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Electric Vehicle Pros & Cons



  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,604
    Nah, I never implied or said that "everybody" in California commutes 50 miles. My quote was:

    "50 mile commutes are a way of life in California."

    Meaning, that for many people, that's what they do each day. And I think that's an accurate statement as far as it goes.

    What we'd need to do is a poll in Sonoma or Marin counties for the mass commute to Silicon Valley, or just about anyone in Los Angeles. That'd give you very different anecdotal evidence for that particular "way of life".

    My point was that the market for EVs are affluent people commuting to really good jobs, and I firmly believe those types of people commute a long distance in California.

    Census Bureau is also anecdotal information...very rough stuff. Not good enough for marketing EVs, was my point as well. Too all-encompassing--lumps together every conceivable commuter as if they all had 'one way of life'. But they don't.

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  • 1stpik1stpik Posts: 495
    Commutes may not average 50 miles, but they are long. 27 miles each way in SoCal traffic is a nightmare, anyway. And the reason commutes are long is that no one can afford to live anywhere near where they work.

    Ever heard of Temecula, Ca? It used to be a little farm community halfway between L.A. and San Diego. Now it's an overcrowded, overdeveloped suburb with daily traffic jams.

    Why? Because you can still buy a starter home there for $350,000 -- which the goofs in CA consider a bargain. So they commute 60 miles each way to work in their city jobs, and think that they're somehow beating the system. They fail to realize that they ARE the system.

    The point is, people can complain all they want about long commutes or the price of gas, but talk is cheap. Most of the complainers don't DO anything about it (like change jobs, move, or buy fuel efficient cars), so commutes stay long and the price of gas goes higher.

    As long as people complain about something, yet continue to do it, buy it, or submit to it, that 'something' will stay the same.

    Anyway, that's the philosophical side of things. Here's the reality:

    As a previous post pointed out, it's not in the interest of gov't to require fuel efficiency because they make money off the gas tax. That's the REAL reason we're not all driving 60 mpg cars today.

    The gas tax makes the federal government part of the problem, not part of the solution. Congress continues to put forth the ruse of the CAFE standards, but the truth is that they're in bed with OPEC just as much as the oil companies are. D.C.'s interest is simply to bilk as much money out of us as they can, while maintaining the system that allows them to do so.

    That system comprises a small oligopoly of car makers whose products use 100-year-old propulsion technology that depends on a foreign source of energy. They spent 50 years developing the system to benefit themselves. They're not just going to give it up.

    Why do you think Congress made diesel emission restrictions so tough that Volkswagen had to stop selling new TDIs in the U.S. last year, while at the same time they increased the tax benefits of owning 5,000 lb. gas-guzzling trucks?

    Why do you think the Justice Department won't prosecute oil and gasoline producers under the RICO statutes for raising prices based on fraudulent excuses like a flooded refinery in Kansas or "fears of terrorism" in Nigeria?

    Why do you think GM seized and destroyed all the EV1s on the road?

    And you can forget any help from the Live Earth crowd. They don't really want to stop pollution, they just want to tax it.

    So don't get your hopes up over a 60 mpg Accord. Sure, we'll see one .... someday .... maybe 12 years from now. Meanwhile, the tax industry will have figured out a new way to charge us money in place of the gas tax, so we'll all still be paying them. Haven't you already heard politicians floating the idea of an "odometer tax?"

    In case you haven't, it started three years ago in California. Politicians decried the "declining revenue" that was the result of more fuel efficient cars burning less gasoline. So they proposed the idea of taxing car owners on the number of miles they drive, presumably ON TOP of the gas taxes they already pay. Now that idea is gaining traction on a national level.

    Of course, that would negate any benefit of owning a fuel efficient car. But what does that matter to politicians? "The Environment" and "CO2" are just talking points. Taxes are what really matters to them.

    Follow the money.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,604
    Good points but I'm not a conspiracy buff myself. I think the answer is much simpler....EVs and diesels don't succeed because they aren't good enough (yet), or haven't been good enough in the past. We don't need a conspiracy theory to explain why there are few electric cars on the road at present. They simply don't work worth a damn for 99% of us.

    Oil companies can make just as much money on diesel fuel as on gasoline and if you think government will run out of ways to get revenue, I find that hard to believe.

    As gas prices have gone up, so has the annual number of miles driven. I think if all cars got 40 mpg, Americans will just drive more.

    I suspect EVs will have a greater effect on the amount of fossil fuel consumed than diesels will, but there will be far more diesels than EVs in the immediate (next ten years) future.

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  • reddroverrreddroverr Posts: 509
    I think there are a couple things that have stalled the diesel. Perceptions of the old diesel cars, and not knowing the newer models are much better. GM almost personally poisoned the well with some putrid models. Next, our gas prices have been low enough until recently for most people not to think about mileage in serious terms. Then the hybrid took up a good deal of the slack for those who cared about such things. The enviros have played a part in this as well. Some standards for clean diesels are just now being met.

    I want one of these:
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,604
    Sounds like a great little car. Even taking into account the Imperial gallon in the UK that's still pretty good fuel mileage (similar to a VW TDI I'd guess or a Prius).

    Not sure I'd be happy with 0-60 in almost 14 seconds though. That could start reminding me of my Mercedes 300D---where if you got stuck in the right lane of a freeway going up hill, you were pretty much trapped there. Zilch for passing power.

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  • reddroverrreddroverr Posts: 509
    This link shows a 0-100kph (~0-62mph) as 10.7 seconds. Also, 52 mpg US.

    Who knows what the actuals are.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    In 1993 the feds raised the gasoline excise tax to 18.4 cents a gallon. That is where it stands today. The revenue generated by this tax will be directly proportional to fuel consumed, which has been increasing by about 1 1/2 percent a year. So revenue is obviously not keeping up with inflation. States all have their own taxes on top of this but when we're talking about conspiracies involving OPEC then I believe we are talking about federal policy.

    IMO, the gasoline excise tax is one of the fairest, least cumbersome and least expensive taxes that we are subjected to. My only problem with it is that the feds turn around and use these highway funds as a mechanism for coercing states to adopt policies that they might not agree with. For instance I believe that several years back Nevada wanted to raise its speed limits. The feds told them that they would withold highway funds if they did this. I believe that is definitely wrong and probably un-Constitutional on some level.
  • 1stpik1stpik Posts: 495
    You're right about the unconstitutional aspect of the whole taxation scheme. But what does Congress care? Nobody prosecutes them, so they're effectively above the law.

    It's also unconstitutional for any government to take a homeowner's property for public use "without just compensation." But the Supreme Court recently ruled that a city could seize homes and turn the property over to a private developer who would use the land to build more expensive homes.

    See, the local government will get more tax money from the new land owners, so that makes it okay to take it from the old land owners. That's the new definition of "public use."

    All home owners are equal, but some home owners are more equal than others.

    But back to the gas tax; Congress trifled over an 18 cent per gallon tax, while OPEC managed to impose a 2 dollar per gallon tax on all of us in just a few years. Gas used to be $1/gal, now it's $3/gal. OPEC is making a new fortune off the same old stuff.

    That $2/gal. could be getting spent in this country, but instead it funnels back to the middle east, which helps finance the people who want to kill us. Meanwhile, we all lower our standard of living to pay the new tax.

    And Congress keeps voting itself pay raises. Well, not really. See, they didn't actually vote FOR the raise, they just didn't vote AGAINST it.

    So it's all okay.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    Gas used to be $1/gal, now it's $3/gal. OPEC is making a new fortune off the same old stuff.

    When I look at those two prices ($1/gal and $3/gal) the one that seems the most out of whack was the $1 we were paying about 6 years ago. That represented a historic low when factoring for inflation. If gas prices had gone up steadily with inflation for the past 40 years then we'd be paying around $2.40/gal. Granted that's considerably less than we are paying but looking at the $1 price somewhat skews the reality of the situation.

    As far as it being the same old stuff, well that's true but other factors have changed. I could have bought affordable oceanfront property in San Diego 40 years ago. That's no longer the case even though the property is the same old stuff. There's only so much oil and the number of people that want it has increased dramatically over the last 6 years. That trend is not likely to change anytime soon as long as oil represents the only game in town.
  • reddroverrreddroverr Posts: 509
    yup, though OPEC exerts some control, but there are more important factors. Our use at current prices is still climbing, yet we stifle exploration an refining capacity, and insist on multiple blends at every turn it seems. China, India, et al are raising demand by massive amounts. Throw in unstable political environments and I wouldn't be surprised if we see rationing at some point in the next few years. Daysailer might even have his name on a waiting list for a Volt. :D
  • daysailerdaysailer Posts: 720
    You'll not likely see my name on any waitng lists (the Navy instilled a powerful aversion to waiting in "line"), but I would certainly buy an EV if there was one that satisfied my requirements at competitive cost. But there isn't and is not likely to be in my lifetime.

    I note that after more than a century of development the only EV actually available for mere mortals to purchase in the USA (barring golf carts) is the rather limited and costly Meyers NMG (alias Corbin Sparrow). And that $25,000 will buy you a 75mph, one person, enclosed 3 wheel motorcycle with a range of 25-30mi (for a limited # of cycles after break-in and before batteries deteriorate, etc.)

    For 35 years I've listened, read and heard proclamations that the EV is just on the horizon (if not "here and now", as in a 1994 utility brochure), yet they are nowhere to be had. Life is too short to waste it in quixotic pursuits (or stand in line) :D
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    I was driving and researching cars 35 years ago and I don't remember any talk from the auto industry about EVs being just over the horizon back then. Maybe if you're reading articles in Popular Science but, while interesting, those predictions should not be taken literally. While I'm sure there were some fringe R&D projects going on this is the first time that I can remember the auto industry aggressively pursuing these vehicles as something that could be viable. I'd give the Chevy Volt at least a 50/50 chance of being on the market in the next 3 years. I think the Honda Civic FCX will definitely be on the road by then in very limited numbers. The growth after that will be exponential.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,112
    I think I agree with daysailer on this. I can remember talk of electric cars when I was very young. It came to reality sort of in the 1990s. Then went away again. I do not think we are on any verge of a break through on either hydrogen or EVs. I may be pleasantly surprised, though I doubt it.

    EVs and hydrogen cars suffer from the same problem, Storage. The latest I have read the Civic FCX is still over $1,000,000 to build. Honda leases a very few to select customers at $500 per month. The current range for the hydrogen FCX is 210 miles. The FCX is an EV using hydrogen to generate the electricity in the car. It may be more practical than batteries.

    The challenge is getting the cost from $1 million down to $25k where the competition lies.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,025
    FYI, mr_shiftright blogged about this topic here:


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  • daysailerdaysailer Posts: 720
    That's as on point as i've heard it put..........."The electric car was killed by the electric car,......". Sort of like flying cars and amphibious cars of the '50s & '60s, and some of THOSE actually worked. :D
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,604
    thank you!

    it is interesting, isn't it, that electric cars built 100 years ago (!!!!) advertised a range of 80 miles on a charge? (1907 Detroit Electric). One factory-sponsored car allegedly was reported to have gone over 150 miles in an experiment. Didn't say what speeds, though.

    Detroit Electric went out of business in 1939. They never built lots of cars though, only a few thousand a year as I recall.

    Detroit Electric did pioneer the all-weather car however, since closed cars were very rare in the early 1910s. Imagine the range of this car had they used expensive aluminum or had plastics like they do today? They had to rely on heavy wood for the bodies. For a while, Willys made closed bodies for them, so the EVs had normal louvered hoods that I guess where actually trunks.

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  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 7,770
    In March of 1899, this beauty:


    set a speed record of 105.882 km/h (65.792 mph)

    Not sure what the current (ooo... pun alert) electric vehicle speed record is :shades:

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  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    Imagine the range of this car had they used expensive aluminum...

    Apparently it did...according to this ad:

    Also, if wikipedia can be believed, the top speed was 20 mph.
  • daysailerdaysailer Posts: 720
    An article in the IEEE "Spectrum" (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers) circa 1972/3 made such a reference, even predicting that by the turn of the century ALL cars might be EVs!
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    I look at that car compared to the Toyota RAV4 EV and conclude that we've come quite a way. Especially when you consider that development of this type of vehicle was basically abandoned for 50+ years.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    Obviously that prediction was wrong. As a result I wouldn't believe anything coming out of that rag.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,112
    Who can you believe? Toyota said they would have a PHEV by MY 2009. Now they are back tracking. Any prediction based on yet to be developed technology is suspect. Many times it is just wishful thinking. I have been hopeful of some practical breakthrough in EV technology for a long time. Still seems a long way off. Maybe further away than it was when the predictions were made in 1972.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    When did Toyota say that? I don't think Toyota ever said "we will have a working PHEV for sale by model year 2009."

    Got a link?
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    When CalCars converted a couple Prius's to give them PHEV capability Toyota's response was to void the warranty. CalCars has aggressively lobbied Toyota to commit to producing a PHEV and Toyota's response has consistently been of total disinterest. I've read a couple non-committal responses from Toyota saying that they might pursue this option but I get the sense it is meant to placate all these people that want them to do this.

    I really don't understand Toyota's philosophy here. They have already produced an EV that was probably the closest to being ready for prime time yet they seem to be one of the bigger nay sayers when it comes to their viability.

    Anyway, this technology has been developed and PHEVs do exist. What's left to be done is make the technology affordable and bring it to the market.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,604
    Wikipedia is a very questionable source of information. I think more like 35 mph.

    Of course, I was think ALL aluminum....use of aluminum body panels was fairly common back then since it was so easy to fashion into shape. Steel-stamping processes were not well developed until the Budd Company perfected large-panel stampings for railroad cars in the 1930s.

    But those aluminum panels are probably nailed to heavy wood framework all-round the a framed house with siding.

    ANYWAY---the recently marketed ZENN electric is restricted to 25 mph top speed.

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  • reddroverrreddroverr Posts: 509
    BERLIN (Thomson Financial) - General Motors Corp unit Opel plans to bring out an all-electric car at the end of 2010, GM's European chief Carl-Peter Forster was cited as saying in an excerpt from tomorrow's Auto Motor Sport magazine.

    He told the magazines that hybrid technology is too costly to use in small cars. A prototype of GM's E-Flex electric engine will be presented at the IAA car show in Frankfurt in September, he said, and series production is expected to start at the end of 2010. jsa
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,604
    "He told the magazines that hybrid technology is too costly to use in small cars."

    Yeah, GM should tell that to Toyota so that Toyota doesn't keep making all the mistakes that made it the global failure it is today.

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  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,112
    all I can find is where Toyota was going to have the Li-Ion in the 2009 Prius.

    In an interview with BusinessWeek on Feb. 16, Chief Executive Katsuaki Watanabe confirmed that Toyota's third-generation hybrid cars, due out in late 2008 or early 2009, will use lithium-ion batteries. Lighter and more powerful than the current nickel metal hydride packs, the new batteries will help make for more fuel-efficient hybrids. "We will change the battery from nickel hydride to the lithium battery," the CEO said during a rare one-on-one interview at the company's headquarters in Toyota City. Toyota officials say it's the first time Watanabe had confirmed the change of cells (see, 2/22/07
  • reddroverrreddroverr Posts: 509
    I haven't heard of anything date specific, but they have increased research in the PHEV arena by quite a bit.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    Actually what GM is saying makes sense. My guess is that most people buying traditional small cars are doing so based upon budget constraints. If incorporating Toyota's hybrid system adds $4k onto the price of this vehicle these people are going to realize that this isn't a good budget decision. That $4k represents a far bigger percentage of the price of a small car than a large car. Toyota was clever in this regard by creating a completely different vehicle in the Prius, which could go after a unique market of buyer's who's number one priority was fuel efficiency. Had Toyota introduced the Prius as a hybrid Echo it wouldn't have sold as well and of the buyers it got there wouldn't be many that had otherwise been shopping for a traditional Echo.
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