The Hurdle for Electric Cars

Posted by  $  blarman 1 month ago to News
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They make it sound is if the biggest issue is the infrastructure, but it isn't. As they note about 2/3 through, the real problem is the cost of the cars themselves! Customers not in the upper income bracket opt for cheaper cars. This isn't rocket science people, it's economics.
SOURCE URL: https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2018-11-04/electric-cars-face-a-6-trillion-barrier-to-widespread-adoption?cmpid=BBD110518_BIZ


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  • Posted by coaldigger 1 month ago
    I can't stop thinking about the coal miner driving his gasoline powered pickup to the mine and all the energy used to mine the coal, send it to the power station by diesel train, then the power plant worker drives his truck there, fires the boiler to make the steam to turn the turbine, transmit the electricity to a charging station to charge a $75,000 car that can go 150 miles. There are efficiency losses at every stage so how much of the planet have we saved?
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  • Posted by  $  Solver 1 month ago
    They also fail to mention that a used electric car that is maybe five years old can be a real hard sell when the worn out battery cost some $10,000 to replace.
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    • Posted by  $  1 month ago
      Yup. I did a price comparison on the ownership costs comparing an electric vehicle to a standard gas one and it isn't even close. You can pay for a lot of gas - even at $4/gallon - with the $10 grand it takes to replace a battery. And that doesn't cover the fact that the car is usually $12 - $15 grand more expensive in the first place! They're a joke!
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  • Posted by Owlsrayne 1 month ago
    It's sad that there is so much BS regarding electric cars and batteries. As an owner of an electric car and through electric vehicle forums there are many who purchased used or leftover stock models at reduced prices. The battery is still the biggest hurdle. There are a number of small startup companies that are in the race of producing higher density and longer lasting batteries here in the US and Europe. I have been a supporter of one company in Great Britain that is assembling a production line for their battery. In the next few months, they will be putting their battery pack in a Renault Izzy and testing it on a track there. The testing of a prototype battery looks promising.
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  • Posted by DrZarkov99 1 month ago
    I have a friend who manufactures electric vehicles, and he's focused on providing affordable, reliable machines. His line includes scooters, motorcycles, and three wheel cars and trucks. His big scooters are packed with batteries, and have mileage suitable for commuters approaching 200 miles. The three wheelers aren't NEVs, but roadable vehicles suitable for city travel. His prices are competitive with comparable gasoline-powered vehicles. One of these days he will jump into the car market, but not until he can keep the prices competitive without subsidies. If you're interested, his website is here https://www.zelectricvehicle.com/

    The lithium batteries, after their road life is done, still have enough charge capacity that they can be used as a power source. If you're interested in "off the grid" housing, you can get used lithium car batteries cheaper than lead acid, and they still outlast a new lead acid in a home power system role.

    A well designed electric vehicle is easy to maintain, and cheaper to the buyer in the long run. Fuel costs are only part of the picture, as maintenance on a gasoline or diesel vehicle run higher than a pure (not hybrid) EV. When you do a cost analysis, figure in the cost of oil changes every 3,000 miles, plus things like periodic maintenance on transmissions and other items that don't exist on an EV. The problem is that most companies manufacturing electric cars are trying to get designers who are mentally tied to gasoline vehicles, and the result is often unsatisfactory, expensive designs. Like every other attempt at radical change, it will take some time before we see a real winner of an electric vehicle.

    Any industry that relies on subsidies shouldn't be in the business. Sooner or later some innovator will figure out a way to build electric vehicles that can compete in the general market, and that's when we'll see more EVs on the road.
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    • Posted by  $  1 month ago
      "A well designed electric vehicle is easy to maintain, and cheaper to the buyer in the long run."

      My original analysis factored in original (subsidized) purchase price, electricity for charging vs gasoline (using California prices for both), and routine maintenance (which is needed even on electric vehicles with the exception of oil changes). The cost of changing out those batteries ($10K every 75000 miles) was a killer when factored into a vehicle life of 250K miles. I did not include catastrophic things like total engine failure, complete transmission replacement, etc. because normally you'd just junk the entire car. And in that analysis, you still came out more than 10K ahead by buying a gasoline-powered vehicle. That didn't even address the range issues of electric cars.

      "Sooner or later some innovator will figure out a way to build electric vehicles that can compete in the general market, and that's when we'll see more EVs on the road."

      Very likely, yes. Until that happens, however, I'm going to stay with the tried and true.
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  • Posted by  $  Olduglycarl 1 month ago
    Not to mention...you can't go very far with them, and there is also the environmental issues, ie. where do dead batteries go?...Oh...and don't forget, will they run during/after an EMP???

    If it doesn't "Sound" like a well tuned, healthy V8 with standard shift...I am not interested. It's just no fun at all to be quiet!
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    • Posted by  $  1 month ago
      You can't go very far? Check. Typical range on an electric car is half what a similar gasoline-powered car delivers.

      Where do dead batteries go? While I've heard environmentalists touting recycling, they'll have to charge for it (pun intended) as they'll have to deconstruct the battery to do this. It isn't as simple as replacing the chemicals.

      Will they run after an EMP is less of a stark comparison, as no vehicle built from the 90's on with electronic fuel injection will be running either after such an event.

      "If it doesn't "Sound" like a well tuned, healthy V8 with standard shift...I am not interested. It's just no fun at all to be quiet!"

      I read a study where drivers testing the first electric vehicles were extremely uncomfortable driving them because they were too quiet. The engineers actually had to engineer in artificial engine sounds to comfort the drivers.
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      • Posted by DrZarkov99 1 month ago
        Actually, the only sound you notice is on startup of your gasoline vehicle. Most autos with well maintained exhaust systems don't produce much sound when on the road, with the dominating noise coming from the tires.

        There's been some concern that pedestrians wouldn't hear the sound of an approaching EV and get hit, but in checking this out, the EVs produce a distinct turbine-like whining noise that's often louder than the engine noise of a modern gas powered vehicle. Both types of vehicle have a sound profile dominated by tire noise.
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        • Posted by  $  1 month ago
          "Actually, the only sound you notice is on startup of your gasoline vehicle."

          You must only drive luxury vehicles, as the engine noise (within the cab) in all of my vehicles is quite noticeable even at idle. And engine noise during acceleration is noticeable in nearly every vehicle - including luxury brands. Those were the sounds test drivers were most missing in the study. What they realized was that it was a feedback mechanism for vehicle speed so the driver didn't have to constantly check the speedometer.

          I'm not overly concerned about the pedestrian argument. The Mark I Eyeball should be the primary warning sensor there.
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          • Posted by DrZarkov99 1 month ago
            I drive a Chrysler Town and Country van, and I've driven several hybrid and electric cars. The dominant noise on acceleration is more from my transmission, with a turbine-like whine, which is still mild. Wind noise, while still allowing normal conversation, becomes dominant at highway speeds. The noise from the electric vehicles' motors can get quite noticeable at high speed, since most are direct drive with no shift. My friend who makes EVs has an electric three speed transmission, which cuts down on the noise, and extends the range.
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      • Posted by  $  Olduglycarl 1 month ago
        Interesting study. It would be disconcerting not knowing if the next press on the accelerator will be successful.

        Back in my Fathers day, (1920s),at the CS Monitor news paper they used electric trucks that could go from Boston to Providence RI and back on a charge. That's 100 miles. Most electric cars, today, are lucky if they can double that reliably.
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 1 month ago
    I suspect they will become cheaper as the technology matures. It seems like the main advantage is capturing the energy of braking. If we find a way to inductive xfer power at stop-and-go lights or along the road somehow, that could work because it means not carrying around fuel.

    If I got a car, I would consider electric with the idea that it's close to carbon-neutral because all my electricity at home comes from renewables. My gut feeling, though, is that storing that power in chemicals in batteries will always be inefficient. I could be wrong as the technology scales up.

    I agree with the OP, though, that if the cost doesn't come down, electric cars won't make sense. We could just take that extra money and buy offsets. It's hard to tell how the technology will evolve.
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  • Posted by lrshultis 1 month ago
    I pretty much stopped reading when the first graphs try to make it look like electric cars might somehow be catching up to gasoline powered cars in China. Actually, an all electric car is not over all more efficient than a gasoline car if all the energy inputs are considered. A hybrid like the Prius is more economical than an all electric car.
    If the growth of electric sales in china were placed on the chart with all car sales, it would hardly be visible. Since the all sales units are 20 times as large as those of the electric sales.
    The same type of trick is usually done in climate graphs comparing solar output units with infrared output from the Earth. They show the graphs next to each other so that they look the same, but the solar graph should be one million times taller. There is a bit more about the graphs put on the same graph which due to atmospheric absorption so that the IR curve is not completely under the solar plot. Like with the car plots, it is a little bit dishonest.
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  • Posted by  $  TomB666 1 month ago
    "Studies have shown that the transition costs will have to be reduced through government subsidies and support. " Exactly how does shifting the cost to 'government' lower transition costs? "Wada bunch of maroons" as Mr. Magoo says.
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  • Posted by ProfChuck 1 month ago
    The biggest hurdle for electric cars is and has always been battery technology. With the first electrics available over 100 years ago cost of maintenance was the main barrier to success. It is conceivable that new technologies such as carbon nano-fiber and sodium instead of lithium could change that but until batteries get better electrics will remain a novelty. Oddly, there is a future for electric aircraft because the economics of operation is very different. Here is an interesting new approach. https://www.rdmag.com/article/2018/11...
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    • Posted by ohiocrossroads 1 month ago
      All those keystrokes in the article, and not one quoted number on power density available from the electric mushroom. The folks who came up with the idea of painting a mushroom with electrophoretic ink and expecting to produce a useful amount of electricity have apparently been eating the wrong kind of mushrooms. Yes, it's something useful for a 6th-grade science fair, but nobody is going to lift a 787 off the ground with that technology.
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  • Posted by  $  Ben_C 1 month ago
    So, we all drive electric cars. The sales tax on gasoline is gone. To make up the loss license and registration fees are through the roof. Back to horse and carriage?
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