Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne has again committed the colossal sin of speaking plainly, and electric vehicle advocates aren’t happy about it.
At the Paris Motor Show, the espresso-guzzling, cigarette-smoking chief executive told reporters that he remains skeptical about electrification. “I think you need to be very, very careful if you think that electrification, given its inherent limitations on range, especially in markets like the US, will effectively displace combustion,” he was quoted as saying by several publications. “It will never provide the travel distance that you require, especially based on what we know today about the storage capabilities of batteries.”
This, along with previous comments, caused some of the cheerleaders in the EV press to hyperventilate. They cited his “stubborn disregard for EVs,” called his viewpoint “extraordinarily short-sighted,” and described him as “a CEO who disparages electrification every chance he gets.”
But as far as we could tell, most did not bother to put his comments in larger perspective. Only caradvice.com, which attended the Paris show, mentioned that Marchionne sees this as a short-term issue: “The issue isn’t that EVs will never happen, nor the FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) cannot make EVs work, said Marchionne. It is that internal combustion still has an upside and remains vastly more cost-effective, and is therefore more rational until the entire automotive framework shifts,” the publication wrote.
The publication’s website also included the following quotes (among others) from Marchionne:
”And I also have no doubt that over time, as the emission standards lower, that the whole industry will be forced to shift towards a combination of combustion and electrification and certainly in the case of city cars, perhaps full electrification.”
”Can you sell enough of them to make money and more importantly, can you make money selling them? And I keep on running into this fundamental obstacle of overcoming the cost equation of electrification. You can’t.”
“What you don’t do is you don’t throw additional costs to an industry that’s already struggling at a time when it’s trying to find the bottom of the volume side. And we’re doing this now.”
”And so I, we, can do all the electrical, electrification exhibitions here on our stands and I can impress the hell out of you about the fact that we can do a variety of things. The question is, how commercially viable are those solutions?”
It should be mentioned that Marchionne’s comments were mostly directed at pure electric cars. We have to assume that, anyway, since Chrysler announced in Paris that it will hit the market with a plug-in hybrid minivan in 2015.
In context, his comments aren’t nearly as egregious as many seem to believe. Marchionne believes in plug-in hybrids but doesn’t think that pure electrification “will effectively displace combustion” in the next five years. He says this at a time when pure electric cars make up 0.3% of the vehicles sold … and this is a problem?
Marchionne deserves credit for honesty. Plenty of other automakers agree with him, but roll out small fleets of so-called “compliance cars.” Typically, these are big, struggling auto companies that can’t afford to courageously bet the farm on pure electrics, as Tesla has. So while they talk a good game of electrification, they are understandably afraid -- afraid to go electric and afraid to speak bluntly about it.
That’s why Marchionne’s comments are so refreshing.
FCA is playing the compliance car game too, as you know. As for your reaction to Marchionne's comments, makers like FCA don't have to "bet the farm" on pure EVs. But are they investing anything substantial on them to hedge their bets in case Tesla's business plan is successful? 5-10 years is not far off in design cycles. If Elon Musk's bet pays off, he may not be able to produce the volume of EVs, and especially cheap ones, to upend the industry, but he will embarrass it enough that Marchionne's FCA and everyone else will have to play catch-up at their own expense. They can invest now or risk suffering more later. Of course smart companies like Fiat and Chrysler have never made strategic blunders or gotten themselves in financial woes.
Also, I'm all for honesty and all, but is it appropriate for the "Captain Hybrid" blog to dwell on (and even cheer on) the pessimistic side so frequently? Or should it embody a little more enthusiasm toward the Tesla side of the issue? Is this Captain Hybrid or Gramps Hydrocarbon?
""It will never provide the travel distance that you require, especially based on what we know today about the storage capabilities of batteries.""-- Sergio Marchionne Fiat 2014
" "I predict the Internet will soon go spectacularly supernova and in 1996 catastrophically collapse."—Robert Metcalfe, founder of 3Com "
"There is practically no chance communications space satellites will be used to provide better telephone, telegraph, television or radio service inside the United States."—T.A.M. Craven, Federal Communications Commission commissioner (1961)"
(The site won't let me link the chart or actual link live, probably as an anti-spam
measure but, if you follow the link you will find a great chart on battery vs gas trade
I'd suggest that this chart is a bit dated because it's from 2011, but if the authors
update it with current numbers and add in various car models that are now on the market
we might see some useful data.
the average price of gas is $3.19/gallon nationwide and it's been headed down hard all year.
Prices are highest on the west coast, and no surprise that's where we see the most EV/PHEV car sales.
Assuming this chart was right when it was produced if the Tesla Gigafactory hit's it's price numbers, Gasoline cars will cease to be competitive. Gasoline will continue to sell but it may become a niche energy product.
Our cities were once full of coal dealers, Horse Stablers and feed distributors.
My house which dates from 1938 was rigged for a coal chute and coal bins and coal furnace.
by 1950, that coal infrastructure was wildly obsolete and the boiler was rigged for Oil. Imagine that. In 12 years Coal went from the Prime fuel to obsolete. Most of the houses in my neighborhood went from Oil in the 70's to Gas. I'm going to Solar Thermal.
Where I live I'm paying over 7$ a gallon (about 2$/litre) for fuel and I still agree with Marchionne. But I drive a fuel efficient saloon (they DO exist outside the USA) rather than a gas guzzling 2.5 ton SUV.
The Fiat-Chrysler head stated it right. The EV fans keep believing that batteries, a mature technology that has been improving at a slow, steady rate for decades, is suddenly going radically improve twofold or better. Historically, that is not how things work.
The truth is that most people living outside major cities regularly (not daily) need range of several hundred miles, WITH the abililty to refuel quickly. It is not just range, it is refuel as well. The shorter the range, the more critical the rapid refuel becomes.
The unfortunate fact is that we are nowhere close to having this battery technology. We are getting close to having a commuter car for those living in the burbs, where maybe one car is the larger general purpose vehicle, and the other is the 150 mile round trip communter car.
Keep in mind though that even the best ranges we have now are sugar coated. Temperatures are a huge impact, increased rolling resistance (snow) is a huge impact, HVAC is a huge impact. That 150 mile vehicle is more likely a 50 mile vehicle during winter in Minnesota.
Finally, unless the electricity is coming from a Nuclear plant or perhaps some sort of renewable (another topic entirely) the overall efficiency may actually be worse that a modern combustion engine. The efficiency of power plants is not that much better than a modern automobile engine, and the distribution and charging losses can be significant.
Not to mention that batteries self discharge, whereas I have not notices leaving my car at the airport for 3 weeks and coming back to find my full tank of gas half gone!
Bottom line, none of this is going to be easy, and none of it is going to be ready for prime time in the next few years.
Hah! Not at all an unexpected comment from the CEO of Chrysler. Not in tune with the market. Electrics already satisfy the needs of a significant number of people - if Chrysler is unwilling to innovate to satisfy my needs (and incidently even their gas cars don't meet my needs) then they deserve to fail. Would you buy a Chrysler?
"The truth is that most people living outside major cities regularly (not daily) need range of several hundred miles, WITH the abililty to refuel quickly"
The Truth is Most people live inside Metropolitan Statistical Areas. (MSAs). According to Reuters 80% of Americans live in and around cities. So if you insist cars be designed for the needs of rural types, you are missing 80% of the market.
It is not just range, it is refuel as well. The shorter the range, the more critical the rapid refuel becomes
Only outside of the daily one way trip. Yes, the morning commute would increase in suckage if you had to stop for 25 minutes and charge up every morning and every evening. However if you are driving to an office and can plug in and charge for 9 hours, it's probably not that bad. Now if you want to take a weekend trip for 300 miles and you need to stop 4 times and charge for 40 minutes each, it really does slow things down, but, if it means that trip goes from burning $200 in gas to $20 in charge, it's a tradeoff many people will make.
The unfortunate fact is that we are nowhere close to having this battery technology.
Famous Last Words.
We are getting close to having a commuter car for those living in the burbs, where maybe one car is the larger general purpose vehicle, and the other is the 150 mile round trip communter car.
We are already there for Urbanites. A Nissan Leaf, Honda Fit EV, Chevy Spark EV, BMW i3 a SMART EV are all good city cars, and we have memberships in Car2Go and Flexcar, so when I need a quick truck rental, i go over, grab a flex truck....I bought a house needing rehab in 2011, and have been able to juggle truck rentals, help from my brother and fitting stuff in the insight. It's not fast or 'efficient' but we made it work.
If you only need a large vehicle, especially with AWD of 4WD for the occasional vacation to visit relatives in appalachia, a rental is cost effective compared to owning a vehicle you only need 3 times a year. When i was a kid, my parents always owned compact or subcompact cars with 3 kids, a dog, a cat and a house in the burbs. Dad took the train to work and when we took family vacations we rented a station wagon.
the best ranges we have now are sugar coated
We have data. Why don't you actually look up the winter performance of chevy volts, Leafs, Ford C-Max Energi, etc.... Engineers have data, everyone else has an opinion.
unless the electricity is coming from a Nuclear plant or perhaps some sort of renewable (another topic entirely) the overall efficiency may actually be worse that a modern combustion engine.
The standard if Grams-CO2/KM travelled, that depends upon the source of electricity used to charge an EV. If you are in the Pacific NW, it's all Hydro-electric, 100% so Washington State, Oregon, Montreal, Eastern Ontario are all 0 Carbon/Mile. If you are in the Southwest, where more and more electricity is coming from PV, particularly in daytime, you can be very low carbon. Same in Oklahoma, Texas, western Iowa, where they have immense wind farms.
But even if your power is 100% coal, your GramsCO2/KM is about the same as a car getting 34 MPG and you can take it zero by putting 2KW of Solar on your roof.
that batteries self discharge, whereas I have not notices leaving my car at the airport for 3 weeks and coming back to find my full tank of gas half gone!
I don't know man, I once parked for an hour in New Jersey and found my tank completely empty when I came back. Self discharge is an issue. Frozen engine blocks are an issue. if you park a car in Minneapolis in February and don't plug it in, in 90 minutes it's stuck for the winter. Up north, every parking space has a 110 Outlet to keep block heaters running.
We may see in areas where EVs become popular, and especially where they sit for long periods of time a 110 Outlet may become standard.
In 1903, Horatio Jackson drove cross country in a gasoline powered car, it took 63 days and required survival at times for days without food. In 2011, Dr John Glenney drove an Electric car from DC to San Francisco in 8 days. Now I'm sure, some will comment that you can do that in 3 days with a gas car, but, to me it's 20X faster then the first gas cars. In 1903, Dr Jackson's wife took the train home in 5 days.
Between 1903 and 1953, we built interstate highways, Oil pipelines, gas station networks, motels, Motoring clubs, parking garages, service stations, car dealers, training schools, DMVs. We will rapidly build the additional infrastructure we need for EVs, it's a matter of national security as much as anything else. Most of the gas infrastructure we built for WW2.
To fight the war on terror, we need to build electric cars. Someone will recognize that
Charles, his comments are refreshing and probably close to being right on. With his comment below:
"It will never provide the travel distance that you require, especially based on what we know today about the storage capabilities of batteries."
I think the operative words are "what we know today about the storage capabilities of batteries". I believe the automotive industries ability to improve those storage capabilities will improve until greater, possibly much greater, distance between charges can be accomplished. You provided us with another excellent post several weeks ago dealing with CNG as a complementary source to electric-driven engines. Again, the problems right now deal with infrastructure and not technology. We will get there because it's evolution and not revolution that's driving the industry.
As engineers, we already have the tools to assess the truth or excesses of his statements. As they say "do the math".
The "best" of internal combustion engine powered cars provide unrefueled range of approximately 400 miles (some maybe more but 400 is reasonable to expect). Looking at the trade space of power needed versus storage capacity, the pure EV IS up against difficult physics. A car with family capacity and 400 mile range with sufficent power for travel over interstate highways and diverse terrain (think I-24 through Tennessee) requires energy density likely double that presently available (and I know Tesla HAS made some recent breakthroughs).
Using numbers available at the Tesla site, moving the car at 60 mph will cost ~240 Wh/mile, or 14 kWh (which appears low compared to their delivered mileage). Climbing a 4,000 pound vehicle 3,200 feet at 60 mph with 90% efficient motors (ten minutes of motoring) uses an additional 43 horsepower requiring minimum motor power of at least 60 horsepower (more if reasonable reserve power is desired). An 85 kWh battery (Tesla's best) gives a range of 220 miles. Climbing a 6% grade with that 60 hp motor would be like climbing it in a 70's vintage VW Microbus.
Charging times, especially for coast to coast travel, is problematic. With greater energy density comes greater charging current to have sufficiently short charge times. At 240 Volts, 45 amperes is required for 8 hours overnight recharge of 85 kWh batteries, but twice the size is needed. For "quick charge" you are looking at hundreds of amperes at 240 Volts. Anybody for welding?
Yes. quick replace batteries might be a solution and the infrastructure is where? ... and will be available when? Marchionne recognizes this and knows that the Automobile manufacturere are NOT financially able to provide such infrastructure.
Hybrid internal combustion assisted EV has become a somewhat practical solution, but they remain small and barely "family cross country" capable. I've driven many rental Prius on business travel and I like them very much for that purpose; but they still "have not arrived".
Impatience and name calling will not solve the reality of physics that the EV fans seem to not comprehend. Technology takes time and is incremental. If Moore's law applied, we'd be a few years away, but that is not likely the case.
Charging times, especially for coast to coast travel, is problematic.
Edmunds.com director of vehicle testing Dan Edmunds and photo editor Kurt Niebuhr chose to drive the famed Cannonball run in reverse. They completed their coast-to-coast journey from Redondo Beach to New York City in just 67 hours and 21 minutes, breaking Tesla's previous record of 76 hours and 5 minutes.
Most impressive of all, though, is the relatively small amount of time the Edmunds team spent charging the vehicle. The duo spent 52 hours and 41 minutes of driving time compared to just 14 hours and 40 minutes of charging time, all for free at Tesla Supercharger stations.
This equates to just over 3 hours and 35 minutes of driving for every hour spent charging; the team's average driving speed was 63.2 mph, and they plugged in for an average of 38 minutes at each of 23 Superchargers along the route.
- See more at: http ://www. torquenews. com/2250/edmunds-shatters-tesla-s-old-record-fastest-cross-country-road-trip-ev#sthash.IGrkV8oj.dpuf
(ENGINEERS HAVE DATA. EVERYONE ELSE HAS AN OPINION)
( I will note the first Cannonball run was 53 hours)
An excent example of what the world AFTER the infrastructure is fully established might look like. The investment will be enormous, but eventually will be completed... maybe. 226 miles between refuelings at just under 65 mph IS a decent leisurely pace. The "duty cycle" is just below 80% for a nominal 12 hour travel day that will cover just under 650 miles. Refueling is still the killer. A 400 mile range, IC powered car will have a duty cycle of over 90% for the same 12 hours on the road with a single stop for fuel and food and a stop for the night one hour further along. Anyone who has filled a car with a couple of kids and driven a couple of days will tell you that the difference matters. Of course, the PC folks only have one child and travel is easy as their child is perfectly behaved.
Redondo Beach to New York seems one well covered route for refueling EVs. Now if I were to depart Melbourne, Florida to drive to see my grand daughters in Ashland, Oregon, I would have neither a direct route, nor one with very many "quick stops". For a significant portion of the route I'd be hard pressed to find adequate electrical outlets, much less Tesla "super stations". I would expect a similar experience with folks in Minnesota wanting to drive to Boseman, Montana or say Seattle, Washington. Crossing the Dakota "badlands" would be exactly that... BAD. I'll venture that the badlands will be among the very last routes to get good EV refuel coverage. So having the Edmunds experience with an EV is a long ways off for most of America outside New England and Southern California. But that is where the policy makers seem to live and want to travel.
The Dan Edmunds feat, in total context, still affirms Marchionne's fundamental premise. The "promise" remains a future with uncertain timing for universal participation. Has anyone calculated the number of "sunshine days" and square feet of solar panels needed to charge 100 million EVs?
The investment will be enormous, but eventually will be completed.
The Investment is substantial but it's almost complete. I hate words like TOO
or BIG or Micro. Numbers are so much better for a technical discussion.
Tesla has built 117 Stations at a station cost of between 100K-175K. Google
it on techcrunch if you are interested. According to Tesla over 80% of the US population is now in charge range of their Supercharging network. I did a little Math, and it says Tesla has invested $20M to achieve 80% coverage. If you look, their plans are to get to 100% coverage by 2015.
It's hard to tell but assuming they Double the number of stations, it's still only another 20 million.
So to get to 100%, it's some 40 million.
Now you insist the yield point must get to 90% on the driving, Okay, so, lets see how that gets done? Tesla has a battery swap station built. they've demonstrated a 90 second full swap. I'm hoping that's fast enough even for you.
So, the Tesla P85 is a 265 Mile range, that's a 5 hour drive if you stay at 55, but let's say you drive at 75 MPG.. Let's assume you can get 3 hours out of that battery pack. That means you pick city pairs that are 450 Miles apart and you put a swap station in between them. That means you can cruise for 6 hours at 75 MPH, with almost a 99% yield time.
Now a quick straw estimate is that a Tesla Swap Station is more expensive then a supercharging station, it's probably some $1 million, maybe 2 million. How many city pairs
are 450 miles apart? So if we pick Boston to DC, that's 443 Miles. DC to Charleston is about 543 Miles and DC to Miami is about 1000 Miles, so 4 swap stations will let you roar along I-95 at 75 MPH and that's an investment of about 10 million.
If we look at LA to SFO it's about 380 miles again, so 4 stations let you provide that high speed run up the coast.
Again 2 stations at key pairs on I-80 and I-40, gives you a fast run to Chicago and St Louis.
add 4 along the Gulf Coast.
20 swap stations at $2 Million gives you a high speed run along an 80% population contour.
So let's Recap this Tesla has invested about $20 Million to conquer 80% of the US Population and enable quite rapid cross country travel. For another $20 Million they will take 100% of the Lower 48 onto their network. A quick straw estimate says for $40 Million more they can put swap stations into key locations in I-5, I-80 and I-95 and cover 80% of the population there. Now is $20 Million Enormous? is $40 Million? $80 Million?
I do know we went out and voted $8 Billion last month to drop bombs on ISIS who are funded by the Saudi Government.
In terms of establishing a national security and energy policy which doesn't mean buying oil from Hugo Chavez, Saudi terrorists and Ebola regions of West Africa, I view that electric infrastructure as quite useful and affordable.
@path, BUT how many cars can those stations charge? What happens when 5% of the traffic is EVs and they need to charge. Mostly, across much of the USA, if there is one cas staion there are several. If it were just you driving it would be fine, but if a lot of folks drive those EVs there could be waiting in lines, which, by the way, is a big pain.
BUT how many cars can those stations charge? What happens when 5% of the traffic is EVs and they need to charge
What you've just asked is a Basic question in statistical analysis. If X Cars can be served at a service station and Y Cars per hour can be served per pump and Z cars are expected to arrive per hour, what is the number of cars that can be served without more then a 10 minute delay in service. Assume a Poisson Arrival rate...
The Really Really Really Good thing to keep in mind is we have something called a free market. I realize engineers tend to focus on the nutsy boltsy buildsy stuff but,
we have something really interesting here in that the US is full of people who like to make money and if they see people waiting around to charge up, they build chargers and
then sell time on them. It's sort of how we ended up with all these gas stations.
Someone thought "There might be a market need here". Next thing we know Kwik-E-Marts, squishees and gas pumps are showing up and some guy named Apu runs it.
The second major mistake Engineers make is thinking "I will have to build this" instead of "This may reflect a market need and the market will fulfill it", it's like all these places that run computer training and smart phone repair and corner espesso shops. 50 years ago fountain pen repair was a big deal. 50 years ago Latte sales were almost unheard of.
Now that we have some market sales of EVs and we have some operating data on how these run, I imagine enterprising people will start working out charging schemes for chargers.
Me personally i think the Electric utilities should run these. Move in on the Gasoline market before PV kills them
Very good points, patb. Entrepreneurs arise when there is profit to be made. On the other hand, some of us remember the gas lines of the early 70's. There was plenty of profit to be made but limited supply. There are constraints to "unlimited growth" of EV charging stations. The National Power Grid needs decades to handle the shift to pure EV and the charging millions of vehicles based on its present growth and renewal rate. Yeah, a commercial "Manhattan Project" could shorten that, but up front cash outlay versus payback period will limit the level of investment except for visionaries like Elon Musk who bet significant portions of the farm on future disruptive technologies. Musk claims 80% of Americans are near a refueling station. It reminds me of the early Cell phone coverage maps, the Metropolis of the Eastern/North Eastern coast plus the Pacific Coast with a chunk of Mid Eastern, Chicago-centric states can meet that percentage with the other 20% 1,000 miles from the nearest refueling station. I love statistics! A man with one foot in dry ice and the other in boiling water is quite comfortable on average.
Rotating pool batteries need a business model that indemnifies the car owner from getting a bad battery received in a fast swap out and having to "eat it". Although heavy, proper car design and well designed refueling station handling can make EV refueling faster than gasiline or diesel fuel. Since a typical fill across the country is over $50, there is a price point for such stations to design to. It might end up being as easy as "Field of Dreams", "... if you build it, they will come".
some of us remember the gas lines of the early 70's. There was plenty of profit to be made but limited supply. There are constraints to "unlimited growth" of EV charging stations. The National Power Grid needs decades to handle the shift to pure EV and the charging millions of vehicles based on its present growth and renewal rate
Spoken like a man who hasn't done any numbers. If you had, you'd be far
different in your conclusions. If you do the numbers for a single household, (Not your household) but rather the median american household, you get numbers that tell you things like "In 2012, the average annual electricity consumption for a U.S. residential utility customer was 10,837 kWh, an average of 903 kilowatthours (kWh) per month. "
(That's from the EIA eia.gov in their FAQ.)
And if you bother doing some research you'd find 85% of all americans their daily drive is less then 40 miles and if you do some more research you will find the average MPGe of a EV car is running about 3.3 M/KWH
So then you get out the pad and yellow paper and you discover that about 100 KWH/month will provide electric driving for 85% of your average american households per car.
You can sanity check this by, taking the average car, figuring average annual mileage is 16,000, divvy up by 3.3 figure 2.2 Cars per household.
You are talking 2-3 KWH per month per household.
That adds 30% to total grid consumption, however, add in some additional data.
You might consider that your average EV is plugged in at night when the grid is slack or
will plug in at mean solar noon, when Solar PV is available cheap.
The other thing to bear in mind is that Electricity consumption is declining hard in the US,
instead of growing 4%/year, it's declining about 2%/year All those LED light bulbls are carving consumption up like a wel cooked chicken.
If the big utilities want to be around in 10 years, they had better be pushing EV chargers now. Because if they don't, a good 30% of their energy sales will disappear and every cheapskate and greenie in North America is going to be putting in 2-5 KW of solar
and carving up their energy sales.
Now I figure the Rush Limbaugh Show won't ever be playing in the Griswold household,
so you should really look up some Numbers, you know those things Real Engineers play
with and then do some Math, you know that thing you do to Numbers and see if you can
get your own analysis to work.
And don't use your family as the baseline, you will need a nuclear reactor to get your
family to California in 36 hours.
It reminds me of the early Cell phone coverage maps, the Metropolis of the Eastern/North Eastern coast plus the Pacific Coast with a chunk of Mid Eastern, Chicago-centric states can meet that percentage with the other 20% 1,000 miles from the nearest refueling station
Yep And in that time period, an awful lot of fortunes were made starting companies to provide cell towers to the Cities. It wasn't the hillbillies who made cell work as a business, they made Walmart work, it was the Urbanites who were willing to pay $90/month for FM Cell service in Manhattan.
Rotating pool batteries need a business model that indemnifies the car owner from getting a bad battery received in a fast swap out and having to "eat it"
part of the reason Tesla hasnt released one yet. part is CARB politics and part is likely Tesla wants to put their superchargers out there first for a year or two and get data figure out which city pairs are congested. it cosy 100-200K to build a supercharger. Thats about the cost of one Model S. if they need superchargers at 100:1 they will be okay.
Tesla has sold 11.000 Model S and they have built out 117 Supercharging stations nationwide. If they spend less then 10% of their gross building the network, i think they will survive that cost.
It's nice to see someone else push back against the usual anti-EV bias around here. And refreshing that technically grounded arguments are being used to support one's outlook on transportation.
Another example our esteemed author is not so enthusiastic about the subject:
That doesn't make himamonster. It just means he sees his market differently.
Was someone insinuating that Marchionne is a "monster"?! Notice the title of this author's own post. Aren't we being asked to weigh in with opinions? Are dissenters implying anyone is a "monster" for having differing views? That sure sounded more like a reflexive "tell" on the author's own bias.
I'll bet Pat even acknowledges real climate science!
Sincere thanks for your good manners, patb2009. I think you are referring to a comment about my viewpoint, particularly with respect to climate science. I'll respond to that here: I take no issue with people who pick apart the logic of my arguments, but I don't like distortion. And that was a distortion. The gist of my viewpoint is that I do "acknowledge" climate science. I believe CO2 causes warming and lean toward the belief that rising levels of it in the atmosphere could have serious effects. (I emphasize use of the word "lean" here.) The overwhelming majority of peer-reviewed scientific articles support that belief. Since I was educated as a mechanical engineer, not an atmospheric physicist, I don't dispute it, but I hesitate to close my mind to other possibilities, since time often has a way of changing scientific beliefs, even those that seem very solid. But the bottom line is, peer-reviewed science seems to have the best case right now.
That said, I know scientists who don't agree. Good scientists. And their minority opinion should be heard. Seems to me that open and honest discussion is fundamental to the evolution of scientific knowledge.
A couple of years ago, I responded after critics said those scientists should be "scorned." I still think that's ridiculous. The blog generated over 500 comments, and I didn't have time to respond to all the people who commented. My only regret was that the article's headline was changed during editing after an editor thought the original headline (Global Warming: Is it 'Incontrovertible?') was too vague. (It was changed to "Global Warming: Are the Skeptics Right?"). A link to that story appears below. Nowhere in it do I say that I don't "acknowledge" climate science.
I hate to set up a strawman argument especially when the Author is here.
Now what I was referring to in this particular case was EVs and Marchionne.
At the core of it, Marchionne is voicing an opinion that John Smith in 1999 could have
said about the EV1. Yes, GM was losing money on the EV1 in 1999. It was a huge money pig. So was the Toyota Prius.
Toyota just passed through 7 million Prius sold and is on track for a million a year.
Had GM stuck it out in the EV1, learned the technology, made the jump, worked out a little Range extender engine, and kept rolling, they would be selling a million a year.
GM learned their lessons, is selling the Volt, and yes, they are losing money on a program basis but they have a Halo product. People love the Volt. GM learned enough to expand this into the Cadillac CT6....
I think Marchionne is looking at the cash he's losing on the Fiat 500e, not on the brand effects of a wonderful sporty peppy electric.
That gas shortage in the early 70's was because of a shortage of cheap gas. There was all the expensive gas that one could afford to purchase. Of course that is not what the media told us, because that is not what they were told. And they chose to not chase after the truth.
Now the power grid will be able to support the projected number of super charging stations, but with the claimed numbers there would be waiting lines at all of them. So while one would indeed be able to charge up and drive on longer trips, there might be some waiting in lines.
And while it may be that the grid could support half of the chargers switching on at 1 AM, it would not work out in my area, the grid fails when half the folks turn on thier air conditioning, which happened three times this summer.
While I am not opposed to the EV concept and it is certainly a good choice for those who want them to be able to, the idea of our government making us do it is totally repulsive, since the benefit of the EVs is not that great. As soon as the government ruling class choses to remove our freedoms it becomes time to replace that whole class with others who understand that freedom is important.
And did you ever consider that global warming causes increased atmospheric carbon dioxide? THAT is a fact.
And while it may be that the grid could support half of the chargers switching on at 1 AM, it would not work out in my area, the grid fails when half the folks turn on thier air conditioning, which happened three times this summer.
I don't know where you live, so it's not particularly enlightening your complaint. I know in India last summer the national grid collapsed for 10 days.
If you live in a 3rd world country, perhaps you have grid instability, but I live in a nice
developed city called Washington DC, and we are spending serious money to upgrade the utilities. Obama found it annoying the water and sewer had been neglected for so long.
I am sure there are places like Arkansas where an Electrical outlet is not to be found and where people still sit around the campfire, singing good old wayne newton songs, but,
The area in question is a suburb of Detroit , Michigan, not some third world country. Our distribution system is quite old and as a result things do fail.
And I am certain that there are a whole lot of older neighborhoods around the country that havea similar situation. Improving a distribution system that is adequate most of the time does not add to the return on investment and so is not approved by shareholders. So it does not happen. Unused capacity provides ZERO ROI and so it is never encouraged. That is how stockholders want things to be.
A 400 mile range, IC powered car will have a duty cycle of over 90% for the same 12 hours on the road with a single stop for fuel and food and a stop for the night one hour further along. Anyone who has filled a car with a couple of kids and driven a couple of days will tell you
That you are demented. Anyone who has ever traveled with 3 kids, one dog a wife, a cat
and one station wagon has on average about an hour between bathroom breaks, dog walks, cat feeding and feeding the kids is lucky to do 3 hours. Travelling 2 hours is pretty good.
Our trips with just the GF and the Cat is about 3 hours between breaks and he's an excellent travel cat.
A little stop to stretch, a little coffee, a bathroom break for everyone, some air for the cat and a pee stop for the dog are just how it goes.
Now if you want to do a Mitt Romney and lock the dog in a roof top carrier, well, that's on you buddy. I'd suggest you ask around and see what family people actually achieve vs what they say.
But I am NOT demented. We used to do Fairfax, Virginia to Bradenton, Florida straight through. We started with two children and eventually did it with five children. We did it in a Datsun 610, and a Chrysler Station Wagen. We even did it in a VW Microbus and eventually in a VW Vanagon. We would drive through the night. We also drove from Melbourne, Florida to Temecula, California in a Chrysler Town and Country with two teenage children, both drivers who carried their weight on the drive. Most times we made the ten minute "potty stops" three hours apart with "gas stops" six hours apart. And I'm NOT your buddy.
t I am NOT demented. ....We also drove from Melbourne, Florida to Temecula, California in a Chrysler Town and Country with two teenage children, both drivers who carried their weight on the drive. Most times we made the ten minute "potty stops" three hours apart with "gas stops" six hours apart.
Anyone who has filled a car with a couple of kids and driven a couple of days will tell you that the difference matters.
I think I've got the story of your Family Trips here.
http :// youtu.be/mrMjoHj0qfc
You do realize that You arent' the market. If the market is "Take JPRatch's 5 squaling kids
cross country as fast as possible with the fewest stops, the correct solution isn't the Town & Country Wagon but rather a Winnebago or a rented Americruiser. That way, you can have 3 drivers, they can swap shifts every 4 hours, and there are beds for the off duty driver to sleep, you can cook on the road and the kids don't need a pee break. Get the extended range diesel tanks and you can do 800 miles between re-tanking.
My Dad when he would take us on family trips would rent a station wagon or a van. During the regular year, he drove a AMC Rambler, a 72 Toyota Corona, a 71 Fiat 128 and various other econoboxes such as a VW Beetle.
There are numerous solutions out there, if you are willing to be creative, but, the great thing about a free market is you are always welcome to drive a Homer if you wish.
Thanks to Homer's dislike of the cars Herb's company was creating, Herb decided his company needed a new car that would appeal to the "average" American. Unfortunately, Homer's views on an ideal car was much different than that of an average American. Despite the many objections of Herb's employees, Herb encouraged Homer to follow his instincts in creating a car that American consumers would want to buy. Homer took charge of the project after Herb encouraged him to obey his gut when it came to what kind of car he wanted. Unfortunately, Homer's creation was such a monstrously strange car, that it cost so much to develop, and had such a high price tag(Aproiximatly $82000), that Herb's car company went out of business shortly after, with its building purchased by Komatsu Motors.
When I see a bunch of folks overreact to a statement like this, especially when the context demonstrates the speakers overall position to be more balanced than the isolated quote, it makes me question how secure his critics really are in their positions.
I'm still in the Hydrocarbon camp for several reasons.
1. I live in a mostly remote area and like to go camping on my time off.
2. I often must drive on Snowy, Icy roads to and from work. Weather is not an accepted excuse for tardyness, much less not showing up.
3. The nearest (and only one I know of) public Charging station is in the State Capitol over 50 miles away and I never travel in that direction.
4. No one that I know of offers a decent load capacity Hybrid SUV for reasonable money. Not saying there isn't one, I just have not seen it.
So Ya, I drive a gas Guzzling 4WD SUV since I can't afford 2 cars for one job. My wife does the same for the same reasons. 2 SUV's for a camping trip you might ask - Yes, We tent camp and carry passengers with us. We are often loaded to max Capacity in both SUV's for the trip out and back. While there we usually only drive one if we drive at all.
When you say, "The greatest mistake people make when thinking about markets is assuming "I am the market," we're definitely in agreement, patb2009. Tesla is making electrification work for its customers. Marchionne doesn't see it working now for his customers at the lower end of the market. That doesn't make him a monster. It just means he sees his market differently.
Marchionne doesn't see it working now for his customers at the lower end of the market. That doesn't make him a monster. It just means he sees his market differently.
It doesn't make him a monster, it makes him short sighted.
Carlos Ghosn is betting pretty hard on Electrics and the following innovations V2H, V2B.
If Vehicle to Home works out, that's a pretty significant change in the economy.
If you look at Elon Musk, he's very carefully betting hard on 2 things Residential
PV and Electric Cars. I think he sees a synergy between Residential solar and
Electric cars, and that the car can serve to buffer household power demands as well as
serve as transportation. If you look carefully the new Tesla Superchargers don't have a 500 KW feed anymore. they have smaller feeds and battery packs. it lets the system modulate demand. I suspect power is cheaper if they don't have to pay for a MW capacity, and a substation and they can load the batteries at night.
If you look at the chart i linked to, and then look up the price trend for battery,
it means Marchionne is missing a march on the next tech wave in transportation.
Pat; You hit it on the head. The roads are mostly paved but poorly maintained and cleanup after a storm can be as long as a week depending on how much we get. The main highways are cleared in hours but those are not my route to work.
The most direct path is a pothole filled back road that gets plowed later. Mass Transit here is a bad joke. There is a bus route but it is very slow transit. Towns have extended the borders until they touch to gather taxes but now they are overloaded with demand for service.
Thus to the point, These towns are not going to have charging stations for EV's. It's far too much expense for the few that might use it. TESLA's new lower power charging is also better but still too expensive here. Our electricity costs are nearly as high as California. We really need the Northern Pass project to go through and bring cheap Hydroelectric power in from Canada. The competition will force the local utilities to clean house.
I see in a note her TESLA is offering all wheel drive in the S model. But it's not for traction its for getting 0-60 in 3.2 seconds. interesting tho, it actually increases the range / efficiency by 10 miles per charge to 275miles. They also added autopilot - see the article to get the details on that. Don't expect to switch it on and take a nap.
And no one is talking about cost for battery replacement in 5 to 10 years. My SUV won't need a new engine by then but the battery of an EV or Hybrid will be shot.
The roads are mostly paved but poorly maintained and cleanup after a storm can be as long as a week depending on how much we get.
New Hampshire is famous for low state taxes, and minimal services. Doesn't the New Hampshire flag say "Live Free or Die", I believe that was about a desire not to ever pay a dime in taxes.
I see in a note her TESLA is offering all wheel drive in the S model. But it's not for traction its for getting 0-60 in 3.2 seconds.
I suspect this is a cross platform innovation for the Tesla Model X their Dual Motor All Wheel Drive SUV/Crossover.
And no one is talking about cost for battery replacement in 5 to 10 years. My SUV won't need a new engine by then but the battery of an EV or Hybrid will be shot.
Who says this?
If a Car lasts 10 years, it's served it's economic life, Who says a EV will need a new battery in 5 years? The first of the Chevy volts are flirting with 5 years, i haven't seen any new battery calls for them.
They said this nonsense about the Prius, 17 years later how many Prius owners do you see replacing the batteries after 10 years? About 15% of the fleet has had battery issues, not out of line with other system failures.
Really for a engineering news website, people really seem allergic to data.
Actually the Tesla Model S is the one with all wheel drive and computer control of the power to front VS rear wheels. And the article states they are going to match a supercars accell. I forget which one but think it was a Ferrari.
As to battery lifespan I'm running on memory here so the data may well be obsolete. The data I saw is pretty old now and may well have been from the opposition. Not the first time someone cherry picked data to support a view.
As Mark Twain made famous here: There are Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics.
And that takes me to my current peeves: Unemployment and Inflation Rates , which are cherry picked by the Government to look good, not reflect reality.
True Unemployment is more like 25% and Inflation including Gasoline, Heating oil, and Food would exceed 10% for each of the last several years. Thus the cherry picking.
Since when has a car outlived its economic usefullness in only 10 years. I have a 1995, and 1999 cars. The first gets about 40 miles per gallon and can go 350 miles on one single tank of gas. I have yet to see a EV which an match that. Not that I would not like them to reach that capability. I also want the battery to get to that level because it would help my field of cell phones last longer too. A charge which could be done quickly would really help as was so well documented in the season 16 show from England called TopGear. It took the cars 13 hours to charge.
Oh, by the way, how do we generate the electricity to recharge the batteries? Coal? Nuclear? Natural Gas Burning? Do not those generate carbon emissions?
For now, Marchionne has some good points. There are some exciting new technoloies in research in the battery world. I look forward to the day when a charge from the wall goes fast, and the range of the EV will also last more than 350 miles which is a typical tank of any viechle.
We are only able to select a vehicle from the options provided for us. If the CAFE standards from the 70's were in place, and not legislated away, we'd be having a much different conversation about electric cars. That is - not having any, not needing any.
I did an analysis graphing mpg/hp normalized at 100 hp for a long running car model (Ford Taurus). What I found out is that if we had capped engine output at 100 hp, we'd be seeing 80 mpg in our cars today. Even if hp and mpg shared the improvements, we'd be seeing around 50 mpg. As it is, mpg is the factor that has been "capped".
My research showed that in the 1980's, the base model Taurus (2.3L GL) got 23 mpg Hwy while producing only 90 hp. Today, the base model Taurus (3.5L V-6 SE) gest 29 mpg Hwy while producing 288 hp (data from Edmunds). Sure the acceleration was not blistering, but if it takes 11 seconds for 0-60 instead of 6 seconds, we should be able to live with that. Besides, Teenagers won't be killing themselves in rocket machines. A 100 hp car is not as dangerous as a 300 hp car.
When I plotted out the data, it was very interesting to see that huge gains were made in 1990 (a recession) and again in 2007 (another recession). And now that hybrids/EV's are improving market share, we are seeing steady improvements.
These huge gains were made in mpg/hp despite all the additional power drains on the car (e.g. larger wheels have more rotative inertia, and requires more hp to accelerate).
What this shows is that Marketing is driving the implementation of technology, and decisions on "what the public will buy" are made by people who don't care about fuel costs. There is a huge market of people that want a full size car, and yet also want great gas mileage, and don't really care if the care (to some extent) how much hp the car is pumping out.
And how many more improvements are really available on standard ICE engines? Can we "ask" for an mpg chip to re-calibrate the engine for gas mileage? Can we get smaller, thinner tires (safely)? When will diesels finally break into the market (the one tiny Chevy notwithstanding - I can't fit my family in there)?
I don't know much about the issue but I would say that there is nothing wrong with speaking plainly about a technology, even if it doesn't make everyone happy. It would save a lot of people--both companies and customers--a lot of hassle and money if the truth is out there rather than a bunch of hype. Marchionne, however outspoken he may be, has a good point.
Electric vehicle batteries are progressing rapidly, but there’s still no sign on the horizon that the technology is going to revolutionize the auto industry anytime soon, experts said at The Battery Show in Detroit last week.
We’ve collected photos of electric cars, designed for both the neighborhood blacktop and the commercial dragstrip. From the Crazyhorse Pinto and the Killacycle motorcycle to the Tesla Roadster and the 500-HP Renovo Coupe, we offer a peek at the blistering performance of the electric powertrain.
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