Mr. Dycus and I are on the same page with regards to these riduculously heavy, overly complex and commensurately expensive EV's that are being offered by the major players. Possibly it is because nearly everything these manufacturers offer is overly complex and commensurately expensive - that's all they know how to build, or at least they believe that's all they can offer and make a worthwhile profit on. They're building to the market and it's probably a fair statement that if they offered a spartan EV with bench seats, crank windows and no A/C it would be a colossal flop irrespective of fuel type.
I have a battery EV and when you have an EV, you don't need a second car - it *is* the second car. In that role, it's actually very useful and in some cases fun and convenient. Because you know you're not going on a cross country trip in it, the range issue is nearly irrelvant. You fuel it at home, and it's always 100% ready to go when you leave. Plugging it in to charge for the night is no different than topping off your cell phone. In my mind an EV as a second car can be every bit as functional as its' ICE counterpart. But that's about as good as it gets, meaning if equivalent is the best it can do, then for sure it should not cost any more either. Otherwise, where's the value? Saving the planet? Not for most people. If you're driving *any* kind of car thinking it's "green", you're somewhere in the range between ignorant and idiot.
Unless you have very limited driving requirements a contemporary EV will only be good as a second car. As such, that's all it's ever going to be worth. Not hard to justify a nominal expense on such a vehicle, as this expense would happen irrespective of the vehicle fuel source. It would be safe to say not many people would want to spend more on a second car as they do their primary/trip car. As it stands today, that pricing is upside down. From my perspective as a long time EV owner there's no way in hell I'd spend upwards of a mortgage payment on a car I only drive to work and back in, and do errands on weekends. Deduct for the range limit and guaranteed eventual pack replacement/devaluation and in my mind that price point must be put under that of a similarly featured ICE vehicle. I'm here to tell you that after the novelty of charging your car instead of putting gas in it wears off, the cost to own and operate it will still be there.
I can't afford a "luxury" EV anymore than a "luxury" ICE. But I can afford a "working man's" ICE. There are no "working man's" EV's. Until that happens, no factory built EV's for me.
Fiat's got what may be the most revealing plan -- buy one of their EVs and get up to twelve days' use of a real car. The bottom line has to be, would you buy a car offering similar performance if it were NOT an EV?
Both the economic and the environmental arguments break down under even slight examination. Environmentally, the electricity which powers an EV doesn't come out of thin air; unless your power comes from a nuclear or solar plant*, every mile you drive creates air and water pollution somewhere. There's a reason EV's are called "Coal-Powered Cars." The economic arguments fall flat as new tax schemes such as "Well-To-Wheel" (WTW) and EV Road Taxes come on line, removing any cost savings expected from abandoning gasoline. Tax subsidies -- A.K.A. "making your neighbors help pay for your car" -- have been attractive to those who don't mind looting the public treasury, but those programs are (thankfully!) winding down.
So the real question is: would you accept the inconvenience, miniscule range, and discomfort of that car if it weren't an EV? If so, great! Buy it -- it's your right -- but please be sure to turn down any government incentives if you have a shred of honor. And if not, well, that's great too: you'll be amazed at how good some of today's cars are, including many of the hybrids.
* Even if you have access to "clean" solar energy, the production of those solar cells is poisoning soil, water and air in China and elsewhere, and nuclear shares some of those problems. Wind is a dead end with its own severe environmental problems.
This article mentioned the Volt, which does not suffer from the "limited range" problem. It can use gasoline to drive a generator, and it uses that electricity to maintain battery charge.
I really considered a Volt. I wanted a Volt. Whan the time came to buy a car, the Chevy Cruze was half the price of a Volt: about 19K instead of 38K. So, based on personal experience, I can say that an extra $19,000 dollars was too much.
if the Volt had been $25K I would almost certainly have bought a Volt instead of a Cruze. $28K? Still possibliy, would have to discuss it with my wife. Higher than $30K? extra cost over $10,000 to get a car with one less seat (due to the battery hump)? Too much.
So the lower price with incentives, now bring it into possibly acceptable price range.
"If the prices were comparable with those for gasoline-based vehicles, would you make the jump? "
Oh yea. And I did. And I wasn't planning on it. No more oil changes, catalytic converters, spark plugs, motor starters, maintenance schedules, etc., I went with the Mitsibushi iMiev. It's $30K. Until July 31st they're knocking off $10K (so it's $20K). And then the Feds give you a $7500 tax credit. That puts it at the cheap gas car price. From plug to wheels I consume about 250W/mile on average. So this electric car is way cheaper to drive than gas. I get about 75 miles/charge in the summer. I do have a Prius for those cross-country trips. I'm ending up putting more miles per month on my iMiev anyway. It also helped that Mitsubishi offers a 100,000 mile battery warranty. Driving all electric is extremely addictive.
BTW, I'm not a green lover. I just love the cost savings and never stopping at a gas station again. People may be surprised how their commuter car collects more miles than their cross-country cars.
Jerry, you are on the vanguard of the economics-driven argument, and Elizabeth is on the vanguard of the environmental one. Transportation in the US is a complex problem of economic, social, and environmental issues largely driven by the infrastructure built up over time to support it. Recall that it was 1999 when Honda introduced the first US hybrid, the Insight. That provoked all kinds of discussions about how impractical it was, and how hybrids would never be a viable alternative to IC cars. Now we have moved past hybrids, and the same discussion is happening around EVs. People can have difficulty seeing how the future can be different from the present sometimes, but I think the forces at work are all going in your direction. Time will tell.
Before considering buying an EV, heres another question to answer - would you be willing to give up your gas-guzzling SUV/truck/super-sized saloon and drive a conventional, 1.6 liter, 100hp Fiat 500 or Ford Focus ? If your asnwer is "no", despite the obvious savings in fuel, then you are not ready for the EV market. EU residents who drive smaller, fuel efficient cars on a regular basis and would not be seen dead in a Ford F350 are exempt from answering.
I'm really not sure that they could sell me an EV. I love technology, but to pay that much for a range limited vehicle is just silly in my opinion.
I have a short commute, so I suppose I could use an EV for a commuter car, but I can't imagine it being cost effective for me to buy a dedicated vehicle just for my short commute. Even when my commute was longer, the cost to purchase a more fuel efficient car just didn't add up for me.
EV's don't need subsudies, just put the present massive subsidies, costs of oil in it and EV's easily win. Mostly it's the cost of protecting international oil companies/oil wars we now do for free since repubs won't make those who are responsible for the cost, pay it.
Instead YOU get 30% higher income taxes. And you thought repubs were against higher taxes ;^P
EV's also need companies that want them to succeed like Tesla. And mine and many others are coming soon.
I've costed out a nice composite 2 seat 80 mph, 80 mile range with an unlimited range generator option using medium tech and lead batteries can be built with a 20% profit for $10k in 20k/yr production.
Every 5-7 yrs you'd have your batteries reformed into new ones for a fee cuts battery cost way down.
But big auto doesn't want a car that lasts forever and needs few parts for replacement with only 1 moving part in the motor and no transm,ission or the many other systems needed to keep an ICE running.
I build my EV prototypes for under $2k shows how low cost they really are if you want to.
I understand the need for all of this financial talk when it comes to EVs, but I think the big picture and the benefits that have nothing to do with money need to come into play when you talk about incentive to buy one. Think of over the long term how much more environmentally friendly it is to eliminate emissions of gasoline-powered cars, and think of the money that will be saved in gasoline bills. EVs are more than just a question of money, in my opinion.
Altair has released an update of its HyperWorks computer-aided engineering simulation suite that includes new features focusing on four key areas of product design: performance optimization, lightweight design, lead-time reduction, and new technologies.
At IMTS last week, Stratasys introduced two new multi-materials PolyJet 3D printers, plus a new UV-resistant material for its FDM production 3D printers. They can be used in making jigs and fixtures, as well as prototypes and small runs of production parts.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.