I don't want to get into a pissing contest over EVs, but a bit more explanation: I have had four other ICE cars used to drive the same route from where I live for the past 35 years. I have a good record of what the average mileage I get turns out to be in the kind of traffic conditions I drive through every day - 32 in, and 32 out! That average turns out to be 20 MPG(like it or not) through a Ford, a Jeep, and two Acuras! Since I live in an outer bedroom community, WE GET HOSED with the price per gallon of gasoline! Averaging out over the last 5 years, we come out to $4.10/gal (like it or not).
The electric I drive happens to be a company car, and I am driving the same route for the last 2 years with this car. I have verified my cost to charge it with So. Cal. Edison, and the unit cost is programmed into the onboard computer in the car control panel. The cost to charge is displayed every morning on the monitor. Add it all up for the last 38,000 miles, and I came out with the cost/mile I gave you. The same thing was done for the price of the gas I burn, and the cost differential stands(like it or not). I am not saying that the EV is the end-all for everyone, but let's take a look at the overall landascape for a minute.
Yes, the current price of entry is high for the EV! The power generating in our area just happens to be natural gas (Edison has done a great job of controlling pollution at the point of generation with natural gas). Granted, not all areas use natural gas! But let's look at more of the costs of driving ICE cars. More than half of the cars on the route I drive are occupied by one person, many of them 5,000 lb. SUV's with one person on board. Look at the cost of trying to control these mobile sources of pollution, many of them not smogged or properly maintained, many of them dripping fluids and blowing oil. Everytime it rains in our area, you are not advised not to go to the beach for a week simply because of 10,000 square miles of polluted pavent petrolium products that poison our coast and damage what lives there. The company bought the car as a way of trying to get the ball rolling on some possible alternatives. I happen to be in a position to drive the vehicle, and it has serve well for the last 38,000 miles! Those who drive an EV for the first time realize that the driving experience is a whole new thing. As other manufacturers pile on with their own EV's, the price of entry will fall, the total cost of ownership will fall, and more people will leave the 5,000 lb. bolt bucket at home for the weekend activities like towing the boat, kids, and toys.
At some point, the electric drive will be doing some heavy lifting. One truck manufacturer is already in prototype stages of testing electric drive. Apparently the instant low-end torque of that drive looks like a very attractive alternative to the straight diesel.
By the way, it sounds like you did not yet go to the Solar City sight. Please do so and I believe you will find that you don't pay for the cost of installation. The value of the power generated by the panels is split up between you, solar city, and the power company. The net result is that you end up with a monthly payment that is a fraction of the normal bill/month you would pay out to the power company without the panels. All of the equipment is maintained and updated by Solar City. I may not have the EV much longer, but the panels will remain, and I will be very happy paying a whole lot less to Edison anyway!
You have used an apples-vs-oranges comparison to attempt to make your point. You used 20 MPG for the fuel-burning car, which is ridiculous. If you were to use a Prius, or even a Hyundai Elantra for comparison, the comparative gasoline costs would be 50% or even 60% less than your example.
So...now being more realistic - over your 100K mile calculation, the gas car would burn about $8 - 10K fuel (not $20.5K). I do actually believe your estimate of the electric car's charging cost. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nissan_leaf and look at the section on OPERATING COSTS. It agrees closely with your EV estimate (3.9 cents/mile or $3.9K / 100K miles). So, clearly the EV has lower "fuel" cost - to the tune of $4.1K-6.1K / 100K miles lower cost).
How much more did your EV cost vs. the equivalent conventional efficient car? (is it a Leaf, a Volt, a Tesla ?). The Volt is a great comparison, because the Cruze LTZ is almost exactly the same car, but without the EV. The MSRP's are: $40K = Volt, $24K = Cruze LTZ, for a delta of $16K. Therefore, the RAW break-even between these using the above numbers is between 260K - 390K miles. You're honestly never going to "break even"...but of course you can feel good that you are doing the "green" thing (burning coal+natural gas instead of oil....yeah baby).
OK...now let's put solar panels on your house roof. First, I'll comment that this is a WONDERFULLY green thing to do (MUCH greener than the EV choice). I am 100% pro-solar power, although it is still not cost effective vs. the grid.
If you look at the cost to put a panel large enough to fully charge your car - it will probably cost approx ~$30K (usually they muddy-up this figure with financing options, etc.).
So....add the $30K to the $16K premium you've already paid for your EV (and don't remind me of the EV convenience trade-offs...although the Volt admittedly minimizes these). So....$46K premium will now break-even in ONLY about $747K - 1.1 million miles !!! Good Gad....I hope your EV car and your panels last a really long time.
You mention that over 100K miles you believe that car maintenance would be an additional $12K vs. an EV. I don't believe this high number is representative of the average, but it is reasonable to assume that normal maintenance is lower on an EV. However, to be fair - if you include the BATTERY REPLACEMENT COST (somewhere in the neighborhood of $10K cost) at approx. 150K - 200K miles...this kind-of negates this argument.
My intent is not really to bash EV's...but I guess I effectively am, because they are not the great solution that they are being sold as....at least not with today's power grid.
Read the comments written in the link you posted. Sparky has it right.
I drive my all electric 64 miles/day, and the cost of electricity to do that is $2.50 (based upon our local rate and method of generation). The cost/mile is 3.9 cents/mile. Now if I look at the cost for driving that route for the 38,000 miles I have done with my electric, it comes out to a total cost of $1,484 in electricity. The cost for gas (based on an average over the last 2 years of $4.10/gallon) comes out to $7,790 for the same 38,000 miles (20.5 cents/mile). Take this out to 100,000 miles and the cost in electricity is $3,905, and gas is $20,500. I have never spent less than an additional $12,000 to keep any of my last 3 ICE engined cars running for 100,000 miles!
So far with the electric, I have put nothing into the car excedpt tires - - no belts, no hoses, no oil changes, no water pumps, no new mufflers, no new tranny, no leaky radiators, no factory crated engines, etc, etc. After two years of drivng pure electric, I have lost not one single mile of range! I have driven in 108 deg. heat and in 28 deg weather, wet and dry. Never a problem! Yes, the initial investment is high, but I feel that over time, I will make up that additional cost. The batteries are recycleable two ways: they are used in stationary power back-up systems, and they are also re-conditioned or recycled through the company.
The last part of my EV plan is to have the solar panels installed to pay my way before I use any power to re-charge. (Check out Solar City for their plan.) The best thing is that I don't leave a layer of oil on the window of the car behind me (something I have to clean off every day from the ICE cars ahead of me), and I don't have to get screwed everytime someone upstream feels that now is the time to jack up the gas prices again! Just sayin!
While the EPA's newer method to calculate MPGe for electric cars is a step in the right direction - it is far from merely "inexact", it is in fact quite fraudulent!
I urge anyone that wants to understand the immensity of that fraud to do a thumbnail calculation of how much energy (or fossil fuel...at the power plant) EV's use. You will find that the true MPGe should be approx. today's figure divided by ~2.5. In other words, the LEAF does not use the energy equivalent of 100 MPG, it gets about 40 MPGe if calculated honestly.
Note that this has nothing to do with the efficiency of electric motors, which can be very high. It has everything to do with the real (and necessary, by the laws of physics) inefficiencies of converting fuel (Coal and Natural Gas at power plants) to electricity.
One more thing to add to the equation, g-whiz, is the maintenance adder. Most people have a fairly good ide what it takes to maintain a conventational car and when various short-lived product will fail. However, with the EVs you are dealing with a high-cost battery with an expected life shorter than that of the auto itself. Do you have to buy a new battery? Can you sell the old one at a scrap yard so they can remove / resell the components and metals, or do you have to pay a recycler?
You make a lot of good points, Naperlou. Yes, the real hogs are the big vehicles. That's why it's good to see Ford's electric cargo van in there. And, yes, the ratings do leave room for improvement. Right now, the ratings are an exercise in physics and math. Using the EPA's methodology three years ago, Nissan was able to make the claim that its Leaf got 367 mpg and Chevy said the Volt was at 230 mpg. Then the EPA sat down and recalculated it, and the numbers settled in around 100 mpg. What it proves is that mpg ratings of electric cars is still an inexact science. See the link below for more info.
I also agree, I want to know how much it will add to my electricity bill each month to plug-in a car. The manufacturers only seem to talk about the gasoline fuel economy...not the higher electric bill.
With the much higher cost of hybrid and electric cars, and my low miles driven per year (just 6K), I just purchased a new conventional gasoline-powered economy car. Now it seems like I hardly use any gas, and I'm glad I didn't add to my already super-low monthly electricity bill ($60/month).
My home does not have any more room on the electrical panel for more circuits, so upgrading the panel would be an additional cost. And there is the cost of adding a dedicated 240 volt outlet for charging a plug-in car. No thanks for now.
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