When the subsidy is removed, the greenies will howl that it is those evil Republicans! The facts of $17 trillion debt will not enter any logical thinking. The unprecedented $200 trillion in unfunded liabilities won't phase their reality. Only the fact that the subsidy was ended, irregardless of monetary reasons, will be the onerous for their shrieking.
Nothing against electrics or hybrids, but why does the tax payer have to subsidize it? If, as many on this site are fond of explaining, the vehicle is such a good deal, then the buyer should pay for it.
Subsidies and build industires and they can crush industries. When we moved from the Carter Administration to the Raegan Administration, solar subsidies dried up. That set back the solar industry about 30 years. Of course cheap oil, gas, and coal did damage to solar as well.
Rob, cheap oil, gas, and coal damaged solar? What! Solar damaged solar, as I recall the Carter years were in the midst of an OPEC hostage of gas. It may seem cheap by today's prices, but it was not considered cheap back then.
Your premise is that the benevolent government has the ability to project winners and losers. Just look at the USPS or Detroit to understand how government really works. You are a good poster, but do not try and defend subsidies of a financially losing product. When the technology meets the market requirement, then no one has to incentivize the sales of the EV product. Stop wasting my tax money!
GTOlover, you got me wrong. Just because I noted that the lack of solar subsidizes hurt solar doesn't mean I supported government initiatives to prop up a struggling industry. My feelings are mixed on the subject. And yes OPEC drove prices up, which launched the solar industry in the first place. But those prices came tumbling down when increased exploration flooded the market with new oil. That's when the solar industry dried up.
I've seen a few analysis that have noted that solar has a know maximum output. THe sun only provides a maximum number of W/sqft. It won't provide more, it won't work for 24 hours, and the peak angle will only occur briefly and is only availible at certain latitudes at certain times of year. Let's not ever talk about cloud cover.
Even with perfect efficiency in the cells meaningful solar farms will need to be huge.
So Solar dried up? Hmm, worldwide solar installed base 2010 40GW, 2011 70GW, 2012 102GW, and growing. Here in California we have massive solar plants being built, and rooftop installations are picking up speed. Yeah, solar is dead, right, wrong!
This discussion has veered off the EV topic completely. None the less, government sponsered green energy is not going to answer our energy demands. Government has neither the knowledge nor the resources. Government subsidy only distorts the market forces and our country no longer has money to afford placing unassured bets. When a green energy technology proves itself cost effective the market will see to its success inspite of the government.
My first freshman engineering class in 1980 was a study of alternate energy sources. Green energy we call it today. So I have been following the subject with some interest for awhile. I don't profess to be an expert this is not my field, but I have no confidence in any of the green energy terchnologies that are in the forefront.
Solar panels may be good in the southwest but that technology will never supply significant energy to the northeast or the northwest. Winters are long and cold and when winter demand is peaking, the supply is poorest.
At best, wind and solar are supplemental. They are too irratic to supply reliable energy without storage technology that does not exist. Beacon Power spinning masses was actualy a joke wasn't it? Spinning mass kenitic energy megawatt storage, really? I always thought it was impractical, just with the inherent losses due to friction, had they not heard nature abors a vacuum. It made more sense to push the mass up a hill. But the kenitic joke took in a cool $24 million federal stimulus grant and a $43 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy and then filed for bankruptcy protection. 67 million out of the treasury. And for what? The list of similar failured ideas/companies is long if not distinguished; Solyndra, Walker Components, etc, etc.
The government tried to invent heavier than air flight. They invested heavily. They had their hand picked favorites. They heavily financed multiple teams including a team led by the Smithsoian that was believed to be a "sure thing". Then two outsiders, brothers of meager means came along with their own independent concepts and achieved what the government backed teams could not. These bicycle builders invented the flying machine 110 years ago and their flight control concepts remain the basis of all fixed wing aircraft today, virtually unchanged. The energy issue is at least as challeging as heavier than air flight. Who in government do you trust to pick the winner?
I suspect a new energy technology will emerge in the not too distant future that addresses our needs but it ain't going to be wind or solar. In India they dry cattle dung and burn it for fuel. Ammonia fumes are given off that have been known to blind people.
path, the longer that government can be prevented from applying mandates the better off everybody will be. Those unsound mandates, pressed forward primarily by lobbyists, are a source of a lot of the governments stupider laws. So how about nobody can pass any law that they don't understand, and that they have not considered the secondary effects of that law. Not to limit their lawmaking privileges, but rather to try to eliminate a bit of stupidity. There really does need to be a lot more logic and a lot less emotion in our legislatures.
Wow, seems I started a firestorm and got caught up in it myself. Let me apoligize for losing it.
Patb, thank you for your passionate insight and responses. I do not disagree with the need for alternative energy. I, in fact, am setting up solar cells on my roof (though it is a very small system to start). I also recognize my need for a hybrid for my daily travel. You have graciously pointed out several government wins. I would also point out that I did not object to military R and D for advanced technology. Your examples also show that the transfer of the military technology to the free market can be done without government subsidies for the products (except maybe the alternating current in the form of oil tax abatements for the power generation stations). I object to the government subsidizing a private industry (automobile manufacturers and oil companies).
This is not new technology as the electric car is ancient. The batteries may be a source of R & D funding, but to give preferential treatment to a specific car is crony capitalism at best and a poor business model as the article was pointing out. Maybe the Lex report is bogus, but no one can really predict the future. In the end we may ALL be wrong about the type of energy we use for transportation.
Touché, yet this theory has more credibility than Beacon Power’s kinetic energy storage scam and as far as I know it has not cost the US taxpayers a dime.
Always keep an open mind my friend. Never know what you can learn from old people, Fox News, or even government required nutrition labeling.
Even with the incentives in place we are seeing the manufacturers have to pile on additional $$$$. What is it on the Volt...$5K?
The early adopters are in but the product is apparently not gettting mainstream traction. The question in my mind is whether the current market is getting saturated. That is, have the bulk of the buyers that can afford/ are interested in / justify for their current needs the present products already bought one?
I suspect, baring unexpected technical advances, that these projected peaks will be lower and earlier.
Personally I would love a quiet commuter vehicle that runs on pennies, my 35 mile a day commute is ideal. The cost of buy-in and the limited capabilities at other use tiems are the kiss of death. At the present time.
I also wonder how many posts before someone starts snarling that Charles is "anti-electric". Clue time kids, he doesn't use the moniker "Capt. Hybrid" because he hates "eco-friendly" vehicles.
But, to a zealot any rational discussion of the hurdles ahead is blasphemy. "Burn (electricute?) the heretics!" There, I feel better now. ;^)
Good point Butner. There is probably a small specific market of buyers who are willing to pay a hefty pemium to drive a car that is environmentally friendly. That limited market is probably tapped now. Take away the subsidies and that market will probably shrink as the non-subsidized premium rises.
So let the market decide how well the sales of the EVs will go. The best that the government could do is to keep out of it and don't pass any stupid laws. Unfortunately they don't seem to understand that. They let free-run those things that should be regulated and regulate almost to death those things that should have free run.
Probably we can thank lawyers and lobbyists for the situation.
As noted by Jerry Dycus last week, this is more rubbish data from Lux Research.
Although subsidies are and can be an initial "prop" for an industry, at some point in time they won't matter much as the technology evolves. The $85K TESLA is only a temporary price tag. Elon Musk has stated in the past that many mass-consumed products had started off in the high-end realm of the market (affluent consumers) and then trickled down to the masses. Let's think automobiles in the 1920's, household appliances in the 50 and 60's, computers in the 80's and 90's etc.. here we are again....
The cat is out of the bag and the combustible engine has probably seen its better days. The era of the EV is here to stay for quite some time.
Also not noted anywhere is that the younger demographic "Millenials", most of the 85 Miillion of them, would highly favor clean energy vs combustibles.
Simply put, unless we get some unforseeable systemic economic or global shock, al lot of things are linning up for the EV's.
I found this tidbit and couldn't resist sharing the news. Seems Global Warming may not be caused by the infernal combustion engine after all. Climate scientists (an oxymoron if ever there was one) are blaming earthquakes. Who Knew?
From The Daily Mail: Earthquakes may contribute to global warming by releasing greenhouse gas from the ocean floor, a study suggests. Scientists uncovered evidence that a large earthquake in 1945 released more than seven million cubic metres of methane into the North Arabian Sea. The discovery exposes a natural source of greenhouse gas emissions that has not been considered before, they claim. As a greenhouse gas, methane is 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide, but less abundant in the atmosphere. Enormous quantities of methane are locked in icy structures called hydrates on the floors of the continental shelves surrounding the Earth's land masses.
And the funniest part is; one must conclude from this that climate scientists don't even know what gases are in the atmosphere.
Uncreative, don't give up so quickly on combustion engines. They're getting more and more efficient and may actually overtake EVs and hybrids carbon-for-carbon. Plus, new sources of oil and gas will likely make oil and gas energy more affordable in coming years.
With due respect, the whole HYBRID concept is fallacy, are mediocre at best, and a not a "real" indicator of fuel efficiency trends. I mean, you really have to question the HYBRID concept altogether from day one... Why would anyone buy a HYBRID rated at 40-45 MPG's when you could buy a standard true and tried off the shelf Corolla at about 35+ MPG's? No $5K battery to replace and higher maintenance costs to absorb. In other words, the HYBRID concept never made any sense to begin with. Simply put, HYBRIDs were and are simply an interim step to what truly makes does make economic sense - ALL electric vehicles.
I am in the oil and gas related business and although there are some new explorations, most notably in the South America region, the era of cheap oil has most likely passed. Even if conventional gas vehicles were to accomplish 75-100 MPG's would this be enough to accommodate 1-2 billion new cars as 3-4 billion people from emerging economies have more "wants" including cars. Think about that for ONE second, there are currently over 1 Billion cars worldwide (http://wardsauto.com/ar/world_vehicle_population_110815), very conservatively adding an additional billion cars would require that oil output almost double. Do you foresee this as the least bit possible? Not likely no matter what the price. Combustible engine would have to be rated at 300MPGs to even stand a chance.
Uncreative, your logic is exceptionally well thought out--hybrids were never going to be the "be all, end all" transportation. They filled the gap for a couple of years until EVs could really catch up. As you said regarding rising consumerism for cars around the world, petro fuels are never going to be cheap again. I'll miss my Dodge Hemi (sigh).
Yes, Rob, many hybrid owners aren't buying another hybrid. It's a strange phenomenon. As PatB points out, hybrid owners are generally satisfied with their vehicles. Reliability ratings on the Prius have been fantastically high. The "problem" is that gas- and diesel-burning vehicles are getting more efficient, and are drawing some hybrid customers back toward conventional, gas-burning cars.
I think your last statement says it all, Chuck. If gas burners are more efficient than they used to be, a consumer who cares about the environment does not have to pay the high premium for a hybrid car. Even if the consumer is happy with the car's performance, that doesn't mean that consumer is ready to pay another premium.
Yes, there are some wonderful hybrids out there, Rob. But the dual-powertrain is costly. It's worth mentioning, though, taxi fleets seem to be sticking with hybrids. If you're driving your car for 300,000 miles, as those guys do, the higher initial costs are not very important.
@Charles: The hybrid taxis in Chicago got a big boost from subsidies -- the city reimbursed fleet owners for buying hybrids. But once they were available, they quickly became a hit with taxi drivers, who realized that higher lease rates were more than balanced by the lower fuel costs. Taxi drivers have to pay for gas out of their own pockets, so lower fuel costs mean more take-home pay.
On the other hand, the city's attempt to promote CNG taxis has been a big loser. Allowing CNG taxis to skip the front of the line at the airports, where drivers can get higher fares, wound up resulting in CNG cab drivers picking up airport passengers, then high-tailing it back to the airport with an empty cab. In other words, half the time they were driving without a passenger, hardly the greenest outcome. When the skip-to-the-front-of-the-line incentive was discontinued, hardly any drivers wanted a CNG cab anymore. It wasn't worth the hastle of trying to find a CNG refueling station.
The moral of the story is that incentives can help encourage people to try new things, but people will only stick with it if the underlying economics make sense.
Excellent points, Dave Palmer. CNG still has issues that cab drivers don't like. As you point out, the main one is refueling. Cab drivers were feeling nervous about running out of gas and not being able to find a station. Another is lower energy density, which means more gas stations visits, unless you have huge CNG tanks on board. Huge tanks also means less space for luggage.
Interesting, CNG has the two of the same fundamental issues as pure electric-energy density and refueling locations. Even though it has several advantages over pure EV-lower cost (typically I assume), relatively easy conversion from conventional and faster reueling time, it is still uncompetitive.
You're right, Dennis. Chevy cut $5,000 from the Volt, Ford cut $4,000 from the Focus and Nissan cut $6,400 from the Leaf. That has definitely helped sales. In the next five years, GM is likely to cut a lot more off the Volt -- rumor has it they're aiming to bring it down by $10K. Either way, though, the loss of a $7,500-per-car credit is going to hurt.
If the cuts in price represented reduced costs to manufacture (I'm assuming the long term goal of dropping $10k from the Volt is in this category) these cuts would be a good thing.
Juxtaposed with flagging sales I have been assuming that these are profit reducing incentives to move struggling products. That is not good.
Taken as individual demonstrations of technology most of these vehicles are pretty cool, and for their intended use (largely commuting it seems) probably perform admirably.
None the less, I am starting think the market is indicating that the mass of buyers still want greater versatility (range) and convience (quick fueling, anywhere, anytime) than the EV market can provide at this time.
This is not a prediction- but I will not be shocked if the number of offerings in EVs retracts again rather than expands as many currently think. Just a thought.
if you notice, the issue is battery cost vs gas price, if Gas costs are at $5/gal almost any
Battery price is supportable. At Battery Costs under $300/KWH, an EV is sustainable.
As volumes increases, we should hit those points in the learning curve.
All the Federal subsidies are doing are serving to kick start initial production.
at Current gas prices, Hybrids are sustainable and we see nice steady growth of Hybrid vehicles. Almost every major manufacturer has a hybrid now, and, the Prius has sold 3 million world wide. Not too shabby by any measure.
EVs are ramping up nicely, and battery costs are coming down. I'd say the big issues are we need to have a standard for fast charging, (Level 3) and we need to make it a national priority to get fast chargers at the interchanges of major interstates and then every 100 miles along the major interstates. (A partnership with truck stops would do nicely).
EV's still require a bit of learning curve, and the price/performance isn't where we want it to be, but it will be there by 2020. Sooner if gas prices stay high.
Chuck, we have had several years of EV sales now. Gasoline prices have not come down in that time, but the sales of EVs are only as much as a sports car, the MG B, were in the 1960s and 1970s. This is in absolute terms. In percentage terms, EV sales are much less. I use the MG as an example becuase I had one. I use it also becuase it was basically a luxury. They cost as much as a family sedan but only carried two people and little luggage. They also got great gas mileage compared to other cars generally available. They were not subsidized, though. I fully epect that the EVs will not get to the 200,000 level for any particular model. You do include the Volt in this category, but it has an ICE for charging. The others do not. If you limit yourself to pure EVs, then the picture is even less favorable.
Considering our deficit, and considering the progress in economy cars with ICEs available today, why would we continue to subsidize a technology that is not ready for prime time?
How come they didn't mention oil price increase tax on gas cars they compete with? You can buy an EV like the Leaf now on just the gas savings over 5-7 yrs at 30 miles/day even at these overpriced , overweight, overteched EV's. Now in 4 yrs EV's will cost the same as ICE's because they are simple with few moving parts and lower battery prices.
Another post has value here on Lux, batteries and their real costs.
Charles the real subsidies hurting EV's are the massive ones for oil like protecting international oil companies for free. All up it's about 15% of the Fed budget and 50% of the military budget. If that was in oil as it should be we'd have been doing EV's long ago. That also mean YOU pay 15% more in taxes to cover it.
Next Lux or Pike have rarely been even close to correct 5 yrs out. They really don't have a clue based on their histories. Lithium batts/kwhr will easily double if not triple by 2018 because of 2 things, oil will be $8-10/gallon by then if the world economy recovers and lithium bats will be cheaper, under $200/kwhr retail in plug and play modules which is about what OEM's pay now for cells.
Tesla is getting them at about $150/kwhr for cells now. Musk laughed when asked and just said the battery prices are much lower than the press has been saying.
And if you do a teardown of them you'll find the cost of making cells for materials is under $100/kwhr now. At 22lbs the average costs of them is around $4/lb mostly plastic, iron, alum, copper, phosphate, etc . Even the .5lb of Lihium Carbonate is only $8/lb.
But again the problem isn't the batteries but refusal to build real cost effective EV's to use the ones we have. Just by cutting weight and better aero you can cut battery/costs by 50%.
And it's not like this isn't known as the GM UltraLite, Impact EV, Lovin's Hypercar, the Toyota 1/X done in medium tech composites get over 100mpg even on gas or 240 mile range on the Volt's 24kwhr pack. Heck even high schools are making them using Factory 5 kitcar body/chasis and doing the drivetrains smartly!!
But economics will win and if Detroit doesn't get with the program, they wil get left behind again.
2 recent details. An Electric MC, the Lightning MC, won the Pikes Peak race against the best gas bikes in the world. It's also the fast production bike in the US.
And Nissan Group just passed 100,000 EV sales.
As for start/stop the Lead batt problem is not recharging it completely before parking will make them sulfate up and die. And running the motor to do it is a waste. Best would be plug the car in to top thw batts up to full at least 1/wk.
Lithium on the other hand needs not to be fully charged for long life. OEM AGM's are likely $200/kwhr so Lithium isn't that far away. Retail on AGM's like Orbitals, Optima's are $400+/kwhr now so Lithioums are a lot closer than many think. It's only flooded lead that holds the line at about $60/kwhr OEM and $100 retail.
For these reasons Lux is just wrong as usual. And repoters like you keep reporting them anyways. Why? Can't you find someone who actually knows what they are talking about?
I totally agree with you Apresher, subsidies would seem like the determining factor here but looking at the bigger picture they are just a tidbit in the whole equation. Factors like the efficiency of the EV, affordability and the range anxiety do play a big role in the adoption of the Electric cars as well.
Same old story, EV's are not practical. Our government does not have money to throw down this rat hole just to assist some people in feeling better about themselves. The technology EV manufacturers are struggling with is not much better today than it was when automakers abandoned electric cars 100 years ago. The energy density in today's battery is still orders of magnitude away from practicality.
I can't say that I wouldn't buy one, but my issue is the money GM keeps throwing at a poor design. They just spent two years and probably millions redesigning the volt battery. The result, not it can go 138 miles before it needs to be charged as opposed to 135 miles. Was it really worth the effort and cost? Will that extra 3 miles per charge really increase sales that much?
Here's a tip for the EV owners if you want to gain more than 3 miles a charge, if it's that important, try driving with the radio off and the AC off, you'll probably get 5 miles more per charge. Maybe GM should not offer a radio on the volt to increase range.
Technology subsidies are supposed to expire. One example were the Federal Tax subsidy on Prius cars long expired after 60,000 were covered. USA Prius sales have exceeded 1 million and still going strong, ~15,000 per month without a subsidy.
When the Prius had a Federal tax subsidy, the dealers simply jacked up the price . . . converting the Federal tax subsidy into their local profit. Regardless, the subsidy is gone as are the waiting lines and dealer mark-ups to pick the pockets of their customers.
We bought our first Prius, used in 2005 and did not get one penny of subsidy. But the car was affordable and we were happy. We bought our second Prius new in 2010 and again, not one penny of subsidy. But the price was right and recently I ran 1,000 miles on 10.9 gallons over a two week period incuding commuting to work and ordinary driving chores around town . . . just to see what might be learned.
Not bad for a three year old car with 40,000 miles on the odometer and not one penny of subsidy.
A start-up subsidy is temporary and nothing guarantees it will survive when the subsidy is gone. But looking at $100/barrel oil and the dramatic drop in solar panels, the writing is on the wall and subsidies won't be needed. Tyring to predict their success only upon a subsidy while ignoring fundimental physics, chemistry, and available resources . . . well ostrich head in the sand comes to mind.
If you really want to see subsidy "madness," look at what many states are doing to attract companies. Whole industrial parks, tax relief for the company (not the employees,) and a whole host of tax payer money spent to sucker companies into their state borders.
CO2 is not poison. It is essentail in the cycle of life. Pretty obvious who's been brainwashed. I prefer a different term for green energy; Technology Regression, moving away from modern convenience to a more primitive existence. None of the green energy technologies have the potential to equal what it portends to replace. It can never be competitive because it is inferior. That is why it must be subsidized. The only feasible non-fossil fuel energy technology is nuclear and that has been forestalled by the Luddites or greenies if you prefer.
Sorry you didn't care for the turn in the conversation. But it isn't all about the economics. There are considerations of practicality and environment that speak to the subject as well and I believe they are much more important than the $ per mile.
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