The Electric Car Is Dead All Over Again
By Alex Davies
Mon, Apr 8, 2013 5:08 PM EDT
The dream of an electric car that’s both affordable and practical has eluded automakers, and will likely do so for another decade.
The problem is a lack of cheap, powerful battery technology that keeps ranges limited, charge times long, and prices high.
A much better battery is the “holy grail,” says Jack Nerad, executive editorial director and market analyst at Kelley Blue Book. While lots of parties are working on it, “nobody’s got there yet.”
Until someone does, the story of the electric car in the United States will continue to be one of high expectations and consistent letdowns.
The big automakers have gone in the other direction, opting for affordability over range. The $37,395 Honda Fit Electric, just going on sale now, promises a 123-mile range. Nissan’s $28,800 Leaf gets between 75 and 84 miles. And t he upcoming Chevy Spark EV will start at a very reasonable $25,000, with an unimpressive 60-mile range.
An affordable electric car does little good if it can’t go more than 100 miles, while the more practical Model S is out of the reach of the middle class.
Either way, drivers who buy an electric car today are “paying a premium to be inconvenienced,” Nerad told Business Insider.
I know, this is like pop music’s ubiquitous, perennially popular, 3-chord song - range, utility, affordability. The article pegs the time when that balance shifts significantly at 10 years. That’s pure speculation: 10 years out is the extreme for evolutionary improvements in battery technology; reality is that generational leaps in battery technology are needed to get range where it needs to be, plus evolution to get durability and cost into the range where EV will be reliable and affordable (charge time is likely to remain a significant issue-problem). Government needs to stop throwing taxpayer money into subsidizing a technology that cannot be workable for general use, stop encouraging investment into that technology (which diverts that $$ from researching new battery technologies) and let desire for profit recognize true potential by investing in it.