In Defense of the Electric Car – Part 1

Full disclosure: I own an electric car, and I think they are useful for city transportation. However, having owned one for a decade, I can say that it hasn’t been practical or cost-effective. John Hardy believes they are the future, I’ll let you, the reader, decide. – Anthony Watts

The demise of the Western auto industry: Part 1 – the basics

By John Hardy


In the West, almost all climate change activists consider Electric Vehicles (EVs) important because they are believed to emit less CO2 per mile. In contrast, many (but not all) climate sceptics consider them a waste of space because they regard them as a solution to a non-problem: they believe that all that EVs are good for is virtue signalling.

Actually, and quite regardless of “the environment”, EVs are poised to inflict the mother of all disruptions on the automotive industry. This can’t be explained (or dismissed) in a soundbite, so this is the first of three posts setting out why this might be so. This first post is mostly background. The second addresses the problem for the established automakers. The third addresses some misapprehensions about EVs.

The LA times reported in 2009 that the outgoing CEO of GM said that the biggest mistake he made was to kill the electric EV1 and throw away the technology lead that GM had acquired[1] , [2]. It isn’t just GM. The turgid response of all the big Western automakers leaves them at risk of being overtaken by agile Eastern competitors in the same way that the Swiss (mechanical) watch industry was overtaken in the 1980s by agile Eastern competitors making cheap accurate quartz watches[3]

What is so great about electric motors?

The internal combustion engine (ICE) is a complex beast which needs lots of air, lots of cooling and which generates large volumes of smelly exhaust. It has a high parts count, is a high maintenance device, and is plagued by noise and vibration. Worst of all it has an absurdly narrow torque band and won’t run at all below (typically) 500 r.p.m. or so. A lot of the complexity and expense in a modern ICE car is focused on minimizing these deficiencies.

By contrast, an electric motor is a model of flexibility and simplicity. Figure 1 shows the floor pan of the Tesla Model S.

Figure 1 Tesla Model S floor pan viewed from the rear. The two metal cans between the rear wheels are the electric motor (left) and the controller/inverter (right). Photograph from Wikimedia/Oleg Alexandrov

The entire drive train consists of two metal cans, sandwiching a fixed-ratio final drive. The motor revs to about 15,000 It produces good torque at zero r.p.m. and (in some models) peaks at over 400HP. No clutch, torque converter or variable-ratio gearbox is needed. The motor is an ordinary AC induction motor. It has no brushes and (apart from the bearings) one moving part. It contains no rare earth magnets. The inverter is solid state. No exhaust system, turbocharger, oil pump, coil, distributer, intake air filter, complex vibration damping or heat shields; no pistons, valves, pushrods, camshafts, lifters, catalytic converters……….

The end result is smooth, seamless but ruthless acceleration and whisper-quiet cruising. Some models have a smaller drive train between the front wheels. The two together can accelerate a 4,000lb car at around 1G from standstill to 60 m.p.h. in under 3 seconds.

There is more. The inverter can adjust the motor torque in milliseconds so traction control is far more accurate than for a piston engine. (Elon Musk once Tweeted “Tesla dual motor cars are also all-wheel drive. Main goal of dual motor was actually insane traction on snow. Insane speed was a side effect” [4] ).

The motor can also act as a brake, which recovers energy (much of the energy used to climb a hill is put back into the battery rolling down the other side). The same characteristic makes it possible to drive on just one pedal; press to go, release to stop. It also saves on brake wear (one example was an electric taxi that did over 100,000 miles on the original brake pads).

Why now?

Electric drive dominated the early years of the automobile, and the electric motor has never ceased to be vastly better than a piston engine for driving a vehicle. There were however two big snags and one lesser one with electric drive. All three have been solved in recent years.

The first problem was energy storage. Piston engines may be inefficient, but motor fuel packs a huge amount of energy into a small volume. Once a distribution infrastructure is in place, the fuel is easily and quickly replenished which allowed essentially unconstrained travel. By contrast the lead acid batteries that dominated electric traction until recently were totally outclassed on both counts; too little energy and too much time to replenish.

Enter the lithium ion battery. Compared with lead-acid, this stores maybe three times the energy per unit of weight or volume (some a bit more, some a bit less). It has a far longer life than a lead-acid battery, is tolerant of partial charging, has no significant memory effect problems and (critically) can be charged very fast. 20 minutes for 80% charge is easily achievable with little effect on cycle life using modern batteries if you can suck power out of the wall fast enough [5]

The second big change has been the development of power electronics. Until the 1970s, electric motors were hard to control [6]. At worst they were either on or off. At best, control was lethargic. That all changed with so-called Vector Control. Inside a modern motor controller (sometimes called an “inverter” if the motor is AC) there are a number of huge transistors, capable of switching hundreds of amps. With cunning and some capacitors these can produce virtually infinitely variable output. A modern EV can be inched along at a creeping pace with far more precision than an ICE car equipped with a clutch, and with less effort: no clutch slipping needed.

The third, lesser, but still important change has been the growing capability of digital processors to do complex calculations in real time. Until quite recently, electric motoring has depended upon series (brushed) direct current (DC) motors. These work well at low speeds but they tend to run out of torque at high r.p.m. and are more difficult to cool. The advent of modern microprocessors has made it possible to synthesise three phase alternating current (AC) at the necessary power levels from a battery. This in turn allows the use of simple induction motors – no brushes to wear out and better cooling. An induction motor is essentially a hunk of iron on a stick inside a tube containing some electrical windings. Machines don’t come much simpler. [Some manufacturers prefer permanent magnet motors. They are smaller and lighter yet, but rely on rare earth magnets which creates supply issues. These motors can also terminate themselves in a sudden melt-down if they get too hot. I am not a fan.]

What remains to be done?

Several things need to happen before EVs become acceptable as a complete replacement for piston engine cars: broadly price, range and fast-charge

Firstly price. This is partly an issue of scale. If you make a million of the same model car, cost per car is a lot less than if you make 10,000. The financial services company UBS recently tore down and analysed a Chevy Bolt. Their conclusion? “total cost of consumer ownership can reach parity with combustion engines from 2018” [7]

Secondly range and thirdly fast charge. The average private car in the UK does about 21 miles a day. In the US, it is about 30. Most people do most of their driving either commuting or local driving. The problem is the half-dozen trips a year to visit granny or go on holiday. There is also a small percentage of users who do a high daily mileage as part of their work.

My personal opinion is that a 300 mile range should work fine for almost everyone, so long as fast charge to 80% capacity takes no more than about 20 minutes. This is just based on the idea that I wouldn’t want to drive more than 300 miles without a coffee and a potty stop.

Tesla’s high-end cars are well past 300 mile range. Even the (relatively) humble Renault Zoe which initially had a 130 mile range has (or soon will have) a 250 mile range option. Fast charge has some distance to go yet in practice, but there is no intrinsic problem in reaching a 20 minute charge.

Price, range and fast charge. EVs are a “whole system” problem that goes far beyond just making a better box for the punter to sit in.


This has been a quick run-through of the theory of EVs. If you are not convinced, go and drive one. Trickle along at three miles an hour listening to the birds sing then floor it. By the time you reach 30 you will be convinced.

Part 2 of this series looks at the problems this creates for the established Western automakers, and part 3 considers common misconceptions which lead some people to conclude that EVs will not be viable in the near future.






[5] Tests run by the author using a 3C charge rate and lithium iron phosphate cells showed a rate of capacity loss only slightly steeper than similar cells at a 0.5C charge rate [1C is a charge rate numerically equal to the Amp-hr capacity of the battery e.g. 40 Amps for a 40 Amp-hr battery]. A 3C is nominally a full charge in 20 minutes (1/3rd of an hour)




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Roger Barber

And the electricity for these millions of electric cars comes from what infrastructure?


The same infrastructure that used to power incandescent lighting but now idles along on LED lighting…

Dodgy Geezer

Er…I think you have at least an order of magnitude out in your calculations….


Do you not understand that “infrastructure” includes gas stations, garages, and the trained people to keep them all going, not just wires on poles?


Closer to 3 orders of magnitude.

Ernest Bush

First, there may not be enough rare earth metals for magnets. Second, the current grid does not produce enough electricity to charge these power hungry beasts. Thirdly, the cost of these vehicles is too high and there will be few, if any, gains in scaled up production.

LED bulbs have had very little effect on my electrical use. They have little or no effect on the grid. Most of us who use them want to keep mercury laden, useless replacements, out of our homes. I have changed one bulb in my kitchen in the 7 years of LED lighting. I use them for appearance and convenience. Industry and large stores use the bulk of the electricity.

It’s like all those useless toilets and washers that are water efficient. Over 95 percent of fresh water in the U.S. is used by agriculture and industry. So how much water is being saved by these uselessly modified water using appliances saving? In my neighborhood the city has to inject 50 percent hydrogen peroxide in the sewer lines to keep down methane because there is not enough flow. Trucks designed to suck sludge out of the lines are busy every day. I always flush twice (that’s 2.4 gallons) to keep down sludge formation and odors. We are the victims of bureaucrats who simply want to train us to accept whatever grand inspiration they have. Sewer maintenance raises the cost of my water bill.

So enjoy your vehicle since you can afford it. I love my Honda CRV. I don’t know a single person in my circles who has a remote desire to go electric. I live in the desert and it is 180 miles to Phoenix or San Diego.
It would be terribly inconvenient to run out of battery power just as I got there.


How about we do the math this time.

M Seward

and airconditioning and pumping stations (water, sewage , stormwater etc, and industrial machinery and welders etc etc etc.

I see no real issue with electric cars etc but lets just get real, even Lithium ion batteries store energy at about 1/30th that of wood.gas/oil and there is still an order of magnitude or more even allowing for efficiency.

When the infrastructure is in place they will be attractive. Let them put the infrastructure in place at their cost and not bludge of the rest of us who are going about our daily business now with currently viable technology that we are paying for.


Last time I saw a report, lighting was about 5% of total energy usage in the US, and transportation was something like 25%.
Even before LED bulbs hit the market, substantial portions of lighting was provided by fluorescent and CFL, in addition to this street lights used various technologies like sodium, mercury, high pressure sodium and so on which were also more efficient than incandescent bulbs.
At best, converting every light in the country to LEDs would save somewhere between 1 to 2% of our energy usage. (And that’s assuming people don’t start using more light because it’s so much cheaper.)


@ Mark

Considering EV motors are at least 3 times as efficient as IC engines that would drop energy usage for transportation to 8%.

That does not take into account the much more efficient direct drive versus traditional transmission, nor the regenerative braking.

Michael J. Dunn

For Karl: The thermodynamic efficiency for an electric car occurs at the central powerplant (generation of the electricity). A good powerplant is perhaps 40% efficient. Multiplied by the efficiencies of converting turbine shaft power to electricity, converting generator power to line power, line losses, transformer losses at the reception (recharging) point, I don’t see how it comes out any better than an internal combustion engine.


Nowadays it’s at its very best a technology for people living in big cities of rich countries having a reliable and safe gridpower structure. It’s not for the people living in the hinterland. It’s not for the third world.

Old England

Not just that, but if part of this is to power them with renewable energy then the problem becomes immense, if not insoluble in practice.

Nuclear, hated by greens, is the best option and then we can forget about unreliable renewables in their pretty useless entirety.

But Nuclear does nothing to achieve the de-industrialisation aims that were part of Maurice Strong’s intent in inventing ‘global warming’ and establishing the IPCC. Both of these were to try and achieve that as well as an unelected, unaccountable and anti-democratic world goverment.

That may be the real reason that greens hate nuclear – it won’t de-industrialise western civilisation.


Nuclear of some type will be our best long term solution. There will be massive efficiencies in future innovation, and is the only current technology that could replace fossil fuels when they do become expensive. The electrical grid will be here forever, so hardening it and sizing it to allow for future increase of EV’s and other electric use is money well spent now. I doubt anything will ever replace electricity since it is 100% efficient at point of use, at the speed of light.


Depending on the electric cables insulation, the speed of electromagnetic waves in copper is anywhere from 50% to 99% of the speed of light in a vacuum.

Y. Knott

This is out there – I realise – but as we’re talking about the grid we’re gonna’ need to recharge everybody’s electric car, and “they” are talking doing it with renewables, why not? Oil will never grow expensive – because we can make it. Indeed, the Germans made oil in both WW’s with the Fischer-Tropf process; we need hydrogen and carbon monoxide for this, and we can get the hydrogen cheap – why, we can even make it renewably, the Greeeens will be so pleased!

Poly rafts a mile square (or bigger) in mid-ocean under the sun (i.e., they migrate above / below the Equator as the seasons change) with parabolic reflectors a la Solar Millennium glued to the top in long rows – cheap because since the old oil tanker towing the raft steers away from the sun all day, they’re always aligned and we don’t need pricy solar-tracker mountings for the reflectors. This is out in the doldrums so no storms, also they’re ‘way out in international waters so no pirates or local despots, and the main power sources for the generators running the electrolysis process are stirling-cycle engines powered by heat from the raft. LNG (or a lot colder) tankers shuffling back-and-forth transporting the hydrogen to process refineries – haven’t figgered-out where we get the carbon monoxide yet but this is technology, not science.

And as we burn the hydrogen, it reverts to water and falls as rain – and the process goes merrily on, we never run out. One of the best things about it, poor islands in the tropics could make their own fuel, rather than spending almost all their earnings in foreign exchange to buy it.


Spending money before you need to, is stupid and a good way to go bankrupt.

Grant A. Brown

Bingo. Every weekend, a flood of cars leaves Toronto heading north on highway 400 to cottage / ski country. There are a dozen or so filling stations along the way, with 16 bays working non-stop practically 24/7. Try calculating the electrical power requirements to quick-charge that number of vehicles. And that’s just one highway near one city. The massive new power grids that would have to installed to service EVs, and the massive new wind farms that would be required to feed the power grids with “clean” energy, are show-stoppers. But for tootling around town of an afternoon, EVs are great.

Mark from the Midwest

Just as bad or worse; The first week in July Traverse City Michigan hosts the National Cherry Festival. In a 9 day span more than 1 million people, most of them traveling in cars, will visit a town whose population, (in the immediate surrounding area), is about 35,000. Currently, the 3 major motor fuel transporters have 20-30 trucks working around the clock just to keep the gas stations supplied. Traverse City is already short on grid infrastructure, much of the problem is political, as people go “not in my backyard” to major infrastructure improvements. Here’s the kicker, Traverse City is more than 320 miles from Chicago and 265 miles from Detroit. Add to the problem that several of the local electrical cooperatives have fairly modern and smart grid technology, and since they are co-ops the operating priority is “our owner-users first.” Traverse City would be shut down, even a few thousand EV’s would be unable to charge. It’s not just the batteries, it’s the entire infrastructure problem for the large areas of the country where:

1: Population is sparse
2: People routinely drive much longer distances than is common in urban areas

Until the infrastructure problems are solved … you already know the answer

Yes, and thanks to the greenies, ontario electric is some of the most expensive in N. America.

Don K

Not only is Traverse City kind of remote, rumor has it that it gets a bit nippy up there in the Winter — which brings up a few more points that seem to have been glossed over.

1. Lion batteries don’t work all that well in cold weather. So some of the stored electricity from the batteries needs to be sacrificied to warming the battery bank.

2. People tend not to be enthused about sitting for hours in subfreezing temperatures in a car. Plus which the car windows fog up if the human payload breaths. So, more of the battery capacity has to be expended in order to heat the car.

3. If batteries can only be quick charged to 80%, the 300 mile “sticker” range is really only 240 miles on a long trip. Less than that really since many drivers dislike creeping into a fuel stop on “fumes”. And chargers probably aren’t exactly 240 miles apart.

4. Most batteries don’t react well to deep discharge, but Lion batteries are said to react especially badly to total discharge. Try pulling every last watt out of a Lion battery pack and you’re purportedly looking a multi-thousand bill for a new battery pack.

5. Batteries get tired over time. A battery pack that had a 300 mile range when new may only be capable of 220 miles after a number of years. At 80% charge that’s … umh … unh … 176 miles, right?

Clyde Spencer

How about diesel generators in all 16 bays? /sarc

Ray in SC

Try calculating the electrical power requirements to quick-charge that number of vehicles.

Assume an 85kWh Tesla ‘quick charging’ in 20 minutes. This will require a power supply capable of delivering 255kW continuously. For a 240 volt charging system this equates to 1065 amps. The connecting cables will be quite latge.


Well, Detroit, about the longest place most people come to for the Cherry F, is some 250 miles away. You drive there, assuming you have a 300 mile range. You charge your car over night where you stay. A motel, perhaps. and the next day you drive home.

Seems like it would work.


Don’t forget that this ‘quick charge’ is 20 minutes.
Now we have a time constraint …and a lot of people hanging around for 20 minutes a fill-up.

Don K

“Seems like it would work.” RS

Yes, it does seem so. However a motel in Detroit is likely going to offer one a 110volt-15amp connection (BYOC — Bring Your Own Charging Cable). That’s about 1.6 kwHr per hour. If you want to put 50KWHr into your battery, that’s 31 hours charge time. And that’s assuming no losses.

I’ve seen a few motel rooms in my time. And I’ve done some time in Detroit. Trust me, 31 hours plus of trickle charging your EV battery in Detroit is going to get old fast. Maybe you can get enough charge overnight to get to a real charging station that will get you to 80% charge (that’s nominally 240 miles, not 300) in a half hour. And keep in mind that there may be some delays at the charging station. (Type “Little’s Law” into your favorite search engine).

Not that EVs are totally impractical. But they probably are not going to be as convenient in many situations as hydrocarbon fueled vehicles for a long, long time.

Crispin in Waterloo

Re: charging at a motel

It is really likely they will fire up a diesel generator for a few bucks. There is no practical way to rapid charge a car without storing the power in a capacitor bank which is connected to the grid full time. People low on juice and no options will pay $50 or $75 to get a charge. Or keep a generator in the trunk….

It makes a lot more sense to own a plug-in hybrid.


…and when all the kids and grandkids come to visit grandpa & grandma who are on a reduced income, and they all plug in their ev’s for trickle charging, — well, gramps may get a little grumpy…


@ Don K

My daughter’s 2014 Prius has shown no loss of charge and it charges and discharges 10-20 times a day

Don K

Karl — I don’t think Prius batteries fully discharge in normal use, not because they can’t, but because full discharge is hard on their lifetime. FWIW, older Prius(es) use Nickle-Metal Hydride batteries not Lithium-ion. I’m impressed with their reliability record. And I think they are probably better suited to cold climates than full EVs. Plus which their smaller battery packs look to be substantially cheaper to replace than Tesla’s. Don’t own one myself mostly because I tend to buy restored salvage vehicles which overall have lower life cycle costs than new cars if you then drive them into the ground. Just scrapped an 18 year old Camry (the road salt finally did it in) and am currently driving a 13 year old Nissan Sentra. Considered a Prius, but the lack of road clearance, not the EV thing per se troubles me. Lots of unpaved roads in my part of the world.

1065 amps
might prove a. bit of a challenge for the 100 amp supply in most houses.

Are electric care really Green? by Bjorn Lomborg



Maybe we need to find a source for the book “The Care and Feeding of Hamsters”.


How many of them running in a wheel would you need to match an EV, though?


More than a dozen years after giving up the farm’s electric golf cart as a hay-delivery system, I still have recurrent nightmares about trying to push that bugger (and its 600 lbs. of batteries) out of wet snow . . . usually with the “power” in a run-down state. Every time I pass a Tesla, I still snicker with that vision. 😉


“More than a dozen years after giving up the farm’s electric golf cart as a hay-delivery system, I still have recurrent nightmares about trying to push that bugger (and its 600 lbs. of batteries) out of wet snow . . . usually with the “power” in a run-down state. Every time I pass a Tesla, I still snicker with that vision. ;-)”

You clearly missed the mention of great snow traction for EVs like the Tesla. Why compare 30 year old technology for golf carts with a modern EV?

The elephant in the middle of the room is the problem of “generating electrical power on demand” without using the combustion of liquid fuels. This requires something to replace the battery. The battery does not generate power, it merely stores it. The technology to utilize or control electrical power is well advanced, but generating power on demand has a very tall mountain to climb.


A small solar array will generate enough energy to always be able to keep the car topped off for 70% of all drivers.

Current tech is approximately 3 miles per kWh, so 10 Kwh per day. Average solar insolation for the majority of the country is 3.5kWh per square meter per day, @ 12% efficiency (18% panel 85% inverter and other losses) that = .42 kWh/day per square meter — at 21′ by 21′ array (50 square meters) would give double the needed daily kWh — leaving plenty for storage or to sell back to the grid.

No extra transmission lines needed.

Or one could buy and extra battery pack, keep it charged, and swap it out — modular battery packs that can be swapped in a minute with a hand truck will become the standard.

Rainer Link

A really good question! Calculate if you replace 263 Million passenger vehicles in the States by EVs!

But in addition I do not understand the 20 minutes loading time. In Europe you will be happy to get electricity connection with 3 Phase, 230 V and 32 A., which corresponds to 22.1 kW. A Tesla Model X has a Battery Capacity of 85 kWh for 300 miles range. The charging time by simple calculation is 85 kWh/22.1 kW =3.8 hours!?


Actually the recharging rate is limited by the internal temperature of the batteries. If the batteries reach the threshold temperature the charging rate is reduced to prevent over heating of the cells. As seen with some of the airline battery packs or the laptop batteries overheating Lithium Ion batteries can lead to bad things happening. Another point in recharging of Lithium Ion batteries is that to charge them to their limit of electrical charge and temperature in a short period then to use them without letting them rest or cool down can cause the life of the battery to shortened dramatically. I have some of these batteries for power tools and they warn you to let them cool off before use after recharging. A couple of these battery packs have failed already due to high usage and frequent recharges. Waiting to have a battery cool off on a hot day is sometimes impractical to finishing the job at hand.

John Hardy

Apologies Rainer: I didn’t explain fast charge in enough depth. You have an industrial power input capable of far higher power than a domestic socket


That’s easily done overnight — or as I predict, the industry will transition to modular swappable batteries.

You pull into the service station, they remove some number of modules – measure the remaining charge, swap your batteries with full charge – subtract the value of the remaining charge, and off you go.

At least one manufacturer will develop a generic system that will enable the homeowner to swap batteries at home.

Another likely progression is the extra battery pack on a trailer. — Want to go on a longer trip?, an aerodynamic trailer which contains nothing but interconnect and battery will be attached to your vehicle — double the range – bam


This links to a study that shows EVs emit less CO2 than diesel cars, even when powered by highest carbon electricity in the EU

F. Leghorn

Yeah, but so what?


Whoop-dee-doo. Yet another “study” that “proves” precisely what its protagonists set out to “prove”.

Roger Knights

See the Lomborg video just upthread, at, which points out that the production of an EV emits much more CO2 than does an ICE, so there is very little net advantage at end-of-life for an EV — just $35 worth, Lomborg says.


Hey Griffy, as a card-carrying Leftist you may have no idea how things are out here in the Land of Plausible Deplorability, so I’ll just share this: For most of us, choosing a vehicle is not about “The Planet.” Nor is the decision to flip a light switch. We can enjoy great tasting food without making it all about “Health.” And when we pull on our undies, we don’t agonize over whether the fibers are organic or the makers “Fair Trade.” Just sayin. I know the air gets a little thin in that ol’ Blue Bubble, must be not enough CO2!


“Whoop-dee-doo. Yet another “study” that “proves” precisely what its protagonists set out to “prove”.”

Empty retort.

Richard Bell

Make the EV’s run on diesel fuel, via a hydrocarbon fuel cell, and we can skip the messy and polluting step of burning anything to achieve even lower levels of carbon emissions.

Stevan Reddish

Richard Bell November 6, 2017 at 12:43 pm

in re a fuel cell making use of the hydrogen content of diesel fuel without burning the carbon. What is left after the hydrogen has been extracted – a heap of carbon? Will the carbon be a big chunk or a powder? Will the filling station take the carbon off your hands, or do you take it home for use in the barbecue?

I don’t know how fuel cell powered autos would work in practise.


Rainer Link

In addition:
In Germany we have 60 Million passenger vehicles. Each with 15,000 km/y, which leads to 32 loadings per year for a Tesla Model S (Battery 85 kWh, range 470 km) 32 x 85kWh/passenger vehicle times 60 Million (1 year has 8,760 h). This ends up with 75 Gas powered stations of standard size 250 MW. (In Germany there will be no coal powered station nor a nuclear one built again. On solar and wind you cannot rely.)
In the US with 263 Million passenger vehicles additionally 82 GW are needed (e. g. 300 Gas powered stations)!!


You can rely on solar and wind — stop repeating a false mantra. – Storage is the only issue.

Denmark has powered their entire electricity grid on at least 4 occasions – with only wind.

In Western Denmark, 16% of the time the entire electrical consumption is provided by wind alone.

Lets look at actual usage 30 miles per day = 10kWh (for the median) — meaning half drive less.

But a relatively small (25 panel) solar system will provide at least 20 kWh per day — as the majority of the US has at least 3.5 kWh of solar insolation per square meter per day.

Li-Ion has dropped to $200/kWh — so $14,000 for a 1 week buffer — if you don’t want to use any grid power at all.

FYI — Prius Batteries are guaranteed to go 150,000 miles, that’s Tens of thousands of charge discharge cycles — my daughter owns one — they average 10 charge discharge cycles per day



According to discussion here a few weeks ago, wind turbines need a grid frequency to sync to (because the so-called “rectifier” only pulses at 16Hz.) So, without the 50Hz grid to sync to, how did the country run entirely on wind? Surely there must have been a spinning reserve supplying some substantial percentage of power or the whole system would collapse. Sometimes the only thing spinning is the story.

shush, don’t talk about that.


I’ve heard that the disposal of old lithium batteries is very polluting.
Any insights on that?
Tesla Car Batteries Not Remotely Green, Study Finds

Tesla car battery production releases as much CO2 as 8 years of gasoline driving


I’m starting a super long extension cord company. Anyone want to invest? 🙂


Just build conducting roofs over all roads and power the EVs directly w/an overhead conducting rod like the old bumper-car rides at the amusement parks. 🙂


The problem with that is the overhead was positive and the floor was negative to complete the current needed. Just as trolleys ran on grounded rails and got their positive from the overhead line.

Leonard Lane

Roger it comes from nuclear power plants, huge coal powered power plants, or natural gas powered. Electric automobiles are really fossil fuel-electricity-powered with the always present loss in efficiency from the power plant to the road.

John Hardy

Read part 3


Would not “tel-transporter booths ” be more efficient??

Old CS Prof

Also, when your battery is low and you are away from home, where do you recharge it?

george e. smith

I’m not a fan of the T model S drive train. That electric motor drives a regular differential through a high ratio reduction gear. I would have put in two smaller motors and ditch the differential. Yes you then need With separate Electric motor drive for each side of the car, the distribution of torque side to side can be much more intelligent that a dumb differential, and make skidding on crummy road shoulders a lot less of a problem.
I would also put the rear brakes inboard to reduce the unsprung weight and improve the handling.

And the essayist already said the Tesla induction motors do not use rear earth magnets. So please let’s get off the rear earth supply train for once. They could put more pole pairs on those motors to reduce the required gear reduction ratio.

Fast charging any battery reduces the battery life; and it lowers the efficiency of the charging cycle as losses go as the square of the charging current. That is a permanent efficiency penalty that EVs have to bear.

At some point in the supply chain, somebody has to pay for all these little efficiency loss mechanisms.
Replacing a five minute gas stop with a twenty minute Quick charge stop is a lot of lost time man-hours.

I don’t care what people choose to drive. I do vehemently object to making ME pay for THEIR fetish.

Regenerative braking, is a necessary evil to get by with a smaller battery. My car is in Neutral if there is a red light in front of me; either traffic control or perhaps a Tesla Model S doing regeneration. The model S doesn’t eliminate tire wear with regenerative braking.

As I say, Drive whatever you like but get off my back.


Paul Courtney

G: Perfect! Wish I’d said that!


The 300 mile limit is a much bigger problem than the writer expresses. It vastly reduces your lifestyle choices.


300 miles may work in the UK but that won’t even get you across Texas.

Grant A. Brown

Texas is a big State, but would make only a modestly sized Canadian province.



But it will work in the UK because the overwhelming majority of car trips are less than 50 miles.


I’m thinking 300 miles with the A/C on in 110degree Texas, or 300 miles with the heater going in -20degree Minnesota. Are we there yet? After an 80% charge?


Don’t forget that you’d have to run the EV’s heater 8 of 12 months in Canada. What range reduction does that cost?


Only 60-90 days (2-3 months) of actual cold winter days in Canada Paul, if that unless you are in Yellowknife. Heat your cabin or batteries for 8 months of the year in Canada? You probably think they all live in Igloos too. You are biasing your argument, which is very evident to see.

Earthling2 You think the begin of October to the end April is 60 to 90 days, go spend a winter in Winnipeg and check beck to me on the, you coast people have not idea what the fly over country is really like.


I have lived there and worse Mark Luhman. And Winnipeg is as bad as it gets for a southern latitude major city, anywhere in the world. Colder than Edmonton at nearly 54 degrees lat. There is some cold weather to be sure, but it most definitely isn’t 1st of October to end of April. That is 7 months. And that would be a straight up lie that even’t I wouldn’t try and exaggerate. I will stick with 60-90 days of fairly low degree days. Google it if you like but saying 7 months is bitterly cold is disingenuous. Maybe 7 months without leaves on trees…

[Southern latitude major city? .mod]


Well Ok, technically speaking…I mean a southerly latitude in the Northern Hemisphere, which Winnipeg is the coldest city in Canada, and also much of the world, in the NH. I just assumed everyone had heard of Winnipeg, Manitoba, at 49.9 N which is still well south of Churchill, Manitoba (58.7 N) where all the Polar Bears are.

B. Caswell

Earthling 2

Living in southern Sask, I can tell you it is not an exaggeration. We often get snow by Oct 1st that stays all winter well into april. The rest of the year we often get warm enough that AC is almost a requirement, in a typical year we will see highs of near 40 C and lows of near -40 C. There is no pretentding that people won’t need/want heat for at least half of Sept where we often rarely top 10 C some years.

I would love an electric car, but our winters can bring IC cars to their knees, where plugging them in is recommended for at least 3 months a year at a minimum. It would only be a 6 month fun car as best (fine if you can afford it but hugely wasteful if you actually were concerned about CO2/energy use, after all buying two cars doubles the manufacturing cost).


“Texas is a big State, but would make only a modestly sized Canadian province.”

Texas fits three times with plenty of change within Western Australia


Earthling2, quit lying about what others said in order to support your point.
He didn’t say bitterly cold, he said “need to use the heater”.
I pity your family if you wait to turn on the heater until it’s “bitterly cold”.


it doesn’t work for everyone in the uk. i did in excess of 30,000 miles recreational fishing in the uk last year. many journeys in excess of 150 miles from home to remote areas. then another 100 plus miles moving locations before the return trip. an ev would make perfect sense for my wife ,every chance her next car will be an ev.


“300 miles may work in the UK but that won’t even get you across Texas.”

Yeah, taking a 20 min break every 4-5 hours is a massive inconvenience. Good grief, what a ridiculous comment. Few people will drive more than 600 miles in one day, you drive for a few hours, charge while you are eating lunch, and then drive again.

Tom Halla

Chris, you clearly missed, or are ignoring, the comment upstream on the reasons why the “20 minute recharge” does not pass the sniff test. A 200 kilowatt charger to recharge a Tesla? Do you have the least sense of what would be involved in that puppy?


Tom Halla, you act as if the entire infrastructure of fast chargers must be in place RIGHT NOW, or the entire EV for long distance idea is not feasible. Fast charging stations are ramping up, here is an article about one provider who is starting to roll out stations:

Just like gas service stations spring up to meet demand in new areas of growth, the same thing will happen here. Smart service stations will offer EV charging in addition to gas – that’s a way to ensure you have a future as ICE declines and EV ramps up.

Tom Halla

No, I am just pointing out that the infrastructure for EV’s is quite expensive compared to gas or diesel, and has an inherently higher cost per vehicle served. Most older neighborhoods in the US do not have robust enough service to provide perhaps 400 amp service to each residence, plus the cost of the actual EV charger installation. That is for decidedly middle class and upper areas, and lower class apartments, especially mid or higher rise units, would be rather difficult, partly due to security issues on the chargers.
Ignoring cost is a common failing of enthusiasts. This is just the local distribution system, leaving the issue of utility-scale power alone.


Tom Halla,

You bring up the issue of cost of upgrading charging capacity at homes. I found an average cost for level 2 service of $1,500. For many houses an upgrade is not needed, since charging is typically done at night when energy demand is lower. But let’s go with your belief that it will not be affordable for the lower income segment of the population. That’s too bad, but how is that any different from the poor or working poor who can’t afford an ICE car? Do you criticize ICE’s because not everyone can afford them? I certainly agree that if it ever got to a point where ICE’s were banned, then affordable EV options for the working poor would need to be addressed. But we are decades away from that, and there will be advances in technology and infrastructure between now and then.

Tom Judd

It’s not just bigger, it’s huge. Unlike an IC powered car, where cold weather won’t really affect it much, an electric car is severely disadvantaged. Drop outside temperatures down to -10 degrees F (not uncommon in Chicago) and that 300 mile range drops to 75 miles. Commute 20 miles to work on a frigid winter morning and 20 miles home in slooow traffic in a snowstorm with lights, wipers, and defroster on hi, and you just might not make it.

Don K

Hybrids like the Prius are possibly a better choice than pure EV for Northern climates and or applications that involve long trips. Good mileage. Waste heat to warm the cabin.

I absolutely agree. All analyses I have seen to date for average mileage runs seldom, if ever, consider drivers who drive just for pleasure and travel. I am not aware of the percentage of this category of driver (in any country!) but I feel it’s of some significance and likely on the increase – particularly with highway improvements in addition to people living longer and having more time (and inclination) to drive simply for pleasure. As a retired and avid driver myself I’m encountering more likeminded retirees in this position. If EV’s can accommodate this lifestyle with the same ease and relative costs as ICE’s then I have no problem in eventually migrating to one.


Driving just for personal pleasure. I think this is significant. What about tourists and holiday makers on various types of road-trips?


We have different types of cars and trucks now for different applications , EVs are just another option. We seem to have brainlock about there having to be one answer. Out clueless politicians make it worst by mandating “transitions” without having the slightest clue about how it can actually be achieved. I expect once reality sets in we will have a mix of vehicles for many decades yet.

It’s entirely possible to drive for pleasure in an EV.


Infrastructure development. Recently the Low Country evacuation (hurricane) of Savannah GA many moved north-west toward Atlanta (241 miles) finding/ or reservations hotels-camping areas (RV) normally a 3.5 hour trip, this time 12 hours to Chattanooga TN (normally 5.5hrs). One family related, pulling a RV trailer the speed was slow but moving. And this evacuation had a known time to be gone from Savannah.


This is definitely a case of “Your Mileage May Vary”.


Here’s What Firefighters Do To Extinguish A Battery Fire On A Tesla Model S

Sorry, gasoline by the gallon is still the most convenient & effective way to store, transport, and apply energy for an automobile.

Also the most explosive… except for hydrogen of course…


…but not self igniting


“Also the most explosive”

Only in Hollywood. In the real world, gasoline generally just burns… and the fires are relatively easy to put out, since they’re not self-sustaining.


Yeah, I was going to say, MarkG, 0x0101 must be someone who believes Hollywood. Or Vancouver nowadays…..


Sorry, I have to disagree, anywhere there is a plug, you can charge. Ev users spend less time fueling, because they charge from home overnight. Your vehicle sits 90% of the time, takes seconds to plug and unplug.
Costs less than $5.00 to top it up to drive all week.
Maintenance is much less.
There is obviously some disadvantages, driving to Florida will take you longer.


You assume much about access to power, wherever your vehicle is parked. Many people have no such access. Off course it cheap to run, you have paid up front for that privilege and the govt hasnt come after you yet to make up for the lost fuel tax/excise. You do realise that coming, dont you?

Leonard Lane

Luis. Where does the electric power to charge the EV batteries come from, is it not generated by fossil fuels or nuclear power-plants?

Ian W

The electric car as personal transportation would be extremely dangerous in Florida and other states where mandatory evacuation at short notice may require a drive of 500 miles or more. Many Eva uated from the Keys and Miami up into Georgia. The queues were long at gas stations even though refueling takes less than 5 minutes and many ICE vehicles have reliable ranges in excess of 450 miles. The prudent can also have spare fuel that can be used for the generator or for evacuation. Electricity supply is the first casualty of natural disasters those with electric cars would become marooned in harms way; no-one can bring their owners 5 gallows of power to gI’ve them 150 mIles range.
The imposition of electric cars will reduce the capability of the less well off to travel especially in natural disasters. Their wide imposition also relies on a non existent power generation and distribution capacity. They are for virtue signaling townies and system engineering illiterates.


Ian…..100% correct…..I carried 25 gals of gas in the trunk, just in case….and when we got back, no power for almost 2 weeks…used the gas for the generator
Elec won’t cut it…..don’t forget….there’s no elec when you get back either


@ leonard

More and more it is coming from home solar arrays.

It does not take much to generate 10kWh (all you need for 30 miles of driving)

A 25 panel array will provide 20 Kwh per day at least in the majority of the US (the low end of average solar insolation is 3.5kWh per day per square meter in the US).

Store some in a Lithium Ion battery pack (now at $200/kWh) — and sell the rest to the grid or use it


karl, what will your solar array look like after being hit by a hurricane ?


“You assume much about access to power, wherever your vehicle is parked. Many people have no such access. ”

Roughly 70% of people in the US have a house. So there is a massive market for EVs before worrying about how to sell to folks who live in apartments,


@ bitchilly

90+% of the country doesn’t get hit by hurricanes,

And of the 10% that does — the path of destruction that would cause enough damage to break the system is a few 10s of miles wide


The 300 mile limit is a much bigger problem than the writer expresses. It vastly reduces your lifestyle choices. Electric vehicles make a great second car. Or would if they were much less costly.

Les Johnson

In a Canadian winter, that range would be 150 miles or less. Or an Arizona summer. Batteries don’t like heat or cold. (though it tolerates heat a little better than cold)


I live in East Texas, about once a year I drive to Phoenix to see family. 1100 miles, one way, not too hard to do in two days, one overnight stop. No way could I do that with any electric car currently on the market, not even a high end Tesla.


“1100 miles, one way, not too hard to do in two days, one overnight stop. No way could I do that with any electric car currently on the market, not even a high end Tesla.”

Of course you could. Start driving in the morning, drive until you’ve gone 300 miles, then stop for lunch. Charge during lunch, then drive 250 miles, then make your overnight stop. Repeat on day 2. People who speak out against EVs act as if taking a 30 minute to one hour break is a massive inconvenience that totally disrupts their travel plans, when in fact that’s exactly how most people travel.

You’re saying you’re not willing to put up with whatever inconvenience this once a year, 2 day trip represents for the benefits you get the other 363 days.

Dave: Electric vehicles make a great second car. Or would if they were much less costly.

Some of my extended family own electric vehicles, and that has been their experience. All their long distance driving they do in a Jeep Grand Cherokee or other SUV, and their short hauls and work commutes in the EVs. In neither case would they have bought the EV without the tax credits — which only help people with large tax bills, btw.

they live in Denver. As you might expect, they do not drive their EVs into the mountains when they ski.


Not everyone can afford an extra car for long trips.


“Not everyone can afford an extra car for long trips.”

The average number of vehicles per US household is 2.09 as of 2014. While there are some with just 1, the vast majority have 2 or more.


They make for a pretty expensive golf cart.

John Hardy

Dave , 300 miles is my guess at a good cost/utility balance. If it needs to be more kt will be done, possibly as an oltion


“Electric vehicles make a great second car.”

Might as well get a golf cart…..cheaper


Second battery pack on a small aerodynamic trailer for when you need to go 600 miles. If you need to go longer, pull in and swap out the trailer.


But Tesla s can’t tow?
How much doe their batteries weigh?
How big is the small trailer?
Sounds silly to me, I can carry a 5 gallon gas can good for 150 miles a lot cheaper than a trailer load of heavy batteries.

Only for those who live in an area without a good network of DC fast chargers or who have a car that cannot utilize those opportunities.

R Taylor

Cannot problems with range and recharge be solved by a small on-board ICE to generate electricity, at a modest increase to price? Isn’t the problem with Hybrids mostly an emotional one for devotees of EVs?


My Toyota has a small on-board ICE. By using it exclusively, I do not need power batteries, induction motors, inverters, generators, and all the rest. Many people say that my car is really not an EV. Some purists say that my car is not electrical at all. To them, I counter that my car has electrical headlights, running lights, turn signals, radio, windshield wipers, and an electrical computer system. It is very efficiently powered by a modest ICE which provides all the electricity needed along with all motive power.

The purists claim that the whole reason for a true EV is to get rid of the ICE altogether. I can not argue with that idea, but making yourself dependent on a remote coal fired power plant instead seems hardly worth the effort and expense.

R Taylor

Why ask a purist about designing an economical, practical car? I should add that heat from the ICE is very useful for operation in temperate zones (where humans seem to prosper).


Reminds me of the reason I do not use the Cloud. Making all my data access dependent on the functioning of the Internet is similar to depending on a remote coal-fired power plant: somebody else’s problems can become mine in an instant.


@ Ellen
Very well said, indeed.

Presently, hybrid cars are the way to go. Substantially reduced gas consumption, no range problem, no heating or cooling or ambient temperature problems. Just gas and go in 5 min. or so Even so, the new Toyota Prius(no, I don’t own one) is supposed to deliver overall mileage of 50+ mpg, or in a more informative way- about 2 gallons/100 miles- 66.8kWh. The Tesla S gets about 300 miles on 90kwh under nice weather conditions. That does not count the electrical transmission losses(engineering value 22.5%) which pushes it to 110kWh. I think hybrid design is well into the territory of diminishing returns.

As far as all those little parts in ICE engines, we bought two high mileage Toyotas in the last 8 years and put 100,000 miles on each with only 1 $175 mechanical problem with one engine. They now have a total of 400,000 miles and I expect at least another 50,000 on each. Those Toyota engineers sure have top notch reliability engineering.

George V

That’s the design of the Chevrolet Volt, the first version of which came out some years ago. Unlike a hybrid, the ICE is not geared to the wheels (except at very high speed. I vaguely recall reading is clutched in at speeds something over 70mph). The ICE powers a generator and only starts after some percentage of the initial full charge is depleted. On the original Volt it was about 40 miles (varying by temperature, load, etc). Not sure what the current model runs before the engine kicks in.

Newest generation of the Volt is advertised at 53 miles electric range.


What is it they say about the fuel economy ratings of cars?


The first thing Toyota came out with had a rat running on a wheel!


Yes, it’s called the Chevy Volt.

Or BMW i3 REx. If Pacifica Hybrid. Or Clarity PHEV. Or Prius Prime. Or Outlander PHEV. Or literally over another two dozen models.


By the time you add an ICE to a PEV, all the major benefits of simplicity, and lack of maintenance are gone. Space is taken for engine, tranny and gas tank reduce space available for a larger battery. For all intents and purposes, one ICE is as complex and problematic as another. Even in the Volt which has no direct connection of ICE and drive wheels, (ICE drives generator only then fed to the traction motors ALA freight train) the ICE complexity and maintenance still exist.


How is the small ICE problematic? for all the claims of 100s or 1000s of moving parts , the roadside isnt littered with broken down cars. That technology is mature and makes perfect sense for a practical solution. Just because some imagine a problem, it doesnt mean it realy exists


Just as much as an emotional one for some skeptics as well. To think some of these ‘critical skeptical thinkers’ can’t imagine an insulated heated battery for winter use, or an onboard micro ICE generator similar to that which Mazda is developing, so that range anxiety or cabin/battery heating is possible, is beyond the pale. I am a strong skeptic on climate issues, but know enough from driving EV and Hybrid vehicles that they are here to stay.

Really amazed at some of the better known skeptics here today and their comments, many of whom are engineers no less. Stunningly, a lack (failure) of imagination. At least from older engineers who can’t learn any new tricks. It’s why I don’t (if I can) not hire older engineers anymore for some applications. They have their heads stuck in the sand, and just don’t get new tech, and don’t want to. Still using a metaphorical slide rule for crying out loud. Of course, the young ones are really wet behind the ears, but at least you can tell them what you are building, and how its going to get built.

I haven’t owned a pure EV yet, (just a hybrid) but having said that, there is a lot of hype coming from Tesla, and possible downright misrepresentation about production, and therefore earnings. I am short TSLA and depending when I exit the short on the stock, Elon Musk via other shareholders are probably going to buy me a brand new Model S. Keep it up gullible ‘skeptics’, you are just making me richer.


Some of these “old engineers” will tell you that Tesla is taking you back to the dawn of automotive transport when driving long distances was an adventure because you didn’t know if you would make it to the next town. Amazing what a car company can do for “free Supercharging” when you lose $600 million in one quarter. When you look at the car’s task of transporting human passengers for low cost, there are cars that do the job for $15k US and I don’t see the EVs getting there anytime soon


There are realistic solutions to the points you make, main;y range anxiety. And rightfully so. But nothing a dedicated ICE generator won’t fix, including cabin/battery heat. This will have to be an option on some EV’s, for the ones that won’t just be used for local use and limited mileage. But comparing a Tesla S to a $15,000 tin can like a Smart car is disingenuous too. Old engineers do have a lot of wisdom under their belt, and I shouldn’t be too hard on them, but it gets frustrating in cases like these when their first instinct should be to prove how they could improve it to work better. I have worked a fair amount with older engineers, and I think they just get set in their ways, but in this case, I think it is the ‘skeptic’ thing to here on this blog to pooh pooh EV’s, just because they are linked to subsidies, rent seeking and the whole green agenda, which is a monster unto itself. But no need to bash the technology of the modern electric car. It will only get better with innovation after innovation and is here to stay, long term.

Dave Fair

Like I always say as an engineer: Give me enough money and time and I can give you whatever you want.

First adopters pay a hell of a price. I always wait a few years for things to shake out. For practical solutions to EV problems (including costs), give it a few decades. Until then, you can putt around town in your EV.

John Hardy

Earthling2. Thank you for your balanced input. The only point I’d take issue with is your thoughts on old engineers: I’m an engineer in my late 60s!


Insulation doesn’t work without a source of heat.
Insulating batteries just means that the amount of energy needed to keep them warm is decreased. It also means that either your car just got bigger or your battery pack just got smaller. Both of which will also cut into your range and your range will be cut year round, not just in the winter.

For someone quick to insult the imagination of others, your imagination suffers from a complete lack of rationality.

the next advance will be to replace the starter motor in a ICE with something able to handle stop/start driving. minimal increase in battery size and alternator. integrated with fuel injector shut off.

Paul Courtney

Earthling: You should not mix insults in with the fluffy EV palaver, particularly don’t insult old engineers. Some are old enough to remember the first energy crisis. Do you suppose anyone was looking seriously at EVs back in the seventies, when we were gonna run out of oil in the eighties? They could make ’em accelerate real good back then, too. And they learned that the most practical use for EVs were on a slot track, usually set up in the basement. Still so.


You are right Paul Courtney, that I shouldn’t insult old engineers and apologies if any took offence. I am only frustrated with some of them occasionally when working on a certain project and there is no moving to understand or embrace some things new. But I of course disagree about keeping EV’s in the basement on the Slot Wheels racetrack. The technology is maturing, and I think here to stay, with some minor modifications to make them work efficiently.


The major disadvantage of EVs is they only attract a limited percentage of the population that can afford them, believe that AGW and ACC is a problem that they can solve and find them as a status symbol to show off to their friends or others that are car enthusiasts that see them as practical for their driving requirements. Only 1 in 8 of my current coworkers that have been durability testing EVs fit a few of those and still wouldn’t own one because of cost and distances they commute other than to work and back. Limited income people do not live where these EVs are practical for their needs, because the low rent housing they live in is never going to have the means to charge them. When the ICE vehicles have the advatage of putting a few gallons in it close to where they live for their needs. If the government had not subsidised these EVs they would have failed to reach the point they are at now and no one would be even seeing a future in them, if left to the free market.

Andrew Kerber

So how do they do when you add 4 passengers, Luggage, and AC. How does that effect the range?

A C Osborn

Don’t forget Towing.

Non Nomen

Teslas are not allowed to tow anything. Not a caravan, not even a minitrailer. Too heavy by weight and too fragile by construction. I suppose they are unstable at any speed while towing.

Clyde Spencer

Obviously, anyone owning a boat, ATV, or camping trailer, or has need to make a small move with a trailer will just be out of luck. U-haul will go out of the business of renting trailers and survive by only renting electric trucks?


And subzero temperatures.


You should always have as many passengers as possible. That way there are many strong backs to help push.


Just use a small, very efficient ICE to only generate dedicated current to motors and battery while driving. No complex transmission to drive train to run wheels. Or to charge battery while at a destination that has no charging infrastructure, although not finding a 120 VAC 15 Amp plug in would be rare these days. Slower charges make for a longer lasting battery anyway, just like a trickle charger does. I find this hand waving about overly complex ICE generators just hand waving. Or downright untruthful. We have mastered making ICE engines very well.

Roger Knights

BTW, in two or three years Mazda (in partnership with Toyota) is going to release a hybrid using a tiny rotary engine running at its constant optimum speed to charge or top-up the battery. Maybe most of the power will come from being a plug-in too, I don’t know.


Pretty much what the latest version of the Leaf is isnt it?


BTW, in two or three years Mazda (in partnership with Toyota) is going to release a hybrid using a tiny rotary engine running at its constant optimum speed to charge or top-up the battery.

IC piston engines are more thermally efficient than conventional rotary IC engines. Rotaries just dissipate too much heat.

Les Johnson

Norway is the poster boy for EVs, with very high direct and indirect subsidies. What appears to be happening, is that the EVs being sold, are mostly 2nd or 3rd vehicles, and mostly to upper income quintiles.

Oil usage in Norway has not declined, as a result of high EV sales. On the contrary, is has slightly increased.

Why fossil fuel cars in Norway are so expensive (very high taxes), and EVs so popular (big subsidies, and lack of similar taxes)

Oil use in Norway has RISEN, even with the high number of Evs sold.
comment image

A C Osborn

Haven’t the Subsidies been withdrawn?


Hi guys, I’m not Norwegian, but have lived/worked in exile here a few years. Checking a few interweb sites indicates that the national average petrol (gasoline or ‘Benzin’) price right now in Norway is about 15.78 NOK/litre. That’s about 7.28 US$/gallon or 142 pence per litre. Published figures notwithstanding, I typically manage to fill up in Stavanger for around 13.5-14 NOK/litre. gushes that 29% of new car sales in Norway are now EVs but they admit that the growth here is actually PHEVs like the Mitsubishi Outlander. That’s not because they’re good cars, it’s because they’re a good tax dodge. In a country who’s tax-policy is based on the myth of Robin Hood and where having a half-way decent job will see you labelled by Robin Hood’s merry tax-men as rich, any means to reduce one’s tax burden is attractive. Even if the means, viewed in isolation, is actually batshit crazy.
Until recently if you purchased an EV, you’d only pay tax on the set of winter tyres, the rest would be tax-free. Recent policy chabges mean that if the EV in question weighs over 2 metric tonnes, you’ll pay import duties and on-road costs just like you would for a proper car. This is unofficially called the ‘Tesla tax’ because it really only affects the Model S and Model X. Naturally this new tax is claimed to be ‘unfair’ by the green-blob.
Even with the tax-avoidance incentives, EV cars here are overpriced for what you get. I’ve contemplated a Renault Twizy as a 2nd car for commuting (because it’s really useless for anything else) but a new one will set you back 100,000NOK ($12,000 or £9000), that’s the base price for a road going tandem seat golf buggy that’s not properly weather-proof (the ‘halvdører’, or half-doors, are a 5000NOK optional extra).
The other incentives to owning an EV here are that you can use bus/taxi lanes and since transport policy here is intentionally meant to disuade car use; driving around the traffic jams by using the mostly empty buss lanes is a considerable advantage on its own. You can park in special EV slots at car parks for free* and can charge for free* while the EV is parked there. You also avoid paying road tolls whenever you pass an automatic highway robbery station at every local council boundary which today saves you 20 NOK every time you pass one. Tolls today are generally applied in only one direction, but next year these will be levied in both directions and extra toll zones will be created (unsurprisingly around areas where most people work, like the suburb of Forus which lies over an existing council border) and the tolls will be trippled during the ‘rush hour’**.
The green-blob will of course also point out that Norway’s electricity is mostly carbon (dioxide) free but not because there has been much penetration of wind (yet) or solar (unsurprisingly), but because a sparsely populated mountain range that’s covered with white shite all winter has a high potential to exploit hydro-electric generation. I’m not entirely sure the eco-tards outside Norway are very happy with hydro though because some bushes get drowned and it can actually deliver power on demand and relatively cheaply which upsets the devolution (de-development?) goals the United Numpties have in mind for us.
So the EV ‘success’ in Norway, while partly attributable to individual virtue signalling (and it’s fair to note that a lot of the sheltered inhabitants of welfare paradise Norway have bought into this myth hook, line and sinker), the real ‘success’ is mostly thanks to regressive ‘pick-the-winners’ policy from government. Which is just like every other ‘success’ related to foisting yesterday’s technology on western society tomorrow in the cause of fighting gullible warming.
* the green-wash states that parking and charging are free; in reality EV owners are letting the rest of us pay for their parking and charging.
** to observe that calling it ‘rush’ hour on the deliberately constricted roads in any Norwegian city is an oxymoron is a massive under-statement, and as further proof that moon-bats can’t do sums the morning and evening rush ‘hour’ are deemed to extend from 07:00 to 09:00 and from 15:00 to 17:00.

Gasoline runs about $8/gal in Norway. I’d probably even drive an EV in Norway… /sarc


Norway only has 5 million people and is the largest oil producer in northern continental Europe. With nearly a Trillion dollar Sovereign Wealth Fund, funded from oil, they can afford to do a lot of social engineering. It must hurt to be Norwegian though, with all that oil, and still pay $8 a gallon. And taxed to death on everything else too. But if they can make the EV work in a northern Nordic climate, then I think it proves that technically, the EV can work. The rest is just engineering details, and resource acquisition.

Stephen Richards

in Europe it’s about 1.20 € or £ per litre. 4.5ltr to the imperial gallon. $1.30 to the £

Roger Knights

Driving ranges in Norway are likely low compared to the U.S.


Only for 2-3 months of the coldest winter months. They get some of the gulf stream warmth, so it isn’t as cold as parts of Canada at a much southern latitude. Most of the year, it is warm enough for EV batteries, and for 6 months, they have near 24 hour twilight so don’t even need electric lights or heating.

The Expulsive

Technologically the concept of an EV is great for the city, except when you do the math and realise that there is an issue with the supply side of the batteries. This supply side issue has awakened long dormant sources for the chemicals needed for the battery (like Cobalt Ontario) to an opportunity, but also brings into question the ability of the infrastructure of the current electrical system to support home charging on a large scale.
Sadly, the cost of a new EV is beyond the ability of most consumers to pay, so they are appealing to the people well above the median income level and there will not be a second hand market that the lower middle class can tap into for an extended period of time. As currently priced, and subsidised by the Ontario government, the EV is mostly for the upper middle class. Even rationally doing the math, a vehicle like the Bolt, if you can find one at a dealer, it still very high for what you get, and that is a disadvantage for most consumers, many of whom seem to want a pickup.
In my town we have a fast charger set up in a municipal parking lot, though I have not seen it used yet, as the current crop of EVs is very expensive and we are 215 km from Toronto, where the majority of those able to afford an EV live. Also, there is currently no EV pickup, which most of the farmers would want.
Will the EV really be the treat to ICE as claimed? Sure, when the price comes down significantly more, which may require a whole new battery supply…and batteries have always beeb the problem.

A C Osborn

In the UK it is the opposite, new Nissan Leafs and Renualt Zoes are the fastest depreciating cars of all, 80+% in 3 years.
So if you are prepared to take the chance on it needing a new battery pack they make great second hand buys.

No different than the risk with buying any used car.

I picked up my Leaf for just $9k with 21k miles on it. It has required no service in 3 years. No oil changes, no brake pads, nothing.

Eventually technicians will replace just the defective cells which will significantly extend the life of the pack.


Yes, a complete redesign of the battery pack, making it bigger heavier, and twice as expensive so that you maybe extend the life of the battery pack a bit.
BTW, at 21K miles, ICE cares are still in their break in period.

“…and there will not be a second hand market that the lower middle class can tap into for an extended period of time.”

Actually, used EVs (except Teslas) are already some of the cheapest cars for the money on the market today. It is entirely possible to find used copies of options like the 500e and Leaf available for under $10k (or even under $5k for some older private party Leafs) and there’s a whole wave of lease returns that is going to start hitting lots soon as people get their Model 3.

No different than the risk with buying any used car.

Except EVs depreciate much faster than ICE/ICE hybrids. electric cars are still showroom poison, new or used. Dealers often just ship electric trade ins to get wholesaled at auction. They’re resale dogs.


I’d agree largely with benefits of electric drive and the technology that’s improved it so much and certainly in Australia 80% of our driving is urban so the range factor is not so critical for most of us. However at present the cost of a modest sized EV is $50k while a similar ICE car could be had for half that and $25k buys a lot of petrol at around $1.25/L now at say 10L/100km average fuel consumption. Then there’s the question of what extra it costs to install an appropriate charge station at home for the purpose, and the opportunity cost of funding versus pay as you go at the bowser.

The other aspect is battery longevity/replacement and in that regard Toyota recognised early on that to guarantee their battery for 8 years meant sticking to hybrid technology whereby the battery runs at around 40% of its capacity all the time in order to achieve that. I’m not convinced battery technology has solved that longevity problem with full EV, particularly if high rates of charging are the order of the day.


Before EV’s reach 10% of total fleet, the government is going to figure out a way to tax them to pay for roads.
Right now, ICE cars are paying for the roads that everyone is using.

Several states have already enacted EV fees, including California.


Taxing road-use electricity? Take a page from farm diesel vs road diesel: Die the electricity red! ;^}

Nothing fancy needed. If you have an electric vehicle you simply pay the same road tax per mile as gasoline, based on a state average mileage of course. Here in PA they have annual inspections, including a separate one for emissions. The garage could just hand you a bill for the mileage since the last inspection.

Leonard Lane

If it needs a huge tax credit or subsidy it is just a way of transferring wealth from the poor to the rich.
When power plant costs are included in the costs of electric vehicles and there are no subsidies or tax credits of any kind, and when EVs are taxed for highway construction and maintenance, then you may have a valid argument for EVs.


philohippous, the only problem with that solution is that I can see lots of people complaining that they drive a lot of miles out of state.
I don’t know if it is still the case, but several states used to have laws that truckers were required to fill up at least once in the state whenever they passed through. (These were usually high gas tax states.)

The ICE … “is a high maintenance device”. Not anymore, my Toyota has done 110K miles, no maintenance needed except for oil and spark plug changes. Also, the supposed downside of needing cooling is a great benefit in cold weather.


Yeah, our Civic is eight years old and has averaged about $100 a year in maintenance. Including a new battery due to the cold weather and a new block heater that wouldn’t be required if not for the cold weather.


“certainly in Australia 80% of our driving is urban so the range factor is not so critical for most of us”

you cant be serious. Please dont project your life preferences on the rest of us

This ignores the heating in winter, cooling in summer, and temperature dependent performance of batteries. It also ignores vehicle capacity.

Modern EVs use heat pumps for heating and cooling, which are pretty efficient.

Battery packs can be warmed or cooled as needed in some designs.

Battery packs can be warmed or cooled as needed in some designs.

Which requires even more (wasted) time, energy and effort.

An EV car is lke solar panels on the roof.

Good for certain people in certain locations at certain times of the day for certain days of the average year.
Wrong for ALL people in ALL locations at ALL times of the day for ALL days of the year.

But the enviro-control-left, looking through their perverted rose-colored glasses of nitpicking extremism, then DO demand that the government require ALL people to pay for the elite few in central cities working on government 40-year predictable weeks in predictable government-paid buildings with government-paid rechargers who can use them for certain predictable events. The enviro-extremist then claim that ALL people EVERYWHERE must be forced to use their EV philosophy.

If the EV (not a hybrid – which DOES make sense for many millions more people in millions more situations) were worth it, then they’d need no subsidies and need no government-mandated, government-paid charging stations.


Heat pumps drop off in efficiency by a huge amount once you get below 50F.
Warming and cooling the battery pack takes energy. Lots of it.


Most of the people driving an EV would have an indoor heated garage or heated underground parking in their condo etc, and the battery mass when warmed up to room temps would last a long time out in the weather. Anyway, a battery can be wrapped in a heated insulated blanket, so it isn’t a huge engineering task to design something that works. The electrical code is being updated to supply 240 Volt capable charging to parking stalls, and all residential homes already have 240 volt for their oven/drier etc, so adding another circuit to the indoor heated garage for charging the EV isn’t the end of the world. Upgrading entire neighbourhoods to a higher amperage capability is also doable over time. This isn’t rocket science.

No, 240 VAC is not being “updated” to service parking garages.

It is being MANDATED (by forced changes in the Electric Code) to FORCE taxpayers to spend MORE MONEY wasting their time, energy and resources on YOUR pleasure and YOUR EV’s!

Clyde Spencer

When I was in the Army 50 years ago, I was assigned to the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory in Hanover (NH). The government cars had head-bolt heaters to keep the engines warm in the Winter. However, I had no such luxury for my personal cars. So, I kept my ’64 Chevy pickup in a heated garage, and my wife’s ’60 Ford Galaxy outside. Her car would start reliably down to about -10F. If it didn’t catch on the first try in colder temperatures, I’d pull my truck out of the garage to jump-start her car. One of the penalties of the strategy was that when we got back to California, the rocker panels had rusted out on the truck from two winters of freeze-thaw cycles, with no apparent damage to the Ford that stayed outside.

I’m wondering just how well the EVs will do under similar circumstances, and if there will be collateral damage from the suggestions to keep them in a heated garage.


That was what I said RACookPE1978, new building code is having 240 VAC installed when new construction is happening. So you install the cabling as 4 wire instead of 3 wire and size the wire accordingly. What’s the big deal with that, shouting in all caps as you do? A lot cheaper to do it when constructing new, than trying to retro fit later. I thought you of all people would understand this simple concept. Reminds me of a Gov’t civil engineer doing an assessment on a earth filled dam, who can only see failure, and never built anything in his life, or got his hands dirty. How come some of the old engineers here are like old dogs, and can’t understand new tricks, or even want to know?

If you had a new Ford PU truck Clyde, made out of aluminum for body panels, you wouldn’t have any rusting.
I thought a lot of these new EV’s would be having aluminum panels to cut down on weight.


Hmmm House heat pumps have 10-12 year life.


0x01010101 November 5, 2017 at 9:15 am
“… heat pumps for heating and cooling, which are pretty efficient.”

Efficient? No. It just seems that way because the compressors are three times the size they were when we had R12 refrigerant. You know, the stuff that was banned at the height of the FAKE ozone scare.

Earthling2 Aluminum corrodes, add in salt it not long lived, might be longer than steel but it does corrode> Ask any trucker how well their aluminum trailers hold up. Learn that for my at the time brother in law years ago, he was working in a truck body shop at the time. Add in in a accident aluminum tears, unlike steel that bends, welding aluminum is and art since you cannot see how hot it is.

Rick C PE

So I just need to heat my garage to make an EV a workable option? OK, about $7000 to insulate and weatherize and add a propane furnace (there goes most all the subsidy). Now it’s also going to cost me quite a bit for the additional propane. Oh, yea and burning all that propane to keep my EV battery warm is going to produce, guess what, evil CO2. But hey if you think this makes sense go for it.

Why can’t I use the car’s battery to power the heat blanket overnight? 8<)

Rick C PE

@Rob Bradley: Riiiiight. Take a look at the photo of the Tesla S chaise in the OP. The battery is that big flat area between the wheels. Not going to be easy to wrap with a blanket once the body and interior is added. I used to use an engine heater that was just an electric resistance heater that replaced the dipstick. Worked great and was easy. Maybe I just missed the sarcasm in your reply. If so, sorry.


Heated blankets still draw power.
Beyond that insulation takes up space, either your car gets bigger or the battery gets smaller. In both cases your range shrinks year round because of it.

Most of the people driving an EV would have an indoor heated garage or heated underground parking in their condo etc, and the battery mass when warmed up to room temps would last a long time out in the weather.

Weird, I don’t know a single person with a heated garage in my cold winter state. Even the few people in my neighborhood with Leafs or Teslas don’t have heated garages. And even if they did, it doesn’t mean they park their EV in a heated garage for nine hours at work.

EVs work great in Los Angeles. Not so great in Minneapolis.


“Weird, I don’t know a single person with a heated garage in my cold winter state.” The city of St. Albert, a bedroom community of Edmonton, Alberta, almost every new house constructed in the last 20 years has an attached garage, most double bay, built right into the house that is heated, or can be. Stays above freezing even in -40, even with no heat because it is attached to the house. Almost all new houses I see being built in new suburbs anywhere in Western Canada have this because there is no back alley now, and these neighbourhood lots don’t have the room for a detached garage. This is mainly upper middle class folks, so many of them have indoor parking where they work, or even if they don’t the battery doesn’t cool off that quickly except in the coldest of weather. I realize this isn’t the same everywhere in North America, but it is in almost all new larger housing developments in new developments in Canada. It is code, because of the size of the lot. If you want a garage, it is attached to and part of the house. Same for new condo’s…almost all have some type of underground or sheltered parking. Maybe this is just upper middle class professionals, but these are the people who would probably buy an EV or PHEV.

Patrick MJD

“Earthling2 November 5, 2017 at 2:03 pm

If you had a new Ford PU truck Clyde, made out of aluminum for body panels, you wouldn’t have any rusting.”

Not rusting but certainly corroding.Corrosion of dissimilar metals. Anyone who has owned a Landrover knows what I mean.


This also overlooks those of us who enjoy things like camping. Most of the places we stay have no electricity. Or live where it gets extremely cold in the winter or have mountain passes to drive over to go skiing, which means cold, and the car sitting in a huge parking lot in the cold all day. Talk about increasing ski pass prices when everyone needs to plug in their car for the day…

Increase should be negligible since there’s little need to install the expensive DC fast chargers in a location that is likely up a hill and where the vehicles will be sitting for an extended time anyway. Some simple L2 plugs will do the trick.

Clyde Spencer

The ‘solutions’ proffered by alarmists also don’t take into account those whose lifestyles require transporting horses or other livestock in trailers, or have to move farm machinery on trailers. Urbanites often have little appreciation for how different their lives are from those who live in rural areas.


So what? Then farmers who need to haul trailers should not buy EVs. So that’s what, 5-10% of the population that EVs may not be a good solution for, at least yet? The negativity here is astounding.

Paul Courtney

Chris: So they object to paying for subsidies for EVs they can’t use. I don’t agree with your 5-10% estimate (or the sneering, elitist attitude), are EVs at 5% market share yet? How about this, when EVs get to 5%, you can sneer a little. Until then, better stick to the “gosh, EVs sure are great with no downside at all” palaver.


Paul, I object to paying for subsidies to farmers. But I don’t run around whining about it all the time. My attitude is not sneering and elitist, it’s logical. I get wound up by dumb statements. You don’t agree with my 5-10% statement but provide zero refutation. Agriculture employs 2% of Americans. I rounded up to the 5-10% range which seems quite fair.

A number of issues come to mind while reading the above:
1. Range advertised by Tesla. I just don’t trust them to tell me the truth. Is 300 miles with your radio off and driving at 30mph? Or with air conditioning on, wipers and lights on, stuck in traffic for a couple of hours, then doing 80mph for a couple of hours? Because that is how real life driving works.
2. Price parity – battery life question. Just how long the battery will go before needing replacement. Price parity has to include lifetime service, not just first couple of years. I don’t believe that EV can be cheaper if full life cycle is taken.
3. Infrastructure requirement. I calculated that for the UK (for example), if all of us started going EV, we need to almost double our electricity production. Ain’t gonna happen in a hurry – UK took some 20 years of arguments to decide on a new power station, first in 20 years.
4. Infrastructure requirement 1.2. My Audi A6 can, and routinely does, in excess of 600 miles per tank, which takes me 5 minutes to refill. Do we imagine everybody recharging at home? Charging stations will need to be much bigger to accommodate more cars staying for longer, and each of those will have to have a small power station nearby!
5. I resent having to pay a subsidy to someone with an EV.
All in all, I am happy for EV to develop, but I expect they will be a niche, specialist vehicles (like milk floats or golf carts), or small city vehicles, but they are unlikely to replace a big family car.

In Los Angeles, most cares are parked in the streets so that garages can be used as storage places. Recharging will be a nightmare.

I live in an LA suburb, and don’t park in the garage, I park in the driveway and charge there. No problem.

Melvyn Dackombe

Agreed. Also, what about the legal responsibility of people tripping over cables crossing public footpaths. Plus the inevitable unplugging by ‘others’.
Also, as most city dwellings do not have ‘designated’ roadside parking spaces, can you imagine the arguments when trying to park / use another person’s facility.


You would also need some form of security on the charging station to keep others from using it.

Well, that’s a choice being made by the owner. If they’d rather fill their garage with junk than use it to park their car, that’s their problem.



There is no technology that can challenge the internal combustion engine for convenience and efficiency. Any large scale push to adopt electric vehicles as a replacement is just Agenda 21 in action. Adoption of such technology, for reasons stated by other commenters, will inevitably lead to reduced personal mobility making travel outside of one’s urban area expensive, impractical or impossible.

Dave Fair

From a lifetime of observations, those are the goals of the greenies for the rest of us, Hashbang.

I like Capitalism; newer, more, better, cheaper, etc. Socialism is just a method of allocating shortages by the political elite.


Dave, don’t forget that when the elite are doing the allocating, they first allocate to themselves.
Everyone else gets their leftovers.


I think we need to recycle old drive in theatres (are there any left?) for charging stations. Big fields with charging posts so you can then wander of to the central shop to have crap food and bad coffee, or maybe people on roller skates to bring it to you. No wait, that been done hasnt it?

kokoda - AZEK (Deck Boards) doesn't stand behind its product

How long does the Battery Array last before a new one is required?
What is the cost of the Battery Array?

Most are now warranted for at least eight years, but replacement packs aren’t terribly expensive either.

Sweet Old Bob

Define ” terribly ” please .

Nissan will sell a new pack for the Leaf for $5500.

Non Nomen

I do buy my petrol on a daily or weekly basis. I just don’t have the money to buy a pricey battery pack every 7-9 years plus paying for recharging electricity every day. If the batteries are done, that’s the end of the story. For the price of a new battery pack I get a really decent motor in very good to excellent condition. As Teslas are connected to the internet, life expectancy of batteries is easy to manipulate. Tesla did that once during the Florida hurricane emergency. There are no third-party suppliers. If I need some parts for my current motor I can get them easily and cheaply from the scrapyard. No way getting a EV battery from there. An EV is a no-go.

Tom Judd

fIEtser: “Nissan will sell a new pack for the Leaf for $5500.”

A few questions:
Is the 8 year warranty transferable? If it’s not, a one or two year old Leaf is not going to have any value at all. In any case, an 8 year old Leaf won’t have enough resale value to offset whatever savings, real or illusory, it accrued.

What is the warranty on the new battery pack? I’d be very surprised if it’s 8 years.

Does the $5,500 for the replacement battery pack include installation? In any case, a potential $5,500 maintenance charge on, what in any other circumstance would be considered an ultra compact economy car, in 8 years time is still pricey.

How does the 8 year battery warranty stack up against a federally mandated 100,000 mile warranty on the emission controls of an ICE engine (which essentially provides a complete warranty on the entire engine)?


Is the warranty pro rated? Many starting batteries have 6 year pro rated warranties. So a battery failure in year 5 they pay 1/5 towards the cost of a new battery.

No, warranty covers complete replacement.


I would have in excess of $10,000 for a Tesla battery replacement would fit into the “terribly expensive” category.


An engine will last way longer than 8 years, and cost a lot less than $5500 to replace.

Most batteries are going to last way longer than eight years too (Nissan Leaf batteries being the most notable exception), that’s just how long it is guaranteed to work. And new engines for less than $5500? Not in much past an original VW Bug.


@ mark w

To replace a 2005 VW Diesel Engine with a used 2006 VW Diesel engine with ~50k miles

is $3500-$4000 for the engine
and $1500 for the R&R

For a modern car you are looking at $10 grand at least

FYI — there are many, many Prius vehicles on their original battery pack with 150,000+ miles

My neighbor drives her 2006 every day

The battery is brand new, @Mark@. Where are you finding brand new engines for $5500?

Electric cars will never take off until you can fully recharge the vehicle after 5 minutes for the total transaction — finding an open spot, paying, and charging.

The other side of this is that when I pull into my driveway I just plug in my Leaf and it charges over night. Takes me just five seconds to plug it in. I never have to make time to go to the gas station, wait in line, and fill up, which takes about 15 minutes at least once a week. Plus no gas on my hands or diesel on my shoes…


And if you desparately need to use your car, then what? That is not a hypothetical question. I suspect everyone of us has had to make a sudden emergency trip at some time.
I keep at least a quarter of a tank of gas in my car at all times, unless on a long-haul trip. So how often and for how long would I be charging my EV if I kept a quarter charge on the battery, and if my emergency required more than that, then what? Five minutes lost at a gas station versus hours recharging would make a huge difference.

0x01010101: The other side of this is that when I pull into my driveway I just plug in my Leaf and it charges over night.

Using your $500 (wholesale) solar panels?

Clyde Spencer


I’m reminded of a friend who used to teach environmental studies at San Jose State University. He used to proudly tell his students that he recycled 100% of everything that he brought home. What he didn’t tell his students was that the things he couldn’t recycle he brought to the university and put in the nearest dumpster.

The point is, something that may be a personal ‘solution’ isn’t necessarily an answer for society as a whole. You have to look at the bigger picture!


“The point is, something that may be a personal ‘solution’ isn’t necessarily an answer for society as a whole. You have to look at the bigger picture!”

No, you don’t. Does a car mfr who brings out a 2 seater sports car need to make products for families that require 4 seats? Of course not. EVs are not for everyone. So what? Neither are iPhone Xs, neither are Ford pickup trucks, etc.

@Jtom: If you desperately need to use the car, then you get in it and go. Most of the EVs now on sale have more than enough range to still have a decent number of usable miles left after being out for a day and with a Level 2 charger installed at the house, plugging it in when arriving home will substantially refill it within an hour of arrival at home.

What he didn’t tell his students was that the things he couldn’t recycle he brought to the university and put in the nearest dumpster.

Huh. That’s like CA buying huge amounts of electricity from out of state coal plants and then claiming that they use so little coal.

what’s its range at 20 below zero farenheit?

Most EV Owner’s in cold climates preheat their vehicles using utility power, which reduces the issue.

Paul Penrose

That only helps a little. Most of the reduced range at cold temperatures is due to cabin heating. And at very low temperatures it doesn’t even help much with battery capacity. In addition to that, most people are not able to plug in their cars while they are at work where the thing gets a good cold-soak for 8 or 9 hours.


Yet another expense that you failed to account for earlier 55.
Regardless, you have to keep the batteries warm while on the road as well.

what’s its range at 20 below zero farenheit?

30 miles, compared to 80 miles @ 70° according to this Leaf owner.


From where I live in Canada, the commute to see family involves high mountain passes with volatile weather. Combine that with needing heat and a fully loaded vehicle with a toddler son… not a chance I’ld use EV. It’s dicy at the best of times with proper M&S tires and a full tank of gas. Highway closes for avalanche control, or there was a rollover that closes the road, then what? You sit in traffic for over an hour as the storm rages outside. This isn’t a rare situation in Canada, so EV has a long way to go. These EV promoters are tone-deaf to these realities. Heck, even on the commute to work, what if one is stuck in traffic?


So probably for you or the guy above who goes camping, the EV isn’t for you.

but for tens of thousands of people living in cities and suburbs?

and in large parts of Europe trip lengths aren’t long…
(in any European large city you visit, the public transport will be widespread and cheap, so car not needed)

It has to be the case that for the majority the EV is quite practical


If they want to buy EVs, they can. What they can’t demand is that the rest of us subsidize their lifestyle choices.


Explains why they all buy EVs – with or without subsidies. Except… they don’t. You probably just assume they’re stupid.


I agree the subsidy has to go…it has to be a level playing field. But as you point out elsewhere MarkW, gas taxes are raising huge sums for general revenue (it doesn’t even all go back into the roads) so EV’s are getting a free ride for now. That can’t last either but will probably be made up for on increased licence plate registration fees for ICE vehicles, which will then be an indirect subsidy to EV’s, by penalizing ICE vehicles.

Tom Judd

“It has to be the case that for the majority the EV is quite practical”

Griff, sure, for a certain number of people an EV can be practical: for those who have a garage or other access to an overnight charge (which knocks off a lot of apartment dwellers and, yes, city residents who park on the street – which very many do); certain city dwellers (see remarks in parenthesis); and those with two vehicles. And, while I may dispute that an EV is practical for a majority that’s not the point. I think the point is that the proponents of the EV ultimately want to eliminate the ICE powered vehicle. And, for a great many people, that will take their cars away.


But Mark, they’re SavingThePlanet™, so they deserve subsidies from you.

Dr S.

I have owned an EV (Chevy Volt) in Florida for three years. With careful driving and no A/C in the winter, I can get 50 miles per charge. In summer with full A/C and two people in the car, it drops to 40 miles per charge.

Cripes, I can’t even handle routine errands on a Saturday morning with 40 miles! In summer


Given the lack of information and analysis of the many problems with EV’s, I suggest skipping writing or reporting on parts 2 and 3. This article is only useful to deceive people like Governor Brown who does not have a clue how much damage he can do to California.


I disagree Catcracking. This is one of the most popular commented on articles in a long time at well over 420 comments in less than 11 hours. And the article was very well done, I thought. I can’t wait to see the future Articles 2 & 3, since this is a very interesting subject and one that will shape the world we live in. I believe for the better, over the long haul. Even if you don’t agree with EV’s, you have to admire the engineering advances that have been made over a very short time frame. There are a lot of issues to digest, but on balance I think EV’s are good, and are going to get a lot better over time.

What is more fascinating, is to read some of the comments of long term skeptics here, many of whom are engineers, who many completely pooh-pooh anything EV. I find that very interesting, because now that shapes my opinion of reading their future comments on anything, including climate and weather. There seems to be an attitude of throwing the baby out with the bath water when it comes to skepticism, and I am learning here that many skeptics are just as brainwashed as alarmists on many things. And not as bright, without a mind of their own…scared to go against the grain of their peers who have been here for years.

And then of course, there are the regular Russian trolls here, that are constantly agitating anything and everything they can, just to mess up the thread to be a burden to read, or the casual reader that drops in here that want to learn something from other people who do care, one way or the other.


It may surprise you that being a skeptic means that you don’t accept propaganda or claims without significant study and looking for pitfalls in the claims. Today there are so many wild claims coming out of universities et. al. it is impossible to keep track. Economics seems to have escaped the University environment. I have looked at the benefits and challenges of the electric car in much detail and see many challenges listed by others in this article. Are you claiming there are no issues even though BEV sales are only 1% of total even with Government mandates?

have worked in the energy sector for over 50 years in numerous and varied energy “options ” and have seen more failures of new energy sources and technologies than you can imagine. I loved working with research scientists because they, at least the ones I worked with were open minded, and took serious engineering issues/challenges raised about the specific. Often we engineers could find solutions to complex problems using advanced materials and latest computational tools.
I have seen too many fool politicians and MSM who tout the most ridiculous concepts claiming they will solve our cheap, clean energy needs.
Your comments deriding skeptics is not uncommon coming from people who lack critical thinking and believe throwing money at a problem assures success. Unfortunately the laws of chemistry and thermodynamics preclude efficient application and often feasibility of so many claims that have been funded with tax dollars. Keep in mind there is a big hurdle from lab experiments to turning an idea into a commercial and cost effective development. Working toward that goal has been fun but rarely do we see a significant breakthrough.
Your comment below is very telling:
” There seems to be an attitude of throwing the baby out with the bath water when it comes to skepticism, and I am learning here that many skeptics are just as brainwashed as alarmists on many things. And not as bright, without a mind of their own…scared to go against the grain of their peers who have been here for years.”
“Russian trolls???
Possibly you can list some of the significant commercial energy breakthroughs based on the huge expenditures by the DOE over almost 50 years. I have even worked on such projects years ago, mostly coal liquification and gassifiction.


Thanks for your reply Cat…I would say Fracking would be a huge energy breakthrough that will change the dynamics of the FF industry for decades to come, since only a very small percentage of the world has yet been fracked. Perhaps that was more provided by private industry than the DOE, but at least Gov’t would have been in the background as much as possible, including tax incentives that would allow the technology to mature to successful implementation. I never would have believed fracking would have been so successful 10-15 years ago, and lost a fair bit on the stock market betting against it, thinking nat gas prices were really going to spike. Now we have a domestic surplus which has been keeping prices reasonable for a long time.

The other big one definitely sponsored by Gov’t (in Canada) was successful and profitable oil sand recovery. This is essential to maintaining some stable pricing well into the future, since there is just so much available. It is also very important to future generations the will forever need easy access to FF for industrial uses and thousands of products we have taken for granted for generations now. And in addition, at least with so much coal available for hundreds of years for future coal gasification and liquefaction, humanity will not be burdened for a very long term with having to be synthesizing complex hydrocarbon molecules also for industrial uses. Burning FF for thermal heat and/or propulsion is sort of a waste of a lot of energy, hence my strong support for an PHEV vehicles and a new electricity source to propel all this. Hard to improve on electricity for most things, so now getting fusion working will be the next giant leap forward. Maybe…hopefully.


Until trump came along the US government has tried to kill fracking and all oil field development. Most of this resource development was successfully developed with private risk of their capital with constant impediments by the goverment.
I worked on the Syncrude oil sands project in the 70 s including detailed engineering and 1 year at site during commissioning.
I agree it was a significant development and multiple Canadian governments supported research and even became partner’s in the enterprise, and I commend them for that foresight.
I was proud to be part of that effort and had many Canadian friends who were excellent Engineers working hard to get the plant running and working out challenging problems.
Would not tolerate Ft McMurray cold today.
Looks like the current Alberta gov and Toronto have gone astray

John Hardy

carcracking. 2&3 are already written. Up to Anthony whether they are posted


Thanks, John,
Hopefully Part 2 and 3 will address all the concerns raised including my question of replacing all the current filling stations provided for gasoline and diesel. Hopefully you will have the cost and time required to provide the convenience currently to let me drive almost anywhere in the country and not worry about running out of gas. Along those lines I only have 100 A service at my primary residence and only 15 A service in my garage and the expense of upgrading needs to be considered. Apartment dwellers are even worse off.


The article has very good information. Feel free to skip 2 and 3, but please don’t pretend to speak for the rest of us.


Why would you think I am speaking for anyone else, I think I have the opportunity and am speaking only for myself looking for answers to questions.
Can you answer my question as to how long to duplicate the current refueling stations and who will pay for it?
It is currently ignored as far as I can see. Can you quote any studies as to the cost?


I have read articles on WA for about 3 years, I probably read 20% of the posts. I have never seen an article garner this many comments. EVs are clearly a major topic right now, regardless of whether or not you think they are a good idea. The author does not come across as a rabid greenie, but rather someone who approaches the topic from a reasonably technical basis – both pluses and minuses. So your request that sections 2 and 3 not be posted seems rather unwarranted.

As far as EV charging stations, if there is one thing that America is good at, it’s chasing new business opportunities. There are a number of companies rolling out EV charging stations, this article mentions several and has detail on one.

They will install them at rest stops, or at restaurant clusters near off ramps of freeways. If gas station owners are smart, they will install them at their stations. It will take time but will certainly happen.

Oh, please. We’re supposed to believe this???

“Firstly price. This is partly an issue of scale. If you make a million of the same model car, cost per car is a lot less than if you make 10,000. The financial services company UBS recently tore down and analysed a Chevy Bolt. Their conclusion? “total cost of consumer ownership can reach parity with combustion engines from 2018” [7]”

Parity by 2018? That’s madness. John (Hardy), I will personally bet you $100 that this does NOT happen.

Now, you’re free to blow the bet off if you don’t have the courage to stand behind your words …

… or you can be like all the other electric car enthusiasts, full of empty claims and meaningless promises that they can not and will not back up.

We can let Anthony hold the stakes.


Stewart Pid

When Musk was asked about the enormous Tesla losses in Q3 he replied that “Yes we lose money on every car we sell but we make it up on volume”. Hopefully obvious sarc 😉

Steve Fraser

Old sales joke 🙂


90% of your economy of scale is made in the first couple of thousand cars.


“90% of your economy of scale is made in the first couple of thousand cars.”

Links to support that assertion?

John Hardy

Willis I don’t bet: I was quoting a financial services company who based their analysis on a tear down of a Bolt. What is your analysis based on?


John Hardy November 6, 2017 at 3:06 am

Willis I don’t bet

John, given the way that you back wild statements from a “financial services company”, I wouldn’t bet either.

What is your analysis based on?

My analysis is my own, based on the raw data that I can find plus the other analyses that I’ve read. It’s also based on the fact that my son-in-law’s Honda gets about 50 MPG on the freeway.

Hey, maybe my analysis is just based on my gut … but whatever it is based on, clearly I have faith in my analysis and you have no faith in yours.


PS—In your analysis, did they include the health costs of the kids working in the cobalt mines? I hear that they are just dying to produce cobalt for electric cars … literally. Dying. Have you priced that in?

And how about the fact that, since the majority of US energy comes from coal, your “electric” cars are really running on coal? You guys are always adding in “externalities” for fossil fuels … have you included these in the analysis that you are so unwilling to bet on?


“Hey, maybe my analysis is just based on my gut … but whatever it is based on, clearly I have faith in my analysis and you have no faith in yours.”

He said he doesn’t bet. It’s not the same thing as lacking confidence in his research.

“And how about the fact that, since the majority of US energy comes from coal, your “electric” cars are really running on coal?”

Wrong. Coal accounted for 30% of electricity generation in 2016, that’s nowhere near “the majority.”


Willis writes

Parity by 2018? That’s madness. John (Hardy), I will personally bet you $100 that this does NOT happen.

What timeframe would you consider to represent total cost of ownership?

Good question, Tim. I consider cradle to grave.



“I consider cradle to grave.”

That’s not something you can really bet on.


I seriously doubt EV’s will get to parity with this real world example: My nephew commutes 100 miles, actually 200 miles round trip, per day. He just bought a ten year old Ford Fusion for $1800. The car runs perfectly and is in great shape with less than 80K miles at time of purchase. It even still has new car smell. The car is getting 45 mpg going 90 mph. Barring destruction in an accident or something he will probably get five more years use out of that car, with proper maintenance. At which time, as required, he will do it again with another ICE car.

” The car is getting 45 mpg going 90 mph. “

I doubt it. MPG drops off at speeds greater than 60 MPH.
Real world data also proves you wrong:


“Real world data also proves you wrong:

Real real world data proves me right in this case. He starts out with a full tank and tops off after the trip. Its just simple arithmetic after that. And he drives 90 mph.

Not all cars are the same. I had a v8 Mustang that got its best mpg at 80 mph. If I slowed to 60 mph the mpg dropped from 25 mpg to 21 mpg. If I exceeded 80 mph the mpg dropped off (greatly) as well.

This Fusion has a small displacement four banger engine and a manual six speed tranny.


This post seems to be written from the point of view of the urban hipster, who does not do that whole “Great Outdoors” thing.

The average private car in the UK does about 21 miles a day. In the US, it is about 30. Most people do most of their driving either commuting or local driving.
My personal opinion is that a 300 mile range should work fine for almost everyone

Perfectly fine if you never leave the city, and there is no such thing as winter.
As a bonus, the writer knows best what “should work fine” for you and me.


city……urban…..where they have to park on the street….sometimes blocks away from where they live
…city is going to run lines and put chargers on every parking space?

yeah…that’ll work

These big cities do not have the money or ways to keep up the infrastructure they already have..


Assuming you charge overnight.

What about charging at work? Commuter station car park? Shops/supermarket?

In London or an European city you very probably would take public transport to work anyway: car for weekends mostly.

Again, the EV’s work for a selected few people in a selected few circumstances.

For most under most circumstances? No, they are expensive subsidized AND mandated failures by government decree to satisfy the religious indulgences of the elite enviro’s at the expense of the working class taxpayers. As usual for the elites.


Who’s going to pay for those charging stations at work?

Nigel S

Griff, I take it you’ve never heard of the ‘school run’ or experienced it! (It’s the daily use of cars to drive children to and from school)


“Again, the EV’s work for a selected few people in a selected few circumstances.”

Wrong. In the US, 70% of families live in a detached house with a garage or carport. That is a lot more than a “selected few.”

It really depends on the situation. Most parking spaces for long-term parking can get away with simple 110 outlets which are often already installed. Medium-term parking can install some L2 chargers at many of the spots, though they can be shared. Then making a few DC fast chargers available near the entrance would round out the options for making it useful.

Dave in Canmore

“As a bonus, the writer knows best what “should work fine” for you and me.”

First thing I noticed as well. As a comparison to actual disruptive technology, no one had to convince me to get an ipod back in the day. They were amazing on the face of it. People wanted them and bought them by the million truly changing the way music was listened to. No one had to write speculative cases why they were better, no one had to argue the case for them. They were desired by free-choosing individuals who decided for themselves what was a great product and what wasn’t. If you have to convince me that I like something, you’ve probably already lost!

F. Leghorn

And yet now you almost can’t buy an Ipod, except maybe a used one. Smart phones have totally taken their place. Same with gps units.

Though I doubt that will happen with ev’s since they will probably never be widely accepted. They just don’t have that kind of universal appeal.

John Hardy

TonyL you are free to suggest your own preferred range


I, along with many climate skeptics, would love it if EVs were to make the grade, but one of the unmentioned problems they face is that the ICE is also improving over time.Compare the modern ICE powered car with what you drove off the dealership lot a mere 20 years age, The power train will run for a hundred thousand miles with nothing more than an oil change. How often do you see a broken down car on the side of an expressway these days? Do any of you youngsters know what a fouled spark plug looks like? Have you ever even heard engine knock? How about changing plugs, points and condensers every 6 weeks?

Certainly, ICE power trains have definitely improved, but not without considerable effort and expense and complexity. In most regards, EVs have already surpassed ICE vehicles with a fraction of the investment. Considering that every major automaker has now pledged to invest billions into EVs over the next few years, the inherent advantages will become more pronounced and evident.

Roger Knights

The ICE will see big improvements within the next two years from Mazda’s diesel/gasoline hybrid engine (35% more efficiency is claimed) and from the similarly efficient Bill Gates backed inline piston engine. These should make EV cars look worse in comparison than they do now.


Classic range of unsupported assertions and sweeping statements. Translate into I am a beleiver thats all that needs to be said.


“Classic range of unsupported assertions and sweeping statements. Translate into I am a beleiver thats all that needs to be said.”

And you provided zero evidence to refute his statement.


“ICE power trains have definitely improved, but not without considerable effort and expense and complexity. In most regards, EVs have already surpassed ICE vehicles with a fraction of the investment.”

You’re forgetting that EVs have inherited technologies that were developed over many decades, such as the power trains you mention. Why do you suppose the axles don’t break under maximum torque? I’ve watched axles being twisted back and forth, plus and minus 90 degrees until they break. And I’ve seen them being rotated while bent like a banana. Gradual improvements in steels, in forging techniques, in crack detection and such, have been passed down to your Tesla to enable it to accelerate 0 to 60 in three seconds flat.

A “fraction of the investment” indeed. Good grief Charlie Brown!


Improvements in ICE could easily be negated by Government law. They could require poor mileage and higher maintenance on all future ICE vehicles. That would help make the EV more competitive for the average vehicle purchaser. Such laws would be much easier to meet than 75 MPG fleet requirements.


Your name is very appropos.

The last time I changed spark plugs was on a 1999 Dodge Caravan, at 200,000 miles. They were so worn down to nubbins I couldn’t believe they still worked. But they did, with an occasional bit of rough running.


I am driving the same ICE I drove off a dealer’s lot 20 years ago. The mileage is 168,000+ and I’ve still got power to accelerate, run the AC and heater. When I compare it to another model I drove off the dealer’ lot much more recently I like it better and have fewer problems and more power. But yeah, I get your point.

One more consideration – the source of their charge.

nickreality65: One more consideration – the source of their charge.

Californians, citizens and lawmakers, are considering outlawing ICEs for autos by about 2030. At present, CA gets about 20% of its electric power from renewables (you can check this at, meaning that there is never a surplus of renewable generating capacity. By 2030, that could be 40%, implying no excess generating capacity. So the power to recharge the electric EVs will come from increased burning of fossil fuels. Without considerable improvements in battery capacity and recharging time, EVs will make the trips from LA/SD to Las Vegas, and from San Francisco to Yosemite, Lake Tahoe and Reno very inconvenient. If the subsidies and tax credits are withdrawn the EVs will be expensive (compared, say, to a VW Jetta which can be gotten for $16,000 and gets 36 mpg in varied terrain.)

For trucks and other work vehicles, the case for EVs is considerably worse.

But, as with the CA commitment to electricity from renewable sources, it will be an interesting experiment to watch if CA tries hard to eliminate autos with ICEs.

“Californians, citizens and lawmakers, are considering outlawing ICEs for autos by about 2030.”

Actually, the date being seriously considered in 2040.

“…meaning that there is never a surplus of renewable generating capacity.”

Actually, California has a huge surplus of (renewable) energy in the daytime due to all the solar and they’ve even had to resort to paying other states to take the excess.

” So the power to recharge the electric EVs will come from increased burning of fossil fuels.”

This is directly related to the previous point. California already has a considerable surplus of electricity available during the day, someone just needs to put out the infrastructure necessary to get it into car batteries instead of having to pay Arizona to take it. It’s almost certainly ultimately cheaper to do the former, which could then also be combined with vehicle-to-grid/house technologies to feed power into houses and the grid when people get home in the evening, this reducing the need for peaking plants.


To fIEtser: you forgot to leave off the /sarc. Think of how many EV drivers would be howling mad on those days when the wind doesn’t blow, and they’re stuck at work overnight because their car didn’t get recharged.

fletser: Actually, the date being seriously considered in 2040.

you are correct Thank you

Actually, California has a huge surplus of (renewable) energy in the daytime due to all the solar and they’ve even had to resort to paying other states to take the excess.

That is not true. As I wrote, 20% of total electrical comes from renewables, solar in the daytime, wind at night. Check out There is never a surplus of energy from renewable sources. Right now it is higher, 53% of usage from renewables:


“Actually, California has a huge surplus of (renewable) energy in the daytime” well on some days, not every day. More renewable fantasy thinking.

Dave Fair

But, Matthew, EV autos are all anyone will ever need in CA by 2030, doan cha know?

Invest in a used ICE auto business, young man. Also ICE life-extension franchises.

An EV goes about 4 miles on one kilowatt of energy. If a typical driver travels 30 miles a day, that’s about 7.5 kilowatts to recharge, say 10 kilowatts with losses. That’s the equivalent of four 100 watt incandescent light bulbs over 24 hours. As everyone continues to switch to LEDs, which use about 1/6th of the energy, the power that used to power lighting will essentially recharge EVs.

Or install three solar panels and generate that power yourself. Current wholesale cost of the panels is around $500.

Yes, there are issues such as where to fast charge, when people will charge, etc. but those are really just engineering issues that are easy to deal with.


Sure, everybody has four 100 watt bulbs going 24/7 just for the hell of it.
Yes, there are issues but they are just “engineering”.
Use solar panels, just $500.00 and we can all charge up at night.

@ 0x01010101
Why 16,843,009 (dec.)?

Add up the power you use for all your incandescent lighting in a day and I think you’ll find it is more than that. The average house uses around 30kw a day. Lighting is(was) a significant portion of that.


We use 13 Kw/day in the mountains of western Colorado, on a well with an electric pump and incandescent bulbs. Oh yeah, our outside irrigation is also an electric pump. Our coal derived electricity is $0.08/Kw.


Lighting consumes more power than the AC, fridge, stove, water heater combined?
You’re delusional.


” The average house uses around 30kw a day.” the average house? your kidding arent you? what are they doing heating a tent?

kW is power, not energy. The trouble we have is that the establishment does not understand the difference between power and energy. Similarly most laymen and greens do not understand the difference.

0x01010101: As everyone continues to switch to LEDs, which use about 1/6th of the energy, the power that used to power lighting will essentially recharge EVs.

How much of anybody’s electricity bill goes for lighting?

Or install three solar panels and generate that power yourself.

Well sure, if you keep your car at home all day.

At the moment, with net metering, when you charge and when you produce power doesn’t matter…

If you have a south-facing unobstructed view of the sun every day.

0x01010101: At the moment, with net metering, when you charge and when you produce power doesn’t matter…

Somebody drawing 30kwh per day does not have a surplus to sell with only 3 panels.

The point is, with net metering, you can generate during the day, and use it at night. You don’t have to store it and you don’t have to use it when you produce it. So you don’t have to ‘keep your car at home all day’.


Translation: You are going to force someone else to store it for you.
Yet another subsidy demanded.

with net metering the power company has to generate or buy electricity at night, which is somewhat cheaper than running a peaking plant during the day. Power companies operate on a 1-10 year horizon. The net metering does not come free. It’s mostly designed to make users pay excessive prices just before folks leave for work and during the evening hours when demand is high.

Rob Bradley

philohippous I believe you are confusing “net metering” with “smart meters.” Net metering does not involve time of day billing, just two line items for you bill, namely power produced, and power consumed.

0x01010101: The point is, with net metering, you can generate during the day, and use it at night.

The people I know who have installed solar panels have had their electricity bill reduced, but they have not become net exporters of electricity. For them to charge their electric cars, they have to draw extra from the grid.

“Or install three solar panels and generate that power yourself. Current wholesale cost of the panels is around $500.” … So you live in a high-rise complex with 400 apartments: how is that going to work?

If you live there, you most likely walk.

Rob Bradley

0x01010101 or grab the bus at the bus stop next to the lobby.


always seems to be a smart arse answer to any question that addreses reality

Ian W

To rephrase 0x01010101 and Rob Bradley’s answer. If you live in an apartment block you are not allowed a personal vehicle. It may not be so blatantly put but possessing an EV will be made impossible and possessing an ICE vehicle will be banned. Residents of conurbations take note this is the long term aim. This was to be linked with all the ‘Waters of the United States’ type regulations and death taxes that would drive independent farmers off the land. Agenda 21 implemented by Common Purpose supported by the gullibles.


Again, more negativity, it’s comical the lengths to which commenters will go here to trash EVs. So they aren’t for everyone, such as someone in a tall apartment block or who parks on the street. So what? It’s like someone attacking RVs because folks who live in cities can’t find a place to park them.


” but those are really just engineering issues that are easy to deal with”

Almost all big cities do not have the money or ways to maintain the infrastructure they already have..


Simple, tax the rich guys. They have more money than they need anyway. /sarc


I love it when people who know nothing about engineering declare that something is “just an engineering issue” and is easy to deal with.

I thought you claimed to plug in your Leaf overnight.
That PV panel isn’t going to be doing a lot of charging at midnight.
Current wholesale includes about 30 to 40% subsidy.

Clyde Spencer

You said, “…just engineering issues that are easy to deal with.” There is an old saying that “The Devil is in the details.” That is an implicit acknowledgement that it isn’t always as easy as it appears.

Dave Fair

“… but those are really just engineering issues that are easy to deal with.” Spoken like a true inexperienced greenie/socialist. It’s always easy when someone else has to do it.

Martin A

The kilowatt is a unit of power, not energy. Maybe you mean kilowatt hours?

In Europe the sale of ordinary 100W incandescent light bulbs has been banned for years. Too bad, because, in winter, they provide light essentially for free – each joule of heat from the lights means a joule less that the heating system (electric) has to provide.


heating from light bulbs is extremely inefficient compared to heat from natural gas.

Duncan Smith

In most places gasoline is heavily taxed to pay for infrastructure. If everyone stopped needing gas, where will all this revenue come from? Higher road tolls or licencing would be needed to offset. This is never used in the cost per mile calculation.

BTW I like electric cars and would have one as a second car if the price was not so high.

Look at a use one. Makes a great primary car. Makes your current car the secondary car for most people.

Duncan Smith

My situation is, one CUV for the whole family for long trips, reno’s, etc. My wife could use an electric car just for getting to the train for work and short trips. Seriously, if I could licence an electric golf cart I’d be happy. Besides the electric car costing more than my CUV, insurance is the same. Better off getting a Toyota Yaris for a 1/3 of the price. Resale is much better too.


What if you can’t afford 2 cars?


Not many people have the money or space for an extra car that is just used for long trips.

“BTW I like electric cars and would have one as a second car if the price was not so high.”

Then get a used one.

Roger Knights

Tesla is holding back the used ones it has taken in as part of its purchase agreement. Perhaps it doesn’t want to let people see how high the depreciation rate is, or get potential new-car purchasers to switch.

Tesla is far from the only company that sells electric cars. If her commute really is that short, used options like the 500e are pretty cheap. Or even the new ones. I’ve seen leases for $60/month.

Tom Halla

The power density of batteries is still inadequate, and the recharge time stated is highly questionable. The lifetime cost, having to replace the battery pack at some large percentage of the cost of the vehicle, and the pro-rata cost of electrical upgrades needed are still high.


Also the author completely ignores the fact that the free market has provided gasoline and diesel fueling facilities over a large area covering even rural roads. He ignores how long it will take to duplicate that and who is going to pay for it. Probably expects the taxpayer namely the poor guy that can’t afford the overpriced expensive EV to eat the cost.

A C Osborn

In the UK the government is going to expect the Service Station Owners to Finance the Charging stations.
I think it was 3 for each station.


Yet another subsidy for the EVs.


,\AC Osborn – 3… pounds? Seems pretty cheap.

The recharging infrastructure already exists anywhere an electrical outlet exists.

A C Osborn

No, 3 stations for each garage forecourt.


When there are enough electric cars on the road, I’m considering opening a refueling station for them – in the desert between LA and Vegas. At 250 miles, either high heat or cold, at least one steep mountain pass, they’ll have to stop. (That 300 mile per charge is as accurate as the EPA estimated mileage is, except people bitch about the latter ‘estimate’.) Can’t do it in the city, as the cost of that much acreage for all the parked cars would be prohibitive. Definitely have a restaurant – high priced menu, low cost food, as I’ll have all those bored, captive customers that have to come in out of the heat (or cold in winter). Cost a dollar to get into the bathrooms – like much of Europe charges. The gift shop will be similarly priced. Nice mark up on the electricity, too.
I’ll start counting my money as soon as the cars are on the road.


fIEtser November 5, 2017 at 11:44 am
“The recharging infrastructure already exists anywhere an electrical outlet exists.”

Energy density has no meaning for you non-technical types, does it? Maybe you think an electron is so small that any conductor can carry an infinite number of them?

steven F

The 80% charge ins about 20 minutes is what the Tesla can do now. People have driven them from coast to coast border to border in the US just using the supper charger network tesla has built. You basically drove three hours, Stop for 20 minutes to charge the car and get a bite to eat and then get back on the road for another 3 hours of driving.


1) I don’t usually eat every three hours.
2) Fast charging dramatically lowers the life expectancy of your battery pack.

Retired Kit P

Recently I saw a Tesla charging in Winnemucca. It was part of a 1000 mile trip from Wallula Gap to Henderson that including a 60 mile side trip to a mountain state park.

Steven seems to think like most city folks. If you want your to be restricted to driving to I-5 and I-80, just stay home and save the energy.


“2) Fast charging dramatically lowers the life expectancy of your battery pack.”

False. After 50K miles of testing of Nissan Leafs, one group that utilized FC, one that did not, the capacity difference declined by only 2.6%.


“sceptics consider them a waste of space because they regard them as a solution to a non-problem”

That is just not what skeptics think but it is the cold hard truth. However I do agree with Mr Watts, that they could be helpful as urban commuter cars in polluted urban environments.

Nonetheless, I suspect the purpose of the anti-ICE vehicle movement is to get most people, sans elites, out of personally owned vehicles and onto socialized public transport-urban or rural.


Very little of the pollution in urban environments is coming from cars.

J Mac

Exactly. Another canard ‘shot and down’.


Oh, okay. I was not aware of that, although I know that modern ICE vehicles are very clean compared to decades ago. So there is no good reason to replace ICE with EVs at all, for most of us.


“Very little of the pollution in urban environments is coming from cars.”

False. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, motor vehicles produce roughly one-half of pollutants like VOCs, nitrogen oxide and particulate matter. Seventy-five percent of carbon monoxide emissions come from automobiles

The advantages of electric automobiles are significant. The rapid charging issue still needs work. Perhaps a bigger issue with gaining economies of scale is the poor business performance of Tesla, which is bleeding cash at an unsustainable rate.


The only advantage I can think of is not having to change the oil once every three months.


Wow, MarkW. You change oil every three months? My vehicle mandates oil changes every 10,000 miles. Assuming your engine has the same requirement, that would mean you drive about 40k miles/year! No wonder you’re not up for an EV.
Actually, my diesel requires an oil change every 7.5k miles. Still 30k miles per year. I love the range (>600 miles per tank) because I can drive from Reno to Southern Orange Co, Kalifornia, and pick where I buy fuel. Needless to say – all in Nevada. We don’t have to pay for the Bullet Train between WhoCares and WheresThat.


I’ve got an older vehicle, it says on the sticker every 5K miles or 3 months.
I like to change oil when the weather changes since I don’t have a garage. Thicker oil in the summer, thinner oil in the winter.



You forgot the energy supply issue. By 2040, all the energy currently obtained from petrol would need to come from electrons which still need to be generated and transported to point of sale. So, at a guess, that will require thousands more power stations and millions of tons more copper.

dan no longer in CA

Transmission and distribution lanes are aluminum, not copper. The change in metals is done in the breaker panel at your house. I get your argument though, just different metals.