The Major Problem With Cheap Electric Cars

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Mitsubishi is the latest in a long line of automakers to slash prices on an electric car, the unpronounceable, unfortunately named i-MiEV. The model is now the cheapest electric vehicle (EV) on the market, yet it’s still hard to imagine many drivers excitedly running out to buy one.

Overall, American consumers are paying more for cars. The average price paid for a new light vehicle in November was $32,769, up 3% compared with October, and 1.1% year over year, according to Kelley Blue Book. Yet as average prices rise, one segment of the new-car market has gotten markedly cheaper. “Electric vehicles had the largest decrease in pricing, down 15% due to several price cuts during the past year,” says Karl Brauer, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book.

This is a trend that only seems to be growing, as another electric car, a golf-cart-like-model Mitsubishi, has just been marked down by 20%.

In the world of electric vehicles, Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV has mostly been an afterthought. The model lacks the sex appeal of Tesla, it’s not nearly as practical as the plug-in Chevy Volt (which has a driving range of 380 miles, or 612 km, thanks to battery and gas power), and the large price cut of the Nissan Leaf meant that it offered far more bang for the buck than Mitsubishi’s electric car. The Leaf also generally has received far better reviews, and it has superior range: 75 miles (121 km) on a single charge, compared with about 60 miles (97 km) for the i-MiEV.

(MORE: This Is What Ford’s All-New 2015 Mustang Really Looks Like)

The best indication of interest in specific electric-car models is simply the sales tally. Tesla expects to sell 21,500 Model S cars by the end of 2013. Data collected by Autoblog indicates that Nissan and Chevrolet are neck and neck for the EV sales lead this year, having sold a bit more than 20,000 Leafs and Volts through November. Speaking of November, 2,003 Leafs were sold nationally that month, compared with 1,920 Volts. And what about Mitsubishi’s EV? Automotive News reported that a grand total of 12 i-MiEVs sold in the month. Just over 1,000 i-MiEVs have been purchased nationally thus far in 2013, and many of them were sold with the help of dealer incentives amounting to discounts of up to $10,000.

In light of data like that, and the examples set by Nissan, Chevy and other automakers that saw sales take off after electric model price cuts, it’s understandable that Mitsubishi just announced a major price slashing for the next i-MiEV. The 2014 model starts with a sticker price of $23,845, a drop of $6,130 from the previous edition. Federal tax credits effectively knock the price paid out of pocket by drivers down to $16,345, and in states with further incentives like California, the net takeaway price potentially inches down to under $14,000. That’s among the cheapest prices available for any new car sold today, no matter how it’s powered.

(MORE: When It Pays to Go Green)

Hopefully, the price cut will help Mitsubishi sell more than a dozen EVs per month. But even at that price, it’s not clear if all that many drivers will bite. The reviewers at Consumer Reports say the i-MiEV is “not a car in which anyone will be happy spending time,” and that the newly discounted price is “still a lot of money for a car that feels like little more than an enclosed golf cart. The appeal lies solely in providing attainable access into the world of pure-electric cars. At this price, it becomes more feasible as a second, occasional-use car.”

275 comments
ixdude
ixdude

Don't believe all the negative stuff you hear about the I-Miev.. Try it for yourself. It's great for getting around town and commuting to work. I spent about $120 per month on gas for my Geo Metro. After upgrading to the Miev I spend $30 a month on electricity.

StanislavJaracz
StanislavJaracz

I own 2012 Mitsu iMiEV and I am quite happy with it. I may not be the typical EV driver/owner but the vehicle fits me (6'3") my wife and two kids in the back. If I sit in the back myself, I find ample head room for myself compared to much "optically" bigger cars. Battery is more stable than in Leaf and maneuvering in tight spaces is superb.


If you ask me what I hate about my iMiEV, it would be the public perception of the car pictured by reviewers as an ugly underpowered golf cart with short range. This really insults me as a shopper who chose to buy it. How can you compare it with Tesla? iMiEV has been designed with entirely different concept in mind and by the way, in a different country. iMiEV is about energy conservation. Tesla is about power, luxury, social status. I suspect that iMiEV will no longer sell well in the USA because who wants to buy condemned vehicle? As a shopper, I want to feel good about my purchase.


Ever since in the technological improvements of cars we got more efficient powertrains, we always ask for more powerful and bigger cars and we drive more to end up spending the same amount of $/month instead of keeping the power, size and driving habit the same and decrease $$$. The dollar sign in this case is linked to energy use and carbon footprint.

BillD
BillD

Don't forget to ask them how long the battery pack will last and how much it will cost to replace.

5 years and another $10K isn't close to being worth it. (or 3 years and $5K, or whatever)

solardowork
solardowork

Oil CEO's  to lose more then their shirts......

Doctors now going to SOLAR ENERGY were the MONEY IS as always.
More Money in solar energy then the Sick and Poor.   Doctors have now formed CAUSE (Californians Against Utilities Stopping solar Energy) , what took them so long to come on board GOD Bless them for doing so..

Solar Industry to Skyrocket with the help of Solar Shingles.
SOLAR ENERGY SOON WILL POWER ALL OF THE EARTH

ELECTRIC HYBRID VEHICLES & ELECTRIC VEHICLES SOON TO OUT SELL ALL OTHERS
 Energy has driven the world for over a thousand years Wind, Hydro and Solar are the oldest forms of energy giving power to all smart enough to use it.

In the last 200 years Coal, Oil and Nuclear has given energy to many worldwide and great power and wealth to only a few. At the cost of many lives in coal Mines, Oil Spills, Radiation, Cancer and Polluting the Air and Water on all of the Earth.

Unfortunately for the wicked there is not an unlimited amount of oil on earth. Just the same as the Forest Trees that clean the air and make Oxygen we breath and all living on earth need to Live.  As some in denial are not able to recognize or ever see or live with blinders on.

Doctors now going to SOLAR ENERGY were the MONEY IS as always.
Doctors and Drug  ceo's have been making millions prescribing drugs to many that live near or by High polluted areas. From dirty energy that hurt breathing our lungs, water we drink and harm our children and all. That we all pay for. When all on earth need is Clean Air and Water, and Clean Cities.

Now common sense would be for all to look for a Clean Fuel Source like Wind, Hydro, Geothermal and Solar. Renewable Energy is eliminating the need for Dirty Energy Worldwide at a record pace. With SOLAR ENERGY Clearly the front runner.

    To the fear of some of the richest people on Earth. They to surprisingly are doing
something extraordinary investing in Solar Energy. After years of many of them trying to under mine it.

    Fuel that makes energy to ship goods, or make electric for homes and manufacturing. Can transform whole nations into prosperity and wealth or poverty and economic hardships for most all. Just as taxes on taxpayers has done. For over two thousand years. Making slaves of many to the wicked and unjust few. History Lesson Roman Empire, Persian Empire now OIL Empire oh sorry OPEC.

The Freedom to get your own Power from the Wind and Sun, Solar Energy has been there for years. Are Libraries and Schools should have been the first to have gone Solar and Renewable Energy. And why are they not? Churches are all over the Planet. They are going to Solar Energy.

Thank GOD for the Pioneers like John Schaeffer that Started Real Goods The first and Best catalog for Renewable Energy and Dr. Addison Bain one of NASA top Scientist and Scientist Bill Young at the FSEC Florida Solar Energy Center and Monica D. Key Lindbergh for many years wrote to legislators promoting Solar and Renewable Energy and many others.

These Pioneers helped put Wind, Solar And Renewable Energy in the Spotlight for all the World to see. One of The Greatest Scientists ever Albert Einstein Started it with a Dream that the day would come that all the World would use Solar Energy. His many years of work with the law of the "Photoelectric Effect", and showing this to the World won him the Nobel Prize in Physics. For the "Photoelectric Effect"
Free Energy From the SUN in the heavens above.
We still do not teach this to our young.

Very soon Hybrid Vehicles and (EV's) Electric Vehicles will out number the ones that need oil and gas to go. With the ability to recharge them at home and work from the sun. 

Tesla Motors with its new Model S electric sedan, will be one of many the World will see. Honda, Nissan, Audi,VW, BMW and Volvo are just some of the Car Companies putting into production Electric Vehicles a EV, and many more are and many are building Electric / Hybrid Vehicles. The DeLorean Motor Company has put into production 2013 a DMC-EV Electric DeLorean, that will have a body and power plant that will last you a life time. Just think you can recharge them at home and work free from the sun Solar Energy.


Now to own a car that will never rust way and runs on the power from the sun that's the one for me. Very soon most all on earth will be able to get energy by recharging from the sun and wind.

Cities that want to be Clean clean-cities.org many of them are putting in recharging stations in their heart of their downtown of their city all over the Planet Earth. Many Thanks mostly to Scientist Bill Young and his team at FSEC for their many years of work at this..  UK now has more Electric charging Stations then gas.

GOD Bless You Professor Takashi Ohira and your team for the good work they are doing. To promote Clean Cities with Clean Transportation that will let some drive all day without having to stop to recharge. As Neil Armstrong would say one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.  Just one step closer to the World being powered be the Sun Solar Energy.
  Going Solar
Germany, Denmark, Australia, Sweden, Norway, India, Nepal, Tibet, and Israeli clearly a leader in Solar companies and Renewable Energy is helping many World Wide and a long list of Nations Going Solar. Even Iran with its Archimedes Tower. At its Shiraz Solar Power Plant Iran and all the Oil Nations on Earth know the World is going to SOLAR Energy.

Going Geothermal
Iceland, Philippines, Kenya.....and more then 50 other Countries.

Wind Energy in use

More then 75 Countries
Albert Einstein's Dream coming true
The Earth Powered By SOLAR ENERGY.
GOD Bless
all that Spot Light and use Solar Energy GOD Bless all that have eyes to see and a brain to know that Solar Energy is the way to go.

There is enough Energy coming from our Sun to power all our needs and then some.

The Lord's Little Helper
Paul Felix Schott

solardowork
solardowork

Tesla soon to be one of the most sold vehicle on Earth.

ChrisWilliams
ChrisWilliams

I would have love to have seen some performance specs for this vehicle. That is an amazingly impressive price point for an EV. Nothing beats Tesla in terms of performance, but that comes at a price.

Gopal
Gopal

So what is the "major problem" Brad?

MartinFlynn
MartinFlynn

How many free dinners and other perks did this author receive from BigOil ?

tucsonplugsin
tucsonplugsin

Hmmm . . .  Brad Tuttle obviously did a lot of web surfing in the research of this article. I hope he didn't sprain his wrist with all that mouse clicking.Too bad he didn't actually step long enough to test drive - much less live with - an i-MiEV (or Leaf or Volt) for an extended period. The i-MiEV is actually a far better car than portrayed here. Please borrow or rent an EV for a couple weeks, Brad, if you're going to attempt to write about them. I feel like I'm reading a 1960s era slash piece on the VW Beetle, written by a guy who never set foot inside one and drives an Edsel. 

dmpro.si
dmpro.si

Well, I drive one for a year and half. It's really not comfortable, it hasn't great range (sufficient for me), but I didn't buy it to enjoy sitting in it. I bought it to get to enjoyable places for free. And that job is done flawless. I don't prefer I-miev against competition, but certainly I am a big fan of electric vehicles. 

ReiMiraa
ReiMiraa

well in WA state there is a pretty decent electric vehicle infrastructure, even on the east side of the mountains.  and the ski resort (Stevens Pass) has charging stations and many wineries and cities have charging stations.

tpolen61
tpolen61

The i-MiEV is a wonderful car. I love mine and drive it everywhere. I see a comfortable range of 60-70 miles in the warmer months. If I ran it down to empty, it could do better than 80 miles. This is on main roads doing between 45-50 mph. In the city, mileage is even better. On the highway, I see high 50's, low 60's in range at 60 mph. In the winter, I see range in the high 40's, low 50's, mid 40's with heat on. Best car I've driven yet, beating the LEAF and Volt. Don't listen to the BS reviews that bash the i-MiEV. The only "problem" with the i-MiEV is the lack of marketing. 

ForestNerd
ForestNerd

I bought a Fiat 500e 1 1/2 months ago - it's not the cheapest EV, but not the most expensive, either.  (Basic numbers come out like this:  $33K for the car - $7500 Fed Tax Credit - $2500 CA refund = $23 K cost; $2600 for a level II charger *installed* - $800 tax deduction; savings of ~$2000/year fuel compared to my Chevy Equinox - a much big vehicle.  Also consider:  no oil changes, fewer brake pad replacement, no radiator, fuel injector, spark plugs, exhaust system, catalytic convertor, geared transmission, etc., etc. to maintain - with the possible exception of the battery, EVs should prove to be a bit more reliable than gas powered cars - much fewer moving components to wear down.)   EVs are not for everyone, due the limited range; I'd suggest it for people with a place where they have or can get daily access to an level II charger (a must) who either have a second car, or have easy access to a car sharing service, like ZipCar.  It's best for people who have a normal daily mid-range commute (20 to 60 miles; you'd want the extra 27 or so miles for comfort.)


That said - it's awesome to have the extra torque electric motors provide (the Fiat and the Chevy Spark can easily zip past 95% of the cars on the road at low speeds), the lower noise noise levels, and the better energy efficiency (rated at 108 MPG equivalent, 130 MPGe at highway speeds is typical, can hit 160 MPGe.  MPGe is a quirky number because you don't use gasoline, but if you live in an area with natural gas electric power, the numbers are about right for CO2 emissions and cost; for particulate pollution, acid rain and smog, it's far better.)  If it fits your lifestyle, it can be financially viable, and provide a good experience.

If you want to exceed the range of your EV in one day, you pretty much have to identify where you're going to charge up, which can be a bit of a trick - even in California.   I do it now and again, but I use a gasoline car if it's not immediately obvious where you're going to charge up in the middle of your trip.  The way I think of it:  it's not as hard as using mass transit, but it requires planning that you simply don't have to do with a gasoline vehicle.


The i-MiEV - well, I didn't test drive it, but it doesn't have the best reputation.  Like gasoline vehicles, not all cars are created the same.  I wouldn't want to discourage someone from considering it, but there are good EVs out there that don't cost like a Tesla.

KCPhil
KCPhil

The problem with a purely electric car is range anxiety.  The only one that has decent range is the Tesla S and it's a very cool car.   But, it's also outside the price range most people can afford (~$100K for one with 300 mile range).   The remainder are useful only for commuting and errand-running.  Plus, they handle cold weather all that well.  If you can afford 2 cars, maybe that's a way to go.

The problem with the hybrids is that you still have all the same mechanicals as a regular car, plus the added complexity, cost and weight of the electric drivetrain.  So, it's nice for extending the range of a tank of gas or offering additional power at times.  But they're really a compromise and any fuel cost savings are more than overcome by additional price paid for the electic drivetain.

JerryOkamura1
JerryOkamura1

Are there parts of the world where the people are not likely to every buy an electric car?  If you lived in really cold country, like Alaska, would you buy one of these cars?  Are there parts of the world where gasoline is available but electricity to recharge your car is not?

RobertPlattBell
RobertPlattBell

The Chevy Volt is a HYBRID - not an "electric car".


I live on an island where you can drive NEVs and golf carts on the roads.  I looked into this, but the NEV, with options, is nearly $20,000 (Bombardier GEM electric).   A converted Golf cart will run you maybe $5000 for a nice one.   Both amounts would buy a LOT of gasoline.


NEVs barely go 15,000 miles in their lifetimes.   Just not cost-effective.   Plus, no air conditioning, and I can't leave the island.


What about a Nissan Leaf or other electric car?   A better option - not that much more expensive, has A/C and I could drive to the store or work on a neighboring island - and back - on one charge.  Still fairly expensive, but maybe a replacement for an existing vehicle, as opposed to the NEV, which would be an additional vehicle to own.


Hybrids, however, specifically plug-in Hybrids, would be a better choice. For not a lot more money, you get a gas engine and a car that can run on all-electric, or burn gas, if you want to drive to California, for example.


But the best bargain is the car already in my garage.  So no hybrid, electric, or NEV for the time being.   They are not really money-savers for me, particularly since I drive maybe 5,000 miles a year.


This is doing the math and making a rational decision.  What irks me is the folks on either end of the political spectrum (and don't they irk us all?) who either HATE electric vehicles, or think they are a solution to everything.  Both sides are wrong.


If you don't like electric cars, don't buy one.   If they succeed in the marketplace, they will succeed on the merits.


Here in Georgia, hatred of electric vehicles is palpable.   A fellow near Savannah plugged his Volt into an outlet at a local school (cost of electricity 20 cents) and they ARRESTED HIM for THEFT.


Sadly, even something like an electric car has political implications, these days.


I'm glad I live on an island....

abfalterpersonal
abfalterpersonal

When an electric car costs the same (or less) than a gas car then I will buy an electric car. 


People who can buy $80K cars are not all that super impressed by the gas savings; they can already afford to drive gas cars. 


If there was a $15K electric car on the market right now it would be selling like hotcakes. 

swgrdoc
swgrdoc

EV owners are going to be disappointed in a few years when they find out the true life span of their battery systems. I work in the HV electric service industry where we have used HD batteries for decades, batteries do not have a great life span. I would estimate 7 years in real world use for EV battery systems before they fail.

When the EV battery system needs replacement there will be a huge cost to owners to dispose of the toxic car batteries (hundreds $) and to replace them (thousands $). 

Do environmentalists have any concern about the hazardous chemicals in the batteries? I guess environmentalists are giving EV batteries a mindless "pass" as they did with Mercury (extremely toxic) in CFL bulbs and axed the environmentally neutral incandescent light bulbs.

By the way this could mean resale viability of EV cars will be non-existent, as used car owners will not want to be saddled with these future battery costs.

Or will the tax payer have to pay for the tree hugger fetishes again to subsidize the EV battery recycle/replacement costs?

JayKing1
JayKing1

So what's the problem? I should have got that in the first paragraph.

JayDonnaway
JayDonnaway

This is a lazy piece that simply quotes the equally lazy Consumer Reports 'test' where they didn't even drive the car on public roads to discover that the i-MiEV always out-accelerates traffic.  Period.  I've been putting over 18k miles per year on an iMiEV for 23 months now, and the car still brings a smile to my face every time it beats a snorting muscle car or watermelon-muffled boy racer across an intersection.  Last Corvette that tried to catch up to us fishtailed twice on the wet pavement before he gave up.

sleepylemur
sleepylemur

@ForestNerd I make do with irregular access to level one charging and level two charging during the workweek. I'd be curious to hear your opinion of the i-MiEV compared to the 500e if you ever get a chance to drive the former. Let me know if you visit Seattle some time!

sleepylemur
sleepylemur

@KCPhil having quick chargers available makes range anxiety much less of an issue. Widely available public charging also helps.


It's true that longer trips are best handled by combustion powered cars at the moment, but most people can do without owning one. Over 90% of driving is commuting and errand running. Owning a vehicle which is capable of more is like driving around an SUV around town because you occasionally climb a mountain.


Of course, some people drive big trucks, SUVs or sports cars because it helps with their self image. When it becomes socially unacceptable to drive a polluting vehicle which keeps us embroiled in foreign conflict, that will shift.

CodeMan
CodeMan

@KCPhil - Volt has no range anxiety.  While the battery handles majority of daily commutes, if you need to go beyond the range of the battery, you switch to gas (generator) engine and continue on your way.

RobertPlattBell
RobertPlattBell

An electric car may make a good commuting vehicle at the present time, particularly with a tax subsidy, off-peak charging rates, and free use of HOV lanes (all thing that might disappear once EVs go mainstream).


However, if you live in Michigan and want to take the family to Disney World, an EV isn't going to do it, at the present time.


The energy density of the Lithium Ion battery and the recharge rates are just not there yet.


However, we should as a country, encourage innovation, not discourage it.


The big problem with EVs and Hybrids (missed by this story) as that if more and more people buy these cars, demand for gas will slacken off. 


Under the law of supply and demand, this means the price of gas will drop - making the EV less viable, economically.


In other words, the hybrid and EV are their own worst enemies - economically.


See:


http://livingstingy.blogspot.com/2010/12/who-killed-electric-car-this-time-cheap.html


We will need to see another jump in EV battery performance (as we did from lead-acid to Lithium Ion) before they go mainstream.


It could happen, in our lifetime.  


But at the same time, gas engines keep getting better and better.


It reminds me of the discussion about hard drives.   Many thought the hard drive would be extinct by now - replaced by solid-state memory modules.    But a funny thing - the hard drive makers kept making them more reliable, cheaper, and with more and more capacity.  Rotating disc memory will be with us for a while longer, it seems.


As will IC engines....


But those are engineering considerations, not political ones.

CodeMan
CodeMan

@RobertPlattBell - In regard to the guy who got arrested for theft, while a bit extreme, in all honesty - if you didn't get permission it would be no different than your neighbor plugging appliances into your electrical outlets via an extension cord.  It's theft.

RobertPlattBell
RobertPlattBell

Correction, the Chevy Volt is a PLUG-IN Hybrid.


Comparing the Volt to the Leaf is specious.  One can drive across the continent, the other cannot (unless you want to stop every 70 miles to recharge).

tpolen61
tpolen61

@abfalterpersonal

Nissan LEAF, $28,000. 

2012 i-MiEV, $29,000. 

2014 i-MiEV in a few months, $22,995.

$20 a month in electricity for 30 miles a day. 


I call that same or less.

55fordf100guy
55fordf100guy

@abfalterpersonal I put 2k down and got $1500.00 cash bask from CA State. I pay $350.00 a month lease and pass all you gas suckers by in the carpool lane. Costs about .37 to recharge my battery.

55fordf100guy
55fordf100guy

@abfalterpersonal I put 2k down on a Chevy Volt got 1500.00 cash back from CA state and I pay $350.00 a month lease. Same as a gas car but I get to drive in the carpool lane and pass all you gas suckers by.

sleepylemur
sleepylemur

@abfalterpersonal with the tax credits and incentives, the i-MiEV is already cheaper than $15k in California. It's close to this price elsewhere. Take into account the thousands of dollars in gas and maintenance savings and it's a clear win.

tpolen61
tpolen61

@swgrdoc As far as battery lifespan, 7 years is fine. EV batteries are not disposed, they are recycled and manufactured into new batteries at a near 100% rate. Battery prices are falling 40% every 2 to 3 years, so in 7 years, a battery that currently costs $10,000 to replace would only cost $1,600 to replace in 7 years.


As far as mercury, it is unfortunate that CFLs require mercury to function, but there are two points to that. One, the electricity saved by switching to CFLs prevented more mercury emissions than what is found in the bulbs. Two, CFLs are crossover technology to LEDs, which are far superior to CFL, halogen, and incandescent.


You pay more taxes towards subsidizing fossil fuels than any renewable/alternative technologies.

RobertPlattBell
RobertPlattBell

You are comparing 12V wet cells to Lithium Ion batteries.  Apples and Oranges.   Car & Driver did a road test comparing a 10-year-old Prius with a new one, and found that the batteries - after a DECADE were still holding a charge.  The mileage was off only by a percentage point or two.


Lead-acid batteries might last only a few years - that is true.  Another reason I am not buying an NEV, which uses that technology.


But Lithium-Ion batteries, if properly cared for, can outlive the car.


I suspect you are among the right-wing electric car haters.


Let's look at this as an economic proposition on its merits.  It still may fail.  But making up stuff to "prove your point" only undermines your argument.


Why do you feel threatened by an electric car?   Very odd.

PaulScott
PaulScott

@swgrdoc You are pretty ignorant on the matter of batteries. Modern EVs like the Volt, LEAF and iMiEV are powered by electricity stored in LiIon batteries. These contain little in the way of "toxic" chemicals or elements. They also have a high value after their use in the car is over, about 8-10 years. Utilities will buy them for use as energy storage devices. This use will last many more years until the batteries can no longer hold enough energy to be useful. At that time, the batteries will be recycled and the elements that make them up will be used to manufacture new batteries.

sleepylemur
sleepylemur

@JayKing1 the problem is that drivers are waking up to the fact that they needn't pay through the nose for gasoline or maintenance on outmoded technology.

BrianKlick
BrianKlick

Either you're high, or trolling.   i-MiEV 0-60 13 seconds, 66HP, 145 Torque.   You're living in lala land.

LawrenceRhodes
LawrenceRhodes

Range anxiety is for those that don't plan ahead.

fred.magyar
fred.magyar

"However, if you live in Michigan and want to take the family to Disney World, an EV isn't going to do it, at the present time."


So take the high speed electric train to South Florida and use a rented EV to zip around when you get to Orlando... Oh we didn't invest in that electric train did we?! Bummer!


The point is there is no problem with EVs the problem is with people's expectations of EVs working just like ICEs. They are a different beast. Time to change how we think and adapt to a new paradigm. Sooner or later fossil fuel will become too expensive to burn for fuel and we are going to want it for other things.


Not to mention that there is no way 7 plus billion people can drive gasoline powered cars if we want a livable planet...


Cheers!

RobertPlattBell
RobertPlattBell

But compared to the paid-for car in my garage, it isn't much of a bargain.  I could fit an electric vehicle into my lifestyle - as a second car.   But I am not ready, just yet to buy one.


Electrics and plug-in hybrids are going to have to survive on their own, without tax subsidies, in the long run, in order to be viable.


As an automotive engineer and electrical engineer, I would like to see this technology succeed - as it is interesting from an engineering perspective.


But as an Engineer, I have to look at the numbers.   And the tax subsidies eventually will have to go away.

The other barrier to buying an electric car is that I am sure that if I wait five years or so, there will be better electric cars on the market - probably cheaper as well.

So why buy now?  It pays to wait.


And as I noted above, a plug-in hybrid might be a more practical choice at this time.


RobertPlattBell
RobertPlattBell

I should have said "Battery pack" not "Batteries" when referring to the Prius.  Lithium Ion batteries last a good long time.

tpolen61
tpolen61

@BrianKlick He isn't kidding. I've scooted across an intersection and up to 45 mph before pretty much anything else gets out of second gear in my i-MiEV. I've outdone Camaros, luxury cars, SUVs, and souped-up diesel pickup trucks. My favorite is when I jump on the highway, from a dead stop, and have to hit the brakes when I merge because I'm catching the guy in front of me in no time.

sleepylemur
sleepylemur

@BrianKlick have you driven one? The 0-60 is slow but the 0-30 is all that matters when driving around a city. I also drive an i-MiEV and prefer it for city driving to my combustion powered car.

tpolen61
tpolen61

@LawrenceRhodes You hit it on the nose. There have been two times where I've come close to running out of charge, once was when I first got my i-MiEV and drove it 3 miles past empty. Didn't have any problems and the car had full power the whole time. The second time, I lost the last bar as I pulled up the driveway after a 78 mile drive, but I wouldn't really call that one close. With one bar left, I know I have at least 8-10 miles left on the charge before the car stops.


For those on here that have Volts and claim that you never use gas, you bought the wrong car. If you aren't using the range-extender on a 40-mile EV, imagine how much you would've saved by buying a much less expensive 70-mile EV, such as the i-MiEV.


Range anxiety isn't a problem with EVs, it's a problem with drivers who don't have a clue what a charge gauge does. Try driving with the gas gauge bottomed out for 30 miles looking for a gas station (because they're aren't any around, while you're passing countless buildings with TONS of electrical outlets that one can use just by asking), not knowing when it will run out suddenly. At least an EV will give you plenty of warning, even when the charge gauge is bottomed out. It will start to slow down to about 20 mph, and then go for about another mile or so before stopping.

tpolen61
tpolen61

@RobertPlattBell OK. So your current car makes financial sense. But what about when it needs major repairs or it is time to replace it? An EV makes sense then.


The problem with needing EVs to survive without subsidies, gasoline can't survive without subsidies. The government is subsidizing gas and diesel to keep prices away from $15 a gallon at the pump.


EVs are very neat. But sure, if you're not a person wanting an EV now, wait a couple of years, as prices will come down and many more models will be available. But if you're like a lot of current EV owners, we've happily joined in to get rid of dealing with gasoline, and help promote EVs and make them better for more people, and so the cycle starts. Different people jump in at different times. Nothing wrong with that, just that we need more people to jump in sooner rather than later.

sleepylemur
sleepylemur

@RobertPlattBell I pay an additional $100 on my EV registration in Washington state. Certainly we'll have to find a way to continue funding the roads. I support a weighted (heh-heh) mileage based road tax. I also support congestion fees and tolls based on occupancy.

RobertPlattBell
RobertPlattBell

Exactly.  We need to compare apples to apples and orange to oranges.

You should be aware, however, that the US surpassed Saudi Arabia in production of oil this year.  If this keeps up, we'll have to join OPEC!


One additional problem with electric cars that will have to be addressed is the lack of road tax generated because of lower or non-existent gasoline tax issues.


Many states are talking about a "hybrid" tax already.


See:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2013/04/28/hybrid-taxes-gas-tax-highway-funding/2110297/

Another problem is that while an EV may not burn gas, it does consumer fossil fuels, if the electricity is generated from a coal, oil, or gas-burning plant.

One of my neighbors signed up for a deal to LEASE solar cells which he put on his house.  Some months, his electric bill is negative.   The power company is trying to put a stop to that as well.

Electric cars may be an "answer" - but without a "green" electrical grid, we are not eliminating the carbon emissions problem, just pushing it upstream.

Like I said, I would like to see this technology work, as it is interesting from a technological point of view.

But from a personal perspective, I am not sure it is cost-effective in my life, just yet.

Some people just HATE EVs, though, and this has more to do with political beliefs than anything (and people on the left who LOVE them, ignore engineering and economics to make a statement as well).

Here in Georgia, they arrest people for plugging in an EV:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2013/04/28/hybrid-taxes-gas-tax-highway-funding/2110297/

sleepylemur
sleepylemur

@RobertPlattBell if we're talking technologies standing on their own, let's be blunt: oil companies are heavily subsidized. How much would you pay at the pump for gasoline which didn't have the US military backing it's production and transportation security? There are also health and environmental costs to fossil fuels.


The true cost of gas:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RhYY_4Wzls#t=13

sleepylemur
sleepylemur

@JayDonnaway @BrianKlick this is the reason I need to put in a rearward facing camera in my i-MiEV: to catch the surprised expressions of the people I meet at stoplights.

JayDonnaway
JayDonnaway

@BrianKlick Even if other folks "know how to drive', they have the restraint to not assault our eardrums and approach redline like a 16 y/o on Red Bull at every red light.  Point is, in an EV you don't have to worry about that.  Ample torque plus seamless acceleration and nearly imperceptible traction control make for far more effective 'real world' performance than the numbers would imply.  To paraphrase one journalist- the car is just a "point and stomp" drive.  It won't let you get into trouble, but provides enough fun in the process.  BTW yes, thanks for the "faster driver" comment.  My last Corvette victim was carefully chosen.  Middle-aged with a toupee, overweight, even had  the gold chain, and over-reacted when I got the jump on him.   Most drivers are just plain surprised by this little jumping bean, but it's fun to watch the diesel pickups lay a smoke screen of incinerated dollar bills trying to catch up.  ;-) 

BrianKlick
BrianKlick

@tpolen61Then whenever you live, people don't know how to drive.  You can't argue numbers - they are facts, not opinions.  i-MiEV 0-30mph is 4.5 seconds .. Camaros are roughly, depending on year, 2 seconds.   These are not subjective numbers here.  I'm in no way saying anything negative about the i-MiEV - but it's ridiculous to say a car that goes 0-30 in 4.5 seconds is faster than a car that goes 0-30 in 2 seconds.  The i-MiEV is not faster, period.  Now, the "driver" may be faster, but certainly not the car.

JayDonnaway
JayDonnaway

@BrianKlick   Sorry it doesn't click for you Brian, but don't knock it till you've tried it.  Conventional automotive 'journalism' tests don't measure the instantaneous response of electric drive, and perhaps you're too young to know that the aircooled VW Beetle could also beat Corvettes across an intersection.  This is a similar situation, only with ultimate in drivetrain smoothness and reliability. I'm across the line before a big V8 even wakes up.  

BrianKlick
BrianKlick

sleepylemur My comment has nothing to do with the car's ability to drive around a city - my comment was in response to the insane comment that an i-MiEV is going to beating a Corvette or any "muscle car".   You might as well state that your Honda lawnmower can outrace a Corvette anyday - that's about as crazy as a comment it gets.  

JasonFreedman
JasonFreedman

@sleepylemur @BrianKlick Can't say much about the iMiEV, but I'd like to see anyone short of a Porsche Turbo outpace my P85 Tesla until we get up to about 125MPH.  I won't drive faster, but I'll grant you that the M6 can go a bit faster at the top end.