By on September 22, 2020

The New York Times, or one writer paid by the New York Times (one journalist’s take or analysis or opinion doesn’t represent the entire paper, you know), had a piece out a couple days ago claiming the dawn of the EV age is now.

Somehow, I missed this article until now. But let’s a look at its assertions, shall we, and see what is and is not accurate?

The focus here is on Europe, which makes it a bit tricky to see if it’s instructive for the North American market. After all, the U.S. and Canada are more spread out, and European emissions rules are different. Still, if EVs are gaining a foothold in Europe, it could mean that EVs will soon have more of a share of our market than the tiny percent they do now.

The author, Jack Ewing, asserts that while European sales of internal-combustion engine cars have collapsed in the Old World due to the pandemic, electric-vehicle sales have been up. This is, he says, because pricing for EVs has become close to what customers would pay for similar ICE vehicles.

The problem with the assertion comes in the next paragraph: Ewing notes that government subsidies are cutting up to $10,000 off the price of EVs, depending on the country. He also notes that OEMs are cutting some serious deals, in order to help them meet emissions standards.

Not to mention that while the market share for EVs in the U.S. is about 2 percent, it’s only 5 percent in Europe. If hybrids are included, that number rises to 9 percent – and as we all know, hybrids aren’t pure EVs. Hybrids, of course, use internal-combustion engines to some extent (varying by model).

So is the following true? “As electric cars become more mainstream, the automobile industry is rapidly approaching the tipping point when, even without subsidies, it will be as cheap, and maybe cheaper, to own a plug-in vehicle than one that burns fossil fuels. The carmaker that reaches price parity first may be positioned to dominate the segment.”

Well, maybe. The last sentence is probably true – but it ignores factors such as range anxiety, charge time, and charger availability/accessibility. Even accounting for Europe’s dense cities and differences in EV infrastructure, consumers may still have those same concerns on that side of the pond.

As for the tipping point and the speed with which we’re reaching it, that’s debatable. Europe does have a lot of charge points – 190,000 as of 2019, according to this report – but that same report shows that 76 percent of the charge points are in four countries that make up only 27 percent of the European Union. Even accounting for the fact that not every European country is an EU member, that’s disproportionate distribution. And not all of those chargers are fast chargers.

Furthermore, there are currently about seven EVs per charge point on the market, and if the EV market is to grow, there will need to be more charge points. The European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) estimates the number will need to be 2.8 million, at a minimum, by 2030.

I’m not saying Ewing, or the experts he quotes who estimate the EV tipping point as anywhere from 2023 to 2025, are wrong. They could very well be correct. But they’re definitely optimistic, and they seem to be focusing on MSRP, since they seem to believe that’s what will get customers to make the switch.

vw

The logic seems to be that consumers will leap to EVs as soon as they are the same price or cheaper than gasoline- or diesel-powered cars. After all, EVs will also presumably be cheaper to maintain, since they don’t need oil changes. But EVs still will need new brakes and tires and they can still suffer body damage. They’ll be cheaper to maintain, perhaps, but not cost-free.

Ewing also asserts that the move to EVs might be “very scary” for traditional car companies since basic ICE tech hasn’t changed in major ways but there’s a race among companies to find the best battery tech that also brings the cost of lithium-ion batteries down. This seems to ignore that a) while changes to ICE tech have been incremental by comparison, there has been a lot of innovation that helps bring emissions down and b) traditional automakers are, in general, also working hard on EVs. Did Ewing forget that Nissan builds the Leaf and General Motors sells the Chevrolet Bolt?

That last one would be understandable – Chevy barely markets the Bolt.

Like other writers, Ewing seems to fall for the narrative that Tesla is just killing the traditional automakers in the EV game. The truth is more complex.

“The California company has been selling electric cars since 2008 and can draw on years of data to calculate how far it can safely push a battery’s performance without causing overheating or excessive wear. That knowledge allows Tesla to offer better range than competitors who have to be more careful. Tesla’s four models are the only widely available electric cars that can go more than 300 miles on a charge, according to Kelley Blue Book”, Ewing writes.

I have no idea what he means about competitors needing to be more careful. Does he mean other startups have fewer resources than Tesla, and thus can not test as extensively? That might make sense. But why would the legacy automakers have to be more careful? They have tons of resources for testing EV tech. And again, several have been selling EVs for years. The big automakers should have plenty of EV data and “knowledge” to draw on. Tesla may be tops in range for now, but the EVs offered by others aren’t that far off, and are more affordable.

2019 Nissan LEAF Plus - Image: Nissan

We don’t doubt that KBB’s assertion is accurate. But again, context is ignored. The other automakers have been testing EVs for years, too. And Tesla may have four models that can go over 300 miles on a charge, but the company has been plagued by quality issues, and most Teslas are priced too high to be affordable to the mainstream car buyer. Not to mention that owning a Tesla – or any EV – can be a dicey proposition to the customer who can’t afford a home charger. Or the customer who lives in an urban area and doesn’t have access to his or her own charger. Finally, chargers can be unreliable. I know from experience.

Ewing then goes on to talk about rumors that Tesla will use today’s Battery Day to announce a battery that can store more juice at a much lower cost as proof that Tesla is far ahead, and he follows by quoting an analyst who once worked for a Tesla supplier as saying that the legacy OEMs are playing catch-up on EVs. To be fair, the analyst does concede that the big automakers will catch up.

Then there is this gem: “The traditional carmakers’ best hope to avoid oblivion will be to exploit their expertise in supply chains and mass production to churn out economical electrical cars by the millions.”

Again, Ewing seems to be operating from the premise that Tesla and other startup EV makers will just decimate the legacy OEMs as soon as price parity is achieved. As if the OEMs haven’t already been working on EV tech alongside the startups. As if the OEMs aren’t better positioned to mass-produce cars at scale with fewer quality problems, regardless of powertrain. As if OEMs don’t already have dealer networks, and supplier networks for the parts that aren’t powertrain dependent (brakes, electronic parts, tires, et cetera). As if OEMs haven’t spent 100 years figuring out how to sell and service cars at a level that most startups haven’t grasped yet. As if legacy automakers haven’t spent decades working on aerodynamics and other aspects of automotive design that EV makers will need to master to be successful.

Hell, two of the three EVs that Ewing lists in his lede as examples of vehicles that could soon be eclipsing ICE vehicles in sales are built by legacy automakers – Volkswagen and Renault. Speaking of VW, Ewing claims the launch of the ID.3 in Europe will be a test of legacy automaker’s ability to build EVs.

vw

Again, as if legacy automakers won’t know how to build EVs as well as startups, or will be seen as old news by consumers. He then quotes a professor about how the automakers will have a steep learning curve when it comes to building battery-electric vehicles on a mass scale since the tech is so new. Once again ignoring that the OEMs are already building EVs (in small numbers, to be fair) and have plenty of experience with mass production.

Sure, battery tech is new, but automakers have been working on it for years now, and if any group of companies knows how to bring new tech to scale with relative ease, automakers would be that group.

I’m not arguing that EVs won’t eventually become dominant. They likely will, although the ICE will perhaps remain for a small part of the market, such as trucks and sports cars. Nor am I arguing that the start-ups haven’t been impressive, in some ways, or haven’t helped drive innovation. The truth is that both startups (Tesla, Lucid, Rivian, et al) and the legacy OEMs have been working to drive EV development. And both will likely be part of the picture moving forward.

Nor do I mean to pick on Ewing or the Times. The Times generally produces good journalism, faceplants from the op-ed department notwithstanding. And Ewing isn’t totally off-base, here. It is true that dropping sticker prices for EVs will help drive adoption, and it’s true that if batteries can store more energy for less cost, that will help. If batteries cost less, EVs will cost less, and if the range increases, consumers will be more interested. Therefore, if cheaper EVs have longer ranges, it’s a win-win for electric vehicles.

Tesla

But charge times still need to drop (even the half-hour time to 80 percent that Tesla offers is still a lot longer than the empty-to-full time of just a few minutes for gas cars) and charger availability needs to increase. Cheaper sticker prices for EVs isn’t enough, since sticker pricing isn’t the only factor at play.

Is the EV dawn upon us? Possibly. But it’s more likely to be a slow transition that moves in fits in starts over the next few years, maybe even the next decade, than the rosy and seamless transition that Ewing seems to see taking place.

I’m not anti-EV, I am not in the pocket of legacy automakers or Big Oil, and I don’t think the NYT is fake news. I’m not even a pessimist or a cynic. I just see a messy, complicated reality where many industry analysts, business writers (many seem to not fully understand the automotive industry, which is, to be fair, quite different than most), and EV proponents (many of whom have a stake in the success of EV startups) see only the best-case scenario.

Again, I believe EVs will, at some point, be dominant for most car buyers. But to borrow language from the COVID vaccine discussion (language that’s also based on electronics), getting there won’t be like flipping a switch. It will be more like using a dimmer – a gradual increase. Not only that, but the increase may dim at times before progressing again.

The EV age will dawn in fits and starts. Not overnight.

[Images: Chevrolet, Nissan, Tesla, Volskwagen]

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66 Comments on “EV Age Dawning Now? NYT Says Yes. We Say Maybe....”


  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    End the subsidies. We all* pay more taxes to subsidize EV’s. *no, we don’t all pay

  • avatar
    Cicero

    I read the entire piece and I find no mention of America’s systemic racism, slavery or the 1619 Project. This leads me to believe that this can’t be based on a real New York Times article.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    Of course the New York Times would push this agenda item. And, as expected it lax anything resembling facts.

    Electric vehicles are nowhere near ready for prime time. They are still very cheaply made, they don’t make money, the range is nowhere near where it needs to be, cold-weather severely impacts their performance, charging stations are few and far between, charging takes forever and a day compared to a gas engine, and they must rely on subsidies. Right now they are just a fashion accessory.

    Add another item to the things the NYT got completely wrong.

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      Yep, I am in full agreement here. The New York Times is largely tabloid, biased journalism nowadays. Years ago NYT used to be an example of reporting excellence. Its downfall is rather sad.

      This article seems to have been authored by Ewing who seemingly knows nothing about EVs but spent a lot of time poring over statistics. No surprise there. The electric vehicle revolution will be driven not by EVs alone, but by hybrids that have regenerative charging ICE motors that come on when needed and deliver electrons to the battery bank at optimal RPM.

      The car market in Europe is also vastly different than that of the US. Europe has better rail systems in place for long distance trips and many cities require minimal commutes. So EVs are a natural fit as long as there are ample charging stations. Gasoline is also very expensive in most EU nations, so having an EV provides some savings provided the above criteria is met. But so many EV purchases are driven by government subsidies and those will be very difficult to sustain.

      Nor will the EV revolution be driven by cheap, subsidized components from China. Or by vehicle manufacturers in China for that matter. The assumption that costs will continue to decline doesn’t hold much evidence as auto manufacturing has a LOT of fixed costs. Battery technology improvements will help, but mining raw materials also has both high and environmental costs that must be considered.

      • 0 avatar
        Old_WRX

        Ewing seems to know nothing about engineering, product development, etc. A lot of what he says sounds like pure conjecture solidly rooted in ignorance.

        Yes, the NYT was once a fine paper. The destruction of it borders on criminal.

    • 0 avatar
      RHD

      Electric vehicles need removable batteries. If you could remove the batteries (say, 5 lbs. each), pop them into a charger and replace them with charged ones, you’re good to go. The car wouldn’t have to wait around to charge. You could even carry a few spare charged batteries to ease the range anxiety.
      The same concept could work at your local Chevron or Arco station. Pay five bucks, exchange your batteries, and be on your way. The fueling/charging station could be connected to a parking-lot solar/shade system which runs the recharging system. Heck, cover every Walgreens, Walmart and Costco with solar panels, shade the parking lot with panels, and you’d have more juice than you know what to do with – it could be put into the grid to make a bit of extra income.

  • avatar
    Fred

    Just when you think EV is the future, Le Mans announces hydrogen powered electric cars for 2024. Should be cheaper to build than the current hybrid cars. Manufacturers are already commenting.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      So, the gas stations that can’t maintain tire pumps are going to suddenly be able to keep up several 10,000 psi pumps? How about multi-car accidents in tunnels with hundreds of Chinese made 10k psi tanks? Required maintenance is periodic 10k psi tank replacement? How much will that cost? Probably less with a Pep-Boys Chinese tank. Maybe Jiffylube will do hydrogen tank replacements.

      • 0 avatar
        Fred

        Gasoline explosion did a number on the Caldecott tunnel awhile back. But all good questions that I can’t answer. So I’ll just wait for the engineers to figure it all out.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          Yeah, but engineers aren’t always the greatest at anticipating life in the real world. Aftermarket replacement tanks. Inadvertent damage to safety mechanisms. Backyard mechanics. Maintenance of the pumping equipment.

          These stations do explode: https://qz.com/1641276/a-hydrogen-fueling-station-explodes-in-norways-baerum/

          https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Reports-Firefighters-respond-to-explosion-at-13916428.php

          • 0 avatar
            Fred

            Maybe you are right they still haven’t kept gas stations from exploding. https://duckduckgo.com/?t=ffab&q=gasoline+stattion+explodes&iax=images&ia=images

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            I seem to remember a certain German blimp that was full of hydrogen that ended up in 100,000 pieces in New Jersey…

      • 0 avatar
        downunder

        or they go the ammonia- hydrogen route. Convert the hydrogen in the vehicle. then you are only pumping liquid Ammonia at normal pressures & temperatures.

    • 0 avatar
      Flipper35

      The issue is finding enough elements to make a fuel cell for all the cars.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I think the Times is right – this is pretty much the dawn of this market segment, and the fact that the “legacy” manufacturers are starting to bring out real Tesla competitors proves it.

    But I’d also make three other observations:
    1) Anyone who thinks that there will be a glut of Civic-priced EVs out there anytime soon is way off base. This product will penetrate the market the same way that personal computers and smartphones did: from the “top” down. That’s the only way anyone will be able to make money on them. The technology will then make its’ way downmarket.
    2) I don’t think the market for traditionally powered cars is ever going away. It’ll become a smaller segment, maybe even comprising a minority of the overall car market (which would surprise me), but I don’t think it’ll ever dry up, until 3) happens.
    3) The real revolution that’s around the corner isn’t with batteries, but with electrical generation. There’s stuff around the corner (particularly fusion power) that will make electricity unbelievably plentiful, and unbelievably cheap. At that point, EVs will become the dominant vehicle type. Just as the Internet “made” things like smartphones and the PCs we use now, alt-energy generation will “make” EVs.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      +1 we are like on step 2 of a 10 step EV program here. Maybe Europe is on step 3 now with some better infrastructure. However its clear we got a long way to go here.

      I think point #1 is why Telsa has found success while the Leaf and Bolt continue to be laughed at. EV tech is expensive so the only way to make it profitable (and desirable) is making it a luxury produce first. Think back to airline travel – it was once way out of reach for majority of people.

      To me the main thing slowing EVs popularity is the charging problem. If every office parking space came with a plug I think you would see an up tick in users. My wife would love a Telsa (she is a big fan of the minimalist interior) but her number one question was “where would I plug it in?” We have a garage but its currently occupied with other vehicles (OK my boat is to blame). I guess with some custom (read: expensive) electrical work an outlet could be installed in a convenient spot for her to use.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Maybe this a good reason to clean out your garage?

        Yes, charging time is one of the challenges here. But it’s not insurmountable. I’d actually love to be able to charge my car in my own garage overnight, particularly if I had solar panels to do it with.

      • 0 avatar
        HotPotato

        Call an electrician; it’s probably not as much as you think. If you can afford a boat, you can afford a breaker and some copper. (My dad once said a boat is a hole in the water into which you pour money. For my part, I learned that an old sports car is rolling BBQ pit in which you burn money. This is why I didn’t inherit any money and my kids won’t either.)

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    I still think, deep down, that EVs are an interim solution… with the real goal being hydrogen. I could be totally wrong. But Fred’s post supports what I believe.

    Meanwhile… in addition to issues like range and charging time that still make EVs impractical for many, including me, there’s another issue.

    When one buys an EV, one just doesn’t buy an EV. While there may be an exception or two, it seems when one purchases an EV one is also buying into a culture that 1) tries to pack as much technology and connectivity into the vehicle for its own sake, and 2) attempts to separate the person behind the wheel from the driving experience as much as possible.

    No amount of value pricing or, improved range or charger ubiquity will solve that.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      “) attempts to separate the person behind the wheel from the driving experience as much as possible.”

      How does an EV isolate you from the driving experience? That makes no sense. You get sound from the motor. The center of gravity is better. Torque and instant response is there. In fact, I think an ICE, especially with a CVT, isolates you more from the driving experience.

      • 0 avatar
        Steve Biro

        Mcs… have you driven an EV? I have. A Tesla, a Bolt and a Volt. I stand by my statement. I’m not saying that ICE vehicles aren’t heading that way too… but pure EVs seem designed for people who don’t like cars and driving. And the high-technology stuffed into those things makes it even worse. Does that mean that everyone who buys an EV doesn’t like cars? No. But it’s pretty clear to me that EVs are designed primarily for people who can’t wait for autonomous vehicles. It seems quite a few professional auto reviewers agree with me.

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          @Steve Biro:

          “the high-technology stuffed into those things”

          Precisely what ‘high technology’? My 2019 Ioniq has Android Auto – but no AutoPilot, no automatic braking, no lane-keeping, no automatic headlight dimming. It’s probably like a base Elantra.

          My 12 Leaf had navigation…

          BTW, mcs has owned a Leaf for nearly 100k miles.

          • 0 avatar
            Steve Biro

            Well that’s one of the few exceptions I mentioned in my first post. But that’s not going to be the case much longer.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          “Mcs… have you driven an EV?”

          More than just driven one. 98k miles and 6 years with a leaf. Getting ready to order a new EV commuter and a new performance EV. Even the leaf (with the right wheels and tires) can be pushed around corners. It’s great on twisty roads. I own ICE sports cars as well. Don’t understand how tech gets in the way. You can switch it off. The leaf is getting replaced for commuting and maybe a Taycan (yeah, I’m thnking about it again) or an Unplugged Performance Ascension Model 3 to keep it company. For a commuter, there have been people modifying Bolts with coil-overs. That might be fun.

          The higher-end Teslas are being bought for the acceleration. People pay the extra money to go faster. Zero-60 in 3 or less seconds is being connected with driving. Right? People on the road definitely seem to use the power every chance they get. I’ve witnessed it regularly on my commutes. The first thing out of the mouth of every single Tesla owner I’ve ever talked to at charging stations is about the cars performance. You won’t hear that from a Camry driver.

          Professional auto reviewers are mostly bad sources since they typically don’t have enough experience with EVs. I personally have never read a review that said anything about not being connected. Read plenty that do.

          In addition to the Leaf, I’ve driven Teslas. For ICEs, just about everything. Open wheel cars, rally cars, and Italian exotics. In fact the Leaf has a carbon fiber Italian garage-mate. I know what connected with the road is.

          I’ve also driven priuses. With the CVT and the suspension and tires, that’s isolated from the road. Vintage large cars are isolated too.

          Like I said, I’ve lived for six years with an EV and met plenty of people that bought their cars for the performance. You say that you’ve driven a couple of EVs, but how much time have you spent with them? How hard have you pushed them?

          Anyway, here’s a nice clip of someone on the ring with a model 3. Are these people wishing they had an autonomous car?

          youtu.be/I-LI_jeytBI?t=144

        • 0 avatar
          EBFlex

          You’re right Steve. EVs are for people who view automobiles like they do a refrigerator. They’re for people who have to call someone when they get a flat tire that they have no idea how to change. EVs are for people who’s feelings get hurt when you use the wrong pronoun. EVs are for people who think males can get pregnant and give birth.

          And that’s fine. To them it’s just another appliance and the manufacturers have responded accordingly. They’re not made for people that enjoy driving. To them driving is a chore. The only claim EVs can make over a proper ICE vehicle is instant torque. But, big deal.

          I’d much rather drive a Fiesta ST (I know what I said) then any garbage Tesla.

          “And the high-technology stuffed into those things makes it even worse.”

          Also 100% spot on. That’s the biggest downfall to any Tesla. Everything has to be done on that ridiculous touchscreen. Not only is it completely unintuitive it’s highly dangerous. How the federal government allows that is beyond me. Tesla should be forced to stop selling any cars with that dangerous system and also be forced to retrofit appliances already sold.

          • 0 avatar
            SCE to AUX

            @EBFlex:

            You’re improving, because you’re now 99% wrong instead of 100%. I’ll agree that the Model 3/Y center screen is a distraction to safe driving.

          • 0 avatar
            EBFlex

            Actually I’m 100% right. You just choose not to believe it. Nothing I said is wrong. Those are all things we have seen and common knowledge.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Is 1 and 2 really unique to EVs?
      I haven’t driven a Taycan so I can’t say on the high end, but I don’t think a Bolt was really any less involving than something like a Soul turbo. If your baseline is a Exige S then BEVs may disappoint but otherwise I don’t know if it will be especially jarring.

    • 0 avatar
      DedBull

      Clean hydrogen in my opinion is a fallacy that the market keeps bringing up. Currently almost all hydrogen (95%) is produced from refining fossil fuels, natural gas primarily. Everyone points to electrolysis of seawater, but that requires large electrical supplies. Why generate electricity, convert it to hydrogen, use more electricity to compress it to storage pressure, then use that gas to generate electricity. Rather eliminate all the energy loss and put that electricity directly into batteries or other storage.

      • 0 avatar
        Shockrave Flash Has Crashed

        Hydrogen is not an energy source (except in the sun.) It silly way to store energy on earth. The atoms are very very small and leak out of whatever you put them in. They also fatigue metal. If someone finds a way to store it at room temperature and pressure, all bets are off, until then, there are batteries and synthetic fuels.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I see where Steve is coming from vis a vis “disconnected” – I drove a Model 3 back to back with my Audi, and yes, I did think the Tesla’s steering and brakes had a slight “driving simulator” feel to them – nothing objectionable, but I did notice it. And the all-Ipad controls add to the “smartphone on wheels” feel.

      But I didn’t find the Model 3 uninvolving per se – just different. And the instant-on acceleration is just intoxicating. I could get used to that aspect of EV driving in a heartbeat.

  • avatar
    Pig_Iron

    Like TTAC’s parent, the NYT is a front for neo-communist propagandists, so no it’s not the dawn of the EV age no matter what those classist elitists proclaim from their ivory tower.

    • 0 avatar
      Old_WRX

      “NYT is a front for neo-communist propagandists”

      Completely true. And the low journalistic quality of this article (propaganda piece?) is symptomatic of their garbage mentality. All that’s left of the paper that was is the name.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      @Pig _Iron…..Agreed ..however “TTAC’s parent “, with their “Victim a Day” ideology could make the NYT look positively right wing .

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      So…a for-profit company (i.e., the New York Times) is “neo-communist.” Now, I don’t suppose you have considered that under communism, profit would not exist. But don’t let that get in the way of a real good circa-2020 rant.

      But that’s the norm these days. No one’s allowed to disagree politically without some extremist tag being thrown out. If you’re a Democrat, then you’re a communist. If you’re a Trump supporter, you’re a fascist. And the people tossing around those tags have zero clue what communism or fascism really is.

      And we wonder why our political system is a mess?

  • avatar
    Mike Beranek

    EV works in many parts of the world where trips are short, gas is expensive, and smog is nasty.
    EVs don’t work in most of America, where distances are huge, oil is cheap, and hardly anybody gives a damn about smog.
    Australia, too.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      “EVs don’t work in most of America”

      That may be the most inane comment about EVs ever written. But I’ll allow room for more, even in this thread.

      • 0 avatar
        RHD

        EVs will work when the economics work. Gas and diesel are predominant because they are currently cheaper, the infrastructure is present, and we already have them in our driveways.
        There is nothing elitist or communistic about EVs. They are as consequential as a cell phone replacing a wristwatch.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Sure America is huge, heck Texas alone is massive, but the average commute (based on some quick Googling) is less then 40 miles round trip. DOT data claims the average vacation trip is just over 300 miles one way.

      I’d say most people can only stand to do about 500 miles in a day. I’ve driven several times from FL to NY and that number seems about right to me. I once had to drive from Atlanta to Miami (ice storm shut down ATL) – that was a 700 miles trip and there is no way I’d go any further.

      So if an EV can do 400 miles then charge back up in 6 hours it would be fine for 90% of all trips. People love to talk about long drives off into the sunset, but nobody really wants nor enjoys them if they are being honest.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        “People love to talk about long drives off into the sunset, but nobody really wants nor enjoys them if they are being honest.”

        That’s news to me.

        Anyway, a true 400mile EV would be fine but a 6 hour charge time is unreasonable. However I’m pretty sure the Model 3 long range is already more efficient at charging than that. The biggest thing is just that there needs to be destination and travel route charging locations available for people .

  • avatar
    ajla

    I’ve been a big backer of PHEVs but it is getting more obvious that they aren’t a horse with much of a future.

    I think a BEV “takeover” does have many obstacles (price, body style, range, charge times, public infrastructure, home charger installation headaches) but none of them are insurmountable. I am interested to see the first nonTesla that sells in significant volume though.

  • avatar
    watersketch

    $1.89 per gallon. That is what gas costs now in my area. At that price it is <10 cents per mile even on our gas guzzler and 5 cents per mile on our compact car.

    Gas goes to $4/gal? EVs would make a lot of sense.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      When gas was $4/gallon, the F-150 remained the best-selling vehicle.

      Americans will pay *anything* for a gallon of gas, and price spikes only result in unsustained sales spikes of fuel-efficient cars.

      Meanwhile, Tesla is setting sales records with all the cheap gas on the market. People don’t spend $30-100k on a car to save a few bucks on gas, and saving money on gas is not the reason I’ve now had two EVs over the course of 8 years.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    The EV age dawned for me in 2012 (Nissan), and again in 2018 (Hyundai).

    I’m not sure I want to buy another ICE ever again.

  • avatar
    MKizzy

    IN the U.S. the hurdles to widespread EV adoption is a matter of convenience. Longer charging times and charge port availability are the two major hurdles I can see.

    EVs may eventually become common in urban environments, but a future with millions of EVs traveling on U.S. interstates depends on reasonably short charge times and a sufficient number of EV charging ports to handle demand on heavily traveled routes.

    In addition, systems are needed to encourage the steady turnover of EVs at high-demand public charging ports, perhaps by penalizing EV owners who block charging port access to other drivers by leaving their fully charged EVs behind.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Many public charging companies charge you by the minute for being plugged in after the charge is complete on their DCFC units, yes it is less than the rate for charging. They do give you a 5 minute grace period from the time the app notifies you that charging is complete.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    I notice most Teslas are operated in one of two ways:

    Hyper aggressive, using the instant torque to dive into holes in traffic like Ricky Stenhouse at Talladega,
    OR limping below the speed limit in range crisis mode.

    Today I was stuck behind a beautiful black Tesla S “dual motor” on the interstate going 45 in a 60 while the other two lanes were streaming past at 70.

    I hope the next generation of electric drivers are more mainstream.

  • avatar
    aja8888

    “He then quotes a professor about how the automakers will have a steep learning curve when it comes to building battery-electric vehicles on a mass scale since the tech is so new.”

    So what does some professor know about mass producing automobiles that the big guys don’t? I mean, heck, we have been mass producing millions of cars each year for at least 50 or more years. Bullshit article.

  • avatar

    That NYT article as usual reeks of unmitigated white supremacy.

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    “We do not have an affordable car. That’s something we will have in the future. But we’ve got to get the cost of batteries down,” Musk said.

    Until then, it’s not EV Age.

  • avatar

    Practical EV ownership requires dedicated parking space with power hookup. In the suburbs or rural areas, this is no problem. Once you get closer to the city, and in the city, parking can be found, but dedicated parking with a hookup is going to be tough, and very expensive if you find it. Garages in NYC are $600 per month, and you don’t get “your own” parking space-an attendant gets your car from a stack….so even at NYC nosebleed prices, hooking up that Tesla’s going to be complicated.

    Most EV are still Tesla, bought at the E Class Benz price point. I’ve a neighbor with an e-Golf, a 2017 leftover in 2020 but the Golf’s range is too little for most, 80-120 miles, and yes, he has a driveway and installed an outlet, and owns another car, an ICE wagon (Buick !)

    There’s a long, long way to go here….EV will take a niche with tech folks like the neighbor, but in the normal world….

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      …which is why I say that conventionally powered vehicles aren’t disappearing anytime soon.

      Worth noting: your neighbor’s E-Golf has notably sh*tty range. In the compact space, Leafs and Bolts do FAR better. For most commuters, something with 200-300 mile range will be fine, particularly if it can be “filled up” in the garage every night.

      • 0 avatar

        Agreed. The eGolf was bought for those store runs and as a station car for the train in the “before times”. My normal driving on a daily basis (I have a 120 mile run tomorrow AM) means I could Tesla but not e golf. I have a driveway and electricity is possible, but Tesla scared me in that there is no one to service or sell parts but…Tesla Mother Ship. Drove a Bolt but the interior wasn’t a place I’d want to spend a 300 mile day….It’ll get there, the first computers weren’t great either….

  • avatar
    Dartdude

    One thing that the article doesn’t state in Europe gasoline and diesel are tax generators. Countries giving subsidies and losing tax revenues are going to have to generate more tax money with higher taxes from elsewhere. Bevs are going to make electricity a commodity. As with commodities higher demand the the higher the price. Just as ethanol increased the corn based products price higher. But everyone will have solar panels on their house to compensate the cost of electricity. Solar panels are not cheap and don’t last very long. Bevs still will create more problems then they solve.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      Solar panels are down to $1.49 per watt and are warranteed for 25 years. They may not be cheap, but I’d say they last a long time. 25 years is a long time to me. Besides, for me I think they’d pay for themselves in 10 years, so 15 years at a profit. After 25 years, they drop to 80%, so maybe they could be stretched a few more years.

      For the most part, problems that BEVs create are fairly minor and can be resolved. The taxes can be derived from other sources or methods. For example Rhode Island is installing toll gantries on some highways to get toll revenue from large trucks.

      There are going to be impacts on gas tax revenue even without EVs. What if remote working becomes an even bigger thing? That means less driving, less tolls, and less transit fare income. Maybe even less on meals taxes from workers eating lunch at home.

    • 0 avatar
      HotPotato

      Between the choices of “avoiding hastened extinction of human life” and “needing to restructure tax collection,” I think even the most sclerotic bureaucracy would reluctantly agree that the importance of the first outweighs the inconvenience of the second. I realize that’s not how a lot of people view the climate issue here, but we are the outlier.

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