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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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