A 50MPG equivalent rating after spending $15,000 more for an EV is not attractive to anyone who knows how to multiply. My present Corolla gets 34MPG. At $4.00 per gallon you would save ~3.8 cents per mile with an EV. You would have to drive 400,000 miles for cost savings to kick in. Also, if your interest on your money is any greater than zero, the cost savings would never occur.
I must agree with old_Curmudgeon. Launching a new technology takes time, and us old-timers aren't likely to see EVs mature in our lifetime. I recall how tough it was to introduce and sell fax machines in the begining. Like who in the heck are you going to fax anything to if you're one of the first to buy one?
Being an 'empty-nester', my wife and I are using our 2007 Prius far more than our Venza. It has plenty of room, comfortable, and we made 3 trips to Boston from Milwaukee last year. After 4 years, we're still averaging 48 MPG. It's a great all-around car.
While in Boston, we picked up our 6'2" son and his bike from downtown during a snow storm. He fit well in the back seat, plus we were able to put his full size bike inside by folding down the other half of the back seat.
I question the practicality of plug-ins, especially in northern climates. When it's cold, you need to start the engine for heat, and it's cold most of the time in Wisconsin. That would totally negate the plug-in advantage. And a full EV just wouldn't make sense from a practical perspective.
My wife and I have differentiated our vehicles to account for the different tasks needed to be done in our lives. We have a truck and a sedan, similar to what naperlou mentioned. The sedan is considered our "traveling vehicle" and the truck is for hauling the camper, utility trailer, and other house /yard related work. But since we both work, both vehicles are driven everyday.
We did (briefly) consider a hybrid vehicle for the traveling vehicle, but they weren't a good overall value at the time. Plus the size and range of most of the electric / hybrid vehicles is insufficeint to haul a family of four with a dog and all the stuff for vacation/christmas presents/etc for long distances. Until those issues are on par with a standard mid-sized sedan that gets 30mpg and can be purchased late in the year for $20k, I don't think the majority of families will be able to select the electric / hybrid vehicle. At least not if they're looking at an overall cost / value ratio.
While MOST of the comments rendered in this blogs and similar blogs in recent times are very poignant & germaine to the argument of WHO will be most apt to adopt the electric vehicle, I have but one overriding feeling. I do not belittle the attempt to introduce an alternate powerplant for vehicle technology, but I firmly believe that ALL the parties involved (FORD, GM, NISSAN, TOYOTA, etal) should have approached this design effort as "skunkworks" projects. To me, this seems to be another very vivid example of the Marketing Depts. getting way ahead of the Shipping Depts. In my lengthy career, I've seen this happen to many times w/ products that I was personally involved to dismiss it as a random occurrence.
The fallout from this is that they've raised the awareness of this technology to a level that so far they cannot deliver viable solutions. For instance, I drive approx. 35 miles (each way) to/from work. Here in Florida, air conditioning IS a must, even during the winter months (tomorrow will be in upper 70s!) How much utility will I get from my all-electric NISSAN LEAF? Very little!!! And, where will I plug it in when I get to my destination? NOWHERE!!!! Maybe I could talk the owner of the company to install a high current receptacle on the side of the bldg., and reserve a parking space close by so I can plug my car in everyday for the return trip home. I see NO practical use for owning one of these EVs in my lifetime!
Beth, I think you've hit on the essence of the main electric car debate. I can't imagine buying a car for average use, rather than exceptional use. What happens when you need to drive the kids to college? Or drive to a vacation spot? Or drive out of town to see relatives? Do you have to rent a car? In the movie, "Who Killed the Electric Car?" actor Ed Begley Jr. talks about 90% of the drivers being able to make due with electric cars. But there's a difference between "90% of the drivers" and "90% of the driving."
Where I live most people do have multiple cars and they tend to be different types. This is a suburban area. When we first moved here, it seemed that everyone had a sedan and a minivan. Now you may see a SUV or Crossover replacing the minivan (we still have the minivan). Many people also might have a small sports car (mostly the older males). So, I see lots of specialization of vehicles. The problem with the PIHs is that they are all relatively small vehicles (as are most hybrids). This makes them specialized vehicles for most suburban drivers. The SmartCar also fills this role.
I remember, when I was young, my first ride in a Volkswagon Bettle. One of my more well off uncles (he owned his own factory) bout it as a third car, mostly as a curriosity. We took it out on the highway (speed limits were 70 or more) and it was scarry. Smaller cars, like these PIHs, are generally not the best on the highway. They really are specialized for urban living (where it is best to take public transport, anyway) or as a second or third car.
When will the car companies bring out a full sized vehicle with a PIH drive system? That would really change the game.
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