Warren, isn't it hard to live in such fear? You should look into that. Have you ever heard of AAA?
Ford is a perfect example of big auto not wanting to build, sell EV's by overweight, overpriced and overteched ones so they are unaffordable.
What we need are lightweight, medium tech aerodynamic EV's like the GM UltraLite and smaller.
But now they have dropped the prices as more reasonable and they now have long waiting lists and car makers like Honda saying they won't increase production to meet demand
As they should since the batteries cost far less than they are telling us. Tesla said their costs are much lower than claimed by big auto. Tesla's cells are under $200/kwhr and droping and packs are under $300/kwhr.
We buy quality large cells now retail for $400/kwhr so I think big auto pays quite a lot less than that.
I am working through my fear. I am almost ready to give up my dial telephone. But it will be very difficult. However, I have given up my Marconi spark transmitter! And those new superheterodyne radios are something else! The things they can do with valves!
Warren; I 100% agree with you that pure EV is not for many of us here in rural areas of the US. I might consider a hybrid for a future vehicle; but a pure EV is not feasible for this area here in Southern New Jersey by the coast. In fact, I had to laugh about the comment by Jerry Dicus about "calling AAA". Having been hit by Superstorm Sandy last year which devastated NJ and NY coastal towns; AAA was not even able to respond.
Oops; Power was gone for many days and we were ordered to evacuate. How far would my EV go under those circumstances with wide-spread power outages for many miles along the coastal evacuation routes. Gosh, my Jerrycan of gas was a big help with my ICE when the evacuation notice came.
Pure EV's might be great for urbanites; but those of us out here in Rural America (where most of your food is grown or raised), we all have bigger problems to contend with. It is an 8 mile drive for me to the nearest Gas Station, convenience store, or ATM. If we need groceries or go to the bank; my drive is 15 miles each way.
There are situations where EV's, Hybrids, & ICE's are the best for a particular situation. I do not like to see massive credits/rebates being given out to artificially support & push pure EV's. Each technology has it's advantages for a particular region or a person's driving habits. Somehow, everyone seems to be pushing a "panty hose mentality", where "one size fits all".
I appreciate the perspective from rural America. You may be right that the EV is much better suited to urban areas, but perhaps one day there will be an electric car sophisticated enough that this can change. The technology, I think, is certainly available.
I don't believe these numbers. I believe there is more oil than ever. Only governments won't let it go to push this other nonsense. Sorry, but I don't think we are running out of fossil fuels. The earth is full and ready for harvest.
Not that we should not be trying to use other methods, however. I just believe the government should get out of the energy non-business and let the marketplace develop it. No matter what Obama, Bush, Clinton, Reid, etc. says. What do these boneheads and their grant-adicted minions say.
Sorry, Pubudu, but those figures are from the same pseudoscientific alarmists who warned us of more than one previous "end of the world." From their track record I'd guess that at worst their graphic could be inverted. There's more than enough oil, coal and gas to last well over a century and perhaps more than twice that.
Of course, that doesn't mean we should be profligate in using these resources, but it does mean we ought not jump immediately to radical and faddish "solutions." Let's get the politicians and policy wonks out of the car business and give it back to actual Engineers.
I stongly suggest that you do a bit of research and check your figures carefully. Coal there might be plenty of, but oil and gas - sorry, finite resource, my grandchildren will probably live in a world in which it has been and gone. Take into account he increase in usage due to population expansion and industrialization of developing countries, and you will be counting oil in decades, not centurys.
It looks like gafisher can see into the future, because oil may last a century... if we stop using it. Not even the oil companies are fooling themselves like gafisher! They know better. Renewable energy is the future whether some want to believe it or not. H2 is the near future solution, that is here today. You can either run it in your internal combustion engine if you like, or you can use it to power your electric car. Use hydrides to store it safely and batteries are a thing of the past, because H2 solves the problem of expensive energy storage.
Chuck, I think with the right technology that EVs might be viable in the future. For now, the industry lives on incentives. This is not sustainable (pun intended). If you look at other green industries that have relied heavily on incentives even though they do not actually meet the requirement, you will see that. The best examples are wind and solar energy (I mean PV). These do mitigate some use of fosil fuels, but they have not resulted in the closing of traditional power sources. This is becuase the requirement for power generation is that it be always available. Wind and PV are not. Without some way to efficiently store power and distribute it, these will remain creatures of the subsidy. In Europe, especially countires in the south (e.g., Spain) where the economic situation has necessitated the removal of subsidies, the industry is in bad shape. This is just like the situation with EVs. The technology is not quite there to do what most people need from their vehicles. Again, subsidies have made up for the lack of appropriate technology.
As for the production numbers you cite, I find it interesting. This works out to 0.15% of cars sold (I am assuming 14M in the US). The numbers are almost the level of MG B production averaged over the time those cars were produced.
So, Chuck, that would be a fourfold increase over the next seven years. Actually that is wrong. I was using half year numbers if I read your article correctly. That puts us at about 0.3% now. So, we are talking about doubling in seven years. That sounds about right.
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.
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.
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.
Elizabeth... apparently you have a lot of discretionary money. That's OK, I am genuinely happy for you. The rest of us engage in "all of this financial talk" [as a means of survival] and cannot afford to spend our discretionary money to make a political or environmental statement, ESPECIALLY on larger purchases like homes and cars. I don't feel overly "good" when I do something nice [like recycling stuff] and I surely don't feel "bad" when I go roaring past a sickly Prius on the interstate. BTW, buying a good used car IS recycling.
If you experience those warm fuzzies when spending large amounts of money on things thought "green", good for you. If you feel really bad when you grill a steak using propane or charcoal... bummer. I just bought a $2700 used IC car in immaculate condition, it gets 29+mpg on gasoline at 70+mph, is American made, has a spotless interior, a few exterior scuffs, and a great Hp/wt ratio so handling and driving it is a pleasure. It does not consume engine oil other than 4000-mile changes, and is dependable... so much that I took it on a 1200 mile trip the first month I bought it.
Nothing in the EV market can top that smart use of money that is embodied in my used car. And, it cost me LESS than ONE EV battery. My biggest snicker is heard when people who drive a Prius [or other overpriced "green" car] pull up to their 3900 SQF energy-hog house and stick it in a heated and AC garage... wow.
I appreciate your opinion and comment, Constitution_man, but to clarify, I don't actually have a lot of discretionary money. ;) And I don't think all gas-powered cars are the devil. I actually live in Europe and drive a diesel-powered VW mini-bus. Not the best thing for the environment! I was just trying to get people to see a bigger picture. Although perhaps as another commenter points out, not even EVs are good for the environment. So I suppose we should all get on our bicycles then!
Price is one issue but the range of the vehicle is an even more important issue. Otherwise, they are crippled for most people as a possibility. That said, a 10% or more price incentive and along with the tax incentives will result in more sales/volume.
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.
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.
I agree with you, gafisher. The Volt is a plug-in hybrid, not an electric car. A narrow definition from SAE enables GM to call it an electric car because electric motors drive the wheels, but that's misleading. It burns gasoline; it should be called a hybrid.
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.
"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.
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.
I do remember in the late 90's a similar claim was being made about hybrids and that they would not pass the American test for price. I do think there is a place for electric vehicles. For myself I would like a limited range electric car for commuting or for across town trips. Ultimately there will be EVs. The dilemma for me is the amount of energy they consume. My goal is to be off grid completely by 2020 but the electric car will not get me there. A plug in hybrid would be a better option since I would only need to drain about 5 KW from my array and I could still drive in the winter months without drawing off my generator. For now though with the incentives and my tie in grid system, I could afford to buy the smart car EV or lease it option. A second car would give me flexibility and save me $600.00 a year in fuel costs. I could work on my present hybrid when it needs repair. So for me right now an electric car would be an option.
1. "Incentives" means money taken from the pockets of others and given to you. If you're depending on your fellow citizens to pay for your food, heat and housing you probably shouldn't be buying expensive cars. If you DON'T fund the rest of your life from welfare, why should your car be different?
2. Don't count on saving $600/year in gasoline costs for long. Both Federal and all State governments already have plans on the drawing board to make up for loss of fuel tax income -- you could very well be paying half (or more) of that $600 every time you renew your license plates.
3. "... save me $600.00 a year in fuel costs." Let's see; at $10,000 or so more to buy an EV over an equivalent conventional car, you'd break even (assuming what I suggested in  above doesn't happen) in how long?
I'm certainly not opposed to the EV concept, but I'm not convinced there's even one good reason (discounting self-satisfaction) for buying one until they evolve past the experimental stage and become a viable alternative.
I agree that incentives are not the best reason to try these new technologies but they do become easier to afford from just an individual consumer perspective. The down side is dependence through debt. My goal has been to reduce consumption of oil. Most of my ideas have come from The Home Energy Diet by Paul Schekel. A great resource for self sufficiency. $600.00/yr. in savings may sound insignificant but if you see it from my perspective; 1,100 a year for 17,000 miles of driving, it becomes huge amount over time. It's relative to how much energy you actually consume. Unfortunately everyone is borrowing "incentives" for example Social Security, roads, buildings, food. I do believe the system will collapse,but how to prepare is the question.
But, my short answer to the question of the thread is; about half what I would pay for the same auto in the ICE version. For me an EV would be about half as useful as an ICE, and so as long as it was to be my second car, I'd go about 50% on the price... being the adventurous type I might even try driving it to work in the winter a time or two.
I agree with your 50% conclusion, Ralphy Boy, It would be similar for me. Last year I had two kids in college and had to drive 300 miles (one way) to see one and 170 (one way) to see the other. A pure EV wouldn't work very well in those situations, For me to buy an EV for local use, it would have to be a lot less expensive than my IC-based car.
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.
I think the current EVs are still rather stupid cars for the average person. And the idea that I have to pay a subsidy for a car I can't even afford in the first place. Just like the Cash for Clunkers, I am paying a subsidy so people who can already afford the car are getting 7500 off the price.
Once again the market is telling us athere is a problem with these vehicles as a vehicle for everyone, and we try to deny this by fiddling with the marketplace to help people who can already afford the car to buy it.
Most electric vehicles won't get people to work and home in 1 charge. So should every employer be forced to add to their cost bey putting charging station in every parking space? Another tax on employers?
Same problem exists now that existed with the GM electric car - "Who Killed the Electric Car?" They are practical only under a very narrow set of constraints, and not many people live lives that fit within those constraints.
Tesla - WOW! $80 battery swap to go another 150 miles. I can go 480 miles for the same cost now. Where's the benefit? Or should we just run the cost of gasoline up so it forces people to buy a car they can't afford? Engineers and suchare in the upper middle class *or at least some of us are) and these cost numbers might not look all that bad. But there are a lot of people that are making way less and these prices are absurd.
Thanks for posting the IEEE Spectrum link! I recently read it and thought it quite well-written. I hope it takes some of the "shine" off the "green" image of EVs among those that can't (or won't) see the big picture. I'd like to think that the automakers are dropping prices in anticipation that the general population will soon get smart and leave automakers with inventory to dump. Of course, you can't really blame folks for wanting a bargain ... but I do blame automakers for being so anxious to take advantage of public perceptions, "trendiness" if you will, just to make a buck. Hybrids make so much more sense and don't require a total overhaul of our power utility infrastructure ... ever thought about what would happen if 75% of the population started plugging-in their vehicles every night? IMHO, pure EVs are nothing but techno-jewelry
Back in March 1 2001, the IEEE Spectrum had an article "Are Hybrid Vehicles Worth It?" Gas was $1.50 a gallon and the writer thought that gas prices woild have to rise to $5.10 for hybrids to make economic sense. Texaco was one of the contributors to that article. The article was far from "fair and balanced". The industry continued to make hybrids, the subsidies disappeared and today hybrids are popular and profitable.
The recent The IEEE Spectrum article "Unclean at Any Speed - Electric cars don't solve the automobile's environmental problems" is written with the same bias. If you like FOX News, you will probably love the author's book.
The article claims that the car is unclean because electricity is made from coal. If electricity were made from another source, then the car would be clean. It's not the cars fault.
To your point.
If 75% of the public charged their cars at night, the utilities would be delighted to upgrade their infrastructure with the profits from the increased sale of their product. Many of those cars would be charged during the day at the increased number of chargers that will be installed at office parking lots etc. The utilities would gladly build more power plants to meet the demand. Those plants would be built using natural gas, since the plants are now cheaper to build and operate than coal fired units
Those dirty electric cars would then become cleaner than ICE technology.
I bought a 2000 Honda Insight new. It has 176K miles and still runs fine. It's becoming something of a collector's car so the residual value is better than I expected. I ordered a Volt when they first were introduced. I kept the Insight in case there was the usual start up bugs in the Volt. Only problem so far was a software patch to make the braking system smoother during low speed operation. The weight of the batteries makes for a smooth ride. Their low center of gravity makes cornering far better than average. On long trips I get 40 MPG. I'm happy with the car and would buy another in the future.
I'm a member of the IEEE. I like their Technical Publications, The Spectrum magazine is included with the membership fee. The articles tend to be more informative than technical. "Unclean at Any Speed" was neither.
The only true green is an electric light rail mass transit train and a segway. Beyond that, most solutions involving high density electric storage or megajoule gas tanks produce directly or indirectly irrecoverable harmful byproducts. There is no free lunch. If you believe your Honda Insight is representative of a common conveyance for all, I'm happy for your delusional pursuit of happiness.
I share Warren's range concerns. Half of my mileage is daily commuting of 12 miles with another 10-20 miles for errands. About half is in 2 hour, 130 mile chunks, and a small percentage is for 250 mile trips which I expect to be able to make without an extended recharging stop. I drive an Expedition for all of this as perhaps 2-5% of my mileage is pulling a 5000 lb boat and I can't justify insurance, maintenance, and depreciation on separate vehicles for each need. I spend perhaps $5K per year on fuel and could save $2-4K/yr of that with a hybrid or pure electric. Purchasing a new $40K vehicle, even with $5-10K in incentives (get some of my tax dollars back), doesn't make much sense (adds >$600/yr insurance, maybe $500/yr maintenance, $3000/yr lease fee (acquisition / depreciation). If you buy it, you incur ~$20K/100K miles battery replacement = $0.20/mile = equivalent to gas at $4/gallon and 20 MPG. Cost of electricity to refuel is not free and for a Leaf which uses 34kwh/100miles would cost me $5/100 or $0.05/mile. I can use this for ~5K miles/yr, so added insurance / maintenance adds another ~$0.20/mile and Lease cost is $0.60/mile. Total cost then for lease, electricity, maintenance, and insurance is $0.85/mile or $4.2K/yr. If I drive my Expedition at 12 MPG and $4/gallon, I don't add more insurance and additional maintenance is less and its paid for. I'd pay $1.6K per year in gas and maybe $400/yr in added maintenance. So I'm saving $2.2K/yr by driving my "tank" for commuting rather than a "death-trap micro car" which will most likely be the loser in any accident...I guess I'll keep waiting.
I would think that the cost of an EV should be lower then a Hybrid, or even a car with just a gasoline engine. EVs and Hybrids both have electric motors, batteries, drive train and a control system. Hybrids also need a fuel tank, gasoline engine, engine cooling system, engine exhaust system, a large generator or alternator to charge batteries and a much more complex control system and drivetrain. I've heard it said that the Lockheed Skunk works spent less money developing the F117 then Ford spent developing the Taurus. I suspect that the high cost of EV's is due to the high per unit cost of engineering and not due to the cost of larger electric motors, batteries and chargers.
The TESLA Wall Street bubble is deflating, but not bursted yet, but hey from $30 something to almost $130 per share price for company that never made profit, and never will is simply incredible!
As for their cars there are over 2,000 that have been made and sold since 2008, and on e-Bay there is at least one every day - typically 6,000 to 8,000 miles !!!
You would never find TOYOTA Camry after 5 years with mileage this low - i.e. they trully are rich kids toys of which they get tired rather fast and DO NOT DRIVE THEM.
Then when they collected dust for few years and the batteries ($50,000 to replace) barely charge they are on E-Bay for less than 1/2 their original cost, and usually ZERO bids, or "reserve not met" even at $35,000.
If TESLA would be really serious about selling cars and providing incredible owner experience they would run out and buy back EVERY not used and not wanter ROADSTER in the World, refurbish it and sell it again with 100% Warranty.
They will NEVER do this, not with ROADSTER and not with S, thus the environmentally correct ZERO polution at source car has ZERO value once it is few years old, just as disposable as you iPhone.
Now that said I do drive OKA NEV ZEV every day locally for few miles and average about 16 miles per day.
I am looking to retire at the end of the year in Florida so a short range (20-30 miles) EV is not a bad choice. But needs to get up to 45 mph or more to not be a hazard. A golf cart is not a choice where I live due to speed limits and legal restrictions. I could probably live with lead acid batteries, even. I thought there were vehicles available for $20K before the big automakers started offering full range $40K models. I already bought an electric bike but there would be times that would not be convenient or safe. Really like the idea of a hybrid and wi buy one for our main car if available as CUV.
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