The Art of the Deal: Saving the U.S. Auto Industry from a "Planet-Saving Agreement"

Guest post by David Middleton

The Auto Industry Under Assault

by HENRY PAYNE July 8, 2017 4:00 AM

France, Volvo, and Trump’s timely withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accords

One of the Trump Administration’s most crucial economic decisions was its withdrawal in June from the Paris Climate Accords. Politically, the decision upheld a campaign promise. Practically, it avoided saddling the country with the deal’s arbitrary, restrictive CO2-emissions caps.

Just how suffocating those strictures could have been was illustrated this week when the French government upended its automotive sector by mandating the elimination of gas and diesel engines by 2040 in order to meet the climate accord’s targets. The decision will give French consumers — and manufacturers — no choice but to transition to expensive, unproven battery-powered vehicles. It comes on the 25th anniversary of the publication of Al Gore’s Earth in the Balance, in which the then-senator called for eliminating the internal combustion engine by 2017. Needless to say, none of the environmental calamities Gore predicted a quarter century ago have come to pass

But that hasn’t slowed the march of wrongheaded policies meant to combat climate change. Just 24 hours before the French government’s decision, Volvo announced that it would electrify every vehicle in its lineup beginning in 2019.


Volvo’s announcement was met with universal praise from left-wing U.S. media; it was also universally mis-reported.


Not quite. In truth Volvo’s decision will help perpetuate the internal combustion engine, which still makes up the overwhelming majority of vehicle sales. While the automaker will add a plugin-hybrid option to every model line and build five all-electric cars beginning in 2019, its core, best-selling gas- and diesel-engine variants will simply add a small, 48-volt battery to compliment existing twelve-volt batteries.

Where traditional twelve-volt batteries turn on a car’s lights and infotainment systems, the 48-volt unit will help power the influx of electric features — steering racks, brake pumps, etc. — into modern cars, while increasing fuel economy by 10–20 percent in order to satisfy looming Chinese and European CO2 mandates. (Europe will force automakers to reduce the CO2 emissions of their vehicles to 95 grams per kilometer by 2021.) In short, contrary to news reports that Volvo is ending gas engines, the company is merely making such engines compliant with the coming rules.


Volvo’s compliance strategy is understandable, because few customers are buying electrified vehicles. In France, just 1.1 percent of new cars sold are fully electric. In the U.S., despite over 50 new battery-powered vehicles introduced since 2009, fully electric models have just a 2.4 percent share of the automotive market.


In condemning the Trump Administration’s withdrawal from the Paris Accords, media darling and former Obama EPA official Marge Oge told the New York Times that “the rest of the world is moving forward with electric cars. If the Trump administration goes backward, the U.S. won’t be able to compete globally.” In reality, the opposite is true.

Thanks to less-stringent emissions rules and low gas prices, the U.S. is essential to most automakers’ profits, driving as it does the high-margin sales of popular pickup trucks and SUVs that can’t be sold elsewhere in the world. GM, for example, withdrew from the European market this year because its small cars are unprofitable there.

Ford joined the corporate chorus in condemning Trump’s Paris withdrawal saying that “we believe climate change is real, and remain deeply committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in our vehicles and our facilities.” Yet the politically correct statement would seem a financial death wish. Some 80 percent of Ford’s profit reportedly comes from U.S. pickup sales. A France-like gas-engine ban to satisfy CO2 targets would destroy the company’s bottom line.


Read more at:

Volvo’s decision to add a 48-volt battery unit to all of its models will add $1,000 to $1,500 to the cost of each vehicle… Not a huge incremental change to a $38,000 car.  Doing the same thing to $16,000 economy vehicles is a very expensive add-on.

While Ford may have been publicly virtue signalling, in private they were probably engaging in a collective sigh of relief.

June 2017 U.S. Auto Sales:  Top 20 Vehicles and Top 7 PEV’s

Vehicle June 2017 Sales Type
Ford F – Series PU 77,895 PU
Chevrolet Silverado PU 50,515 PU
Dodge Ram PU 43,073 PU
Nissan Rogue 34,349 SUV
Toyota RAV4 34,120 SUV
Honda Civic 30,909 Sedan
Honda Accord 29,791 Sedan
Toyota Camry 29,463 Sedan
Toyota Corolla / Matrix 29,432 Sedan
Chevrolet Equinox 29,182 SUV
Honda CR-V 28,342 SUV
Nissan Altima 28,042 Sedan
Ford Escape 27,151 SUV
Ford Explorer 24,285 SUV
Nissan Sentra 22,534 Sedan
Jeep Grand Cherokee 20,176 SUV
Jeep Wrangler 18,839 SUV
Ford Fusion 17,432 Sedan
Toyota Highlander 17,237 SUV
Toyota Tacoma PU 16,443 PU
Tesla Model S 2,350 PEV
Tesla Model X 2,200 PEV
Chevrolet Volt 1,745 PEV
Chevrolet Bolt 1,642 PEV
Toyota Prius Prime 1,619 PEV
Nissan Leaf 1,506 PEV
Ford Fusion Energi 707 PEV

Ford sold 77,895 F-series pickup trucks in June.  Total PEV sales were just 17,182 vehicles. Ford sold 4.5 F-series pickup trucks for every PEV sold in the U.S. in June.  Ford sold 18,139 Fusions, 707 (4%) of which were PEV (Fusion Energi).

69% of June vehicle sales were SUV’s and/or pickup trucks:


Will U.S. automakers follow Vovlo’s lead and put extra batteries and hybrid engines in all of their pickup truck and SUV models?  Only if an actual market for such vehicles evolves.

PEV’s might make sense in places where there’s a $3/gal gasoline tax.  However, the average residential electricity rate in the U.S. is $0.12/kWh.

Gasoline Gallon Equivalent (GGE) 33.4 kWh/gal
 Gasoline Price ($/gal) Electricity ($/kWh)
 $                                    2.00  $                                                         0.06
 $                                    2.50  $                                                         0.07
 $                                    3.00  $                                                         0.09
 $                                    3.50  $                                                         0.10
 $                                    4.00  $                                                         0.12
 $                                    4.50  $                                                         0.13
 $                                    5.00  $                                                         0.15
 $                                    5.50  $                                                         0.16
 $                                    6.00  $                                                         0.18

On Sunday, I filled my Jeep’s tank for $1.99/gal (including taxes) a GGE of $0.06/kWh.  That’s comparable to the LCOE of a conventional combined cycle natural gas power plant ($0.0586/kWh) and about half of what I pay for electricity (~$0.11/kWh).

So, when you dream about charging your Tesla Model 3 with green energy, try not to dream about solar thermal or offshore wind, unless you like nightmares…

Plant Type  Total System LCOE ($/kWh) GGE
Conventional Combined Cycle  $                                           0.0573  $       1.91
Advanced Combined Cycle  $                                           0.0565  $       1.89
Advanced CC with CCS  $                                           0.0824  $       2.75
Coal 90% with carbon sequestration  $                                           0.1232  $       4.11
Wind – Onshore  $                                           0.0637  $       2.13
Wind – Offshore  $                                           0.1459  $       4.87
Solar PV  $                                           0.0850  $       2.84
Solar Thermal  $                                           0.2420  $       8.08
Hydroelectric  $                                           0.0660  $       2.20

EIA Levelized Cost of Electricity 2017

The levelized cost of generation of electricity from offshore wind is the equivalent of $4.87/gal and solar thermal is $8.08/gal.

Will gasoline always be this cheap in the U.S.?  No.  But even at $4/gal, it breaks even with electricity at $0.12/kWh.

Even in the land of Tesla (California), the PEV math doesn’t look good.  The average residential electricity rate is nearly $0.19/kWh and gasoline is nearly $3/gal.  Charging up the first Tesla Model 3 (in Elon Musk’s garage) will cost the equivalent of $6/gal.

So, thank you President Trump for saving our automobile industry and energy consumers from the “planet saving agreement.


Featured image from Meme Generator.


201 thoughts on “The Art of the Deal: Saving the U.S. Auto Industry from a "Planet-Saving Agreement"

  1. The conversion from dollars per gallon of gasoline to equivalent cents per KWH does not take into account the fact that an electric car’s motor and electrical system have at least 3 times as much efficiency at converting electricity to mechanical energy as a gasoline engine has at converting heat energy to mechanical energy.

    • And overlooking the significant energy losses from transmitting, transforming, inverting AC to DC, losses in the charging unit and battery and fall off of battery efficiency with age and use.

      • electric meter and the electric car’s battery
        the big problem is the battery itself, with its limited lifetime and weight penalty. a secondary is the electrical grid. quite simply existing electrical grids are nowhere near capable of supplying sufficient power to replace liquid fuels. the third problem is fueling the power plants that power the grid. in many cases you are going to be replacing gasoline with coal.

      • A typical gasoline automotive engine is 200hp. That is 150 thousand watts of power at peak. The equivalent of about 100 independently fused 120V wall sockets in a typical US house.
        It is a huge engineering problem to replace this capability with electric. Imagine the problems in handling 100 wall sockets. The wiring alone to handle that sort of power.
        In contrast, the typical 100 AMP 240 Volt household supply in North America is limited in theory to about 30 horsepower in total, and it is very unlikely that the grid can handle multiple houses drawing this amount of power. Typically the house draws something like 1-2 horsepower on average.

      • You don’t charge batteries at full power. The Tesla S has a 360 hp motor. You can use a 15-amp 120 volt wall outlet to charge it. Faster if you use a 240 volt connection.

      • Michael Darby: That is why it takes several hours to give a BEV a full charge. You are in effect charging at 25 mph.
        Did you ever have to take a sick child to an ER in the middle of the night? In the winter?

    • That may be true in some instances.
      Perhaps a better metric would be: miles/kWh
      However all of this is somewhat suspect because it doesn’t take into account that a good bit of operating hours of an auto is done during idling, when most accessories are still in operation. The electrical load is not diminished, just the mileage.

    • A better way to understand the to fuel costs is to use $cents of fuel per mile. A 40 mpg gasoline car , at $2.00 per gallon, costs $0,.05 per mile. An all electric car has to use the energy cost at the meter in order to account for the losses in the charger and battery. The most efficient EV’s use 250 wHrs per mile, but adding the 15% losses in the charger and battery boost that to 346 wH per mile. At an electricity rate of $0.12 per kWhr, it costs $0.04 per mile.
      In CA , our baseline charge is $0.20 for the first 414 kWhr, and $0.28 per kWhr over that. So, an EV can cost $0.07 per mile. There is an EV rate but that puts the user on a ‘time-of-service’ rate which has very high day rates.

    • Fair point. The comparison was way too simplistic.
      A Tesla Model S can go 265 miles on a fully charged 85 kWh battery. That is equivalent to 104 mpg. It is a very efficient vehicle. If all I was interested in was “fuel efficiency,” it would be a winner…

      Tesla says the 60-kwh battery provides a range of up to 232 miles (the EPA pegs it at 208 miles), and the 85-kwh battery (a $10,000 option) provides up to 300 miles (the EPA puts it at 265 miles). Here are some examples for recharging times: With a single onboard charger plugged into a standard 110-volt outlet, Tesla says you will get 5 miles of range for every hour of charging. From zero to 300 miles would take about 52 hours at that rate. With a single charger connected to a 240-volt outlet, which Tesla recommends, the pace speeds up to 31 miles of range for each hour of charging, and a full 300-mile charge takes less than 9.5 hours.
      Step up to twin chargers on the car and connect to a 240-volt, high-power wall charger (an extra-cost charging unit, not just a 240-volt line) and the charging speed zooms to 62 miles of range per hour, and the total charging time drops to under 4 hours, 45 minutes.
      Really in a hurry? Stop at a Tesla Supercharger station and you can top off the tank with 300 miles of range in just an hour, as long as your Model S is configured with Supercharger capability If a Supercharger station is out of reach, most public charging stations can recharge the Model S at the rate of 22 miles of range per hour of charging.
      So, if I compare a fuel efficient Chevy Malibu, which can get 36 mpg on the highway to a Tesla Model S… The Telsa would save me $4.54 in fuel costs on a 265 mile trip. That might cover the cost of a cup of coffee while I waited for the Tesla to be recharged at a Tesla Supercharger station.
      gal/kWh Cost
      Malibu $2.00/gal 7.4 $14.72
      Tesla $0.12/kWh 85 $10.18

      • Also, from gasoline deduct the cost of tax paid over and above tax paid on any E. V.
        Indeed, the gas car pays federal and state tax, the Tesla does not and is in fact negative with the subsidy.
        In addition to the fuel tax the gasoline producer pays a higher tax on their product, and the gasoline auto manufacturer compared to Tesla.
        Money from the middle class to subsidize the wealthy, an innane statist policy.

      • Not a Malibu, but my Honda Accord V6 does about 32 mpg, and I don’t drive in the right lane.

      • You’re forgetting one very important thing, David: The cost of replacing the battery on that Tesla when the time comes.
        I own a 1992 Honda Insight hybrid which I purchased in 2013 trusting that the hybrid battery had been replaced. Not true (long story).
        Mind you, the Honda is a much smaller – and lighter – automobile than the luxurious Tesla (aluminum body; two seater) but the replacement 400 pound battery, with install, is $3,000. Oh, and the primary power plant on the Honda is a 3 cylinder gas engine.
        What does a replacement battery for a Tesla cost $10,000? $20,000? And, it WILL have to be replaced.
        That cost needs to be factored in. That same cost is simply not present on an IC powered car. And, don’t expect to escape that cost by unloading the car prior to the battery going dead. Otherwise, your resale value is going to be nonexistent. That’s a fact: currently the resale value for pure electrics is almost pennies on the dollar compared to an IC vehicle.
        And, I wouldn’t factor in any tax savings. Lost gas tax revenue will be recovered one way or the other – government spending never goes down.

      • “Maybe you need to lighten up on the gas pedal?” – maybe I do. 🙂
        But I also live in mountainous BC, and in a city that is all up and down hills.

      • For the Tesla, when charging at home, you need to factor the 15% loss in the charger and the fact that you recharge the 85 kWh battery with 115% of it’s capacity, or 97.8 kWh.. with the charge efficiency, the metered electricity is 117 kWhr so the cost paid to recharge the battery is;
        $ 14.11…..not much different from the Malibu
        But then, here in CA, gas is $2.69- $2.99 and baseline electric rates for PG&E are $0.20 / kWhr.!

      • So on a trip from say Brisbane to Sydney(900 odd klm),it’s going to take me 3 days to get there and that is not taking into account”Recharging”time.And as far as I know,there isn’t anyone building Electric trucks,is there?So how are they going to move consumables(food)around?

      • MY 2010 Malibu would get 32 to 34 MPG on the highway. I suppose the 2017 might be even better . I found if you go over 65 mph the the mileage goes down.

    • As you read all the comments below on this article, please keep the following points in mind:
      (1) We have more than enough gasoline for the forseeable future.
      (2) Due to new extraction technologies, gas prices are more likely to fall than rise.
      (3) The evidence is now in that CO2 based “global warming” is NOT a “thing.”
      Why then, all these technological gymnastics to solve problems that DON’T EXIST?
      (I’m not an engineer, mathematician or economist, but I do buy cars. Electric = pointless).

    • “electric car’s motor and electrical system have at least 3 times as much efficiency at converting electricity to mechanical energy as a gasoline engine has at converting heat energy to mechanical energy.”
      That is because you burning the fuel at central power station.

    • You are ignoring the fact that the energy density of gasoline is superior to any battery we have today. It simply is not as good—you can refill a tank in seconds compared to recharging a battery. And, capacitors are not the answer either, as a short-circuit creates a great explosion.
      The first electric trucks back in 1908 got almost as good mileage as the electric cars get today. It’s the battery, which, by the way has to be charged up by some other power source. Then, there are cold seasons in which a significant portion of the battery goes to keeping the humans on board alive and comfortable and batteries are weaker in cold conditions, which means some of their power is used to warn up the batteries. And hot seasons that will demand A/C and hot conditions age batteries more rapidly than normal. There is no place in the US where these problems are not real and seasonal.
      And, it does not matter at all whatever is happening, the moves to eliminate gas and diesel are part of Agenda 21’s plan to restrict human travel. With the future high cost of electricity and the limits and short lifetime of batteries, few people will be able to afford them or find them useful.
      We now have car engines that, with synthetic oil, can easily go 300,000 miles and they want us to adopt battery power in which the batteries will last 3 to 5 years and have to be replaced at a significant cost–translates into only about 30 to 50,000 miles between battery changes, using normal mileage assumptions.
      And, then, there is the mental aspects of electric cars. With the limited range of the batteries, the driver has to be constantly aware of energy consumption and needs to plan to make sure that there will be enough charge to get home at the end of the day. With a gasoline car, a driver can actually comp template the day and think about the meeting he/she is driving to attend, knowing that a tank of gasoline lasts 400 miles, which means the 100 mile round trip to Pittsburgh and home will be fine on half a tank.
      The electric car driver has to plan for the possibility of needing to take an extra couple of hours in Pittsburgh to charge the car. If the weather is cold or hot, remember, the battery is now stressed, will not go as far and is also providing energy for heat or A/C. Charging is not free, by the way, somebody HAS to pay. Also, accelerated charging ages a battery prematurely. Where is the upside of electric cars unless you are a little old lady who only drives to the grocery store and back, really! Electric cars are only good for short travel, which translates into little travel, with the costs and limitations applied.
      The plan to eliminate human movements is the goal, which has nothing to do with CO2 emissions, global warming, or anything, other than the agenda of the UN, which they want to push forward regardless of all developments.
      I would love to see what promises the UN has made to some world leaders who are seeking to effectively hand their sovereignty over to the UN. It is clear that some countries have been counting on the promise of billions “climate change funds” to be siphoned to them from the developed countries via the Paris Treaty.

    • Donald,
      What are the losses when the battery is below 0C (which happens regularly for people in the north, which is a lot of the US and all of Canada)? It can approach 30% at -15C. And at those temperatures, the internal combustion engine heats the cabin mostly from waste heat, but the EV must use its batteries. This can impose another 20-30% loss. So it can get very expensive to run an EV in these conditions. The solution: have an internal combustion car for the winter! As if EVs are not already too expensive.

      • Seem to recall a story from a few years back where a Leaf went 7 miles on a full charge during particularly cold weather, believe that was in Colorado.

    • Let’s get real.
      Take away taxpayer subsidies of thousands of dollars per electric car and the entire matter doesn’t look so economical for the not so electric cars.

    • Hi Donald, I suggest you in your whatever it is electric car and me in my Jeep set off from the Florida Keys for a nice drive North to Maine. You will remember to factor in all the costs and delays of your hotel stays as you stop for several hours every 250 miles won’t you? I will need to stop for 5 minutes for gas every 600 miles or so but will be in Virginia before you are North of Daytona.
      Electric cars are for townies who have a simple daily commute and have a spare car charged up in case of emergencies.

    • You are excluding the fact that gasoline is heavily taxed to pay for roads, while electricity is not.

  2. Several months ago I attended a small lecture regarding biodiesel and how it would save the environment. To a room full of engineers this was a hard sell. The math just didn’t add up. The energy density of biodiesel just isn’t as good as petroleum. When I pointed out that you would have to burn 11% more biodiesel to obtain the same amount of energy as petroleum diesel thereby actually producing MORE CO2, the speakers response was…”But its green CO2.”

    • I did a thought experiment on biofuels that are propelling some of our local buses. Assuming 5 miles per gallon and 20,000 miles per year, and assuming a production of 1200 litres per hectare per year for the biofuel crop, it would take the equivalent of 30 football fields to “grow” the biofuel. With a fleet of 1,000 buses, I think we’d run out of space pretty quickly, but I wouldn’t want to discourage the green crowd, so I didn’t publish my findings.

    • Just playing Devil’s Advocate for a moment, rocketscientist;
      The CO2 released from burning biodiesel is nothing more than the CO2 sequestered from the atmosphere by the plants used to make the biodiesel, so it is carbon neutral, while burning fossil diesel adds CO2 that helps elevate CO2 concentrations.
      However, I do agree that calling the released CO2 “green CO2” is rather silly. Especially because, barring someone proving abiogenesis for petroleum, all petroleum fuels are not only biofuels, but certifiably organic as well, practically requiring them to be labelled ‘Green Fuel’.
      [off-thread tangent]
      If civilization lasts long enough, we will be faced with the challenge of how much environment should be destroyed by liberating CO2 from carbonate rocks to keep the rest of the environment alive, as interplantary space travel will never be inexpensive enough to haul gigatons of CO2 from Venus at the rate that would be necessary.
      The Gaia Hypothesis is wrong, unless the only equilibrium state of the Earth is as a lifeless planet.
      [/off-thread tangent]

      • Well, a fossil fuel, if our understanding of their creation is even moderately on track, is merely the conversion of solar energy, through the process of photosynthesis, to potential energy in the form of coal/oil/natural gas/whatever. When we burn it, we are merely liberating that solar energy sequestered so long ago, so this makes burning of fossil fuels just as “carbon neutral” as burning of any biofuels.
        And let me make a quick correction to other peoples posts… bio-diesel, at least in its current form, takes expended cooking grease(s), usually some type of vegetable oil although lard gets into there, too, and burns that in a standard (sort of) diesel engine in place of the petroleum derived diesel. Now those cooking wastes are often a disposal nuisance and the generator has to pay somebody to haul them off. So if you modify your Dodge pickup with the Cummins turbo-stroke diesel so that it can burn that cooking grease, or even a mixture of that cooking grease and diesel, you’ll come out ahead. But in reality, there’s not much of that grease available. I don’t have the figures available, but I think even a city the size of Los Angeles, e.g., will generate only enough cooking grease for a few thousand drivers at most, while the City of Los Angeles contains several million vehicles (? go ahead and correct me if anyone has the actual numbers, I’m sort of making them up cuz I have never read an article that would talk about these limits) at any given time.

  3. France has 59 (near zero CO2 emitting) nuclear reactors providing 80% of its electricity demand, and as a consequence is the lowest CO2 emitter from electricity generation of any developed nation. The Government wants to replace 50% of them with ‘renewables’, they say..
    Given the unreliability of solar and wind, much of this ‘renewable’ will be biomass, which does of course emits negative CO2…ahem. Complètemente cinglé.
    The French grid is not very robust because of past under-investment, the size of the Country and the spread out nature of dwellings/villages/hamlets in rural settings. It will be interesting to see where the money will come from to upgrade the infrastructure to accommodate all that car battery charging, and to provide the electricity once the reactors are shut down and agricultural subsidies for biomass have disappeared after the UK exits the EU and is no longer a milch-cow for CAP funding.
    On the other hand, it is usual practice for incoming French Governments to announce grandiose plans which never happen or are reversed within a few months.

    • France just announced the shutdown of up to 17 reactors in the next 8 years. Seems they are too old and require expensive repairs that would be better spent on new power plants. New nuclear won’t be the answer, as they already demonstrated with the Flamanville disaster, or fiasco.
      France will have the US as a partner in misery, as the US must also shut down 30 to 50 reactors in the next ten years.

      • Roger –
        I’m already involved in trying to reverse California’s decision to not re-license the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant down the road from my new home. Not only does the plant provide 30% of the power needed in the area, unfortunately including LA, it also holds the promise of cheap desalination in an area desperate for fresh water.
        There’s an advocacy site named “Mothers for Nuclear” ( for anyone interested in fighting the good fight…
        PS: They don’t insist you’re a mother; they welcome all genders 🙂

  4. “On Sunday, I filled my Jeep’s tank for $1.99/gal (including taxes) a GGE of $0.06/kWh. That’s comparable to the LCOE of a conventional combined cycle natural gas power plant ($0.0586/kWh) and about half of what I pay for electricity (~$0.11/kWh). ”
    Davis Middleton continues to display ignorance about electric cars, which, for some reason, he thinks are only attractive to the greenies. An electric vehicle’s mileage (miles per kWhr) is almost the same regardless of whether traveling on highways or byways, quite unlike his gas powered Jeep, whose mileage is much less around town. Looking at all the Jeep models I see they average from 21 to 25 MPG combined city/highway.
    Let’s assume Middleton’s Jeep gets 23MPG. That works out to roughly 8 1/2 cents per mile when burning $1.99 per gallon gasoline. The Tesla Model S, which, at over 4,000 pounds, likely weighs more than Middleton’s Jeep, and carries more passengers, gets 3.37 miles per kWhr, average. At his 11 cents per kWhr the Tesla’s fuel bill works out to 3.23 cents per mile, way less than his gas powered Jeep at 8.5 cents per mile. The Tesla also doesn’t use oil that must be replaced, nor anti-freeze, nor an exhuast system that requires periodic replacement, nor tune ups, etc.
    Had he had to pay the highest electric rates on the mainland (Hawaii has the absolute highest rates, at 35 cents per kWhr) or 19 cents per kWhr, his electric car fuel bill would have been 5.6 cents per mile, still way less than the per mile cost of the $1.99 gasoline he puts in his Jeep.

    • Are those electricity costs you quote with or without the massive subsidies ‘green’ electricity gets to make them economically viable?

      • Those are total system costs. It is supposedly without subsidies.
        The LCOE with tax credits is lower for wind & solar. However, I don’t think that accounts for all of the subsidies

    • Electric cars do not do very well on “mileage” when driven in a common climate requiring heating or cooling.
      In Texas, most of the time, it is AC, with a few months requiring heat. Other places in the US, heating requirements, added onto the degradation of battery performance in cold weather, vastly reduces the purported range of EVs.

    • All of the attendant cost for a gasoline powered auto that you mention are not required by electric vehicles, yet you omit many costs that are attendant to the all electric vehicle. Namely, battery replacement. Lead/acid battery for an ICE car about $85.00 (every 3/4 years depending on your abuse). Tesla S battery pack $15,000 (every 8 years).
      An ICE car will buy 2 to 3 batteries in an 8 year life (fewer if your thermal cycling is more benign).
      $255 vs. $15,000.
      You’d better get the extended warrantee on the Teslas.

    • You compare an all weather, off road capable Jeep to a hot house flower Tesla, while asserting that David Middleton “..continues to display ignorance…”???

      • It’s a Rubicon too… ~18-19 mpg… It can go about 320 highway miles on a single “charge” and maybe 200 miles off road. I can even strap a can of “charge” on the back… 😉
        Clearly, if fuel efficiency was at the top of (or even on) my list, I wouldn’t be driving a Jeep.

    • Thats only direct cost, Now factor in all the energy conversions and losses to get an electric vehicle charged.. the ev would loose big time.

      • Besides, if they’re so great, how come they don’t sell? I’d buy one in a heartbeat if it made economic sense.

      • And just where do you charge these EV from?Why a wall socket.And where does the charge come from?Why,that would more that likely be coming from FOSSIL FUEL,of course.

      • If you live in an apartment, or a condo without a garage, there’s no outlet to charge from.

    • You conveniently leave out the $0.50+ per gallon of taxes paid by ICE drivers. Road maintenance is not going to magically disappear with a switch to electric cars. And the $0.02/mile paid by David is not going to be enough to fill the government coffers so figure more like 3 to 4 cents per mile levied on EV owners. And now you are at parity to ICE operating costs.

      • Bingo!
        Also Tesla’s contribution to taxes, unlike fossil fuel corporations, is net negative. Add a couple of cents per mile here as well.

    • arthur4563 wins the prize for most appropriate comment.
      The economics are pretty easy for EV as a win-win over gasoline.
      Average car gets 27 mpg and gasoline at $2.70 per gallon, yields a cost per 100 miles of $10.00
      For an EV that gets 265 miles on 85 kWh, and charging cost of 15 cents per kWh, yields a cost per 100 miles of $4.81. The electrical losses in charging could be 50 percent (and they are not that great) and still win over gasoline.
      The expensive battery replacement argument is the same that was trotted out years ago when Toyota built the Prius. “Nobody will buy, because the battery wears out and is too much to replace.” Heard that everywhere. Look how that turned out. Prius cars are everywhere, especially here in California.
      The EVs are here to stay. No one knows this better than OPEC. Their days are numbered, and that number is a few years at best. Their best move would be to buy up all the raw ingredients for car batteries, and refuse to sell them.

      • OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) to become OLCOGHC (Organization of the Lithium Cobalt Oxide and Graphite Hoarding Countries)… LMAO!

      • What are the resale values for those EVs? They’re nonexistent. Why do you think that is?
        Don’t take my word; check it out.

      • “….“Nobody will buy, because the battery wears out and is too much to replace.” Heard that everywhere. Look how that turned out. Prius cars are everywhere, especially here in California…..” Bad example. You don’t need battery with capacity in a hybrid.

      • Roger, raise the ev price so Tesla actually makes a, say ten percent profit, then add in an equivalant road tax to ev fuel costs, then remove all direct subsidies and elect utility breaks, then rework your math.

    • “The Tesla also doesn’t use oil that must be replaced, nor anti-freeze, nor an exhaust system that requires periodic replacement, nor tune ups, etc.” But the Tesla DOES require that periodic battery replacement! (See comments above and below and all around!) I’ll spring to the defense of Mr. Middleton because he does the research and crunches the numbers (a thing I’m just as lazy at as you apparently are), and urge you to accomplish a full Life Cycle Cost Analysis of IC vehicles vs fully electric vehicles, that includes EVERY cost or income if there is one (when I trade in my vehicle, what will it bring, or if it is completely dead, what will the junk yard give me for it, or even inflate your numbers by donating the rusted out hulk to a registered charity so you can deduct the full-market-value-of-the-same-thing-only-cherry from your income and reduce your tax burden). While you’re at it, crunch the numbers on the stupid idea of a hybrid, I’m curious how badly that does in the sweepstakes, also.

      • “The Tesla also doesn’t use oil that must be replaced, nor anti-freeze, nor an exhaust system that requires periodic replacement, nor tune ups, etc.” It does use antifreeze to cool the battery and associated hardware to circulate it if I’m not mistaken and oil in the gearbox. Don’t know replacement cycle for either. Since the advent using stainless steel for ICE exhaust systems they rarely need replacement anymore. Early Tesla S required a maintenance package to be purchased to include periodic “body alignment” and other check ups or the warranty was void. Same brakes but due to regenerative braking they last longer. Tires and suspension parts are subject to more wear because of weight (2+tons for S!). Most Tesla owners are low mileage so you don’t hear about wear so much.

  5. How is hydropower more expensive than combined cycle natural gas? I have been under the impression that hydro is the least expensive per kWh (water is more or less ‘free’).

  6. David, I agree with your sentiment, and do these calculations myself. I am interested in an electric car for the lower maintenance hassles one would have.
    Still, to make this a true comparison, you have to consider the true price of electricity vs gas. In CT, today, I can get a gallon of 87 octane gas, with 10% ethanol, for about $2.45. My electricity base rate, generation cost is roughly $0.08 / kWh. Still, I must pay more than that in fees and base charges to the local electric utility. I end up paying about $0.18 / kWh. Most of the US pays a lot more than the ‘rate’ the utility company says as those fees and taxes are not included, only the generation fee is. With gasoline, thats the all in price; taxes and fees, etc.
    Put simply, you are being too generous in your numbers. It’s much worse for electric cars.

    • Mike, if low maintenance costs are important, do not automatically assume electric vehicles are less maintenance intensive. Aside from the power generation they have most of the same parts and systems. Actually a hybrid vehicle would have all the subsystems of both (twice the headache). The all have breaks, suspensions, A/C, heating, wipers, etc. I would posit that as the vehicles become more complex, that maintenance goes up merely because you have more systems to fail. The complexity of an electric power generation system will mean that you will simply need a different sort of technician to maintain it.
      Now compound upon this an automated computer that can operate the vehicle and suddenly you have a far more expensive vehicle to maintain.
      Ah… for the days when I “gapped” my own distributor and tweaked the Webbers.

    • My base rate in Dallas is about the same per kWh. When all of the fees and taxes are added in, it averages about $0.11/kWh… But we use a lot of electricity, particularly this time of year.

      • Electricity price for residential use is a strict – almost perfect – function of consumption per customer, as my blog article shows. Texas has a middle-of-the-road residential price, and a commensurate high consumption. Middleton loves to state how low his electricity price is, and poke fun at California for having high prices. My bill is far less than his, mainly because we just don’t need much electricity out here, except on a few days in the summer when the A/C starts up.

        • Put my house in a comparable place in San Diego or San Francisco and my electric bill would still be higher than yours. I wouldn’t have to run the AC as much; but the pool pump and most of my other electricity hogs would run just as much.
          Of course, if I put my house on a 1 acre lot within 10 miles of downtown San Diego or San Francisco, I couldn’t afford my house.

    • Just to add exact data from my latest bill, I choose my own supplier, and pay 6.7c/kWh vs the utility standard rates of 7.87c/kWh. I pay 9.34c/kWh in charges, taxes, and fees; almost 50% more than the fuel itself. Thus for me, it’s comparing 16c/kWh to $2.45/G. Now according to ,, I pay about 29c/G in taxes on that $2.45/G. It seems to me that electricity is more heavily taxed. In all fairness, some of the road infrastructure is paid by my property tax (cars and homes in CT), and income tax (state and Federal), whereas the utility pays for the electric infrastructure, so the numbers are probably closer.
      I do agree with other commentators that say that one must then continue the math to include MPG or MPG equivalent to truly do the math correctly. Still, that then takes you to individual vehicles, and that would take it too far for what David was saying. His point, even without that step, is still valid.

      • ” It seems to me that electricity is more heavily taxed”
        You ain’t seen nothing yet I am afraid, especially if the only choice becomes EVs.

  7. I think there is a problem with the GGE comparison shown. It appears that the conversion here is between the energy content of a gallon of gasoline and electrical storage in a vehicle battery. However, this ignores the large difference in efficiency in converting that stored energy to work in electric vs IC motors. Real world numbers on EV range (which account for this efficiency difference) show much lower fuel cost for an EV. Of course other sustainability issues remain for EVs (eg, current absence of road taxes).

  8. A grossly misreported announcement. Volvo will simply install the latest iteration of Valeo’s iStARS system, now called (mild) hybrid4all. Implements start/stop (eninge off at idle) which picks up 5-8% depending on traffic, plus regen braking which picks up another 8-9%. Key is a 48 volt battery plus a beefed up starter/alternator/generator. All bolted onto a standard gasoline or diesel engine.

  9. “Volvo’s compliance strategy is understandable, because few customers are buying electrified vehicles.”
    H’mm, well who would? Also somewhere else in the article the extra battery is saying nice things about the existing battery.

  10. As for Middleton’s fantasy that automakers are not moving to electric cars, he failed to point out that BMW will put a Tesla Model 3 fighter (a Series 3 sedan, costing in the mid $30s, with a 230 mile range) in showrooms come August. And Tesla’s waiting list for their Model 3 ($1,000 deposit required, thank you) is well over half a million. It entire production run (beginning this month) is sold out for at least the next two years. This will demonstrate the absurdity of Middleton’s earlier postings in which he based his argument on past electric car sales, ignoring the dropping cost of batteries, the ONLY obstacle (for the past 100 years) to a mass produced, practical electric car. I won’t even mention the advances that has been made to recharging speed, which really only matters while of trips, and is currently less than 20 minutes for an 80% recharge at Tesla Supercharger stations and apparently poised to shrink even further, according to Musk remarks of late. And exactly what Volvo will be offering is unknown, but there are currently, across all automakers, 135 electric car models being developed – some merely electrified versions of existing models, but all likely to arrive within the next 24 months. I would advice anyone thinking about a new car to wait , because BIG changes are coming, faster than people like Middleton believe are possible. Elelctric cars have so many intrinsic advantages over gas powered vehicles, that once the cost of batteries/motor equals the cost of the powertrain they replace, there will never be another gas powered passenger production vehicle built. They couldn’t give them away.

    • Fast charging a battery is a sure way of high thermal stress and killing them real soon. Adding to the chemical waste of the planet.

      • John from EU: perhaps stick to something you know about. I have tested batteries fast charged at 3C for 500 cycles and the loss of capaciyy is marginal. In the real world fast charging is an occasional thing (ask any Leaf owner).

        • 500 cycles is nothing….. once a day for 1 1/2 years? Tesla limits the charge capacity to 80% for normal use and discourages use of “fast/high power” charging due to battery degeneration. Today EVs are a niche vehicle ideal for short commute, city driving, and nothing more. Those charging stations being added around town and highways are for occasional extended trips and emergency use. If you can’t plug in where you park overnight for your next days’ usage then an EV is not for you. Apartment dwellers or street parking only? Not for you.

      • @John from the EU
        Mmmmmm, maybe not. I was reading an article where a bunch of Tesla early adopters in the Netherlands(?) did some testing, or reported field experiences. It seems the more often you supercharged the battery, the more life and capacity you had. Go figure.

    • Like everything else is Tesla-land, the “waiting list” is hyped…

      Tesla opened up pre-orders for the Model 3, its first mass market car, more than a year ago. Within a matter of days, more than 300,000 customers put down $1,000 deposits to reserve their place in line.
      Related: Tesla losses grow as it nears Model 3 launch
      Tesla hasn’t updated the pre-order count since last year, but Musk said Tuesday that “there are more and more deposits every week.”
      “So if you want, then definitely put down the deposit,” he added. “The line isn’t getting shorter.”
      Optimism for Model 3 sales has helped drive up Tesla’s stock price in recent months, pushing the company’s market cap above traditional automakers like General Motors (GM) and Ford (F).
      But the cost of prepping for the launch has also pushed Tesla deeper into the red. It had to raise more than $1 billion earlier this year. Tesla said last month it was “significantly expanding” its infrastructure with more retail, delivery and service locations ahead of the launch.
      The more revenue Tesla generates, the more money it loses…
      Since Tesla manages to lose more money with each car it sells, the Model 3 could be a real “winner”…

      Tesla can’t survive on its buzz-worthiness alone, but it’s certainly helped buoy its stock price. The number of people who plunked down the $1,000 deposit to preorder the Model 3 after it was first announced last year blew away pretty much everyone’s expectations. It took less than a week for the company to receive 350,000 preorders, leading Tesla to claim the Model 3 had the “biggest one-week launch of any product ever.” Eat your heart out, Apple.
      But Tesla still has a long way to go before it can stick the landing. Musk says production is expected to grow exponentially: 100 cars in August, more than 1,500 by September, and then 20,000 per month by December. If the company fails to hit these marks or runs into manufacturing issues that happen at higher scales, or demand for the Model 3 drops, analysts argue it would be a setback not just for Tesla, but perhaps the entire electrification movement.
      But the timing of the Model 3’s release could spell doom for Tesla, which still sells a fraction of the automobiles produced by the world’s biggest OEMs. Auto sales are stagnant in the US, while most consumers are trending toward SUVs and crossover vehicles rather than sedans. Tesla faces the problem of introducing a compact sedan when the market is running headlong away from this form factor to sport utilities. “Their timing couldn’t have been worse,” Abuelsamid said.

      • More fun with Tesla’s “waiting list”…

        The more I looked into it, the more I liked it. The price was really what sold me. So, a month after the Model 3 was announced, on March 30, 2016, I visited the Tesla website, paid my $1,000 deposit, and was officially in line.
        The disillusionment began almost right away.
        After visiting “Model 3 Counter” and being told my estimated spot in line was 410,862 with an estimated delivery date of June 2020, I began to question my sanity. Those figures would be later updated to the 203,535th place in line and a delivery date of May 2018—but the damage was done. I would never wait for anything that long, especially after laying down $1,000. If my wife had told me I’d have to wait two-and-a-half years after proposing to her, I think I would’ve ditched her. So, why should a car be any different?
        My serious questions began in the fall of 2016 when Mercedes announced the Mercedes EQ, the German carmaker’s electric SUV concept vehicle. The company said it would have a range up to 310 miles, a price point of around $40,000 USD, and cars rolling off the assembling line in 2019.
        I owned a 1992 Mercedes 500SL AMG when I was younger. It was the most incredible car ever—so I could only imagine how solid the EQ would be.
        The Mercedes EQ, coupled with the rave reviews and relatively inexpensive price tags of the Nissan LEAF and Chevrolet Bolt, began to change my opinion about waiting for the Model 3.
        But it was when I took a look at the market data for Tesla Motors that I changed my mind completely.
        Up until a few days ago, Tesla was the most valuable carmaker in America with a higher market capitalization than the Big 3: Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler! For a company that churned out a measly 47,000 cars in the first half of 2017, something doesn’t add up. By comparison, Ford sold over 234,000 vehicles in March 2017 ALONE!
        Yes, based on the paid registrations (400,000 according to Forbes), so far the Model 3 has been an incredible success. But for people like me—cost-conscious consumers looking for real value—the Model 3 likely won’t deliver. As more and more automakers make electric vehicles, I keep coming back to the same question: How is Tesla going to compete? When the Model 3 was announced, Tesla was the only legitimate EV manufacturer in the world. Now they’re up against everybody: Mercedes, Ford, GM, Honda, Nissan, Toyota, etc.
        I’m not interested in gambling money on what ultimately turns out to be another DeLorean.
        How did he move up from 410,862nd to 203,535th place in line. Did 200,000 people get out of line?

    • They will be powered by cold fusion generators.
      A fantasy, sure. So is most of your comment. Are you willing to spend 20 minutes at a gas station every three hours on a freeway? We need better batteries, or fuel cells, or capacitors, or cold fusion devices. That’s what holds e-cars back.

    • “the dropping cost of batteries, the ONLY obstacle (for the past 100 years) to a mass produced, practical electric car”
      You keep repeating this nonsense talking point that battery price is the ONLY obstacle. EVs will never be cost competitive with ICE cars until better battery technology is developed that allows for comparable ICE car ranges and much, much shorter charge times, all at a feasible price.

      • They have been building LiIon batteries for several decades now.
        The learning curve has been climbed. There is precious little cost improvement to be had.

    • arthur4563
      “And Tesla’s waiting list for their Model 3 ($1,000 deposit required, thank you) is well over half a million.”
      How many ICE cars are sold in the US every year?
      In Europe the sales of electric cars have crashed since several countries withdrew taxpayer subsidies for them.
      According to some reports, the CO2 penalty from manufacturing Tesla batteries allows a conventional, equivalent car, to run for 8 years before exceeding it.
      Then there’s the precious metal cost in high end batteries; produced in developing countries with scant regard for environment and human rights. Wealthy Americans and Europeans get a nice shiny, ‘clean’ Tesla whilst the contributing countries get to poison the planet and increase their CO2 emissions (which is the only good thing about it) whilst workers exist in filthy conditions, enduring oppressive regimes that prohibit withdrawal of labour.
      Add that to the real, and immediately (and for many years) massive imposition of EV charging on the grid, which can only really be addressed by public subsidy, just how long do you expect the public to tolerate rocketing electricity prices whilst the grid is unable to support these vehicles.
      The problem you’re labouring under is that government imposition of culture change is, in almost every case, unsuccessful. Even former Communist and Fascist nations have converted to Capitalism, recognising the value of market forces.
      What you are witnessing is a global government knee jerk reaction to the climate disaster scare. No government want’s to jump off the bandwagon for fear that they are wrong. They can’t prove they are right of course so they will hang on until the cliff edge.
      Amusingly, the team master has just jumped off the bandwagon, and the whole shooting match is being steered by a committee in the back, with the members passing the reigns to one another for fear of being the ones holding them when the inevitable crash happens.
      And I’ll make a little prediction here. If, in 4 years time, Trump can demonstrate that by leaving the Paris accord, America is a wealthier nation, he will get his second term. And if Britain doesn’t crash and burn following Brexit, the two events will promote the dissolution of the European Union and the abandonment of the climate change pretext, because it will serve no further socialist purpose.
      And if you ever imagined the climate change myth had anything to do with the global climate, you have been sadly misled. It has been announced as a socialist movement for wealth distribution by no less than the IPCC, amongst others.

      • Almost O/T but related to the emissions and reasons for reducing CO2 (or not):
        New paper (paywalled) on the matter of associating concentrations of PM2.5 and responses such as premature death. It is a discussion about cause-effect in general, and very comprehensive.
        Do causal concentration–response functions exist? A critical review of associational and causal relations between fine particulate matter and mortality, Louis Anthony (Tony) Cox Jr, Critical Reviews in Toxicology, Pages 1-29 | Received 12 Oct 2016, Accepted 23 Mar 2017, Published online: 28 Jun 2017
        “The fundamental premise that [concentration-response] curves exist that can predict the public health effects caused by reductions in pollutant concentrations needs to be carefully reexamined and tested, as it does not appear to hold in general.”
        The paper examines the way in which concentration-response functions do or do not ‘work’ at establishing what causes what. The authors show that using data for Boston, PM2.5 is positively associated with elderly person mortality. The same ’cause’ in San Francisco has no such association. WUWT?
        The nature of the detailed discussion is such that it applies readily to CO2-induced warming (or its counterfactual). The author points out that there exist modern tools for testing whether any causal relationship exists, and laments the fact so may papers bristle with claims for cause that are not supported by the evidence – just assertions and assumptions.

  11. I was seriously considering an electric powered pickup truck as a project. link
    Then natural gas got real cheap because of fracking and I started to wonder about converting to gas.
    Then fracked oil drove gasoline prices down. Right now, anything but gas or diesel is pointless.

    • I like the electric pickup idea. One design puts the lead-acid batteries undeneath the pickup bed, between the frame rails. Then you rig your pickup bed so it lifts up like a dump truck for easy access to the batteries.

  12. If they tax vehicle electricty the way they tax gasoline all this changes. Where will they get the money to maintain roads? At least that’s what the various governments say they do with all those tax $$. And how long will one need to sit at a charging station on a cross country trip and the lost time cost of that? Cost of battery replacement and reduction in run time as batteries decrease their ability to hold a charge with age, temperature? Dreamers dream and schemers scheme.

    • Of course they will have to increase taxes on all electricity used. So those who are too poor to own a vehicle will also end up paying more in taxes.

    • there has been talk of tax per mile driven, so the loss in revenue from high mileage gas and diesel vehicles and electric can be made up. What with all the transponder do-hickies on modern vehicles, wouldn’t be hard at all for the government to make such determinations and send out bills.. Just grateful my 64 D-100 can’t be hacked in any way.

      • Knowing where each vehicle is located, 24/7. Every dictators dream.
        If you want to do a per mile tax, just have the odometer read once a year.

        • personally, Mark, I don’t want the government to know much at all about what I do on a daily basis–one of the reasons I have declined to buy a “modern” vehicle.

    • Jim G1
      But the EV crusade only exists amongst the city and suburban dwellers, so it must be successful. They never drive more than 20 miles a day, so nor does the rest of the world.
      There are no taxi’s that drive for 12 and 14 hours a day just to make a living. There are no delivery drivers that drive 12 to 14 hours a day just to make a living. There are no farmers who work 12 to 14 hours a day just to make a living. There are no businessmen who drive hundreds of miles across country, and back, in a day, just to make a living.
      No one exists in political circles other than the privileged city dwellers who dictate terms to the rest of us on how we live our lives.
      Frankly, as far as I’m concerned, if they chose to live in a disgusting, polluted city just because they can make the big bucks, they deserve all the respiratory diseases they get.
      And I’m one of them, but I’m not complaining.

    • Since EVs are heavier, and damage to the road goes up dramatically as weight increases, EV’s need to be taxed more heavily than ICE.

  13. Range is being left out of all the above numbers. What is the range of a full charge vs the range of a full tank of gas.? You may assume any tank and or battery size.
    Let’s also talk about purpose. Why do you think the most popular vehicles sold in the U.S. are p/u trucks? Let someone figure the load hauling capacity of a petroleum powered truck vs an electric powered truck. Do not forget to include uphill driving and trailering equipment and boats.
    No one has mentioned night time driving. No one has mentioned cold weather driving. What about how long the batteries will hold a charge during extended cold periods. What about all the accessories we all now enjoy and the power requirements for those.
    So it is not only about the energy content comparison for miles driven.

    • Imagine how long it would take to charge up a tractor trailer’s battery. Then consider how many such charging stations we would need on the interstates.

  14. I like the power, noise level, smooth acceleration, ease of driving (one pedal in some EVs), roominess of EVs, and should be relatively lower maintenance than ICE vehicles but they are more expensive to drive once you factor in: initial cost, energy cost, battery replacement cost, “More green” is propaganda only.

    • You are exactly where I am on this. I hope they can make these things cost effective, as I want one, but I won’t buy one until it is. Plus, I want to see how the market and tech will play out when they start wearing out; that is to say, the used car market.

      • Batteries will be the used EV market Achilles heel. EV battery capacity is directly related to the battery health and you can monitor/see it from the dashboard. Selling an EV with a worn out battery will be a challenge as the replacement cost is high. Transmissions are also a weak point. They don’t shift but they do transform the motor speed to usable levels and with all that available torque the gearing is stressed. Depending on how the car was driven (battery to depletion) and recharge method will make or break the value. People using them at the low end of their range capacity and using slow overnight charging will have better battery health and resale value.

    • Mark I agree. I like all those benefits too. As a driving experience piston engines are useless. But you are right too that whole life cost of ownership is still higher. It won’t stay that way for much longer though. I agree too. Green-ness is irrelevant.

      • “One pedal? No brakes?”…. Correct. Regenerative braking. As you lift off the go pedal it slows on its’ own relative to the position of the pedal. Que assist does the rest unless there’s no one in front of you or you have an emergency stop then you use the brake….. it’s still there. With traffic light,cross traffic, and pedestrian recognition you conceivably would never need to touch the brake. If your nerves can handle it 🙂 All the recognition technology should be put on ICE cars as well. Not all EVs have all these features and I don’t know how well they work in the real world.

      • I worked the ATTB (Advanced Technology Transit Bus) during the late ’80s. The prototype systems on the bus included provisions for energy recapture from regenerative braking, but as energy storage at the time was dismal to poor we dumped the electric load into heat until such a time as we could integrate a viable electric storage system. We built 5 of them an tested them all around the country.
        We quickly discovered that regenerative braking did work well for speed above about 3 mph, but below that speed the rotation of the wheels (hence back-driving the motors for electrical generation) did not produce enough “drag” on the bus to adequately slow it to a stop. Foundation brakes were needed for speeds below the threshold, as well as for parking.
        Given that the average speed of a city bus is about 15 mph, one would expect that regenerative breaking would not be al that useful, but we found the advantage to be huge. After fuel, the highest expense for city bus operation is brake replacement. Even when we were not recovering the electricity from regenerative braking, we were projecting huge costs savings because the brakes we had placed on the test vehicles showed far less wear due to the benign braking that was required of them.

  15. The very awkward thing about this is to accept two things which no-one seems to believe both of.
    The first is that to pollute the cities in which we live, work and shop by driving cars and truck through the streets emitting noxious fumes and noise, and generally making the streets unpleasant places to be – that is crazy.
    Streets in which there were only electric cars would be much pleasanter. You would still have the problem of speeding through traffic, but at least there would be a lot less noise and no air pollution.
    The second is that as a way of tackling the supposed global warming, this is a non-starter. You cannot do it on a scale and to a quality of vehicle sufficient to keep our present structure of travel, commuting, living, travelling. You just cannot drive the miles people want to go int the winter, and be warm and also have range, at any reasonable price.
    So the green fantasy that we can just change technology and carry on just as before is a fantasy.
    All the same, we should never have filled our cities with ICE cars and trucks, and we would be better off and happier if we got rid of them. Not because of global warming. But to take back the streets for people living, working, walking and shopping in them. Not for those who just want to drive through on the way to someplace else.

    • we would be better off and happier if we got rid of them.
      the car was a huge improvement over the horse and buggy. At least you don’t have the roads piled high in manure.
      For my part, I’d rather have CO2 than flies, and there is nothing like streets filled with manure in the summer to bring in flies by the billions.

  16. The US auto market is in trouble as it stands. Accelerating lease returns over the next few years along with extensive subprime financing issues on top of the current Channel stuffing to dealers it’s just the tip of the iceberg. The good news is used cars will become considerably cheaper soon and incentives on new vehicles will become even more extreme.
    Queue up a song from Dire Straits.

  17. Are auto makers moving quickly to an all electric future. Maybe. Probably. Is David Middleton wrong in his assertions that this is economic folly. Not necessarily. Governments are famous for mucking up economics with politics blithely tossing away the people’s resources in the process. An earlier post pointed to an increasing trend of governments to announce grandiose schemes that never come to completion. This is mainly a political head fake to control the public conversation and a recognition that most of these projects are a joke to begin with. Why worry about falling living standards, unsustainable debt levels, and a failing education system when we are rocketing to Nirvana. So far Trump has acted like the outsider he is reflecting the core skepticism of his supporters aka “deplorables”
    BTW… I work just down the road from Nissans’ Leaf plant. Those few hundred jobs exist because the Federal and State governments subsidized the plant and continue to lard public money on this losing proposition. When I see a Leaf I see the future. One that’s immeasurably poorer due to mis-investment.

  18. The head post says, “In the U.S., despite over 50 new battery-powered vehicles introduced since 2009, fully electric models have just a 2.4 percent share of the automotive market.”
    2.4% sounds ten times too high to me.

    • By share, I think they mean current sales. Total market penetration is about 0.2%.

  19. Our US bretheren might want to reflect that in the second half of 2016 there were three times as many electric vehicles sold in China as in the US. The Chinese already have an unassailable lead in electric buses. Think Kodak

    • Why would electric buses be appealing to us US bretheren?
      The ChiCom and local governments often own the companies that make the EV’s sold in Red China. It’s a booming growth market and the ChiCom government has dictated that 11% of car sales be EV’s by 2020. They are telling their people what they can manufacture and what they can purchase. What exactly is appealing about this?

      The electric car has finally arrived—and most of them are racing off to China. China registered as many as 352,000 new electric vehicles (EV) in 2016, compared to only 159,000 cars registered in the US during the same time period (more than half of which were in California).
      While automotive analysts caution China’s numbers could be inflated due to subsidy cheating, even the lower estimates remain higher than the US. (Navigant Consulting puts China’s 2016 figure as low as 250,000, but expects new registrations will nearly double this year).
      “It was inevitable that China’s EV adoption was going to pass the US mostly because we’re so resistant to EVs,” says Rebecca Lindland, an analyst at Kelley Blue Book. Lindland predicts many Chinese drivers’ first cars will be electric and younger generations may never own a gas-powered vehicle.
      Sales of “New Energy Vehicles,” as they are called in China, accounted for about half of all plug-in electric vehicles sold globally last year (and many were manufactured by China’s own automakers).
      To further accelerate its transition to electric mobility, China is throwing massive amounts of money behind charging infrastructure and financial incentives. State news agency Xinhua said the government will deploy 100,000 public charging stations in 2017 alone, almost doubling the current total of 150,000. The US has only about 41,000 public charging outlets or plugs (at about 16,000 stations).
      China also exempts electric cars from acquisition and excise taxes (worth $6,000 to $10,000 per car), while giving special lane access and other perks, reports the International Energy Agency (pdf). Meanwhile in the US, subsidies are waning.
      While Tesla and Chevy race to release their mass-market EVs—priced around $35,000—next year, China is already manufacturing its own far simpler versions for much less. It’s just not categorizing them as such. China’s immensely popular “low-speed electric vehicle” (LSEV) uses a basic battery (usually lead-acid) and electric motor technologies. In other words, it’s an electric vehicle.
      “The whole Shandong province [population 90 million] is riding LSEVs,” notes Dennis Zuev, a mobility researcher at Lancaster University, “even in big cities.” The small, cheap vehicles (each one costs about $5,000) can travel up to 40 miles/hour (70 km/hour) and don’t require a driver’s license or license plate to operate.
      While China only includes approved EV brands in its tallies (and subsidy program) at the moment, it may soon add LSEVs to the count. The vehicles have seen explosive sales: 600,000 units were sold in 2015 and they are on track to top 2 million by 2020, reports Research in China.
      Apparently this is the car of the future… Kind of a Chinese Electric Flintstone Mobile…
      Best selling auto in Red China… A minivan…×452.jpeg
      Best selling vehicle in the US… A pickup truck…
      (Yes, I did pick the Raptor on purpose.)
      Would I be caught dead in a minivan… No.
      Would I be tempted to trade in my Jeep for an F-150 Raptor… Hell yes.
      What exactly are we supposed to reflect upon?
      When I think “Kodak,” I think of cameras… Which I don’t need anymore because my phone takes pictures.

  20. This is more of an apples vs oranges debate. Both EV and ICE vehicles have their intrinsic advantages and benefits. The cost benefit analysis for electricity vs. petro is an interesting one, and as described above in comments, there are many items not included in either ‘fuel’ choice. The gas/road tax is a good one, since currently EV’s catch a break on that one as well as other direct subsidies, so is hard to evaluate how they will fare in future years. I suspect once EV’s have more market share, the boom will be lowered on them with some form of tax for road use. Along with higher electricity pricing, perhaps on those super chargers as well as loss of subsidy for outright purchase. Then the field will have more of a levelling effect and EV’s will be much more costly to purchase and operate.
    While there is certainly some overlap in both ICE/EV for the small passenger vehicle choice, I doubt I will see my Dodge Ram 350 one ton dually electrified. It doubles as a passenger crummy and for hauling loads/trailers, and a lot of passenger trucks are being sold for this purpose. Or even my diesel Jeep GC 4×4, which a battery pack won’t power off road for very far. But having said this, I am still planning on getting an EV at some point for short rural/city commutes. IMO, the plugin hybrid EV that has a small compact dedicated ICE generator makes the most sense for any transition to higher efficiency vehicles. For the average commute that will not need to engage the ICE, then can act as a pure EV. But if needed for a/c or cabin/battery heating, or unlimited mileage range, then this is the way to go. Best of both worlds with superior performance and efficiency that allows for pure plug and play for short commutes, but also allows for unlimited range while meeting higher efficiency along with good performance.

  21. There are no doubt positives about EV’s. The much cleaner air at ground level being one of them. No noise being another. In theory some of the benefits will reduce health care costs, direct and indirect.
    Initial and operating costs will reduce for both types of vehicles as will the cost of the replacement batteries for the EV although it is a long way down from 15K to $100. Also the life cycle of the EV battery will increase over time.
    The recycling of EV batteries is still a challenge but will be sorted out over time. There are just not enough of them yet to really scale this up but will add far more to the cost of the replacement then lead batteries.
    The buyer of a new EV can of course overcome the battery replacement issue by selling the EV after 3 or 4 years, the next owner won’t think about replacement costs of the battery (yet), the second owner’s cost will come when they want to trade it in at an age of say 7 years, no one will want to buy the car without a new battery being placed in the car as the car itself is not even worth the cost of the battery at that age.
    But to make EV really work we need to source the electricity from renewables or nuclear as we otherwise create more CO2 then running combustion engines, as per, among others, IEA report “Global EV Outlook 2016”. This will place a huge challenge for generation and on reliability (except for nuclear, and that is not likely to happen at any scale in a hurry, apart from China to a degree).
    So, far more solar panels in the desert and roof tops and windmills on the hill/off shore. If we place these anywhere where we can grow food we create issues with looming food shortages and rising prices as a result (another form of subsidizing renewable energy), try and sell that to the population. Hydro is great but not really much construction in that sector going on (democracy gets in the way).
    Once EV really takes hold, come 2030 odd, governments already know that they leave a lot of petrol tax on the table and can’t afford the generous tax write offs, and what not, currently available for EV’s any longer. This will result in every household being fitted with a separate metering system for charging the EV and a road tax will be added to every kWh used to charge at home and at the roadside charging stations.
    Roads still need to be maintained and every user needs to pay.
    There is finally more thought being given to the issue of solar panel and wind farm waste when they are at the end of their life cycle, at the moment they make for good landfill but that can not go on forever.
    More EV’s = more solar panels and wind farms = more waste.
    Personally, I am all for EV’s as a concept but there are lots of issues that are not being talked about and will need to addressed at some point in time to make the full comparison.
    No doubt someone more versed in calculating this then me can work out how much extra space is required for solar and wind to generate the power requirements needed for 100 million EV’s by 2030 as per current green wishes. Let alone for 2.5 billion odd of them by the time it will all be EV around the turn of the century.
    And that will be just be for EV’s no thought given yet to the extra electricity requirements for the increased and more affluent (or should that be effluent) population.

      • That can work also but it adds more costs. It will also, to some extend, reduce the need to improve miles/kWh. The more expensive electricity becomes the bigger the incentive to bring the usage down. By charging per mile via satellite the race will be on to partly, or totally, disable that device. Which in turn will be made illegal and will then need to be reinforced, more green police on the road.
        As most manufacturing jobs will be done by robots in 20 years or so we will all be working for one enforcement agency or another. It will be the green’s dream. Total control.

      • Or the ‘back box’ that already exists that insurance companies are experimenting to adjust insurance premiums according to how/when/where you drive. Talk about an invasion of privacy if it comes to enforced satellite monitoring or the black box data collection for driving habits or how much you drive for the road tax. I guess the next thing they could add would be a remote kill switch on your EV if you exceed any driving issues, or don’t pay your road tax bill on time. I guess they will just debit your bank account. The thing that scares me is the over reach that overzealous bureaucrats will impose on all of us, whether we drive a ICE or EV vehicle. This can be affirmed by what has happened to the climate debate and ensuring regulations being stuffed down everyone’s throat, whether it makes sense or not. Or is truthfully factual or not.

    • “this will result in every household being fitted with a separate metering system for charging the EV and a road tax will be added to every kWh used to charge at home and at the roadside charging stations. Roads still need to be maintained and every user needs to pay.”
      When that happens will I do, install a home sized windmill and solar panel just to charge the EV off grid. So what will the government do then? They will simply add the black box to the vehicle and each quarter you vil report as ordered to your black box info download center and pay the tax right then and there or your registration will be suspended. By the way, I would bet that law enforcement will always use souped up ICEs as chase cars.

      • For those lucky enough to have the land or roof space that can work. 80% of the population won’t be able to do that by then. Get in quick though once subsidies for home generation are completely gone it won’t be affordable at all and over time the government will probably ban home generation as well except where the grid won’t go.

    • There is a benefit to ICE car noise – pedestrians can hear them. There are actually laws (and being proposed) that EVs must have noise generators.

      • Why do we need a law for that?
        In 20 years everyone will walk with headphones over their ears listening to their own world and not looking at what is coming when crossing the road. A law to generate noise won’t make people listen or look. But I guess the cars will be self driving by then and while the occupants are busy texting and watching a movie the car comes to a sudden sharp stop as someone jumps in front of it crossing the road. Better have seat belts fastened.

      • There are indeed laws about EV noise makers. My experience is that I’d suggest having one only on start up to alert the cat or dog under the car. They aren’t needed at other times: but law makers sometimes mess up

  22. Who pays for charging stations? That should be added to the cost of the vehicle. A large population of car owners, currently park in the streets or alleys of urban cities. Are they going to run an extension cord out to the vehicle nightly?
    In the US as it currently stands, it is another “legacy” of an Obama Administration that subsidized feel good policies, without the common sense to understand the weaknesses of those policies. Without the subsidies to build the cars, and requiring the electric vehicle owners to pay for public charging stations, and adding road use taxes that other vehicles pay, electric cars are not cost-effective and have serious limitations in range and time / effort to refuel.

    • It is likely that the various levels of government will be forced pick up their slices of EV road-related taxes during the registration of your vehicle. This will be on top of current value-related taxes at registration.
      A few thousand dollars to register your EV? They will be forced to come up with payment plans, no doubt.

    • Here in New Zealand, owners of diesel powered road vehicles pay a “road user charge” equal to a few cents per km. That ensures that road maintenance charges are not paid by those who use diesel on farms or boats. At present, EV owners are not subject to RUC but I cannot see any government allowing this to continue for long as the tax take for all ICE vehicles drops. This sort of charge is inevitable, and will be sufficient to throw all of the theoretical operating cost calculations out of the window. The other big problem for EVs has to be the lack of economical power generation nationally as EVs take over vehicle energy supply from oil companies. Hopeless solar and wind will never do it – only coal / oil / gas could, if the politicians learn to understand the complexities of power generation and distribution.

      • Here in the states off-road diesel (farm vehicles, home heating) is dyed red. I’ve never heard of someone getting pinched for it, but I have read it can be from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on the state.

      • “mikelowe2013 July 11, 2017 at 1:29 pm”
        All road users in NZ pay RUCs. Petrol includes RUCs in the price p/l. Diesel you have to pay based on your mileage. Either way roughly half of the RUCs is never used for intended purpose.

  23. China leads posts meant to jerk the “by jingo” reflex of Americans are idiotic. Guess that’s why some folks think they make for a compelling argument. China has often led the USA in areas like useless back yard smelting of iron, ideologically induced famine deaths, number of people wearing dunce caps at self-criticism sessions, fat guys pretending to swim in large muddy rivers, loudspeakers blaring out boring political speeches, the list is long. The modern Chinese economy is a Frankenstein composed of a Western methods body and stunted Chinese authoritarian brain. It makes for a shocking sight but will ultimately crap out in a spectacular cock up.
    The United States of America was not founded to lead or terrorize the world. It was founded on the individual “pursuit of…” We will be fine going about things our own way. Can’t help but believe that is exactly what keeps some folks up at night.

  24. GGE is the wrong metric. Dollar per mile is more informative. Electric vehicles use .3 kWh per mile.
    At $.12/kWh, that is:
    $.12/kWh times .3 kWh/mile = 3.6 cents/mile
    Compared to a Prius with $2 gas:
    $2/gal divided by 50 mi/gal = 4 cents/mile
    Compared to a Jeep:
    $2/gal divided by 20 mpg = 10 cent/mile
    An electric Jeep will likely use more energy. Call it .5 kWh/mile for giggles:
    $.12 x .5 = 6 cents/mile
    If you want to go crazy, you can include battery wear and tear compared to oil changes and the multitude of other maintenance items in an engine. Add in environmental impacts, total cost of ownership, and so on and it gets very subjective. Basically, decide what you think and make a model that backs you up. At the pump, electric vehicles are cheaper per mile.
    If you really want to minimize dollars per mile, ride a bike. When including the avoided cost of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, the total cost to operate the bike is strongly negative.

    • I am sure the health benefit of bike exercise is offset by the additional risk of injury. The vast majority of people that would trade a car for a bike would be driving in traffic. A significant risk that may even cancel any financial gains from switching to a bike.

      • There’s also the fact that bicycles aren’t much use when your commute is more than 10 miles.

    • vboring- you just showed the real reason why all electric vehicles are economic and environmental nonsense. Hybrid developments have made gasoline powered vehicles effectively as efficient as electric. Once the gas mileage gets over 35-40 mpg they are essentially as efficient and the improvements to be made are miniscule- mpg improvement is a logarithmic progression just like infrared absorption by CO2 is. Initial changes are large but but by the second iteration they fall to small percentages.
      All done without subsidies

  25. Just thinking, would a battery for the EV be valuable enough t be stolen while you sleep?

    • Depends on how difficult it is to remove. Probably easier to steal the car, but how far will the thieves get if the battery was still recharging? 😉

      • Haha, they will either have to tow the car away or cut of your finger or poke out your eye as starting cars by then will only be by fingerprint or eye recognition.

    • Not too many years ago, before Giuliani started community policing in New York, the record for stripping a parked car was something like an hour to remove the battery, engine, transmission, and wheels, and sometimes the seats.

  26. The Volvo approach of replacing the ICE starter motor with something able to handle stop/idle/start makes good sense. There is lots of room for improvement in the starting motor, which is basically unchanged for 50+ years.
    The complexity remains pretty much unchanged and you eliminate much of the ICE inefficiency. It doesn’t take a very large electric motor to handle stop/idle/start, which greatly simplifies the battery requirements.
    Anyone that has had the clutch pedal fail in standard shift might have already used the starting motor to get going with the car in gear.

    • Actually wouldn’t that have been the invention/operation of the first electric vehicle. They used the starter motor to drive. 😉

      • One time when I was about five years old, I got in our family car, a 1952 Chevy sedan, by myself, and I drove it down the alley behind my house by pushing the start button, which caused the starter motor to spin which caused the vehicle to lurch forward a couple of feet, since the car was in gear at the time. I “drove’ it about a hundred yards down the alley that way, lurching forward a few feet every time I pushed that starter button. I was too young for my dad to get mad at me at the time, but I did learn not to touch that button any more. So I guess I had some early experience with cars being moved by electric motors. 🙂

  27. There is a niche market today for EVs where driving distances are short and people are relatively wealthy as proven by sales so far. The more EVs the cheaper gas will become until the world runs out but not in the foreseeable future unless you believe the recurring peak oil mantra. It’s an easy market for an established car manufacturer to enter and that’s why they’re doing it….. “me too” syndrome and nothing more.

    • The EV future is rosy; less rosy when they do away with subsidies and start taxing their sale and charging for road use. Niche markets will always exist. Technologies will continue to evolve in directions we cannot predict. ICEs are not writ in stone.
      Entrepreneurs will do what entrepreneurs always do: Bet on their guesses. Some will get rich. Some crony capitalists will get rich on government subsidies and mandates in the meantime.

    • Markyl,
      They are doing because of mandates and subsidies. Without that electric cars are are dead until they get a useful battery and can be quickly charged.

      • “…Markyl,….They are doing because of mandates and subsidies. Without that electric cars are are dead until they get a useful battery and can be quickly charged….” I hope your salutation was a fat finger and not an attempt at being cute. You don’t understand the niche they serve. Daily commute coupled with convenient overnight charging is the niche. Any part of that you disagree with? Subsidies are a side issue that has nothing to do with the usefulness of an EV.

  28. Can’t wait to see a battery powered truck – carrying more battery weight than cargo? And what next – solar/battery powered ships? Sell it to France.

    • Batteries are a temporary solution. Super capacitors will run them off the market. They can be charged at a fantastic rate and don’t have a charge cycle limit. They are tiny in comparison – 1/25th of the mass. Do not invest in anything to do with lithium.

  29. Anybody remember the old VW bug?
    Air cooled engine.
    No hot liquid to divert to heat the car or defrost the windshield.
    The old bugs had an optional (I think) gas-powered heater for that.
    (By old bugs, I mean the ones that didn’t have a gas gauge. They had a small auxiliary gas tank the driver could switch to.)
    How would an all electric car defrost a windshield and heat the car in, say, 20 or 10 or 0 or – 10 or -20*F?
    An electric heater draining power from a battery already weakened by the cold.
    If someone gave me an electric car, I might keep it and use to go to and from work here in central Ohio (about a 12 mile round trip) if I had a second reliable car, but if I lived much further north, I’d convert to “green” as fast as I could!

    • They had a fan that circulated outside air over the heads/motor to cool it and once heated it was used to heat the cabin. There was a knob you turned that pulled a cable that opened up the flaps and directed the now heated air into the cabin through ducts from the engine compartment in the rear. Had several of those cars. Lasted forever if you wanted them to. Lots of carbon generated from most air cooled engines 🙂

    • do you mean the ones where the indicator was an orange plastic stick (for want of a better word) that came out of the centre pillar? We used to have 50 kg of lead under the hood to stop it from being blown sideways in high winds. These were fun though.

      • I had relatives with VW bugs, and sometimes drove one. The old ones had marked oversteer, to the point that one curve on the road from San Jose to Santa Cruz (the beach) was nicknamed “VW curve” from all the bugs that hit the center divider when they spun out.

    • The standard heater in a VW bug was pretty inadequate in really cold weather. I can see why they had a gas-powered heater option.

    • Rear window defrosters are already electric. Why should front windows be different? What’s with all the blowing of hot air about? I think it is just because it is available from the engine. If the heat wasn’t available, I would never use an electric element to heat air to blow over the window. Just heat the window in the same manner as the rear is heated now.
      Heating the cabin is another matter. When the vehicle is charging, it could also heat the cabin so as to use grid power instead of stored power. That would reduce the problem on cold mornings. Batteries heat up when discharged so as long as they are installed, that could help. Super caps don’t, but they store far more energy per kg.
      There is the additional possibility that major highways will be ‘powered’ so the vehicles can pick up power from the road and pay some fee for what they draw.

  30. All of these conflicting Kwh/mi/person/whatever mostly don’t account for the gasoline taxes that are supposed to pay for road construction and maintenance. Besides paying for all the upgrades to the electrical system needed to come anywhere near the utility of typical cars the road taxes need to be applied to all-electric vehicles too.
    Once you add in all the system costs electric makes no sense. Whatever is needed, electric cars are just a tax-subsidized luxury for the wealthy. Granted some perks go along with being wealthy, but having the rest of us pay for them doesn’t pass the smell test. Georgia phased out a $5000 per vehicle recently and sales in Georgia fell from 17% of US electric vehicles to 2%. Denmark’s subsidy phased out this year and ECV’s sales dropped 60%. Tesla sales dropped to just 6 cars in the first quarter compared to 176 last year(-96%),

  31. There’s a comment relevant to the supposed 400,000 Tesla Model 3 deposits that I haven’t seen mentioned yet. First, the deposits are 100% refundable, so there’s not much gamble with that money. If you don’t like the car when it comes out, you are not obligated to buy it. Second, the US federal $7500 subsidy per car will run out when the manufacturer (Tesla) sells more than cumulative 200,000 cars in the US. Certainly, a fraction of deposit holders are only holding their position in line speculating that they can make money by either transferring their place in line or immediately selling the car to a third party. It’s anyone’s guess how many are in that category.

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