Even China can't jump-start the electric car


China’s Electric Vehicle Policy Not Turning Over

November 6, 2014

By Robert O’Neill

Toward the end of the past decade, China set itself an ambitious goal: to dramatically ramp up its electric vehicle production and surpass the rest of the world’s automobile industries in this important new market. It was a policy intended to play a crucial role in the country’s economic development and long-term energy strategy and in solving some of its important environmental and health problems.

“Examining the Chinese effort to develop an electric vehicle market offers a window into the country’s economics and politics as it confronts these three challenges,” write Henry Lee, senior lecturer in public policy and Jaidah Family Director of the Environment and Natural Resources Program at Harvard Kennedy School, and his coauthors, Sabrina Howell and Adam Heal, both research associates at the Kennedy School, in “Leapfrogging or Stalling Out? Electric Vehicles in China.”


The Chinese government’s goals were to have 500,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2011 (accounting for 5 percent of total vehicle sales) and 5 million on the road by 2020. But, as the authors point out, “in mid-2013, China had only about 40,000 electric vehicles on the road, more than 80 percent of which were in public fleet vehicles, such as taxis and buses.”


While China’s program has been primarily driven by a desire to build globally competitive electric vehicles, air pollution, especially in the cities, has become a national imperative. Yet, if coal-fired power is used to meet electric vehicle electricity demand, the absence of tail pipe emissions will likely be entirely offset by incremental power generation.

Source: http://www.hks.harvard.edu/news-events/news/articles/electric-vehicle-policy

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Peter Miller
November 10, 2014 11:06 am

Imagine a world full of short range, battery powered, cars all fuelled by unreliable, expensive wind and solar power.
Something to wish on your enemies and not yourself.

Reply to  Peter Miller
November 10, 2014 11:54 am

Eat beans, hot air, car moves.

Reply to  ConTrari
November 10, 2014 11:58 am

No no; eat beans, wind, bird shredder turns, car moves.
Or perhaps not.

Reply to  ConTrari
November 10, 2014 12:08 pm

I admit I am not moved by those comments.

Bryan A
Reply to  ConTrari
November 10, 2014 12:24 pm

Open floor, run on road, Meet the Flintstones

Reply to  Peter Miller
November 10, 2014 12:30 pm

I’d rather it would be via electricity generated by a large number of these which thoroughly burn transuranic waste from the horribly inefficient (<1% energy recovery from U) light water systems currently in use :
Those along with a large number of Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors, something the Chinese are working very seriously on. The very cheap energy would make it possible synthesize liquid fuels as needed.

Global cooling
Reply to  Winston
November 10, 2014 1:12 pm

Those along with a large number of Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors, something the Chinese are working very seriously on. The very cheap energy would make it possible synthesize liquid fuels as needed.

We need liquid hydrocarbons for transportation and their synthezis is an issue of costs. With cheap nuclear we can do that and of course use nuclear elsewhere. Hybrids can be used to improve the energy efficiency if needed.

Reply to  Winston
November 10, 2014 6:23 pm

cant use nuclear, it is too SAFE, too reliable, and costs nowhere near enough………..the irrational fear of “radiation” is deeply instilled in the general population……….i get called all sorts of names for pointing out sunlight is “radiation”…….there is also a reactor design that uses the present “waste” as fuel and can be used to desalinate water as a by product.

Bro. Steve
Reply to  Winston
November 11, 2014 9:42 am

Good idea, Winston! It’ll be too cheap to meter.

Brian H
Reply to  Peter Miller
November 11, 2014 8:05 am

There’s a world-beating EV company in, of all places, Fremont CA. Tesla Motors makes a 200+ mi range premium sedan, and can’t keep up with orders. It just transitioned to a Dual-Motor version, including the world’s fastest 0-60 sedan (top 155 mph), with almost as much storage space as a minivan, seating 5+2 (counting optional jumpseats). A true crossover will make it to market next year, about 10% larger and pricier. A year or so later, a mid-market 5 seater will debut, also 200+ mi range.
Sells in US, Can, EU, and opened in China, Japan, Aus. this year. 50% growth per annum projected for at least 5 yrs.
Building a $5Bn mixed vehicle & static storage battery factory next door in Nev. in conjunction with Panasonic, its current supplier of component cells. Will DOUBLE world LiIon annual capacity.
No promotion or advertising. Word-of-mouth owner recommendations. Motor Trend 2013 Car of the Year, the only one to get unanimous #1 votes by all its 11 judges. ConsRpts, best and safest car EVER.
Sister company to SpaceX, 5 human capable spacecraft (Dragon) dockings with ISS so far, 11 more contracted for near future. Full return capacity. ¼-½ the cost of any competitor, even the Chinese, per launch. Developing re-usable launch vehicles to cut cost to orbit by ~100X.
Tesla. TSLA, stock up from June ’10 IPO at ~$17 to current $241. Repaid 10-yr gov’t $450M R&D loan in 6 months.
You were saying?

Brian H
Reply to  Brian H
November 11, 2014 8:15 am

corr: 7-person-capable spacecraft, currently doing cargo launch and return duty, contract for 40% of human passenger flights starting in a year or two, with Boeing attempting (at about twice the price) to do the other 60%. Dragon V2 designed for vertical soft-landing on landing pad, Boeing landing using airbags in desert.

Reply to  Brian H
November 11, 2014 8:48 am

google elon musk rent seeker

Dodgy Geezer
Reply to  Brian H
November 11, 2014 9:27 am

Tesla range? In winter?

Brian H
Reply to  Brian H
November 11, 2014 10:20 am

Currently the ONLY way to return cargo intact from the ISS. The cost per person will drop 75% vs current Russian charges for transit. Probably even the Russians will rent seats.
Musk plans to eventually build huge launch vehicles, all as reusable as jetliners, for populating Mars, and intends to retire there.
His motto is determine if success is an option, then work from first principles (vs current ‘consensus’). He figures the best way to avoid species extinction at the hands of a statistically inevitable global catastrophe is not be eggs in a single planetary basket!

Brian H
Reply to  Brian H
November 11, 2014 10:22 am

Depends on the winter, but about 60% in severe conditions. About 80% otherwise.

Reply to  Brian H
November 11, 2014 10:47 am

Tesla can’t keep up with the orders, because the manufacturing process was designed that way. It’s not because they’re seeing a major boom. While 2013 saw a major increase over 2012, 2014 sales for the model S were down by several thousand.
Tesla is still a niche car maker and they will remain so until they can adapt to include the broader market that is looking for a great car that can get a good range and won’t cost more than $60,000 to do it. This is how Mercedes, BMW, Audi, and Lexus have all maintained their status.

Reply to  Brian H
November 11, 2014 11:03 am

At $100,000, the Tesla sedan is a joke when I can buy a Honda Fit for $20,000 and run it on a pittence in ANY weather for 20 years!
By any measure that matters to the consumer, the Tesla is nothing but glamorous waste.

Andrew Russell
Reply to  Brian H
November 12, 2014 12:33 pm

Brian H: Is Tesla paying to post this PR nonsense? The Tesla S is a toy car for rich liberals. With a tiny, tiny, TINY sales level – and that only propped up by massive subsidies from those who pay taxes. Tesla will go the way of the dodo when those subsidies dry up.

Reply to  Brian H
November 13, 2014 6:09 pm

I would be saying that the Tesla is a nice $70,000 toy with limited range and fueled very inefficiently with electricity generated from fossil fuels. If you like expensive toys, buy one.

November 10, 2014 11:10 am

I had just looked this up a few days ago for Germany for 2013:
2.95 million new registrations/lincenses — 4260 electric cars. That is 0.001%
As Prof Muller of BEST fame had said a few years ago in his Physics for Future Presidents lecture series, the electric car is dead (for technical reasons).
Why didn’t the president listen to him?

Reply to  Matt
November 10, 2014 11:38 am

I think you mean 0.1%

Reply to  PhilCP
November 10, 2014 12:42 pm

That’s nearly the same.

Evan Jones
Reply to  PhilCP
November 10, 2014 3:50 pm

For all practical purposes, yes.

Curious George
Reply to  Matt
November 10, 2014 11:52 am

Because he listens to John Holdren of Simon-Ehrlich wager fame.

Reply to  Matt
November 10, 2014 2:09 pm

Oh ye doomsayers of little faith. Very, very soon the world’s climatologists will come up with a much better battery than Henry Ford was plonking in the Model T. These people have lots of university degrees. Just yo’all wait and see.

Les Fancis
Reply to  observa
November 11, 2014 5:13 am

Lots and lots and lots of people with lots of university degrees having been trying for over 100 years to come up with a battery better than Henry Ford used. The reality is that private companies come up with the practical economically feasible innovations.
The other reality is that these learned people have only come up with innovations of the original designs – not some wonderful new technological breakthrough cell.
For many years I have been seeing press reports announcing some academics have discovered the “Breakthrough” in electrical storage. Never yet seen one that’s been economically or practical for every day use. What was the last one we saw here? The organic battery?
The vast majority of the millions of cells and batteries produced world wide are still the old lead acid design.
Yo’all can wait and see but don’t hold your breath waiting.

Reply to  observa
November 11, 2014 9:30 am

The Lead-Acid battery is dirt cheap and extremely durable. For the purposes of starting cars, it does the job without issues. It’s heavy and has a horrible power density, but it can take abusive charging practices in stride. That’s is why it survives.
Other batteries need more delicate recharging cycles and are more expensive. They have much, much higher power density compared to lead-acid, which is what makes portable electronics possible. Electric cars will increase in marketshare as battery technology improves, but they will always lag behind hybrids. Hydrocarbons have ridiculous energy density compared to batteries. Hybrids trade zero emissions for the extremely efficient burning of hydrocarbons or similar fuels like methanol, and the technology is proven.

Brian H
Reply to  Matt
November 11, 2014 10:29 am

Muller is indeed infamous for BEST. Ask Anth**y about his bona fides and competence.
And you do NOT want to stand too close to those this president listens to. Unless you can listen The Chicago Way.

November 10, 2014 11:15 am

Create an electric car with a range of 600 km and full recharge time of five minutes that costs 15000 euros new and i’ll be the first to buy one.

Reply to  Hans Erren
November 10, 2014 11:33 am

Hans, you left out “… and replacement batteries that cost 150 euros…”

James Bull
Reply to  H.R.
November 10, 2014 10:17 pm

We have little electric vehicles for the techs to run around on site in that have a small diesel tank on them… to hold the fuel for the cab heater. It made me laugh at the way they had overcome the problem of saving the battery life in cold weather.
James Bull

Reply to  H.R.
November 11, 2014 11:00 am

It’s worth noting that ICE cars are becoming so efficient that they have a hard time generating enough waste heat to warm the interior in the winter. I believe some diesel cars now have electric heaters for that reason.
Even our mid-2000s Civic will cool down when idling at a stop light at 30 below zero. The Buick it replaced, with a 20mpg V6, had no such problem.

Reply to  H.R.
November 14, 2014 10:40 pm

Has Warren Buffet seen the future? The rabbit beats on…

Reply to  Hans Erren
November 10, 2014 11:45 am

The battery life, range and recharge time as well as the performance in cold weather is the problem for electric cars. And the cost of the battery, of course. Everything else has been solved for almost a century.
Yet battery performance is a technology about which I am actually pessimistic, with respect to significant further progress.
Chemical energy is constrained by the nature of the available elements. You won’t find much more electropositive than Lithium; Li is at the top-left of the periodic table. There must be a physical limit to the electrical charge / weight that is possible with chemical batteries.
Mini-fusion reactors seem more realistic to me.

Reply to  MCourtney
November 10, 2014 3:05 pm

This a rare thread that talks reason. Most people who propagate “green” never get this, no reasonable arguments in some newspaper comments, or almost none.

Reply to  MCourtney
November 10, 2014 3:42 pm

yup. people often say when its -10 F here or worse that electric will be fine because it heats up faster. supposedly I am supposed to leave it plugged into an outlet with cord covered by snow while warming up.
screw that.
keeping windows themselves clear would be enough of a drain let alone full cabin heat.

Evan Jones
Reply to  MCourtney
November 10, 2014 3:53 pm

The story is that Ford hired Edison to develop a battery that could be used in a car. Edison reported great success: he found at least 50 ways not to make a battery.

Reply to  MCourtney
November 10, 2014 5:33 pm

As in the Mr Fusion device in “Back to the Future” – I want one too 😉

Reply to  MCourtney
November 11, 2014 5:58 am

Others have said it — using a battery for “heat” — defroster, cabin heat, etc, is quick death for any battery. Heat from electricity (even an unlimited supply from a public utility) is inefficient. But try that from a battery, and it’s an abhorrent practice. Same goes for running an air-conditioner compressor from a battery.
OK, maybe a battery-car might marginally work for short distances in a perfect, year-round 70F climate, wherever that is. Assuming, of course, the battery-replacement costs are reasonable (yeah, right).

Reply to  Hans Erren
November 10, 2014 1:31 pm

What you don’t care how much the fast re-charge costs?

Reply to  Hans Erren
November 10, 2014 2:29 pm

Hans, Unless you are a teen, you will never drive an electric car with your reasonable criteria

Reply to  Hans Erren
November 11, 2014 3:09 am

You mean – “Create an electric car with a range of 600 km when I have the heater and demister full on, and its -10oc outside.”
Now that would be a useful car.

Brian H
Reply to  ralfellis
November 11, 2014 8:26 am

See my description of the Tesla, above. Currently top model seats 5+2, 425 km range, 3.2 sec 0-100 kph., top speed 260 kph, etc. No print or TV adverts, can’t keep up with orders. Consumer Reports highest customer satisfaction & safety — and best car ever made.

Reply to  ralfellis
November 11, 2014 8:30 am

Yeah, but I am driving to the south of France next week – so how many days would it take me in a Tesla?
And you did not address my other point – how many days would it take me, with the heater and demister on full blast? The Tesla may be fine for California, but hopeless in Canada.

Brian H
Reply to  ralfellis
November 11, 2014 10:44 am

you make no sense. To the south of France from Canada?
The car uses electric heat, but once moving this is not a serious problem. Range loss is not far off what a gas car experiences.
Hybrids are a complex joke. Two half-vast propulsion systems. The $150K i8 is a dog once its feeble 30 mi electric range is exhausted. And the new Tesla P85D beats it by a full second 0-60. And seats 5+2, not 2+2. And carries all their luggage easily.
The i8 putt-putts along on a 3-cylinder engine for the bulk of its ~300 mile range. Bow-Wow!

Reply to  ralfellis
November 13, 2014 8:11 am

>>The car uses electric heat, but once moving this is not a
>>serious problem. Range loss is not far off what a gas car
A petrol car experiences NO losses from the heating system, which uses waste engine heat. A couple of watts for the blower, perhaps.
Conversely, an electric motor is so efficient, there is precious little waste heat, and the heating must come from the battery.
So come on Tesla – what is the range of your car when the temp is -10, and all the heating is on.

Stephen Richards
November 10, 2014 11:38 am

Hans Erren
November 10, 2014 at 11:15 am
I drive from SW france to the coast of N France (Calais), in my Mercedes Break, fully loaded with rubbish and still have 200km left in the tank. That’s 1000 kms. Nothing else will do.
I also want a 5 min charge and a battery that lasts as long as my diesel engine (800.000 kms). No, I’m sorry, but E- vehicules are useless and will always be useless.

Dave Mendrek
Reply to  Stephen Richards
November 10, 2014 11:59 am

Useless? I find them great for playing a round of golf.

Power Grab
Reply to  Dave Mendrek
November 11, 2014 12:40 pm

I was just thinking that. They would be fine for use as a golf cart. Perfect, in fact.
But, considering I’m not a member of the golfing population, I won’t be interested in buying one.
I’m thinking that we should not allow people who do NOTHING but play golf to have control of powerful machinery…or politics. Their world view is warped and impractical.
Am I right, or am I right? 😉

Eamon Butler
Reply to  Dave Mendrek
November 11, 2014 5:59 pm

Very Green friendly!

Reply to  Stephen Richards
November 10, 2014 4:55 pm

They’re actually not a bad choice for some city-drivers. I doubt they’ll move beyond that niche in the foreseeable future, though.

November 10, 2014 11:42 am

This is not China’s fault, or Murica’s fault, or Engerland’s fault, or the Koch brother’s fault – or even France’s fault (though just about anything you can think of is France’s fault). The failure of the electric car, like the failure of many other great environmentally “friendly” ideas – is the fault of one truly nefarious worldwide organization…
[hulu id=4nx2c2vjmporbqs2vu4maq width=512]

November 10, 2014 11:46 am

“…important new market.” Huh? At the Studebaker Museum in South Bend, Indiana it seems to me I saw an electric car. If I remember correctly it was built in 1911. Sorry, but something that has not been able to deliver for, oh, about 103 years is not something I’d consider new.

Reply to  Tom J
November 10, 2014 1:07 pm

Some of the very first speed records were set with electric cars. Even Wikipedia has info on this.

William Hudson
Reply to  Brute
November 11, 2014 1:38 am

I believe that the man with the red flag preceding the car was actually required to run during these speed record attempts.

November 10, 2014 11:53 am

Electric cars are excellent for short range urban travel. Unfortunately the cost to acquire overshadows the cost to run…..for now.

Reply to  markl
November 10, 2014 1:35 pm

Define excellent please

Reply to  cnxtim
November 10, 2014 1:56 pm

“Excellent” when compared to gasoline powered cars because they have more usable torque (acceleration & load capability), quieter, smoother, less complex (reduced maintenance), and can have more interior space (even with battery). Give them more time. Today they are like the model T in terms of life span.

Reply to  cnxtim
November 10, 2014 6:42 pm

Have you ever actually owned an electric vehicle? If so, you might change your mind about “simple”.
Even disregarding complex stuff like the energy recovery systems – electric motors require a honking big magnet. These get damaged in all sorts of interesting ways which existing repair shops will have no idea whatsoever to replace. Electrical issues are also a big killer: wiring systems in cars, especially over time, are highly vulnerable to corrosion as well as sheer aging of insulators.
I’ve experienced all of these issues with my scooter.
Ultimately the only way to achieve higher efficiency is to return to the soda can cars of the 1970s: very light.

Mike McMillan
Reply to  cnxtim
November 11, 2014 1:17 am

From tee to green.

Reply to  cnxtim
November 13, 2014 8:24 pm

Ah come on. Electric vehicles have a place. In tiny resorts. Like golf resorts where people drive them from house to course, around the course and back again. I haven’t been to Zermat since the late 60’s but they only had electric vehicles, self relocation and horse drawn vehicles way back then. Totally appropriate.
Not appropriate for those of us out on the farm cutting hay or driving 30 minutes to the nearest town at 20 below for supplies. LOL at trying to imagine an electric tractor ….

Vince Causey
November 10, 2014 11:56 am

People aren’t buying them? I wonder why?
Could it be that they cost twice as much as a similar petrol powered model? Surely not, think of all those savings on not having to buy petrol ever again.
Could it then be that you only get 100 miles to a full battery and it takes hours to recharge? Surely not, they promised us battery swap stations, where you just drive onto a hydraulic ramp while they hoist you up, and replace your battery in 20 minutes.
Could it be then that your battery which you paid $15,000 for might only last 7 years? Surely not, you can now pay for battery leasing separate for as little as $250 pm.
So why not takers? I just don’t understand it.

stan stendera
Reply to  Vince Causey
November 10, 2014 3:28 pm

Because they suck.

November 10, 2014 11:56 am

” Chinese government’s goals were to have 500,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2011 ”
The trick is to not only have them on the road, BUT to have them MOVING with people in them and to do this at a TCO investment that makes sense.
Unlike “the land of fruit and nuts” the Chinese home market is not awash with Chardonnay sipping greenuts who will fall for a feel good spin doctors pitch..
Still, they could always give themselves a cloak of resectability and purloin a great electronic hero’s name..Faraday or Marconi HEY Nikola , NIKKY perhaps?…

November 10, 2014 12:00 pm

The electric car is by its nature a short-range vehicle. Running around town– OK. Problem is, when you buy a car you’re not usually thinking of just back and forth between home and work, and church on Sunday. You want a car that can go on the road on a long trip and NOT take half an hour to 45 minutes for a “quick recharge” every 70 to 100 miles or so. Battery life still kinda stinks. Until they get that worked out, the electric car is still going to be the “po relations” to the standard internal-combustion car.

Reply to  mjmsprt40
November 10, 2014 12:34 pm

I would consider buying a second electric car with a 50 km range to go to the grocery store, visit the bank, and go run short errands. But it needs to cost no more than say $15000. Do they sell something like that?

Reply to  Fernando Leanme
November 10, 2014 12:55 pm

Not so you’d notice. Most of the ones I see have MSRPs in the luxury-car range. That’ll keep them out of Joe Lunchbucket’s garage for a long time.
I saw a You-Tube video yesterday about a guy converting his pickup truck to electric. Looked good until you saw the battery bank take up more than half of the payload space in the cargo-box— then you realized this thing was just a toy and not a realistic working vehicle. Funny thing is, I could see electric coming into its own in a fleet of work-trucks doing handyman type work around town. But not if all the room for tools and supplies is taken up by a huge bank of batteries.

David in Texas
Reply to  Fernando Leanme
November 10, 2014 1:06 pm

I saw a used mini-segway on eBay for about $1,800.

Reply to  Fernando Leanme
November 10, 2014 1:19 pm

Nissan’s Leaf is 100% electric has 150-200 km range but costs ~$28000 (USA).

Reply to  Fernando Leanme
November 10, 2014 6:45 pm

A regular segway’s range is a maximum of 25 miles – that assumes you are on perfectly level ground, weight 170 pounds or less, and there’s no wind. Quite fine for grocery shopping in a city, but not so fine if you have kids, need to transport more than just yourself, and is right out for moving furniture 🙂

Mario Lento
Reply to  Fernando Leanme
November 10, 2014 10:14 pm

Segways are illegal in SF.

Reply to  Fernando Leanme
November 11, 2014 5:23 am

Really? Then they must be arresting boatloads of tourists. There are multiple Segway based tour groups on the streets in the tourist areas.
Most personal electric vehicles are electric bicycle and Gopeds.

Reply to  Fernando Leanme
November 11, 2014 11:04 am

Bingo. Last I looked, you could buy three Civics for the cost of a Tesla. And the Civic can drive about 400 miles on a ‘charge’ and ‘recharge’ in less than five minutes.

Reply to  mjmsprt40
November 10, 2014 1:12 pm

Yep. That’s the point. They are luxury items that you might consider buying once you already own the vehicles you actually need. Musk is producing some brilliant cars already if you happen to be a billionaire. Same goes for electric motorcycles.

Reply to  Brute
November 10, 2014 5:02 pm

Same with Tesla.

Reply to  Brute
November 10, 2014 6:47 pm

Actually, electric motorcycles aren’t bad. The cabin heating issue obviously isn’t a concern, and the light weight means much less structural load to have to drive with even more mass of battery. You can get very usable ranges with an electric motorcycle although the charging issue remains.
And, of course, you’re driving a motorcycle – otherwise known as the organ donor harvester.

Reply to  Brute
November 11, 2014 6:07 am

Musk is producing some brillian cars already if you include federal subsidies in the business model.

November 10, 2014 12:02 pm

How about the Baker Electric Car from – 1899 to 1914. Welcome to the electric car, 115 years of not meeting everyday needs and counting.

Reply to  RHS
November 10, 2014 12:25 pm

Thanks for reminding me that the electric car goes back to the 19th century. Some say it goes back to 1835, and it’s still not popular for some reason.

Reply to  RHS
November 10, 2014 1:24 pm

My grandmother drove a Baker Electric. Apparently one sweet ride. When Granddad switched to a gasoline powered car for longer trips, she gave up driving and never drove again.
Mileage was an issue then as now.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
Reply to  RHS
November 10, 2014 1:52 pm

In that era, electric cars were for ladies. The chores involved in starting a gasoline-powered car at the time were dirty and physically demanding. Even the low-compression 4 cylinder engines took a good deal of strength to start, and the Ford Model T was famous for breaking wrists if they backfired when being hand-cranked.
Electric cars were simple and clean by comparison; just get in, switch it on, and go. It was either that, or ladies hired a driver to operate and maintain a motor vehicle for their use.
The adoption of the electric starter eliminated the major barrier to independent ladies driving themselves around, and thus ended much of the attraction of electric cars.

Reply to  Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
November 10, 2014 2:50 pm

That about sums up my grandmother’s case, Mr. Watt. The hand crank side-lined Grandma. Granddad traded in the Model-T for a 1925 Chevy and kept that for 28 years. I believe it was too hard for her to steer the Chevy and I was led to believe that using a clutch was very off-putting to the ladies. By the time he got his last car, a ’53 Chevy with a PowerGlide transmission, my grandmother was too nervous about driving to take it up again.
I’d love to have a Baker Electric, just for the nostalgia value. But I’ll probably have to settle for this.

Johannes Herbst
Reply to  Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
November 10, 2014 2:51 pm

You are a sexist. Women can do everything the same as men….

stan stendera
Reply to  Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
November 10, 2014 3:32 pm

Except sire children.

Reply to  Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
November 11, 2014 12:21 pm

“Johannes Herbst November 10, 2014 at 2:51 pm
You are a sexist. Women can do everything the same as men….”
Good one. Thanks for maintaining your sense of humor.

Reply to  Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
November 11, 2014 12:29 pm

He has a German name. Cultural differences and language may easily lead him to miss the tone.
They took that Austrian Charlie Chaplin impersonator seriously too.

November 10, 2014 12:08 pm

Air pollution in China – how much of it is caused by coal-fired plants, and how much from other sources? Do the Chinese coal-fired plants have the environmental controls that the western-world plants have? (If not, the next very simple step is to fit them).
[OK, I should look these things up for myself, but it takes time and maybe someone here knows the answer and can save me the time.]

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
Reply to  Mike Jonas
November 10, 2014 1:56 pm

Depends on location, but in Beijing, quite a lot. To prepare for the APEC meeting this week, the government closed a bunch of factories and sent workers on vacation. With factories not running, power plants not operating to supply factories with power, and people not clogging up the transportation systems, the air cleans up a lot. My wife was in Beijing the previous week when the measures were enacted and reported a dramatic improvement in the air quality.

November 10, 2014 12:10 pm

Yet, if coal-fired power is used to meet electric vehicle electricity demand, the absence of tail pipe emissions will likely be entirely offset by incremental power generation.

COAL: “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated”

Guardian – Suzanne Goldenberg – 10 November 2014
The real story of US coal: inside the world’s biggest coalmine
….America gets about 40% of its electricity from coal….its use of coal for energy rose 4.8% last year, in part because of the Arctic blasts of the polar vortex. Carbon dioxide emissions from energy registered one of their steepest rises in the last quarter century….
Australia, where Peabody has three mines and which has the world’s second largest reserves of coal, has ramped up production 37% since 2000,….
China has doubled its use of coal over the last decade. India is preparing to open its large coal reserves to foreign mining companies to meet a promise to hook up the 400 million without electricity on to the grid in the next five years.
Coal use in Germany rose last year for the third year in a row, …..
Overall global coal use rose 3% last year, faster than any other fossil fuel, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy…..

November 10, 2014 12:10 pm

“Drive silently and enviro sensitively in the all new Carbon Fibre Nanking NIKKY!” I like it! (campaign details available for full seven figure media contract soon – or not)
Typo accident – actually Cardboard Fibre.

Neil Jordan
November 10, 2014 12:18 pm

From “The Gasoline Automobile”, 1915, Section 2 Page 1:
“2. The Electric Car. – The advantages of the electric car are similar to those of the steam car inasmuch as it is very flexible and can be controlled entirely by the controlling levers. By cutting out or in resistance, more or less current is supplied to the motor and the power of the motor is proportional to the flow of the current. The electric car is especially adapted to the use of women and children in cities. It is easy riding, clean, and very quiet.”
“The disadvantages are that it is not suitable for long drives, heavy roads, or hilly country. On one charge of the battery the average car will run from 50 to 100 miles, depending on the speed and condition of the roads. If the car is run at high speed, the battery will not drive the car as far as it will when running at moderate rate. This car is also limited to localities where there are ample facilities for charging the storage batteries.”

Scottish Sceptic
November 10, 2014 12:31 pm

But climate academics could easily resolve this … why move the car by electricity when you can just redefine where it is!

J Cuttance
Reply to  Scottish Sceptic
November 10, 2014 1:50 pm

…and how many of them there are.

Harry Passfield
November 10, 2014 12:40 pm

Yet James Hansen was only saying:

“I have the impression that Chinese leadership takes a long view, perhaps because of the long history of their culture, in contrast to the West with its short election cycles. At the same time, China has the capacity to implement policy decisions rapidly. The leaders seem to seek the best technical information and do not brand as a hoax that which is inconvenient.”

But they can’t get even 10% to their target for electric cars.

Reply to  Harry Passfield
November 10, 2014 6:31 pm

Because nowadays it’s a dictatorship with a relatively free market, (inside China).

Reply to  Harry Passfield
November 14, 2014 10:54 pm

The now much touted “agreement” between China and the US on climate goals conveniently put the targets far enough along and usually achievable without breaking a sweat. China can play a waiting game and “face” is always important, Spin it right, and the rioting peasants will be quiet. What was it, about 1,000 riots a week amongst the peasants about graft in the local politicians?
Growth at any cost is the mantra in China to keep the populous happy and the middle class an achievable dream.

November 10, 2014 12:40 pm

Obligatory mention of the abominable lack of cognitive consistency on the part of Greens:
Do remember that “prices will necessarily skyrocket” for electricity. In California, the price is rising (has risen?) from about 7 ¢ / kW-hr not that long ago to over 35 ¢ / kW-hr for basic usage. Go over that, price goes up more. Last I looked, the tariff request was already filed for $1/2 / kW-hr and in summer during the day in the Central Valley (where it is hot and you want to run your AC then) the added time of day surcharge can make that almost $1 / kW-hr.
So tell me again, just who is going to buy an electric car when the cost to charge it is in mid flight to “necessarily skyrocket” and you can run a roughly 40 kW gas engine for about 15 minutes on that $1. Or about 10 kW-hrs or roughly 10 times as much energy per buck. Multiply that gas cost by 4 and it still is an advantage. (NOT counting losses in charger equipment, battery charging, standby losses, battery discharge and motor controller. A number that can range up to 30% easily…)
Somehow the idea that driving electricity prices sky high is not the way to encourage buying electric cars doesn’t sink in to them…

James Allison
Reply to  E.M.Smith
November 11, 2014 9:29 am

Where I live several taxi companies have converted to hybrid cars. I presume that they have done the numbers and it works economically.

Bruce Cobb
November 10, 2014 12:45 pm

Have they tried giving them away? That might work.

M Courtney
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
November 11, 2014 1:34 am

Actually it might.
If you want someone to invest in battery change out stations, having a load of customers might just kick-start the thing.

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
November 11, 2014 6:46 am

I have tried driving them. I’ve driven both the Volt and the Leaf, and next time I go for service on my BMW, I’ll try their version. I know someone with a Tesla, but haven’t wrangled a drive yet…
In theory I would seem an ideal candidate for any one of these vehicles. I live in a metropolitan suburb and (now happily early-retired) I drive only about 7,500 miles a year. However, I live in Dallas Texas, where temperatures often top 100 degrees F for days at a time. So, when test driving a car, the first thing one does is test the air conditioning. In both the Volt and the Leaf, this causes a range drop of roughly 1/3. This give you an effective range of 60 miles on the Leaf, with no back-up plan except searching out a charging station and drinking a few Starbucks while you wait. In Texas a 60 mile drive is not unusual frankly. Further, the Leaf has had serious problem with heat deterioration on their batteries…permanent deterioration. This means after a year or two of ownership, that defacto range of 2/3’s of maximum range isn’t 60 miles any more.
My brother in Buffalo NY has the same range-anxiety for the opposite reason. The cold and use of heating saps range. To suggest that seat heaters are a substitute for cabin heat is the mark of a Southerner, and in any case, it’s defroster/defogger use that can’t be avoided.
Finally, the only real-world incentive for an electric car is saving money. That brings us to a perverse oxymoron of electric vehicle use. Their high initial cost is supposed to offset by low per-mile costs. However, they are only good for short-range use. This means that they are only cost effective where you have lots and lots of short trips. Forklifts are an example where a case can be made for them, as are golf carts. However forklifts simply swap the batteries out for fresh ones and golf carts are essentially like livery horses, where you take a different one while you original mount rests.
The Tesla however is a nice vehicle that is indeed practical for real-world use. However, for $100 K it should be, and no plausible case can be made for owning one can be made beyond novelty and egoism.

Brian H
Reply to  RCM
November 11, 2014 8:32 am

Wrong. Once a family buys one, it quickly generally becomes the only vehicle they want to drive. Their gas cars collect dust, and eventually get sold. Most buyers swear they’ll never buy a car again from any other company.

Reply to  RCM
November 11, 2014 11:11 am

Yes, the kind of families who can afford to pay $100,000 for.. a car. The kind who might otherwise, say, buy a Porsche.

Reply to  RCM
November 11, 2014 12:33 pm

“Brian H November 11, 2014 at 8:32 am
Wrong. Once a family buys one, it quickly generally becomes the only vehicle they want to drive. Their gas cars collect dust, and eventually get sold. Most buyers swear they’ll never buy a car again from any other company.”
Lolz, too funny. I have four drivers and four vehicles in my family. The combined value of our four vehicles is about half of $100k. If you said “Most buyers swear they’ll never buy a car again” I would believe you.

Matt Bergin
Reply to  RCM
November 11, 2014 3:35 pm

Hey Brian do you work for Tesla or did you stupidly buy one? A person in my family bought a Volt. I laughed and asked him how he could be so stupid. I explained that he traded in a car that got 40mpg for a car that gets 45mpg and there was no way he could ever make back the extra $25000 dollars he spent on the Volt before the batteries need replacement since he is only saving 5mpg. I also pointed out that that $25000 dollars is over 15 years of fuel for my Crown Vic at the amount of driving I do every year. You just have to run the numbers and you will see that electric cars are a waste of money.

Joel O'Bryan
November 10, 2014 12:56 pm

A modern electric car, raw ingredients needed to build a Tesla S.
– Tesla says they will source all the raw materials for their new Reno Gigabattery plant from North America. Many in the mining industries are skeptical of those claims and that it could still remain economically viable, if it does so. The graphite alone requires opening at least 5 new mines.
Electric motor:
Copper rotor
Steel (iron)
– Peak copper (world-wide production) has recently been modeled as occurring around 2040. Which means recycling of used copper will become even more essential in the coming decades.
(note: Tesla does not use a permanent magnet motor, so no rare earth’s. Many presume China’s electric cars will principally use permanent magnet motors due to their monopoly on rare earth, primarily neodymium.)
Still, then of course, you need lots of copper in the Wind Turbines to charge it when the wind is blowing.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
November 10, 2014 1:36 pm

Note: There is no Chinese monopoly on Rare Earths.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  DirkH
November 10, 2014 7:24 pm

OK, DirkH you are correct. China only currently has supply monopoly. Between the US and Chile we have far much more raw rare earth’s. Except China doesn’t care about the environmental costs of mining and refining their alkali salt flats to get it. Plus they have large population of refiners and workers not educated enough to understand the extreme health dangers of toxic metal exposure.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
November 10, 2014 1:47 pm

Yes, and when the wind ceases to blow or when it blows too strong, the wind mills are stopped. Then the electric cars will be useless and their drivers will have to walk.
Wonderful !

Brian H
Reply to  Jack
November 11, 2014 8:51 am

Stupid. The motor itself is so much more efficient that even “dirty” power at full price costs about ¼ as much per mile driven. On long distances, power is free for life, prepaid as part of purchase, available at high-speed SuperChargers being built out in the US and world-wide by Tesla.

Brian H
Reply to  Jack
November 11, 2014 8:56 am

The SCs are being expanded into cities, beginning with the largest like Moscow, London, NYC, Beijing, for daily free use by apt. dwellers etc. without access to super-convenient home charging. Avoiding pumps forever is one of the most valued benefits for owners.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
November 10, 2014 3:35 pm

China’s rare Earth advantage is that they are able to exploit their deposits without crowds of people telling them they’re destroying the planet. Ironically, the same people who block rare Earth development here are the ones who most advocate their use.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
November 10, 2014 5:08 pm

Companies don’t make money on electric cars. They make money on the tax credits they get from selling them, especially Tesla. Their money maker is trading tax credits, not selling cars. Unless electrics are heavily subsidised in China, they’d be extremely expensive, even moreso than electrics in America and Europe. That’s probably part of the problem.

Brian H
Reply to  LordCaledus
November 11, 2014 8:45 am

BS. The purchase tax credits accrue to the buyer. Tesla accrues saleable credits in 9 states requiring minimum “zero emission vehicle” sales, but earns >25% gross margin without them. Excludes the credits from all projections and plans. Total sales are about 50k now, which will more than double next year. It is the only US mfr which has repaid ALL its gov’t debt. With interest, 20X faster than required.
No Chinese subsidies. Paying full tax currently, negotiating for some sales tax exemptions, not happening yet. Cornering much of the demand for premium cars by selling without ANY extra markup, unlike other prestige foreign makers.

Jaakko Kateenkorva
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
November 11, 2014 12:20 am

Is cobalt essential for approaching the green transport utopia in any sensible manner? If yes, it’s worth noting that the European Chemicals Agency is planning to limit cobalt salt use (among others) and perhaps EPA will beat them to it.
For this reason with each passing moment it’s getting harder and harder to exclude that the watermelon politicians in these regions:
-Know nothing about natural sciences and/or
-Have planning capacity limited to max 4 years and/or
-Want to hinder electorate e.g. accessing the polling stations and/or
-Want to implement Malthusian views in their own immediate neighborhood.
Could WUWT start granting some sort of political Darwin awards? For this specific purpose I commit myself to donate
1) 100% of the contributions from the fossil fuel companies to me. This being chronically zero despite of decades of fidelity at the gas stations also
2) a voluntary amount starting now with one Swedish öre.

jon doe's other brother
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
November 11, 2014 10:38 am

Great Western Minerals Group Ltd.’s Hoidas Lake Project (located in northern Saskatchewan) has one of the highest proportions of neodymium present in any known rare earth deposit. The company is working on designing an optimal concentration/leaching process with the goal of starting production in 2015-16.

November 10, 2014 1:12 pm


November 10, 2014 1:39 pm

Not only the electric car is a chimera, but one must consider the huge amounts of electric power recharging their batteries will become necessary every night (and day) once they will be by millions on the roads. Certainly the wind mills and solar panels will not ne able to do it. The current power grid and the power plants will have to be replaced by new and more powerful, probaly nuclear, ones

Reply to  Jack
November 10, 2014 2:11 pm

Misconception. People usually compare today’s electric cars with today’s gas powered cars instead of realizing the huge niche they can own…..urban short trips. If your commute falls outside the electric car’s sweet spot then move on. Besides the obvious reduction of noise and air pollution the convenience of recharging at home or work is a huge plus. If recharged at night during sleeping hours the grid would be more effectively used, not overused. Think New York City, Tokyo, Los Angeles etc. As range increases and range anxiety decreases electrics will come into their own but I doubt they will ever replace gasoline powered cars for cross country/extended range trips.

Reply to  markl
November 10, 2014 4:08 pm

” the convenience of recharging at home or work is a huge plus.”
Only if you live in a house or in an apartment with a garage. That leaves out 75% of NYC residents.

Reply to  rogerknights
November 10, 2014 4:55 pm

Being on the Left coast I didn’t think of that. That would mean only 2M in NYC could take advantage of the convenience 🙂 I’ve talked to several Leaf owners (100 mile advertised range) that have yet to be compromised by running out of electricity. It all depends on your personal usage and for those that fit in the criteria it works.

Reply to  markl
November 10, 2014 6:52 pm

The biggest problem with electric is the charging issue. Basically you’re tethered constantly to a charging system. Because if you run out, the only alternative is a tow truck.
And yes, the street parking is a huge issue. Parking in the large congested cities means paying $300 or more a month just for the garaged parking space.

jon doe's other brother
Reply to  markl
November 11, 2014 11:32 am

the convenience of recharging at …. work is a huge plus
Uh… that would be stealing and a fireable offense.

Reply to  jon doe's other brother
November 11, 2014 11:45 am

No. Some companies installed special chargers just for their workers. It falls into the same category as car pooling…..they get a tax break and it helps them meet emission/smog requirements.

Reply to  Jack
November 10, 2014 2:15 pm

Electric cars are exactly the case where sun and wind power can be used efficiently. If there is enough recharging points available, you can leave your car plugged in whenever you leave it. And it recharges whenever excess power is available. Of course, fast recharge in the middle of a long trip is a different case. But many cars spend most of their lifetime parked.

Reply to  Kasuha
November 11, 2014 7:16 am

“If there is (sic) enough charging points available”…
Well, we can go down that rabbit hole if you wish. My company’s HQ building here in Dallas houses 1,500 workers. I leave you to calculate the infrastructure and utility costs if charging is to be provided for just 10 percent of them. In city parking some form of metered chargers “on the street” will be necessary. Remember that construction and maintenance costs must be factored into pricing, along with profits and (betcha) convenience charge taxes.

November 10, 2014 1:50 pm

Neil Young commissioned the LincVolt to stop the need to go to war for oil.
I don’t make this up:

jon doe's other brother
Reply to  DirkH
November 11, 2014 11:36 am

last we heard, it was up to a cool $1MegaBuck in costs…… and imagine the oil it is taking to build it, and also the carbon footprint!
Neil Young is a senile idiot…. judging by his comments on CYMM

November 10, 2014 2:01 pm

When will electric start paying road tax? Now there is an added cost.

Brian H
Reply to  nc
November 11, 2014 11:14 am

Various states already add $100 or so per yr to EV registration. Truth be known, trucking does almost all damage to roads, but is essential to clothe, house, and feed the nation — so “user pay”, properly calc’d, would hit cost of living hard in a rather regressive way. It wouldn’t be so bad if gov’ts actually spent the road tax on roads, of course.

November 10, 2014 2:12 pm

“Yet, if coal-fired power is used to meet electric vehicle electricity demand, the absence of tail pipe emissions will likely be entirely offset by incremental power generation.”
I don’t think coal pollution is much of a concern here. Once they manage to convert their road traffic technology, improving energy generation is the easier and cheaper part, be it by gradual switch/refurbishment to less polluting power generation, or by building these plants in areas where their pollution doesn’t matter that much.
Electric cars have many other problems. Building them is expensive, and building the infrastructure for them is also very expensive. And not each country can afford to spend so much on subsidies.
Subsidized car is great example of making poor poorer and making rich richer. Everyone pays for such car from their taxes, and only those rich enough to be able to buy one get those money back, together with money of many other people who can’t afford it.

November 10, 2014 2:25 pm

Harvard news says:
“Yet, if coal-fired power is used to meet electric vehicle electricity demand, the absence of tail pipe emissions will likely be entirely offset by incremental power generation.”
Clearly someone at Harvard does not understand what the word “pollution” means.
They appear to be confusing a colourless, odourless, non-toxic gas that boosts the worlds food production with something else.
Whatever real polluttants come out of a modern coal-fired power station are better to have at several hundred feet out of urban areas than concentrated at street level in cites.
Sadly, enviros seem to have completely forgotten what real pollution is and so have stopped even talking about reducing it. Perhaps a few field trips to China would be a useful educational experience. Thoiugh they’d probably come back convinced they could smell CO2 and that it made them cough.

November 10, 2014 2:33 pm

Here’s an interesting perspective on electric cars from a photography guy who also happens to be an electrical engineer:

Claude Harvey
November 10, 2014 2:51 pm

Might as well strive for “rubber band propelled” vehicles. Wind ’em up with electric motors and wind ’em down where the rubber meets the road. All we’d need to make this work is a breakthrough in the energy density of rubber and a few thousand percent increase in the fatigue life of rubber. That’s not such a tall order, is it? We’ll employ a “modified field of dreams” theory to make this happen as follows: “Legislate and subsidize to make it happen. Screw the fundamental laws of physics”

Reply to  Claude Harvey
November 10, 2014 4:31 pm

You made the same point I was going to make.
“Even the Chinese”, can’t repeal the laws of physics and chemistry.

November 10, 2014 2:58 pm

“China set itself an ambitious goal: to dramatically ramp up its electric vehicle production and surpass the rest of the world’s automobile industries in this important new market.”
I see the problem. There is no market. Politicians/governments cannot create a market. The market has no use for electric vehicles.

jon doe's other brother
Reply to  Gamecock
November 11, 2014 11:49 am

if a dictatorial government told you you could no longer buy a DinoCar, and EV’s were the ONLY option, then the politicians would indeed create a market.
in North America, governments do it all the time
notice the run on .22 ammo? or full auto rifles?

Reply to  jon doe's other brother
November 11, 2014 3:00 pm

The government didn’t create markets for .22 ammo or full auto [sic] rifles. Government is interfering with those markets; it didn’t create them.

Johannes Herbst
November 10, 2014 3:04 pm

I have a electric car, a TWIKE. It’s not in use, due to broken down NICAD batteries. To get it running again with Li-ion batteries, I would have to invest 10,000€ to get a driving range of 200km.
I also have a VW up! with CNG engine. It runs 400 km on 10 kgs of natural gas. This would be 94 miles per gallon, if you try to convert it. Seems this is the way to go.
And it is a great fun to pay 12€ for a full tank in Europe. My Volkswagen Transporter needs 120€ to get full tank…

Reply to  Johannes Herbst
November 10, 2014 4:29 pm

“natural gas. This would be 94 miles per gallon, if you try to convert it. Seems this is the way to go.”
Yep. Obama bet on the wrong horse.

Reply to  rogerknights
November 11, 2014 6:57 am

Yes, Obama should have gone with natural gas. America has literally a wretched excess of the stuff. He fell for the CO2 scam though…and never thought about those filthy-minded plants that just love to lap the stuff up. He could have pushed NG and put the unemployed to work planting forests to balance out the ‘pollution’. But… That would have required genius and well, ther’s a shortage of that in D.C.

Reply to  Johannes Herbst
November 10, 2014 5:11 pm

VW seems to be on a roll with that. They’ve also got a diesel-hybrid that gets 280mpg.

CWP Seattle
Reply to  LordCaledus
November 11, 2014 12:21 pm

No it doesn’t. It gets about 145 mpg.

Reply to  LordCaledus
November 12, 2014 7:12 am

CWP – Seattle
Still beats the hell out of anything else on the road.

Terry - somerset
November 10, 2014 3:31 pm

Whilst I am unconvinced at present by the advantages of electric cars, we should look forwards at what might be feasible, not at current/historic technologies, prejudices and behaviour patterns:
– the energy still needs to be generated – mostly from fossil fuels (?)
– emissions relocated to generation point rather than tailpipe
– use surplus night time energy generated when other demand is lower – effectively mobile storage devices
– most journeys in UK are short – two car families could have one electric for local use
– most people live in towns and cities
– improve easy hire of petrol/diesel vehicles for infrequent longer journeys
– battery lease and exchange stations to minimise “recharge time” – 5 mins changeover
In a UK context there are some relatively easy initiatives (if the will was there) that have not been actively pursued:
– there are about 20,000 black cabs in London – they would be an ideal testing ground for electric technologies as journeys are rarely more than 25 miles and often only 2 or 3. Only a limited number of fast charge/battery exchange stations would be required. Similar initiatives could be deployed by local delivery services.
– there are something under 100 motorway service stations in the UK – equipping them with decent battery exchange facilities would not be a real challenge. Typically the distance between stations would be around 20 – 40 miles – entirely workable if vehicle range were increased to 150 – 200 miles in the future.
Clearly there will be locations where this is still not feasible – but may capture 80% + of cars

Reply to  Terry - somerset
November 11, 2014 7:00 am

Have you done the math on the electrical demand if 80% of the cars in the U.K. drive the same number of miles per year? How does that demand match up with the concurrent drive to renewable-sourced electricity?

Brian H
Reply to  RCM
November 11, 2014 11:47 am

I’m far from alone in admiring the vehicle while being contemptuous of renewables. CO2 famine is currently easing, and the planet is 20% greener for it. Coal scrubbers are all we really need to keep the particulates down, IMO.

Billy Liar
November 10, 2014 3:43 pm

I’m going to sleep for a hundred years. I bet when I wake up the electric car is still useless.
We should start ‘The Electric Car Wheel of Misfortune’ and list all the electric car concepts on it. My guess is it will turn out like the ‘V/STOL Wheel of Misfortune’ which depicts all the (overwhelmingly failed) concepts for vertical/short take-off aircraft.

Gary Pearse
November 10, 2014 4:06 pm

In 10 months of 2014, there have been 100,000 e cars manufactured, 40,000 of them US of which Tesla makes about a third of them and they are ramping up production. China’s 40,000 are from several years of production.
I had a dream ride in a client’s new Tesla from Quebec City to Ottawa (450km). He’s put about 7000km on it and it has cost him CDN$0.03/km (US$0.04/mile). Mind you Quebec electricity is the cheapest in the world and did you know there are all kinds of free charging stations? Tesla itself has installed quick charge stations at Best Western hotels and other places 300-350 amp, 300v. Upscale coffee shops have 30 amp chargers for free while you go and drink their coffee and eat a sandwich. The free charge at a number of hotel chains is only 30 amps but if you are spending the night there, it gives you a pretty good topping up. A friend of his planned a free car energy holiday traveling in eastern Quebec and New Brunswick. The unexpected business opportunity presented by offering free charges is going to be a game changer for electric cars.
Tesla has come out with the supercharger – half charge in 20 minutes and don’t forget that this baby gets 450km on one charge and they space out their superchargers so you can do this across the country! World auto makers have been piddling around such problems for a couple of decades – Tesla solved the problem in a number of months.
Yes China may not be able to jump start their electric dreams even with an autocratic government making the plans and opening all doors and even buying the cars themselves. US free enterprise does it in jig time. The Gang Green with their desire to kill cheap energy are shooting themselves in the foot if they make energy too expensive to support electric cars. They seem to want to kill everything.

Just Steve
Reply to  Gary Pearse
November 10, 2014 4:40 pm

Electric cars [in] cold weather…….really?
Where’s your interior heat coming from? Need windshield wipers? A fan to circulate that heat? Is it dark, necessitating headlights? How much have you now degraded that 180-200 mile charge?
Now, add in the fact batteries don’t fully charge when cold (or are you going to try a heat blanket on the batteries….another charge draining item, after parking it in a heated garage…another cost) and take longer to charge (a chemical hurdle) to, what, maybe 80-85% when the batteries are new.
Yeah, sign me up.

Brian H
Reply to  Just Steve
November 11, 2014 9:16 am

A Norwegian owns 6 of the earlier Roadsters above the Arctic Circle. The cars are superb in snow. The batteries heat as they charge, but take a while (~15 minutes) to get up to full capacity when started cold. They are usually parked plugged-in, and an internal timer will preheat them before you plan to leave. Cabin heating can add 20% to use in sub-zero weather, but the other drains are negligible.
The Tesla batteries are temperature-controlled, and should be good for 500K miles or more. The 85kWh batteries and drive trains are warranted for 8 years or unlimited miles, whichever comes first. Tesla has stolen a huge march on the rest of the industry. They have internal liquid cooling. They sell fine in AZ etc., and have NO trouble there with the heat. Cooling is much easier than heating.

Brian H
Reply to  Just Steve
November 11, 2014 9:19 am

Front seats are heated, as are the rears with the “Sub-Zero” option. Much cheaper to heat than the whole cabin. The one downside of not wasting 70% of the energy generated by burning gas.

Reply to  Just Steve
November 12, 2014 8:24 am

Brian H, in cold weather, it isn’t your butt/back that gets cold, it’s your feet, hands & head (extremities). A heated seat won’t help that.
I’d assume the engineers have considered it, but a shroud around the electric motor (and the battery-pack?) ducted to the baseboard of the interior would help heat the cabin — free heat. Close off the duct in summer…

Reply to  Gary Pearse
November 10, 2014 7:04 pm

The price paid out of pocket for electricity pr mile might be CAD0.03, but the actual out of pocket cost is likely far, far higher. After all, the main point of an electric car is that you have prepaid a big chunk of the energy use in the creation of the battery pack.
In the case of your friend – the net cost per mile is guaranteed to be much higher.

Reply to  c1ue
November 11, 2014 6:43 am

Exactly. It is the same as the WT/PVS crowd telling us that wind/solar is free. Initial purchase price/fixed cost is never mentioned.
Operating cost of a $100,000 car is a First World discussion.

Brian H
Reply to  c1ue
November 11, 2014 11:43 am

TCO ends up the equivalent of a car $25k cheaper or so after 10 yrs, but things get complex projecting further out. Some drivers have passed 80-100k miles so far with 5-10% capacity/range loss. Later losses are expected to be much less.
IAC Musk expects to get battery costs down to $100/kWh from the current (mfr) $180* or so long before 10 yrs are up, with about double capacity. Currently, a 500-mi battery would be too expensive, but is on the cards and in the plans.
*Only Tesla has achieved this. Others are far behind, about double.
BTW, the city-car canard is inapplicable here. Tesla owners seek out long-distance trips to make, and the SC networks are racing to enable them. The first SC was built 1½ yrs ago, and there are now >120 in the US alone…

Grey Lensman
Reply to  Gary Pearse
November 10, 2014 8:14 pm

The Tesla is 85 Kw-Hr. To charge that in California at 35 cents would be U.S.D. 29.75. At max range that works out at 11.22 cents per mile. Who would /why give that away free? petrol is cheaper. Plus that is max range. Tesla services all vehicles, it actually knows what the real average range is. that should not be a secret, all makers have to give their fuel consumption figures based on a standard test. this includes A/C and heaters etc.
Simple, take a scrap Prius apart, no folding rear seat and small boot due to battery and safetys. Under the bonnet, a whole box of electronics. Yes easy.

David A
Reply to  Grey Lensman
November 10, 2014 10:00 pm

Yes, and elect rates are not taxed at anywhere near the same rate as gasoline, especially in Calif where the combined tax makes more revenue (for doing almost nothing) then the “evil” oil companies make off a product they find and develop and supply.

Reply to  Grey Lensman
November 11, 2014 5:30 am

Because some commercial leases include utilities in the monthly rent cost. More importantly – you’re not going to be able to charge a full Tesla battery load to any significant degree in 1 hour unless you have the supercharger – and in that case generally you have to pay.

Brian H
Reply to  Grey Lensman
November 11, 2014 9:46 am

Ya, California is running out of Other People’s Money, which powers its socialist paradise. But rates in the US average 11¢/kWh, and overnight charging, the usual, is about half that.
But ask any Tesla owner. They’d pay extra per mile to be able to avoid gas stations and spend a few seconds to plug in at night and unplug in the morning. Never an oil change. Treated like royalty rather than marks by service staff, most fixes done remotely or by home visits (no charge under warranty), etc.
And the SuperChargers have enabled many to criss-cross the country while charging free every 150 miles or so. Usually ready to go before they have time for a snack and potty break. Travelling becomes a pleasure, which owners look for excuses to replicate. More and more hotels are making free overnight charging available for guests, or during meals for diners.
Autopilot hardware has just been added to new models as of Oct 1, and will gradually be activated more and more fully as software is refined to use it. Installed OTA.
Musk says Tesla’s patents are now open to all who wish to use them in “good faith”, but notes that speed of innovation is its real competitive advantage. It is likely to be long and long before anyone catches up to that moving target. He deeply regrets having to do all the heavy lifting, but hopes some others will stop playing with hybrids and make competitive BEVs. No sign of serious efforts yet, though some vapourware is starting to get announced.

CWP Seattle
Reply to  Grey Lensman
November 11, 2014 12:23 pm

CA’s electric rates aren’t anywhere near 35 cents/kWh. More like 20 cents.

Reply to  Gary Pearse
November 11, 2014 4:34 am

“The unexpected business opportunity presented by offering free charges is going to be a game changer for electric cars.”
That describes a gimmick, not a “game changer.” And “free charges” to describe “somebody else pays” is more gimmickery.
What is going to happen to your friend when he pulls into the Best Western at New Brunswick and SOMEBODY ELSE IS CHARGING THEIR CAR? WTF IS HE GOING TO DO?

Brian H
Reply to  Gary Pearse
November 11, 2014 11:51 am

Interestingly, the contractor in WA who put up the first SCs there dreams of an electric pick-up and more SCs, as it would make it possible for him to bid on various contracts now out of his reach due to fuel costs for carrying crew and equipment to them.

Gary Pearse
November 10, 2014 4:10 pm
November 10, 2014 4:25 pm

The problem lies with the batteries. There are at least three four ways to overcome this.
1. An extremely long extension lead.
2. Connection to overhead cables, as with trams, trolley buses, and dodgem cars.
3. Hydrogen fuel cell.
4. Mr. Fusion.
I’m placing my bets on number 4. Either that or a car “powered by my own sense of self-satisfaction.”

Michael Elliott
November 10, 2014 4:34 pm

Hello Here in Australia the various State Governments will charge you full registration, which is considerable ,even if you seldom use the car, so on that fact alone the petrol driven car is a far better buy.
Michael Elliott.

November 10, 2014 4:48 pm

I don’t give a sh!t about CO2 (as evidenced by my presence on this website). I care A LOT about real pollution: HC, CO, NOX, etc. I have driven hundreds of track days in all kinds of cars and on various motorcycles. I have drag raced (at the strip) rental cars just for fun. I am a “motor head” in every sense of the word.
I now drive a Chevy Volt as my daily drive. Why? Because I’m convinced that electric is the way to go. Internal combustion engines will be the nostalgic rides of the future. Once you experience the smooth, unfettered torque and power of electric propulsion you will not want to go back. Sure, electric cars do not meet all needs today, but they will, maybe not soon enough for some, but they will. I don’t drive a Volt to “save the planet”, I drive it because it’s a great car. I still have a conventional pickup and a motorcycle, but I hope that one day those too will be electric drive. And I hope that battery and charging technology will eliminate the need to carry along an internal combustion engine backup, as with the Volt. But for now I am happy. I don’t hunt for charging stations, I charge at night at home. I buy gas when I need to and don’t cringe. I floor it at stoplights just for the fun of catching much faster cars off guard. I sneak up on deer and coyotes and then spook them with a toot of the pedestrian horn! Way fun.

Reply to  Volterado
November 10, 2014 5:21 pm

You might change your mind when the subsidies fail and hybrids either fall victim to skyrocketing prices or get cut completely. It will be quite a while, possibly even past my time (I’m 20), before electric cars even begin to become feasible in large numbers thanks to the innumerable logistics and economic issues (subsidies and tax credits). Electric cars now have the exact same range as electric cars in 1910, whereas the mileage and efficiency of internal combustion engines has yet to show signs of slowing down. 20 years ago no one would’ve thought that it would be possible to make a quarter ton gasoline truck that got 25mpg on the highway. On the other hand there’s natural gas, which has major downsides but shows a whole lot more promise in the long term. Hydrogen is another possibility. Then by the time we get to a point where we could go electric, we will probably have no incentive to because we’ll have other power sources that are every bit as efficient as the electric car of the future.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Volterado
November 10, 2014 7:45 pm

Get a Tesla S. Volt is a dog compared. Or get an electric motorcycle if you have need for extreme acceleration.

CWP Seattle
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
November 12, 2014 5:18 pm

There’s a big downside to Tesla’s acceleration. They forgot that instant torque grinds the gears. Gas cars take 0.7 seconds to spool up, and that’s as much for gearing preservation as anything else. Tesla should’ve programmed a similar spool-up, but they’re not a car company so they didn’t know.
Also: While the Tesla Model S “performance” model will zip off the line because of that insta-torque, the fast gas cars beat it in the quarter-mile.

November 10, 2014 5:15 pm

This points to the absurdity of the greens. Pollution can be problem, Pollution has to be managed or it can degrade quality of life. Beijing is one of the better examples of this with air quality issues. I lived in a city next to a river that was disgusting and could not be used for recreational purposes. Actions were taken and 25 years later, the city has a river park and the river is sprouting boat clubs.
Instead of focusing on the year 2100 and beyond, planetary doom, and making a villain out of vital life giving CO2, focus on cleaner water, cleaner air and better transportaion for cities. If that includes electric cars and more bike paths, so be it.
BTW rural areas just need the greens to stay the fork away.

T Nails
November 10, 2014 6:29 pm

“Yet, if coal-fired power is used to meet electric vehicle electricity demand, the absence of tail pipe emissions will likely be entirely offset by incremental power generation.” As skeptical as I am, you lost me on this sentence. By virtue of economies of scale, the amount of carbon emitting fuel used in coal plants is far less per mile than gasoline. The problem with electric cars will always be charge times and access to a re-charge. This inconvenient truth escapes the idealist that thinks we all have money for our electric “commuter” and our occasional use gasoline car. The other problem is electric cars are ideal for small commutes, meaning cities, but if you can’t park next to your outlet, what’s the point. Until every parking spot has a socket that can be metered like an Easy Pass, it’ll never fly. For smog reasons (not CO2), I wish it would.

Reply to  T Nails
November 11, 2014 1:05 pm

@ T Nails:
A Nissan Leaf, or a Tesla S has an energy consumption of ~5km/kWh during standardized drive cycle tests. According to Tesla, the charger and charge process has an efficiency of 91%. Therefore you’ll consume 0.22 kWh from the electrical grid per km driven.
In Germany, the industrial country that’s going crazy with renewable energy to the point where it creates problems in the grid due to their volatility, electricity production still produces 560 grams of CO2 per kWh according to the german environmental ministry, and therefore to charge a Leaf or Tesla 132 g of CO2 per km are produced. In contrast, a 2014 2 Liter VW Golf Turbodiesel produces 119 g of CO2 per km in the same drive cycle. That’s how much sense electric cars make when you worry about CO2.
As regarding real pollution:
The multiple catalytic converters, particle filters and so on in a modern Diesel car makes it most likely cleaner in regards to air pollution (NOx, particles, CO) than even a modern coal fired powerplant. In fact, driving a ULEV diesel car during a smoggy summer day in LA causes the tailpipe pollutant concentration to be lower than that of the ambient air.
For example, my 2010 Diesel car is so clean, that even after now 85,000 miles on the odometer, you can swipe your finger inside the tailpipes and your finger stays clean (if it was clean to begin with).

Tim Obrien
November 10, 2014 7:58 pm

A few years ago a buddy & I toured a bunch of car museums and I saw a number of 1900-1930 electric cars (look up Detroit Electric) that had as good or better specs than current models.

November 10, 2014 8:25 pm

It is amusing that someone buying a $100 k or more Tesla cares one whit about the cost of the fuel. Does cheap electricity really enter into the equation when one spends this kind or $$$$? The interest on the cost of a Tesla would pay for the annual cost of gasoline.
Also advocates have not a clue as to what it costs to provide the infrastructure currently available for gasoline or diesel powered engines in a large country like the USA or Canada? This was developed by the capitalistic system not tax payers. The advocates want the taxpayers to pay for a system to replace one paid for by private enterprise.
No thanks.

Brian H
Reply to  Catcracking
November 11, 2014 10:00 am

The SuperChargers are paid in full by Tesla to install and use. Forever. Costs about $2000/car averaged across the fleet, and they can expense it as marketing if they want, as they spend little else except a bit at their new vehicle launch parties. When the infrastructure is dense enough they will turn over associated solar generation and battery storage for grid buffering to Solar City, which will try to make a profit by over-generating vs demand over the course of each year and selling the excess to utilities. Battery buffers will also be used to lower expensive demand peaking.
World-wide. Musk isn’t playing California Dreamin’ word games like so many ignorantly suppose. The products are superb, “compelling”.

Reply to  Brian H
November 11, 2014 11:21 am

“The products are superb, “compelling”.”
For people with $100,000 to burn. Whereas the average American will spend hours arguing with the dealer to save $500 on their $20k car.
As for your comment a few posts above, I’d expect to be treated like royalty if I’d spent six figures on a car, too.

Reply to  Brian H
November 11, 2014 12:37 pm

expect when its dark or their is little sun in which case they will have to rely on ‘evil fossil fuels ‘ or become the worlds most expensive shopping cart as you push them down the street. Give him credit Musk is a first class marketing guy that knows a sucker , even if a rich one , when he sees one.

Brian H
Reply to  Brian H
November 11, 2014 4:26 pm

In the premium market, which they said up front was the only one they could handle the volumes for and which would generate adequate margin to move on to the middle range family car, it is very moderately priced. Many who buy it have never spent over $20-30k before on a car. It is not a showpiece or toy. And with its drastically simplified but over-built engineering, it should last indefinitely. Many who buy hope and assume the battery can be switched out for $10-$15k in 8-10 yrs after buying for an even longer-range one. Looks possible, and the batteries would then have a “second life”, even longer, as static storage units. When decades later even that is past, they are designed to be ground up and recyled for raw materials for the battery factory (built-in facility there). No toxins will be released. Li, btw, is about 1-2% of the content.
The dealer network hates them, as they offer few opportunities for service gouging, and Musk has directed them to operate at break-even only, and not as the main profit source as are all other makers’ service and parts departments. Owners are blown away by the (mostly free) attention to detail, spontaneous extra work done without charge, etc.
By contrast, the glitzy BMW i8 2+2 needs two techs to open the hood, is being marked up from $150k to $250k just because the dealers can for the moment, and is a year wait to obtain. About 5% the battery range, after which it putts along with a 3-cylinder turbo on its skinny low-performance tires. A joke.

Brian H
Reply to  Brian H
November 11, 2014 4:29 pm

edit: Musk has directed [Tesla Service Centers] to …

November 10, 2014 8:30 pm

When I lived in England between 1971 and 1973 the milk delivery arrived by a small electric vehicle, even though I lived in the suburbs of London. A good application? Is that still true?
Keep in mind that in Europe, they tax the He$$ out of petrol for social programs. Will they do the same with electric cars?

Ex-expat Colin
Reply to  Catcracking
November 11, 2014 12:08 am

There are a few around still and in UK country towns (mine). Not sure about London as I don’t go there much. Often its a clanking diesel at 5 am.
Most people have a supermarket nearby and in a lot of cases buy awful long life milk.

Reply to  Catcracking
November 11, 2014 12:18 am

Norway has both one of the world’s highest petrol/diesel tax levels and a crazy high tax on cars themselves (this tax depends on vehicle weight, CO2 emissions and horsepower). For instance, for an expensive and powerful diesel car like the BMW M550d xDrive, the taxes amount to roughly 50% of the price (you pay USD 78,000 in taxes!). But for a Tesla Model S, which is an even more powerful and faster car than the M550d, you pay zero taxes. In addition, you may drive in the lanes normally reserved for buses and taxis, you don’t pay any toll on toll roads, you get free parking almost everywhere and there are lots of free-of-charge charging stations.
So if you plan to visit Norway, don’t be surprised to see Teslas everywhere in Oslo. In the first half of 2014 3134 new Model S were sold in Norway (keep in mind that the total number of private cars is only 2.5 million).

Brian H
Reply to  Espen
November 11, 2014 4:35 pm

Bjorn Nyland has been filming his tours around Norway and Europe in his red Tesla, both before and after a) his marriage, and b) expansion of the SC network. All seasons: http://www.youtube.com/user/bjornnyland

CWP Seattle
November 10, 2014 11:04 pm

It’s interesting to read the comments for the tribalism. I own two vehicles: an Think City EV and a big diesel pickup truck, each bought within the last two years. And I’m here on Watts Up because I think the AGW hypothesis is a pile of b.s. from here to the moon. I own the EV because I’m a car nut and because I got a great price, and I own the pickup for over-the-road use.
The EV costs 8 cents a mile to operate — half for the electricity and half for the cost of battery degradation net of avoided oil changes and maintenance of transmission and exhaust components. The operating cost of an equivalent gas car would be 13 cents a mile.
Range on 80% of the battery — generally recommended in the EV world — is 65 miles throughout the year. In summer 75 miles, in winter 50 miles. This is in Seattle, where top summer temps are 90 degrees and low winter temps are 20 degrees. The EV’s driving performance is similar to that of any other subcompact, and it serves me well as a city runabout. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I worried that the EV would run out of power.
I consider EVs to be niche vehicles. Tesla’s EVs are status symbols having nothing to do with economy. Nissan’s LEAF is roughly the same cost as a gas car in operation, maybe a bit cheaper, but also less capable due to the range limitation.
I don’t think this will change for the foreseeable future. Lithium batteries will get cheaper due to manufacturing economies, but it will take a breakthrough in materials to deliver the combination of cost and energy density necessary to move these vehicles into the mainstream, even as city commuter vehicles. That said, I hear about potentially larger lithium batteries at similar costs, and think the niche might expand.
I’ve written a lot already and will stop. I am all about the facts, and promote nothing.

Reply to  CWP Seattle
November 11, 2014 5:43 am

Thank you CWP – good comments. Some musings follow – no coffee yet so it may be all nonsense.
I confess (Heresy ! Bung the leper!) that I like the concept of electric cars in cities and I think they have their place. I believe battery technology will continue to improve in time, so am less pessimistic than many on this page.
I think the concept of small urban cars is here to stay and will continue to evolve.
We have a fleet of “Cars-2-Go” in Calgary – rent-by-the-minute Smart cars and they are popular and fun to drive (like a tall go-kart) – the problem is finding one after 7am in my neighbourhood. Also they are remarkably uncool – nobody has yet had the courage to try to pick up girls in one.
Methane is a clean fuel that is widely available – also known as natural gas. A methane-powered internal combustion vehicle would be simple and clean – range would be short due to limited “gas tank” volume, but re-fueling would be quick – another city car concept. This would work better than battery power in colder climates.
I have never been a fan of hydrogen-power (eg Ballard fuel cells) for reasons that are obvious. I do like methane fuel cells (eg Bloom Energy cells).
However, I suggest that the lower price per mile of the electric car is due in part to the fact that electrics pay no equivalent of the “road tax” levied on gasoline. These “road taxes” are generally low in the USA but very high in Europe.

CWP Seattle
Reply to  Allan MacRae
November 11, 2014 11:57 am

I’m somewhat skeptical of natural gas as a vehicle fuel. From what I know, it combines the hassle of a gas station with limited range. Not as short as an EV, but a lot shorter than gasoline. So I do wonder what the point is. That said, for short range, city vehicle fleets whose owners have a natural gas tank on premises, I could see it.
The tax issue is worth mentioning. I didn’t get into it because my post was long, and there are lots of ways to skin that cat. Suffice to say that, if my EV paid an equivalent tax to what’s levied on gasoline, it would be 0.5 cents per mile. Not enough to move the needle. WA State charges a flat $100 a year on EVs, which is way too much and makes a straight comparison impossible. This fee is partly counterbalanced by a sales tax exemption for EVs purchased new within the state.
Another way to compare would be to the pretax price of gasoline, which cuts the operating cost of the equivalent gas car from 13.3 cents a mile to 11.4 cents a mile. Taking it out to that decimal place, the EV’s cost is 7.5 cents a mile.
The U.S. doesn’t do a lot of monkeying around with the price. The effect of the $7,500 federal tax credit is somewhat overstated because a lot of people don’t qualify for the whole thing on account of the income tax structure here. (Perversely, the higher the income the more likely you get the whole thing, which means that those $100,000 Rolexes, er, Teslas always get the whole thing, while a lot of Nissan LEAFs get very little.)
Because iithium-ion batteries are so expensive, EVs are almost always more expensive than the gas equivalent, especially given the reality of how the tax credit works. So, buying an EV is very rarely, if ever, a true economy move. I save money with mine, but that’s because Think went bankrupt and made them available for $8,500 net of the full credit, which I was able to claim. But this was a special situation, and economy was never my motive.
To toss a further curve into this, most of the cheaper EVs, i.e. the top-selling LEAF, are leased. I frankly don’t know how the tax credit works for leased EVs, but I do know that Nissan subsidizes those leases. I’ve done the numbers, and concluded that someone who leases a LEAF rather than the equivalent Versa pays a premium of about $25 a month to drive an EV, including fuel savings and lease costs. I’d also note that leasing removes the battery degradation cost.
I regularly fight elsewhere online with the “EVangelists” who portray these vehicles in world-saving terms, and who vastly overstate both the cost savings and their performance. In particular, the Tesloids simply cannot bear to be told that a Model S is not an authentic road trip vehicle, the so-called “superchargers scattered along major highways notwithstanding. I’ve provided excruciating factual backup, but just like the cultists of The Worldwide Church of Climatology ™, you cannot bring facts to a Tesloid.
I think there’s a strong theoretical case for electric motive power apart from the Green Crapola ™, and I do support EV subsidies for the same reason that I generally support subsidies for all emerging technologies with wider benefit. But I don’t see EVs being anything more than a niche for quite a while. It’s all about battery cost and energy density, and regardless of what the insufferable blowhard who runs Tesla bleats out this week, I regard lithium-ion as a transitional stage that will not bring these vehicles into the mainstream.

CWP Seattle
Reply to  Allan MacRae
November 11, 2014 1:11 pm

p.s., I’m not a fan of Smart cars, because they have so little cargo capacity. Those are by far the smallest cars on the road. My Think EV and Scion’s iQ are tied for second. Mine often gets mistaken for a Smart. I’ll post a pic at the end, and you’ll see the difference. A Think (or Scion iQ) is a foot and a half longer, a little wider, and a little taller. The result: A Smart has 7 cu ft of room for cargo, while a Think has 28 cu ft.
This makes a huge difference in daily use. I’m frequently blown away by how much stuff I can cram into a Think. It holds much more than it looks like it will. The car was designed by Ford and spun out to Norwegians. Too early for the market — the lithium batteries cost too much, so no one was going to pay $36,000 for the automotive equivalent of a Chunky candy bar.
But it’s a very solid little bugger, and the reports from other Think drivers are that the batteries are holding in there, unlike both Nissan and Tesla, which have had early problems. Beyond all that, I’m suspicious of car sharing. I view it as an attempt by the so-called progressives to attack the individual ownership and use of automobiles. That’s a different conversation, though.

Reply to  Allan MacRae
November 13, 2014 5:17 am

Again, thank you CWP for your thoughtful and worthwhile comments.
A few comments on Alternative Energy, Natural Gas Prices, and Excess Winter Mortality:
Grid-connected wind power and solar power are uneconomic nonsense at this time. Intermittency is the biggest problem. This may change if a “super-battery” is ever developed, but this seems unlikely.
Corn ethanol is uneconomic at this time – as are most other biofuels, with the exception of waste product and novel feedstocks such as tallow, wood chips, straw, algae, etc. that may be economic now or in the future.
Cheap abundant energy is the lifeblood of modern society. When uninformed politicians fool with energy systems, real people suffer.
My main concern at this time is with Excess Winter Mortality across the Northern Hemisphere – our problem is North America is that both Environment Canada and the USA National Weather Service have predicted a warmish winter, and it is going to be very cold in the central and eastern two-thirds of Canada and the USA – much like last year – so people may be unprepared. In Europe and across Russia it will be even colder compared to seasonal norms, but at least they have a realistic cold weather forecast so are forewarned.
The great advantage of North America is cheap energy – even though natural gas prices have risen sharply in the past two weeks, wholesale natgas is still just over $4/GJ on NYMEX. In Europe, natural gas prices are 2-3 times higher, thanks in large part to greens who oppose fracking of gassy shale formations.
In Northern climes, many more people die in Winter than in Summer.
For Europe and all of Russia:
Assume a very low Excess Winter Mortality Rate of 10% (it varies from about 10% to 30% in Europe);
About 1% of the population dies per year in Europe and Russia, or about 8 million deaths out of about 800 million people;
The Excess Winter Mortality of this population is (4 months/8 months) * 10% * 8 million = at least 400,000 Excess Winter Deaths per year.
This is an average number of Excess Winter Deaths across Europe and Russia – it varies depending upon flu severity, cold etc.
Many people in Europe, especially older people on pensions, cannot afford to adequately heat their homes so are especially susceptible to illness and death in winter.
The population of North America subject to cold weather is less than half the above.
I hope I’ve slipped a decimal or two – these numbers seem daunting.
In any case, please bundle up and stay warm this winter.
Regards to all, Allan
Excess Winter Mortality in Europe: a Cross Country Analysis Identifying Key Risk Factors

Table 1 – Coefficient of seasonal variation in mortality (CSVM) in EU-14 (mean, 1988–97)
Austria 0.14 (0.12 to 0.16)
Belgium 0.13 (0.09 to 0.17)
Denmark 0.12 (0.10 to 0.14)
Finland 0.10 (0.07 to 0.13)
France  0.13 (0.11 to 0.15)
Germany 0.11 (0.09 to 0.13)
Greece  0.18 (0.15 to 0.21)
Ireland 0.21 (0.18 to 0.24)
Italy   0.16 (0.14 to 0.18)
Luxembourg 0.12 (0.08 to 0.16)
Netherlands 0.11 (0.09 to 0.13)
Portugal 0.28 (0.25 to 0.31)
Spain   0.21 (0.19 to 0.23)
UK      0.18 (0.16 to 0.20)
Mean    0.16 (0.14 to 0.18)
CWP Seattle
Reply to  Allan MacRae
November 14, 2014 11:17 pm

Grid-connected wind power and solar power are uneconomic nonsense at this time. Intermittency is the biggest problem. This may change if a “super-battery” is ever developed, but this seems unlikely.
Dp a search on M.I.T. grid scale battery. I think it might alter you expectations.

Reply to  Allan MacRae
November 16, 2014 3:06 am

RE MIT super-battery.
Thank you CWP – we’ll see what works – I remain pessimistic about super-batteries.
Years ago I proposed a super-battery that may someday materialize…
Storage of electricity is much easier said than done.
One interesting idea for electricity storage is a “super battery”, consisting of many plugged-in electric cars. This could be possible in a decade or two.
Regards, Allan

November 11, 2014 12:08 am
Martin A
November 11, 2014 12:19 am

Well these days you buy your milk at the supermarket and they have largely disappeared, although they are still used to some extent.
The electric milk float was well suited for the application – known daily distance, very frequent stops (every 50 ft perhaps). Used for a few hours each morning, then back to the depot to be charged for the next day.
Milk companies presumably used them because they were an economical solution.

Spice Cat
Reply to  Martin A
November 11, 2014 1:04 am

Electric Forklift trucks also are a good option. Run for an 8hr shift and then recharge overnight. Battery weight not a prombem as you need a counterbalanced weight.

Reply to  Martin A
November 11, 2014 12:32 pm

they were also heavy has hell because the large batter mass they had.

November 11, 2014 1:49 am

In November 2013, Bruno Van Zeebroeck wrote an article “Electric cars as polluting as cars running on petrol”. “An average electric car is responsible for as much (or even more) particulate matter in the air. This is because it is heavier, due to the heavy batteries. This causes more wear and tear on the brakes, tyres and the street surface, Bruno Van Zeebroeck of the Transport & Mobility Leuven (TML) research bureau concludes in a survey.Things should be put into perspective though, as electric cars are still a lot better than diesel cars, which emit more fine particulate matter than petrol cars.” (http://deredactie.be/cm/vrtnieuws.english/Health%2Band%2BEnvironment/1.2144594)
To be more concrete: “A gasoline car today is responsible for about 18 milligrams of particulate matter, i.e. the sum of emissions due to the combustion of traditional fuels and other emissions. For an electric car the sum of emission amounts to 17 milligrams. A diesel car built in the year 2000 shows an emission of nearly 80 milligrams. The difference between a gas vehicle and an electric car is thus negligible.” (in Dutch: http://www.hpdetijd.nl/2014-11-10/onderzoek-elektrische-auto-produceert-nauwelijks-minder-fijnstof/)
A brief version of his study: http://www.tmleuven.be/project/fijnstof/belang_niet-uitlaat_fijn_stof_emissies.pdf.
Earlier, it was known that electric cars are not intrinsically better regarding CO2 emissions. “If a typical electric car is driven 50,000 miles over its lifetime, the huge initial emissions from its manufacture means the car will actually have put more carbon-dioxide in the atmosphere than a similar-size gasoline-powered car driven the same number of miles. Similarly, if the energy used to recharge the electric car comes mostly from coal-fired power plants, it will be responsible for the emission of almost 15 ounces of carbon-dioxide for every one of the 50,000 miles it is driven—three ounces more than a similar gas-powered car.”
To end, I give some figures from my country. In Belgium, today there are about 1800 electric cars (on a total of 7 million cars or 0.026%) and about 860 recharge points. Europe obliges us to build 21,000 recharge points by 2020. If we know that electric cars are not much better than gasoline cars regarding emission of particulate matter and of CO2 but are much more expensive, and that prices of electric power are skyrocketing (to afford efficient investments in electric plants a doubling of the prices is necessary!), we can only conclude that electric cars are and will represent a very expensive tool, reserved only for a minority.

Reply to  Rik Gheysens
November 11, 2014 1:55 am

The quote concerning CO2 emissions is from Bjorn Lomborg “Green Cars Have a Dirty Little Secret”. (http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887324128504578346913994914472)

CWP Seattle
Reply to  Rik Gheysens
November 11, 2014 12:07 pm

Lomborg was wrong. He based his statement on a study that had to be corrected because it vastly overstated the materials content of electric motors and inverters used in cars. An EV isn’t any more or any less energy or pollution intensive in manufacturing.
I frankly don’t care about the carbon side, but I did research it just for the hell of it. At the mix of fuels used to generate electricity in the U.S., an EV emits about 60% of the CO2 that a gas car does. Obviously, this varies depending on where you live. Here in Seattle, where 100% of the electricity comes from hydro or wind, my EV emits no carbon in use.
By the way, before anyone tags me as a Greenoid ™, please do me the favor of reading my posts above, okay? I own an EV, but I am not, not, not an “EVangelist.” I’m a car nut, that’s all, and Joe Friday when it comes to facts.

CWP Seattle
Reply to  Rik Gheysens
November 11, 2014 12:55 pm

An average electric car is responsible for as much (or even more) particulate matter in the air. This is because it is heavier, due to the heavy batteries. This causes more wear and tear on the brakes, tyres and the street surface.
Nissan LEAF: 3,240 lbs.
Nissan Versa: 2,485 lbs.
The LEAF uses a traction motor, which dramatically reduces brake use. Pavement wear is a function of the 4th power of weight per axle, and is relevant only for heavy trucks and buses.

Brian H
Reply to  Rik Gheysens
November 11, 2014 4:52 pm

Don’t know if those CO2 calcs are true, but great, if so. CO2 production is a major benefit of recycling all the buried and fossilized plant food.
But none of that changes the ranking of the Tesla as the best car ever built! The mid-size Model 3(≡) will start at $35k, minimum range of 200+ miles. It will still only sell a half-million cars a year, though, by about 2020. Not even taking reservations yet. Even that won’t get them “next to the decimal point (of 0.1% of annual sales) though.

CWP Seattle
Reply to  Brian H
November 11, 2014 9:11 pm

It’s always fun to read the delusions of the Tesloids!

November 11, 2014 2:05 am

Thanks Matt

Matt November 10, 2014 at 11:10 am As Prof Muller ..said ..the electric car is dead (for technical reasons)

see the beginning of this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmdRQ9f5vhc#t=223
‘… Investors thought there would be some Moore’s Law for batteries, but the physics make that impossible .. it’s a dream … If you really wanted a popular electric car go lead-acid battery, it’s not massively more expensive than conventional cars, but cos they’re heavy the range is 50miles. Electric cars won’t take off until they get a mas market in developing countries and maybe in China 50 miles would be enough for a budget electric car.’ ..my paraphrasing
Background to the video is on this page : http://berc.berkeley.edu/dr-richard-muller-author-of-energy-for-future-presidents-speaks-on-evs-and-natural-gas/

Martin 457
November 11, 2014 2:34 am

Batteries? Chemical fuel cells seem to me to be the better alternative. Not H, but, something that can actually be stored.
But, I did used to do maintenance on electric forklifts and power dollies. There would be a need for better contactor materials. Maintenance on the electronics alone is expensive.

November 11, 2014 3:03 am

Have they made any progress since this effort?
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQGvXx4rfUY%5D

Reply to  graphicconception
November 11, 2014 3:25 am

This is the problem we have in the West.
The media is led by brain-dead liberals who actually believe that a perpetual motion machine like this will work. And they broadcast it to the world, and their fellow brain-dead liberals in government enact it into legislation. Meanwhile, the Western economy and Western society slides into decay and decline.
We need a new broom throughout the Western media, to sweep away the idiots and replace them with rational people.

Chuck K
Reply to  ralfellis
November 17, 2014 4:58 am

My mother-in-law, a limousine liberal, explained to me her Prius gets better mileage in the city due to the brakes charging the batteries. My undergraduate degree is in mechanical engineering but she’s not interested in my opinion.
Western civ is run by people with high social IQ (lol), the fawning mutual groomers of the monkey troop sitting in the banana tree. The annoying rationalists have been pushed out into the scrub, ignored until the banana tree is stripped and they’re needed again to find another.

November 11, 2014 3:05 am

You mean the coal or gas powered car??
I won this debate the UK’s advertising standards authority. The Nissan Leaf was being advertised as ‘zero emissions’, until I pointed out there were plenty of emissions — at the power station. Nissan were forced to delete this false claim from their advert. And so in the UK Nissan now say the Leaf has no exhaust pipe, which is technically true, but still misleading.
The old ‘zero emissions’ claim:
The revised ‘no exhaust’ claim:
I note that in other countries, Nissan are still advertising the Leaf as ‘zero emissions’. Perhaps you could all get writing to whatever agency controls advertising.

Pamela Gray
November 11, 2014 6:20 am

Since these damn things only go so far on one charge, in the Willy Coyote hinter lands of NE Oregon we would have more vehicles than usual, parked haphazardly along the road out of gas. Or sparks. Or whatever these little toy cars run on. Besides, the occasional transportation of a soon to be delicious dead deer, or live sheep or heifer would be quite impossible unless I cut the roof open.

CWP Seattle
Reply to  Pamela Gray
November 11, 2014 12:12 pm

Hey Pamela, scroll up to my post with the photo attached. Want to guess which vehicle I take on drives out to the Wallowas?

Brian H
Reply to  Pamela Gray
November 11, 2014 5:07 pm

Is 65 cu.’ insufficient? As for the Wallowas, getting there. Billings and Rapid city are the closest SuperChargers so far. But I-94 is filling in.

CWP Seattle
Reply to  Brian H
November 11, 2014 9:14 pm

What, pray tell, is “65 cu?” As for I-94 and the Wallowas, have you ever looked at a map, or don’t Tesloids think they need to?

more soylent green!
November 11, 2014 8:03 am

Does this imply we can’t change the laws of physics and chemistry by throwing money at a problem? Does this imply that we can’t make green tech practical and affordable via laws and regulations? Does this imply we can’t create something out of thin air just through wishful thinking?
I believe the real problem is the mindset here. Why are you pointing out all these minor details? Don’t you want this to succeed? Don’t you want a better world for our children?

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  more soylent green!
November 11, 2014 11:49 am

I rather prefer the idea of a flying carpet. Matter of fact, I have one right here. Not sure if it’s Persian, but Persian-esque certainly, so close enough. Can’t seem to get the damn thing going, but will keep trying.

Max Roberts
November 11, 2014 8:03 am

With all this subsidised electricity at charging stations, and extortionate electricity prices at home, its entertaining (but probably impractical) to imagine taking a truckload of batteries to the ‘free’ station every day, charging them up, and then taking them back home to power the house.

Reply to  Max Roberts
November 11, 2014 8:36 am

Hmm, the ‘red-diesel’ scam, but using electrons instead. I am sure someone is drawing up plans, as we speak.

Brian H
Reply to  ralfellis
November 11, 2014 10:09 am

There is intelligence and handshaking when the connection is made, and it requires a proprietary connector. Good luck with duplicating it. For what, $5 worth of power at a crack? Hear that siren? It’s coming for you.

CWP Seattle
Reply to  Max Roberts
November 11, 2014 12:10 pm

I don’t know where you live, but here in the U.S. the typical EV charging station is not subsidized. Other way around, in fact. Juice from one of those “Blink” units goes for triple what it does at home.

Brian H
Reply to  Max Roberts
November 11, 2014 5:50 pm

How many kWh can you use in a day? A “truckload” (pickup) would power a neighbourhood for a day. And any visiting car owner would have its license in a “flash”.

CWP Seattle
Reply to  Brian H
November 11, 2014 9:15 pm

What does your post even mean?!

November 11, 2014 12:29 pm

Something to consider, the range of modern electric cars is little better than that of the original electric cars .
Meanwhile give the massive tax take on gasoline or petrol , does anyone really think that should the number of electric cars hit high numbers than they will not to hit for a ton of tax to make up for taxes lost on gasoline sales ? Bare in mind that in the UK there has ‘never ‘ been a tax change that effects motorists that has not resulted in a increased tax take , never .

more soylent green!
Reply to  KNR
November 11, 2014 4:25 pm

Already some states in the US are working on taxing for miles driven instead of on the gas consumed because our vehicles are getting better mileage. Road taxes on the EV are sure to follow.

November 11, 2014 1:11 pm

The electric car for the masses died when California started experimenting with a per mile driven tax. After all, why put up with the thing’s limitations if you don’t get a cost reduction?
At the moment electric cars are fashion items for most – not practical, but worn to show political correctness. This, however, is a short term thing and will morph into its own opposite as electric motors drive the limits of vehicle performance – expect the 900 HP super car to combine a gas gussling V8 with an explosive battery pack and electric motors on each wheel. To the envirofreaks now buying subsidized Teslas it will seem much like an SUV on speed -the total absurdity of it all kinda staggers the imagination doesn’t it?

Reply to  Paul Murphy
November 11, 2014 1:49 pm

Teslas are not subsidised. They had a loan.
It was repaid 5 years early.

However GM did not actually pay anything back on its loan. ($6.7Bn)

more soylent green!
Reply to  Andyj
November 11, 2014 4:27 pm

Tesla is subsidized. Buyers get a tax break. Although this appears to go back in the consumer’s pocket, it really means Tesla charges the buyers more and is a subsidy for Tesla.

Reply to  Andyj
November 12, 2014 2:06 am

The rather large man (named Cenk?) in this video repeats a favorite false mantra of the innumerate left. They call tax and royalty reductions a “subsidy” – so that when the government reduces its share of total revenue in an oil company from (say) 60% to 50%, they call that 10% reduction a “subsidy”.
Cenk’s hypo is false – a subsidy is when the government actually gives money to a company, like they do every day for wind power, solar power and corn ethanol. Reducing a government’s revenue share from an oil company from highly excessive to moderately excessive is NOT a subsidy.
Simply, the revenue share from oil and gas companies funds many governments around the world. The Canadian oilsands funds not only the Province of Alberta, but most of Canada. By comparison, wind and solar power and corn ethanol require daily government handouts, ultimately financed by consumers, just to keep these companies from going broke.

November 11, 2014 1:24 pm

Electric car works fine for me. I use it in my daily commute. My electric car, Nissan Leaf, has a actual range of about 140 km and it cover 80 to 90 percent of my driving need.
I love to drive it because it is soundless and has good acceleration. The immediate heating on cold winter days are also a bonus.

CWP Seattle
Reply to  Jan Kjetil Andersen
November 11, 2014 9:19 pm

Your LEAF’s range is full to empty, a meaningless number. And the full range is a lot less than 140 km in winter. Look, there’s really no need to try to float egregious b.s. here.

Reply to  CWP Seattle
November 12, 2014 12:25 am

Look, there’s really no need to try to float egregious b.s. here.

Why the heat? Let’s calm down. Naturally, I do not want to drive it empty so my longest journey has been 125 km and then it was about 15 km left.
I have only had it since this summer so I have not experienced winter range yet, but as long as I can use it on my daily commute, 28 km each way, I am satisfied.

CWP Seattle
Reply to  CWP Seattle
November 12, 2014 2:38 pm

The heat because the statement of range in terms of how far you can roll it until it won’t roll anymore is highly misleading. Not only do people not drive that way, but it’s especially bad for a lithium ion battery to run it all the way down. Look, I own an EV and like it, but it drives me to distraction to see people make inflated claims about these vehicles.

Reply to  Jan Kjetil Andersen
November 12, 2014 7:47 am

The immediate heating on cold winter days are also a bonus.
And it will kill your battery , this is the classic time of year when people find out their batteries are not in good condition , because its when you put a high load on them , heating lighting etc , very soon after or on start up at the same time that the batter is less able to deal with it thanks to the reduced temperatures action on the batteries chemical processes. Is there is no reason to consider cars which use only batters will be any different.

Reply to  knr
November 12, 2014 9:05 am

And it will kill your battery , this is the classic time of year when people find out their batteries are not in good condition , because its when you put a high load on them , heating lighting etc , very soon after or on start up

You’re right, knr — just happened to me the other week when I needed the front & rear-window defrosters for the first time this season…

Reply to  knr
November 12, 2014 9:30 am

Yes, but that is no problem as long as you know how far you can go. In my daily commute I drive only 56 km befor I am back and can reload. No need to worry about battery capacity for that distance.

CWP Seattle
Reply to  knr
November 12, 2014 2:45 pm

Very interesting post. Do you have a link that gives more info about the “safe” load on a battery in cold weather?
If you read my other posts here, you’ll see that I’m an EV owner but not a Kool-Aid drinker about it. Other way around: I am as relentless as I can be about being flatly factual. What you raised is an issue I’ve never considered. It might be because it doesn’t get all that cold here in Seattle, so even in winter I rarely have to put a big load on the battery, i.e., heater along with the engine, for more than 10 minutes at a time.
My EV is small, and it heats up fast, at which point I turn it down to the lowest fan speed and reduce the temp. Not to “hypermile,” but because it’d otherwise be too hot inside. But, no question about it, use of the heater is a range killer anyway. What I didn’t know is that it might also be a battery degrader.
So if you have detailed info about that, I’d really appreciate seeing it. Thanks.

Reply to  knr
November 13, 2014 1:42 pm

I may have misunderstood you first. I doubt that heating the car from the start shorten the lifetime of batteries on electric cars. I have never seen any information supporting that.
But I agree that heating of the cabin shorten the driving range. However, that is no problem as long as you do not intend to drive a distance close to the cars maximum range.

Reply to  knr
November 13, 2014 9:16 pm

Just watched one (EV) die on the side of the road tonight. Lights went brown and it pulled over. Don’t know if it was battery failure or some other electronics but it was kinda like watching a battery powered toy car run down and stop. Course lots of folks with Propane, Gasoline, or Diesel make the same mistake of not filling up when they are down to a quarter tank.

CWP Seattle
Reply to  knr
November 14, 2014 11:13 pm

Wayne, very unlikely is was a matter running out of juice. EVs have a “limp mode.” If the crap out as suddenly as you portray, it was almost certainly a different problem.

November 11, 2014 1:26 pm

As a Nissan Leaf owner for 20 months living under the duress of EU fuel prices, I can tell you this; What I’ve paid spread over the ten year life, the new cost is moot because the savings pay for the car. i.e. the car is effectively free.
Who here has to drive more than 40 miles in a day? As a UK citizen, finding anyone who drives more than that.. I pity them.
The dweeb in here who reckons buying a cheap skate to run around in instead of driving a Tesla to save money really needs to drive one of these. When he’s old enough to stop using shanks pony. These are Ferrari fast from any speed, instantly, with no spool up time. Can you fit 7 in a Ferrari, plus two weeks shopping?
People here actually believe oil turns itself into fuel without sitting next to a huge electrical power station. We talk of around 6.5KWH per unit gallon from drilling to car tank. Ignoring the middleman by running a BEV requires no new power stations.
Another guy spoke of nuclear being safe.. Just half an hour ago the news was on about Fukushima leaking. I can name a good few. Maybe a look in Wiki?
Or even more damming. Damage to people.
The trouble with China. Every city dweller lives in blocks of flats where there is little external charging infrastructure. Electric bikes are everywhere, they carry them indoors at night and plug them in.
The Tesla in China can now be bought totally tax free, import duty free and are allowed in the big cities without restriction.. The caveat is their nav system which uses Google maps.. Only China’s great firewall filters Google maps so workarounds had to be made.

Reply to  Andyj
November 11, 2014 6:07 pm

Reason they carry them indoors at night is; so they will be there in the morning . I know i was there 9 years and had an extension cord , they took most of it also . Not an uncommon happening in China .
Even though i brought my pedal bikes in at night , nine were stolen in daylight .

November 11, 2014 1:48 pm

I am really surprised that China’s plan didn’t follow through. It is really cool though to find out that by having this car, you save so much money. This not only saves our money, but also the amount of oil we use. Now this would hit the stocks hard if everyone had one of these cars, but it would help us so much.

Col Klink
Reply to  John
November 11, 2014 3:51 pm

There are electric cars and then there are electric cars, just like gas powered cars. Any statement like ” “It’s cool that these cars can save so much money” is incorrect. When you buy a Tesla Model S, for example, you have paid almost $40,000 for the battery. You will never make that up in gas savings – an equivalent
gas powered vehicle, getting 30 MPG highway, would cost roughly 8.5 cents per mile for fuel, while the Model S would cost roughly 6 cents per mile. But the gas powered car is paying on average 50 cents per gallon road taxes, or 1.6 cents per mile. Electric cars will have to pay those same road taxes and thus their
per mile fuel costs now amounts to 7.6 cents per mile, less than one cent better than a gas powered vehicle. So…. an electric Model S would require its driver to travel 100,000 miles in order to save $1,000
in fuel/road taxes over a gas powered vehicle, roughly $100 per year. It’s true that the gas powered vehicle will require some maintenance that an electric doesn’t require, but oil changes don’t cost that much
and the Tesla Model S requires a regular “updating” and checking the car’s electronics that, like everything Tesla sells, will cost a significant amount. It is not optional.

Reply to  Col Klink
November 11, 2014 6:15 pm

Klink ;
Don’t confuse people with facts .
Most do not realize that Tesla company number one ability is ‘ milking ‘ funds from various sources, primarily Federal .

Reply to  Col Klink
November 11, 2014 7:53 pm
CWP Seattle
Reply to  Col Klink
November 12, 2014 2:30 pm

A 30 mpg car comparable to a Tesla Model S will cost 14 cents a mile for gas, not 8.5 cents. A Tesla Model S will cost 4 cents a mile at the U.S, average electricity rate. Battery degradation minus avoided tranny and exhaust maintenance will add 10 cents a mile to the Tesla’s operating cost, which will bring the two vehicles equal.

Reply to  Col Klink
November 12, 2014 2:37 pm

???? Our family’s last three cars all passed 100,000 – 120,000 miles with NO exhaust repairs and 50.00 dollars in transmission servicing at 50,000 miles each.
(3 x 150.00 dollars in transmission oil) / 350,000 miles = 0.128 cents/miles transmission “repairs”
And, the Tesla will require the SAME (or more) transmission maintenance costs on its wheels, motors, and drives.

CWP Seattle
Reply to  Col Klink
November 12, 2014 5:05 pm

Look, I don’t like Tesla too much. You can see that from my other comments. But facts are stubborn. EVs don’t have transmissions, don’t need oil changes, and will never need a new muffler. But they will need a new battery, and you can cost it out and turn it into a per-mile estimate. Fair’s fair.

Reply to  CWP Seattle
November 12, 2014 6:20 pm

“But they will need a new battery, and you can cost it out and turn it into a per-mile estimate. Fair’s fair.” So when you “cost it out” how many miles do you give it? 20K/yr for 8 years (= $.25/mi. with a $40K Battery) ? Do you take usage into account? 100 miles/day wouldn’t tax Tesla’s battery too much and it would probably last longer but 250/day may send it to an early grave, especially if you fast charge. Battery health is measurable so I see it becoming part of the resale value for EV’s. Do you use the battery replacement cost as a new one at today’s price or what they will be in eight years? How about the inevitable reconditioned and after market batteries? Resale value for an S should be high if all you have to do is ‘replace the battery’ to make it like new 🙂 Interesting how the whole battery swap idea never made it past concept and you don’t hear about it anymore. A Tesla is a car geek’s machine.

Brian H
Reply to  Col Klink
November 12, 2014 8:32 pm

Updating? Cost? OTA, zero cost. Updates occur constantly. For the earliest models, conservatively 50 so far, counting minor bug patches and major functional upgrades. Service is run on a non-profit basis, so it is rare to see a bill after a service visit, even with a loaner provided for the duration.
Many owners consider this gratuitous helpfulness a priceless contrast with the gouging grating contacts with all prior makers and dealerships.

CWP Seattle
Reply to  Col Klink
November 12, 2014 10:05 pm

So when you “cost it out” how many miles do you give it?
100,000 — which is generous.
Battery health is measurable so I see it becoming part of the resale value for EV’s. Do you use the battery replacement cost as a new one at today’s price or what they will be in eight years?
McKinsey & Co. estimates $200/kWh in 2020. I estimate lower.
How about the inevitable reconditioned and after market batteries?
We’ll see about that. Tesla’s direct sales model allows them to effectively exclude aftermarket batteries, and to charge through the nose for “reconditioned” ones. Wow, imagine that. See? There’s a reason why manufacturers were separated from the rest of the auto industry lo those many years ago. In any case, for the foreseeable future, Tesla batteries will be a specialty item with a single source.
Resale value for an S should be high if all you have to do is ‘replace the battery’ to make it like new
I have a song for you.

Interesting how the whole battery swap idea never made it past concept and you don’t hear about it anymore. A Tesla is a car geek’s machine.
I suspect this is because Tesla knew that savvy owners would dump crappy batteries on the company, or be suspicious of having crappy batteries dumped on them by Tesla. Not to mention the outrageous cost of swapping even good batteries. Anyone who owns an EV laughed at that particular press release. As for geek machine, you forgot to say “rich geek machine.” To put it ever so mildly, I’m skeptical on the salvage value front.
Updating? Cost? OTA, zero cost. Updates occur constantly. For the earliest models, conservatively 50 so far, counting minor bug patches and major functional upgrades. Service is run on a non-profit basis, so it is rare to see a bill after a service visit, even with a loaner provided for the duration.
Many owners consider this gratuitous helpfulness a priceless contrast with the gouging grating contacts with all prior makers and dealerships.

Tell us (after you’ve defined your blanking acronyms) — which flavor Kool-Aid do you prefer?

Reply to  CWP Seattle
November 13, 2014 11:26 am

“How about the inevitable reconditioned and after market batteries?
We’ll see about that. Tesla’s direct sales model allows them to effectively exclude aftermarket batteries, and to charge through the nose for “reconditioned” ones. Wow, imagine that. See? There’s a reason why manufacturers were separated from the rest of the auto industry lo those many years ago. In any case, for the foreseeable future, Tesla batteries will be a specialty item with a single source.”
Most of your replies are conjectures and personal biases but this one is plain wrong. Tesla cannot stop after market anything. Direct sales has nothing to do with it. Battery packs for ALL the EVs are going to be easy pickings. Of course we’ll have to wait 8 years to find out but if your “100,000 mile” guess pans out then most of them will have new batteries under warranty every 4 or 5 years anyway. The model S owners I’ve talked to love them….defects/warts and all. Today I would put Tesla at the low end of the defect free scale but that should be expected for any new-to-the-business vehicle manufacturer. What I find interesting is that the high end buyers seem to accept the glitches with Tesla where they wouldn’t with an established manufacturer. They must be treating them right.

November 11, 2014 8:16 pm

I find the comments about the Tesla S interesting. It’s a luxury not an economy car. You don’t buy one to save money. It has the features, driving satisfaction, and safety of a high end vehicle. In my neck of the woods the ‘fuel’ cost for electricity/mile is 1/3 the equivalent for gasoline….at 20 mpg, around town, in a full sized car…so yes there is some economy but not enough to justify a purchase. A Leaf is an appliance, a Tesla is for people that either have money to waste and think it’s “cool” or like and willing to pay for the ‘extra’ features the Tesla brings over the equivalent ICE car…..smoother, quieter, faster, more responsive, handles better, more usable space, ‘fill up’ convenience and stylish to boot. Diagnostics and software updates (feature additions as well) from Tesla while the car is parked in your garage is something that hasn’t been mentioned but if you’re a car geek or hate to go to the dealer for maintenance it’s a big plus either way. Until battery cost, capacity, and charge time improves the electric car will remain a niche vehicle.

CWP Seattle
Reply to  markl
November 11, 2014 9:30 pm

I credit you with the willingness to admit the obvious, that Tesla sells a Rolex on wheels. But I’d point out that fuel cost should include the cost of battery degradation, which for a Tesla is 10 cents to 12 cents a mile, minus avoided oil changes and maintenance of transmission and exhaust systems.
As for styling, I think Tesla makes a reasonably slick car, but so does every other vendor in that price class. More usable space? Nah. Tesla’s back seat is cramped compared to similarly price gas sedans from BMW, Mercedes, Audi, and Jaguar. And that gigantic touch screen? Let’s just say that some people like it and others laugh at it.
Hate to go to a dealer for maintenance? Then don’t get a Tesla.

Brian H
Reply to  CWP Seattle
November 12, 2014 8:42 pm

Replacement at EOL, which has not actually occurred to anyone yet, will be at future (much lower) pricing and will leave the owner with future range and function equivalent or superior to what he had when new. So backing that cost into existing miles driven is at least double-counting.
Further, the hypothetical 70% capacity of the old battery now is on the long, slow LiIon decline slope, and leaves it with decades of usefulness in static storage application — and hence value for trade-in.

CWP Seattle
Reply to  CWP Seattle
November 12, 2014 9:45 pm

Please define your (blanking) acronyms.

November 12, 2014 12:29 am

Did anyone comment on the fact that a command economy trying to compete by predicting market demand is doomed to failure?

November 12, 2014 1:29 am

Colin Furze here has one answer ( a simple conversion) but how about powering cars with compressed CO2?

November 12, 2014 9:44 am

I have quite positive experiences with my electric car, a Nissan Leaf. I measure an average energy usage of 1.4 KWh per 10 km. The energy in that is similar to 0.16 litre/ 10 km, or a mileage of 147 miles /us gallon.
And the car is comfortable too. No engine noise – you hear the wind blows.

CWP Seattle
Reply to  Jan Kjetil Andersen
November 12, 2014 9:58 am

Please describe your measurement method.

Reply to  CWP Seattle
November 12, 2014 11:45 am

The cars driving computer tells the average KWh per 10 km. That is 1.4.
The energy content in gasoline is 8.76 KWh per liter. Therefore you divide 1.4 on 8.76 to get 0.16 liters /10 km.

CWP Seattle
Reply to  CWP Seattle
November 12, 2014 2:16 pm

Nissan’s “driving computer” underestimates the electricity input. To get an accurate reading, you need an appliance meter that measures what comes from the plug. You will find that your fuel economy to be at least 20% less than you think.

November 12, 2014 3:55 pm

Lots of Tesla taxis in Amsterdam. I assume the economics bust be sound.

November 12, 2014 3:56 pm

erm, that was “must be sound” 🙂 And I can’t even blame the spellchecker.

November 12, 2014 10:17 pm

CWP Seattle says:

Nissan’s “driving computer” underestimates the electricity input.

Do you have any links / evidence to support that claim?

CWP Seattle
Reply to  Jan Kjetil Andersen
November 14, 2014 11:08 pm

Too much work to reassemble. In any case, I doubt it would matter to you.

Reply to  CWP Seattle
November 15, 2014 12:03 am

In any case, I doubt it would matter to you.

What is that? Do you have any evidence that I am not open for new data or arguments?
I have described where I got my data. It’s the cars computer. And you claim that it underestimates the electricity input. I make monthly statistical calculations about driving distance and electricity consumption which I intend to post on a blog soon and I am very interested in learning about any errors in the driving computer.
But as long as it is only a claim without any further directions I cannot take it seriously.