4 Reasons Why The Electric Car Is Not Ready For The American Driver


#1

4 Reasons Why The Electric Car Is Not Ready For The American Driver
by Becky Graebner
PJMedia.com/lifestyle
2013/04/05

Although an increasing number of Americans are buying electric vehicles, I am skeptical that Americans will completely make the switch. It isn’t America’s own cautious nature delaying the transition into electric cars; we have real reasons to be dubious that electric cars can fully accommodate our needs. In short, electric cars are not ready to meet the needs of American drivers.
1. “Reliability” is not its middle name.

As consumers have sought relief from climbing gas prices, interest in electric vehicles (EVs) has increased. In turn, rising sales has put more pressure on EV-manufacturers and dealers to expand service and offer more reliable cars… creating headaches and growing pains for the fledgling industry. Electric cars are still a new idea; thus, not all the bugs have been worked out. Case in point: Tesla.

If batteries start on fire due to salt-water exposure or are possibly compromised due to more extreme air temperatures, electric cars are going to be fighting an uphill battle to prove their usefulness. In fact, in some areas of the country, they might not be possible to operate. Sorry, hurricane-prone areas, the “mini- arctic” in the north of Wisconsin and Minnesota, and the oven-like states of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, you live in EV nightmare-land. State-by-state analysis of EV viability isn’t going to fly — these cars need to work everywhere –otherwise, why buy them?

2. It needs more stops than your toddler in potty-training.

The current lack of charging stations in this country, compounded by the requirement that they exist within 200 miles of each other, everywhere in the 3,794,000 sq. miles of the continental United States, makes charging even one of the longest-range EVs available an annoying requirement and a dangerous gamble. If you are unable to afford a Tesla, which have the longer-range batteries on the market, then your EV will most likely need charging stations every 75-100 miles. … Electric cars need batteries that go at least as far as gas-powered cars… otherwise, what’s the advantage of buying them if you can’t drive them more than a few miles? …

4. “Electric” Comes at a “Luxury” Price.

Did Home Depot have a sale on money trees that I didn’t know about? Apparently some electric car manufacturers have been distorted by this magical plant blooming in their dealerships because the majority of these cars are out of reach for most car-buying Americans.

Look at the base MSRP prices below. The most affordable is still over $20,000 and the average price of these electric vehicles is $49,316.67. Mid-$40ks is considered “luxury range” in cars… the average here is almost at $50,000. … if the push to get away from gasoline-powered cars is real, then the alternatives need to be affordable to the average consumer.

No product is perfect — especially something as complicated as a car. But in order for electric vehicles to really take off they must fit into the lives of the people driving them. Right now electric cars are a dream of what we WISH Americans were like on roads: driving 10 miles a day (maximum), rejecting anything gasoline, and never having cause to drive across the country. Sorry to burst the eco-bubble, but Americans do not act like this — and are not likely to give up family road-trips to grandmas or commuting 20+ miles via car.

… In order to be a real contender, EVs need to match, if not exceed, the mileage range of gas-powered vehicles and meet a variety of price points. They also need to not explode or refuse to start due to our hometown climates. U.S. infrastructure also has some growing to do in order to support mass-use of EVs across the country. Until these issues are solved, electric vehicles will continue to be a utopian dream that never quite fits into the American way of life.

A good summary!


#2

Wish I could afford an electric car…or a gas car. But yeah the Tesla is very much a luxury car, there’s a reason these cars are primarily sold in California: good weather for the battery life, lots of rich people, an extraordinarily pro-environment population that might spend the extra money just because, and on that note an existing and growing infrastructure to plug-in. What other states have that and does that chart say the Prius plug-in has a range of 11 miles?


#3

The chart pegs Prius as having an electric only range of 11 miles. The Prius uses its hybrid system and battery to recapture part of the energy otherwise lost during braking, and uses that captured energy for propulsion, but its main power source is its gas engine.


#4

I was at a Chevy dealer the other day and gave 'em some free advice about how GM could sell a lot of Volts - they should provide free with each sale an electrical system upgrade (to 200 volts) for the purchaser’s garage. That would allow the Volt to be charged up in about four hours, and it would come into its own as a practical, go just-about-everywhere-cheap-vehicle.

The article’s right that electric cars won’t become truly practical unless the infrastructure is in place to make them convenient for more than scheduled commutes. Of course, the Volt is unique in that it solves the typical electric’s range problem.


#5

One of those things you think you’ll somehow learn along the way w/o having to ask, but never do…

What’s the difference between a ‘hybrid’ and a ‘cross-over’?


#6

The term “hybrid” refers to the power source(s) of the vehicle. Essentially, a hybrid has both a gasoline and an electic motor. A crossover is really just a bodystyle. It’s a car-based vehicle that has the high-riding look of an SUV. They are typically more fuel efficient than an SUV, but don’t offer the offroad and towing versatility. A crossover can be a hybrid, as could an SUV.


#7

The volt cost 41,000 and GM is losing 49,000 every time they sell a volt and you think if they lose more money by building outlets for everyone it will be “cheap”


#8

Thanks. (Quite the succinct answer, I might add.)


#9

“Hybrids” are just gas operated vehicles with a bunch of other junk that reduces the efficiency that the gas engine would produce if it was installed by itself.

An expensive status symbol that conveys to all that you failed physics, economics and that you care more about impressing others who failed physics and economics than you care about your “carbon footprint”.

A perfect vehicle for Liberals in other words, forget the results and just judge the “intent” motivated by sloth.


#10

Electric car owners like to forget that the electricity powering their car comes primarily from coal…

But apparently Tesla made their first profit, so that’s pretty cool.


#11

RET, are you just a crank about everything? What the heck brings joy in your life?


#12

He has stated many times what brings him joy. You are just sick of being owned by him so you claim that he is just an old crank instead of accepting the truth of his statements like any logical person would do.


#13

LOL!


#14

What are you talking about? He’s had me on ignore for years.


#15

“Profit”?

You mean after all the subsidies from the Federal Government and California plus interest on all the guaranteed loans is removed from the accounting?

Tesla will never turn a true “Profit”, the day California becomes too broke to keep cutting them checks they will be gone as will all of our “Cutting Edge Green Technology Companies”.

The cleanest, most efficient and affordable cars available are not allowed in California because they have diesel engines, just as the cleanest and most efficient power generation methods are not allowed in California because Hydroelectric and Nuclear are “Evil” like diesel engines.

All California “Leads the world” in is stupidity and archaic liberal, religious extremism.


#16

Your Liberal responses and positions are very predictable. He owns them without even having to respond directly to them. Besides, why are you even commenting on his posts if he has you on ignore for years? You are obviously taking a gratuitous jab with little risk of a direct response that you can’t handle.


#17

Oh stop being silly.


#18

The Electric Car Is Dead All Over Again
By Alex Davies
Business Insider
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.


#19

From the article linked above:

Tesla, another government-funded startup, has achieved profitability for this quarter (a major milestone), but despite unending promises that it will soon bring an affordable car to market, its prices have only gone up.

The company recently canceled plans to produce the cheapest version of its Model S sedan, and its least expensive version now starts at $62,400, with an EPA-rated range of 208 miles. The most expensive version of the sedan goes for $87,400, with a range of 265 miles. Those numbers are solid, but the price points put Tesla solidly in the realm of luxury brands.

When Tesla ceases receiving government subsidies - Federal and State of CA - pays back its loans and subsidies and isn’t indirectly subsidized with special perks like being allowed in stolen-from-taxpayers HOV lanes with only one occupant, talk of profitability can be meaningful.

On another front, this past week I’ve been hearing radio ads from a local Chevy dealership for the Volt. In addition to the Feds’ subsidy, GM is knocking $2000 of the price of the Volt, and the dealership is knocking off another $2000. So, besides losing $$ at the normal price of a Volt, GM is throwing away another $2K of taxpayer $$, and either the dealer or GM are giving the taxpayer another $2K bath. To put this in context, popular cars are seldom discounted; more frequently, ADM is added to the price of popular cars, Additional Dealer Mark-up. So this ad series is just a bit more evidence that, even in Enviro-oriented CA and the techno-minded SF Bay Area, the Volt is selling poorly (if that well!). For all GM’s and the US government’s hype, the vast majority of US car buyers are not paying a premium price for a poor utility vehicle that cannot do all they need/want it to do.