By on February 4, 2013

Consumers lose interest. Even reporters do.!

A few days ago, we wrote that “EVs run out of juice.” When we did that, we referred to collapsing sales in January only.  Now Reuters says: “Are electric cars running out of juice again?” Reuters means it in a bigger way. Like forever.

In a long article, written by  its best brains, Reuters writes  that electric cars are “still is not ready for prime time – and may never be. In the meantime, the attention of automotive executives in Asia, Europe and North America is beginning to swing toward an unusual but promising new alternate power source: hydrogen.”

Both lovers and haters of electric cars should read the article, written by Reuters’ best automotive reporters around the world, Norihiko Shirouzu, Yoko Kubota, Paul Lienert, Deepa Seetharaman, Bernie Woodall, and their Pulitzer-Prize winning boss Paul Ingrassia.

Executive summary:

  • Consumers continue to show little interest in electric vehicles.
  • EVs continue to be plagued by many of the problems that eventually scuttled electrics in the 1910s and more recently in the 1990s.
  • Problems include high cost, short driving range and lack of charging stations.
  • The  Obama administration backed away from its aggressive goal to put 1 million electric cars on U.S. roads by 2015.
  • Nissan’s Carlos Ghosn  is backing away from EVs and shifts  toward more mainstream gasoline-electric hybrids.
  • Tightening of global fuel-efficiency standards from 2020 on is forcing automakers to assess their options.
  • Large OEM back hydrogen.
Last year,  Toyota’s former R&D Chief and soon-to-be chairman  Takeshi Uchiyamada shocked reporters with the assertion  that
“The current capabilities of electric vehicles do not meet society’s needs, whether it may be the distance the cars can run, or the costs, or how it takes a long time to charge.”
Slowly, colleagues at other OEMs  agree.
“We don’t regret it yet,” says Nissan’s R&D Chief Mitsuhiko Yamashita of the company’s multibillion-dollar gamble on EVs. “We might in a few years. No, we probably won’t.” If you have invested in EV technology, you can recoup it with fuel cell cars. 

Long-term TTAC readers will find many of these assessments in past TTAC articles.

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49 Comments on “Reuters Kills The Electric Car. Again...”


  • avatar
    Pan

    The topic has too…………… run out of juice.

  • avatar
    niky

    Might be premature, since “affordable” EVs have only recently come onto the market.

    But it certainly seems as though the writing is on the wall. Fitting EV into the performance/usage/convenience envelope of gasoline was always going to be a daunting task. Hydrogen fits it better, but the question of where we’re going to get all that hydrogen and how much energy we’re willing to lose in conversion factors is still a big hurdle.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      One solution is separation of functions. Not every car needs to do everything. There is certainly a niche for EVs, and there are things they will never be able to do–like power an airplane.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    I’ve become convinced that the only problem with EVs is refilling speed, which is a serious technical hurdle. It is unlikely to be solved soon, and it’s not as simple as providing a bigger electrical pipe to fill up with.

    Range doesn’t matter that much if you can refill quickly.

    Cost is high, but that’s not the main obstacle to ownership.

    The electrical infrastructure is there, and charging stations are cheap, safe, and easy to use.

    Performance and utility of EVs are fine.

    I’m all for hydrogen, but it will never be economical to produce, and the refilling infrastructure will be sparse and will have ongoing safety concerns.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      But the funny thing is that phones & other portable devices have the exact same problem, yet consumers are perfectly fine with them. Thus, it is a matter of expectations.

      We can either change the expectation or we can change the technology to meet the expectations. I doubt EVs are going away, so I expect the eventual path will be a combination of the two.

      • 0 avatar
        gslippy

        The differences are:

        1. You can still use those devices while they’re refilling.
        2. A phone or laptop take maybe 2 hours to refill; a car can take 4-8 hours.
        3. The expectation has already been set for the last 110 years: cars can be refilled in minutes. This expectation is unlikely to change. If 90+% of my mileage wasn’t local commuting, I wouldn’t be driving a Leaf.

  • avatar

    My brain may be not as good as Reuters’ best, but my modest critical thinking skills and my Physics diploma favour arguments of Dr. Robert Zubrin. Their popular rendition was given in “The Hydrogen Hoax”, The New Atlantis, 2007. I know that Bob’s combative, even caustic personality won him few friends, but just read the technical sections of the article, and evaluate them in the light of advances in materials and fuel-cell technology since 2007. About the only argument that was reduced since is the issue of catalyst poisoning.

    Basically when “large OEMs” back hydrogen, they beat against physics and economics. I suppose government regulation is a powerful force, but perhaps not that powerful. Of course it’s powerful enough to make these OEMs very rich, at our expense, but why would we agree to it? I would rather drive a battery-electric car.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      For me, battery-electric anything is a no-go vehicle from the start. Not worth the additional expense and cramped passenger space. I advance cautiously the notion that MOST people in the world also shun battery-electric vehicles, many for their own reasons.

      OTOH, I had some experience with dual fuel cars while stationed in Europe during the ’70s and have very fond memories of the gasoline/CNG powered Opel Ambassador donated by my wife’s German uncle towards our transportation needs, while residing at Patrick Henry Village, Heidelberg, miles from anywhere.

      So I would welcome the utilization of a lot more use of LPG and CNG in private vehicles to further enhance the current use of LPG and CNG in public transportation vehicles. The greater the infrastructure, the better and more convenient.

      I’m not a fan of diesels in light vehicles under 3/4-ton rating (like pickup trucks and Vans). Too nasty a fuel for most people, and not available everywhere.

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        The problem with any gaseous or compressed fuel (LNG, CNG Hydrogen) is one of packaging. Electric vehicle issues are well-known but, at least, the batteries are not large cylinders. Unless we’re willing to carry our fuel on the roof (as with CNG buses), there’s no easy solution to the packaging issue.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        bunkie, you are right, of course, but it was workable back in the ’70s in that Opel my wife scooted around in for the time we lived there.

        The way that system was set up placed a large cylindrical tank behind the back seat in the trunk. Took up about half the trunk space. In the glove compartment were a set of valves and an electric toggle switch.

        It was presumed that most people would drive primarily on CNG because it was dirt cheap compared to Esso gasoline. But when you ran out of CNG on the road, a twist of the valves, a flick of the toggle switch, and you were “back on the road again.”

        Hey, it worked. And it didn’t eat up our monthly allotment of Esso coupons which we needed for our Oldsmobile.

        I think it would work in America as well. I’m all for broadening the scope of fuels to power our vehicles, and that includes EVs for those who choose to drive them.

      • 0 avatar

        I humbly submit that there’s a world of difference between CNG and H2 in terms of difficulty and cost of its confinement in the car.

    • 0 avatar
      serothis

      @Peter Zaitcev

      *disclaimer* This is a very long winded response, and i apologize.

      I read through, the hydrogen hoax that Dr. Zubin penned. I would say that, once you get passed his inflammatory language, a lot of the problem with his argument is that he makes a LOT of assumptions, then basses his argument on those assumptions.

      Hydrogen infrastructure assumptions

      Assumption #1 the price of hydrogen is not going to change very much:

      He liked to point out that 1kg (approx same energy content as 1 gallon of gas) is about $100 when produced via electrolosis. The problem is we don’t mass produce hydrogen (especially not via electrolysis). Think about all the steps necessary to make gasoline (finding, drilling, pumping, refining). Could you image what the price of gas would be if we only produced it on the same scale as we do hydrogen? Gas would easily be hundreds of dollars per gallon.

      Assumption #2 (requires assumption #1) our only other method is to refine it from natural gas.

      Assumption #3 molecular math is a perfect representation of what will happen in reality:

      he goes on to say that converting natural gas to hydrogen then using is more wasteful because less energy is released while still releasing the same amount of CO2. The problem is that, as we have learned from gas, most of the energy that results from combustion is dispersed as heat NOT propulsion. Whereas a higher percentage of hydrogen fuel cells result in usable electricity.

      Assumption #4 The size of the normal sized tanks required will scale exactly for bulk tansport.

      His premise is that a normal sized tank is many times heavier than the hydrogen that it contains. So a tank truck (if scaled exactly) can only contain a small amount of H2(aq). Transport will be an issue to over come however a larger tank has lower surface area:volume ratio. Which means his 65:1 weight ratio he used, simply doesn’t hold true when scaled.

      Assumption #5 H2 is the only corrosive substance in the universe:

      ok he doesn’t go to that extreme but he does make the assumption that fuels like ethonol don’t corrode metal and rubber seals. That gas tanks/pipelines don’t require regular inspection/repair. He then goes on a couple paragraph rant about how expensive it would be to do all this maintenance and suggests just piping methane then turning it into H2 (relying on assumptions #2, #3 & #4)

      ————-
      Hydrogen car assumptions

      Assumption #6 hydrogen gas sticks around

      Assumption #7 parking garages have zero ventilation.

      Assumption #8 gas fumes aren’t explosive.

      His next bit makes a combination of those three assumptions. He effectively goes on to say that parking garages will be ticking time bombs because H2 will slowly boil and have to be released by cars parked there. Except as he points out to become combustable hydrogen needs to hit at minimum 4% concentration. 4% of even a small 3 story parking garages is enormous. This means the hydrogen has to remain stagnate (instead of floating upwards), the parking garage must not be ventilated, nevermind that most have exposed sides for fresh air to get in. And that gas leaking from cars don’t present those same problems. There’s a reason a typical parking garage has exposed sides.

      Assumption #9 gas tanks are make of super impervious metal, not , you know, sheet metal.

      Assumption #10 Hydrogen cars must have the exact same amount of energy content as comparable gas cars

      He goes on to say that, for a H2 car to have the same energy content it must lug around a 3k lb tank (requires assumption #4) or that if you use a carbon fiber tank the car is a bomb ready to explode in a car accident. Again all these same problems have to be addressed by gas cars (requires assumptions #8 & #9)

      Assumption #10 Technology doesn’t become more efficient.

      He goes on to say, they brake down; out side of lab conditions they don’t operate at peak efficiency; and they’re very expensive. He says NASA spends millions of dollars on fuel cell tech, but the average person won’t. This is true, if you assume research in to more efficient production methods/design, and mass production doesn’t exist. He only sort of acknowledges that technology become more efficient but then says, that can’t be because nasa has been researching it for decades and only have done so much. You know, because NASA has a bigger budget then the combine automotive industry, who has a financial interest in making it as cost effective/reliable/efficient as possible. /sarcasm

      he then goes on to set up a straw man argument and relies on many of the previously mention assumptions. He then throws around a bunch of number about efficiency proving his claims without actually citing where he got the numbers.

      Sorry about that being so long winded but he does make some very real criticism about hydrogen as a potential solution. It’s just mired down in lots of wildly wrong assumptions and inflammatory rhetoric.

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    Even the present, minuscule fleet of coal-fired cars has caused a hilarious reexamination of past beliefs. For EV’s to ever succeed, the only real alternative is for them to be nuclear powered:

    http://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-adventure/media/film/Outside-at-Sundance-Going-Pro-Nuclear.html

    • 0 avatar
      jco

      I keep saying this exact thing! thorium nuclear is a sustainable enough energy ‘source’ that it could make EVs and their required infrastructure feasible.

      or this: http://www.npr.org/2013/02/04/170482802/are-mini-reactors-the-future-of-nuclear-power

      and actually.. since hydrogen is an energy store and not an energy source, this kind of widely distributed nuclear infrastructure could make hydrogen viable.

      but yes, as is, coal-fired EVs are a neat toy, but not much more. especially if you live in a cold climate.

      • 0 avatar

        Hydrogen sucks as an energy carrier though, since it is hard to store. We already have a fantastic energy carrier, though–gas or diesel. Even ethanol.

        Once electricity becomes cheap enough, you could build hydrocarbon fuel out of atmospheric CO2. Inefficient? Maybe, but if power is cheap enough it won’t matter.

  • avatar
    probert

    The tesla gets about 300 miles per charge and they’ve set up super charging stations along the eastern corridor that can get you on the road in 30 minutes. I believe they’re doing this along the west coast as well. This would account for a large majority of the US population.

    This is now.

    Of course if you have more time you can plug into any outlet overnight.

    Of course if the alternative fuel infrastrucure had the huge subsidies the oil companies get – this would happen faster.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      Definitely a popular priced car, the Tesla. Of course what is unknown, is how many fast-charge cycles the Tesla battery can stand before its capacity (and range) drop off sharply.

      And is it really feasible for someone to wait 30 minutes to refuel their car while they’re on a road trip?

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      @probert: I’m a big fan of Tesla, but they have not overcome the charging rate problem of lithium ion cells. All they’ve done is create the Supercharger station that has a higher power capacity than a Level 3 charger, only because the Tesla has such a big battery.

      My Leaf can be charged in 30 minutes with a Level 3 charger (I’ve never even seen one), but Nissan recommends doing so once a day MAX. I think that’s generous.

      Force-charging a lithium ion cell is possible, but there is a significant risk of overheating & fire, and substantially reduced battery longevity. Such charging also physically expands the cell, creating mechanical risks if the cell is over-constrained in its package.

      One might suggest a different cell chemistry, but we’re nowhere close. The 24 kWh pack in my Leaf weighs 660 lbs; it only contains as much energy as 0.7 gallons of gas (about 5 lbs). So there’s another 100x in energy density improvement needed for a battery to compete with gasoline.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        I anticipate that super capacitors will be used in conjunction with batteries to solve some of their problems (charge times, receiving charge from braking, ‘fatigue’ from charging cycles). Essentially, the capacitor could handle quick charges, stop-go traffic, and woudl reduce the workload for the battery. The battery would be used for hwy driving & possibly could even be charged from the capacitor during trips so that refilling-and-driving could be even faster.

  • avatar
    probert

    Where you get your energy has implications beyond pollution. 50% of our oil is imported. Most of our military budget goes towards either protecting supply lines or the consequences of an oil centric foreign policy. People die – recently over 4000 Americans in Iraq and an estimated 650,000 Iraqis. The final count in Afghanistan is yet to be determined since we’re still at war there.

    And make no mistake – 9/11 was a direct outcome of the oil policy. It’s no coincidence that most of the perpetrators were Saudi.

    So even though you may question my politics, the real question is: “Is this a price you’re willing to pay?” I’d suggest if they reinstated the military draft many more would say no.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      “9/11 was a direct outcome of the oil policy”

      Never once did the terrorists claim this. Please, 9/11 was about religious ideology. The fact that they were Middle Eastern men has nothing to do with oil. Afghanistan, India, Israel, and Pakistan have little to no oil, yet the terrorists are working furiously there, as they are elsewhere around the world.

      • 0 avatar
        jco

        9/11 was about many things, but ‘religious ideology’ is, as it ever has been, merely a cover for the acquisition of wealth and/or power. often by force. or revenge. revenge works too. usually because someone else took wealth and/or power from you by force at some point in the past.

      • 0 avatar
        gslippy

        @jco: If terrorism was merely about wealth and power, we could simply pacify them by putting them all on the US welfare roles, make them citizens, and give them a furnished apartment and a free education.

        Are you kidding?

        The 9/11 actors were not poor kids getting back at The Man; they all had means and education. Uttering “Allahu Akbar” while carrying out these events is about ideology, not oil policy.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allahu_Akbar

        Besides, who blows themselves up over oil policy?

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      “50% of our oil is imported.

      But most of it comes from the Western Hemisphere: Canada, Venezuela

      I think about 15% comes from the Middle East.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      The stats on this have changed – A LOT.

      Since 2005 to 2012, the United States has reduced energy consumption a full 20%. This has beaten George W. Bush’s 2007 10 in 20 challenge by 15 years. The reduction isn’t because of recessionary pressure, but largely because of consumption, not only in motor vehicles, but in the electrical grid.

      The use of both coal and oil are in decline. When you look at the coal statistics you’ll understand why the coal folks are running those clean coal ads like crazy. Coal consumption in this country peaked in 2005, and is now decline.

      Natural gas and biomass energy consumption is through the roof, especially natural gas, which is largely sourced from the United States.

      Currently we import about 45% of our energy (mostly oil) from other countries. Of that, 65% comes from non-OPEC nations, and 35% come from OPEC nations. Of those, there are only a handful of countries that you would call “our enemies.” For example imports from Angola are exploding, and Angola is emerging as a stable African nation after years of civil war.

      While the drum beats of peak oil and not enough refinery capacity were pounding away back in 2005, it’s a different situation in 2013.

      Refined fuels are now the United States’ largest export in terms of real dollars. In 2012 we exported over 750 million barrels, about 11 billion gallons and about 32 billion gallons of unrefined crude, worth of gasoline, diesel, and aviation fuel. Most of it to South America and Asia. We have massive over-capacity that refiners are using to sell to higher paying customers in other markets.

      Between new oil fields opened up and fracking, it seems likely that the United States will be the world’s largest oil producer by 2020. According to a couple of studies, it appears that by 2020 we could be importing only from our two largest trade partners for crude oil today, Mexico and Canada with the rest sourced domestically.

      I was very worried about peak oil in 2005 but the conservation measures put into place, and tighter CAFE standards appear to be working. It’s predicted we can drop our energy usage another 40% by 2020 and we don’t have to do much of anything over what we do today.

      As of now – the United States uses about 20% of the world’s energy, down from 25% about 10 years ago. We have made huge progress.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        Thank you APaGttH, that was a very informative post , I knew the bulk of our imported oil came from the western hemisphere and that our reliance on the middle east was dropping. I had no idea about the conservation measures in place.

      • 0 avatar
        Mark_Miata

        I’m not sure where you are getting that 20% reduction figure for 2005-11 in total US energy consumption. According to the United States Energy Information Agency website, primary energy consumption in quadrillion BTU was:

        2005 100.162
        2007 101.296
        2009 94.559
        2011 97.301

        Looks like any reduction was due to the recession, since consumption is up since a low in 2009.

        You may be thinking of CO2 emissions, which are down – can’t find exact figures at the moment. That reduction is due to increased use of natural gas and less coal.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        But you have to divide by population, no? (estimated population in US, July 1 of these years per Census Bureau)

        2005: 296,410,404
        2009: 307,006,550
        2011: 311,587,816

        Based on Mark_Miata’s number:
        2005: = 338 million BTU/person
        2009: = 308 million BTU/person
        2011: = 312 million BTU/person

        I get 7.7% decline from 2005 to now and 8.9% from 2005 to 2009. Perhaps APaGttH meant a certain segment of energy use (e.g. consumer vs. business)?

        Of that 97 quad number, about 35 is petroleum-based (down from 40 in 2005), about 25 is natural gas, about 20 is coal, about 9 is renewable, and about 8 is nuclear. Renewable and natural gas are up, the others are down.

      • 0 avatar
        Mark_Miata

        APaGttH did not say per capita energy consumption, he just said energy consumption. That 20% figure is clearly wrong.

        Reducing per capita use doesn’t do much good if population increases at a faster rate.

        I also forgot to mention that the USA using 20% of the world’s energy now instead of 25% has much more to do with the rest of the world using more energy than the USA using less. World consumption was up 39% 1990-2008, mostly in Asia.

        I am not as optimistic about long terms trends – as folks in China and India buy more and more cars, demand and prices are likely to rise in the long run.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        @Mark_Miata

        Here is the annual EIA report I pulled the data from:

        http://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/annual/pdf/aer.pdf

        This report was referenced in another story (looking to provide the link to you, as I generally won’t quote random stats that didn’t come from some other source).

        I may have over simplified (my apologies) by saying “energy” and not saying petroleum. Page 28 – showing petroleum consumption plummeting even before the great recession started, you can see where the economy turns around, as there is a small up tick, and then consumption of petroleum continues its decline.

        Page 30 shows plummeting energy imports, including petroleum (nothing but goodness)

        Interestingly, on page 32, the table of total GDP in relation to energy costs runs contrary to Bertel’s story on we’re paying more for energy then at anytime.

        What about non-combustion use of fossil fuels – you can see it has gone flat, and again you can see an uptick where the recession ends – hand-in-hand with improved production/consumption.

        Decline in use of petroleum products is pushing 20%, with 71% of that use going to transportation. So transport use is down about 14-1/2 to 15% if my back of envelope math is correct.

        I will continue to look for the source of the 20%

  • avatar
    benzaholic

    You’re right about that Reuters article coming across as ignorant.
    Current EVs aren’t selling well.
    Companies are talking about hydrogen.
    Therefore (according to Reuters and many others), current EVs should be abandoned.

    Well, unless you’re talking about things like BMW’s internal combustion engines that use hydrogen as a direct replacement for gasoline, we’re talking about Fuel Cells.

    Fuel Cells use hydrogen and air to make electricity and water.
    That’s all that fuel cells do.
    Fuel cells do not provide propulsion; they provide electricity.
    Fuel cells can be “recharged” almost as quickly as the gasoline tanks in modern cars. Great.

    You still need electric motors engineered into drivetrains to turn the electricity from fuel cells into propulsion.

    Anybody working on electric motors and their associated systems, whether it’s mild hybrids, Prius-style hybrids, extended-range EVs (the ones that include an ICE as an additional generator), or today’s pure EVs like the Leaf, should be able to utilize those development and manufacturing lessons on vehicles that use fuel cells instead of the current batteries.

    It is a continuum. It frustrates me that this is apparently so unclear to so many.

  • avatar
    Neumahn

    Actually hydrogen fuel cell cars are electric cars. We are really only talking about the energy storage medium. As Nissan points out much of the IP developed for battery powered cars still applies to hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    But, but, but, but, but, what about Tesla.

    Given the whole, “who killed the electric car,” which to blame GM ignored things like physics to build its case, I suspect GM will be last man standing still selling EVs to avoid a PR debacle of debacles.

    But if electric cars will NEVER be ready, then isn’t this the death bell for Tesla?

    • 0 avatar
      chaparral

      Tesla might not have gotten the message – they can be profitable at lower volumes than most other manufacturers, and they appear to have what nobody else has.

      A big-bucks electric car that’s an equal competitor with similarly priced gasoline cars. On one hand, you have a recharge time disadvantage against a BMW 7er – on the other hand you have the ability to outrun even an M5. On one hand you’ve got uncertain durability of the battery; on the other, you have the proven durability of the motor and driveline.

  • avatar
    Spike_in_Brisbane

    The big problem is that car companies can no longer produce low volume vehicles. Everything has to sell hundreds of thousands and to reach these goals we now have global car companies using shared platforms to sell basic appliances. There are obviously situations where electric vehicles excel such as on golf courses or transport for those who are not ambulant and arguably for inner city transport. Plenty of companies make money in these areas but they are niche players, small organisations. We have seen the end of the rotary engine, the Saab and many quirky, fun vehicles because of the need for volume.
    The interesting car is doomed except for the super rich.

    • 0 avatar

      Morgan seems to be doing just fine. And they’re, what, the cost of a base Porsche 911?

      There are a number of small car companies like that that put out driver-oriented vehicles. It’s just that they aren’t giant corporations, because the profits are too small to support that much overhead. So, the companies have to be small and lean. Saab tried to be quirky and mainstream, big and small and ended up finding the perfect middle ground. The perfect middle ground where no one really cared to buy them.

  • avatar
    Speed3

    Where do CNG vehicles fit into this. With the huge boom in natural gas (and crash in NA prices) I wonder if it could become a cleaner alternative to gasoline.

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      Three problems:

      1) The conversion to LNG adds $5K to vehicle purchase price.

      2) When you run out of fuel, you have to get a tow truck.

      3) The refueling infrastructure just isn’t there yet. In the entire Seattle area, there are only two refueling stations (one for LNG taxis at the airport, and the other one for county vehicles). That’s a deal-breaker right there for me (looked at a LNG civic on CL recently).

      Bonus: they go boom like a car bomb in Beirut if something goes wrong with the tank, as happened in Seattle a few years ago:

      http://www.co.benton.ar.us/media/document/firemarshal/cng_fire.pdf

      • 0 avatar
        niky

        Propane is more convenient. If you have a propane conversion, you’re bi-fueled and in less danger of running out of fuel than anyone else on the road. Unless you’re foolish enough to let the gas tank run dry enough to ruin the gaskets on the fuel pump (guilty).

  • avatar
    LeafMeAlone

    Nissan dropped the price of the Leaf because they are now building it in the US. Most folks are waiting to buy the 2013 since the discounts on the 2012 models haven’t really changed for months. Right now, discounts are running at around $10k plus the $7500 incentive. Some states have additional incentives which makes the car even less expensive.

    Most Leaf owners are satisfied, CR did an article on this recently. True, Nissan only sold 50k globally last year. So what if only 10k were sold in the US? Maybe people didn’t buy them because there isn’t room for a gun rack. How many Porsche Caymans were sold?

    I predict that the cost will continue to come down. There are enough of us out there who hate gasoline, diesel, and oil companies to create a market.

  • avatar
    ydnas7

    An article on hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and not a single mention of the orge Tesla, is an article that misses the current reality that EVs exist, are cheaper, longer range and far more responsive than their hydrogen fuelled brethren.

    I suppose Shirouzu and Kubota haven’t driven a Tesla model S yet, but when the model S goes on sale in Japan, (rumored with an optional Chademo adapter,) it finally become obvious that until hydrogen fuel cells are competitive verses 18650 li ion in consumer electronics, that they won’t be competitive against 18650 cells in vehicles either.

    Leave it to an engineer to choose the appropriate cathode, all auto analysts needs to understand the following,

    Until hydrogen storage is as cheap or as long-lasting as the carbon anode in a li ion battery, it won’t be competitive with a li ion vehicle in range.

    Until Fuel cells stacks are as cheap or as long-lasting as a balanced cathode in a li ion battery, it won’t be competitive with a li ion vehicle in responsiveness.

    Hydrogen storage pragmatically requires replacement every 5 years due to legal requirements.

    Fuel cell stacks are fragile and expensive due to them being a combination of ceramics and platinum.

    There are fundamental reasons why Honda clarity is smaller, more expensive, slower and shorter range than Tesla model S.

    • 0 avatar
      Flipper35

      Five years ago there weren’t enough deposits of the precious metals needed to build enough fuel cells to replace the electric cars. I don’t know if that has changed, but something to think about as well. Where do the raw materials come from?

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        That’s a repeat of the arguments against catalytic converters. We know how that played out, so it is possible the raw materials for batteries will have a similar end.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    The talk of why 9/11 occurred is quite wrong.

    The current problems encountered by the West with the mainly Muslim world is commonly called a religous battle. It isn’t, it’s a clash of cultures and ideals.

    Simply put, culture is a tool for survival. Currently the Western culture provides a society for the best chance of survival.

    As we all know the Western culture did have it roots with Christianity, but has evolved and is greatly removed from religion. The Western culture is progressive and allows its “peers” liberties and freedoms to explore anything and everything possible.

    On the other hand the Muslim culture is more restrictive and has constraints that doesn’t allow the same levels freedoms within a society to explore and progress.

    The average Muslim person is like us, they want what we want and have. What is holding them back are the minor societal differences. One day they will gain the same levels of freedoms we have, but religion and government have to be seperated first, like we had to do in the West.

    Throughout history cultures have come and gone. Why? Because another culture evolves, and uses the ideals of previous cultures, creates and modify other ideals that it needs. Look at the features of the Western culture that are from previous cultures.

    Having the ability to build a society doesn’t guarantee success either. That society has to be able to expand and change with the least resistance not be restricted, then it will succeed.

    In the end the Western culture is more flexible, even the Chinese will have to soon realise this, or they will encounter problems.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “Nissan’s Carlos Ghosn is backing away from EVs and shifts toward more mainstream gasoline-electric hybrids.”

    Carlos is no fool, gas or diesel hybrids will be the way forward until hydrogen is feasible in a grand scale, assume that is even possible.


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