By on August 5, 2013

tesla-model-sa_r

The Electrification Coalition (EC), a trade association of companies involved in the business of electric vehicle,s released a report last week prepared by PriceWaterhouseCoopers touting strong sales of plug in electric vehicles for the first 2 1/2 years that they’be been on the market in the U.S.. Reportedly consumers are embracing PEVs much faster than they started buying hybrids when those first went on sale more than a decade ago. The report particularly noted the success of the Tesla Model S, saying that single model had an 8.4% share of the entire U.S. luxury market for the first six months of 2013.

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Key findings of the PriceWaterhouseCoopers report were:

  • More than 110,000 PEVs have been sold in the U.S. since January of 2011.
  • Twice as many PEVs were sold in that 20 month period than the hybrids sold in a corresponding period after their first introduction.
  • Uptake rate of PEVs is 3X what it was for hybrids during their first three years on the market.
  • The Nissan Leaf has 3.3% of the subcompact market segment.
  • PEVs have a higher customer satisfaction rate on nearly all measured items.
  • Battery costs are expected to drop by 50% by 2020, with an expected price of $300-325 per kilowatt hour.
  • The Tesla Model S took 8.4% of the U.S. luxury car market for the first half of 2013 and sold more units than “several in-class competitors including the Audi A8, BMW 7-series, and Mercedes S class”

Those last two bullet points are somewhat in contention. Last month, Bill Alpert of Barron’s wrote, “Industries and governments around the world have spent billions on battery research, but few expect to trim electric-car battery costs by more than 20%-30% by the planned 2016 launch of Tesla’s car for the Everyman.” Tesla is planning on selling a $30,000 EV for the mass market. As for the Model S, it’s been pointed out that while it can cost as much as a flagship German luxury sedan, it more directly competes with the segment just below the flagships (depending on your point of view, this could mean anything from a BMW 5-Series to a Mercedes-Benz CLS to an Audi A7).

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120 Comments on “EV Trade Group Touts PEV Early Market Penetration Success, Tesla Model S Has 8.4% Share of Entire U.S. Luxury Segment...”


  • avatar
    redav

    Has anyone yet been able to decipher what is included in the “U.S. luxury car market” for this study?

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I had similar thoughts.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      That’s an excellent point, what is the size that best competes with the Model S? Surely it is not the flagship vehicles that it supposably beat?

      Are premium brands included in the foray? Buick, Acura? Or is it just certain vehicles in certain lineups?
      Say caddillac escalade, while ignoring CTS/ATS or BMW, while ignoring 3 series?

      • 0 avatar
        Silvy_nonsense

        Instead of asking questions in the comments, a person could always go read the study, which is posted on their website as a free to download PDF.

        • 0 avatar
          redav

          When this study came out, the stat was criticized because people couldn’t figure out what it included, hence the phrasing: “Has anyone yet …”

          The paper only states: “EC analysis of hybridcars.com sales data.” It says nothing of how it was analyzed, what data was included, excluded, etc., thus the curiosity if anyone has cracked the code yet.

      • 0 avatar

        My guess is that the “luxury” segment includes stuff that is priced upwards from 70k or so. BMW 7 (but not 5 or 3), similar mercedes class. We’re talking a very small denominator here.

        Likewise, 110,000 pevs in two and a half years is small potatoes in a country with a couple of hundred million vehicles, where annual car sales probably top 10 million. I mean, we’re talking probably considerably less than one percent.

        Finally, the comparison to the comparable period for hybrids is tenuous. In that period, you could choose from a grand total of two hybrids. One was weird–the Honda Insight (although I like it, but that kind of proves my point as I also like old Peugeots and Citroens)–and the other would not have attracted any status conscious Americans, which is most of us, except for the small percentage that were then concerned about greenitude.

        Conversely, now you can choose from the lowly iMiev (or however you spell that) all the way up to the incredibly cool Tesla, with 11 other, assorted cars running the general spectrum of modern automobilia. Accord, Fusion, Leaf, Volt–a PEV for everyone, if you’re willing to put up with the range limitations and recharging time.

        So, yes, this is a start, although I probably wouldn’t have even considered it that if it weren’t for the Tesla, but no, this is nothing to brag about.

        Nonetheless, the Electrification Coalition can be forgiven: they have their PR job to do. And if EVs don’t work out, well, The Electrification Coalition might make a good name for a band.

    • 0 avatar

      The Model S is being called a luxury vehicle simply because of a battery pack and inverter pushing the price past $100,000.

      I found no more “luxury” in it than it’s exterior looks and its range anxiety which require you to certainly own another car.

      This car is NOT in the same league as the S550 W222, A8, maserati, or the BMW7.

      It’s material build is NO HIGHER than SRT, MKS or XTS.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        I found no more “luxury” in it than it’s exterior looks and its range anxiety which require you to certainly own another car.

        A family with two cars? That’s insanity! Who lives like that?

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        >> and its range anxiety

        Try to take that 300C to Bermuda and somewhere east of Montauk you’ll discover buoyancy anxiety – which will certainly require you to own a big boat.

        Look, people fly now to get places – especially if you can lay out the kind cash required for a Model S.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          Spoken like a big city dweller. Here in the mid-west, it isn’t uncommon to regularly make 2-300 mile trips. This could certainly create some anxiety for many under those circumstances in a Model S. It doesn’t make much sense to fly those distances, even if one was quite wealthy.

          • 0 avatar
            jmo

            ‘Here in the mid-west, it isn’t uncommon to regularly make 2-300 mile trips.”

            Ah yes, the midwest that thriving bastion of luxury car buying.

          • 0 avatar
            el scotto

            @jmo. Can you say “O’Hare”. A 45 minute hop from Indy to O’Hare is usually a wild hope. On a usual trip expect flight delays, holding area delays, picking up luggage and rental car, and then having to drive to the Loop. Or in the same time, or less; I can be handing the valet my keys at the Palmer House. An S-Class in the cornfields? I’d rather buy another rental house. Either way a check is written.

          • 0 avatar

            SUPERCHARGED CAMARO RS 700 RWHP

            youtube.com/watch?v=8zYRBT4ohk4

          • 0 avatar
            raph

            Hell I take those trips and I live on the megalopolis that is the east coast. 2-300 miles is a nice drive.

            Then again I like to get in a car and go, nothing better than climbing in the Shelby and taking a road trip.

          • 0 avatar
            mkirk

            Kentucky isn’t exactly the mid west or luxury car Mecca, but none of those electrics can do the whole Bourbon tour and get me home. Come to think of it one of those self driving BMWs is what I need.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            So Cal is certainly luxury car territory. The miles people cover here are often quite profuse. There are plenty of electric cars, since three and four car households to do the work of two are common. That’s okay, because building two specialized cars that are half as useful as one conventional car consumes no resources. Green and intelligent are mutually exclusive qualities.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, listening to an EV coalition tell us how great EVs are, is madness in its finest form.
    It’s like listening to a fast food coalition telling us why McDonald’s is healthier than the sub shop on the corner in town.

    That’s not to put down EVs, but it doesn’t help to associate your company with radicals.

    I’m sure it’s a great car(model S), one which I have yet to see on the road, but even if its selling better than its competitors, I doubt it’s causing them much grief. I still haven’t seen evidence that this isn’t just another Hollywood fad, as far as the top if the line model S is concerned.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      I’ve seen 2 on the roads… here in WV. Congrats on finding somewhere more curmudgeon friendly than WV.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Hell there’s a Rolls Royce dealer about 20 miles from my house, I’ve seen just about everything available around here, yet it has still alluded me.

      • 0 avatar

        Teslas in West Virginia???! Call Ripley’s!

        I do see them fairly regularly in Cambridge and Boston. A couple a week. More than Leafs, although I can’t say whether that’s because the Tesla is mildly striking looking car, but more so than 97.66% of what you see on the road these days, while the Leaf just looks like a regular Nissan family member, or whether it’s because there actually ARE more Teslas than Leafs around here. I’m betting its the former.

      • 0 avatar
        DrSandman

        I average seeing one a day here in the DC region. Then again, the Ferarri/Lambo/Maz dealership (next to the Carmax!) is a few miles from the homestead…

    • 0 avatar

      Last Sunday was the Concours of America (formerly Meadow Brook) and one of the categories was EVs then and now. They even had, on loan from the Henry Ford Museum, Tom Edison’s experimental three wheel EV from 1897 or so. The modern EVs included a Tesla Roadster and a Model S. I spoke to the lady who was with the S and she was giddy about the car. If I was Baruth I might say she was even aroused by it. Loved it to pieces, put something like 1,000 miles on it the first couple of weeks they had it.

      I think the most important factoid in the press release from the trade group was about customer satisfaction. Obviously there’s something like confirmation bias at play but when you see unusually large numbers like the 92% of Chevy Volt owners saying they’d buy another, you have to admit that PEV owners do seem to like their cars.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        True, I would love to drive a Model S, but for one I can’t justify its price if I did like it; and two I’m sure I would like it, see one for why that’s bad.

        The 300 mile range is very livable, sure I would need one of my other vehicles often, but 300 miles would take away 80% of the range anxiety.

      • 0 avatar

        If you look at the Consumer satisfaction stats in Consumer Reports, the cars that have the greatest satisfaction are the ones that have something special to like about them. First are sports cars (no matter how bad the reliability is). Second are the cars that carry greenitude status.

        In other words, people who get a car that has something they REALLY want, as opposed to buying a mere transportation appliance, really like their cars.

      • 0 avatar
        kingofgix

        I haven’t yet ventured beyond a hybrid – never even driven a PEV – but I can’t imagine a Model S would be anything short of spectacular. I love the idea of no oil changes, no spark plugs, reduced brake pad wear, etc. and electric motors in other applications seem like one of the most perfected technologies available.. I would expect the thing would go for hundreds of thousands of miles with virtually no maintenance, and the low end torque would be marvelous. If I was interested in a car anywhere near its price range ( and I am not), I would buy it over any possible competition. The Leaf is enticing, but the range is not adequate for me as once a week, I have a 100 mile commute.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        I would think PEV owners are no different from say Camaro, Corvette, Porsche or Mustang guys as an example. A PEV is their passion so they sort of have the blinders on and that leads to enthusiastically high satisfaction numbers.

        If or when PEVS become mainstream I’d expect that number to plummet for a variety of reasons.

    • 0 avatar
      sitting@home

      I see about a dozen Teslas every day (in San Jose, CA). I joke to my wife that I wouldn’t buy one, not that I could afford one, because they’re so common. The number of new BMW 5′s and 7′s I see has dried up completely.

      By comparison I’ve seen 3 Toyobaru’s in total, so in terms of a daily driver a lot more people can adapt to plugging their car in each night and planning ahead for 300 mile journeys than are prepared to live with a cramped 2+2 that can hardly outrun a Camry.

      • 0 avatar

        To a large extent, people see what they want to see. When I was a kid, and Ted Kennedy was running in his first election, a family friend ran as an independent. All the bumper stickers I ever saw were for Stuart Hughes. I didn’t see any Lodge stickers or Kennedy stickers. One day, in a fit of pre-adolescent rebellion, I decided I would support Kennedy. After that, all I ever saw were Kennedy stickers. I might add that even Lodge did much better than Stuart Hughes.

        Another thing to realize is that the Teslas are a lot bigger and a lot more distinctive than the Toyobarus. Still, my sister, who owns an FR-S, sees loads of Toyobarus in her wealthy enclave in Virginia, outside of DC.

        • 0 avatar
          sitting@home

          I’d like to see more BRZs around; due to the declining number of stick shift wagons on the market, the BRZ is rising to the top of the list for my next car. If the convertible BRZ is released, then it will be my next car.

          But I just haven’t seen many.

      • 0 avatar

        To a large extent, people see what they want to see. When I was a kid, and Ted Kennedy was running in his first election, a family friend ran as an independent. All the bumper stickers I ever saw were for Stuart Hughes. I didn’t see any Lodge stickers or Kennedy stickers. One day, in a fit of pre-adolescent rebellion, I decided I would support Kennedy. After that, all I ever saw were Kennedy stickers. I might add that even Lodge did much better than Stuart Hughes.

        Another thing to realize is that the Teslas are a lot bigger and a lot more distinctive than the Toyobarus. Still, my sister, who owns an FR-S, sees loads of Toyobarus in her wealthy enclave in Virginia, outside of DC.

        Cramped as it is, the FR-S is an absolute joy to drive on the windy, hilly roads of Clifton, Virginia. And it’s got all the power you are going to reasonably be able to use outside of a race track.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        1) San Jose might be the place in the world with the highest concentration of Teslas.

        2) Is the BRZ/FR even competing with the Tesla? I mean, you can get three of them for the price of a Tesla, more or less, right?

        3) As others have said, Teslas stand out more than an S/7/A8.

        (I mean, I’m no EV guy, and I’m not enthusiastic about Tesla Magic, but boy howdy are they a *handsome* car.)

        • 0 avatar
          west-coaster

          “San Jose might be the place in the world with the highest concentration of Teslas.”

          I don’t know…I was in Malibu a few Sundays ago and saw eight of them in an hour. Seriously.

    • 0 avatar
      Silvy_nonsense

      I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, listening to an auto enthusiast website tell how great cars are, is madness in its finest form.

      (You do see how that form of argument is incredibly weak, right?)

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Car enthusiasts websites give opinions with open comments to agree or disagree with the findings and give other intelligent response..
        A coalition makes all forms of effort in support of what they back, you don’t see EV coalitions telling us about the opposite side of the coin when making their articles, enthusiast of cars also don’t devote their time to funding a (usually) misguided agenda.
        Coalitions begging for regulation or other forms of help for their mission from beauracrats, whether related to a lack of interest from a (body) of people or an otherwise rejection of ideas gives people the right to complain which is then usually attacked by coalitions because they don’t allow criticism.

        Ideas that excel don’t need coalitions to protect them, however when you have had beauracrats paid to push a specific agenda, it shows that something isn’t right, such as this case.
        And it does NOT help their case.

    • 0 avatar
      baggins

      I saw three in a several hundred car parking lot today. Then another by the high school when dropping off my son.

      I see several every day here on the SF Peninsula.

      It is the IN car around here.

  • avatar
    FractureCritical

    I Think it’s A regional thing. I see teslas all over in nj

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    The Tesla S is certainly common around here (I live in Fremont, where it’s built).

    But I wouldn’t call the Leaf a subcompact at all; it feels a lot bigger than that. I guess putting it in that category makes its sales numbers look better, but that isn’t necessary.

    • 0 avatar

      I dunno, I saw Leaf on the road a few times and it was about the size of Fit. Yes, it’s bigger than Spark. But it’s just that ever since Versa tested the edge of the envelope, subcompacts are this big now. Maybe it’s time of defining “ultracompacts” or something.

  • avatar
    goacom

    Thanks to various incentives, I have obtained low cost roof top solar for my home. I am actually generating a surplus of power, which I unfortunately lose all credits for at the end of the year. I am seriously considering getting an EV as it enable me to have zero energy costs to power my vehicle. If I could get a EV with 250 miles of range for around 60K after credits, I would jump on it. The Tesla S is just $10-15K too dear for me.

  • avatar
    mcs

    I think that rather than an actual drop in battery costs, we’re more likely to see an effective drop in battery costs through the lightening of EVs e.g. BMWs carbon-aluminum bodies. If you can significantly cut the total weight of the car, you need less battery to drive it for a given distance.

    There’s a lot of research, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we get a 20% improvement in batteries. As far as the next form of vehicle power, it might come totally out of left field – something unexpected. There’s so much we don’t know about the fundamental laws of nature. But, we may have another 30 years before we see something new.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      I expect EVs to incorporate supercapacitors for a portion of their total storage, specifically to handle partial quick-charging, hard acceleration, and regenerative braking. They have higher energy density, faster charge/discharge, don’t degrade with load cycles.

  • avatar
    Fonzy

    I didn’t see any supercars in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago, but I did see around 5 Tesla’s. I even see a few of these driving around Cleveland. We don’t even have any public electric charging stations.

    • 0 avatar
      tuffjuff

      This is what would kill it for me.

      I live in Green Bay – I can get to Chicago or Minneapolis pretty easily under 300 miles, but what do I do with the vehicle when I get there? Not that I could afford a Model S, of course, but if I could…

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      Plug-in hybrids (like the Volt) tend to use public chargers as a means of avoiding gasoline consumption.

      Short-range EVs (like my Leaf) don’t bother with public chargers because there’s no point in waiting 1-3 hours to recharge when you’ll do this at home anyway, and home is close. I’ve only drawn maybe 10 miles from public chargers, out of 7600 driven so far.

      Long-range EVs (like the Model S) do use public chargers, but they need only the high-powered Level 3 or Superchargers.

      So I’d say that if you’re only considering a short-range EV, the lack of a public charging network isn’t a problem. Public Level 2 chargers are nearly a waste of time and public money, in my opinion.

      • 0 avatar
        BigWu

        “Long-range EVs (like the Model S) do use public chargers, but they need only the high-powered Level 3 or Superchargers.”

        That’s a very curious statement. The Tesla S can plug into just about any power source, including the ubiquitous 110V wall socket.

        I have >7,000 miles on my Tesla S (love it!). Charging takes me 3 or 4 seconds at night to plug it in and I leave each morning with nearly 300 miles of range.

        So far this year, I’ve only used the Superchargers a couple of times (they charge 160 miles in 30 minutes) and standard 110 outlets at the lake house. Folks seem to get wrapped around the axle about charge times but they seem to forget two important facts:

        1) EV drivers never need to get gasoline. No standing in the cold/heat for 10 minutes each week or so. That time adds up to nearly 8 hours per year! And how often do you need fuel on the way to work or an appointment? With an EV, that never happens. You only have to wait while charging the Tesla on the rare very long road trip when time isn’t nearly as precious as that 8 AM meeting with the big boss/client.

        2) All-electric cars don’t need oil/transmission fluid changes nor regular servicing and are mechanically extremely simple. The time (and money) spent at the shop adds up! Even brakes aren’t an issue (nor wheel cleaning btw) since EVs aggressively regen when you take your foot of the “gas”. Friction breaks are only needed to hold the car at a light and emergency breaking.

        One final performance note: in an EV there is no energy penalty for jackrabbit starts (which are both silent and thrilling in a Tesla!). Unlike gas cars, electric motors are just as efficient under light acceleration as they are at “full throttle”. Without combustion efficiency losses, you’re only subject to joys inherent in the Second Law of Motion (Force=Mass*Acceleration).

  • avatar
    Fonzy

    I didn’t see any supercars in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago, but I did see around 5 Teslas. I even see a few of these driving around Cleveland. We don’t even have any public electric charging stations.

  • avatar
    genuineleather

    Here in northern California, I see Model S’ all the time; about as often as new 5ers or E-Classes.

    This is particularly impressive if you consider the fact they don’t offer traditional, manufacturer-subsidized leases that luxury car sales depend on (65%+ of sales at BMW, 75% at MB).

  • avatar
    Russycle

    I don’t see how this: “few expect to trim electric-car battery costs by more than 20%-30% by the planned 2016 launch”, disproves this : “Battery costs are expected to drop by 50% by 2020″. If battery costs drop by 20% in 3 years, it doesn’t seem unlikely that they’ll drop by another 30% in 5 more years. That’s a pretty steady progression.

    I’m not saying I believe either of those predictions, but given the march of technology and economies of scale they don’t seem too out of line. Wasn’t too long ago that lithium-powered hand tools were uber spendy, now a cheapskate like me can afford them.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Even if in the near future EVs and PEVs were priced the same as ICE cars, I still wouldn’t buy one, and neither would millions of others not buy one.

      So the alternative is for the gub’ment to force the manufacturers to raise the prices of ICE cars to the level of EVs and PEVs in order to achieve their misbegotten goal of replacing ICE cars with EVs and PEVs.

      Oil has worked well for America, and I believe in using what has worked. There’s nothing wrong with oil and there is plenty of it for hundreds of years yet.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        I think the killer app for electic cars will be vastly better durability and reliability. Single speed transmission, etc.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Yes, there are some advantages. If something goes awry with EVs it may be simpler to diagnose but not necessarily cheaper to repair.

          If we look to the all-electric modes of public transportation like trains and buses that use overhead power wires, or subway systems that use the third rail, we can see that simpler is better.

          But with cars it is different. There’s that range anxiety for one, unless you tow a Honda EU6500iSA Inverter Generator behind your EV.

      • 0 avatar
        ExPatBrit

        “and neither would millions of others not buy one.”

        Millions of people didn’t buy Jeep Grand Cherokees and Toyota Highlanders.

        So your point is?

        In you live in one of the high tech corridors chances are you will see a lot of Tesla, Leafs etc.

        Alternatives are good.

        There are several of these in my neighborhood already.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          We’re talking the difference between ICE and EV/PEV. More people choose to buy an ICE vehicle than do an EV/PEV.

          I’m not against EV/PEVs. I think they SHOULD be available to anyone who wants to drive one, as long as it is not subsidized by the American tax payers. I have to pay full-pop for my cars so why should tax payers subsidize EV/PEVs?

          An all-electric Golf cart is about as adventurous as I care to be, and that’s exactly what an EV/PEV is unless it has a generator on board to extend its range comparable to that of an ICE vehicle of the same size and weight class.

          I fully expect that the US government under the current administration will mandate so many redundant safety and emission systems in ICE cars in order to drive up the price of them to the level of EV/PEVs.

          But that doesn’t mean that everyone will rush out and buy one. I believe that the vast majority of buyers will opt for an ICE vehicle and that the EV/PEV will remain a niche.

          I’ve been told that most roadside-assistance trucks in California already have a huge AC generator on board to recharge stranded EV/PEV motorists.

          Like MOST Americans, I don’t care what gasoline costs. I’ll buy it no matter what it costs because it beats walking and it is a bargain at any price.

          Just the difference in price between an ICE car and an EV/PEV buys a lot of gasoline.

          And even IF they were priced the same, why would I want to voluntarily suffer range anxiety when an ICE can get me further down the road for less money?

          EV/PEVs are toys, niche vehicles, not primary modes of personal transportation until we run out of oil and natgas after about 200 more years.

          • 0 avatar
            99GT4.6

            I completely agree that we should not subsidize them in any form. No free public chargers (ones they pay for are fine), NO rebate for buying them and no free carpool lane use or other things.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            The carpool lanes vis-a-vis EV/PEVs with only a driver on-board are a topic of contention in dense traffic areas, like Southern California, for instance.

            One of my brothers residing in Southern California uses the carpool lanes with his 4-door F150 loaded with three dudes besides himself, and a Golf Cart in the bed of the truck. It’s legal, and encouraged by Jerry Brown.

            Then they get stuck behind these slowpokes in EV/PEVs holding up traffic in the HOV lane.

            Fortunately, he is able to slip out of the HOV lane much of the time and pass these slowpokes on their right and then re-enter the HOV lane down the road a ways.

            But every time he does that he blows a bunch of gas out of the tailpipe speeding up to overtake the slowpokes.

            Kind of counterproductive from my perspective. Burn extra gas to save gas. But a daily occurrence there.

          • 0 avatar
            cd

            I am not against ICEs, but if you want to talk about reducing subsidies, why don’t we start there? Is the government reimbursed for decades of military involvement in the Persian Gulf? I’d like that added into the price of gas. We have warships patrolling there right now, and please don’t tell me we are involved in the Gulf for anything other than oil. So, that should be backcharged to oil companies. After the oil, coal, gas and other fuels are extracted, do the owners restore the land to its prior state? If not, that should be added in. Let’s also throw in the cost of their never-ending stream of disasters. How about the very-well documented health costs associated with fossil fuel pollution? It seems like not having that paid by the people selling the stuff is a subsidy.

            I’m sure there are plenty of other costs rolled into gasoline that you don’t pay at the pump. I’m also sure there are costs associated with the electricity I use for my Volt, as well as the costs of the subsidies for it. But let’s talk about a level playing field before we talk about which is actually cheaper.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            cd, there is no such thing as a level playing field; never has been, never will be.

            Your view of the universe is idealistic and simply not realistic and even less attainable.

            We have to live with what works. We, as a nation, should focus on “creating wealth”, not redistributing it.

            Oil works. Oil has worked in the past and oil will work in the future because there is plenty of it.

            There isn’t enough electricity for us to use 100-watt light bulbs without draining the grid, so how can we possibly all buy PEVs and charge them up every day?

            Subsidies for the Volt or any EV/PEV/Hybrid is a redistribution of wealth because those technologies cannot survive on their own, at this time.

            In about 200 years, we’ll find a way to make them work, with nuclear power generation.

      • 0 avatar
        J.Emerson

        “Neither would millions of others not buy one”

        Their are plenty of cars on the market today that millions of people would never buy. A large number of those cars are extremely commercially successful anyway, because there is a specific genre of people that DO buy them.

        I consider the “they’re gonna tax ICE’s out of existence” bogeyman to be about as credible as “EV’s will replace all vehicles in all applications eventually.” They’re both spurious arguments.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          I agree. ICEs will overwhelmingly be with us until we run out of oil and natgas in about 200 years.

          EV/PEVs are for niche buyers. I think they SHOULD be available but they should not be subsidized by the American tax payers.

          • 0 avatar
            cd

            EVERY form of power/fuel is subsidized by the government/taxpayer. Fossil, nuclear, electric. ALL of them. So we can choose to subsidize the one that gives money to our enemies, pollutes, and becomes increasingly expensive. Our we could maybe try for once to be smart and forward thinking and put money into the one that can be cleaner, cheaper, and won’t empower our enemies and weaken our national interests. I’m a patriot, so I know which one I’d pick.

            I’m getting 200 mpg in my Volt. Here. Now. Today. That’s almost 10 times the national average. Wouldn’t it be good for us to cut the income of Russia, Venezuela, and the Middle East by a similar margin? Not to mention the environment as well.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        “Even if in the near future EVs and PEVs were priced the same as ICE cars, I still wouldn’t buy one, and neither would millions of others not buy one.”

        I sure as hell would buy one. EVs cost about a third as much to fuel as their equivalent gasoline vehicles. That’s a nice lump of change over the vehicle’s life, not to mention time savings not having to take it to a gas station. There is also the the expected reliability improvements and lower maintenance. And to top it off is the instant torque and generally good driveability.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          If you want one I think you SHOULD be able to buy one, as long as it is not subsidized by the American tax payers. No one subsidized my cars or trucks. Yeah, and I pay for my own fuel as well!

          And the difference in price between an EV/PEV and an ICE vehicle of the same size and weight class buys an awful lot of gas, i.e. the well-worn argument of buying two Cruzes for the price of one Volt.

          “expected reliability improvements and lower maintenance”

          Another nebulous argument, far removed from reality. Ask any golf course about the care and feeding of electric golf carts. You’ll get an earful!

          You’d think they would be simple, ultra reliable and require little, if any, maintenance. Far from it!

          MOST Americans are NOT sold on EVs, PEVs and Hybrids. I expect them to be a niche for a very unique group of idealists for a very long time into the future Well, until Obama starts to hand them out like cell phones, welfare checks and food stamps.

          If you think they’re so great, buy one for yourself. Just don’t try to win the rest of us over with faux arguments that these are anything other than battery-powered vehicles with inherent limitations common to all things battery powered, unless they have their own power generator on board.

          It’s really hard to improve on ye olde ICE. EV/PEVs are not replacements for ICE cars. They’re toys for the wealthy! Street-legal Golf carts on steroids with limited range and a sparse support infrastructure.

          • 0 avatar
            redav

            “No one subsidized my cars or trucks. Yeah, and I pay for my own fuel as well!”

            Strawman argument. The point is that if price is equal, EVs offer sufficient advantages to be desirable to more than the wacky green movement. (And I also call BS. The govt subsidizes your fuel, the infrastructure, the materials, the manufacturing, etc.)

            “And the difference in price between an EV/PEV and an ICE vehicle of the same size and weight class buys an awful lot of gas, i.e. the well-worn argument of buying two Cruzes for the price of one Volt.”

            So which is it? Is it “Even if in the near future EVs and PEVs were priced the same as ICE cars,” or is it “the difference in price between an EV/PEV and an ICE vehicle of the same size and weight class buys an awful lot of gas”? Are you going to talk about benefits/disadvantages of EVs excluding price difference, or are you going to depend on a price difference for your point?

            Re: reliability – If you would bother to read, you would see the word “expected.” We don’t know what the real reliability difference will be, but it is *expected* to be better for EVs. Time will tell. However, I can say that comparing golf carts to EVs is like comparing lawn mowers to cars.

            I noticed you completely fail to address the very real (and non-faux) point about fuel costs. I also fail to see where I suggest everyone needs one, where I say that ICEs should/will go away, where I imply YOU need to buy one, etc. Get your panties out of the knot, realize that some people like EVs and are intrigued by the possibilities of the tech – and that’s OK – and that not rejecting EVs is not a personal affront to you regardless of your biases.

            If you don’t like EVs, great! Don’t buy one. Just don’t try to win the rest of us over with your lame, bigoted blathering.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            redav, MOST Americans simply do not care about the price of gas, nor the over-hyped pollution the alarmists tell us it creates.

            Your vehement pro-EV stance does nothing to persuade me or like-minded Americans from dumping our gas-guzzling jalopies in favor of cramped, limited range, expensive EV/PEVs.

            That’s because we LOVE our bloated gas-guzzlers and will quench their thirst no matter how much gasoline costs. Millions of Americans do it every day, in every way, at all times of the day, or night.

            What you choose to drive is your choice. I’m cool with that but EV/PEVs are the answer to only an infinitely small sliver of a percent of the total, global automotive market. Not even the size of a gnat’s ass in industry terms or better visualized as a BB rolling around in a Box Car.

            As long as oil is plentiful, and it will be for the next 200 years at least, only the truly dedicated zealots are committing to EV/PEVs. If it works for them, that’s cool! Just don’t force the rest of us to subscribe to that hallucinogenic kool-aid.

            Although I respect your arguments because they work for you, your arguments are absolutely meaningless and without merit to me and millions upon millions of other Americans who consciously CHOOSE to drive an ICE vehicle. The answer is in the sales of EV/PEVs as a percentage of total SAAR.

            In my case, the bigger the ICE, the better. I am doing MY darnedest to burn all the gasoline I can get my hands on, in my cars, my truck, my electrical generators and to start my used-oil trash-burner.

            My philosophy is based on real-world practicality. EV/PEVs are still in the wet-dream stage.

      • 0 avatar
        philipwitak

        “There’s nothing wrong with oil…”

        …until one attempts to remove it from the earth and transport it to be refined. then we risk oil spills like the relatively recent gulf ‘horizon’ disaster or the unintentional release of heavy tar-sands oil into the kalamazoo [michigan] river.

        …or until one burns it. then we have all that exhausted carbon expelled into our planet’s fragile atmosphere.

        no – there is nothing wrong with oil, if one leaves it in the ground where it was found.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          http://www.ranken-energy.com/Products%20from%20Petroleum.htm

          Steer clear of all of these products(and the other 5,900+). I wouldn’t want you to destroy the planet and be a giant hypocrite.

          • 0 avatar
            philipwitak

            me either – so i do as well as i am able. i walk when and where i can. i drive only about 4k miles per year and do so in a car that is capable of achieving 31 mpg.

            [and i do encourage the planting of trees - many trees - highdesertcat]

            permit me to clarify the point i was attempting to make. i never did state, or even mean to suggest, that one shouldn’t drive automobiles or consume gasoline. i only took issue with the statement i quoted: “There’s nothing wrong with oil…” [with the emphasis on NOTHING] – because there is obviously plenty wrong with oil.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          philipwitak, if more people held the anti-oil philosophy that you do, there would be more oil left over for people like me who do not share your beliefs. Of course we’d still be wallowing in the agrarian stages of national development, especially in America, built with oil.

          If you’re worried about carbon emissions, plant a tree. Plant many trees!

          The vast majority of Americans do not care about the cost of fuel. They continue to buy it no matter what it cost because the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow, and renewable resources are just a hoax perpetrated to get the many to fund the unrealistic visions and hallucinations of the few.

          Oil, coal, natural gas are real and plentiful!

        • 0 avatar
          JD321

          Why do you think there is a huge swath of desert from North Africa to North China? Could it be that there is only 350 PPM CO2 in the air…The lowest in recorded history?

          Most people on Earth would die without oil…At least half. Ironically, it would be the anti-oil people who will die first since most of them have zero survival skills.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Not as long as there is Obama, the ‘crats and their version of the uber-left wing Democrat Socialist Welfare vision for America.

            They simply will bail out the despondent anti-oil people with handouts, free cell-phones, foodstamps, free cars and free gasoline, under the guise of lending a helping hand to the less fortunate among us, all at the expense of the hard-working, taxpaying Americans.

            (Hey! It’s been done, and will be done again!)

            Only in today’s America does a person not have to work and pay taxes and still live the American dream! Money for nothing and foodstamps for free!

            (For those who don’t know, and to head off any political criticism to be hurled my way, let it be known that I started as a Democrat, became a Republican in 1965, and then an Independent in 1985. I hold equal disdain for both political parties.)

      • 0 avatar
        goacom

        It seems that some people are so rigidly stuck on certain orthodoxies, that they seem oblivious to the technical progress that is taking place around them.
        In my separate posts, I have stated why I think that EVs will continue to play a bit role in personal propulsion for at least another decade, if not longer. However, to make a rather grand statement suggesting that oil will continue to power America for eternity shows this person’s stark ignorance on what is happening in the scientific community. First of all, there is the alleged connection between carbon emissions and global warming. Over 90% of the world’s scientists are reported to support this link and it seems that the opinions of society seem to turning towards this view point as well. If this trend continues, it is quite likely that we may see some kind of an imposition of a carbon tax. If so, the economics of extracted hydro carbon fuels could turn negative. As far as battery tech is concerned, the theoretical energy density of even the standard LiOn cells is 100x that what is currently being achieved. In theory, it only needs to be 5-10x better than what it is now before it begins to signifcantly outperform the ICE engine in terms of range/performance. This 5-10x improvement is quite possible within the next 2 decades. Will the carbon tax necessarily kill the hydrocarbon based economy? Again, not necessarily so, specially if (when?) cellulosic hydro carbons kick in. While solar and wind technologies seem to have the most visibility in the public’s view, a revolution in cellulosic hydro carbons is silently happening. As far as subsidies for EV’s are concerned, I am against it. The money may be better spent on fundamental research at universities, rather than subsidizing certain industries. In any case, EVs are just not ready for prime time… yet.

    • 0 avatar
      goacom

      Energy density (energy per unit mass) of a Li-ion battery is around 2% that of gasoline. Alternatively, I would need 50 pounds of Li-ion to carry the same energy as 1 pound of gasoline.

      Energy efficiency of a gasoline engine ~ 20% vs 90% for electric, which means that an electric car does not need the same amount of energy to move a unit distance, which means that the electric car would need ~10 pounds of Li-ion to have the same range as 1 pound of gasoline.

      Therefore, battery technology has to improve by a factor of 10 to become equivalent to gasoline (not including costs). This is definitely not going to happen in the next 5 years. A more likely scenario is that batteries will be competitive in 15 years from now.

      Next, about the claim that electric cars are “zero” emissions: In a typical country, around 50% of the electricity is produced by fossil fuels, which in many cases is coal, which is amongst the worst polluter in terms of COx per unit of energy output. Again, in 15-20 years from now, the energy mix will probably change drastically, with coal being displaced by cleaner gas and with nuclear being replaced with wind and some solar. But the bottom line is that electric cars are not necessarily zero emissions vehicles due to the source of their power.

      About electric cars in general, the consensus is that there is not going to mass electrification of propulsion systems until the fundamental battery technology is figured out, which as I said may be 15-20 years away. However, there is going to be greater electrification of various subsystems in a car. Right now hydraulic steering and brakes are being displaced by electric steering and regenerative braking. Various components such as the fuel and water pumps are now becoming electric. Other components up for electrification are electric enhanced turbos and electric valve trains. All these additions can contribute to a significant improvement in engine efficiency, with modest battery capacities. These changes, coupled with continuous improvements in engine efficiency (combustion and mechanical) means that it is possible that the internal combustion engine will still be chugging along as the as main propulsion source decades from now.

      There is plenty of hydrocarbons to keep ICEs fueled for a long time to come. In the end, the real issue may be the problem of climate change and its link to carbon emissions. I dont consider myself an expert on this issue, though apparently the majority of the scientists claim there is a strong link. My sense is that society’s opinion is generally moving in the same direction. If so, we can expect some sort of carbon tax eventually being imposed by society on extracted fuels. A further incentive for greater electrification may come from the utilities. If the trend towards more green energy generation continues, energy storage will become indispensable in leveling out the unstable power generation characteristics of energy sources like solar and wind. Car battery storage could become a logical extension of the electrical grid.

      Does this trend mean that ICE is screwed in the long run? Not necessarily so! There is much work going on in the development of cellulosic fuels. This is quite different from the high cost ethanol being produced from corn or cane as it relies of abundant and cheap cellulose rather than sugars as the starting material. A breakthrough was just announced a few days ago. If it works, it will ensure a supply of hydro carbons that are carbon neutral which could help ensure continuity of ICE engines for a long time! See. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/01/business/energy-environment/company-says-its-the-first-to-make-ethanol-from-waste.html?_r=0

      • 0 avatar
        kingofgix

        In your analysis which concludes that “battery technology has to improve by a factor of 10 to be equivalent to gasoline”, you forgot to add ” in terms of energy density”. Battery technology may never match gasoline in terms of energy density, but that is a relatively unimportant stat. Improving battery energy density only reduces the weight of the batteries, but PEVs are already vastly more efficient in terms of energy required to move them. That, and their significant edge in mechanical simplicity and maintenance are their advantages. Cost, range and battery life are the disadvantages. Energy density is a minor player, and your statement makes it sound like it is all that matters.

        • 0 avatar
          goacom

          Kingofgix, if you re-read my comments, you will note that I have taken into account energy density AND the difference in efficiency. Currently, LiON has about 1/50th the energy density of gasoline. However, EVs are approximately 5x more efficient in converting the energy than gasoline. When you do the ratios, LiONs only have to have 1/10th the energy density of gasoline to be competitive. If one looks at the theoretical storage capacities of LiON batteries, it is possible to increase it by a factor for 100x, by using alternate anode materials such as Si. You can look at the following article. http://www.stanford.edu/group/cui_group/papers/Hui_Today_2012.pdf Right now, these anodes are not stable but there is much work going on to resolve these issues. Obviously, there are many other technologies being worked on.(BTW, I’m a materials scientist and have done some work on anode technologies for batteries).

          • 0 avatar
            gachapingymkhana

            This is a great analysis… but does the 5x efficiency advantage of an electric motor account for the fact that it weighs less than a gasoline engine? Since the ultimate function of an engine is to accelerate its own mass (along with an admittedly greater mass of passengers and other components), it would seem appropriate to factor that in.

            Another area in which electric wins is the ability to turn unwanted speed into usable energy rather than mere waste heat. And then there’s the ability to locate the dense parts low in the chassis to improve driving dynamics, though that’s not exactly related to the conversation on efficiency.

          • 0 avatar
            kingofgix

            gaocom,
            Thanks for the clarification, but although I see what you are doing calculation wise, I don’t get the conclusion. You seem to be saying:

            Efficiency x energy density = Competitiveness

            Or, that energy density and efficiency are of equal importance in determining what makes a vehicle competitive. I think overall vehicle efficiency is very important ( and energy density of the fuel source is a very minor component of that). But energy density is not very important at all, after a point. The Tesla Model S has a 300 mile range. It is not energy density, but cost and charging times that are the main issues. Better energy density would be nice, but it doesn’t really solve anything of itself.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    The EV market can thank the 1st-gen Prius for blazing the customer acceptance trail. However, unlike a hybrid that just runs on gasoline, EV range anxiety is a big deal and should be addressed more honestly by the mfrs.

    I think the 50% reduction in battery prices by 2020 is a prediction by zealots, suitable for US government consumption and distribution. Who knows – maybe prices will go up as demand goes up.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Remember that there is no single price of batteries, and we really don’t know what each company actually pays for them. It’s very possible that certain batteries will cost in the low $300s/kWh but not all.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    I was completely, utterly, totally wrong about Tesla. They are for real. Still some possible threats as the initial burst of enthusiasm wears off and they have to migrate to a larger market – but the Model S is for real and thousands produced. Kudos to Mr. Musk and his vision.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      Many critics evaporated when Tesla repaid its government loans. Favorable test reviews have helped, and most alert drivers can say they’ve seen one by now, which makes them seem more viable.

      Good for you, admitting an error. I think a lot of people wanted Tesla to succeed, but just not on the backs of the taxpayers.

      As for the EV rebates, I doubt this has been the motivation for most Tesla buyers due to its already high price.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        “a lot of people wanted Tesla to succeed, but just not on the backs of the taxpayers.”

        Amen to that! Count me among those who like to see any and all new entries succeed, but just not subsidized by the tax payers.

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    Hey, I’ll call it luxury, in that the batteries in that thing give me more of a certainty of getting the car going than my almost new Mercedes (which seems to suck juice out of the battery whilst parked), and accompanies this with numerous other electrical glitches.

    If I do get another expensive car, it’ll at least be built by a company that has EEs that got better than Cs in university.

  • avatar
    Johnnyangel

    Re. range anxiety, it would be great if TTAC could dig into whether owners of BMW’s recently announced i3 who have the optional gas-powered range extender will be able to take long road trips as long as they’re willing to keep stopping for gas. As far as I have been able to determine, all the media have just parroted BMW’s claim that the gas engine extends range to “200 miles.” No one has said whether one could keep driving if you gas up after that — as on a Volt — or whether battery recharging must be performed after 200 miles no matter what. Since the gas engine’s only 600 cc or so, I suspect the latter, but why has no one even asked this question?

    • 0 avatar
      HiFlite999

      Also unmentioned, is that the “range extender” on the i3 is very different than on the Volt. A 600cc engine won’t be pulling the i3 down the expressway at 70 mph. It can recharge the battery (expensively) over some period, or supply enough current to move at some much lower speed. Climb a mountain grade? Not likely.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        “A 600cc engine won’t be pulling the i3 down the expressway at 70 mph”

        You sure about that? IIRC, most cars don’t use more than 40 bhp to maintain 70mph on level ground.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      this post should have gone under Stringray 65′s comments. My apologies for being an idiot. Any evidence to back those numbers or are they anecdotal? Hybrids have mainstream (Prius, I’ve seen Teslas in the parking lots of very non-tree hugging government agencies, and my city government has a small fleet of them. A gov’t vehicle that is used for short city trips and recharged overnight. Egads!

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Why the 3X increase?

    Then:
    - Only two manufacturers offered hybrids. One of these was a two-seater and two-seaters have a very strong history of not selling.
    - There was a tiny Federal tax incentive (today it’s $7500 and state incentives are more common).
    - Gas was cheaper.
    - Cars with traction batteries and high-voltage electric propulsion motors were pretty much unknown.

    Now:
    - There’s 3 manufacturers consistently shipping decent volumes (>1K/month) and several more lesser players.
    - $7500 tax credit.
    - Gas has gone up.
    - HEVs have made the idea of electric propulsion “normal.”

    I’d rank the variety and the tax credit as the most significant factors responsible for the increase.

    • 0 avatar
      HiFlite999

      Good points. Also, when hybrids first came out, and for quite a while afterward, ppl were afraid of the technology. Once it was widely seen that the cars reliably delivered on their promises, that barrier fell. Also, younger generations are much less afraid of technology than their elders and the plugins are regarded as a much smaller “step” from normal hybrids than those hybrids were seen compared to conventional cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      I agree and I’ll add that the first options for Hybrids were quite miserable excuses for cars. The Insight was so stripped for weight it was like riding in an aluminum can with paper thin “carpet” as the only insulation. The first Prius was only slightly better being based on the Echo. The Leaf is a much more substantial and better trimmed car than the original Prius and Insight were.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        Yes. And, yet, like today’s EV, customer satisfaction was very high. I think this is in part because they had a unique vehicle; when braking, kinetic energy became something other than waste heat!

  • avatar
    stingray65

    Right now it is nearly 100% “tree-huggers” that are buying electric vehicles, and of course they are going to be very positive about their new vehicles, which are saving the planet and showing everyone else how environmentally concerned they are. This small niche of highly enthusiastic people also benefit from the subsidies that are paid for by 99% of taxpayers that have not had a drink of the EV kool-aid yet. The key question is whether the 99% will adopt, particularly if the subsidies get withdrawn due to their high costs, and if they will be nearly as enthusiastic if they do.

    • 0 avatar
      HiFlite999

      You’re insulting the ~1/4 of Volt owners who are service veterans. They have an enhanced appreciation of what “cheap” oil really costs and would prefer that their money not go toward funding the very same people who are shooting our soldiers in places they wouldn’t be if not for oil.

      It’s the same reason G.W. approved the EV tax credits in the first place.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Where did you get the figure 25% of Volt owners are Veterans?

      • 0 avatar
        E46M3_333

        They also wouldn’t be there, getting shot if they hadn’t volunteered for duty.

        • 0 avatar
          Summicron

          Yeah, dumbasses. They could have just as easily gone right from high school to high-wage manufacturing jobs with tuition reimbursement, family friendly insurance plans and every guarantee of non-stop advancement if they just put in the effort.

          What the hell were they thinking? They must just love killing people, freakin’ psychos.

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        This Soldier owns a Land Cruiser. Most of my Joes drive some sort of truck. I know one person in my unit with a Hyundai Hybrid. Had Iraq been about oil it may have been a worthwhile fight. Oil or not they will find some where to send us though. Too many pockets getting lined to stop now which is what Iraq was about. Been to both of the wars and honestly I’d hang em’ up but I am too close to retirement. And I didn’t see a lot of oil in Afghanistan. But we are keeping the cheap Herion flowing so you can get your mind off the price of gas I suppose.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      Sorry to not fit your EV profile; I’m part of the vast right wing conspiracy and didn’t get my Leaf to save the planet.

      But I do enjoy the $0.03/mile operational cost, and don’t miss the stink of unburned gasoline and complication of an internal combustion drivetrain, which plagues my other cars.

      I don’t support subsidies, but I’ll take money if it’s on the table. Loss of subsidies will hurt low-end EVs, but probably not high-end cars like the Model S. However, driving an EV is an addictive experience, so it’s possible the current Kool-aid EV drivers would buy another EV even without a subsidy.

    • 0 avatar
      ExPatBrit

      “Right now it is nearly 100% “tree-huggers” that are buying electric vehicles”

      I call BS on that!

      The savings can be substantial, even without the subsidies if it fits your lifestyle. Once maintenance and depreciation are figured it could be even better.

      Luddites thought the battery replacement costs would kill the resale on the Prius.

      How that work out?

      So let’s try removing all gasoline subsidies first, to check out your theory.

  • avatar
    walleyeman57

    Yes, the electric cars are saving the world.

    The US taxpayer gets the privilege of supporting these purchases. So a buyer of these “luxury” cars gets a huge rebate direct from Uncle Sam. And just who is purchasing these autos?

    “Compared to US national statistics, the EVIX respondents are more than twice as wealthy as most Americans, with a median household income of $108,624. The national median household income is $51,914.”

    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/electric-car-owners-are-richer-and-smarter-2012-11#ixzz2b8CEhHQA

    This is across all EV purchases, so I assume that the Tesla buyers have much higher incomes, than say a Volt buyer.
    So us poor peons end up paying high income people to drive a car that they would have purchased without any incentive.

  • avatar
    J.Emerson

    There are a number of authors and commenters here, myself included, that have argued that some ideal of “American luxury” needs to make a comeback. Big, quiet, smooth cars that are classically styled, have sumptuous interiors, and that don’t mess around in the performance department. A rebellion against flame surfacing, gigantic ugly emblems, wheezy powerplants, too-hard seats and suspensions, and the general trappings of fake, played-out faux-import “cachet” obliterated by zillions of $399 a month lease specials. A car that instantly communicates the status of the owner without resorting to pure crass buffoonery.

    Maybe it’s staring us in the face. Right at the top of the page.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s definitely more innovative than any other car made in the last decade or two. In terms of performance and styling I think of it as being much more European than American in character.

      People have been a bit critical of the interior quality compared to the big guys. But others love the touch screen which has basically replaced all switchgear.

      Sure wish I could buy one for a $399 a month lease special, though :). I would save very close to that in gas every month.

      D

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        “I think of it as being much more European than American in character.”

        No, it’s American like a Packard or a Dusenberg was American. When American cars stood at the pinnacle of quality and bleeding edge engineering.

  • avatar
    Summicron

    Can’t wait for their minivan.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Editing nitnoy: plug in electric vehicles (PEV). Would have made it clearer.

  • avatar

    See what happens when Tesla introduces BMW 3-series competitor. 3-series will become obsolete overnight.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    For all those gnashing their teeth and wringing their hands over EV/Hybrid subsidies; I have one question. Have you ever heard of tax write-offs for company owned vehicles? I liked my King Ranch and Lariat F-150′s. There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.

  • avatar
    CelticPete

    Tesla’s fortunes seemed tied into gasoline hitting outrageous prices. I just don’t think is going to happen – ever. We might have hit peak oil but we are long way off from peak natural gas. What you will see in the US is a switch over to natural gas wherever possible. This will lower the demand for oil/gasoline and keep prices around where they are now.

    Moreover – call me crazy but I don’t think electric cars are as efficient as they are cracked up to be. Most run indirectly on natural gas.

    We take the natural gas – burn it – turn it into mechanical energy – turn that into electric energy – they pipe that through the electric grid – then we recharge a battery and drive a car.

    Call me crazy but wouldn’t it potentially be smarter to just run a car on natural gas?

    • 0 avatar
      FractureCritical

      I think you’re looking at the EV market as entirely logical, which I don’t know is fair. My personal opinion is that Tesla sells a ton of cars more on cache than anyone trying to save a tree, that’s just a bonus. As stated before, we live in a country where you can put a diamind star, a blue and white propeller, or four rings in your driveway for the low, low price of $399/month. The ‘brands’ have lost some luster. Teslas check all the right boxes for brand cache: they’re unique, they’re expensive enough to be out of the hands of middle class rabble(but not unbearably so), they’re relatively hard to get, they instantly convey a sense of newness/tech cred, and they are likely not in the neighbor’s driveway.

      that being said, my father in law leased a Vold during one of GM’s fire sales on the car. I think he pays something like the aforementioned $399/month. The car has become a hobby for the man. He revels in avoiding gas stations and I think he’s filled the tank something like 3 times in the 18 months he’s owned it, and he’s got about 15k miles on it. whether or not you like the car, there’s something to be said for that.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      For all the talk of peak oil, I tend to believe in plateau oil, and I expect a long tail trend after the plateau instead of a rapid decline. However, I do expect gasoline prices to continue to increase at a rate much higher than general inflation. (That price increase is what will maintain the plateau & long tail and prevent a peak & sudden drop-off.)

      I have nothing against using nat gas directly in vehicles, especially larger fleet trucks, but there are some advantages to electric:
      - Single-point upgrades & maintenance. It is easier and more cost effective to maintain a few large gas power plants than millions of small engines. Those power plants can be made more efficient, too.
      - Versatility. An electric fleet can run on any power source, not just natural gas. But until alternatives really gain traction, the point is rather moot.
      - Infrastructure. We already have the power grid, but we don’t have many nat gas stations. If vehicle charging is done at night, the power grid would not be overtaxed, and would probably be more efficient due to more level loads.
      - End user cost. Running a car on natural gas is somewhere around half the cost of gasoline while electricity costs about a third. Conversions for natural gas are still expensive, IIRC about $10k for an F-150, and that is similar to EVs (eFocus is about $10k more than a comparable ICE Focus, even without govt subsidy.)


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