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Battar
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Better place
Battar   7/9/2013 3:50:11 AM
NO RATINGS
Charles M,

               Better place offered the Renault Fluence, an insipid 5 seater family saloon. The price was about equivalent to the diesel version of the car (more expensive than the gas version). They sold about 700 cars, and charged a monthly lease for battery swaps. The economics made it just slightly more expensive than fossil fueled cars. (until someone finds a way to differentialy tax electricity used for charging EVs). The idea was to run a pilot program in Israel and then expand all over the world. They proved that the idea is workable, given the investment funding and proper management and marketing. BetterPlace more or less scored F on the last 2 items. They targeted the "company car" segment. The luxury car market wouldn't justify the investment.

CharlesM
User Rank
Silver
Re: Start up costs.
CharlesM   7/8/2013 6:25:04 PM
Charles you can get as mad and insulting as you want, but EV's are a rich man's play toy or a golf cart. No I take that back, golf courses with steep hills need gasoline powered carts to climb the hills. Unless Scotty beams down his hyper drive crystals, EV's will always only exist in the future.

Where have I gotten mad and who have I insulted? Regarding EVs, you know nothing about what you're stating. Why pay attention to all the videos of electric cars blowing the doors off Vipers, Corvettes, M5s, Porsches, etc.? People like you obviously cannot learn anything new, so I won't bother trying. Just keep wastefully burning all that free carbon pollution your grandkids will suffer from. (Yes, that might be taken as a bit of an insult, but only in kind after your condescending remark.)

78RPM
User Rank
Gold
Re: Win ME over
78RPM   7/8/2013 5:43:19 PM
@CharlesM,

Thank you CharlesM. The link you provided is very incisive.

http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2013/06/lamar_smith_nsf_funding_you_can_t_mandate_scientific_discovery.html

My wife is president of her quilting guild and they make it a rule that no politics or religion be discussed -- too divisive.  They get along fine as long as they follow that rule.  This could be a lesson for us as engineers. Nevertheless ...

Lamar Smith's bill includes the following language to determine whether a project is worth government funding:

(1) is in the interests of the United States to advance the national health, prosperity, or welfare, and to secure the national defense by promoting the progress of science;
 (2) is the finest quality, is ground breaking, and answers questions or solves problems that are of utmost importance to society at large, and;
 (3) is not duplicative of other research projects being funded by the Foundation or other federal science agencies.

If you were an entrepreneur and sought funding from a venture capitalist, could you follow Lamar Smith's rules?  Conversely, would a venture capitalist insist upon them? I think not.  As Yogi Berra said, "Predictions are hard, especially about the future."  Did Microsoft establish ground breaking technology? No. It reverse engineered IBM's technology and marketed it.  Steve Wozniak got the idea for the Macintosh from visiting PARC. And we can't duplicate other's research? The other guy might be an incompetent dweeb who doesn't know how to submit a paper. Lamaar Smith might as well admit that he is either a Luddite or a Primitivist.

Tool_maker
User Rank
Platinum
Start up costs.
Tool_maker   7/8/2013 4:55:14 PM
  I may have missed it, but who is going to stock all of those batteries? I gassed up on my way in and ther were 4 cars refueling at 4:30 am. Using somebodies post some where in this ramble that. equates to $100,000 in battery inventory for just 4 vehicles at one station for one fillup. Extrapolate thos numbers how ever you want and you have created a totally ridiculous business plan.

  Charles you can get as mad and insulting as you want, but EV's are a rich man's play toy or a golf cart. No I take that back, golf courses with steep hills need gasoline powered carts to climb the hills. Unless Scotty beams down his hyper drive crystals, EV's will always only exist in the future.

CharlesM
User Rank
Silver
Re: Win ME over
CharlesM   7/8/2013 4:15:13 PM
Let's not forget that it was the federal government that brought us the Interstate Highway System (can you imagine Congress approving a similar project today?)

I was just thinking over the weekend about that list of things we are reliant on from the federal government, and that exact thought came to mind. Indeed, today's Congress would never stand for anything like the Interstate Highway System.

Here is an excellent recent article about how this Tea Party-manipulated Congress thinks about science research:

http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2013/06/lamar_smith_nsf_funding_you_can_t_mandate_scientific_discovery.html

Lamar Smith and Tom Coburn are real peaches, probably supported and admired by many DesignNews commenters. They're as legendary for their denial of climate change as Inhofe is.  These people are controlling Congress and they are liars and ignoramuses.

78RPM
User Rank
Gold
Re: Win ME over
78RPM   7/8/2013 3:39:13 PM
@CharlesM; I love your humor and satire. Seriously, that's a compliment, not sarcasm I'm giving here. I particularly liked your comment about whether gas guzzlers would be so popular were it not for Uncle Sam subsidizing the oil industry with tax credits. Maybe Uncle Sam should subsidize Apple to make iPads. Tesla recently paid off its $400+ million loan from Uncle Sam in full -- and posted its first profit last quarter. If government wants to pick winners and losers, I'd bet on Elon Musk any day.

Let's not forget that it was the federal government that brought us the Interstate Highway System (can you imagine Congress approving a similar project today?), nuclear energy, refinement of lasers for practical applications, seat belts in cars, space travel, on and on. The European Union has learned from this and now "invests" (if government can really invest), in stem cell research, the search for bosons, and building a supercomputer model of the human brain. Eventually, we will all benefit from such enterprises that seem so unmarketable today. Go engineers.

CharlesM
User Rank
Silver
Re: Win ME over
CharlesM   7/8/2013 1:06:41 PM
"Nobody should buy EVs until they're superior to gas cars in every way and cost a fraction of the price of the guzzlers we love so much." That seems to me to be a pretty accurate statement of many of the views around here. Watashi provides one of the best examples:

If they want to win me over all they have to do is let me have the sporty model for under $10K.  It will barely be able to get to work and back, but if it is as fun as a sports car, I would learn to like it.

Really, it should cost $10k and still be smoother, quieter, and more reliable/less maintenance than any ICE and cost 3 cents/mile for fuel too???  Are you still avoiding the purchase of a PC because you're waiting for prices to come down?


Paying real money for any EV novelty car just won't work.  I refuse to live near urban centers, refuse to drive anemic cars, and rack up over 100 miles a day.  I won't even pay $15K for a Polaris RZR, and I would likely have more use for it.

"Novelty car"? "Anemic"? Nothing over the top here.

CharlesM
User Rank
Silver
Re: BATTERY SWAP
CharlesM   7/8/2013 12:54:00 PM
Charles, do we know what prompted them to undertake this option?  Was it a drop (or lack) of sales or other considerations? Specifically, quality in construction and assembly or reliability during operation?   

I think it was mostly to counter the conventional wisdom that you can't add range to an EV nearly as fast as for an ICE. Turns out this is twice as fast, so that preconception has been debunked, even though this may be a rare luxury option for a good while.

I definitely agree with one comment in that it will be very interesting to see what happens to the entire EV market when the FED removes any and all tax credits.  Will the products stand on their own?  I suppose time will tell. 

It will be interesting to see what happens when the oil companies don't have Uncle Sam to hold their hands anymore and to indemnify them against damages every time there's a huge disaster like the Deepwater Horizon. We could break our addiction to dirty, unsustainable oil if the industry wasn't so heavily invested in dishonest propaganda and anti-science political friends like James Inhofe.

CharlesM
User Rank
Silver
Re: Better place
CharlesM   7/8/2013 12:36:52 PM
BetterPlace did exactly that over here. They ddin't just talk about it, they built the battery swap stations all over the country, and put the cars on the road. Then they went bust.

But what battery swappable cars did they have and how do any car companies get by selling only in tiny markets like Israel???? It sort of matters.


Tesla is facing the same problem - the market segment for their type of vehicle doesn't fit the business model.

If Tesla is always limited to +$70k cars, that segment hasn't seemed to hurt Porsche, Audi, and many other brands.


CharlesM
User Rank
Silver
Re: Battery life and battery swaps
CharlesM   7/8/2013 12:29:33 PM
Really, electric vehicles of whatever kind will need to make it on their own, since the government can't subsideize them forever,...

How much longer must we subsidize fossil fuels? You'd think the billions in quarterly profits for that industry would let the government discontinue those after 100 years, but you seem to be fine with indefinite oil and gas subsidies.


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