Jack's comment regarding recycling and the earlier comment re solar panels are indications that the electric car perhaps hasn't reached its final form yet. I still believe the Chevy Volt will be the paradigm for commercial electric vehicles, notwithstanding the fact that it's not a true plug-in electric. I know that point can be argued, but the analogy is more to a diesel electric train. Moreover, it's precisely because the Volt took a slightly out-of-box approach to electric implementation that I think it'll succeed. Still, replacement costs are going to be the ultimate gating factor/stumbling block to market success.
I am not an early adopter and this technology is not proven yet over time. I like keeping my cars forever and I need a little bit of assurance that they will last. As one person said in the article, he wants to see what the replacement battery costs. The second piece of that is what additional charges are the environmentalists going to tack on for "recycling" and whatnot. Finally, as a resident of the northern climes, I would like to see the long term effect of extreme temperatures and road salt.
I'll be waiting until GM and/or Nissan puts solar panels on the roof, hood and trunk before I buy one. Seems like a no-brainer. I wouldn't need to plug it in while at work as the sun will replenish at least some of the battery charge.
Also, I think it's interesting that GM, with all of it's considerable resources builds an electric car with a 40 mile range while little teeny tiny startup Tesla builds an EV with a range of 213 miles (and zero to sixty! Giddy Up!). Sure I know there is a difference in cost, but come on, GM is a giant by comparison. Or is it a dinosaur? I guess that would make Tesla either David or an asteroid bearing down on the Gulf.
Electric cars have limited use. The energy and raw materials used to make them is not an environmentally sound option.
For inter-city transporation a better approach is workable mass transit. This would also eleviate the traffic on the road. Electric powered light rail, subways, trolly type vehicles make more sense in high density populated metropolitan areas.
Electric cars are another way the auto companies can take your money. They did it before when they helped kill working mass transit systems in many cities by replacing them with diesel buses. So Cal had the Pacific Electric rail system that GM helped kill off. History seems to be repeating itself. Corporate profits over common sense.
I'd walk or ride a bike before wasting my money and earth's resources on a bad idea like electric cars. More mass transit is the answer.
Congratulations DISKGUY. You hit the nail on the head. In college in the 70's, we did a team systems study on dealing with peak power demands and were surprised at the excess capacity available at night. The electric vehicle under charge at night would reassure continued power plant operation at high efficiency. Locally two of three nuclear generators nearby presently pump water into huge higher altitude lakes for later use or hydro storage, and even then exes capacity is available at night. The third generator is rotated for maintenance. Zero incidence since construction.
EV/ICE combination powered by nuclear is definitely the way to go.
"Of all the forms of worry -- career, project, or personal -- surely the most vexing must be the range anxiety suffered by drivers of electric cars."
Really? So just start in with the straw man argument and... Volt wins!
Others here have discussed the misinformation in the comments and the regressive tone of the article. I find it disconcerting that many commenters who I would guess are technically inclined, seem to possess a talk-radio level of technical sophistication about electricity in general and EVs specifically. EVs aren't perfect and don't magically fill every personal driving profile. The Volt and LEAF are both good first steps in the process. I have about 10K mi on my LEAF. I didn't expect anything transformational but I thought it could be a good design fit for my solar roofed house and my 35 mi/day commute.
But it really has transformed my attitude about what I want in a car. Buckets of sunshine land on my roof and that sunshine is silently and cleanly pushed into my car where it can push my butt all over town.
It's fun to drive, love the torque off the line. It's super quiet. So much so that a trip in my late model turbo-charged ICE vehicle seems like a stagecoach ride; noise, vibration, odor.
I'm so smitten with the thing I don't believe I'll ever buy another car that doesn't plug-in. I don't miss swiping my credit card every week at the gas station and contributing to the ~ 1/2 Trillion $ we send out of the country for oil. I've saved almost $2k so far on gas alone.
No my solar panels weren't free nor carbon neutral. $ payback is about 7 yrs, carbon-based energy payback to make the panels in Oregon is about 18 months.
Overall, for my needs; my house + solarPV + LEAF is a better design than anything else I've used.
I know the question was posted in survey form, would you or wouldn't you/ Volt of Leaf, but why is there such an atttitude of right vs wrong? Thank goodness there was no internet blog when the automobile was first developed or the horse and buggy folks would comparing cost of oats, and reliability of horse in weather and terrain vs. automobiles. Electric (Leaf or Volt) is not for everybody: city apartment dwellers can't run electric cords across the sidewalks, people with 85 mile commutes (even if you could recharge at work) would not fair well with a Leaf.... I am an owner of a Volt. I like the pure quietness of the drive, I love the instant excelleration from a dead stop. I have driven both the Leaf and Volt - and my 6'3 " frame fits much better in the Volt. I have driven over 3,300 miles and have only used 14 gallons of gas for the times I visted family outside of my normal work commute range (someting I cold do with a Leaf). Averaging 1,000 miles per month, my electric bill has gone up $19 per month - which confirms usage/cost caluculation using a "kill-a-watt" device that I've used while charging every day or two. As far as renewable electric, has anyone driven through west Texas latley and passed the MILES of turbine electric generation fields? I like the idea of reducing the amount of oil we will have to import. As one of the other folks noted, the more people get on board with Electirc (Leaf or Volt), the more charging stations will pop up (who wouldn't want to cash in on new technology?) and the price of vehicles will come down.
No, I would not invest in either car at this time. Electical cars may some day be viable, the cost/mile to operate, at least in the early years is attractive, but the life cycle costs and lack of utility is a show stopper today.
I do not have the luxury of having a "commuter car", a kid hauling car, a stuff hauling truck etc. I have a city home with limited space and limited capital available. I have to buy what one thing there is that meets most of my requirements. Today, for my wife and I that typically is a sedan and a mini-van.
While the e-vehicle technology is interesting, I happen to live in the snow belt midwest. The e-vehicles seems to have fewer downsides in temperate climates such as California. We need heat, and lots of it here in the winter (-40 degF) and A/C and lots of it in the summer (105 degF) The e-cars, against these real requirements are non-starters. Even if they were rock solid reliable (which they are not yet), they just don't meet most of the real needs of real people.
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