I would have to agree that most people will buy an EV/hybrid for their worst-case use, not average use. Given that most people can't afford to have multiple cars for different uses, the decision to buy has to rest on the vehicle and range equation that best meets all potential use cases.
Ford plans to introduce 15 new vehicles in China by 2015, part of an initiative to gain market share in the world's biggest automotive market. These products will strengthen Ford's penetration in existing segments and drive growth in segments Ford is not competing in now.
I agree with Beth. I've seen a lot of comments mentioning second and third cars. Not in my household or my neighborhood. But we don't live in the city, so perhaps that's an urban concept. We do have two cars, one per adult driver, so maybe that's what that means (?).
Since only one of us (my husband) commutes, and only 11 miles one way each day, I could see one commuter car for him like an EV or hybrid, and another car, mine, for longer-distance travel.
Do you know what type of cars Ford will introduce into the China market, Ellaharris? Will there be hybrids, or will it be entirely internal combustion engines. I would imagine they will be manufactured on China.
Perhaps there will be a time when every household has the long-distance car and the short-distance vehicle and the pair are used accordingly by household participants when and where it makes sense. Somehow, though, I doubt it. Most drivers are very attached to their cars, given that they are typically loaded up with work files, personal gear, wallets, golf clubs, baby seats, etc. I know every time I ask my husband to switch cars, it's a big chore for him to make sure he has all his "stuff."
That said, unless we get to a time where the individual maintains two cars, one for short distances, one for long distances, or household driving can be seamlessly divved up so there's not a burden around trading vehicles, I remain skeptical about the multi-car use case.
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.
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."
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!
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.
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.
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