By on November 12, 2018

nissan leaf charging electric car

Alternative fuel advocates often suggest that if society could simply get the lead out on solving the infrastructure problem, electric vehicle adoption would reach an all-time high. They’re most likely correct, too. With so much of the world set to gradually ban internal combustion vehicles, EV sales are almost assured to rise. But holdouts abound due to electric vehicles’ laundry list of shortcomings.

Electric cars are often more expensive than their combustion counterparts, offer diminished range, take longer to “refuel,” and are subjected to a charging network that’s less robust than than those associated with petroleum. If the industry is to solve those problems, it’s going to need a lot of money. Around $6 trillion should do the trick. 

The estimate, surmised by Goldman Sachs and published by Bloomberg last week, claims the world would need to spend about 7.5 percent of its gross domestic product (or $6 trillion USD) on electric infrastructure to put EVs on equal footing. That’s almost unfathomable and doesn’t include money going toward vehicle assembly and battery development.

If you’re wondering who’ll pick up the check, you’ve probably seen them in the mirror. A large portion of EV adoption has been helped via government programs and tax breaks. But Goldman Sachs says that’s not a sustainable business model. It’s also warning that the transition costs will have to be reduced through additional government subsidies and support. Withdrawing support from the market too early, as was the case with Tesla in Denmark and Hong Kong, obliterates sales almost immediately.

The reality is that most automakers building EVs suffer from supply issues. Nor is the technology advancing as quickly as anyone would like. Storage capacity continues to improve but not at the pace automakers were hoping for. The end result is electric vehicles that are superior to what was on offer two years ago but are still prohibitively expensive to make and dependent upon hardware that’s in high demand globally. This is one reason you see automakers offering EVs in selective markets — it’s not just because companies don’t think they’ll sell everywhere, it’s because they absolutely can’t. Manufacturers aren’t able to build enough, and their clientele will prove less than receptive if there’s no local charging infrastructure to speak of.

Does this mean EVs are dead in the water? No. It just means they’ll have a longer, harder path than many initially assumed. It also means they’ll remain heavily dependent upon government action if they’re to continue gaining a share of the market over the next few years.

[Image: Nissan]

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111 Comments on “The Cost of EV Adoption? Just $6 Trillion...”


  • avatar
    Astigmatism

    That sounds like a lot. But then, so does the $20 trillion in excess damages we’ll incur if we don’t curb our emissions and end up missing the Paris 1.5-2C warming target.

    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0071-9.epdf

    • 0 avatar
      2manycars

      To paraphrase the late Reid Bryson, father of modern climate science, that’s a load of hooey.

      There’s not a thing you can do about any warming that might be taking place because it is a natural phenomenon. CO2 is NOT a pollutant and we are not going to have the power to control the earth’s climate any time soon.

      Perhaps you should be going off on the dangers of dihydrogen monoxide instead, a pervasive industrial solvent that has been PROVEN fatal 100% of the time in sufficient concentrations.

      I personally will not “go green” and in fact refuse to spend a dime or change a single insignificant detail of my daily routine in the name of the climate scam. No electric car. No funky electronic light bulbs. No high-efficiency appliances. No solar panels on the roof. I am willing to do nothing. Nada. Zilch. Bupkiss. Not a damned thing to accommodate the climate hucksters and scammers. They can kiss my loathsome spotted behind.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Stop. Making. Sense.

      • 0 avatar
        WheelMcCoy

        It’s really about the tipping the balance of CO2 to damaging levels:

        https://youtu.be/OWXoRSIxyIU

        Anyway, I get it. You will not go green. Fortunately, not everyone needs to go green, just enough of us.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Wow, someone’s triggered.

      • 0 avatar
        AKM

        @2manycars: CO2 is indeed not a pollutant, but does have a warming effect on a global scale. Those are two different things, and confusing them doesn’t really help your argument.
        Furthermore, pollutants themselves can have short-term effects, such as dihydrogen or carbon monoxide, or longer-term effects, such as NOX and micro-particles emitted by heating systems and combustion engines (or even vehicle brakes…).

        The real problem when it comes to electric vehicules is the cradle-to-the-grave CO2 generation, and even local pollutants when their energy source is, say, coal.

        They make sense in Norway, which generates most of its energy from hydroelectric sources, or in France where nuclear energy is 75% of the mix. A lot less in the US where coal and gas power stations are at the core of energy generation.

      • 0 avatar
        mtunofun1

        Lol I’m no greenie either but LED light bulbs last longer and use less electricity. It’s about saving money. You want to save money don’t you?

      • 0 avatar
        healthy skeptic

        @2manycars

        >> CO2 is NOT a pollutant…

        As one of my chemistry professors used to say, toxicity is all about dosage. At 0.18% of the Earth’s atmosphere, it’s in a long-established balance. Go over that, and problems ensue.

        >> Perhaps you should be going off on the dangers of dihydrogen monoxide instead, a pervasive industrial solvent that has been PROVEN fatal 100% of the time in sufficient concentrations.

        I know you were trying to be snarky, but in fact you validated the problem of dosage. You’re absolutely right: dihydrogen monoxide can be fatal in certain dosages and contexts. That particular chemical is also going to be a big problem if it rises up to flood our coastlines in the next few decades. Doesn’t make it evil of course, but it will be a problem.

      • 0 avatar
        vehic1

        Elections depressing you, huh? You’re still allowed to drive horse-and-buggies, holler instead of using them ee-lec-tricital phone con-traptions, and refer to “mountain doctorin\'” for your family’s medical emergencies.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Fight the power.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      Rest assured that we can and will have both. Command economy here doesn’t even pretend to address four billion people who intend to have air conditioning there.

      The Green Menace is just a new ad campaign for the same old statist power grab.

    • 0 avatar
      stingray65

      The Paris agreement won’t do diddly even if everyone followed it with no cheating, and would cost the US $trillions (see links). Furthermore, EVs will do little to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, because most of the power needed to keep them charged will come from carbon-based sources, plus the detrimental impact of battery production means much less positive environmental impact than promised (last link).

      https://www.lomborg.com/press-release-research-reveals-negligible-impact-of-paris-climate-promises

      https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1758-5899.12295

      https://www.eenews.net/stories/1060042242

      https://eu.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2015/02/18/electric-car-benefits-air-myths-pollution-health-column/23641729/

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        EVs on average burn about half as many fossil fuels as the average car, so they’d do something.

        But in today’s ideological climate it’s better to be consistently wrong than open to new info.

        • 0 avatar
          stingray65

          Running costs is only part of the story, life cycle studies show the EV emission advantages is very small as my link and many other studies demonstrate.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            Your links? Ha, Lomborg and his tired myths? Yeah right. What a joke. Lomborg – LMFAO!

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            Off the rip your last link is wrong. At the end of an EV’s life the battery can and usually is repurposed elsewhere. Hell even when a battery is no longer suited for EV use it can find use elsewhere.

            Lot of other fallacies as well… for example he talks about coal killing more people, but is mum on the fact that coal is dying across the globe, largely for financial reasons. Or that the purpose of the US EV tax credit is solely to reduce carbon (and not accelerate EV development). Etc.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    The early versions of these cars haven’t exactly helped the cause.
    You’ve got 3 year old Leafs that have about 30 miles range in cold weather unless you buy a new $5500 battery pack.
    And the Tesla 3 appears to have worse quality and reliability than a GM 80 X-car. If you hit the forums, even the true believers are getting upset.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      I heard that Prius manufacturing uses a lot of the rare earth materials. I wonder how much emission is produced by that dirty Chinese excavator? The train that moves it, the factory that extracts it? And when they dig through it, how much methane and other gasses is released?

  • avatar
    285exp

    The infrastructure was always going to be the hard part. There are hundreds of place to fuel up my car within a few miles of my home, and you’re never very far from a place to fuel up on a road trip, and it only takes a few minutes to put 400 miles of range in my car. like many people, I don’t have a place where I can recharge a BEV at home, only a tiny number of workplaces around here have even a few charging stations, and my city of 250k+ has one Supercharger station that has only a half dozen chargers, and it’s tucked in the back of a big shopping mall.

    For those who have a place to charge at home, and rarely go on extended drives, the current batch of BEVs are a nice option, especially for wealthy people who can afford multiple vehicles. It’s going to be a very long time before they’re more than a niche market though.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      Agreed. I don’t have a garage at my house, and the idea of plugging and unplugging an EV in my driveway in bad weather is just not appealing. Nor is the idea of plugging in in some dark corner of a mall parking lot and sitting for an extended period of time. When EVs have fast charging times (10 minutes to full) and an easy 300+ mile range, without costing a fortune, then they will be adopted at the rates the government types want.

      • 0 avatar
        Guythall

        You’re missing a much better driving experience plus improved air quality around you. Car pollution causes twice as many deaths as car accidents, let alone birth defects, senior dementia, but again they are much more fun to drive. Better handling, lower center of gravity, more pep, smoother acceleration, quieter. Sorry, but you’ll lose the rumble and engine roar.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Banning/replacing ICEVs is asinine (though I get why places like Europe and China are game- their air quality issues have made them desperate).

      But I don’t think replacement as a goal has to happen for EVs to hit critical mass. In the US most people live in houses with garages:

      https://www.energy.gov/eere/vehicles/fact-958-january-2-2017-sixty-three-percent-all-housing-units-have-garage-or-carport

      And even if they just have a carport or driveway the chargers are weatherproof. There are several people in my subdivision who charge their EVs outside all the time. If those people adapt EVs they will surely gain critical mass, without the need for huge infrastructure investments.

      Not to mention you don’t need to be wealthy to live in a household with multiple cars. You just need to live in a house with multiple drivers. Pretty much any 2 parent family these days has 2 cars. So one person can have an EV and another can have an ICEV. That’s exactly my plan once I’ve paid off my current car, and hopefully more enticing and high value EV options exist. Something like a Honda Insight EV priced like an Insight Hybrid would be perfect. But no such cars exist.

      • 0 avatar
        Kendahl

        My wife and I have three vehicles. A Ford Focus which is used most, an Infiniti G37S which is my toy, and an AWD Toyota Sienna van, which is no pleasure to drive, for loads too bulky for the others. All three vehicles are used for errands in town and for trips beyond BRV range. If we were forced into one BEV and one ICV, both would have to be vans. Yuck!

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Kendahl, your comment brought a smile to my face because my wife and I now only have ONE car, a 1989 Camry V6 .

          And we manage to get by doing what we need to do, going where we need to go. We truly have ‘downsized’ from the number of cars we had before.

          If we need something like a pickuptruck, or SUV, these days we rent from Hertz or Enterprise, or borrow from one of the kids or friends.

          • 0 avatar
            Kendahl

            Our Focus serves the same purpose as your Camry. It goes about 13,000 miles a year.

            The Infiniti is my toy. It would have been a Porsche Cayman had I not been put off by the droning engine right behind my head. Annual mileage is less than 3,000. None are available for rental.

            We are amateur astronomers who go out overnight several times per month. We took the middle seats out of the van to make room for all our equipment plus a mattress and sleeping bags in case we are too tired to return home without a nap. Renting isn’t a reasonable option.

            The van is a replacement for a 1998 Subaru Legacy wagon. Because of rust, it was no longer safe to drive.

            There are times when we need to go different places at the same time. We would rather have our own vehicles than rely on taxis or Uber.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            HDC, are you retired? If so, your time value is completely different than that of most people. For me the time to go get a rental is about an hour round trip- too much, especially with any kind of frequency.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            “HDC, are you retired?” Yes, I am now, but I used to have lots of cars around the house, especially when our four kids (and five adopted foster nephews and nieces) were still living with us.

            The point of my comment was that we size up or size down the need for transportation as we go through life.

            There was a time when pickup trucks were my choice of DD, and I owned a bunch of them over the decades.

            We recently transferred my wife’s 2016 Sequoia to the family business offices in Jackson Hole, WY, after we put tons of miles on it for a few years. We don’t need it anymore.

            Much of the time, if we are really in a pinch, we borrow a vehicle, or pickup truck, from a family member, neighbor or friend. But it is rare.

            For longer trips out of town, we found that an Expedition EL from Hertz or Enterprise has been ideal for us. We were gone for a few days recently, and that’s what we used.

            If electricity wasn’t so damned expensive in our area (17+ cents per KWh) I could see myself these days eventually replacing that 1989 Camry with a Hybrid PEV, just for grocery getting, and short hauls in the vicinity.

            Trips to El Paso, TX and Las Cruces, NM and/or Albuquerque, NM would still require a heftier SUV like the Expedition EL, because we like to travel in comfort, not cramped like sardines in a can.

        • 0 avatar
          forward_look

          My wife and I have a Ford Focus which is used most (because I like the way it drives), and a Caliber which is due for replacement. For those hauling duties I have a small utility trailer (last used to haul 2 tons of cow manure).

          Seriously looking at BEVs. I think the acceleration and quietness will sell my wife on the idea, with the not having to touch a stinky gas pump being frosting on the cake.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Its not about refueling stations. Our electric grid already sh!t. You gonna add millions of cars to it, you will not be able to charge at all.

  • avatar
    WheelMcCoy

    Was concerned about the $6 trillion price tag until I read the report came from Goldman Sachs. They will play both sides and “rip your face off.”

  • avatar
    JaySeis

    I swear this country will fail because of whining. Imagine if, in the Model T era, a writer made the headlines that it’ll take “a billion dollars for infrastructure to fuel those infernal machines” and roads, the roads we will need!

    Oh. It happened. It’s called the marketplace. And yes, state, local, & fed governments built a shit ton of roads. And there were gas stations on every corner of a downtown intersection (now being converted to pizza joints, ice cream parlors, etc. because they built way too many). Locals can charge from a dryer outlet but tourists aren’t so lucky. So what do hotels do? Put in charging stations. And business travel by car? Teleconferencing is way more productive. I swear the US is led by idiots. Well one at least.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Another misleading Bloomberg article.

    That 7.5% of the world’s GDP sounds like a lot, but that’s if you build the infrastructure in *1 year*. Spread the effort out over 7.5 years, and you’re down to 1% of the world’s GDP. More likely, infrastructure changes will be slower than that, so the annual impact will be low.

    The article assumes that taxpayers and governments will pay for this. Tesla wisely realized that waiting for the government to pay for a decent charging infrastructure wasn’t a good idea, so they built their own, and consequently it’s the best. Secondly, many for-profit private companies are in the charging business, with little to no tax dollars involved. Nobody cares what it costs if they’re not paying for it, but the Bloomberg article assumes the little people will be bearing this burden.

    The high income level of EV buyers is due to two things – high EV prices, and the structure of the Federal subsidy. People who pay little to no taxes won’t get a tax break on an EV. This complaint fits into the common campaign ploy by liberals – that tax breaks always go to the ‘rich’. The fact is that tax breaks go to the ‘rich’ because the ‘rich’ are the only ones paying taxes.

    As for Denmark, that straw man argument is getting old. The Danish government was waiving the import duty on EVs, reducing the effective price by something like 65% (IIRC), a benefit which was later removed. Any price shock like that will result in a demand drop, but do it slowly and the effect would be less dramatic.

    Back to infrastructure: I don’t need *local* infrastructure; I need *distant* infrastructure along highways. A big obstacle to that is the inability of the EV community to settle on a common charging standard.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Electric cars are great.

    Electric cars that use batteries to store power, not so much.

    The weak link is in the battery: bulky, heavy, expensive, slow to charge, prone to depletion over time. Imagine how we would feel about internal combustion cars if they took that much time to refuel while the fuel tanks shrank over time.

    The solution is to improve the battery or replace it with a superior alternative. A Manhattan Project of sorts to develop that technology would make sense. Build out the EV infrastructure once you know what you need.

    • 0 avatar
      Guythall

      You’re partly right, better batteries will make better EVs, but the EVs are pretty darn good right now. One someone buys or discovers EV, they don’t want to go back to gas. The batteries are improving at a rate more than 10% a year. There are a great number of researchers going after all aspects of batteries in many countries. Tons of money going into this with anticipation of riches.

      The EV I bought in 2011 for ~$35k in 2011 has 80 mile range, 2013 had 85, 2016 had 107, 2017 had 150, early next year we’re expecting 220, all for the same price. These are just one make and model.

      Other makes are offering 200 to over 300 mile range today.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        If I wasn’t right, then automakers would be selling a lot more of them and turn a profit doing it.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          pch101: “and turn a profit doing it”

          Tesla is turning a profit on the Model 3. Porsche will make a profit on the Taycan.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            If you think that Tesla can keep selling $35k cars for $55k, then you need to learn more about the auto business.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          Automakers have only just started to offer a broader range of EVs, due at least in part to increasing real demand for them. There are no govt mandates for EVs in the US, but EV sales are increasing at a time when the overall market is contracting. Various manufacturers have or will soon be rolling out dedicated EV platforms. Manufacturers are not perfect but I’m wagering companies like Porsche and BMW know and see things that you don’t.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      We have to improve batteries. It’s not just EVs that use them, but a myriad of devices like cell phones. We need them for robotics as well. Battery tech is moving along just fine, it’s just the timeline of getting those batteries into production that is a bigger issue. Even then, there has been some solid progress. The density of the original Leaf battery was 157 Wh/kg. The current Leaf battery is 224 Wh/kg. I think the Model 3’s cells are 207 Wh/kg. Solid Energy Systems Hermes cells (a high c-rate cell optimized for drones – EV optimized versions due in 2020) are 450 Wh/kg and can be purchased now. What’s wrong with that progress? It’s moving along just fine.

      http://www.solidenergysystems.com/hermes/

      As far as Manhattan Projects go, there are plenty of them out there world wide.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I’d like to see a Manhattan Project to achieve energy independence for the United States (or the free country of your choice).

      But in reality it’s not a question of technology, but more a question of political policy.

  • avatar
    tylanner

    Cost is the wrong metric…

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Hence welfare and socialism must be the right metric.

      Ah, yes, I remember it well. It started in 2008, and doubled down in 2009.

      Gawd, I hope Trump can stop the insanity!

  • avatar
    PandaBear

    People used to say the same thing about hybrid, but after 15 and more years we come to the following conclusion:

    You don’t need to replace everything with hybrid, and they are damn good for those 5% of the use cases, and they can be self sustaining if used in the right applications.

    The result is also very country specific due to oil production, fuel tax, geopolitical reasons, national security, and other man made non technical reasons.

    Seriously, it is like when the whole taxi industry switch from retired Ford CrownVic to Prius and then people wonder, why haven’t they done it sooner?

    The same would happen to EV, many applications are perfect for it but not all, and they will cut a lot of fuel cost out of the perfect applications, as would Uber/Lyft, as would public transportation, as would driverless cars, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      For the record, the taxi industry in major US cities went to the Escape Hybrid before the Prius.

      Too bad no one has bothered to figure out the gas and emission savings of hybrids. And no one had to change their lives at all.

    • 0 avatar
      Christopher Coulter

      Agreed. Why is the conversation always centered around 100% adoption of EVs? I live in a place where winter temperatures regularly dip to -20F (-29C) for days at a time. Not sure a modern EV would do well in those conditions. But I have an insulated garage and we are a 2 car household, so I’ve not doubt that we’ll eventually have at least 1 EV. But I’m still going to want my ICE.

  • avatar
    jfb43

    Wake me up when they figure out bio-based batteries that can charge 300 miles in 10 minutes and not need replacing every 5 years, and also costs about what you’d expect a normal car to cost.

    Until then, I’m an ICE man, and maybe a PHEV if it’s done right.

    My switch will not be prompted by the false flag of “global climate change” (or whatever euphemism is en vogue), but because quiet, seamless torque is nice and as much as I do work on my cars, it’d be nice not doing oil changes.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Again even with perfect batteries and instant charging EVs just aren’t tenable for 100% of applications. I would not fret much; the govt is not coming to take your ICE away.

      • 0 avatar
        jfb43

        Other than perhaps extreme cold and hot climates, how would perfect batteries and instant charging not be tenable?

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          I suppose if they are perfect they are perfect.

          But I don’t see batteries ever surpassing fossil fuels in energy density, which puts them at a disadvantage for any kind of freight uses for example.

          Voltages and charging currents can only get so high before they are just flat out dangerous (Google arc flash) etc.

          And all this omits the fact that 90% of EV charging today is happening in people’s homes. Fast charging and range anxiety are the anti-EV strawmen. You don’t use an electric light bulb the same way you’d use a gas lamp…

          • 0 avatar
            jfb43

            So would you have someone rent a car every time they have to drive outside the range of their EV? Or own two vehicles just to do what one normal one can?

            This is where the PHEV is far superior to full EVs. It’s just a shame manufacturers aren’t as fervent about PHEVs.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            Most households already have 2 cars the drivers share, so having 1 EV in the fleet is no practical issue. I would not have anyone buy an EV if it didn’t work for them, and I’m annoyed by the strawman that if EVs don’t work for every single person that they can’t work for anybody.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            @sporty: I still have gas cars in the fleet, but the EV is so much nicer to drive that I found myself willing to put up with the occasional 30-minute quick charge on the rare long-distance trip rather than leave the EV behind. Not a big deal, since between catching up on email, telecommuting, shopping, or grabbing a meal on the road, I’ve always managed to have some productive time while charging. I sometimes joke with my friends about faster charging being a problem because I’d no longer have time to check my email. Actually, with an upgrade to a 300-mile range, I’ll probably eliminate any public charging for myself. It’s been more than a decade since I’ve traveled by car over 200 miles in a day.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        “I would not fret much; the govt is not coming to take your ICE away.”

        I hope you’re correct.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        sportyaccordy,

        “the govt is not coming to take your ICE away”

        CA said – they will

    • 0 avatar
      PandaBear

      The answer to your question is electrified railroad for freight.

      A human bladder usually last about 300 miles, that’s the reason for the tank size, battery size, etc.

      If the demand for fast charging is there, there will be battery bay and rental battery for you to swap out, maybe 10 slots per car, so you can swap out the depleted ones for charged ones instead of giving up on a 30% charged battery and lose the energy cost. Before that, high voltage fast charging top off may be the way to go.

      Normal car cost already happen outside of US as soon as the tax is factored in.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    The solution: Chevy Volts for everyone.

    Seriously. If the problems are charging infrastructure/speed and battery cost, then what you need is an electric car with enough battery capacity for 90% of your real world driving, and gas backup for the other 10%. That takes infrastructure and speed of charging for long-distance travel off the list of objections. And it accommodates the reality that gas is efficient on the highway and inefficient in the city, and electric is the inverse.

    That smaller battery is cheaper, since it’s packing only 25% of the capacity people think they need before they’d consider an all-electric car. That reduces the price to build the cars, and reduces price pressure on the raw materials for the batteries—now you can build four times as many cars. Plus, the smaller battery can be recharged overnight even off a standard wall outlet, so for anyone with a garage (home, apartment, condo), charging can be a snap.

    Does everyone have a garage? No. But say even 50% of people do. If you can knock out 90% of pollution from 50% of drivers, you’ve really accomplished something.

    Here’s the fun part though: Driving a car in electric mode makes you hate having to kick on the gas engine. The driving experience itself builds the consumer demand needed for EVs and infrastructure to spread.

    All that said, incentive programs should have some stipulations: to qualify for buyer incentive funds, a PHEV should have at least 50 real world miles of 100% electric range, be capable of running at full power in electric-only mode, and not kick on the gas engine for heat in normal three-season weather (acknowledging that waste heat from the gas engine might be more efficient in truly severe winter weather). That would encourage manufacturers to stop d!cking around with their current half-arsed PHEVs and just license the Voltec powertrain already.

    • 0 avatar
      Christopher Coulter

      No response. That was perfect…

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      This is probably where I will end up, is in a Chevy Volt. I’ll have a hard time convincing my spouse that we can get along on a BEV only and living in the Upper Midwest, I could foresee some weather related issues. After having spoken to many Volt owners, they seem to be happy with the car’s operation, but some features (like the capacitive touch dash or the small back seats) irk them.

      A few years back I went to all battery-powered lawn tools and have come to love them. Granted, I’ve got a small lawn, but these tools suit my needs and are virtually maintenance free. My next big purchase will be a battery-powered snow blower, as I have become accustomed to NOT performing yearly engine maintenance on my other lawn tools. I thoroughly enjoy not having to fiddle with gas stabilizer, filter replacements and tune-ups on those items. I think that an EREV or BEV will be much less maintenance intensive, too.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      “Does everyone have a garage? No. But say even 50% of people do. If you can knock out 90% of pollution from 50% of drivers, you’ve really accomplished something.”

      What pollution?

      CO2 is a global problem against which American personal car choices don’t even amount to a rounding error.

      NOx and PM2.5 and all of the other localized emissions that actually harm people aren’t evenly distributed across the fleet. The vast majority come from 4th owner beaters driven by poor people.

      By the time the Volts work their way down the food chain that far their CELs will be on and batteries won’t hold a charge either.

      • 0 avatar
        HotPotato

        I live a block from the freeway. If you’re not clear on what “pollution” is, come hang out on my porch. :-)

        I agree that we need to do more about gross polluters. Remote sensing, smog checks, cash for clunkers, cheap loans for used Leafs, there are lots of things we can do beyond waiting for the Volts to trickle down the food chain.

        As for the “other” pollution, honestly I try not to talk about CO2 at all, because it triggers the climate change skeptics on here and I’m not trying to raise anyone’s blood pressure. You are right that it is a global problem. But America is the top contributor to the problem, and the transportation sector is America’s top contribution to the problem, so American personal car choices can amount to much more than a rounding error—especially if nudged by policies that align personal and public interest.

    • 0 avatar
      Damski

      The Volt is a bandaid, it is fine for now, but with it, owners are missing out on one of the biggest advantages of an EV, that being very little maintenance!

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    EV’s are a long ways off as a direct replacement for an ICE, but for the millions and millions of multi-car households in the US they are pretty much a no-brainer. Don’t need a charging network, you charge at home, that’s the beauty of an EV. Don’t need it to charge in 10 minutes. It charges anytime it’s parked at home. Oh & it doesn’t need to be fully charged to leave home. Just need enough range to get you to your destination and back. Let it fully charge while you sleep. Works with my Volt!

    People need to get past the paradigm that an EV needs to be refueled like an ICE. Regardless, electric vehicles will be huge in China & that will improve battery tech and drive down manufacturing costs which will benefit the US.

    • 0 avatar
      jfb43

      With increased urbanization and street parking, more and more people will be without the means to charge while idle at home. A massive engineering project would have to occur to install chargers next to every parking meter. So it really only works for suburbanites with garages. And if we’re still talking about air quality, don’t we think the best use of electric cars would be in the city?

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        “And if we’re still talking about air quality, don’t we think the best use of electric cars would be in the city?”

        Yep, they are also a no-brainer for multi-car households in the suburbs. Don’t need charging stations next to parking meters. Charge at home, it’s cheaper. The new condo’s being built in the downtown Minneapolis come with off-street parking as there simply is no room to park any more cars on the streets. Who’s gonna pay $500K and up for a condo and put up with trying to find a place to park on the street every time they come home.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        “A massive engineering project would have to occur to install chargers next to every parking meter.”

        Hardly… in fact, utilities would love the more stable loads at night, incremental revenues, and fast payback on their investments with the right rate structure.

        Plus it’s not like utilities are sitting around twiddling their thumbs. If you ever go to NYC for example ConEd always has underground crews out, often tearing up the street to lay replace 100 year old cable. A new charging point would be child’s play and would not expand their existing maintenance scope by much.

        • 0 avatar
          craiger

          “If you ever go to NYC for example ConEd always has underground crews out, often tearing up the street to lay replace 100 year old cable. A new charging point would be child’s play and would not expand their existing maintenance scope by much.”

          Charging points next to each parking meter wouldn’t be “a new charging point” it would be thousands of new charging points. But it could be done. The city installed a lot of powered transit ticket kiosks a while back, and pretty rapidly too. Also, those phone charger information terminal towers are popping up all over the place seemingly overnight. Still, installing maybe 70 to 80 (assuming 100% coverage) on the average small block (e.g. the upper east side) isn’t a trivial job and could make that street unavailable for vehicle traffic, parking, street cleaning, trash pickup, etc. for a while. And for what? I see maybe 5 Teslas a day when I’m out and about. I don’t remember the last time I saw a Leaf.

          We removed our parking meters over 15 years ago.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            Well that is a chicken and egg situation. I don’t think it would take that long or be that disruptive. ConEd replaces electric and gas lines all the time and people hardly notice.

            Plus there are street closures for all kinds of things. Law & Order wants to shoot a scene on your block. Good luck lol. That’s part of the NYC game.

            And obviously if there’s no need for every spot on a block to have charge points they wouldn’t put one in every spot. They could just lay the cable for that eventuality and add individual meters over time as demand required them.

            You think through the math as well… I’d wager off peak kWh rates in NYC now are $0.15? So if someone drives ~40 miles a day at 3 miles/kWh = 13kWh or about $2/day for overnight charging. $730 a year. I’m sure they’d get payback on such meters in under 3 years, and the customer would still be paying way less to drive those 40 miles than someone in an ICE car. Just a matter of matching demand.

          • 0 avatar
            craiger

            What NYC could do is put a couple of spots on each side street, on opposite sides because nearly all are one-way streets and not all charging ports are on the same side. The city could put up signs prohibiting anything but EVs from parking there, sort of like how a while back they created reserved street parking for diplomats, with specific license plate numbers on the signs. That’s a big improvement over the old system, where a car with a diplomat plate could park pretty much anywhere with impunity.

            As a life-long New Yorker one of my hobbies is thinking about the down side of public policy ideas. Hey, somebody has to. The bureaucrats don’t seem to be concerned about doing it. So let’s see…

            1) You would have EV drivers snagging the spots even when they don’t need a charge because…it’s a spot reserved for EVs. This of course would make ICE drivers really mad. You don’t want to walk away from your car in New York and leave angry people behind. It usually doesn’t end well.

            2) Would the EV driver plug in the charger and then leave the car to go shopping or a restaurant or whatever? What’s to prevent some drunk jokers stumbling out of the bar from unplugging the charging cable? “Hey man, go unplug that guy’s car. That’s freaking funny!”

            3) ICE drivers will park in the spots, and maybe not walk away for fear of a ticket, but just sit in the car. Why, you ask? Waiting to pick someone up, or waiting for the street sweeper to makes its rounds, or conduct business, or a hundred other things. Let’s say a poor slob in his Leaf drives up on his last electrons and needs the spot. The jerk who shouldn’t be in the spot says “Oh, I’m holding it for my friend with his EV, he’s a few blocks away.” or “My car won’t start.” or “Go [email protected] yourself.” What’s the Leaf driver going to do, call the cops? Yes, New Yorkers get into fistfights over this kind of thing.

            4) It’s Sunday night and you’ve just arrived back in the city after visiting your in-laws in Pennsylvania for the weekend. You’ve spent four hours in miserable traffic and all you want to do is park and go to bed. You’ve already spent 20 minutes driving around looking for a spot and you really need to empty your bladder. Hey, there’s that EV spot that I’ve passed 10 times tonight. It’s 11:45 on a Sunday night, I won’t get a ticket if I move it in the morning, you say to yourself.

            5) There are various kinds of people in the city with dashboard placards that pretty much allow them to park anywhere except at fire hydrants and bus stops. They’ll take the EV spots if there’s nothing else available, and not come back for a week. I used to have one such placard. I wouldn’t move my Z4 from in front of my building for weeks at a stretch, street sweepers be damned.

            I’ve owned four cars living in the upper east side for 25 years and I’ve seen it all.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            Well one huge upside of EV reserved spots is that they’d definitely get people to buy EVs. Only issue is they might buy the junkiest used Leaf they could find instead of something new.

            But NYC street parking is about as miserable and cutthroat as it gets. I’d look into some kind of automotive solution that avoided street parking entirely if I could.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            @craiger: “What’s to prevent some drunk jokers stumbling out of the bar from unplugging the charging cable?”

            EVs have the ability to lock the cable. Mine has the option of automatically unlocking when the car is charged, or I can keep it locked. Also, some chargers and some cars will text you when charging stops.

            “) You would have EV drivers snagging the spots even when they don’t need a charge because…it’s a spot reserved for EVs. ”

            Massachusetts law only allows EVs to occupy spaces while charging. Signage helps too. Many chargers will text you when the car is charged.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      Besides, the gas companies are getting into charging. With 300 to 500 kW charging, the time to charge will get faster.

      https://www.evconnect.com/blog/shell-oil-begin-installing-fast-ev-charging-stations-gas-stations/

      • 0 avatar
        craiger

        Fast charging needs to be designed into the car and develops a LOT of heat that has to be dealt with. Forcing electrons through metal is what it is. You can’t escape physics.

        • 0 avatar
          bunkie

          I refer you to Ohm’s Law and prescribe some time to ponder why electricity is transmitted at very high voltages…

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          @craiger: Yes, but they are designing the faster charging speeds into some cars now. The Porsche Taycan is designed for 350 kW. The chargers for the Taycan are being deployed now. They exist.

          Chargepoint has a 500 kW charger. Sure, no cars support 500 kW charging yet, but the chargers are available from the manufacturers.

          • 0 avatar
            craiger

            Yep, 800 volts is what’s used for fast charging these days. Porsche has pilot stations in Germany and in Atlanta. 1000 volts at 400 amps is the standard that’s being worked on. But, there are a lot of engineering hurdles to be overcome, and they’re not trivial.

      • 0 avatar
        craiger

        Problem is, in Manhattan you can count the number of gas stations on one hand and still have enough fingers left to express your displeasure at the guy who cut in front of you on line to get to the pump. And, the stations are so small there’s barely enough space for the pumps. I expect them to be all gone soon, replaced with the typical 40 story condo tower.

      • 0 avatar
        craiger

        @MCS:

        “EVs have the ability to lock the cable. Mine has the option of automatically unlocking when the car is charged, or I can keep it locked. Also, some chargers and some cars will text you when charging stops.”

        Ah, ok. I didn’t know that.

        “Massachusetts law only allows EVs to occupy spaces while charging. Signage helps too. Many chargers will text you when the car is charged.”

        Very cool. But couldn’t someone just plug in and not come back for hours after it’s charged? Do the parking violations people look at the kiosk screen and not write a ticket if it’s still charging, and write a ticket if it’s at 100%?

  • avatar
    gottacook

    Here are links to two recent informative papers on charging infrastructure developments, including public and multi-unit residential charge points:

    https://www.theicct.org/sites/default/files/publications/EV_Capitals_2018_final_20181029.pdf

    https://www.theicct.org/sites/default/files/publications/ZEV_fast_charging_white_paper_final.pdf

  • avatar
    Hummer

    So 947M drivers worldwide would make it $6,400 per driver. Enough for everyone to get a nice golf cart.

  • avatar
    TimK

    I have to laugh when supposedly informed and tech-savvy people display outright ignorance and naivety when it comes to the infrastructure needed for widespread use of PEVs. Travel outside the major cities almost anywhere on this world and you will discover that electricity is not ubiquitous or cheap. The average household here on Gaia gets by with 25-amp service, and often it’s not available 24/7.

    A typical rural gas station with four pumps “upgraded” to serve PEVs would need service with a peak capacity of at least 500kW. If some fool spends $200k, that might be possible here in the USA, the rest of the world? LOL, the power just isn’t there even if the fool waves the money.

    • 0 avatar
      PandaBear

      People not having 24/7 electricity tends to buy old cars exported from 1st world country.

      I’m not sure how you do that math, but ICE cars are expensive for them too.

  • avatar
    Spike_in_Brisbane

    I’d be interested to see someone look at the numbers here in Australia. We have no government subsidies for electric cars and practically no charging infrastructure but I see quite a few Teslas.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “They’re most likely correct, too. With so much of the world set to gradually ban internal combustion vehicles, EV sales are almost assured to rise”

    …and nobody sees a problem with this sort of totalitarian behavior? Anyone? Anyone?

  • avatar
    cityscapex5

    Love cars and curbside classic. We replaced an SUV and ICE Sedan with a Chevrolet Bolt EV and Ford EV. First time we’ve ever owned only American cars as well! ICE vehicles seems like relics of a previous era in comparison when I get in one and I can’t see myself every buying another one. We’re eying a Tesla at some point and hopefully GM/Ford will come out with competitive EV’s or they will lose a generation of buyers for a aspirational vehicle that isn’t a 50 yr Anniversary Mustang/Camaro or they will be in the same pickle as Harley selling to aging out baby boomers.

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