I've never seen the movie, but you've certainly peaked my interest, Chuck. Disappointing, though, that there isn't more balance in presenting the real challenges the EV industry faces, faithful or no faithful. Perhaps the collaborators could have used a little help from Michael Moore.
Beth, did you have to mention Michael Moore? Argh!!
Actually we have been here before. At the dawn of the automobile age there were electric cars. Don't forget that back then we did not have suburbs and long distance journeys were taken by train. All autos were used for short distance travel, so electrics worked. The internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles used a type of fuel that frankly "smelled". Once something closer to the current formulation of gasoline became available the electrics died out. The reason was the same. Limited range and time to charge. Until that is solved, the drive train doesn't matter.
I think that there will be a solution. It might well be fuel cells. It might be a whole new battery technology (different chemistry). It may be a hybrid of ultra capacitors and battery. Whatever it is, we don't have it now.
Due to their lack of ability to go long distance, or "there great ability to only travel short distances" I am wondering if this technology won't be used by the portion of the public that doesn't need to drive long distances. It's kind of like pick-up trucks or SUVs. Most people that have them really don't need them. Will rising gas prices drive them to buy something different? Will gas prices as some point drive a change in the market place?
One of the problems with all these "single use" vehicles is that they cannot "cross the chasm" as the product development types like to say. You can sell a few of almost anything. These will be bought by the early adopters. These are people who have disposable wealth who will decide to try something new. Nothjing wrong with that. To make money, though, you have to cross the chasm to appeal to the general public. To do this, you need to meet a need and do it better than the current available product.
A good, relevant example of another vehicle that is not making it is the Smart Car. You would not want to drive one on the highway. On the other hand, a very small car can be great in an urban environment. Sales of these cars are down. The early adopters have them, and there is no real reason for anyone else to buy them. Frankly, in the city it is better not to have a car at all.
I had seen "Who Killed the Electric Car" and I was instantly struck by thin the movie was on technical details. The movie maker simply made the assumption that the car worked perfectly with no technological or economic hurdles, and that GM simply killed the car because somebody in a black helicopter made a call from Hangar 51. It could have happened that way, but it seemed to me that an issue with safety or GM's reputation was discovered. I'm certain that I'm not alone in the desire for a practical, plug-in commuter vehicle, and I'd really enjoy seeing a documentary on the struggle involved in developing a product of that type.
I viewed the entire movie last evening and was captivated both by the movie itself, but most especially by the "Rose Colored Glasses" perspective without any of the realities other than promoters having to convince both the market that this is ready to go (without question) and the investors to believe this position too!
Some of the myriad of issues driving the interest in a practical electric vehicle, which has many useful and appropriate applications, are dominated by storage of the electrical energy to obtain the mileage desired or demanded in today's living environment, the toxic waste hazard that is created at the site of a vehicle accident, the hazards to emergency rescue personnel (firefighters, paramedics and others that may assist at the scene of an accident), the availability of raw materials to manufacture the batteries, the ability to produce the batteries or other source of electrical power at any semblance of competitive costs, et al.
While the immediate cost of petroleum (including vehicle fuels) is influencing the interest and demand for this power source, if the petroleum costs are not determined by "politics" then the development will be driven by a more true market of need and efficiency and not one that is artificially dominated by the misguided environmental concerns of some in government power today.
I was sad for the problems encountered by "Gadget", however, his is the very best example of "intentions with value" in that he builds vehicles for those that want the application for their personal transportation needs and not to be forced upon a mass market that "may not want" nor are ready to "accept" the current technology - mostly due to problems associated with recharging the storage device (battery or ???) and the acquisition costs versus utility and practicality!
BTW - Who is going to pay for the charging while at work, the employer or ??? I suggest one concern is that if employers are required to provide and pay for these costs (or even "incentivized" through tax offsets), it will result in less employees as this is an additional and direct employee cost.
The intentions are wonderful but with mandates to make it work, are unwelcome!
Where have you been in the universe? Far less than 1% of the population are calling the shots in our society! GM bought the trolly companies in LA and shut them down so people would have to buy cars forever, a small number of unelected corporate executives with enough money can make the rest of us do what they want. It's not a technical issue, it's a business decision based on the easiest path to wealth for a small number of people.
The reason Advertising is a multibillion dollar industry is because it works. An army of scientists and psycologists are working together every day to study human behavior and develop better ways to manipulate those 97% and make sure they buy the same old thing all the while pulling the green wool over our eyes with hydrogen fuel cells that never get produced (because they are not practical as nobody will ever want liguid hydrogen in any quantity trucked all over the country anyway or allwed at self serve stations). If you think you are making a choice in your best interest next time you buy a car, it is highly unlikely as that choice has been made for you by someone in the advertising industry who knopws exactly who you are!
A new car cost about one billion dollars to bring to production, and that's making the same car that we have had since the model "T". (gasoline, gearbox, piston engine). The cheapest way to get customers to pay more for the same old thing has been to sell them on the candy of more power(even though cars have had more than adequate power to legally function since the 1940's) and gadgets. The paradigm of efficency and smaller environmental foot print has never appeared on the radar of the auto execs, and thats why the 97% buy what they do.
The best thing that has happened to transportation in the last 20 years (and should have happened 20 years ago) is the new mandate for 50mpg average mileage. This might bring about the electric car at last!
I agree with you, Tekochip, the first movie was very thin on technical detail. Ironically, though, I think it got better reviews because because it was so unabashedly one-sided. This film, while still light on technical detail, shows that EV development isn't easy, which isn't as popular a position.
I have seen the movie twice and it is already "outdated"
Is #3 in the works ? It should be !!!
TESLA Roadster is no more and the would be replacement probably a vaporware.
Think!, AZD, Aptera, Bright, and more already Bankrupt
FORD Transit EV, Mistsubishi i, Wheego, SMART ED, and even Leaf and Volt sales are nowhere near the "already reserved" prior production numbers that were claimed by all just 2 years ago.
No stampede to EV retailers.
And in Europe where Fuel Cost of $9.00 per US Gallon is already a reality the EV sales are minimal.
So just like a "monster" in some cheap horror flicks the EV comes back to haunt us again and again, how many more times will it come "back" to life, before it finally turns to dust in bright sunshine ?
The movie I'd like to see would cover the abysmal failure of the hydrogen fuel cell nonsense and how it was sold. After a decade, hydrogen fuel cells remain a vast money pit. Sad to say, the budget that would have funded the Precept, GM's Volt predecessor, in 2001 was spent proving hydrogen fuel cells are not even close to being a transportation option.
There is an old saying, perfect is the enemy of good enough, and this pretty well sums up my view of EV technology today. IMHO, Toyota's conservative hybrid approach and expanding family puts them in the 'cat bird seat' when (or if) battery technology makes a breakthrough.
In the meanwhile, the 'Prius c' looks to be a game changer. A vehicle with a similar performance profile as the first 2001-03 Prius, it is lighter and more efficient. What is remarkable is the MSRP is about the same as the first Prius . . . a significant price-performance gain.
I've seen this movie, and fully agree with this review. Although I am involved with converting existing cars to electric, and designing new electric cars, I was disappointed in the movie's lack of reality concerning technical difficulties. It was interesting to watch the drama of car executives, and I could relate somewhat via my own business experience. But I believe that the approach that many pro-EV people take - that the technology is ready for prime time and the only thing holding it back is a conspiracy - is hurting the industry's credibility. I do not want to win business by promising what I cannot deliver, or by shaming people. So when asked about this movie I do not recommend it as a true snapshot of the EV industry, but only as documentation of the trials and tribulations of a few high profile industry executives.
I saw the movie a few weeks ago (BTW, a good review of it). It was an entertaining movie. I was most impressed with Greg Abbott's business of converting classic cars to electric (at the time, he was the only one with a real product to sell). I was also impressed with the Tesla customers that were getting fleeced and still not giving up. Now that's TRUE LOVE.
It was interesting that Toyota and/or hybrids were not featured at all. I guess hybrids are not pure enough for the anti-gas crowd (even though they are the driving force behind the enabling technology for electric cars).
We want electric cars SO BAD, we want to believe they are possible, that the only reason we don't have them is some evil conspiricy. Ultimately, it becomes a religious or semantic rather than an engineering topic.
All the "hype and hoopla" is for nothing. The market forces will prevail. It is best to work with the market forces than to fight them. And our Government officials never learn either - they think they can change the very laws of nature as if they were man-made laws. They can sure mess them up for awhile, but they cannot change them.
We can not change the laws of nature, of course, but we discover new ones all the time! Nature did not invent the internal combustion engine, but Ford and GM ailing with Standard Oil wrote the laws that have shaped our transportation system.
Market forces come from many directions, and do not necessarily produce the best outcome for the greatest number of people (in fact the purpose of those forces generaly are directed at extracting wealth and control for a few, not for everyone). That the market produces a general good is a myth, it produces a monopoly that stifles inovation, remember the old Phone company and is greatest innovation the "Princess" phone? Once Government steped in we finally saw real invention, engineering and science found more than one undiscovered law of nature and we all have seen the benifit!
Wait until the selfdrive car comes along! It might be like a Roomba vac, and after it drops you off for work, finds the neares charging station! The government can help by making it more expensive to not change (such as increase the mpg standard or mandated pollution controls).
Just giving up is not a good choice, hype and hoopla might be imaginations at work creating something new and great to replace the 19th century addiction we have to an outmoded transportation system. Calling an SUV a "Crossover" is not real innoation.
I'm sorry, solarsculpter, you appear to be already indoctrinated. And you're talking about government trying to clean up it's own mess - government protected monopolies (e.g. Ma Bell). An explaination is too long for this post. But you can take this to the bank:
The market will always correct itself, if not legally, then illegally.
ChasChas I'm not sure what you mean by indoctrinated, I was trying to look at this from an Anthropological(the study of mankind) point of view. In that context we have to face the fact the invention of money (money is an invention not a law of nature) coinsided with the invention of government, to have money you need rules (whose is it? is it blue or red clamshells ect.) so saying govenment protected mopolies is meaningless. All commerce transacted with money is government protected on some level. Big government means lots of money, tiny government means hardly any (compare Bangladesh vs USA) .
There is a third way that markets adjust, that is extralegally, no laws have yet been thought of because whatever is being sold is too new to attract notice!
Remember the 'muscle' cars ? When surveyed, customers said they wanted fuel efficient cars. When available, they bought muscle cars instead. Advertising does influence the market. 'Image' is a big factor in selling a car.
And Lobbyists influence the market. Can you list all of the industries that get government subsidies ? Oil and Ethanol are 2 big ones. That skews the market. However, the favorite argument is to ignore the subsidies that support your pet projects, and highlight the subsidies of the competition. And these 'corrupting / unbalancing' factors are so pervasive and ingrained that they can never be undone. The 'facts', or the 'truth', lie somewhere between the two extremes.
Any kind of Government subsidy effectively distorts the markets. This is especially true of late in the Wind Power business. It is all but impossible to get a accurate picture of the cost of producing electric energy for the grid from wind power.
Ethanol subsidies have a similar effect just like milk price supports and any kind of government intervention. Free market Capitalism works really well when it is Free, a real Market of competing products, and the profit motive drives the business.
Frequently the environmental impact is cited as a reason to perturb the Free Market. this is incorrect. Teh true cost of the effects on the environment must be included in the product cost.
Imagine an electric car with the performance of a muscle car, the best energy efficiency and the best environmental impact. There is almost zero chance a product like that can emerge from our current system of subsidies and big corporations trying to maintain their status quo and huge investments in infrastructure.
solarsculptor - Your response made me smile, as your optimism for the future and knowledge of the past are clearly not the norm for this blog! I can picture an ancestral group from the 19th century (all blacksmiths) complaining about these new-fangled automobiles and how they will never replace horses - besides, where would you park them all? The 20th century group would be the happiest, because oddly no one thought Eisenhower building a transcontinental Interstate Highway system was intrusive government interference, or that the Apollo program was a waste of taxpayer's money better left to private industry. The 21st century group can't imagine a future without unlimited individual transportation anywhere, anytime, because after all the entire country was covered with roads and suburbs when Columbus landed!
OK, maybe this assessment is a little harsh, but it saddens me that an engineering-heavy forum that regularly bemoans the loss American technical know-how and innovation seems to be happy with a response of "nope, that'll never work..." Can't we do better?
The beauty of an electric car is that the transmission itself can be electric and it can also be very efficient. Whether we use gasoline, Biodiesel, fuel cells, chemical batteries, or that mythical Mr. Fusion from Back to the Future, the transmission system remains the same. Perhaps we can even find some way to swap the electric generation system to meet the local environmental needs.
There is tremendous potential here to improve designs. A diesel engine can work wonders in this capacity and could probably yield significant performance improvements working through an electrical system.
Side note: a young friend of mine is currently making biodiesel for about $1.75 per gallon. I'm almost certain that he has not accounted for all expenses there, but nevertheless, he's doing this on a small scale (around 30 to 40 gallons per batch) and producing useful product. He's looking for algae growing systems next. I see some interesting developments in his future.
I'm not dogmatic about the totally electric car. I want a car that does not depend upon some unobtanium such as palladium electrodes, or difficult to contain gasses such as hydrogen. Furthermore, one has to remember that the electricity itself has to come from somewhere. In most countries the majority source is from fossil fuels.
Ultimately, we have to ask ourselves whether the electric car will be less expensive and better for our planet's eco-system.
As for those who make movies, well, I have very low expectations of them actually getting their facts right, never mind the reality of the situation. Anything in movie form is pure entertainment as far as I'm concerned.
Haven't seen the movie but "Who Killed..etc" was amazingly naive.
One thing that is rarely noted is that electrical storage is a very mature industry/science. 200 years of widespread, intense investigation has gone into this and I'm a bit skeptical that we will see a revolutionary breakthrough overnight. Could happen-but betting on it would be poor policy.
I've noticed that when discussing the current EVs many talk about "when their prices come down". But come down to what? The retail prices are a money losing fiction-which is OK. Progress costs at first.
However Toyota, the car company with the greatest experience in advanced automotive batteries in commercially viable, profitable applications put the cost of batteries at $500/mile of travel on electrical power.
Let's apply that to the Volt. $500/mi X 40mi range=$20,000. Build a car around that with an auxiliary powertrain and you can easily have another $20k.
I don't think GM picked the retail price out of the air-$40k is probably the likely price for the car at significant commercial volumes.
My conclusion: Don't expect huge volumes for EVs anytime soon-they will be too expensive for quite some time.
First the movie was done by EV consumers pissed their EV-1's got taken away and crushed for no good reason. GM was offered $25million for them and they would take care of an service them but GM refused. Now what company refuses $25M for a non performing asset?
Then they sold the petent rights to Texeco/Chevron to the NiMH battery who then forced Toyota, other to stop making batteries larger than 10 amphrs. That effectively killed the best battery available then. Added to that the Cal CARB board stopped the EV mandate because of big money.
Now just where dores a conspricy start, end? This certainly qualifies I think.
At the same time I got all the EV PR releases and all kinds of unknown sources claiming batteries are killer toxic despite the fact they have been used for 100 yrs in ICE's without a problem. And many more almost all telling lies against EV's. We tracked many down and obviously from hired PR guns putting out misinformation campaign.
And it worked just look at the comments here about battery toxic waste site in an accident which with lithium not even possible in most cases, formulas.
Facts are we haven't had available lightweight, low cost EV's to buy and once they are, they will sell well.
If you want a long distance car, then an EV's may not be for you. But a 60 mile range EV can do 90% of US trips.
Now if one needs longer range just add a generator for unlimited range at 2x's the mileage.
All the EV's problems have decent solutions. Just people don't want to find them or just can't think because of a closed mind.
A nice 1000lb EV with 100 mile range, 80 mpg, recharge in 15 minutes nd with an optional 5kw generator, unlimited range at over 100mpg, could be built in composites and in real mass production, under 12k. Chances of big auto building these that take their larger. more profitable sales away, about zero.
My version gets about 300mpg equivalent. So little it is hard to notice in my $25/month electric bill. For my EV sportwagon and Harley size EV trike costs for electric and lead batteries is $.04 and $.02/mile. So next time yoy fill up think of me laughing all the way to the bank. ;^P
The real reason though is oil is subsidized by about $3/gal in many ways. If the full cost accounting as our repub friends aways say but never do, the higher real cost of gasoline would drive EV sales nicely. Even the overweight, high tech ones now offered.
Facts are oil s going up with a bullet in price and EV costs are dropping. Plus you wouldn't be paying for both sides of the oil wars that have helped bring our country to our knees along with stupid Repub energy, tax, regulation policies. Of course none of these costs are in you gasoline price but along with many other costs, in out income taxes , healthcare costs, etc.
As for your ICe beating an EV, google EV racing and see if you can beat them? I doubt it because even the Viper club won't race them anymore as tired of getting beat by EV's. Was bad for ther image.
I haven't seen "Revenge" - I watched as much of "Who Killed" as I could stomach, as I'm at the age where I have to watch my blood pressure. In every part of the movie that I saw, it never asked any of the important questions, such as whether it could come close to competing with an IC-engine car for a typical buyer, rather than a wealthy enthusiast.
One of the more interesting parts of "Who Killed" was the point where they were putting down fuel-cell electric vehicles. They listed seven reasons (IIRC) that FC electrics were inferior to battery electrics. As I viewed the list, I concluded that in each of the seven categories, battery electrics were inferior to IC-engine vehicles. Of course, this undercuts the whole case for battery electrics. I've been wondering if the filmmakers are that clueless, or willfully obtuse.
The problem that it would seem the movie brings out is the difference between the "EV Narative" and reality.
Who Killed the Electic Car blamed every thing but the fact that the technology was not there to support a practical vehicle. Those who have invested their emotions in the EV loved it no matter what the shortcomings.
The present evolution of the EV seems to follow a trend I see in business. The folks pushing it have little knowledge of the technology and think that it will happen just by waving their hands. And they seem to think that the engineers are just a bunch of nay-sayers because they are talking about the short comings. A range of 40 miles is not a problem, untill you ask them how to make a 60 mile round trip to work. Or what about the infrastructure to charge all these vehicles, and what will the "Carbon Footprint" be for all these vehicles. And what new "miracle" plan will have to be implemented to accomplish these goals.
Kind of like all the hoopla around Hydrogen. How much energy do we waste producing hydrogen so we don't have to polute when we drive our car? And how much polution was emitted to get the "non-poluting" hydrogen?
An how about the fact that the vast majority of americans can't justify $40,000.00 for a compact car that won't get them home from work.
You will get the simplistic answers - Well just move closer to your job! And how do I sell my house so I can move? Or - Just think of the gas you will save! And how many years could I drive the Internal Combustion car before the gas would cost more than the EV?
It would seem that most of the EV push is on the part of folks who can afford the EV and the gas car 9OR suv) that they really drive. And the others are politicians who can feel good with other folks money and aren't held responsible when it fails.
Kind of reminds me of a canversation a few years back. I hade just made a trip from South Bend Indiana to Sevierville Tennesee and averaged 40MPG in my Dodge Neon. I was talking with another individual who claimed hi hybrid was more efficient than my Neon and he got 35MPG. By his definition his hybrid had to be more efficient, even though it got less mileage. There is the same problem with the EV. Don't bother with facts, they have it all figured out emotionally...
Market will adjust the production cost in the end and continuously push the technology moving forward. No need to worry too much about the cost for what you see today. 50 years ago, not too many people could affordded a car as well. As long as everybody think higher efficience is the goal to pursuit, it will become better and cheaper. Why see so negitive on new stuff. Is there any reason to accept lagging behind and getting big punch in the competition? Stay on traditional gas car is not the solution. Maybe need step out to see what world is doing.
Kf2qd, you are correct about those of average income not being as likely to opt for an EV. A study by Deloitte Consulting said that among early adopters, "average incomes are expected to be in excess of $200,000." GM has also said that average incomes of Volt buyers are $175,000.
I agree, dubues, driving a Tesla Roadster is an incredible experience. I need to add, however, that I didn't pay a penny to take the Roadster for a spin. And I can't afford to plunk down $109,000 to buy one.
The 50 mpg cafe standard will have to mean smaller, lighter, weaker and less comfortable vehicles. I think I can keep my 4wd Dodge Ram running for the next 50 years if there is no suitable replacement vehicle.
If the powers that be manipulate the fossil fuel costs to force us into EV's the economic damage to all industries will result in fewer people buying any kind of new vehicle. That won't help sales.
The phenomenon you aptly describe, Absalom, is a real concern among industry analysts. They call it the "Cubanization" of the market. They're afraid that people will hang onto their old cars instead of springing for new ones.
It is very important to understand that the closest thing to an accurate portrayal of reality provided by the entertainmant people is "Road Runner and Coyote", and that everything else is a real stretch.
The limiting thing does seem to be the battery challenge, but there is also the very important issue of who will be able to service these vehicles, and how much will it cost. That problem is capable of totally killing mass produced electric vehicles as a viable option.
Compressed Natural Gas has a much lower energy density than gasoline. And it requires (relatively) high pressure; e.g. propane is a liquid at 70 F and about 200 psi. So refilling a CNG tank requires a trained operator and specialized equipment vs. refilling a gasoline tank. Propane was also used (briefly) as a motor vehicle fuel. The relative scarceness of propane stations vs. gasoline stations, and having road taxes added, eventually killed the propane option. The CNG fill station would probably be at the fleet yard only.
Define 'subsidy'. On-the-road gasoline has road taxes (vs. farm gasoline). The natural gas for your residential furnace and water heater does not have road taxes. So if you are not paying road taxes on the CNG fuel for your vehicle, is that not effectively a subsidy ?
CraigHolm; (With the exception of all electric vehicles) On-the-road vehicles pay road taxes on diesel fuel and gasoline. Licensing and vehicle registration fees can also be construed as 'taxation'. A natural gas fueled vehicle that does not pay road taxes on natural gas fuel is subsidized by those unpaid taxes. Gasoline for farm equipment used to have a dye added - if that dye showed up in a road vehicle gasoline tank you could be fined. I don't know if farm gasoline is still dyed. Note that an 'odometer' tax has been suggested so that high-fuel-efficient vehicles could be taxed through mileage rather than fuel consumption.
There's a second in the film Vengeance of the Power Car when a Popular Aspects journal writer says, "The most frightening part is, can they get the cost of the battery power down?" If you watch the film, that's about as close as you'll get to a real specialized controversy on the long run of energy source. Wouldn't want to be stuck in a traffic jam on a freeway on a 110 degree day when the EV battery dies and the radiators won't work. It could be life-threatening.
Natural gas is only "Subsidized" if you look at it like a politician and ANYTHING you fail to tax is a subsidy.
It is a loaded term. Is your house subsidized because you take advantage of the mortgage tax break? The argument is that the oil industry is subsudized becase they take advantage of tax breaks in their industry
used to be a subsidy was something you recieved a payment for. Now it has become anytime goverment doesn't take its chunk, or any benifit I think you get that I'm not able to take advantage of.
GlennA: first of all, natural gas is METHANE (CH4), a cousin of propane (and butane, and even OCTANE). Second, it is not a liquid at all in vehicle use today (which is why it's called CNG (compressed natural gas), not LNG (Liquified natural gas) which IS problematic in many ways. Third, it's a fuel that has some other attractive aspects: it can be a GREEN fuel (as in a by product of landfills), the proven reserves in the USA are IMMENSE and growing, and it is a relatively small jump from gasoline-fueled ICE technology. Actually, the preferred implementation today is a variation of Diesel technology! Yes, as one other poster has noted, its specific energy density is less than gasoline, and, as a hydrocarbon, it does have a "carbon footprint" when it burns (but a much smaller one that gasoline or diesel). I know it's hard for a True Believer (Google that) like you to understand real science and real facts, but at least make the effort! As another poster pointed out, there already are compressors that can fuel your CNG vehicle directly from your natural gas pipe at home. BTW, they are significantly CHEAPER then any of the "fast-charge" home stations for pure EVs!
Ratsky; Since you intended to offend me, I will take offense: I worked in propane and natural gas for years, as a licensed pipefittter, and was qualified (at the time) to do on-the-road vehicle propane conversions. So I have some familiarity wth LPG, CNG, and LNG. And I was the one who posted that CNG has a lower energy density than gasoline.
Rather than a "True Believer" (yes I Googled it) I think you could call me a true skeptic. I am familiar with Science and Facts, and I have seen how 'facts' can be manipulated, which is why I tend to take into consideration whose dog is in which fight.
I am not against CNG in cars, or other on-the-road-vehicles. I think Hybrid technology will help CNG through regenerative braking to offset the lower energy density. I am not familiar with CNG and fuel injectors - LPG was done as a carburetor modification. One of the reasons that LPG went out of favor was that road taxes were added when it became more popular. Another was that propane filling stations were not as plentiful as gasoline stations.
CNG will also lose some of its lustre when road taxes are added - it is inevitable that on-the-road CNG will somehow be levied with road taxes. Another factor is that CNG is not universally available - I was surprised when I was told that natural gas is rare in Florida. I guess because air conditioning is more prevalent than heating. So when you drive your CNG car to Florida, or any other long distance, plan ahead to find out where you can get fills.
Many years ago (like over 30) I lived in South Florida. Both the houses I lived in during that time had natural gas connections, for heating (yes, you do need it on occasion), cooking, and hot water. It was certainly generally available in my area (Broward County) but I can't speak for the rest of the state. Sorry to give you offense; I am a fairly sarcastic guy by nature! I did wait a long time waiting for someone else to comment on "propane vs. methane" but it never happened, and I got a bit carried away. There are more than a few "true believers" who are regulars whenever there's any discussion of EVs on this site; you know who you are!! You, GlennA, probably know them too. BTW, I assume Google led you to my favorite author, Eric Hoffer. Worthwhile read in these times of mass hysteria. You might also want to read up on Westport Technologies, a leader in the diesel-to-CNG conversion technology. Even with a road tax equal to that on gasoline, CNG is significantly cheaper. Today's pipeline prices for natural gas are at historic lows, and going lower every day.
Ratsky; I don't recall which post I saw this on, but Jerry dycus believes that commercial trucking will convert to CNG - possibly the majority. That would go a long way to making CNG filling locations widespread vs. relying on home-based refueling. Unfortunately, that would also make the levying of road taxes inevitable.
I couldn't find the trucking / CNG topic, but Jerry dycus also has comments on the Fuel from plastic topic.
That (commercial use) is very likely. I've actually bet on it, in terms of buying a chunk of Westport's stock! It's up about 21% today (recovering from a long slide, but way above my cost). If you look at their web site (or look up WPRT on any financial news site) you'll see all of the action going on in the commercial/fleet business in conversion to CNG. Mass transit (buses), waste services (including Waste Management, which gets double benefit by using waste methane from their landfills), local delivery services (including all major players), etc. are all making major commitments. You're right when you point out that fleets generally will put their own infrastructure in place rather than relying on retail sources, but they will certainly help the economics by encouraging large-scale compression facilities.
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