Another electric car company goes belly up

English: EVs charging at the Better Place visi...

EVs charging at the Better Place visitor centre at the Pi-Glilot former gas depot in Ramat Hasharon, Israel, north of Tel Aviv (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

JERUSALEM (AP) — It was an audacious idea that came to symbolize Israel’s self-described status as “Start-Up Nation,” a company that believed it could replace most gasoline-powered cars with electric vehicles and reduce the world’s reliance on oil — and all within a few years.

But it all came crashing down.

The company, Better Place, started out as a source of pride and a symbol of Israel’s status as a global high-tech power, but it suffered from a local brand of hubris and overreach. On Sunday, it announced plans to liquidate after burning through almost a billion dollars and failing to sell its silent fleet of French-made sedans to a skeptical public.

“This is a very sad day for all of us. We stand by the original vision as formulated by Shai Agassi of creating a green alternative that would lessen our dependence on highly polluting transportation technologies,” the company said. “Unfortunately, the path to realizing that vision was difficult, complex and littered with obstacles, not all of which we were able to overcome.”

Agassi, 45, believed that in an era of global warming and rising oil prices, environmentally friendly electric cars could be the wave of the future, if only a way could be found to overcome the limited range of their batteries.

Full story here: http://www.ecnmag.com/news/2013/05/trailblazing-israeli-electric-car-company-close

126 thoughts on “Another electric car company goes belly up

  1. Electric car is like communism. Everywhere it has tried it has failed, but keep on resurrecting cause of a Utopian dream, and enough people believed if you banged your head long enough and hard enough it will succeed.

  2. Of course they’re sitting at the bar denying that it was their fault. It must be the fault of all those stupid people out there that won’t buy their product and the stupid government that won’t make them buy it.

  3. Well if they had a government like ours the pisses away $$ on subsidiary’s on companies like TSLA they would be still in business. What is it, $45,000 per TSLA vehicle sold.
    Many multiple millionaires at TALA now thank to tax payer $$$..

    http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=tsla&ql=1

  4. Sort of like the government subsidizing and mandating a new suppository……isn’t it?

  5. Whatever happened to the excited newscasts I heard about cars that ran solely on salt water? Was that also stomped into oblivion? Judy Williams

    _____

  6. Logic dictates the electric car is incompatible with human nature’s desire for independence. Until one can be fully recharged in 5 minutes, they’ll be nothing more than a minute market segment.

  7. Maybe throwing a few more billions into the pit will help out. Why give up now? Electric cars have a definite place in the future. within the next 100 years or so. Perhaps by then the battery issues will be resolved.

  8. Forget electric cars they should create a car that runs on bullshit. There is an unlimited supply coming from politicians and we could run on that crap for years.

  9. goldminor says May 28, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    “Perhaps by then the battery issues will be resolved.”

    With the various failures, it’s the battery, isn’t it? too heavy, too expensive, too limited charge-life.

    In town we see all sorts of SmartForTwo, Car2Go, tiny bits of cars that you wouldn’t want to take on a long drive …. even to a grocery store. But people buy them. Enviro-friendly (if such a thing) personal vehicles are not a difficult sell …. provided the price is right.

    Tesla et al are selling a high-end car (or trying to) because the electric capabilities are expensive; only in a $100,000 car does a $12,000 battery “disappear” from a pricing point of veiw. An in-town car that only costs $5,000 new doesn’t have to do more than 100 kilometers per day. But that is impossible with the cost of batteries.

    It would be better and more fuel-efficient if we had small motorcycle engines running our teeny eco-green rides, as some ancient European cars did (to avoid the Russian prohibition against making “cars” outside of the allowed places). But that doesn’t sound very eco-green, and of course it is the appearance and sound of being eco-green that counts, not the reality.

  10. …Electric car is like communism. Everywhere it has tried it has failed…

    No it isn’t. It’s like Capitalism, and everywhere it’s been staggeringly successful.

    Look at the data. Chap gathers some seed capital, goes to a government body and takes millions in subsidies to open a big high-tech manufacturing capability. Pays himself a decent Director’s wage, and a big pension pot. And imagine how much kick-back you can get from all those set-up contracts.

    After a while, the government department wants to know where the subsidies went. Time to close down the company, rinse and repeat, preferably in another country where you can use the fact that you were the managing director of ‘GreenCar Inc.’ to establish your bona fides as you take them for the same amount…

    As Willis says: “What';s not to like?”. Successful creative Capitalism…..

  11. Nope. Not many buyers of any of the EVs. I saw my first Chevy Volt the other day. So… now I’ve seen… one.

    I live in a metropolitan area of about 1.5 million and commute each day from the north side to the south side of the region. I’ve seen a lot more Lambos and Ferraris than EVs. I saw my first Jaguar station wagon before I saw a Volt and I wasn’t even aware that Jaguar made a wagon; ever.

    I’m wondering if the two vehicles in the photo above were even sold and privately owned. I would not be surprised in the least if the company had to provide two vehicles for the shot. (The give-away is there is no “My kid is an Honor Student at XXXX” bumper sticker on either of the cars.)

  12. @dodgy geezer If it requires subsidy it isn’t capitalism.

    Now the thing I fine amusing here is, this company wanted to sell an electric car so they chose… Renault. A company infamous for the dodgy electrics in their cars.

    Think about that for a moment.

    Is it any wonder they failed?

  13. “…failing to sell its silent fleet of French-made sedans to a skeptical public.”

    Love that bit. Especially “skeptical public.” Music to my ears.

  14. I was shocked when I saw the prices Better Place was asking for the right to use their swapping stations. It doesn’t surprise me that the company folded – and their cars had zero desirability – Agassi made the mistake of assuming that people want electric cars so much that they will accept
    anything on wheels. That is where Tesla made the right decision : build a great car and aim for the well-heeled enviros. Actually, Israel is such a small, almost landlocked country, that an electric with a driving range of roughly 175 miles is probably all you’ll need. Ditto for Denmark and Hawaii.There cars would be completely competitive with gas powered jobs with respect to driving range. Agassi actually designed his cars on the basis of the exorbitant battery prices prevalent at the time. He did not foresee the huge price reductions that have since occurred. In effect, that changed the playing field and made his swapping scheme total overkill. Electric cars are intrinsically superior to gas powered jobs in every way, EXCEPT for the high price and
    slow recharge speed of batteries. The faster the battery can be recharged, the less important
    battery capacity (driving range) becomes. And practical batteries are NOT far off. When they arrive, it will be like the movies when talkies appeared – gas powered vehicles, like silent films, will disappear in an instant.

  15. Partial electrification makes current economic sense at current oil prices, which will rise over the next decade. The electrified side of hybrids will get cheaper with use of ‘hybrid energy storage’ comprised of more energy dense, therefore cheaper LiIon plus more power dense ultracaps for idle off, regen braking, and accel boost, plus necessary Dc/Dc power electronics that get cheaper with SoS at higher frequencies. Argonne National Labs has this worked out, as well as some solutions for higher energy density LiIon already licenses to players like GM.

    Unless electricity comes from hydro and nucs, all a fully electrified vehicle does is move carbon emissions from the tailpipe to the smokestack. It doesn’t actually reduce them when you correctly work out net delivered energy efficiencies for existing developed world grids.

    Tesla lives on about $45k net subsidy per $75k “S” vehicle. A terrific milk the taxpayer model, but nothing to do with real world economics and most vehicle purchasers. For that reason, they will eventually fail also, despite recent IPO hype. All it takes is for Congress (possible) or California ( not possible until more of the state is in bankruptcy proceedings) to come to their senses.

  16. H.R. I think the Jag was a custom aftermarket job, if my failing memory serves me right – was in a car mag /mark

  17. H.R. says:
    May 28, 2013 at 2:15 pm
    “I’m wondering if the two vehicles in the photo above were even sold and privately owned. I would not be surprised in the least if the company had to provide two vehicles for the shot. (The give-away is there is no “My kid is an Honor Student at XXXX” bumper sticker on either of the cars.)”

    Europeans and probably Israelis as well tend to not have bumper stickers – with the exception of some anti nuclear folks and the clunkers of hipsters.

  18. The twerp/conman, Agassi says “vision”. More like a mirage.
    Just like Utopia, in fact.

  19. arthur4563 says:
    May 28, 2013 at 2:21 pm
    “Electric cars are intrinsically superior to gas powered jobs in every way, EXCEPT for the high price and slow recharge speed of batteries.”

    I agree. It’s difficult to make a gas powered car emit a stream of 500 degree C hot acidic gas mixture.

  20. There seems to be little recognition of the extreme difficulty of maintaining a viable car manufacturing company. Even those with a fairly long history and some semblance of a customer base have been disappearing i.e. Saab with Volvo predicted to shortly follow suit. Absent massive governmental interference GM and Chrysler would also be gone. Although the conspiratorially minded have suggested the major manufacturers are dedicated to supressing EVs, the truth is that all of them have have been ratholing billions trying to come up with a viable one for years and not all of that has been from government R&D subsidies. If major manufacturers with their relatively massive financial resources can’t make it work, the notion that a “Start-up” commencing from zero can design and build a clean sheat effort that provides what most people expect from their personal transportation these days, is incredibly optimistic.

    Tesla has certainly become a media and stock market darling and they actually seem to have a fairly decent vehicle, but what happens when they face their first major recall and have to spend millions providing a fix. Perhaps they’ll be able to avoid that, but they do have a clean sheet design and the idea that they have got absolutely everything exactly right is one I wouldn’t bet much on. They have also adopted a direct sales model that has alienated most of the car dealers in the country. What happens when their customers start having rattles in the dashboard, balky seat adjusters, or any of the myriad of other problems that arise in any vehicle. If you have a Tesla out here in flyoverland, who do you see to do any of these routine services?

  21. Electric car components often claim lower running costs. However, in the UK, about 80% of the cost of petrol is actually tax, so the comparison is a nonsense.

    Perhaps electric car drivers would like to tell us which extra taxes they would like to pay in lieu.

    BTW – last year, 2198 electric cars were sold in the UK, about 0.1% of all cars sales.
    Govt targets are 1.7 million on the road by 2020.

    Even the Soviets had more realistic 5-year plans!

    http://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2013/05/21/electric-car-sales-in-the-uk-2012/

  22. EVs are dead; OPEC is splintering with internal dissension, look for oil prices to drop.

    US oil production increasing due to hydraulic fracturing is the cause of OPEC’s heartburn.

    The oil and gas geeks win! Again. As before.

  23. mrmethane says:
    May 8, 2013 at 2:29 pm
    H.R. I think the Jag was a custom aftermarket job, if my failing memory serves me right – was in a car mag /mark
    ****************************************************************************************************************
    Nope. I was just looking at a car collection that is being assembled for auction at the Olds College in Alberta on June 21 to 23, 2013. The collection includes several station wagon Jags. I understand they are stock.

    http://100.oldscollege.ca/JackAndersonAuto

  24. A difference between an electric car and a flying car: an electric car is possible in principle, and has many advantages over an internal combustion engine car. The technology is, sadly, not quite there yet.

    The flying car is also possible in principle, and highly desirable, but it faces three times as many problems. I don’t expect to see a practical one in my lifetime.

  25. Oops, my bad. I saw the Jaguar Station wagon at a car show along with several other high end station wagons – like Porsche – I believe they started making Jag Wagons in 2002. Sorry.

  26. In re the Jaguar “station wagon”. In Britain they’re generally known as “shooting brakes”. I don’t think Jaguar ever made one themselves, but a number of custom coachbuilders offered conversions on various models over the years. They are rare even in Britain and much more so in the U.S. There have been rumors that Jag may offer a Sportbrake version of their new XF model.

    http://www.motorauthority.com/news/1073437_2013-jaguar-xf-sportbrake-leaked-ahead-of-geneva-motor-show

  27. They are all political in what I call the forgone conclusion syndrome.. Electric cars, the northern passage for transport, all that oil and gas at the north pole.. All used to reinforce the the global warming scam..

    PR news bits that nobody in their right mind would invest a dime of their OWN MONEY in..

  28. Electricity is a mechanism for transmitting energy. It is not an energy source. Electric cars only make sense to reduce local pollution. In a time of energy abudance their inherent inefficiency might make sense. If energy prices are high they are no more than part of the marketing budget for big companies, to curry favour with a public who don’t understand the second law of thermodynamics. Same applies to hydrogen cars. They might make sense if we had to find a way of storing renewable energy that came at the wrong time – overnight for instance. How long will it take for the public to see through all this flannel? About the same time as it will take for them to recognise the flawed basis of CAGW, I guess…

  29. “Couldn’t happen to a nicer country,” sneered Policy Critic at 2:36PM.

    Electric Car Company Goes Belly-up? Good!” thought Janice, then, her face fell. “If only it weren’t Israel.”

    GO, ISRAEL!

  30. @Janice Moore –
    Too bad Israel had to waste so much of its scarce resources on this boondoggle – which, if you look closely isn’t even green – when all the emissions for manufacturing and hazmats involved in its production are factored in, it’s dirtier than your good old-fashined internal-combustion hydrocarbon-powered car by a country mile.
    I wonder of the Israelis who pushed this piece of garbage are among those Sonderkommando types in Israel who want peace at any price with (translation: surrender to) Arab aggression.

  31. Dodgy Geezer says:
    May 28, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    In capitalism the government can’t give out subsidies… subsidies is socialism border lining on communism. At best in a very lightly called “capitalist” market the government could give them some minor tax break…

    End run meaningless though the fed reserve can spend about 30 min extra printing that billion dollars. Or just hold ctrl+P for about 30 seconds… either way billions is the new ten dollar bill.

  32. Anthony, I want to post this and have a lot of experience with those confined to wheel chairs. Have a family member and a couple of friend’s who are unfortunately in that position and have spend quite a lot modifying my home so that they would have access. (I may need that someday myself so I have no problem doing it).

    http://www.oocities.org/stuportner/files/battery.htm

    There have been very recent modifications made for ‘safety reasons’ of a certain person who acquired a new wheel chair (BATTERY ISSUES), but the new design includes a really low bolt that extends from the bottom of that chair and only allows less than 1/2 inch (nearly 1/4 inch) clearance to gain entry anywhere, and is designed for driving a vehicle modified for that new chair (that hey say that cannot be changed).

    Her chair now hangs up (gets stuck on minor obstacles) that are insignificant including the ramp that extends from the vehicle. (I will do a weigh in of the chair in a couple of days but it is very heavy).

    If they cannot design an electric chair with good electronics and a battery (we have discussed the medical here in comments before), then the electric car is done and hopefully the a-holes who profit from this.

    btw, Zero Hedge did a thing today about AGW and you won!

    • @John sure no problem.

      Not sure what you mean about Zero Hedge, was there some sort of contest?

  33. Better Place’s downfall was that they focused too much on the midrange market. With the plan and technology that they developed, it would have been a smarter strategy to target large city taxi fleets and commercial enterprises.
    To do that, they would need more than just a passenger car; at the very least, a light truck and a delivery van. One aspect of the plan was using both the cars and the swap stations as grid energy storage.
    I don’t know how aggressively they pursued that goal but, in the near to medium term, that would have brought in far more cash than selling a couple thousand EVs and pricey service plans.

  34. Hi, Chad — finally got to “connect” — hope all is well with you.

    Re: “I wonder of the Israelis who pushed this piece of garbage are … .”

    Yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised. They certainly were not fans of Milton Friedman!

    If you need a tax payer subsidy to break even on your cost of production, you need to go back to the drawing board!

    (and good point, BTW, about Holy Cars being a net-CO2 “polluter” — “Greens” are such DOPES!
    ******************************************

    Okay, John, we’re all dying to know… WHAT DID A-TH-Y WIN? #[:)]

    “follow the money trail… ” —>—–> to???

  35. “… they would need more than just a passenger car; at the very least, a light truck and a delivery van.” [D. Marshall at 5:02] LOL (I realize I’m taking your remark out of context, but, for a moment, my brain translated it this way…) …… to carry the extra batteries needed to go much of anywhere! (And those vehicles would have to be fueled by gasoline, or MORE delivery vans and more TRUCKS and …. electric cars are just not ready for prime time).

  36. If they designed a battery car that allowed you to swap in and out batteries faster than you could fill a fuel tank they’d be laughing. Imagine you ruck up at the Battery Station, like the good old days you get drive way service, the young ‘mechanic’ pops the hood quickly unhooks the easy fit battery pulls it out and goes and sticks it in the giant charge room, then brings back a freshly charged one and drops it straight in. $10 flat change over fee, in an out in less than a petrol refill. But to reach this level of battery technology we are still years away. Plus the car manufacturer’s have to be able to price the system to come with a spare battery as well for less than the price of a normal small car. $10,000 all up for a 2 battery car and they’d finally have something that would actually be successful.

  37. Anthony, here is the article:

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-05-27/worried-about-global-warming-then-end-fed-and-

    other-thought-experiments

    Here are the last words (comments at this time).

    Lumberjack

    I am going to have the last word on this Flak, and many more article’s to come based on FACT (I do my work elsewhere but will gladly share it here). Re-hypothecating physics (among other things) is a fools errand.

    http://dailybail.com/home/why-wind-power-wont-work.html

    Login or register to post comments
    Tue, 05/28/2013 – 18:14 | 3605387Flakmeister

    My what nice piece of horseshit, here is a rejoinder:

    http://arstechnica.com/science/2012/12/the-grid-of-2030-all-renewable-90-percent-of-the-time/

    and the orginal paper if you can even understand is here:

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378775312014759

    Login or register to post comments
    Tue, 05/28/2013 – 20:19 | 3605674Lumberjack

    My late uncle went to a small post office to pick up his mail on a cold January day in a tiny town in the northeast many years ago. Back then, that is where you found out about about your business before you did. The tiny wood framed building was filled with people engaged in ‘small talk’. When he entered, there were so many people inside that the door wouldn’t close. Feeling the beeze, the Postmaster yelled “hey Martin, were you raised in a barn”? To which my uncle replied ” as a matter of fact I was, because every time I’m here, I turn around and see a horses ass”.

    Respectfully and sincerely yours,

    john

    ———-

    You had a few mentions here in the comments. Your work has not gone by un-noticed by the financial community.

  38. archonix says:
    May 28, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    @dodgy geezer If it requires subsidy it isn’t capitalism

    temp says:
    May 28, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    In capitalism the government can’t give out subsidies… subsidies is socialism

    Did I really need a /sarc for that? The point I was trying to make was that clever and unprincipled businessmen are ‘farming’ the government and the green establishment for subsidies, in the same way that an oilman might drill for oil. The company doesn’t ‘need subsidies to make cars’ – instead the cars are the excuse for the company to mine subsidies. And very successfully. I think that you will find that the eventual profit the directors of these companies makes compares favorably to what they could have made in other manufacturing enterprises.

    Shame about the shop-floor workers and the unpaid suppliers, though…

  39. From the linked article, “Better Place offered an elegant solution. The vast majority of travelers who commute short distances could plug in their cars at home or work each day to keep their batteries recharged. For longer distances, customers could stop at the swapping stations, remove their used battery and replace it with a fully charged one in a matter of minutes.”

    Can someone tell me just what is elegant about having a major component of the vehicle swapped out at a gas station then somehow warehoused on site and replenished? Can you imagine swapping out a gas tank every time you went to fill up? It was always a stupid idea.

  40. “If they designed a battery car that allowed you to swap in and out batteries faster than you could fill a fuel tank they’d be laughing.”

    Here are just a few of the reasons why it won’t work:

    1. Batteries are not standardised. They’re unlikely to be standardised, because they have to fit into the vehicle and different vehicles need different types of battery (e.g. an electric pickup will want a much bigger battery than an electric Smart car).

    2. Batteries need cooling, so it’s not just a matter of sliding the empty one out and the new one back in.

    3. Batteries are heavy, so it’s not just a matter of two guys lifting one out and dropping in the replacement.

    4. Batteries wear out. That battery that has a 200 mile range when new might claim to be 50% full after a hundred miles and then drop to zero by a hundred and twenty once it’s been in service for a few years..

    5. Batteries wear out. You go to a dealership, buy a $50,000 car with a brand new $30,000 battery and… drive to a battery swap station where you replace it with one that’s done 100,000 miles.

    6. Batteries suck in cold weather. Good luck getting anything like the full range at -40 with the heating on.

    7. Even if you can get a new battery quickly, the old one has to be recharged before another person can use it. So there’ll have to be quite a few batteries charging in the back of the station at any time or they won’t have enough charged ones to swap in.

    I doubt you’ll ever solve #1, because car manufacturers won’t want to compromise their vehicle so other manufacturers can use the same batteries. I can’t see any way to solve #5 other than to lease the batteries rather than buy them, but that further restricts the number of places you can go to swap them.

  41. Nick Kermode says:
    May 28, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    “Well if they had a government like ours the pisses away $$ on subsidiary’s on companies like TSLA they would be still in business. What is it, $45,000 per TSLA vehicle sold.
    Many multiple millionaires at TALA now thank to tax payer $$$..”

    You might be interested in…

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-05-23/tesla-pays-back-u-s-early-as-musk-aims-for-affordability.html

    —————————————-
    No, Nick, I really wouldn’t be that interested in more propaganda. From the article, “Settling the debt earned taxpayers about $26 million, the Energy Department said.” BS. Not counting the $68million in free ZEV credits given to TSLA by the state of CA or the tax credits provided by various other states, TSLA gets a subsidy of $7500 per vehicle in the form of a federal tax credit for buyers of its product. Multiplied by 5000 vehicles that nets over $35million in one quarter, so, no, the taxpayer did NOT make a $26million profit on the loan. We just ended up paying TSLA a little less to borrow our money–yes you read that right. Oh, and lest you claim that TSLA demand is inelastic to pricing and the $7500 is not a subsidy to TSLA, then realize that TSLA can always charge $7500 more per vehicle than it otherwise would and therefore is always the beneficiary.

    The best thing that can be said now is that the company is funded by private capital which is as it always should have been. The stock is in an extreme short squeeze right now. Eventually that will abate and there will be lots of money lost in the ride down.

  42. Eventually electric cars will rule. How many more hundreds of years will we be able to get hydrocarbons from the Earth? It’s too bad that Telsa did not show us how to make his electric car that ran without a battery.

  43. At the present state of the evolution of electric powered cars (which includes hybrids), the enthusiasm which I perceive represents the sort of thinking which took us about a million years to go from cutting one edge on a rock to two (setting off the Acheulean tool period, i.e our success as a species at single variable processing.

    OK, so you want to wean yourself from fossil fuels. No problemo, you just drive to however many battery swapping stations and change your standardized battery for another one. No worries! Even assuming these battery swapping/charging stations are even half as ubiquitous as gas stations. Costco recently pulled the proverbial plug on its rollout of charging stations, as have several other corporate entities.Ugg! Not good kemosabe……..

    Except that it’s roll-your-own in the wild-wild-west of automotive battery design. I just had to change the battery in my pickup truck, and they gave me the exact correct sized one, but the poles were reversed, I had to take it back for the “r” (poles reversed) version!

    The nice thing about standards is that there are so darned many to choose from!

    And then there is the little matter of just what state the battery you are getting as a replacement is. One with a few charges on its clock, or one with a few too many or a few too many rapid charges.

    No problemo. Call AAA, they might even advertise to replace your battery somewhere deep in say Nevada with the correct one quicksmart! Meaning in a few hours at best.

    I have been keeping close tabs on some truly remarkable advancements in charge acceptance tomography based on nano-holes which rapidly direct charge to where it can be stored quickly. In some reported cases, a cellphone battery can be fully recharged in as little as seconds to minutes.

    Truly revolutionary in electron storage technology that has advanced slower than any other aspect of portable electrical energy in something like a century.

    Work out the kinks in that, figure how to scale it up, standardize battery designs around it, and you will have something. Until we get there, this is nothing more than a silly-buggers game.

    But, but, what about Tesla? Their recently reported profits came from all of us schmucks that contribute nanny-bucks to state and federal programs for redistribution of wealth.

    Bizarre. Simply bizarre.

  44. Dave Wendt says:
    May 28, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    In re the Jaguar “station wagon”. In Britain they’re generally known as “shooting brakes”. I don’t think Jaguar ever made one themselves, but a number of custom coachbuilders offered conversions on various models over the years. They are rare even in Britain and much more so in the U.S. There have been rumors that Jag may offer a Sportbrake version of their new XF model.

    http://www.motorauthority.com/news/1073437_2013-jaguar-xf-sportbrake-leaked-ahead-of-geneva-motor-show

    ===============================================================
    Ding! Ding! Ding! That was it! I saw a white one. Gorgeous car. Thank you, sir.

    And many thanks to others above who weighed in on the Jaguar wagons. I now know they exist and are exceedingly rare, yet the Chevy Volt is tied with the Jag wagon in my neck of the Mid-West, USA. I’ll probably spot a unicorn before I see my next Volt ;o)
    .
    .
    .
    How to boost sales of EVs? I suppose next year we’ll find out that, under ObamaCare, we’ll not only have government mandated insurance, but we’ll be required to buy a Volt when we are forced to sign up for insurance. (sarc? Hard to say at this point. No one knows everything that’s in that bill.)

  45. Don’t kid yourself folks. The money came from the USA. Look at Israel’s annual budget and look at how much the USA gives them in “aid”. Somewhere between 33% and 50%. Do the math and tell me that they could afford anything without it much less a boondoggle like this. My bet is a few people got really rich and the USA taxpayers got shafted … again … still … whatever.

  46. Dave Wendt says:
    May 28, 2013 at 3:29 pm
    “In re the Jaguar “station wagon”. In Britain they’re generally known as “shooting brakes””
    ——————–
    The common term for a UK version of a station wagon is “estate car” although everyone would know what “station wagon” meant from US TV and films.

    Technically a “shooting brake” has 3 doors, not 5 and is a bit sportier but most people would just use the generic term “hatchback” these days.
    It seems that the motoring industry might still use the term “shooting brake” but I don’t think that most British people under about 40 would know what the term meant. I think I last heard it in the wild in about the 1960s. I’m surprised to hear it now outside of a film starring Kenneth More.

  47. the mileage of electric cars is not much different than the 1890s. We have not learnrd much in 120 years.

  48. http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/In-Gear/2013/0528/Will-Better-Place-bankruptcy-affect-Renault-electric-cars

    Will Better Place bankruptcy affect Renault electric cars?


    Renault provided the cars used by BP, its Fluence Z.E. sedan the sole car compatible with BP’s battery-swapping business model.

    According to Reuters though, the Better Place setback shouldn’t have much effect on Renault–not least because the Israeli company’s sales made up only one percent of Renault’s electric volumes.

    That highlights just how few Fluences BP has been able to sell.

    Automotive News Europe quoted Renault’s electric sales earlier this month, with just under 25,000 units sold to date, across Renault’s electric portfolio–the Fluence, the new Zoe, the Twizy and the Kangoo passenger van.

    The Better Place “setback” shouldn’t have much effect on Renault’s EV sales. Looking at the numbers.

    The Solyndra “setback” shouldn’t have had much effect on (name of subsequently bankrupt solar company)’s sales.

    The (name of defunct wind turbine making/selling company or corporate division) “setback” shouldn’t have much effect on (name of remaining company/division)’s sales.

    They shouldn’t have much of an effect by sales volume numbers. They do have tremendous effect on public perception of the embodied concept. Perhaps someday the marketing experts of the “green” economy will acknowledge it.

  49. No wonder they failed. Being unable to park inside the marked parking bay would earn them a hefty fine everytime they stop to “top up” the battery. ;-)

  50. In the US during high peeks of power usage the grid is already on the verge of blackouts. How pray tell are we supposed to charge millions of electric cars under this condition; we can’t! First and foremost we need to produce high concentrations of power before we can even think of electric cars.
    Less than 50 people have died of radiation poisoning from the nuclear power plant Chernobyl disaster and that was the initial fire fighters while countless thousands have died in the oil and gas industry since then.. Chernobyl is now teaming with heathy wildlife and the commonwealth is switching its power generation to weak solar panels and windmills. I smell a rat.

  51. DirkH says:
    May 28, 2013 at 2:29 pm
    “Europeans and probably Israelis as well tend to not have bumper stickers …”
    If you only knew. Israelis are hooked on stickers, not just on bumpers. The saying goes that some cars are only held together by the stickers on them :-)

  52. If driving profile is right and you can afford to replace your car every 4 – 8 years an electric car makes perfect sense. But until battery technology improves dramatically electric cars will remain a specialty niche. Nothing wrong with them but not the common casual vehicle everyone needs around town.

    It is a crying shame but physics is physics and if you commute or have to even semi regularly drive long distances an electric car isn’t the right match. If you do relatively short distances and can either afford to do the full battery replacements or trade the old car in when battery replacement time comes around they can be an excellent match.

  53. The Renault Kangoo [KANGOO?!?] — “The same, but different.” LAUGH-OUT-LOUD — who in the WORLD would want to buy this vehicle??? Is this a real product?!!

    http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Wallace+and+Gromit+car&view=detail&mid=8B6A208D62FE84A31C7E8B6A208D62FE84A31C7E&first=21&FORM=NVPFVR

    ****************

    Yeah, Bernd, I noticed that, too, probably ran out of juice, thus, lost steering as entered the parking space. (eye roll) Those spaces are so tiny, they look like motorcycle parking spaces to me!

  54. TRM says:
    May 28, 2013 at 7:59 pm
    “Don’t kid yourself folks. The money came from the USA”
    No it did not.
    The US aid to Israel nowadays is below 3% of the budget and 95% of it is spent on purchases of US products. So the bottom line is the money stays in the US.
    The only reason Israel does not stop it is political reasons – a lot of Americans make a lot of money out of it.
    There are louder and louder voices in Israel calling for stopping this nonsense.

  55. This was expected from the beginning of the project: It was the new Luft Gesheft of our time.
    Even in a tiny country like Israel you can not rely on a car that has a maximum range of 120 Km and is bound to special stop pits for “refueling”.
    It was a classic “green” hallucination bubble that exploded.
    In my (tiny) town there is one car like that. It is nice and all but it stops here. I cannot imagine having to calculate every minute of the ride where is the next battery exchange pit (there is one 15 km from us – that is a 30km round trip! a quarter of the battery capacity…).
    And to all those who worry about energy independence of Israel – We have massive resources of natural gas which will last for decades.
    The time of the Arab oil is closing to an end.
    The Americans know it best.

  56. Eyal Porat

    If I lived in Israel, I would want a super-reliable, preferably armor-plated, vehicle (with an auxiliary gas tank!)!! And a loaded shotgun within easy reach. Those creepy M—lm ter-o–sts are EVERYWHERE. Do be careful, Mr. Porat. Keep safe, you and your family.

    A Gentile Who Loves the Jews,

    Janice

  57. In another thread I mentioned I had to get a new lawnmower. Well, there’s a lesson there too. I bought a $200 mower, on sale from $250. It’s electric, since my yards together are too small to justify the hassle of storing gas.

    Right beside it at the store was a cordless version. It’s $600. As far as I can tell it’s the exact same lawnmower other than the battery pack. Oh, and a replacement pack is $150. Considering how short the lawn mowing season is in Calgary I’m betting that battery will need to be replaced every year or two.

    I really don’t see a stretch: lawnmowers, cars… same thing. Pay more for a dubious benefit? Yeah, no thanks.

  58. Janice Moore says:
    May 28, 2013 at 10:20 pm
    Hello Janice, Thanks for the kind words and worry, but I am afraid you have some misconceptions about Israel: It is as safe and quiet place as the average country.
    If any, the Europeans should be the ones to worry now ;-).

  59. From CodeTech on May 28, 2013 at 10:51 pm:

    In another thread I mentioned I had to get a new lawnmower. Well, there’s a lesson there too. I bought a $200 mower, on sale from $250. It’s electric, since my yards together are too small to justify the hassle of storing gas.

    Right beside it at the store was a cordless version. It’s $600. As far as I can tell it’s the exact same lawnmower other than the battery pack. Oh, and a replacement pack is $150. Considering how short the lawn mowing season is in Calgary I’m betting that battery will need to be replaced every year or two.

    Wow, do you Canucks just have a really weird exchange rate, or do those Canadian Greens keep the prices high so your wallet feels how great the sacrifice was you made to Save The Planet?

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001DZJYJO/

    Earthwise 60120 20-Inch 24-Volt Cordless Electric Lawn Mower
    List Price: $349.00
    Price: $244.00 & FREE Shipping.
    You Save: $105.00 (30%)

    The easy-in, easy-out battery provides enough power to handle almost any lawn in a single charge.
    Keep the battery inside, it’ll last longer. Replacement is $114, although by a comment it’s actually two batteries you place into the removable battery carrier. Likely you can get cheaper matching batteries at a local electronics shop. Which might be needed as it doesn’t ship outside the US. The mower only goes to the 48 contiguous US states.

    But the similar WORX WG782 14-Inch 24-Volt Cordless Lawn Mower for $249 ships to select non-US countries, its battery is $85. Etc.

    You have choices.

  60. It was an audacious idea that came to symbolize Israel’s self-described status as “Start-Up Nation,” a company that believed it could replace most gasoline-powered cars with electric vehicles and reduce the world’s reliance on oil — and all within a few years.

    Okay, I’ll bite. What do these magic cars use for energy? ( And please don’t say electricity! )

    We stand by the original vision as formulated by Shai Agassi of creating a green alternative that would lessen our dependence on highly polluting transportation technologies,” the company said.

    Perhaps he means relocate the “highly polluting” energy production to a power plant upstream ( and increase net energy use in the process ). I can’t yet find a one-stop chart for Israel electricity production but this one seems to outline fossil fuels as the vast majority ( I am guessing they have zero nuclear plants due to terrorism issues but I might be incorrect ).

    Therefore everything written in that press release is a complete lie – these are not “electric cars”, they are fossil-fuel-powered cars, full stop, period. If we had the death penalty for marketing lies, or at least water-boarding, this nonsense would stop quickly because we would soon run out of advertising executives and marketers.

  61. From CodeTech on May 28, 2013 at 10:51 pm:

    I really don’t see a stretch: lawnmowers, cars… same thing. Pay more for a dubious benefit? Yeah, no thanks.

    The “dubious benefit” in the US is the cursed alcohol gas, the E10 “up to 10% ethanol” gasoline. It’s trashing the lawnmowers, leave any in the tank or the carb between the cutting seasons, and the carb gets corroded, the rubber starts swelling up, going to heck, even though it was supposed to be rated as compatible with the ethanol.

    With people finding out they might only get one or two years out of a mower, getting an electric does make sense, the prices are currently similar. But pulling around the extension cord gets old quick.

    And now I see I can get a handy rechargeable from Amazon for… actually the same to less for a simple gas mower with mulching and bagging options.

    Rechargeables are making sense, they are a practical and prudent purchase, because the government has f**k*d up what always worked before, with the “dubious benefit” making gasoline mowers likely costing more.

    (PS The comment looking at Amazon pricing was at 11:46PM and still awaiting moderation as I posted this.)

  62. LamontT says:
    May 28, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    But what is the resale value of a 4-8 year old electric car needing a new battery versus an instantly useable second hand petrol car?
    I would have thought that the former is pretty much a write-off.

  63. Janice Moore says:
    May 28, 2013 at 10:15 pm

    Okay. Which of the following two vehicles would YOU prefer to own?

    Neither, I’ll keep my 1994 Land Rover Defender thanks very much ;-)

    As an aside, re the ‘station wagon/shooting brake’ discussion, where I live in rural Wiltshire, we tend to use their names, except for ‘proper’ Land Rover owners like me who can simply use Landy.

  64. Had today’s electric car entered into the horse-and-cart market so long ago, they’d be selling like crazy. far greater range and speed of the horse, with none of the mess. Give a damn if it takes all night to charge.

    But it’s all come too late. We’ve been spoiled by the IC engine,which simply works just fine. Electric cars still have too many limitations in their current form. Hydrogen/electric fuel cells sound a better option. Biofuels are stupid, unless you can produce enough ONLY from your own septic or other waste sources.

    Come to think of it – coal and oil are nature’s waste sources..

  65. WUWT’s many commenters usually pride themselves with being pro science and rational thought. Why then this irrational anger towards of the concept of electric cars? Just because “greens” and AGW proponents like them doesn’t make the technology as such worthless. Electric cars – just like like gasoline cars – have their pro’s and con’s.
    Analogous, telephones should be superior to mobile phones, which need inefficient expensive batteries that need to be re-charged all the time. Or, as a Swedish politician argued in the early 1900’s, why waste good money on telephones when we have an exellent postal service.

  66. As long as there is cheap gasoline there will be no electric cars. Read the history books. Electric cars predate gasoline cars. Fleets of taxis in NY were electric. Massive delivery trucks with 2 tons of batteries shipped goods locally. But by the 1920’s the electric car was gone. The same reasons they couldn’t compete with gasoline automobiles are still there.

  67. Per T on May 29, 2013 at 1:25 am
    WUWT’s many commenters usually pride themselves with being pro science and rational thought. Why then this irrational anger towards of the concept of electric cars?”…

    I would love an electric car! But it has to go farther than 40 miles on an 8 hour charge.

    Solve the technical challenges that were there 100 years ago and still here today and I’ll be the first to buy one. Even if the electric is produced by burning coal.

  68. @Per T – It’s not that the technology of electric cars is worthless; far from it in fact – as I recall it, Anthony has one.

    What gets up my nose, and I’m not alone here, is that they are not commercially viable at the moment without a) a huge ‘bung’ from the government to get production up and running, followed by a large subsidy per vehicle to move any off the forecourt. In addition, as things currently (ha!) stand, once you’ve driven the 250 miles or so, you need a fresh battery or a charge. Unless and until the systems have advanced sufficiently for a battery swap to be carried out in minutes (which is likely to present various logistical problems such as commonality of battery, location etc.) or technological advances have provided for (very very) rapid charging without damage to the battery, the disadvantages will more than outweigh the advantages in anything other than niche markets.

    We have discussed the British milk float here before. I drove one (illegally but hey) in the 1970s so electric vehicles have their place. It’s just that it is somewhat limited at the moment. I for one would love to see a viable electric car but it’s likely to be a few years away.

  69. Janice Moore says:
    May 28, 2013 at 10:15 pm

    Okay. Which of the following two vehicles would YOU prefer to own?

    Neither, I’ll keep my 1994 Land Rover Defender thanks very much ;-)”

    I’ll keep my 1959 CJ5 Jeep!

  70. Per T – same here. I’d like one too.

    Just as soon as you can find me one that gets comparable distance from a charge, runs A/C in summer and heat when it’s -30C in winter, can be ready to go in the same minute or two I spend holding the gas nozzle at Esso, doesn’t cost an extra $10k or $20k over what I have now, doesn’t have hundreds of pounds of extremely hazardous material to spray all over in case of a collision, and looks good in metallic colors.

    In other words, at this point the sacrifices needed to have an electric car DO NOT make up for the benefit, which I consider to be dubious at best.

    And kadaka, I’m aware that there ARE cheaper cordless lawnmowers, in fact I seriously did consider a Black & Decker one… but my point is that it was the SAME mower, just in a cordless version.

    As an example, I have a Caliber SRT4 – but I really don’t like Calibers. The base model is a piece of crap. You could get them for under $10,000… but mine was $34k in the showroom. To me, the benefit was anything but dubious. Gobs more power, incredible handling, massive side bolsters on the seats, 9 airbags, massive stereo with sub, custom stitched leather seats, and even decent mileage.

  71. Odd to think that the current range on EV’s is little better than the range on the orginal EV’s form a hundered years ago . But the bottom line is , range , cost charging times are what holds them back for most people care little about what fuels their cars ,their concern is ‘can I get it’ and ‘how much ‘

  72. I admire Israel, they’ve developed some amazing technology in drip irrigation, hydroponics and industrial biotechnology amongst others

    They stole the drip irrigation tech from Steve Wynn (yes, that one, in Vegas who is in the vanguard globally), from the Indians (East) and American scientists at Purdue and NASA for hydroponics, and they did nothing in industrial biotechnology, also known as white biotechnology.

  73. Why then this irrational anger towards of the concept of electric cars?”…

    I would love an electric car! But it has to go farther than 40 miles on an 8 hour charge.

    Solve the technical challenges that were there 100 years ago and still here today and I’ll be the first to buy one. Even if the electric is produced by burning coal.

    You’re funny.

  74. “…if only a way could be found to overcome the limited range of their batteries.”
    There you have fifteen words which sum up the alternative energy farce. We know the drastic limitations, and proceed as if they did not exist. You are supposed to say “whoops” after you have had a stupid idea, not after you have acted on the idea in the full knowledge that it is stupid.

  75. Another coal and oil-fired car company goes belly up. There, that fixed that for you.

    .

  76. goldminor says: May 28, 2013 at 1:52 pm
    Electric cars have a definite place in the future. within the next 100 years or so.
    ____________________________________

    Of course they do. Electric cars are actually fantastic modes of transport. They have endless buckets of torque, they can be 4-wheel variable drive, they are extremely fast, very smooth and quiet, and very light (minus the battery).

    There are only two problems that need solving, before they take over the world of surface transport:

    a. A battery that has at least 10x the current storage density.
    b. An electrical grid running on Thorium power.

    Get those two right, and an electric car would be my first choice.

    .

    • Richard, I am all for ingenuity but it is not able to break the laws of the universe, like the laws of thermodynamics. Clever people have sought “perpetual motion machines” for centuries. They will not happen. Cella is a clever company and they are looking at niche markets like the space applications in your link, but the professor in charge wants to conquer road transport and at that scale, your limitation is energy supply – most particularly if you have the idea it has to be renewable. Then things get really tricky. Maybe we have to wait for thorium power as someone mentioned earlier!

  77. Those who ignore history are bound to repeat it–electric cars predate those powered by the internal combustion engine and even now don’t make as much sense. Autos powered by LENR will be the format of the future.

    Face it, folks, If left alone (without crazy government intervention), the free market will sort it all out.

  78. Why not a CNG option in vehicles so they can be filled at home? For the average suburban commuter this could eliminate the need for gas stations. With the surplus gas available from fracking doesn’t this make more sense than batteries? There is likely much less transmission and storage loss with natural gas than there is with electricity and CNG burns cleaner than gasoline.

  79. Dodgy Geezer says:
    May 28, 2013 at 2:12 pm
    …Electric car is like communism. Everywhere it has tried it has failed…

    No it isn’t. It’s like Capitalism, and everywhere it’s been staggeringly successful.

    Look at the data. Chap gathers some seed capital, goes to a government body and takes millions in subsidies

    Nope. It’s crony capitalism, also known as crapitalism. Although, crony socialism would be just as accurate. The bailouts (both auto and bank) fall into this category as well. The one thing it is NOT is a free market.

  80. Per T says:
    May 29, 2013 at 1:25 am
    Analogous, telephones should be superior to mobile phones
    =============
    the mobile phone equivalent of the electric car:

    One could attach a long extension cord to the electric car and avoid the battery problem. Or governments could require that power companies install high voltage AC power lines under all the main roads and electric cars could automatically recharge as they drive using induced current from the road. This would get rid of the unsightly overhead power-lines at the same time. A win win.

    Enterprising commuters could install batteries in their cars and use these to power their homes. As more “free” charging stations are installed in cities to encourage electric cars, expect more consumers to take advantage of this. Drive your Tesla down to the free charge station, recharge then drive home to keep the house running for the night for free. Next morning drive back to the recharge station. No more monthly surprise from Con-ed.

  81. In Canada there is a joke. We could have had US technology, French cuisine and British culture. Instead we got British food, French technology and US culture. Renault + electric? Really? Talk about the kiss of death.

  82. Not sure why so many AGW sceptics are against electric cars. I don’t give a —– about carbon dioxide emissions, but I would like to have a super-quiet, energy efficient vehicle. It appears to be very possible, even easy, just too expensive.
    The technology situation looks more to me like giant flat screen TVs, where an early commercial version was a 40-inch Philips for $10k in 2002, than like nuclear fusion energy, where an early commercial version lived in the imaginations of science fiction writers of the 1980s.

    Lighen up.

  83. The hell with this electric car nonsense. I’m working on a car that runs on force of will and good intentions. I’m trying to find a way to harness all the energy involved with sitting in this car saying, “I think it’ll work, I think it’ll work, I think it’ll work,” but I haven’t quite gotten there yet. Maybe if I can get some investors…ok, scrap that…try this; coerce some taxpayers to invest, big time, in it well then maybe, “It’ll work, it’ll work, it’ll work.”

  84. KevinM says:
    May 29, 2013 at 7:24 am

    Not sure why so many AGW sceptics are against electric cars.
    That’s easy. We’re not against them per se, just being forced to subsidize them. If they are so great, people should be happy to pay the full market price for them. Guess what, though; even when subsidized, people don’t want them. Funny that.

  85. arthur4563 says:
    May 28, 2013 at 2:21 pm
    Electric cars are intrinsically superior to gas powered jobs in every way, EXCEPT for the high price and slow recharge speed of batteries.
    _______________________________________________
    Price & rapidity of fueling would be two BIG factors in the success of a vehicle, no? Everytime there is a post on WUWT about an EV outfit going belly-up (which is not infrequent). we always get a few fan boys ballyhooing about how great EV’s are in the face of the obvious fact that the EV is not delivering what the car driving public wants. The above statement about the intrynsic superiority of the EV is one of the most ridiculous statements that I’ve ever heard. EV’s are out performed by internal combustion engined cars in every way imagineable. The best an EV can hope for is to approach the performance of an ICE car at greatly reduced utility and much greater cost. To be fair an EV shouldn’t even be lined up against a state of the art ICE car. It’s too cruel of a beat down.

    Arthur has so much faulty info in his original post It all cannot even be addressed. I love how these EV guys hold Tesla up as the gold standard of the EV. The First Tesla kit car roadster was not impressive or practical. I expect close to the same from the over-hyped new model. Tesla is only finacially ‘viable’ due to transfer payments from real car mfr’s and subsidies.

  86. This failed in Israel, a country so small you could drive from one side to the other and back on one charge.

  87. KevinM says:
    May 29, 2013 at 7:24 am
    Not sure why so many AGW sceptics are against electric cars. I don’t give a —– about carbon dioxide emissions, but I would like to have a super-quiet, energy efficient vehicle. It appears to be very possible, even easy, just too expensive.
    The technology situation looks more to me like giant flat screen TVs, where an early commercial version was a 40-inch Philips for $10k in 2002, than like nuclear fusion energy, where an early commercial version lived in the imaginations of science fiction writers of the 1980s.

    Lighen up.

    First of all, we’re not against electric cars. We’re against being forced to pay for expensive toys for the rich.

    Second, who doesn’t want a super-quiets, energy efficient vehicle? Go build one. But it has to be affordable without price supports, subsidies or other tax-payer dollars.

    When flat-screen TVs came out, nobody asked the taxpayer to send a check to Phillips to underwrite the purchase. People bought them of their own free will, with their own money. However, electric cars are nothing like flat-screen TVs because flat-screens worked. Electric cars don’t. The energy density of car batteries is nowhere near the energy density of a gallon of gas.

    Electric cars are a lot like nuclear fusion power plants because nobody has yet to build a practical, successful commercial model. Except people have been working on electric cars for over a century, but commercial nuclear fusion plants have never made it off the drawing board.

    Pull your head out.

  88. HR May 28th 2:15; Richards in Vancouver and others discussing Jaguar:
    Wilcox Limousines (limousines.co.uk) coach-build the Jaguar Hearse and Hearsette.
    Jaguar (jaguar.co.uk) make the XF Sportbrake, a fine estate car (Station Wagon). Wish I could afford one.

  89. EV owners also get to opt out on paying their share of maintenance/improvements of roadways and bridges. Yeah, that’s fair.

  90. ferd berple says:
    May 29, 2013 at 6:40 am
    Per T says:
    May 29, 2013 at 1:25 am
    Analogous, telephones should be superior to mobile phones
    =============
    the mobile phone equivalent of the electric car:

    One could attach a long extension cord to the electric car and avoid the battery problem. Or governments could require that power companies install high voltage AC power lines under all the main roads and electric cars could automatically recharge as they drive using induced current from the road. This would get rid of the unsightly overhead power-lines at the same time. A win win.

    Enterprising commuters could install batteries in their cars and use these to power their homes. As more “free” charging stations are installed in cities to encourage electric cars, expect more consumers to take advantage of this. Drive your Tesla down to the free charge station, recharge then drive home to keep the house running for the night for free. Next morning drive back to the recharge station. No more monthly surprise from Con-ed.

    How to solve the electric car battery problem: Easy! Just get a trailer and tow a generator behind you.

  91. “Israel is such a small, almost landlocked country, that an electric with a driving range of roughly 175 miles is probably all you’ll need. Ditto for Denmark and Hawaii.”

    Ever cross the Negev Desert in summer without AC? Or take a run across Jutland in winter without heating? Or drive up a Hawaii volcano?

  92. From CodeTech on May 29, 2013 at 2:41 am:

    And kadaka, I’m aware that there ARE cheaper cordless lawnmowers, in fact I seriously did consider a Black & Decker one… but my point is that it was the SAME mower, just in a cordless version.

    As an example, I have a Caliber SRT4 – but I really don’t like Calibers. The base model is a piece of crap. You could get them for under $10,000… but mine was $34k in the showroom. (…)

    Some day I should get a better sleep pattern than “upright until falling over”, might improve my late night commenting.

    But by mere exterior appearance, would you know the powertrain on your SRT4 is different than a base Dodge Caliber?

    It’s tricky enough getting an electric motor that competes with gasoline, electric “cheats” on the HP and torque by having much higher motor RPM’s then gearing it down to output range. You couldn’t do direct blade-on-motor shaft like on a gas lawnmower, without a much heavier extension cord going to a commercial-grade locking connector, the amperage needed would be much higher.

    For trying to make do with the trickles from a battery, under the cowling it could be like a Dyson vacuum, DC servo motor with variable frequency control, all dedicated to not using a single erg more than necessary.

    And that costs money. $600 is on the high side, but could be justifiable with a good lithium or metal hydride battery.

    Not that I’d ever spend that much, of course. I’ve seen the DIY examples of putting a battery and inverter on a used plug-in electric, cheap enough to do, I was considering it. Now the rechargables, using common-enough batteries freely available, are at attractive prices, down to on par with gasoline models. So why not?

  93. In other news from the dying electric car field, the mostly moribund Fisker Karma may be rescued from the ash heap in a quite ironic manner. Bob Lutz, former big time Detroit executive including a stint as the head of GM, is now a principal in a company that offers Karma owners drivetrain conversions from the eco-friendly Fisker setup to a supercharged V-8 from a Cadillac CTS-V, which is a detuned version of the LS-9 that powers the Corvette ZR-1. The “start-up” has reportedly been swamped with orders for the “Destino” and Lutz is now rumored to be in negotiations to acquire the remains of the bankrupt Fisker, presumably to ensure on ongoing supply of rolling chassis for his conversion operation, although they could probably go for quite a while buying up slightly used Karmas from owners who fear keeping highly complicated autos when no company remains to address any problems that might arise.

  94. Tesla only sells a car because of massive subsidies. 0s of thousands of $s per car. Put it into a capitalist market and it will be bust within a week.

  95. tty says:

    May 29, 2013 at 12:40 pm
    “Israel is such a small, almost landlocked country, that an electric with a driving range of roughly 175 miles is probably all you’ll need. Ditto for Denmark and Hawaii.”

    The problem is that you would never get anywhere near 175miles even 175Kms would be a problem and then you have to find a charging point in the desert and sit in the 100° sun for 6 hrs.

    THEY ARE CRAP !!!! only idoits and californians buy electric cars.

  96. One of the many bewildering things about press coverage of these issues, is that when ‘low carbon cars’, or ‘zero carbon cars’, or ‘clean electric cars’ are discussed, there is very rarely any mention of the question of where the electricity comes from in the first place. The question is obvious and important to readers and contributors here, but in the MSM it is rarely raised.

    The Daily Telegraph (28th May 2013, B8) business section has another slightly different example. The article is called ‘fuelling the dream of clean cars’. It is about a company called Cella Energy, which is trying to develop technologies to allow cars to run on hydrogen. The article starts:

    “In less than five years, your new car could be powered by a high-pressure tank of hydrogen rather than petrol.

    This is what the big carmakers are driving at as they seek to produce vehicles with low or no carbon emissions…”

    Later in the article we are told:

    “The company’s early fundraising efforts were helped by winning Shell’s Springboard award for low carbon business ideas”.

    All of which is fine, and interesting, and perhaps the technology has a future.

    But, But – there is no consideration given, anywhere in the article (and it is quite a long article, by Amy Wilson), to the question of where the hydrogen is going to come from.

    Blade above, in relation to the ‘Better Place’ car, refers to ‘relocating the “highly polluting” energy production to a power plant upstream ( and increasing net energy use in the process)’. The ‘clean hydrogen’ car is just another example of this. These things are not difficult to understand or to express. Why are they almost never discussed or raised in the mainstream media?

  97. Electric cars is a fine idea, with some improvements, of course.

    1. You need a backup gasoline engine to charge batteries, range can be improved greatly this way.
    2. Find a way to power wheels directly from gasoline engine when it is on to decrease conversion losses.
    3. Decrease battery size to save weight. One for startup, headlights, music and such is quite sufficient.
    4. Get rid of electric motors, dead weight in this config anyway.

    There, fixed.

  98. I’ve now seen Better Place called an electric car company and a battery company. as a
    headline for this story. It is neither, but then again, there really isn’t name for this type of company and, considering its fate, I don’t think we need to make up one.

  99. Bruce Cobb [May 29, 2013 at 9:08 am] says:

    EV owners also get to opt out on paying their share of maintenance/improvements of roadways and bridges. Yeah, that’s fair.

    Very good point. I have read some articles lately where governments are considering applying a direct tax on these greenies to cover that little oversight. Naturally the greenies are apoplectic, stunned and offended. But such a response from them is understandable because most of them (not Anthony of course) are dumb enough to believe that the price of a gallon of gas gets sent to the big oil companies to line their overflowing wallets, when in fact only a small part of the cost of a gallon of gas goes there. Ah well, these are the same people who believe they are using “Electric” cars in the first place and that electricity grows on trees, or well, magically comes out of wall sockets.

    One other bad thing about so-called “Electric” cars is often cited as a positive. It is something that is seldom discussed, and never in the context of a negative. That bad thing is the fact that they are quiet. Yes, I said it. You see, coming from urban NYC and later rural upstate, I can tell you that we have the sound of a car and its engine and other assorted racket built-in to our daily ambient audio consumption. Whether crossing a Manhattan street or a lonely upstate road it is instinctual to listen without realizing it and this is automatic process is now a Darwinian attribute separating the wheat from the chaff.

    The point is this … Considering that the entire purpose of green technology is lower CO2 emissions to thwart some far-off future with rising seas and thermometers which will presumably lead to some hypothetical dead person who wouldn’t be dead if we would just turn the civilized world upside down and de-industrialize. So let’s say they’re right and some hypothetical future death would be prevented (even ignoring the offset of new deaths from cold for the sake of argument).

    The logical problem is that there will be guaranteed current deaths tossed onto the altar of greenism by simply using the “Electric” car alternative. Inattentive children and hard-of-hearing people will be first to go as they merrily cross a road while a sleek and quiet “Electric” car takes them out like grazing deer. And speaking of deer there will even more cases of them being hit by these cars also with an associated increase of driver deaths. This is not hypothetical at all. We’ve all had close calls already on golf courses, or from a quiet auto or bus (compared to the normal louder ones) or from a bicycle or any number of things that suddenly appear in our path (cue the bus scene from Final Destination). Our ability to listen is a prime line of defense we take for granted.

    I’ve thought about this a lot and every time I am in traffic it gets reinforced. For those that pooh-pooh such a problem, answer me this … Would you drive or walk the streets today wearing your iPod? Or having the car radio too loud? Would you expect a problem if your kids did it? It is already happening today with our existing loud cars by careless people doing exactly those things and we chalk that up to social Darwinism. The point is that with quiet “Electric” cars the iPod or headphones are a moot point. Now here’s the really harsh question about a world full of quiet “Electric” vehicles … Just how many dead kids would it take to consider this a problem? How many can be safely sacrificed before one does a cost-benefit analysis?

    Personally I would expect a technological solution probably along the lines of equipping them with artificial sound (sorry, no more quiet cars) or in the future automatic sounds created in response to proximity radar alerts ( this is kinda like doping gas with a smell so that we can detect a leak, which we do today ). What bothers me is that so many people immediately chalk the quietness up as a positive rather than a guaranteed negative.

    Now to those that immediately launch into the “everyone here is against electric cars blah blah”, it is not so. There are fine uses for anything and I believe in the right tool for the job. So don’t shoot the messenger here, just ponder the question. If guaranteed deaths are acceptable in the name of progress then be honest enough to take the phony green arguments of preventing future deaths right off the table.

  100. Where is Tesla’s car: In 1936, in front of hundreds of press, authorities Tesla had a 75hp “electric” motor installed in a car – went to the corner hardware store and bought some vaccumn tubes, wires and electrial parts – assembled them in a shoebox size container – placed it on the front seat – ran two wires through the firewall to the box – attached the wires to two small metal rods protruding – pushed them down and said “now we have power”. He ran the car for a week at up to 90mph on “nothing” but that box. Tesla said the power came from the sun and the magnetic field of the earth – day or night this small box can run your car or house, near forever on this free power. The press, under pressure from its owners, Standard Oil/Rockefeller and other “affected” electrical and car company’s, wrote that Tesla was in league with the devil, that it was all a hoax. Tesla took his invention or discovery and retired it into his files – which are locked up by the Government to this day.

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