Electrified, Electric or Hype


Electrified, Electric or Hype

According to a headline in the LA Times, “E-cars still have a long way to go.” Reporter Russ Mitchell tears into the ‘electrified’ auto industry. Read it all here. You need to read the entire article.  The devil is in the details.

First of all, Mitchell talks about actual numbers. In 2017, there were about 200,000 pure electric and plug in hybrid cars sold. That’s about 1% of the total 17 million cars sold in the US. He comments that “a mix of hype and publicity about future products is what marked 2017 on the electric car front.”

The most successful E-car introduction was GM’s Chevy Bolt that is selling, at $37,000 a pop, on average 2500 cars a month. Tesla, with all its public relations and energy, is failing to meet even minimal deliveries of its new Model 3. The company claiming to have 400,000 orders, projected to be filling thousands of orders per week, and due to manufacturing problems, both at its auto and battery plants, has sold only a few hundred.

It seems that auto companies talk about ‘electrified’ models, but that means cars that have some kind of electric drive, but not full electric.  Most have engines that kick in after a few miles. No one in the industry, it seems, consider these cars by any stretch of the imagination electric.

Only two fully electric vehicles will be introduced this year, one each by Jaguar and Porsche. The majors are committed to having electric models on the market in the next few years, but that is driven not by customer demand, but be government edict.

Price and range will ultimately drive the market. E-cars must compete with current gasoline models in both areas. That isn’t happening anytime soon. Projections put these market drivers years out.

Wow. I’m not sure what all this means to the parking industry. It may mean that we provide charging services a tad more limited than some might like. We might also consider ensuring that we figure out a way to charge for the electricity (understanding reselling electrons is illegal in most areas). If the charging concept is going to be moving as slowly as e-car sales, we may have time to develop ways to cover our costs and then some for charging services. Perhaps locate the charging stations in more convenient spots and charge more to park there, or offer e-valet services, and charge for the service, not the electricity.

Just something to consider as the new year dawns warm and bright, unless you live where its cold and dark.


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John Van Horn

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