If you want to drive an electric car, it's really not that difficult. I have 3 vehicles:
1993 Honda del Sol converted to electric with LiFePO4 cells. 50 mile range. Used for commuting to work on most days. Recharge at work. Has at least 15-20 mile extra range for errands to/from work. Also used for errands on weekends.
2000 Mazda 626. Used on days with more errands than Honda can handle, or when I have more than one passenger. 35 MPG.
1999 3/4 ton Suburban. Driven when hauling cargo, lots of people, or the horse trailer. 10-12 MPG. Stays parked as much as possible!
Total cost to purchase all of these vehicles used was LESS than the cost of a Leaf or Volt. Use the correct vehicle for the job.
I choose the vehicle I need in priority order above. My wife chooses what's left, using the same priority order.
Until electric cars have at least a 300 mile range and can be recharged in 10 minutes or less, I personally will NEVER consider one as anything other than a toy, and I believe that is what the poll is really revealing - most people consider them a toy for either a geek or wealthy 'greenie' trying to show their green creds, not as a viable alternative to the internal combustion engine.
Agreed on the need for standardization of battery charging station hookups. This is one item that seems to be overlooked in multiple areas of electrical connections. Each house that we have owned have required that we purchase a new electrical cord for our dryer electrical hookup. This would not be a feasible alternative for an electric car charging station.
Ok, the numbers make sense if they are intended to be non-cumulative, i.e. 12 percent would be willing to buy an electric vehicle with gas prices below $6, and an ADDITIONAL 10 percent would be willing if gas prices were between 6 and 8 dollars. The way the numbers were presented in the article could be understood to mean that there are people who would consider buying an electric vehicle when gas prices are below $6, but wouldn't if gas prices are above $10. Obviously that doesn't make much sense.
In addition to battery life and charging/exchange stations, there will need to be some kind of standard established for the kind of battery offered. Right now (like VHS/Beta, or Hi Def vs BLue Ray), there are many ways to skin the fueling cat. The last thing we need as consumers is to have multiple choices for "fuel" and/or multiple makes of batteries that all hook up just a little differently. Then consider your long trip and you're running low on battery life; You stop at your handy recharging station to find they carry only the "other" brand of battery with different hook-ups than yours, BUT for a small fee, they can provide for you a conversion plug...
There has to be a standard from the beginning.
I also think it will be a little while in comming.
Maybe a car that generates more energy than it consumes??
The numbers indeed came directly from Gallup, but they weren't contained in the USA Today story. The poll was based on interviews of 1,024 adults living in the U.S. The particular survey question said, "Suppose gasoline prices continued to rise. How high do you think gas prices would have to rise before you would buy an electric car that you could only drive for a limited number of miles at one time?" As our story reported, the answers were:
Less than $6.00, 12%.
$6.00 - $7.99, 10%
$8.00 - $10.00, 9%
More than $10.00, 3%
What not do, no matter the price, 57%
No opinion, 9%
For whatever reason, these numbers did not appear in USA Today. They were sent directly to us, for our use, by Gallup.
And, yes, it's strange that the potential number of electric car buyers goes DOWN as the price of gas rises above $10. In a completely logical world, the number of potential EV buyers would rise as the price of gas goes higher. It's odd to have the highest numbers at the two extreme ends of the spectrum.
Something is mixed up with these numbers, I think.
If 57% of Americans won't consider buying an electric car, that must mean that 43% of Americans would consider buying an electric car, right?
So what to make of the claim that, if the price of gasoline is under $6 a gallon, only 12% of Americans would be willing to buy an electric car? And the bizarre result that, if the price goes above $10 a gallon, the percentage actually decreases to 3%?
For what it's worth, when I looked at the USA Today article, I couldn't find the data broken down by gas price. The article from greenchipstocks.com seemed to give a different set of numbers for this than the Design News article. Both of them claimed to be citing numbers from the USA Today poll, but, as I said, there was nothing in the actual article.
Am I just not understanding something, or is something seriously screwed up with these numbers?
To Sensor Pro: I wholeheartedly agree with you. The common assumption is that the current battery materials will follow Moore's Law -- costs will drop by a factor of two every few years, performance will double every few years. The truth, though, is this is a long, hard road. Since I started writing about electric cars in '88, we've seen the material of choice change from lead acid to nickel iron to sodium sulfur to advanced lead acid to nickel metal hydride to lithium polymer to lithium ion, to name just a few. And during this march of progress, there's been one constant: expectations always exceeded reality. The only way we're going to get the EV's promised land -- as you point out -- is with a big commitment to R&D, R&D, R&D.
I think that the electric car should pass through the natural pathway of acceptance. There should be a clear demand for it. At this time it is being pushed as a green solution agains a proven product. One issue is a battery, then the range, then the charging time, then the price, then.......
The product shouldn't be pushed by the environmentalists. We should be given ample time to properly research and design the product so it is userfriendly and reliable.
We may change our approach to battery design, and make new power sources modular, where one item is rechargeble and another is disposable. then it may be purchased anywhere on the way and added to exhisting internal battery as a boost. who knows what can be developed, but we need time.
Our government should stop wasting money and redirect it to R&D, NASA, private grants, etc... Look what is happening now in the industry. We need to get back to production and manufacturing, not service and clerical jobs.
R&D---R&D----R&D: without that we should forget about electric car.
I like your thinking on this Rob - you should get Steve Jobs on the phone and see if you can get a cut of the profits! Of course, the iCar would be way overpriced in the beginning, but give it a year or two and it would get slashed by a third when the latest and greatest iteration of the car came out.
In many engineering workplaces, there’s a generational conflict between recent engineering graduates and older, more experienced engineers. However, a recent study published in the psychology journal Cognition suggests that both may have something to learn from another group: 4 year olds.
Conventional wisdom holds that MIT, Cal Tech, and Stanford are three of the country’s best undergraduate engineering schools. Unfortunately, when conventional wisdom visits the topic of best engineering schools, it too often leaves out some of the most distinguished programs that don’t happen to offer PhD-level degrees.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.