By on May 6, 2020

Mercedes-Benz is nixing its all-electric EQ hatchback, according to R&D boss Markus Schäfer. Instead, it’s going to play a GLA-sized EQA crossover as its next hand.

Speaking with Autocar, Schäfer basically said it was a question of market demand. The EQC has already been delayed until at least 2021 for U.S. customers, though we’ve heard talk that its suspension could prove indefinite as the brand reassesses what should — and shouldn’t — be included in its future lineup. “We have to watch customer demand and, at the moment, SUVs and crossovers are the absolute favorites. Those are our first priorities,” Mercedes’ R&D head explained.

It’s only the latest chapter in a complicated story about an industry that’s constantly having to rethink how it handles electric cars. 

Here’s a thing I don’t like about EVs: they’re surrounded by bullshit. Despite being impressively quiet, a novel experience, and frequently fun to drive, they’re beset on all sides by marketing chatter and false promises.

On the one hand, automakers are under pressure from regulators and the green movement to minimize emissions — which is one reason engines continue shrinking in size and mounds of cash are being sunk into electric vehicle programs. They’re basically doing what they feel they have to while making it seem like they’re absolutely committed to the environment. While the ecological impact of EVs can be debated, they’re broadly seen by the public as better for the planet.

While Michael Moore’s latest documentary (which is free online) undercuts some of their presumed benefits, raising new questions among mainstream minds, eco warriors still see electric automobiles as the next best thing to not driving. Meanwhile, automakers have begun rolling back some of their earlier promises. As the pandemic depletes cash reserves, automakers are clearly planning to stick with what works — internal combustion and interior volume.

This wouldn’t be so frustrating if we hadn’t spent the last five years hearing about the electric revolution that’s always just over the horizon, plus the obligatory corporate pledges to environmentalism. Truth be told, the industry made a lot of headway with electrics in a relatively short time frame… even if production targets look unfeasible or continue being pushed back.

Performance is improving, costs are coming down, and range/charging is nearing a point where it matters much less than it used to. It’s been rather impressive; something must be going right with EVs to warrant Tesla’s continued existence (a company that’s equally guilty of over-promising). And yet it’s getting harder for mainstream manufacturers to continue pretending they’re as committed as once claimed.

EV buyers, at this stage, tend to have more money in the bank than, say, someone who is simply shopping for reliable transportation in order to remain employed. This has encouraged some carmakers to prioritize luxury models while placing a weaker emphasis on petite electrics with a lessened carbon footprint. While the difference between Mercedes’ EQA and a slightly smaller hatchback are probably minimal in terms of how they impact air quality, sticking with SUVs and crossovers across the board (as Schäfer seems to be suggesting) prioritizes sales over the environment.

That’d be fine if the concepts weren’t frequently at odds with each other — and didn’t contradict much of the corporate messaging we’ve endured these past few years.

While the EQA isn’t particularly large, subsequent EVs probably will be. In fact, luxury nameplates out of Europe seem to be embracing heavier electric crossovers at the expense of more economical models. Japanese and Korean brands have largely avoided this low-tier hypocrisy by under-promising electrification and focusing on budget-conscious electrics (for now), but American automakers that don’t contain the word “Chrysler” in their name are promising big-boy e-SUVs, and soon.

But both the GMC Hummer and Ford Mach E electric vehicles have evperienced some measure of delay due to the coronavirus. Ford also splashed cold water on the idea of a Rivian-based Lincoln SUV, saying it would ultimately find something else to do with the EV platform. Cadillac similarly postponed the debut of the mid-sized Lyriq until the pandemic has passed; that model rides on an entirely new architecture that will underpin all future electric models from General Motors.

While some of these cars will probably re-emerge as the industry realizes that waiting around for trade shows is a loser’s game when COVID-19 is on the loose and lockdowns are in fashion, we’d wager that some will quietly disappear from production plans. This includes existing models, such as Honda’s battery driven Clarity — a California exclusive which ceased production at the start of 2020.

So what’s going on?

Our guess is that mainstream brands have painted themselves into a bit of a corner. Tesla spent forever hemorrhaging cash, but eventually delivered interesting and highly desirable products as well as a charging network to support them. With the exception of Volkswagen, few other automakers have bothered to address infrastructure in a meaningful way (and VW only did so because it was forced to). They’re also trying to position EVs as an extension of their core lineup as they continue fine-tuning purpose-built platforms intended for electrics. This is costing them all a fortune while the segment matures to a point where it might someday be truly profitable. But today is not that day.

Tomorrow might not be that day, either. While we’ll keep seeing battery electric vehicles added to the market, their big push into normalcy will be delayed by the economic influence of the coronavirus. Unless things rebound miraculously over the next few months, we’re in for a long stretch of an industry and customer base that’s cagey with money. Costly development programs will look far less useful when the product in question has limited market appeal.

The coronavirus won’t kill the electric car, despite sporadic claims to the contrary. But the industry is clearly less interested in them at present. Recent projections state EV sales will drop 43 percent in 2020 — and that was back in April, before the extensions of regional lockdowns. The electric car’s final tally could be worse, which doesn’t put electrics in a terribly different situation than internal combustion vehicles. Still, oil is abundant right now and fuel is cheap. Pickup sales stayed strong as other segments fell by the wayside this year (though tempting truck deals may have simply been too delicious to ignore).

What say you? Is the all-electric product offensive being forced into an organized retreat due to market realities, or will automakers remain committed to electric vehicles at their former pace once COVID-19 becomes less of a problem/valid-sounding excuse?

[Image: Daimler AG]

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57 Comments on “EV Offensive Looking More and More Like a Decoy Attack...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    TTAEVs is that mfrs hate losing money, and Tesla has shown that you need full-in commitment and volume to eek out a profit.

    The only mfr (ICE or EV) really thinking long-term is Tesla. Any claims for even 2025 by any of them are BS, let alone 2035.

    Just like with CAFE, it’s a matter of time until market trends clash with regulators’ mandates. Even California couldn’t achieve its lofty zero-emission sales, and had to re-adjust.

    The Tesla critics have been eagerly awaiting a “mainstream” EV player to crush Tesla, but in the small-and-growing EV segment, it’s the other way around.

    Gigafactories, charging networks, and 6-figure production volumes don’t come cheap or quick. And they’re impossible to sell to the bean counters when you print money from SUVs and pickups.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      @SCE: Tesla keeps getting further ahead. Battery day is coming up. The 4000 cycle cells are coming. They just took delivery on their cell manufacturing equipment too. Elon Musk pisses me off sometimes and I’m not happy with the thinness of the paint on the 3 and Y, but the issues with the other manufacturers outweigh the somewhat easily correct Tesla issues. The local body shop can’t fix the other companies charging networks, mediocre battery technology, and half-assed designs. The Taycan is good, but cost massively more than even a tuner-modified Model 3 Ascension. At the low end, Edmunds proved that you can still get a $36k Model 3.

      Tesla is also moving into the power distribution business. That’s where they really stand to make some serious money. Basically buying up excess power overnight when it’s cheap and putting it into batteries, then selling it back during the day when it’s expensive. We’re going to get to the point where Tesla is the automaker and the equivalent of the oil company with the gas stations. In California, they’ve already started selling auto insurance. Does anyone remember when Amazon was just selling books online?

      https://www.tesla.com/blog/introducing-megapack-utility-scale-energy-storage

  • avatar
    ajla

    My thoughts:
    0. Mainstream vehicle buyers don’t have any purity test about what powers their transportation.
    1. The sales numbers from Tesla show that people don’t have any per se distaste for EVs.
    2a. Upfront cost and charging infrastructure remain the biggest hurdles to widespread EV adoption.
    2b. Dealers are basically useless at selling anything that isn’t the highest volume thing on the lot.
    3. I think it was a big mistake for Western governments to push so hard for EV adoption at the expense of conventional hybrids.
    4. I am bearish on the HUMMER EV stuff. I’m expecting it to be super niche and super expensive. The MachE has more potential to me and I’m very interested to see how sales look over the next 4 years.
    5. The current crop of Euro-brand EVs haven’t been very impressive.

  • avatar

    The mainstream automakers are using Covid-19 as an excuse to not be held accountable to emissions standards. Which as you point out the only reason they consider making EV’s in the first place. The few brands that have genuinely tried, like VW are having difficulty emulating what Tesla has been able to do with inventory of finished vehicles piling up as they try and figure out how to make the software work.

    If EV’s do become dominant then I fear the majority of traditional automakers will go belly up. They know it and will do what they have to to harpoon the EV market with as much FUD as possible.

    Tesla,and maybe a few Chinese brands will be the only serious EV makers for a considerable time to come.

    Covid has the potential to attract more consumer interest in EV’s. In large cities such as LA the air cleaned up after the lockdowns went into place. That was noticed by many and could encourage consumers to buy a emissions free vehicle next time they purchase. People have short memories, so it may not be as significant a factor as it clearly should be.

    Ironically environmentalists hold back EV adaption as well. They have pinned hopes on EV’s combating climate change, a risk who’s consequences are in the future. The buying public are much more focused on what’s in front of their nose today. Environmentalists need to remind us constantly how clean the air can be if we stop using internal combustion vehicles. Its an easier sell since the problem of pollution is here and now, not down the road one fine day. I hold out almost zero hope of environmentalists changing their tactics, climate change advocacy has become a religion as has climate denial, I fear those two forces will be deadlocked ad infinitum.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      “The mainstream automakers are using Covid-19 as an excuse to not be held accountable to emissions standards.”

      They’ll probably be looking for another bailout too.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      EV sales would be better if the product wasn’t always linked to environmentalists.

      Tesla has certainly made EVs more interesting, but even he beats the drum about saving the world, which is a big turnoff for me.

      • 0 avatar

        Why? You want the world to die?

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          @onside looking out you can want in one hand and crap in the other but at some point, the sun is gonna get big and red and the world will die. One can care deeply about the environment however and want no part of many aspects of the “environmental movement”

          • 0 avatar

            “@onside looking out you can want in one hand and crap in the other but at some point, the sun is gonna get big and red and the world will die. ”

            I’m looking from inside out not onside. I agree with you and exactly because of that we have to move forward as soon as possible but without destroying planet. World may end for us any moment because of small thing like asteroid.
            Or sun’s activity may increase enough to fry all life out of the Solar System. By cosmic standards the sun is extraordinarily monotonous.

        • 0 avatar
          vvk

          > Why? You want the world to die?

          I have been very “green” all my life without actually considering or advertising myself as such. I always turn off the lights. I started using LED bulbs way earlier than they became commonplace. I always drive in a very energy conservative manner and prefer small cars. I take “navy showers.” I recycle and reuse. I own two EVs. However, I do not believe in global warming (or whatever the current trendy term is,) nor do I consider myself an environmentalist. I think a lot of EV owners are in my camp. The “green” aspect of EVs is way, way down on my list of reasons to drive an EV. Number one on the list is performance and driving feel. I think that once general public discovers EVs, they will buy nothing else.

          The biggest reason OEMs are sandbagging EVs is limited worldwide battery supply. They just can’t get enough batteries, plain and simple.

          • 0 avatar
            SCE to AUX

            @vvk: I think you and I share the same philosophy about the environment and EVs, but it doesn’t fit the stereotypes paraded by the press or bloggers.

          • 0 avatar
            AC_Power

            Why would anyone think that trillions of tons dumped into the atmosphere is going to have any effect?

            And why would anyone believe science when our president, a man who recently used his power as president to order fact witnesses not to testify against him, says climate change doesn’t exist?

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        I used to be an avid dual sport motorcycle rider. Started on Kawasaki KLRs and Suzuki’s and moved up to KTMs and a Husqvarna even (more of a trail bike than the others). I always really liked BMW dual sports but I never got one because so many people I came across that rode them were douches. Never did the bike “wave” except to other BMW riders, constantly talked down everyone else’s bikes even my freaking KTM, yet always seemed to need to use a tool when off of the highway. Anyway, at the end of the day, I just really wanted no part of it.

        I kind of feel the same about Tesla owners. Sure, I know some perfectly normal ones that I am friends with. But the other end of the scale kills it. I was driving the leaf and one of the work dudes was in one of the charge spots. When asked if he could move so I could charge dude starts talking smack about the car. Never mind he treats the charger as his personal parking spot sitting their 8 hours a day (if I put my F150 there he’d be the first to throw a fit. Hit the EV forums and it’s more of the same. That kind of BS is why they need a “Sentry Mode”. Anyway, yeah, I’ll wait for something else.

    • 0 avatar
      jack4x

      How many places outside of Los Angeles actually have noticeably poor air quality anymore though? I’ve spent hours in bumper to bumper traffic in Chicago with the windows down and can’t say it affected me any differently than breathing in the small town I live in. Maybe that’s just me.

      I think using air pollution as the top benefit of an EV is going to be a hard sell. It’s going to come down to money as it always does. When EVs offer more for your dollar than ICEs, consumers will buy them. Right now, 98% of car buyers think otherwise.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        I’ll even allow for a performance angle being a driving force. There are benefits to EVs but I don’t drag race and when I do hit the track I run more than a hot lap so the typical performance metrics they come at me with don’t away me. Twice now I have seen model 3s chunking their tires before the battery died. I am hopeful that could change. The Mini EV seemed promising, but I don’t think it’s going to happen anytime soon now.

      • 0 avatar
        Jon

        Some of LA’s polluters came to Phoenix with the great California exodus of the early 21st century. Our air quality has gradually lowered since more and more folks from California (and other places) move here and bring their vehicles with them. However, we dont suffer from the same geographical air restrictions as LA. Our problem is more meteorological whereas our basin clears out with a mild sustained wind and/or lower temperatures.

        Our air has been noticeably cleaner during this whole quarantine thing.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        @jack4x Washington D.C. actually has “poor air quality” days in the summer when the heat and humidity get too bad. Free bus rides on those days.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      >>In large cities such as LA the air cleaned up after the lockdowns went into place. That was noticed by many and could encourage consumers to buy a emissions free vehicle next time they purchase. People have short memories<<

      you assume that lower emission came from less driving and not the lack of economic activity

      you also state that EV's are emissions free and that's only if you forget about where the electricity comes from

      I suggest you watch Moore's documentary – which is good in many respects in showing how dirty "green energy" actually is but failing to cite nuclear power as a way to produce a lower emission environment that "green" energy cannot

      as for EV's becoming dominant, unless battery tech improves greatly, the environment destruction will be devastating as the planet is strip mined for rare metals

      I think Edison predicted in 1910 that electric cars would soon replace ICE cars – it might happen, just not anytime soon

      • 0 avatar

        @thornmark, the actual environmental destruction is the planet strip-mined for oil and coal, which then goes up in smoke to be the primary driver of global warming. It’s obvious if you just do the math: a 1/2 ton recyclable battery recharged on the current electrical grid mix will displace literally TONS of fossil fuel over 120,000 miles. You can argue which is filthier by the pound to mine, refine, spill, and produce, but one is more than 10 times the other by weight.

    • 0 avatar

      1. The consequences of climate change are apparent right now with worse weather, worse droughts, worse fires, increased coral bleaches, forests losing ability to absorb CO2, … Pointing this out while emphasizing it gets even worse in coming decades (“even scenarios considered more likely and less severe project that in 50 years a couple of billion people will be living in places too hot without air conditioning, the study said.” — 2019 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) is not “religion” or alarmism, even if most people have a hard time thinking about 2070.

      2. Who are these environmentalists who aren’t reminding us of the benefits of lower emissions? Any time someone even mentions “zero tailpipe emission”, the deluded know-it-alls show up to shout “Environmentalists are so dumb they think the electricity for their EVs comes from unicorn farts” and post that cartoon of an EV dragging a belching coal plant.

  • avatar

    Tesla is already taking over the industry. Very soon Tesla will be the largest manufacturer of luxury cars or may be the largest car company period. Other Big 3 will be GM, Ford and VW because they already ahead of other companies in developing EV platforms (which is called skateboard). Will the rest survive, I do not know. Certainly small players like Subaru, Mazda, Honda, BMW will go away. Toyota may survive if they take action now, not tomorrow – now. Daimler may may also survive since they are already invested in EV platform.

    What car companies need to do – to move development centers to California, preferably Silicon Valley because all action happens to be here, including engineers.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      @ ILO 2% market shares is not taking over the industry. Expensive does not equal luxury. I can go to Saks 5th Avenue and buy a $200 t-shirt. It does no better than a Hanes T-shirt from Wal-Mart. GM, Ford, and VW aren’t selling EV’s yet. They all may be pouring hundreds of mllions of dollars down a rat hole. Toyota has the slight advantages (sarcasm alert) of being either the number or number two car company in the world and it already sells wildly successful hybrids. Mercedes is at best, hit or miss on evs. Check out ther E & S classes to understand luxury. There is a huge, and I mean freaking huge amount of engineering talent in the Metro Detroit area. It doesn’t get much media hyperbole because Detroit and internal combustion engines aren’t as cool as a the newest “smart” phone. I also suspect skinny jeans don’t sell very well in metro Detroit. There is also the unspoken snobbery by some EV owners; oh you live in an apt and can’t plug in an EV? Well, I have a house with a garage and I was proud to have a non-union electrician, because like a union was something my grandpa was in, install the charger in my garage. Dino juice is plentiful and cheap, the ICE isn’t going any where soon. There are a couple of smart and polite EV owners on here. You sure as heck don’t see them jumping up an down, waving their hands and saying look at me! I’m special! I drive an EV! Special! Special! Special! Others on here own hybrids and go about their way with dignity. In review: Car companies exist to make money, EV have a 2% market share, silicone valley is not the engineering center of the universe,although cool stuff comes from there, EV owners with implied discrimination are not special. Not a bit.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    P.S. I secretly believed the brown, diesel, MT station wagon guys could be bought off with a 12 pack.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “But the industry is clearly less interested in them at present.”

    The industry outside of Tesla has *never* really been interested in them. GM said they were, spent a bunch of money on Volt to “leapfrog” the competition. How’d that work out? Ghosn said something to the effect of, we have to do Leaf to be first into global markets. His great escape aside, how’s the Leaf doing for Nissan? The other players looked on and everybody continued business as usual. These things are nothing but cost centers for the industry, not profit centers.

    “Recent projections state EV sales will drop 43 percent in 2020 — and that was back in April, before the extensions of regional lockdowns.”

    Behold, the “future” as has been often prognosticated. Look for it to drop some more as those who would have been interested tighten their belts. Too limited and too expensive despite some long term cost savings, oh and outside of a Tesla its setting fire to your money in the first 20K miles – burns much faster than the ICE counterpart. Unless Peak Oil is truly at the center of the plandemic, these things will never catch on through market forces.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    EV problems:
    1. Range
    2. Recharge time
    3. Charging infrastructure
    4. Cold weather performance
    5. Cost
    6. Scaleability for towing and large vehicles

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      plus

      the batteries are still lithium and mining lithium is devastating and it’s doubtful the economically feasible supply of lithium is up to the potential demand

      plus electricity production causes emissions – so electric cars are not emissions free unless you forget where the power comes from

      • 0 avatar
        AC_Power

        Mining lithium is no more harmful than mining the aluminum in our beer cans.

        And how much lithium do you think is in a lithium ion battery? About 2% by weight.

    • 0 avatar
      AC_Power

      Problems with my internal combustion powered car:
      1. Maintenance costs. Electric cars cost way less to maintain because they don’t have timing belts, transmission, spark plugs, fuel injectors, oil rings, oxygen sensors, crankcase ventilation systems, engine valves, head gaskets, mufflers, emissions systems. And because electric cars have regen braking, the hydraulic brakes last a LONG LONG time before service is required.
      2. Interior space and ground clearance are badly compromised by the the transmission tunnel.
      3. No trunk space in the front. The front of my car is filled up with this expensive, heavy, service loving engine. Not so in some EVs.
      4. No crushable trunk space in the front makes my car less safe than an EV.
      5. No heavy battery skateboard under by seats makes my car much more likely to roll, compromising safety.
      6. Requires me to periodically visit a gas station, costing me countless hours and about $2K a year in fuel costs.
      7. Has a tailpipe. Anyone who has been told not to run their car in a closed garage understands that nothing good comes out of our tailpipes.

  • avatar
    dwford

    I’ve thought this for a long time: that most automakers are playing the EV game for PR value, but aren’t really interested in making the switch. You hear these grand plans “30 electrified vehicles over the next 5 years!” which gets all the CNN headlines, but you never see the headlines later as the automaker slowly drops these vehicles from the schedule. I think partly these CEOs have become jealous of Elon Musk and his celebrity status, and are making corporate decisions based not their vanity and jealousy.

    The reality is is that most consumers would be open to an EV car, but right now the barriers to entry are too high. The public charging network is too scattered and unreliable, and to hire an electrician to modify your home’s electrical to handle an EV is a big commitment and chore – and that assumes you own your own home.

    Lastly, for the life of me I cannot understand why these automakers continue to design $40k EVs that look like $20k cars. Tesla has shown that it isn’t necessary, and that it isn’t desirable. So why do it? I think the Mach E is going to be a huge success because it is priced right and doesn’t look like an econobox.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      EV problems???:

      >>> 1. Range

      Seriously??
      Not anymore. You can spend in the upper 20’s for a discounted Chevy Bolt that get 268 miles of range. It’s not an issue with the current generation of EVs

      >>> 2. Recharge time:

      That’s not a problem either. 30 minutes of supercharging will get you 200 miles in long-range and performance Model 3s. Overnight at home charging is easier that dealing with taking a car to a gas station for fuel. Not everyone can do that, but I can tell you from personal experience that’s one of the best aspects of EV ownership.

      >>> 3. Charging infrastructure

      I’m thinking about picking up my Model 3 in California at the factory and driving back to Boston. There was no problem finding plenty of Superchargers and I was bypassing quite a few. Reality is that I’ll never have enough time to do that, but I can dream.

      >>> 4. Cold weather performance

      On a well-designed EV, you’ll have a heat pump or other type of heater warming the battery. I got through 5 winters with a crappy air-cooled Leaf, so I don’t see an issue for most people. With my new car and commute, 20 to 40 miles in cold weather will leave me with hundreds of miles of range left over. Not a problem.

      >>> 5. Cost

      268 mile range 6.3 second 0-60 Chevy Bolts are discounted into the upper 20’s and maybe even lower these days. Based on 0-60 performance, even at the low end they can match up with a gas car the same size. At the high end, I’m getting an AWD car that accelerates 0-60 in 3.2 seconds for $62k (if I remember correctly). That compares to the same ICE car. Sure, there are cheaper cars than a Bolt at the lower end, but you’re getting 3 or 4 cylinders with a CVT driving front wheels. An EV is more like having a V8. Last I looked a V8 wasn’t an option on a KIA Rio or a Ford ECOsport.

      >>> 6. Scaleability for towing and large vehicles

      I’ve had no experience with towing on an EV, so I really can answer that one.

      “and to hire an electrician to modify your home’s electrical to handle an EV is a big commitment and chore – and that assumes you own your own home.”

      That really wasn’t a big deal. You hire them, tell them you need a NEMA 14-50 outlet, they install it. I did it. The EV was easy. Now, when the mega kitchen with two ovens featuring “pizza mode” and the two liquid-cooled GPU-packed computer workstations went in, that involved a bit of work, but it got done too.

      You’re right about the homeownership thing, but those people can just go to a public charging station – especially if there are 250 kW stations around. With 300+ mile range on some cars, you could go for days without charging. My house in Texas had a 30 amp dryer outlet in the garage. I would have been good to go. For some people, outdoor 120v 20-amp outlets overnight will work. I’ve used them before. That’s a little over 2kW and a 3.5 miles per kW car, you get 7 miles per hour. Plug in at 6pm, unplug at 6am, and you’ve added 84 miles. If your commute is 42 miles or less each way, you could make it work.

      I could write several pages of issues with ICE cars. I love the ones I have as toys, just don’t want one as a daily driver anymore. 5 years with an EV has been great. Tires, wipers, and washer fluid for 100k miles. So easy. Then, it’s 100% fueled (new one 300 miles range) whenever I pull out of the garage. No “do I need to find gas to get to work” issues.

      Again, I totally understand that’s not the case for everyone. Not everyone has a house etc. and some people have to cover long distances and won’t have time to charge enroute. I really can’t use the “just fly for long distances” statement these days. But, for me and many people, EVs are great option. Speed, quiet, and smoothness along with low mantenance. Putting your foot to the floor and getting instantly launched without the downshift and rev at high RPMs delay you get with an ICE is so sweet and highly addictive. Once, I had a couple of start/stop ICES around me at stop light and heard them starting in unison as I left them behind. Way behind (and that was in a lowly Leaf). BTW, when you guys are complaining about the 3 cylinders, CVTs, and confused 10 speed transmissions, remember, there is an alternative and you really should check out an EV – even a lowly Bolt.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        I noticed you didn’t mention using a/c – EV range

        recently read that Tesla’s best battery which cost at least $20k actually held the energy equivalent of three gallons of gasoline – amazing lack of energy density considering how extremely heavy they are

        plus lithium batteries have severe temperature limits as cold lithiums cannot be charged w/o severe damage so there’s a power drain to keep them warm enough to prevent damage

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          “I noticed you didn’t mention using a/c – EV range”

          I tend to forget about it since in 5 1/2 years it’s never been a problem. You talk about temperature limits, but fail to recognize the fact that the batteries have thermal systems to maintain their temperature. As far as enegery density goes, electrics are far more efficient so you don’t need the same energy density.

          • 0 avatar
            thornmark

            >>but fail to recognize the fact that the batteries have thermal systems to maintain their temperature.<<

            you failed to read the last sentence

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          @thornmark:

          “I noticed you didn’t mention using a/c – EV range”

          A/C draws far less power than heating, so in 5 summers with a Leaf/Ioniq that hasn’t been an issue.

          Also, holding the energy equivalent of 3 gallons of gasoline is irrelevant if you can drive 300 miles on it.

          It’s obvious you’ve never driven an EV, and have no intentions of even considering one. At this point you’re just trolling.

          • 0 avatar
            el scotto

            @ SCE to AUX For some on here their first and last EV will be a mobility scooter. Wait! Did I just come up with a bumper sticker?

      • 0 avatar
        dwford

        You gloss over the majority of the concerns I presented, and apply the best case scenario of Tesla to an article about the legacy automakers. Unless you own a Tesla, you are relegated to lurking in dark corners of parking lots in random places, assuming someone hasn’t blocked the charging station. Public charging stations have different connectors and different charging speeds, and so do the current EVs not sold by Tesla. So the public charging situation varies wildly for buyers.

        Hiring an electrician can take weeks, and not everyone has a house with electrical service that can easily handle adding an EV charger. I have a 100 amp panel in my house with no open spots. For me to add an EV charger would require upgrading to 200 amp – hiring an electrician, pulling a permit, getting it inspected, etc, etc all just to buy a car (the only reason dealers even still exist is that car buyers want instant gratification).

        As for range, not every EV goes 300 miles, still, yet. And the Bolt loses a substantial amount of range in the cold.

        On price, your argument that there is no price problem is based on the fact that Chevy is giving away the Bolt – BECAUSE NO ONE WANTS THEM. Which circles right back around to the limitations of the current EVs and the econobox styling – particularly of the Bolt.

        Again, I am not opposed to EVs, and I’d love to have one. But for most people the dramatic switch in lifestyle is off-putting to people and a barrier to purchase.

        The automakers would be better served by making everything they sell a hybrid of some sort, like Toyota does now. Get people used to electrification. Then transition to full EVs.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          “apply the best case scenario of Tesla”

          Yeah, I admit that. But, Tesla has to be part of the conversation.

          “Unless you own a Tesla, you are relegated to lurking in dark corners of parking lots in random places, assuming someone hasn’t blocked the charging station.”

          That hasn’t been my experience at all – in 5 1/2 years.

          “Public charging stations have different connectors and different charging speeds, and so do the current EVs not sold by Tesla. So the public charging situation varies wildly for buyers.”

          Most quick chargers I encounter have both CHAdeMO and CCS. J1772 is everywhere and everyone has it on their cars.

          “Hiring an electrician can take weeks”

          Yeah, I suppose it can, but someones probably not going to decide to buy an EV on impulse. In my experience, the electrician came out, pulled the permits, arranged the inspections, and whatever else.

          “But for most people the dramatic switch in lifestyle is off-putting to people and a barrier to purchase.”

          Yes, you are right. It’s a shift and that’s certainly a barrier. Probably the biggest. It’s something unknown and people are right to be cautious. I admit I can talk all day about the issues not being bad, but it’s a big purchase and major change for people and not that easy to do. To make an informed decision, they need accurate information from people with actual experience with the vehicles.

          The price on the Bolt is partly because of the battery costs going down for GM. They can afford to sell them for what they are selling them now and people are buying them. If EVs start taking over in let’s say 10 years, automakers need to be laying the groundwork because for them, that’s a short period of time. Look at Toyota. They have great battery technology. Probably the best as of this week. The problem is that it could take them up to five years to get it into mass production. They’re working on it, but it just goes to show you that you can’t just throw a switch and start making EVs. If they don’t start getting experience now while the market is small, as the big technology shifts happen like they did in photography and steam locomotives, they won’t be able to make the shift and the competition will destroy them before they have a chance to catch up.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        “268 mile range 6.3 second 0-60 Chevy Bolts are discounted into the upper 20’s and maybe even lower these days. Based on 0-60 performance, even at the low end they can match up with a gas car the same size.”

        I like to turn. Even down low weight is weight and every Tesla I have seen at the track (2) has been munching it’s tires before the battery died. There is so much more to performance than 0-60. I believe that is why they are so find of trumpeting their “hot lap” times rather than races won. They perform well in a narrow use envelope. Take them out of that and the performance deteriorates.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          I don’t think BEVs under $200K are going to be great options for track-focused driving for awhile. However, that’s a pretty small portion of buyers. For just public road “handling” a Tesla or Bolt seems in line with its competitive set (like a C43 or a Soul Turbo)

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        If you expect EV market share to increase beyond ~3% of the total fleet then charging infrastructure is a huge issue. The 2-3 charging stations at the mall or farmer’s market won’t go far.

        Even with Tesla’s large and exclusive Supercharger network they’ve had trouble with overcrowding and long wait times during peak travel seasons.

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          @ajla:

          Actually, there are two worse issues:

          1. Unreliable non-Tesla chargers. I rarely use a public charger (pay or free), but the PlugShare app keeps score of driver ratings for charging stations. Some are abysmal, and you’d think that for-profit devices would be kept functional. But they aren’t.

          2. Lack of a common filling ‘nozzle’. Teslas can use everybody else’s charger, but only Teslas can use a Tesla charger. EVs won’t proliferate until they speak the same filling language.

        • 0 avatar
          el scotto

          @ ajla Even Wallyworld is getting into the car charger game.https://www.foxbusiness.com/retail/walmart-electric-vehicle-charging-stations-us-stores. I hope they work better than their pop machines.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            It’s something but 120 chargers across the entire empire isn’t a huge commitment either.

            I personally think Tesla has the right idea with the supercharger concept. They’ll just need to add a zero to what’s currently available and make it so anyone can plug in.

  • avatar
    Varezhka

    Given the current cost/capacity limitation of the batteries, there are three potential ways to make electrified vehicles work from a business standpoint.

    1. Stuff the car with as much battery as you’d want. Sell on desirability and price it appropriately as a rich person’s toy. This is the Tesla method (as well as Polestar, Jaguar I-Pace, etc).
    Currently Tesla seems to be the only one succeeding with this method, and no small part thanks to selling carbon credits.

    2. Work with smaller batteries by supplementing its shortcomings with gasoline engine. Hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and range extender EV.
    The Toyota method. Modest gains over conventional gas cars for a modest price.
    Spread over large number of cars, Toyota is currently the only company on target to meet the European 95g CO2/km requirement. It’s also the direction many of the governments (China, India) seems to be pivoting towards.

    3. Work with smaller batteries for specific use vehicles. Find use case where limited range is less of an issue but the low emission or the lower charging cost is an advantage. Toyota method (also Yamaha).
    Fleet specific vehicles like Toyota Coms in the urban areas and electric mopeds for rural areas. The second option here obviously won’t work for US but actually useful in many part of east Asia and western Europe where shrinking population means closing gas stations and rural travel tends to be shorter.
    Currently both the market and profit is small, but not a loss maker either.

    More options are better, so I’m hoping all three of the option succeed long term, but we’ll see.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    – “Truth” is a fluid concept at Mercedes-Benz. (At Volkswagen, truth is a fluid with low viscosity.)

    – When GM talks about the future, they are largely full of crap.

    – Ford wants to believe. (It will be interesting to watch the Mach-E and the ‘E-150’.)

    – For better or for worse, Tesla are “True Believers” and fully committed.

    Some supercars have embraced electrification (including hybrid) from a performance aspect.

    Electric would be ideal for some applications (ex. in-town ‘mail’ delivery by the successor to the USPS).

    A family member recently had a ~36-hour power outage. A half-charged EV in the driveway with 120V power available at 15-20 amps would have been vastly preferable to a gasoline generator in this situation [rough math – might have used 2-4 kWh to run the fridge and freezer intermittently during that time, plus charge the laptop and phones].

    After a recent tornado, I got a mid-range rechargeable reciprocating saw [and grinder with a diamond cutoff wheel] to use for clean-up far from home. The ‘endurance’ (i.e. “range”) is very limited, but the utility of those few cuts makes the investment worthwhile.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    Subsidies and mandates for electric vehicles, along with largely false “green” propaganda, cause many people to be skeptical of battery-powered cars. Even with all of the coerced support, they are niche. If people found them as practical as their proponents find them to be, they would be much more popular.

    At least electric cars have many positive and useful features, unlike other green fantasies like solar and wind energy production, which is, has been, and always will be a massively wasteful way to produce energy in most applications. People have been pointing this out for decades (check out “Power Hungry” by Robert Bryce) but it took Jabba the Moore to make a documentary that penetrated people’s ideological deflector shield.

    Nuclear is the only “alternate” energy source that makes practical sense as a general replacement for hydrocarbons. There will be an inverse correlation between hydrocarbon scarcity and nuclear availability. That is when electric cars will replace ICE. All of us will be dead by then, since hydrocarbons are plentiful, and the more we look, the more we find.

    Green energy is, by and large, just another utopian fantasy.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Chernobyl couldn’t happen because the reactor design wouldn’t allow it to explode…until it exploded.

      Fukushima couldn’t happen because modern safety protocols, the presence of a pressure vessel, and surely the Japanese can build anything. Until it happened.

      I won’t even count three Mile Island even though it is still contaminated to the point you can’t go in there.

      Nuclear isn’t all unicorns and roses and any modern, safe design will in 20 years be far less safe than thought and when nuclear goes wrong it goes really wrong. I saw the remains of the red Forrest around Pripiyat was on fire recently…releasing radioactivity from 1986.

      • 0 avatar
        thelaine

        There are no unicorns in energy production. Hydrocarbons and nuclear produce the massive amounts of energy we need at a price we can afford. Perhaps the situation will be different by the time we run out of affordable hydrocarbons. It’s going to be a while, so no worries.

    • 0 avatar

      “solar and wind energy production, which is, has been, and always will be a massively wasteful way to produce energy in most applications”

      Stop living in the past. Bloomberg NEF and Lazard Levelized Cost of Electricity report solar and wind as the cheapest new forms of energy production. Cold hard economics is green energy is the majority of new generation in Europe and North American.

  • avatar
    warrant242

    “The enemy diversion you are ignoring is the main attack.”
    –Sgt. Murphy

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    This is why I always ask about the ‘Gigafactory’ these mfrs will need to produce the batteries for their mythical EVs.

    When all of the world’s mfr go to the same battery well, the well runs dry.

    Every grand EV plan needs to include this information, or it’s just BS. If VW can’t come through, then the market will simply go to Tesla.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    I’ve still got some questions. Why hasn’t the GSA bought any EV’s? Most of their vehicles seem to be used for one day trips. Could whatever replaces the Designed by Satan and won’t fit through a lot of bridges Humvee be driven to a charging point instead of a fuel bladder? Four or Six outlets would prove handy in the Humvee’s replacement. Either way, the Alt-right will have hissy fits, conniptions, and triple brain hemorrhages. Do Chevy/Nissan dealers have chargers you can actually use? Seems that would simplify trip planning. Has anyone noticed the EV owners on here don’t know the dealer service reps/manager by name? Who will be the 1st truck stop chain to add electric car chargers?

  • avatar

    “While the ecological impact of EVs can be debated”

    @Matt Posky that’s dishonest journalism to make it seem like you’re being even-handed. Name a recent published research study that doesn’t conclude EVs are overall better for the environment. In March 2020 Nature Sustainability “Net emission reductions from electric cars and heat pumps in 59 world regions over time” researchers concludes EVs are less emission intensive than fossil-fuel-based alternatives in 53 world regions, “representing 95% of the global transport and heating demand.” And April 2020 Transport & Environment “Even in the worst case scenario, an electric car with a battery produced in China and driven in Poland still emits 22% less CO2 than diesel and 28% less than petrol, the tool shows. In the best case scenario, an electric car with a battery produced in Sweden and driven in Sweden can emit 80% less CO2 than diesel and 81% less than petrol.”

    Since the majority of new electrical generation is solar and wind, EVs will only get cleaner.

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      CO2 is not a pollutant and hydrocarbons are plentiful and affordable. Wind and solar are massively inefficient and expensive in all but niche applications. Watch Michael “Jabba” Moore’s documentary, if you want the hippie version of these facts, which have always been true.

  • avatar
    AC_Power

    Instead of Michael Moore, who did no actual research and falsely claims that 95% of electricity in the USA comes from coal, I suggest you read the cradle to grave analysis of battery electric cars from the Union of Concerned Scientists.

    https://blog.ucsusa.org/dave-reichmuth/are-electric-vehicles-really-better-for-the-climate-yes-heres-why

    Michael Moore has had his Judas moment. Now we all need to turn back to scientists for science questions.

  • avatar
    Tele Vision

    Due to virtue-signalling being a one-man show these EV fans regularly ignore the wider scope of their demands of the rest of us. To wit: Say goodbye to air travel, for starters. Also, say sayonara to imported and exported goods, because bunker fuel, which needs to be heated by burning Diesel fuel before it can be pumped to the freighter’s massive engine(s), is incredibly polluting when combusted. No more cruise ships, either. All boating, in fact, but for trolling motors on a tin boat. No more freight trains or over-the-road B-trains. Oh, and better recall the military and park/land/moor it, except for the carriers and submarines, I suppose. No aircraft on the aircraft carriers, though, including CODs and helicopters. Maybe a wee drone or two, I guess, to take some pictures.

    Or do the EV fans want to have their cake AND eat it, too, like all self-centered hypocrites? Do they want Italian marble for their McMansions and a few weeks in Tahiti every year and sweet new phones annually and the satisfaction of seeing their mighty military bomb the Hell out of a country they can’t find on a globe – but still have the smug superiority common to the EV owner?

    Obviously, I think so.

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