Wow, Someone Who Agrees with Me About Electric Cars

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Wow, Someone Who Agrees with Me About Electric Cars

Before you install electric charging stations, read this article. Basically it says that the head of R and D for Honda doesn’t think the technology is there and that even after spending hundreds of billions, no more than two percent of the market will be electric cars by 2020.

The problem? Batteries – the technology is “just around the corner” or “Just over the horizon.” But it’s not here. Lithium Ion batteries begin to degrade upon manufacture and simply don’t have the 6-10 year life promised. As the author of this article put it:

I just can’t get gushy about the fact that a Nissan Leaf with a driver and perhaps one really skinny passenger has a 100-mile range on a fully charged battery on a perfectly flat road on a perfect day that’s not too hot or too cold.

Batteries it seems lose their charge at temperature extremes, which leaves out the south, southwest, and of course the snow belt in the winter. Even though technically a car may be able to go 0-10 in 5 seconds, that kind of start will turn a 100 mile range into a 50 mile range quickly.

Frankly it just doesn’t seem to me that I would want to pay a premium to have a tiny car with a short range that requires mucho charging every day. And no one, at least not yet, has been able to come up with a exact cost to charge. You not only have to figure the cost of the electricity, but the cost of replacing the battery – That could run as low as $4000 to as much as $12000. No one knows for sure. Best case, about the equivalent of $2.00 per gallon of gas, worst case $4.00 per gallon -0- split the difference, about the same as we pay now. But that doesn’t figure in the additional cost of the car. If you are doing this to save money, forget it.

And remember my favorite law, the law of unintended consequences. We aren’t slowly moving into the technology like we did with gas powered vehicles. We are dropping right in the middle. In most such situations, something that no one “thought of” always happens and then what?

Mr. Kawanabe at Honda isn’t convinced. Neither am I.

Remember now you can go out and jump into your car and go somewhere, any time, any place. If you run out of gas you can call the auto club and get back under way. With the electric car you must plan ahead, plan your charging times, and if you run out of your charge, well…..You may be sitting in front of someone’s house with an extension cord for a very long time.

JVH

John Van Horn

John Van Horn

5 Responses

  1. The problem, Jill, that vision is sometimes clouded with fairy dust. I have seen so many technologies that are “just around the corner” (can you say cold fusion) that don’t work. When the head of R and D for the one of the largest manufacturer of electric/hybrids in the planet comments negatively, that’s something to consider. You realize that GM, Ford, Toyota et al are doing all this primarily to meet the CAFE standards set by the US government. So far, there has been no profit, or even break even on electric/hybrid cars. Had these requirements not been in place, my guess is that there would be little if any R and D for electrics. But then, who knows?

  2. Wow — First of all, please reread my for post — Not $12000 a year, but the equivalent to $4.00 a gallon gas. The idea is that you have to take the cost of the electricity and add in the cost of the replacement battery and divide. If the battery cost $8000 the equivalent would be the same as $4 a gallon gas. No one will say how long the batteries last nor how much they will cost to replace the spread is now $4000-$12000. As for the Tesla – I’m certain its a wonderful car, but a tad out of my, and 99% of other driver’s, price range.
    I hope you are right — We shall see…JVH

  3. In the last week, Nissan estimated that it will need to build more factories by 2013 to support sales of its electric car, the 8 biggest auto manufacturers are launching electric vehicles, Ford is investing $135 million in the US (not China) to build components for electrics/hybrids, and Toyota invested in Tesla’s electric car (test driving one of these sportscars will forever change your view of electrics), and you seize on the 1 negative, backward looking announcement. Way to go. Obviously, not everyone is born with “that vision thing”.

  4. R&D departments at the other 8 large auto companies have drawn a different conclusion. CAFE standards are not impacted unless vehicles are actually sold, which implies these vehicles are operational on something other than fairy dust. Go drive a Tesla and you’ll know the technology is here. No rational person is projecting $12,000 in annual charging fees, as you did in your original post. Maybe you should stick to your walker.
    This is so obvious, but alas, another bit of time wasted. I have an “ice box” to sell you.

  5. There was a special on not too long ago exposing the environmental damage caused by rare earth mining in China. Rare earth is apparently a key ingredient in battery manufacturing process; yet another hidden consequence. Producing more electricity requires burning more coal and other fossil fuels.
    The true free lunch is still hard to come by, but if you can convince enough simple people that simple solutions are out there, you can sell a lot of Teslas. :~)

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