be acceptable as a second car for people who commute a limited route where charging services are available at the destination, but I don't think that fits the majority of people in the USA.
We need a breakthrough electrical energy storage technology, specifically a lighter weight, high density, rapidly chargable device that doesn't cost a fortune. (And you still have the issue of charging the car off of the grid which is mostly powered by fossil fuels....) Until then, I see hybrid technologies as the only way to go if you wish to be ecologically sensitive.
I for one would rather see the development of a cost-effective, sustainable bio fuel as a replacement for gasoline. I really like internal combustion engines!
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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