By on September 6, 2016

Tesla Model 3 Unveil, Image: Tesla Motors

The electric vehicle revolution, if you want to call it that, won’t happen in the “I woke up and everything was different” manner envisioned by hard-core EV enthusiasts.

EVs are no longer new to the automotive scene, but there’s still a vast gulf between the opinions of politicians and automakers and that of the buying public. Not surprisingly, the vast majority of Americans polled in a recent study say they aren’t ready or willing to add an electric vehicle to their household.

The Reportlinker Insight survey, conducted in mid August, targeted a representative sample of the population, and found that 81 percent of respondents weren’t ready to take a chance on an EV.

There’s a host of issues with battery electric vehicles — cost, range, durability and recharging infrastructure — that are holding back sales. When asked about the drawbacks of EV ownership, 33 percent of respondents listed undeveloped recharging infrastructure as the biggest barrier to ownership. Cost of acquisition ranked highest for 21 percent of respondents, while a further 15 percent cited the speed of a recharge.

These issues should improve incrementally, with a looming crop of 200-plus mile EVs in the $30,000–$35,000 range poised to flood trickle into showrooms and driveways over the next few years. None of them are trucks, which consumers love with a burning passion. Meanwhile, the rollout of private and public charging stations continues at a very modest pace. Even the most enthusiastic EV die-hard must realize that the revolution won’t come with a bang.

According to the study, Americans aren’t even sold on the idea of EVs being the logical successor to traditional fuel vehicles. Of the respondents, 43 percent say the best alternative to gas- and diesel-powered vehicles are more efficient fossil fuel-powered vehicles. 29 percent say hybrid (plug-in) electric vehicles were a better alternative. Only 12 percent believe fully electric vehicles should drive us into the future.

Millennials are the outlier to this question. For a number of reasons, including current vehicle ownership (or lack thereof), location and lifestyle, 48 percent of younger adults said hybrid and battery electric vehicles are the best alternative. You can just image the ad teams prepping Millennial-focused marketing campaigns for those future models. Cue the banjos, straw hats and jam sessions on the front steps.

When asked when they expected to see mass adoption of electric vehicles, 37 percent of respondents said it won’t happen until 2035. The second-largest group of respondents — 26 percent — expect it by 2025.

Tesla has signed up 373,000 would-be buyers for its upcoming Model 3, but the brand’s near-mythical status surely plays a role in the public’s enthusiasm for that model. The real test of the public’s EV appetite comes when the Chevrolet Bolt, next-generation Nissan Leaf and other “regular” EVs hit the market.

[Image: Tesla Motors]

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211 Comments on “Shocker: Study Shows Americans Aren’t Interested in Owning EVs, Prefer Better Gas Mileage Instead...”


  • avatar
    Kenmore

    What Do We Want?!

    -Trucks & CUVs!!

    When Do We Want ‘Em?!

    -Now!!

    Do We Care What They Run On?!

    -Phuq No!!

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      The only car I have ever owned was/is a ’68 Galaxie 500. Unless someone makes a battery powered crew pickup 4×4 that can carry 1,800 lbs and go 400 miles without a charge, I AM NOT INTERESTED.
      If I bought an EV for my teen-aged son he’d disown me and need his MMA skills to keep the bullies at bay. My other son cough hack does not care about cars.

      I don’t care how it is powered, it needs range and capacity in a configuration I can live with. That rules out any current EV.

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        “I don’t care how it is powered, it needs range and capacity in a configuration I can live with.”

        Thank you.

        “a ’68 Galaxie 500”

        Mmm… floaty!

      • 0 avatar

        This will probably worry him but Lou and I are on common ground here. Right down to the ’68 Galaxie. I’ve owned two – a 390ci LTD coupe and a black on black on black 428ci XL convertible.

        If you’ve got my ’68 XL I want it back. One of the few cars I’ve owned that I regret letting go.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          WhiskeyRiver – I inherited it from my folks. 2 door hard top. Black top and white body. It had the 10.5:1 compression, 4 barrel, dual exhaust, 315 hp engine in it.

        • 0 avatar
          JustPassinThru

          There was something powerful in the allure of those 1968 full-size Fords.

          I never drove one; but my folks owned, or used, two. First was a Company Car; and that convinced my old man to buy another to replace the rusted-out six-year-old Rambler.

          And that car, the 1968 that they bought, became the benchmark by which all other cars were judged. Right up until my mother got her first Camry two decades later.

          Even though the 1968 rusted out in five years with a broken frame, they forgave it for its innocuous reliability…floaty, but got the job done, every time.

          Until the frame rotted through.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            JustPassinThru – the drains on the boxed frames would get plugged and they’d collect moisture and start to rot from the inside out. A common spot was at the front frame rail where it went into the box section of the front end assembly. Mine never had that problem but I have run across a lot that had issues.
            Interestingly enough that similar architecture continued on into the Panther that became the ubiquitous taxi and police car.

      • 0 avatar
        thelaine

        The only car I have ever owned was/is a ’68 Galaxie 500. Unless someone makes a battery powered crew pickup 4×4 that can carry 1,800 lbs and go 400 miles without a charge, I AM NOT INTERESTED.

        Yes. Yes, and yes LouBC. Peace be upon you.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Pluggin’ A, man.

  • avatar
    zip94513

    Our electricity bills are already sky high, especially those of stuck with the tiered billing levels of PG&E. A hybrid or smaller engine is preferable and wayyy less expensive.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Battery costs are falling rapidly. Industry analysts are predicting that within 5 years, the cost of an electric car will be roughly equal to conventional ICE. Electricity costs less than gasoline.

      • 0 avatar
        jimbob457

        Battery powered vehicles offer range anxiety. They are already heavily subsidized by the US government (how much longer will that last?). Prospects for battery improvement are dubious. Cheap oil from fracking is obvious to everyone.

        EV’s are near dead in the US for another 20 years, if then.

        • 0 avatar
          markogts

          And the hell with global warming, right?

          PS there is no cheap fracking oil. You frack only if oil is above 60$/barrel. Oil is cheap now because the Saudis are flooding the market.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          •Battery powered vehicles offer range anxiety.
          — ICE powered vehicles offer range anxiety.

          •They are already heavily subsidized by the US government (how much longer will that last?).
          — ICE are already heavily subsidized by the US government (and shows no sign of stopping.)

          •Prospects for battery improvement are dubious.
          — Prospects for economy improvement for ICEs are dubious without SOME sort of battery involved.

          •Cheap oil from fracking is obvious to everyone.
          — Earthquakes from fracking is obvious to everyone… causing the complete shut down of fracking operations in one state already.

          •EV’s are near dead in the US for another 20 years, if then.
          — ICEs will be near dead in the US in 20 years, if that long. They will become a niche power source for very specialized vehicles.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Vulpine – the only time I get “range anxiety” is in the back country on dirt bikes. No worries with my 136 litre fuel tank.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            I used to have a pickup truck with a combined total of 121 litres in two tanks. I was lucky to get 300 miles in everyday driving on that amount of fuel, though on the highway, empty, it achieved 19.5 mpg (a 1990 F-150). When you’re nearing the bottom of those tanks, I guarantee you worry about being able to reach a gas station, even when you’re on the Interstate highway in the US at night (gas stations do close in some areas.) I, personally, refuel when my vehicles get down to ¼ tank, or in the case of my current Ford Ranger, when I reach 300 miles (I know its average fuel economy in my everyday driving and could push it to 400 if I needed to. But I would still experience increasing range anxiety for every mile beyond that 300.) I avoid range anxiety by refueling sooner than I absolutely need to, though I know many others who don’t even look for a station until the low-fuel light comes on.

            Knowing your fuel economy, not trusting that window sticker to be canon, goes a long ways towards alleviating range anxiety. As such, I would have few worries in a BEV. People claiming that a BEV cannot do what it is already doing is one of the biggest factors as to why BEVs aren’t more popular right now. This ignores any conspiracy theories that Big Oil might be behind much of that negative commentary.

          • 0 avatar
            SSJeep

            Im definitely in the market for an EV, and soon. Its primary use will be 80-150 mile business commuting. The appeal of never stopping at a gas station and laying my mitts on a filthy pump handle every other day have gotten the best of me. And an ability to charge at home overnight on 220 amps is icing on the cake.

            Of course, the EV will be a third car in my household, but it will serve a very appropriate purpose, and keep nearly 40k miles per year off of my ICE vehicles.

            I agree with Vulpine, as range goes up and costs come down (and charging tech improves), EVs will eventually take over many ICE duties. Its just a matter of time.

      • 0 avatar
        zip94513

        Our electricity bill last month was $825 and we hit the 5th tier. There is no way in hell an EV would be cheaper than gasoline.

        • 0 avatar
          IAhawkeye

          Holy s&[email protected], $825 for electricity??

        • 0 avatar
          BryanC

          PG&E has an EV rate plan that’s pretty reasonable. Costs 10 cents a kWh or so to charge at night. For my car that’s about 3 cents a mile, which I think is pretty decent.

          • 0 avatar
            zip94513

            PG&E may give EV owners a break, probably underwritten by overtaxed California taxpayers, but the cheapest tier 1 rate for a light bulb at my house is $0.18kWh, and all the light bulbs are LED or CFL. There aren’t any incandescent bulbs in the home.

            Before I moved back to California, my NV Energy rate for my Las Vegas home was $0.102kWh and there were no tiers. That is almost 50% less than PG&E’s base tier, and only 25% of PG&E’s 3rd tier a/o August 1st.

        • 0 avatar
          markogts

          I live in Italy where electricity is more expensive than in the US. With 825$ I pay all the electricity for one year at home plus the charging of the PHEV.

          Don’t you think it’s time to start some energy saving activities?

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          First, there are only three tiers now.

          Second, if you hit $825, you are using so much electricity that charging an EV would be the least of your worries. Are you running a grow operation?

          But what BryanC says below — for most EV owners, a time-of-day based plan is the better option, and will get you rates for your EV that aren’t more expensive than gasoline.

          • 0 avatar
            zip94513

            Wrong, there are more than 3 tiers. Look at your bill for anytime in July. On further review I hit the 4th tier, not the 5th tier. The 4th tier ended on July 31st. Before then the 3rd tier was $0.24kWh, but on Aug 1st the 4th tier went away and the 3rd tier pricing rose from $0.24kWh to $0.40kWh to further gouge users.

            Welcome to PG&E in California, where you won’t get cheaper rates like SMUD in Sacramento or NV Energy in Las Vegas. For anyone interested we used 2240kWh last billing cycle.

            Despite ceiling fans, low E2 glass, attic fans, dual zone air conditioning, and a newer energy efficient home so quiet I cannot hear the rock band practicing two doors down while indoors, the bills are extreme here, even for a 2700 sq ft single story home.

            Even my water bill is $44 before I start using any water, and that’s for the ‘hookup’ & ‘drought’ surcharges, and then it’s another $60 for the water used by 3 people using an HE washing machine and 6 minutes a day of lawn watering.

          • 0 avatar
            mfennell

            Holy cow. I’m guessing you live in a hot part of CA. 3100 sqft not-super-efficient 1970s home in central NJ and I used ~800kWh last month including charging my e-golf!

            Also guessing you don’t have natural gas. I used to have an electric hot water heater and found that it used more electricity than the Volt I had at the time. Still, my monthly average usage was 1250kWh IIRC, and that was with my wife working from home with our then-baby in the house.

          • 0 avatar
            GeneralMalaise

            PGE customers are funding the de-commissioning of nuke plants, have been for years. I compared the tiered rate structure of our PGE bill with a family member’s SCE (SoCal Edison) bill around 5 years ago, and the PGE rates were significantly higher.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Does PGE own Diablo Canyon and San Onofre or just the latter?

          • 0 avatar
            GeneralMalaise

            Diablo Canyon,.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Ah, that’s a two-fer.

          • 0 avatar
            GeneralMalaise

            I had to look it up, 28 cars: SCE owns San Onofre and in the process of decommissioning at least some, if not all, of it.

        • 0 avatar
          j_slez

          zip, here’s a link for you:
          http://www.sungevity.com/get-your-iquote?referral-code=1239342&oursun=email&ls=oursungevity-sungevity-us&#step-1

          They’ll set you up with solar that will be under 10 cents/kWh. With a 2700 square foot single-level house you’ve got to have plenty of roof space. For about $20k, you could probably cut $500 a month off your bill. People in tier 3 are prime candidates for solar. I rarely used to hit tier 2 and I still have a payback time of 7-8 years. You could probably be under 4 years if you could find a way to pay up front (buy it or pre-paid lease) instead of the zero-down 20-year lease that seems to cut the savings in half.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          I won’t say “impossible”, zipper, but you must have one B.I.G. house if you’re using that much electricity.

          Either that, or you need to get your AC units checked out before they completely fail on you.

    • 0 avatar
      healthy skeptic

      @zip94513

      $825/month????? I’ve lived in the Bay Area my whole life, getting my electricity from PG&E, and never heard of bills like that. At my one-bedroom 900 sq-ft condo, I pay about $60/month most of the time, and that includes HE washer and dryer, electric oven, plasma TV, and electric heating (though the heating rarely gets used.)

      My highest bills at my previous 1,300 sq-ft condo were $160/month during Dec-Jan, and that was because 240V electric heating would kick in to heat an inefficient space. Electric heating is a total electricity hog. Even if we double that for you, we’re only at $320/month. Besides, if you do have electric heating, you’d see much bigger bills during the winter than summer. Or are you using a ton of AC?

      I’m thinking you have something drawing off current. You sure nothing’s amiss?

      • 0 avatar
        zip94513

        We have gas heating & gas stove, and an electric dryer & electric oven. I would consider solar except I am taking care of my ailing father in his recently purchased home. When he goes so does the home. The prior months bill was $497 for June 15th thru July 15th. The air conditioning is obviously running up the bill, and this might be a seasonal issue, but even funnier is I’m hearing it has been a cooler than normal summer even though we had a few 106 degree days in the last billing cycle!

        When we lived in San Mateo that home & location didn’t have air conditioning, but the gas bill averaged $350 monthly over a year for 1800 sq ft. I might add that all the homes I’m discussing are occupied 24 hours a day as someone is almost always home, thus the HVAC will be on most of the time.

        The $825 bill was $26 for gas, the rest was electricity. The home even has solar screens on all the south & west facing windows as well as blinds and drapes kept shut.

        My 800 sq ft condo in Las Vegas (NV Energy electricity) averages $140 in the summer but its over 104 degrees every day in July and August plus my place faced south, while my neighbor with a 2BR condo facing east averages $130 monthly.

        My 1200 sq ft Citrus Heights home (SMUD electricity) averaged $130 in the summer after I installed ceiling fans & attic fans & additional insulation & low E2 double panes & painted the home white.

        It’s PG&E raping their customers. Oil has never been so cheap so long yet the bills get higher every year. When PG&E is charging 4 times the rate of NV Energy that tells me everything I need to know, so unless an EV charge port has its own meter, I’d get screwed on that too.

        • 0 avatar
          SSJeep

          My limited understanding is that PG&E was forced to decommission their nuclear operations in lieu of “sustainable technology”. Of course this results in much higher kWh costs.

          I am at 0.10/kWh. Primary power is nuclear and wind.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
    -Henry Ford

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Yeah, not seeing the parallel.

      EVs are not a *new thing nobody has yet or that’s so weird only freaks or the super rich own them*.

      You can go buy a Leaf or whatever the awful GM version is right now, and they’re not the first generation of EV.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        EVs are very much a “new thing nobody has yet” unless you live in one of a handful of coastal cities.

        People don’t understand how daily life with an EV works. In particular, they haven’t internalized that charging at home brings big pluses, not just the minus of charge time.

        • 0 avatar
          multicam

          I’m with Sigivald on this one; I don’t see the parallel. EV’s *functionally* are no different from normal cars. It’s not at all analogous to the leap from horse-drawn carriage to early motorcars.

          The difference between EV’s and typical ICE-powered vehicles is limited to their refueling options, which obviously impacts practicality WRT long-distance trips and viability as towing vehicles. It would be like if original horses ate food once a week for five minutes, versus a new type of horse that slowly eats in its stable but you can’t ride it again till it has had its fill.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Five minutes plus the time to get to and from the filling station. And it always seems like I’m out of gas at the least convenient possible moment, when filling up is going to make me late.

            Also, fueling is far from the only difference. In my experience, people really like both the quiet and the smooth, responsive driving characteristics of electric motors, once they’ve tried them. There is also the very nice benefit that you’re not generating poisonous gas at idle that may or may not linger around your car.

          • 0 avatar
            multicam

            dal, don’t get me wrong- I recognize that there are differences, and many of them favor EVs, but I’m just talking about functionality and the paradigm-shifting/world-altering newness of the automobile around the turn of the century vs. the emergence of EVs, which is really just evolution of the already-established automobile.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            @Dal, so none of your commute or regular area of driving goes by a gas station, allowing you to combine refueling with another trip?

            If you run low on fuel in your gasoline car, you can stop for a few minutes and then be on your way with no worry about getting too far from another refuel-in-minutes source. A BEV doesn’t have that luxury, at least not yet.

            *in response to your comment below*
            All those people buying the Model S are far outnumbered by those with the power and the desire to spend their money elsewhere, so is everyone stupid *except* Model S owners? That is what your logic implies.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            There’s no gas station on my regular commute. I have to drive about 2 miles in the wrong direction to get to it.

            No, that’s not what my logic implies. All I’m implying is that the Tesla buyers made a choice with their money that worked for them. If CJ would rather have an Escalade, that’s fine too… but the existence of tons of loaded Tesla buyers proves the EV is not “a disproven zombie of an idea that should have stayed dead.”

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          Some people need a history lesson. EVs are very much something that was closer to their current level of development than IC cars were when IC cars relegated them to the scrap heap of history over a hundred years ago. EV resurgence makes them the socialism of mobility: a disproven zombie of an idea that should have stayed dead.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            So all those people who paid $125k+ for Model Ses were just dumber than you, and should have bought Escalades instead?

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            They didn’t pay the full price. If they had to pay the actual cost of the cars and their share of wasteful charging stations, then they could decide whether it is a smart way to allocate resources or not.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            ToddAtlas has trouble wrapping his head around the concept that modern governments use tax policy for the common good.

            He would rather spend $6 Trillion on wars in the middle east to keep the oil taps flowing than $8B to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil.

            There is a reason that the new Koch Brothers school for training conservatives has a course that teaches that fossil fuels help poor Americans the most – because the Koch brothers are in the fossil fuel business.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            Yeah, but Todd’s more entertaining than you are.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            You really do miss BTSR.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            Yeah.. if it weren’t for BAFO I wouldn’t need a scrolling wheel anymore since Truck left.

          • 0 avatar
            GeneralMalaise

            Thanks for sharing your opinion, Todd, and pay no mind to the long-suffering, cranial impacted usual suspects.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            “Thanks for sharing your opinion, Todd, and pay no mind to the long-suffering, cranial impacted usual suspects.”

            God forbid you should consider a different perspective or take facts into account. Just keep insulting people who disagree with you so you won’t ever have to open your mind.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Yeah, taking away the tax subsidy and changing the price of that P90D from $130k to $137k would have sure melted away all the sales.

          • 0 avatar
            GeneralMalaise

            I reserve mine for you, as you like to dish it out so freely.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “Some people need a history lesson. EVs are very much something that was closer to their current level of development than IC cars were when IC cars relegated them to the scrap heap of history over a hundred years ago. EV resurgence makes them the socialism of mobility: a disproven zombie of an idea that should have stayed dead.”

            I would suggest you check out that history yourself, Todd; EVs today are far superior in almost every way over the early ones. However…

            In 1897, the first ‘horseless carriage’ to exceed 60mph was an electric. A few years later, it was a steam-powered ‘horseless carriage’ (not on rails) that exceeded 120mph. The ONLY reason ICE beat out both of those was the fact that Standard Oil Company started building refueling stations all across the country, creating the infrastructure that gave the ICEV the road-trip capability that all three vehicles lacked up to that time.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            “EV resurgence makes them the socialism of mobility”

            “a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.”

            Wow.

            You finally learned what socialism is.

    • 0 avatar
      markogts

      Great!

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “The real test of the public’s EV appetite comes when the Chevrolet Bolt, next-generation Nissan Leaf and other “regular” EVs hit the market.”

    No, it isn’t. It’s only the next test.

    The Bolt has no long-distance utility due to a dearth of charging infrastructure for it, and GM’s zero commitment to produce one. But it will be a great city car.

    The Leaf 2.0 doesn’t exist, even in sketch form. Nissan is dead to EV enthusiasts.

    People gravitate to the Model 3 because it’s roomy, fast, good-looking, and has nationwide charging infrastructure. Its pre-order volume is *10 times* the expected Bolt volume for a whole year. I don’t know how you can dismiss that. Chevy and Nissan have $0 in pre-order money for their cars, while Tesla has $400 million, which I’d call pretty decent interest.

    And, to Tesla’s argument, other EV mfrs and their dealers are compromised by their interest to really sell you a different vehicle. Until that changes, public interest will remain modest.

    My biggest concern about EVs is depreciation, which I experienced in spades on my 12 Leaf (thankfully leased).

    • 0 avatar
      gomez

      I have been seriously considering a Bolt, but the lack of charging infrastructure and the range hit in the winter are barriers I am having trouble overcoming. The Model 3 has access to the SuperCharger network but I don’t think I can wait until 2020 (realistically when it will start arriving in MN in volume) for my next car. Plus the Model 3 is not a hatchback, which is a major letdown for utility, and door handles that will freeze shut when moisture gets in there in the winter.

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    After reading on FCA’s plan to put AWD in their Hellcats, this story seems redundant.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      AWD HELLCAT 707 HP IN THE SNOW………bank

      filling in for BTSR ;)

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Hellcats are my idea of boring: it turns a perfectly worthwhile engineering challenge into a check-writing contest.

      Winning a check-writing contest isn’t really winning, ways I sees it, because it’s always a Pyrrhic victory. Also, it’s a brute force approach where a clever solution would be much more.interesting.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    TTAC is that YTD sales of plug-ins are up 29% in the US vs 2015.

    • 0 avatar
      gomez

      A 29% increase of a small number is still a small number. I’m glad that sales of EVs are increasing, but don’t pretend they are anything but a niche market at this point.

      • 0 avatar
        j_slez

        -A 29% increase of a small number is still a small number.

        True, but those 29% increases add up fast. Plug-ins are 0.82% of sales this year. 5 years of 29% increases is only 3%, 10 years is 10%, 15 years is 37%, and 19 years is 103%. It won’t be a steady 29%, but the shift from niche market to major segment can and likely will happen very quickly once there are real choices in popular vehicle segments on the market.

        • 0 avatar
          gomez

          True, compounding over time will add up fast. I was just pointing out that statistics without a point of reference don’t really tell you much. If I have a penny and you give me another one, the amount of money I have just went up by 100% but I still only have 2 cents.

          I also think that unless we start seeing more variety in EVs, that growth will eventually plateau. The market clearly wants trucks, CUVs, and midsize sedans for less than $40k. They don’t want econoboxes (especially at $30k-$40k) and most can’t afford what Tesla is selling. Until EVs start reflecting the type of vehicle that consumers actually want, they will remain a niche regardless of the range or charging infrastructure.

          • 0 avatar
            furiouschads

            “They don’t want econoboxes (especially at $30k-$40k) and most can’t afford what Tesla is selling.”

            Market failure is at work here. I just leased a 2017 Volt. The adjusted capital cost was $27,167 for a nicely equipped vehicle. No way an econobox. My 36 month/15,000 mile lease payment is $230 a month. GM is eating a lot of the depreciation. GM and most dealers don’t have an interest in showing consumers how cheap the Volt can be.

            My wife has a 40 mile round-trip daily commute, which will be 100% covered by the Volt’s electric range of 53 miles. The 800 miles per month will cost us $24 (((14.2kWh refill * 12 cents a kWh)/53 miles per charge))*800) a month in additional electricity. This compares to her Focus commute cost of $90 (800/20mpg)*$2.25 a gallon.
            Running costs of 3 cents vs 9 cents a mile.

            Range anxiety: not a problem in the Volt. If the battery is used up, the gas engine kicks in. We can be sloppy and forget to plug in and not have a problem getting around. Plug in hybrids are similar.

            Stop and go commuting using a gas engine is going to be seen as a dumb approach in a few years. You can already see this working in the taxi industry, which has taken up hybrids in a big way.

            Something that doesn’t fit GM’s marketing plan is letting people know about the Volt’s hooning capacity. Take it on a test drive. Put it in L, put it in Sport mode, and leadfoot it. 0-30 times are great. Get it on the highway and leadfoot it at 55 and see what happens. Apologize to the salesman if necessary.

            Yes my costs are low because of subsidies. So what? Subsidies are a fact of life. I used to work for the Koch brothers and let me tell you, they take advantage of every subsidy available to them. Do you have a mortgage?

  • avatar

    The only “shock” is that 19% would consider an EV to be acceptable, despite the fact that trips over 200-300 miles are VERY problematic.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Now that 300-mile EVs are available, you should amend your target to 500 miles. That’s how this game is played.

      http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1105725_the-tesla-model-s-p100d-really-seriously-goes-over-300-miles-this-time

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      You should ask yourself how many Americans really travel 200-300 miles by car every day, or travel that far in a day even once a year? I’m gonna bet it’s a lot less than 81%
      If I were to drive that far in a day outside my vacations I would make sure that my employer is paying me by the hour for the driving, or at least provide a vehicle for me.
      Tbh, I believe most people who live in big cities would have no problem having even the worst EV’s regarding range on a daily basis, and the majority of people would have no problems with the range of a Luxo-barge like the Model S.
      PS; I’m never again going to try to drive more than 500 miles in a day. Who even does that on their free time?

      • 0 avatar
        DrSandman

        Well, travelling sports teams for our family span upstate NY to OH at the north/west boundaries, and NC and GA to the South, with an average weekend for us being a little under 1k miles.

        First world problems, huh? I’ll shut up now.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Lots of people do road trip. But it’s not an every day thing, and a lot of EV detractors act like it is.

        Very few families would need more than one vehicle that can take extended trips without time to recharge. Plenty of other families in low-cost-electricity areas would save money by using EVs for commuters and renting an ICE car for the road trip.

        We are a good example. We probably take three or four trips per year that would be impractical in an EV. At current costs it is best for us to have one ICE vehicle. But we have two cars, and there is absolutely zero reason the second car can’t be electric. It’s currently a plug-in hybrid that drives on electricity more than half the time despite having only a 19-mile range. A 100-mile-range pure EV would be more than enough.

        • 0 avatar
          tedward

          While that is accurate, families being able to rationally divide their fleets, I don’t think that’s how most families actually buy their cars. They buy two family cars, but maybe with a little wiggle room on the second (sedan or hatch instead of a second suv or wagon.) Point is, having a car fail or die is a predictable event, but your ability to replace or fix it quickly in that certain event is not. A family with one ev and one family car is narrowing their options severely right now when that two car fleet gets reduced to one 50% of the time.

          EVs are quite justifiable as third cars for a family with two workers, unless you live in the ev Goldilocks zones. For most of America the charging infrastructure isn’t there and as a result it’s hard to paint Evs as a fiscally conservative choice. If that wasn’t a primary concern no one would be buying camrys.

      • 0 avatar
        Kendahl

        The people who cited lack of infrastructure, limited range and excessive recharging time know what they are talking about. Those factors relegate EVs to local transportation. They are either an additional vehicle or you have to rent something for long trips.

        An EV would do us most of the time although we have had a few hundred mile days without leaving our metropolitan area. The real problem is efficient use of time on long trips. We consider 500 miles to be a fairly easy, one day drive. Eight hundred miles is a long day. My personal record is 1,300 miles in 17 hours. My only stops were to refill the car’s tank and empty mine.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        It’s a 250 mile round trip from my house to my office in MA. I do it fairly frequently, and rarely stay overnight. And I am not farfing around with finding a charger along the way. It’s a 450+ mile round trip from my house to some clients that are within my own (small) state – and I guarantee there will NEVER be anywhere to charge up there besides a 110V outlet on the side of the motel. I’ve done that trip in a day multiple times too, I try not to stay overnight. Even if I do stay over, usually it is 1/2 way back, which means even a P100D won’t make it. 450 miles in a day is a doddle in a nice BMW. :-) I do have to stop for gas in the M235i, but my wagon will do it on one tank.

        I LOVE the idea of a cheap electric car for commuting. If I still commuted, I would have an eSmart in the driveway right now on a $100/mo lease. But $35K and up? Fugeddaboutit.

        • 0 avatar
          V-Strom rider

          Am currently commuting in my M235i and loving it, especially now it’s springtime in Oz and most evenings I travel home with the roof down – something no EV offers! Even if there was a soft-top EV, putting the roof up and down would probably reduce the range by a non-trivial percentage.
          If I won the lottery I might go for an i8 even though it’s a coupe, but the recharging situation here makes a pure EV unrealistic. The only notable exception being Teslas, which I see reasonably often, but they are out of reach of even my reasonably comfortable financial situation, and there’s no convertible :((

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          @krhodes

          From Boston to Portland, there are ChAdeMO chargers at the Burlington Mall, I-93 & I-95 intersection, Northshore Mall, and York Maine. If you have a Tesla, there’s the Seabrook Supercharger.

          I’m not sure where in Maine you’re going. For the wilds of Maine, the furthest I think I could make it in a Leaf would be Baxter State Park. There’s a CHAdeMO in Bangor and a level 2 at Baxter State Park. The caveat is that to make it that far I’d have to keep the speed within the 55-65 mph range and I’m not sure I’d attempt it in the winter. For Greenville, ME, I’d have to carry my EVSE and charge at Greenville Family Campground, and detour through the Bangor CHAdeMO, but it’s doable.

          While those places would be challenging in a Leaf, they wouldn’t be a huge problem in a Tesla. I understand that for business when you have greater time constraints, but for a leisure trip (especially if you’re camping at sites with NEMA 14-50 RV outlets), a large portion of Maine is accessible in an EV.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Krhodes,
            Remind us how many cars you have? You clearly have different vehicles for different uses. It’s weird that you require an electric car cover all those uses, but don’t require that of ICE.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @Vogo

            Currently, 5. What I don’t have is a use case for an electric car at all at this point (at the current price points anyway). I guess if someone made a cool little electric convertible for really cheap one could replace my Spitfire. Nobody makes an electric that can do what my Land Rovers do. I have no expectation that an electric could do everything, but I expect it to be able to do SOMETHING useful.

            In theory, a Tesla S 100 could replace one of my BMWs (at least much of the time), but the cost is just stupid, so what would be the point? I drive each BMW about 5K a year – call it $600/yr in gas each in very round numbers (and some chunk of that is paid for by my employer). Even my friend’s USED (CPO) small battery Model S 60 cost $65K. That’s $20K more than my M235i cost me – 33 years worth of gas at $3/gal. And if you think a Tesla S will be cheaper to maintain out of warranty I have a nice bridge in Brooklyn I will give you a stunning deal on.

            A Model 3 is theoretically more reasonable, but why would I step down to an electric econobox (and at the price it WILL be an econobox) to save a paltry $600/yr? And have all the disadvantages of an electric? If I cared at all I would buy a hybrid, but even for those the numbers don’t really work out most of the time at current gas prices.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @mcs

            We have had this discussion before. You evidently have time to farf around with charging along the way on your various trips. I do not. My time is FAR more valuable than the pittance that gasoline costs. I even regularly drive my 15mpg Range Rover on trips to the office because I care so little about what gasoline costs, and in the chaos that is Boston traffic, I would rather drive the vehicle I care about the least. Spending what a Tesla costs to have a sub-par luxury car experience just to save gas is just completely laughable to me.

            As I have also said, I think electrics make perfect sense as a dedicated commuter car, if you can get one that is cheap enough for it to make sense. Even there, hard to beat a 35-40mpg gas car for $15-16K new. The eSmart is the only one that comes close in my estimation. And even there, I am firmly in the camp of those who think the subsidies for electric cars are bogus. If the tech can’t pull it’s weight unsubsidized, it’s not ready for primetime yet.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            “If the tech can’t pull it’s weight unsubsidized, it’s not ready for primetime yet.”

            So true. If roads can’t be built without government bailouts, then who needs ’em? Who really needs the internet, anyway? Or GPS. Or schools – screw that. If kids can’t educate themselves without a government check, then they obviously aren’t worth educating.

            You tell ’em krhodes! We should boycott all these welfare schemes until they’re ready for primetime. Like that show ‘2 Broke Girls’. Now that’s ready for primetime. Especially the brunette.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            You just keep on being a frothing at the mouth True Believer there Vogo! I admire your enthusiasm. Which electric do you drive again? At lease mcs owns a Leaf and uses it!

            If we, as a society, really wanted to save gas, we would incentivize not buying <20mpg vehicles for primarily solo commuting. Would make far more impact. Crank up the gas tax to $6-8/gal and use the money to fix our infrastructure AND subsidize the poor affected by the price increase. Then electrics would make far more sense and the "problem" would take care of itself.

            In the meantime, I find it offensive to be subsidizing people who can afford $40K+ new cars.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            KRhodes,
            “Nobody makes an electric that can do what my Land Rovers do”

            Spill oil all over your garage floor?

            I kid! That was a well reasoned response.

          • 0 avatar
            GeneralMalaise

            You seem to be a patient sort, KRhodes. You have an obvious ability to bring a dull-witted sod around fairly quickly without breaking a sweat. And he even acknowledged the small feat. Good show!

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            General Malaise,
            Do you have anything to offer beyond the usual insults? Any insight whatsoever? Anything with cars or truth in it?

            We’ll wait here.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          ” and I guarantee there will NEVER be anywhere to charge up there besides a 110V outlet on the side of the motel.”

          I suggest you not make guarantees you cannot control. I would not be at all surprised to see a level 2 or greater charger (or two or four) at that motel and many other places scattered around that tiny community… in time. Maybe not right now, but it could be less than five years and probably no more than ten.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Sure it COULD happen. I could get killed by a Takata airbag too. Probably more likely to happen in a realistic timeframe.

            Not holding my breath that Calais, ME pop. 3000 in far Eastern Maine is going to get an electric car charger anytime soon. The local motels (there are two) only got wifi a year or two ago. Now if they could just get the idea of “cleanliness”…

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            There will always be holdouts, krhodes. Ok, I’ll double that timeline then, to 10/20. Just as those motels have finally established WiFi, demand will require them to install a charger or two eventually.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        Zykotec – EV’s are suitable for dense urban areas. Mileage for most is short. 200-300 mile range would be fine. 1/2 that would be fine for most days.
        I’ve done 500 miles in a day multiple times for vacations since we tend to travel to the Vancouver area several times per year. I’ve done 2 week hunting and fishing trips that took 500 miles one way to get there. I’ve gone fishing 100 miles or more one way. Getting lost for a few hours is fun on limited range.

        I need room for at least 4 people, gear and pets. Current EV’s are too small and so far are available in configurations I will never buy.

      • 0 avatar
        slance66

        I think people go far enough, often enough, that it’s a real issue. Remember too, people may not have charging capability at the other end of the trip. An EV might be viable as a second car for pure commuting, but that’s about it.

      • 0 avatar
        White Shadow

        My commute to work is just 9 miles. I probably average about 25 miles per day during the week. So any electric car would work for me as far as range is concerned. But I want a car that I can drive from New York to Virginia and back on a whim without worrying about charging. Or maybe an 18-hour drive to Florida. I’ve done that a few times already. I have relatives and friends spread out all over the country, so it’s not unusual for me to take extended road trips, and I’d prefer to do it in my car, which is sporty, efficient, comfortable, and fun to drive.

        • 0 avatar
          GeneralMalaise

          Gotcha beat. My commute is less than 100 feet. From my bedroom to my office. It’s helping to keep the miles exceedingly low on my Abarth, X1/9, Toyota Highlander and E350 BlueTec. I’ve zero interest in an EV, but technological progress is usually a good thing.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            My “commute” is turning over in bed and turning on my laptop most of the time. :-)

            Though somehow I still manage 15K a year spread across my BMWs, Land Rovers, and Triumph.

          • 0 avatar
            GeneralMalaise

            Too frequent use of Skype for Biz rules out the jammies and mussed hair on my end, KRhodes… sad to say.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            I refuse to own a webcam.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “I refuse to own a webcam.”

            If your computer is less than five years old, I can guarantee you already have one. You may not be using it, but it’s there.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            LOL – you expect that a computer hardware engineer doesn’t know exactly what is and isn’t inside his computers (I have rather a lot of them)??

            Can’t have one at any of the secure site clients I have. Always fun working in places where you need to get retina-scanned in and out, there are guards with big dogs and bigger guns, and the building is on 10′ springs in case of a nuclear near-hit.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Then tell me, Mr. Computer Hardware Engineer: What computer do you own that does not have a built-in webcam? Is it an off-the-shelf model that anybody can buy or a custom-built beastie? Is it an all-in-one, a laptop or a workstation/external monitor type? Do you own just one, or many? If many, what are the different types?

            Yes, I acknowledge that it is POSSIBLE to avoid webcams, but not exactly easy.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            I buy computers the same way I buy BMWs – built to order. If you buy off the rack, you take what you get. Desktops built by myself, laptops built to order from Lenovo or Dell. I’ve never seen a server with a webcam. Easy. No consumer grade dreck need apply.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            If you ask me, you just named two ‘consumer grade’ brands. My experience with both of them is abysmal–even when they were custom-ordered. I give more credence to your self-built models.

            Me? I prefer solid reliability over number crunchers (meaning spec. hounds). My previous desktop machines have almost all served me for over 7 years and one of them, relegated to internet research for mine and my wife’s crafting, is now 9 years old and functioning better than when it was brand new. All I did was add RAM to it. On the other hand, if it used Windows as its OS, it rarely survived four years, even though home built and home repaired using quality (as compared to cutting-edge) components.

            I currently posses 4 desktop machines, 4 laptop machines and three tablets.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Getting WAY off-topic, but what the heck – Dell and Lenovo make everything from the lowest grade dreck to the finest workstation class machines. You get what you pay for. One of my laptops is the very first Dell D830 that work assigned to me, in 2007. Still working just fine with a RAM upgrade (4Gb) and an SSD added – I use it every day I am home (it’s actually the laptop I roll over and turn on). Has gone from the original WinXP to 7,8, now 10 without a hitch. Only issue is the battery is now decorative. But a new battery is cheap, if I cared. I did wear out a keyboard on it. Another is my Thinkpad X220 that is going on six years old, still looks like new, works like new (did get a new battery recently – will go 8hrs on Win10). The homebuilt stuff just gets occasionally upgraded as I see fit – currently 6 boxes, mix of AMD and Intel this and that. Until very recently, my garage box dated from 1998. Just a generic little small-form factor thing with a 1Ghz Celeron and 500MB of RAM – was originally a point of sale machine back when I did that for a living. A couple generic rack mount servers and a 50TB Compellent SAN for backup purposes and hosting my VMware environment.

            Your dig at Windows (as though the OS makes any difference in hardware longevity) makes me assume you are an Apple user (though I will be more impressed if you run Linux all over the house). Good for you, generally decent machines for a bit too much money. Professionally I deal with Windows, every flavor of Linux/Unix, and MacOS on a daily basis.

            My latest work machine is a 2012 Mac Air (webcam removed due to previously mentioned work requirements). It is far and away the biggest POS I have ever had the displeasure to deal with. Aluminum is a horrible material to make a machine that travels 120K a year out of. It has had multiple proprietary SSD failures, multiple motherboard failures, and multiple power supply failures. It lives in a padded sleeve in my briefcase, which is not something I ever did for the Dells and Thinkpads that survived the same travel without a hitch. Now the battery is failing, and is NOT cheap to replace. I’ve mostly gone back to using the older X220 – it is lightyears better. The Air ran Windows 7, 8, and 10 just fine. Lovely machine if you just want to go to Starbucks and work on your novel like all the other cool kids, I guess. I bought it because at the time it was the lightest, fastest, cheapest laptop I could get for the budget my employer gave me. But four years on I know why it was so cheap, and it wasn’t just the missing ports and Windows license. It should have been a lot cheaper…

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            As you say, “YMMV” I’ve found my Macs to be inherently more reliable and one of them is a white G3 iBook now roughly 15 years old (running Ubuntu). And that one gives me about four hours out of its original battery.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            4hrs out of a 15yo battery? Running LINUX!? Uh, sorry, but bullcrap on that one. Unless by running, you mean it will hibernate for 4hrs at a time. And I will cheerfully pay you for shipping both ways if you want to send it to me to prove it. About as credible as Norm’s miracle tunes.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Let’s just say I don’t abuse batteries the way you do. Leaving a laptop plugged in full time is WHY laptop batteries go bad.

          • 0 avatar
            GeneralMalaise

            What’re you doing working for George Soros?!?!

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Fun! A “Macs sux DOS sux” argument on TTAC!

            I’m a Mac user since 1986 that currently spends upward of 12 hours a day working on a bedraggled, work-issued Lenovo Thinkpad. And I’m here to say PC reliability sucks, period, no matter the OEM.

            I’ve owned probably 20 Apple machines in my lifetime. Just one, a miracle 2009 MacBook Pro that is nearing end of life, never had any sort of issue in its entire career. But that is also true for all the Windows PCs in my life, from this Thinkpad to my first 1989 Toshiba “laptop” to my monster homebuilt gaming tower. The Thinkpad has a hard freeze, feeling like hardware-level, probably once every two months — just often enough that I forget about it. Except right now, because one happened to me earlier today.

            My various iPhones have proven far more reliable than any PC. PCs can go to hel! as far as I’m concerned even though I basically live my life on them.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            You realize current Macs are for the most part the same Intel bits in a shiny aluminum case these days? I just don’t see much difference given equivalent dollars spent either way. A Mac Pro is nice, but so is a nicely spec’d Dell XPS or Thinkpad X1. Yeah, the $500 Dell laptop you buy at BestBuy is crap – but for $1400 I expected considerably better from this Air. And let’s not even discuss the difference in replacement parts cost when you do need them. No popping down to Staples for an emergency hard drive replacement on the Air! Even the Apple store near me doesn’t have them in stock. I see the appeal of MacOS, I just can’t be bothered when my business world runs on Windows. I don’t even run MacOS on my Air, other than to do updates periodically. Linux also has it’s place, but just like electric cars it’s going to take over the world “any time now”. And it’s only free if your time has no value.

            In desktops, I’ve had a motherboard or two fail over the many years, a video card here and there, but for the most part I have just replaced them for the new shiny – and a lot less often in the past 10 years now that even “slow” computers are pretty fast. My main desktop hasn’t been upgraded hardware-wise in 4-5 years (though it was pretty powerful when built), and I have no plans to touch it anytime soon. The three media PCs in the house haven’t been touched in years other than all the original 60Gb SSDs in them have failed and been replaced – no big, everything in the house gets backed up nightly. The only hardware issue I have ever had in a succession of about six Thinkpads was a failed floppy drive, which tells you how long ago THAT was. I wore out the keyboard and touchpad on the Dell. Plenty of dead hard drives over the years, but all hard drives fail eventually, and Apple sure has no special insight into them. I can’t remember every having an original drive fail on a Thinkpad though. But I tended to replace drives every couple of years as they got bigger/cheaper. Now everything gets a small SSD and the Cloud/file server for storage. I did manage to drop my Thinkpad X60 and crack some plastic case parts, but less than $50 to make it like new again. The poor Air is dented on two corners despite that padded sleeve… I keep waiting for some idiot to cram something into my bag in an overhead bin and bend it in half.

            I’ve never broken a phone of any type, from my first analog car phone from 20-odd years ago to the Nexus 5 I just retired for a Moto X. They get replaced for the new shiny every 2-3 years. I still have my iPhone 4, still works fine (I use it as an iPod), but so does the Palm Treo the iPhone 3G before it replaced (gave away the 3G)…

            Maybe some people are just harder on equipment than I am in general. I don’t tend to break even “unreliable” cars either.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “You realize current Macs are for the most part the same Intel bits in a shiny aluminum case these days?”

            Not exactly true. They may look the same and maybe even the part numbers may be mostly the same, but Apple does something very few, if any, of the others do. Apple demands far tighter tolerances on the components than the typical manufacturer. If a component comes with a certain nominal value, Apple will order a 1% tolerance factor where most OEMs accept 5% to 10%. The design difference is set to absolutely minimize the possibility of a waterfall effect where random chance alone could have too many components on the high- or low-side of that nominal value taking the entire circuit out of tolerance.

            Now, I realize that doesn’t appear to make sense to a lot of people, but think of the Jenga game where you take blocks out of a 3x3x20 tower. The purpose of the game is to keep that tower balanced as long as possible while you remove blocks from ‘random’ locations. removing too many from one side eventually topples it over. Random chance in electronic circuits typically ensures that there is an even balance of high- and low-spec components. However, sometimes it occurs that a group of components in that circuit will all be on the low- or high side, taking the circuit itself out of balance and thus making it possible for a hardware breakdown that has nothing whatever to do with the processor itself. By ordering to a tighter tolerance, even of the overall design is identical, the risk of exceeding design tolerances can be reduced by as much as 90% and as a result the risk of hardware failure is reduced by 50% or more.

            In other words, Apple pays more for their “generic” components to ensure they will experience fewer failures.

            However, it is still possible that their supplier will ship assemblies that don’t stand up to Apple’s requirements. There’s a reason Apple switches back and forth so much between the different video card and hard drive manufacturers. Apple still demands tight tolerances and if the failure rate of a given assembly grows too high, Apple contracts with the other brand for the next year’s model.

            In a car sense then, it’s like comparing a Ford to a Mercedes. We’ve already seen how Ford’s use of low-cost parts tends to generate massive recalls. How many recalls have see seen on Mercedes vehicles by comparison? Pay more for the parts and spec them to tighter tolerances and you get a vehicle that overall has fewer, albeit more expensive, problems. That’s also why Apple’s machines tend to cost more up front… but tend to require fewer repairs overall as long as they’re not abused. I’ve only once had a Mac last less than seven years in my home and that one held up for five. I’ve never, not even once, had a generic or even name-brand PC last more than four years. Add to that the amount of time wasted running malware scans on a regular basis and the Mac has just proven a better ROI than any other machine I’ve ever used.

            YMMV. Ford, to me, is a generic PC. It has never proven itself reliable in my hands over more than 40 years of driving. GM was, for a while at least, clearly more reliable. But GM did other things to drive me away, mostly by killing off the three brands I preferred and destroying the models I liked in later years. I’m now giving FCA a chance and while their dealerships are not making me happy, the company has been going out of its way to make up for it. I’m on my third Chrysler product over that 40-year span and so far the one with the worst reputation seems to be giving me better service than any other brand I’ve owned in the last 20 years.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            You realize that my usage of “PC” encompassed both Apple machines and those from other OEMs, right? And that I’m cursing them all?

            My PC history is a litany of weird hardware failures, well beyond the usual dead hard drives and batteries. I’ve had a display connector short on a MacBook Pro (that one was fun to diagnose!), two different trackpads (one on a Mac and one on a ThinkPad) start registering random inputs, a couple of premature power supply failures, a bulging battery, a PowerBook G4 with a failed motherboard ATA controller, and a Mac Mini that, like my current ThinkPad, ran fine except on the very rare occasions when it didn’t and I got a hard freeze that could occur in any program at any time. That’s not counting the hardware/software issues like the frequent PowerMac hard freezes that turned out to be caused by an ancient SCSI drive or the random slowdowns that I eventually traced to a generic FireWire card in my Windows tower.

            Except for that Taurus SHO I’ve had far fewer problems with my (mostly Japanese but some American) cars than I do with PCs.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Sure – you seem to have very bad luck. Or are one of those people who can tear up anything. :-) My point is more that at a macro level, there is no difference between Apple products and equivalent quality non-Apple products. At the micro level, sometimes you get a lemon like my Mac Air – though to be fair, it might have been fine used for the more usual stroll to class and Starbucks usage rather than road warrior. I am sure there are people who got crappy Thinkpads too. I’m glad all computers suck, it keeps me in BMWs these days. If it was easy nobody would need me!

            Though I do find Apple users and Honda users tend to be VERY similar in that they seem to conveniently forget issues when they expound on how marvelous the things are. And don’t even get me started on the Tesla fanboy crowd, who are in another realm altogether. :-)

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            You tagged the major qualifier there, krhodes: “… there is no difference between Apple products and equivalent quality non-Apple products.” Most people don’t BUY “equivalent quality non-Apple products. They tend to go for the ones 50%-75% cheaper and wonder why their machines simply don’t last. Even when I built my own however, I tended to spend $1K or better for components and still had to perform “semi-annual repairs” such as video card, hard drives or worst, power supplies. That’s all discounting the other issues due to the Windows operating system.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            You pay your money and you take your chances. I’ve rarely had actual parts failures in anything other than hard drives. Apple didn’t even offer SSDs in the era that the 3-4 that I had failed. I’ve had three proprietary Apple SSDs fail in my Air, none in anything else of the same age. I have too many perfectly fine old computers cluttering up the place to think Apple has any major advantage.

            As for “problems caused by Windows”, whatever. 95% of computer problems are PIBKAC. Most users are incapable of distinguishing between an issue with an application and an issue with the operating system. In my professional experience, MacOS itself is no more stable than a modern version of Windows. Which considering Windows has to be able to run on a nearly infinite variety of hardware (and run a nearly infinite variety of software) vs. MacOS on an extremely limited variety of hardware. I find this quite impressive.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Parts failures in generic PCs (as compared to Macs as personal computers–lower case) are far more common in the lower-priced machines. This is a Professional assessment as one who has serviced PCs for over 30 years. Your experience is obviously in higher-priced machines and not in any way related to the typical mass-purchased pieces of junk usually found in corporate offices. When your company has to replace nearly 100% of a purchase due to defective hardware inside of a year, clearly there is something wrong with the mindset of “buy cheap; replace before it dies in three years. That particular event happened to a ten-thousand-unit hardware cycle consisting of one of those PC name brands that you earlier claimed was no worse than Apple. Do, please, tell me of an occasion where ten thousand less-than-year-old Macs died within that one-year-time period.

            And the problems “caused by Windows” are rampant. Some I admit are due to poor drivers even today on what I call “El Cheapo” components where a machine is simply not designed for a so-called “Power User.” But most of it is due to Windows itself, even now, patching patches of patches of patches on vulnerabilities that existed in Windows 95 (despite the fact that they and others claim there is no legacy code left in the OS!) You may be working with so-called “professional grade” hardware, but I’ve worked on corporate and consumer-grade hardware and the security issues are simply horrendous! Why? Because the user is the weakest link and you simply cannot get “wage slaves” to pay attention to system security and even personal security. When you can pick up a machine from a well-off client and find THOUSANDS of installs of well-known and easily-blocked adware less than six months after issuing a brand-new, supposedly-secured machine with the very express warning that NO messages saying ‘Click Here” even be opened… You’ve got a problem.

            And yes, you emphasize Windows one greatest weakness: “considering Windows has to be able to run on a nearly infinite variety of hardware…” Did you know that Windows runs BETTER on an ‘equivalent’ Mac than it does on that ‘equivalent’ PC? The difference shows up in bench tests nearly every time. In some cases, the improvement is visible to the un-trained eye and in some specific circumstances it is a matter of tens of seconds better, depending on the model of Mac vs an equivalently-priced PC. And if the Mac can run Windows as well as the MacOS, that means it runs even more software than Windows machines can. What you consider “impressive” I consider poor design.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Well, I notice “most people” don’t do even 200 mile trips all that often.

      (Especially people who are urbanites, or not in the West, or both.)

      If I never left town, a 200 mile range wouldn’t matter to me at all.

      • 0 avatar
        jimble

        A lot of us “urbanites” park our cars on the street. There are no charging stations anywhere I routinely drive to, either. So while I’d love to have the option, an electric seems out of the question for the time being. Even so, I expect charging infrastructure to improve fast enough that the Crosstrek I bought last year may be the last ICE-powered vehicle I ever buy.

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    As a traveling social worker I need atleast 500 miles between charges. I get about 370 between fill ups and it only takes about 7 minutes to fill up.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Newsflash: EVs aren’t for every driver in every circumstance yet.

      • 0 avatar
        Adam Tonge

        Lol. A 200 mile range covers pretty much every two vehicle household. People still gotta complain.

        • 0 avatar
          gomez

          A lot of households only have one vehicle and that vehicle has to cover every situation. While it’s true that 200 miles may cover 95% of all driving, it’s that last 5% that are keeping people from choosing an EV over a conventional vehicle (that and the limited selection).

          EVs also won’t work in most people who live in “flyover” country. We regularly drive 150 miles for our commutes or on weekends and the lack of charging infrastructure means we cannot charge at work or our destinations. 150 miles in a 200-mile-rated EV is too close for comfort, especially in the winter when using the heater will drop that 200-mile rating considerably.

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            “What do you mean there’s no SuperCharger station at this campsite?!!”

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            @Sigivald: “What do you mean there’s no SuperCharger station at this campsite?!!”

            Some camp sites have NEMA 14-50 sockets which you can plug a level 2 charger into for a fairly quick charge.

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge

            A 200 mile range meets the needs of most suburban households that have at least one vehicle per person provided that the household has a gas powered vehicle if they take longer trips.

            My wife and I use this strategy now with a large CUV and a hybrid. The hybrid hasn’t seen 200 miles in on day for over two years. Even when it did, I could have driven the other vehicle.

            An EV may not be the right vehicle for everyone, but a 200 mile EV doesn’t have many downsides besides it’s range limitations.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            “What do you mean there’s no SuperCharger station at this campsite?!!”

            LOL

            Most places I go camping don’t even have cell coverage. Now that is roughing it ;)

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            My idea of “camping” is slow room service…

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            krhodes1 – slow service or slow servers?

        • 0 avatar
          Chocolatedeath

          Yaah because everyone has two cars right.

  • avatar
    DaPlugg

    To me hydrogen vehicles seem like the next logical step, battery tech and electricity production is too far off for electric cars I think

  • avatar
    Dan

    So 19% claim to be ready to buy an EV yet when it comes time to put their money where their mouths are those EVs made up just 0.66% of sales last year.

    Exactly like the 80% of people who claim to favor Obama’s Prius-only CAFE standards yet when it’s time to buy they pass over the chitboxes that actually meet them literally 97% of the time.

    Dollars don’t lie but people sure do.

    • 0 avatar
      gomez

      I think those 19% would be willing to put their money on an EV if they had more of a selection. Tiny econoboxes with 100 miles of range and $90k Teslas are not really options for most people. If a major automaker (with a large dealer network) came up with an all-electric midsize AWD CUV or a truck (one that actually looks like a truck, ahem Honda) that offered 200-250 miles of range for <$40k, they'd sell as fast as they hit the dealer lot.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      “Obama’s Prius-only CAFE standards”

      You mean the ones that everything from a RAV4 to an Avalon already meet?

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        You and your facts! Everyone knows Obama founded Prius near his birth place in Nigeria…

        • 0 avatar
          mtmmo

          Yes I remember Hillary claiming Obama was born in Nigeria but I don’t recall her mentioning a Prius.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            On the off chance we want to deal in reality, MTMMO, Clinton never claimed that. Some of her supporters may have forwarded emails to that effect, but Hillary never claimed Obama was born outside the US.

            Weird that the 2 Republicans who have spread these lies are Cruz (born in Canada) and Trump (current wife apparently was an illegal alien).

          • 0 avatar
            GeneralMalaise

            Yes, let’s keep it real, mtmmo… “And back on March 19, 2007, then-Clinton adviser Mark Penn wrote a strategy memo to Clinton about Obama. It did not raise the issue of Obama’s citizenship. But it did identify Obama’s “lack of American roots” as something that “could hold him back.”

            Reggie Love, the longtime traveling aide to Obama, wrote in his book that Clinton and Obama had a heated conversation about the notion that Clinton supporters were sending emails saying that he was a Muslim.
            In a March 2008 interview with “60 Minutes,” Clinton said she took then-Sen. Obama’s word that he was not a Muslim, but when pressed if she believed he was, she replied, “No. No, there is nothing to base that on — as far as I know”.

            — CNN Politics May, 2016

          • 0 avatar
            GeneralMalaise

            Bada Bing, bada…

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            The original ‘birthers’ were in Hillary’s 2008 campaign. No Republican thought the US was deranged enough to elect Obama, so there was no reason to start the rumor. Why do you think Bush allowed him to run for President completely unvetted back when we weren’t a lawless banana republic?

        • 0 avatar
          mtmmo

          Clinton said she took then-Sen. Obama’s word that he was not a Muslim, but when pressed if she believed he was, she replied, “No. No, there is nothing to base that on — as far as I know”.

          — CNN Politics May, 2016

          BOOM

          • 0 avatar
            GeneralMalaise

            Take it to the bank… one could waste an hour or two each day cleaning up the trail of disinformation this vogo leaves in his wake, but… life is too short, as it is.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Um, you’ve confused Muslim with Nigerian. Yes, both are different from you, but they aren’t the same thing.

            DOUBLE DOG BOOM!

            Take that to the bank, Mr. Malaise!

            Ooooh burn. Your bigotry is its own karma.

          • 0 avatar
            GeneralMalaise

            Although radical Islam is the source of much trouble in Nigeria (e.g., Boko Haram) at no time did I conflate Nigeria with “Muslim”.

            Your azzhattery is your Badge of Honor, vogo.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Mr Malaise,
            I was responding to MMTMO with the first half of my comment, who absolutely *did* conflate Nigeria with Muslim.

            You might want to consider that the world does not revolve around you. Just because someone reveals what a bigot he is, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s you.

          • 0 avatar
            GeneralMalaise

            Too late, vogo, you’ve beclowned yourself… again.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            More attacks. Don’t you read your boy Nietzsche? You’re only making me stronger!

          • 0 avatar
            GeneralMalaise

            From 98 to 99 lbs of execrable m00nbat! Earth shattering!

  • avatar
    snoproblem

    The EV world has seen its ‘Duesenberg’ (Tesla S), but not its ‘Model T’.

    It soon will, though, and people will come around.

  • avatar
    Sam Hell Jr

    Why does one powertrain have to “win”?

    Seems to me that well-off folks in metro areas with reserved parking will have EVs, people with range needs or who lack the charging infrastructure access will have hybrids or just hyper-efficient ICE. Presumably there could develop a market for hydrogen or whatever in the meantime by some means we don’t foresee.

    Meanwhile, we’ve already reached the point where a family could own a “small” car like a Corolla and never hurt for space while ggetting 30+ mpg more or less everywhere. Unthinkable only a generation ago.

    Having said that, as batteries get smaller and the driving experience improves, hybrids are going to get hard to beat on cost of ownership.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Agreed that we’ll have multiple options for a long time. But I think the pure ICE car will slowly become the niche option. Several things will happen.

      1) As you point out, evolving battery technology will make both hybrids and pure BEVs cheaper, lighter, and more capable.

      2) CAFE and California emissions rules will continue to put a thumb on the scale in EVs’ favor.

      3) Places where EVs actually create an environmental disadvantage will become fewer as coal generating capacity becomes a smaller and smaller proportion of the total.

      4) State and local governments in heavily urban areas will continue to provide incentives to transition to PHEVs and BEVs, from off-peak electrical discounts and smart home chargers that know how to take advantage of them to EV admittance to HOV lanes to street chargers and EV parking. Localized environmental benefits like reduced noise and exhaust will, quite apart from any macro energy use or climate benefits, ensure political support for the program.

      5) As EVs proliferate, their benefits will be appreciated by more consumers and will become bigger factors in buying decisions. Right now, for the most part only the drawbacks are well understood.

      If I had to guess the vehicle mix in 50 years, I’d guess it would go like this:

      A) In cities and close-in suburbs, BEVs are overwhelmingly dominant, with a fair number of PHEVs for those who road trip often or have to drive all day without charging. There is a good business renting ICE cars.

      B) In exurbs, PHEVs will be dominant, with some ICE presence.

      C) In rural areas, the ICE will still hold sway.

  • avatar

    I suppose the big surprise is that anyone thinks that this is a big surprise.

    19% considering an EV is pretty healthy considering where we are on the technology adoption curve.

    Refer to this diagram.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technology_adoption_life_cycle#/media/File:DiffusionOfInnovation.png

    Once EV’s exceed 2.5% of market share we will have just entered the early adopter stage. The critical time comes when the market reaches the end of the early adopter stage and is readying to transition to early majority, that’s where the EV will either make it or not (it’s referred to as crossing the chasm). Once Early majority is established the EV has landed, until then we will have to wait and see how things unfold.

    • 0 avatar
      Louis XVI

      Yeah, 19% seems really good given the state of the market and the technology. It shows there’s a whole lot of room for growth in EV’s–if they can get even 1/2 of that 19% to actually buy an EV, then their share of the market will increase dramatically.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    I still often wonder why natural gas cars are not more popular. Basically a gasoline powered car with few tradeoffs. Easy filling. Cheap, clean fuel.

    But it isn’t sexy enough perhaps?

    • 0 avatar
      gomez

      I think natural gas was a missed opportunity. Too little, too late. With more R&D time and money, the tanks could have been made smaller and could hold more at higher pressures. The problem is that it is competes for the same limited research money as battery development. Combined with legislation aiming to reduce use of fossil fuels, batteries and EVs became the “sexier” option.

      I see the same problem with hydrogen. Relatively quick and easy filling, abundant clean fuel. The problem is that it takes huge amounts of electricity to produce by hydrolysis. It is just easier to pump that electricity into a battery and cut out the middleman. And currently, the primary source of hydrogen is from petroleum refining, so fossil fuels would still be a major part of the fuel supply.

    • 0 avatar
      healthy skeptic

      To a great extent, EVs are essentially nat gas cars. Probably even more so in the future.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        But a good deal more efficient than a nat gas car powered by its own discrete ICE.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        EVs tend to get a lot more range per gallon of NG than burning the NG internally. With NG, fuel economy of an ICE goes down, as does performance unless specifically tuned to NG. Dual-fuel vehicles capable of retuning themselves are available, but they still realize about 25% less economy from NG on an equal volume of fuel.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          Dual-fuel vehicles remind me of the all-fuel tractors available in the first half of the 20th century. They were never as efficient as tractors made to run solely on gasoline, distillate, or (later) diesel, but the ability to run anything burnable was often paramount in areas where a steady, high-quality supply of one fuel was hard to come by.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    I’ll buy an EV the week after the owner of my apartment puts 220VAC, 30A service in my garage. All I get now is 120VAC, 15A, shared with the garage opener.

    I’m ahead of most apartment dwellers, but 120V ain’t gonna cut it to charge an EV.

  • avatar
    TEXN3

    I’d seriously be considering an EV for our next car. I work 4.5 miles from work, typically biking but sometimes driving. My wife takes the kids to school and then she goes to work (also downtown). Unless we take a trip, both cars will last a month between fill ups It seems more prudent to replace the 2002 Escape, and not the 2012 Accord, and it seems silly to have 2 sedans. Especially in Idaho. We have thought about going to one vehicle, but it’d need to be utilarian for 2 growing boys. Either way, I think our next purchase will be a 4Runner.

    So close. Oh, and I work for an electric utility with some of the lowest rates in the nation, charging stations at work.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      With free charging at work and such a short commute a $10K used EV would be very tempting as your secondary or 3rd vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        It’s *almost* compelling. You probably save $100/month by using electricity instead of gas and from reduced maintenance expense on your ICE vehicle. So if you can run the EV running for 8-10 years, you essentially pay off the depreciation on a $10K purchase.

        This assumes the battery holds up. If gas prices go up, you’re golden.

      • 0 avatar
        TEXN3

        Agreed. A Leaf or even Focus EV would do fine. My wife doesn’t trust the Escape for long trips, I do but I’ve maintained it for 14 years and 120k miles. I even keep a spare coil pack handy.

        Wow, I had a number of touchscreen-induced spelling errors. My apologies.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    If 19% of car buyers are willing to consider an EV for their next car, then it’s a fair guess that such a figure will produce virtually no sales.

    A failure to reject should not be confused with willingness to pay.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      I don’t give these surveys much mind. Half of Americans think that the only reason we have animals today is that some guy put a pair of each species on a giant magical ark to wait out a flood that covered the planet.

      WHAT ABOUT THE PLANTS?

      • 0 avatar
        GeneralMalaise

        My God, man, hold some in reserve! The misfiring synapses and enfeebled sparking of your few remaining brain cells is nearly audible.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        There is evidence to suggest that a great flood did take place. It is believed that the Mediterranean Sea flooded the region that is in and around the Black Sea. The peoples of the “Biblical” regions would assume that this was a world wide flood. Melting ice post ice age would have been the cause of rising flood waters.
        Those peoples did not have the means to travel far and did not have any idea of what lay beyond the horizon. Flooding “their” world would be documented in their history as a “world” flood.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I’m willing to wager that you would like the survey if you liked the results. But since you don’t care for the findings, it must not be very good.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    Everyone cant see past their end of their own noses. I do like it how there so many people here who drive long distance or need to tow or have a need for a 4wd and immediately slam Tesla or EVs… why are you so insecure?

    No one is forcing you to buy Tesla. Your market needs are supported only by 99% of the motor industry and 99% of the petrochemical industry and yet you feel a need to tell people how a Tesla doesnt suit your lifestyle.

    Thank you for your input. It is welcome. I’m sure Elon doesnt need your dollars.

    For many people like me, who live in a multiple car households with power sockets in the garage, who do not drive more than 200 miles at a stretch and even if I had a such a need, have multiple ICE cars then a pure EV car like a Model 3 would be a fine addition to the garage.

    I welcome the day when pure EVs with 250 mile plus range represents 5% 10% 15% or more of the market.

    If I dont want that then a 4wd Hellcat would be fine too.

    I love driving RWD manual V8 cars. There’s two RWD cars not far from where I am now.

    Thing is, I’ve driven a few EVs and PHEVs… I dont think anyone who calls themselves an “auto enthusiast” doesnt think that an electric car isnt the future for a large segment of the market a few years down the track.

    Everytime I drive one I feel like I’m going back to the 20th century when I go back to a gasoline powered car.

    Sure gas is preferable in some situations but I’m not barrelling down a light policed twisty country road all the time. If I was I wouldnt look at anything but a manual rwd V8 but hey, that’s not my life unfortunately.

    • 0 avatar
      Whittaker

      “No one is forcing you to buy Tesla.”

      But someone is forcing me to help others buy Tesla!

      “I’m sure Elon doesnt need your dollars.”

      Agree, but he is still getting them isn’t he?

      Forcing taxpayers to prop up EV sales and then claiming EVs make sense financially for the average taxpayer is a little hypocritical.
      People can love Teslas & Volts all they want.
      But when they love them with other peoples money, then badmouth those people…well, that’s like a 22 year-old yelling up from the basement “MOM! YOU BURNT THE PIZZA AGAIN!

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        Whittaker,
        Where were you when we forced thousands of young men and women to die in Iraq defending the flow of gulf oil? Where were you when the US government bailed out 2 of the 3 big ICE makers – GM and Chrysler? Where were you when hundreds of thousands of “small business owners” bought Escalades to drive back and forth to the office, on the taxpayers dime?

        Face the fact: the US government spends taxpayer money, mostly to support the interests of voters. In this case, helping to address climate change is a part of that agenda.

      • 0 avatar

        @Whittaker
        If you are concerned with how your tax dollars are spent, then you will need to interact with those spending those tax dollars, your elected officials.

        I could just as easily complain that I am being ‘forced’ to pay for others children’s education since I have no grade school age kids at home, but I continue to pay for the school system.

        Clearly your taxes dollars will be spent on something. You are either happy or unhappy with the choices the elected officials make on your behalf and are free to complain to them directly.

        No one is forcing you to live in the US and therefore be subject to US taxes.

        Your comment that Elon doesn’t need your dollars is inaccurate. Elon and/or Tesla do not receive ‘tax money’, the purchaser of the vehicle gets a ‘tax credit’ off his/her federal taxes. The credit (not payment) goes to the car owner.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      @TonyJZX:

      As a former Leaf driver and (hopefully) future Model 3 driver, you’ve described my thoughts exactly.

      My minivan, hybrid sedan, and former EV are all pretty excellent for their tasks. None of them is a perfect substitute for the other.

  • avatar
    Phil Ressler

    I live in Los Angeles, where EVs and PHEVs are commonly encountered. And still, most — nearly all — the people I encounter have never been in an electric car until they get in mine. Fewer still have driven one.

    This is a serious impediment to adoption and it distorts perceptions. Nearly everyone I’ve introduced to battery-stored electric driving is astounded by the experience, recognizing it as far different and better than internet forum blather and sudsy bar conversations led them to imagine. For the 80%+ of Americans living in urban /suburban metros, 0-60 times are nearly irrelevant. Far more relevant to driving experience is 0-40, 20-50, 50-80mph performance, and in these ranges, EVs and PHEVs are very satisfying. And quiet. Did I mention quiet? Compared to an ICE car, serene. The power delivery is a different experience, and more people than not will consider it an upgrade. If they drive an EV or PHEV. Most haven’t.

    A typical driver in the US can do over 90% of their driving on battery-stored electricity in a 2016+ Chevy Volt with no range anxiety whatsoever, because the few times they need more range without charging time or facility available, they’ll have a 43mpg (or better) car that can burn gasoline to generate electricity. I have a 2013 Volt that typically gives me 44 miles of BEV range under mixed conditions, and a 2016 Cadillac ELR delivering about the same. Net, 96% of my driving is purely electric, on battery-stored power. But I can drive to NY and back without a single charge if I had to.

    There’s a torrent of nonsense sloshing around the floor of the web, about GM’s Voltec drivetrain and the cars that use it. Most of this nonsense is written by people that have never driven a Voltec-platform car, or more certainly never owned one for long-term experience. Nevertheless, Voltec — a substantial and well-engineered battery backed up by a small 4 cylinder gasoline engine generator — is the most practical EV bridge to a future of cheap, higher-capacity batteries and ubiquitous charging. And it can be applied to a wide range of applications. Aftermarket companies have applied Voltec architecture to GM pickups. GM has put it in two generations of 4 door compact cars and a (seriously misunderstood yet good) luxury statement coupe. It is going to further adapt Voltec into a version of the Cadillac CT6 with ~30 miles of BEV range. It can migrate many more places in GM’s line.

    I am very glad GM is building the Bolt. I am glad Tesla is moving beyond mostly (real-world) six-figure cars that are environmental irrelevancies compared to their cultural shove, into production vehicles for the middle market in significant numbers. But lots of people live in buildings precluding daily charging. And even a Tesla Supercharger isn’t everywhere. In fact, I’ll say they are mostly along the “air routes” where I’m more likely to fly. They’re absent on the blue highways I care about prioritizing a car for.

    So bring on the pure BEVs, but for most people the Voltec platform is the PHEV that will let them drive electrically nearly all the time, but retain the flexibility to roam at will with zero range restrictions, using gasoline as the backup source for electricity.

    GM’s problem, Chevy’s problem, and by extension our problem is that not enough people are sampling that experience. People who do, start changing their thinking.

    When the rest of the world thinks Americans might have too much freedom, this is one prompt for that thought. We’re rich enough to care about the global environment selectively. We’ve done a great job cleaning up our local environments from the circa-1969 nadir of filth, but we eschew responsibility beyond our county, state, national borders. Still, our transportation fleet does get progressively cleaner and more efficient. But CO2 output is a trickier concern. It’s not technically a “pollutant” since we all exhale it. But when we release millions of years of sequestered carbon in about 165 years, it is. SOME people need pickup trucks that can haul a ton and carry four people. SOME people legitimately need an SUV with 8,000+ lbs. of towing capacity. But not 2,000,000 a year. So our individual choices are just that: choices. It’s great having that freedom. It really is. And I don’t want nor advocate that the government should make a decision for you. But we used to have a more communitarian society where people, once informed, thought to make better choices for everyone.

    A pickup, for example, that gets 18mpg but can drive its first 50 miles on battery stored electricity would, in actual practice, become a much more efficient vehicle. Yeah, a Volt seems small if you’re coming from a Tahoe or Suburban, but I’m 6’3″ and I can sit behind a more average-sized driver, in the back seat. Collectively, we need — and can benefit from — more discerning assessments of what we actually need to feel satisfied.

    If everyone TRIED a Voltec electric vehicle, many — maybe most but certainly far more than today — would conclude it not only works for them but it works better. And far less goes wrong with them, even a Voltec car. If you’re driving on battery most days, the oily bits are being run sparingly. 200+mile range BEVs will add to the population of “feasibles.”

    We’re going to have a national private fleet that’s a mix. There will be hydrogen fuel cell trials (problem being hydrogen is just another form of battery, given the energy intensiveness of extracting it from its natural containers), further improvements in gasoline ICE efficiency, progress on battery economics and capacity, and hybrids of multiple mixes. But the way to break through the public’s skepticism or indifference to modern EV/PHEVs is to get more people in them. The modest extra cost quickly becomes irrelevant, and the quality of experience for money spent goes *up.*

    Phil

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      Phil: Eloquent treatise on the Voltec. That drivetrain (with some upgrades for SUV’s and pickups) would set the country up for some very clean commuting, provided that the will exists to radically transform our electric grid to renewables – but the point is that that first 40-50 miles gets “cleaner” every year already, we just need it to get less carbon-intensive.

      I’m amazed how many people aren’t ready to do this, at least for the wasteful daily commutes in traffic that would just be better in EV mode.

    • 0 avatar
      N8iveVA

      I really like the new Volt and would consider buying one but unfortunately running a cord across the sidewalk in front of my townhouse isn’t an option.

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      Phil – best comment on this topic. This one should be at the top.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Phil Ressler – well said. I’d look at this technology if it was in something I’d want to buy.
      “A pickup, for example, that gets 18mpg but can drive its first 50 miles on battery stored electricity would, in actual practice, become a much more efficient vehicle.”
      I’d be fine with that depending upon purchase cost. 50 miles on battery would easily cover my commute to and from work but not if it costs an extra 5k for the privilege.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Thanks Phil. To be perfectly honest most of my driving is in a 10 mile or less round trip. I would have a problem in the Winter where I live in that the temperatures are more extreme. As a commuter and errand vehicle I could live with a Leaf or a Volt. My problem would be that I could not justify the expensive of buying a new electric car over the cost savings but then I could not justify buying any new vehicle on that basis since the amount of driving I do is less than normal. For now my costs are less to keep my older vehicles which are mostly depreciated and in good shape and my wife’s 3 year old CRV with less the 11k miles. If I were to replace any of my vehicles a hybrid would probably be my choice.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      I’ve made a 50 mile one-way trip in sub-zero Fahrenheit (I think it was -4) temps in a 100-mile range heat pump equipped Leaf. Most of the trip was on a 55 MPH limit road and I stuck to the speed limit. I also used seat heat until my feet started getting cold, then I fired up the heat pump. Another trick is that I preheated the car in the garage before I left. Both the car and the battery were toasty warm when I left the garage.

      I had range left, but it was a while ago and I can’t remember the exact number. I haven’t repeated that feat. Partly because of warmer temps, but also because my routine involves a breakfast stop 5 miles closer where I charge. If I had range issues, there were plenty of places to charge including 2 quick charge stations.

      I do have ICE cars as a backup, but once you’ve experienced driving an electric, you’ll be addicted to it. Take the ICE car and drive straight through – or take the EV and spend 45 minutes on the internet halfway through the trip. The EV wins every time. If it’s a longer trip involving multiple charges, the plane wins out over both the ICE and the EV.

      If you get a used Leaf, try to get one with the newer battery chemistry. That’s rumored to be late January 2014 or later. Those cars should be coming off lease next spring. Look for one that will charge to a full 12 bars. Cars with the new chemistry will be able to charge to a full 12 bars even if they are at the full 36k miles at the end of a 3-year lease. I have almost 37k on mine and I still get full range/12 bars on a charge, so I know from personal experience.

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        “I do have ICE cars as a backup, but once you’ve experienced driving an electric, you’ll be addicted to it. ”

        Agree. I run my Volt in “Sport” mode all the time and there isn’t an ICE car made that I rather drive over it. Quiet, effortless torque! It’s a drug I can’t get enough of. My ICE vehicles feel gutless and strained when accelerating compared to the Volt.

      • 0 avatar
        GeneralMalaise

        Sharing real-world experience is much appreciated. EVs are niche cars, not a solution for everybody. But that’s… okay.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          I don’t think anybody here has said EVs are a solution for everybody; what they •have• said is that they can be a solution for most–a minimum of 80% of everybody if they would just bother to study the technology instead of reacting to it. The technology will continue to improve, but for the foreseeable future there will always be SOME need for independently powered vehicles that can carry spare ‘charges’ for itself and potentially other vehicles in circumstances where access to grid power would be extremely limited. I’m speaking of military vehicles in particular where their mission, size, weight and “economy” require unusually frequent refueling as compared to civil and commercial vehicles with more ready access to power. Even then, mobile fuel cell stations or even fuel cell powered large vehicles may still meet the power demand without the limitations of battery vehicles. However, before you see that as proof that fuel cell is superior to battery, note that in personally-operated vehicles the fuel cell has yet to prove itself sufficient to the need and the infrastructure falls FAR short of its potential even where it is available.

  • avatar

    I see a lot of electrics (Lot is a relative term) here in the ring burbs of NYC. They all have a “T” on the hood.

    Most folks in this area could use electric for the commute, even if to “the city” every day. I cannot, as often I bang out 300 miles in a day, and my routes would not allow a leisurely 4 hour charge back.

    A typical Tesla household here is over 200k/yr in income and there is at least one other car in the driveway. Folks buy them as a replacement for the next E class or Panamera Lease. There is a lux truck next to it and usually an older beater for the kid around too.

    This is way, way far away from someone with a more typical income who has only one car. That person will still buy the car with the annual trip to Grandma in mind and won’t be willing to experiment.

    If you’ve ever been cornered by a Tesla owner, you know that there is a sales pitch you politely listen to. That person is NOT the person who loves Toyota Jan or will respond to the Honda Sales Event with Special Financing.

    Think of it like wifi. My first network got me 11 mb/s over half the house. The next got 54 m/bs over 3/4 the house. The current setup has 300 m/bs all over the house, but it took three generations.

    I’ve driven Tesla and Volt. I like them and would consider a normally priced one as a second car but would want 250 miles in range. I’ll wait for the next generation.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      “I cannot, as often I bang out 300 miles in a day, and my routes would not allow a leisurely 4 hour charge back.”

      Please explain, “4 hour charge back” in your usage example. Since you mention the “T” brand, clearly you know it would only take an hour, your lunch hour perhaps, to recharge enough to finish the day. Or were you using the now-obsolete version of the Nissan Leaf and other short-range EVs for that number? With the Bolt, Leaf 2 and yes, even the “T” 3, a single recharge should cover your entire day.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    Good. As a PHEV owner, I’ll continue to enjoy the niche benefits of having a PHEV, like:

    1. Free charging at random places. I charge my XC90 while I go grocery shopping, Target, etc., all for free.
    2. Silent and smooth operation
    3. Generous tax credits
    4. Car pool lane access while you sit in traffic

    I enjoy my XC90 T8 and you’d have to pry it from my wife and my cold dead hands. You can keep your ICE cars. I would have went full Tesla, but I don’t like their interiors. My next car will likely be a full on EV and I hope EVs are still in their same niche status while you guys put around in your Crown Vics railing against progress.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Numbers can be made to say whatever you want them to. In this case the study generates far more questions than answers. Just look at the charts and you can see where there is significant interest but the questions have people more willing to wait just that little bit longer. Several commenters above demonstrate the shortcomings of the current overall market while emphasizing the strengths of one specific brand.

    For now there are really two significantly-limiting factors:
    1) Lack of effective recharging infrastructure for road trips;
    2) Lack of body styles that better fit the current demand, such as pickup trucks and CUVs.
    Fill these two needs and I think you’d see EVs really start to grow in the market.

    • 0 avatar

      +1

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      I agree that having CUVs with widespread availability (unlike the RAV4 EV) and pickup EVs would go a long way to speeding overall EV adoption. Fact is those are what more people want and buy so only offering EVs that fall into a small portion of a shrinking segment isn’t the recipe for big sales numbers.

      A proper compact pickup EV would be popular with many fleets and I’m sure a few retail customers too.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        I think the Rav4 hybrid is selling like 5K a month. That’s good business.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          I’m not surprised that the RAV-4 Hybrid is doing so well as the price premium is modest compared to the increase in MPG in the type of driving many people.

          I’m surprised that Ford hasn’t reintroduced the Escape Hybrid with the latest updates. The C-Max was supposed to fill that role but I think it is too hatchback/wagony for many people. The original Escape Hybrid sold pretty well.

  • avatar
    whitworth

    It is funny that all the ridiculous “oil conspiracies” about why we don’t have an electric car and “secret” technology was all fever swamp nonsense.

    I see EVs taking over eventually, but the idea we could all be driving electric cars decades ago was nonsense.

    So decades now we will still have most vehicles powered by fossil fuels, it will just be power plants burning them instead.

  • avatar
    GeneralMalaise

    We’ve seen the Golden Age of the Automobile and it has lasted for 25 years now. We are very fortunate, in that respect.


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