In Defense of the Electric Car – part2

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 2 – the problem

By John Hardy

Part 1 of this series here, expressed the view that regardless of “the environment”, Electric Vehicles (EVs) are poised to inflict a massive disruption on the automotive industry, and outlined the strengths of the technology and some of the reasons that it is happening now.

In Part 2, I outline what I see as the main issues for Western automakers. They need to wake up and smell the coffee: the history of technology is strewn with examples of once-great companies that failed to adapt to a technology advance and went to the wall. Traditional Western automakers may just do the same. They appear to have failed to realise that gearing up for EVs is not just business as usual with a different drivetrain. In particular they have until very recently shown no sign of thinking about fast charge, sourcing the cells that go into batteries, the dealer network or maintenance.

Fast charge

First of all, fast charge*. Most privately owned cars spend most of the time parked, and most of their journeys are short (in the UK private cars average around 21 miles per day)[1], but are occasionally called on to go cross country (think commuting in the week and visiting granny on occasional weekends). The comparable figure in the US is about 30 miles per day [2]. Overnight charging at home handles most driving.

Fast charge capability is however critical to cross-country driving; and most people require this capability, even if they don’t use it much. The fast charge standards supported by the major Western automakers have been inadequate (pitiful power levels), coverage spotty and use cumbersome. By contrast Tesla built their own supercharger network with twice the power levels of most public stations: and the sat nav in the car knows their location. Tesla cars are internet connected and do over-the-air software updates like laptops, so presumably the fast charge locations the car knows about stay up to date. If the major automakers do not take ownership of the fast charge issue they will remain at a disadvantage compared with those who do. Relying on a publically-funded infrastructure won’t do. Generic commercial charging stations after the style of the present auto fuel infrastructure may become viable on busy routes (with profit coming from the cake and coffee sold to drivers sitting for the 20 minutes while their cars charge) but most charging will be at home, and with electricity so cheap it may never be very attractive commercially.

*There is some terminology confusion here. By “fast charge” I mean charging from a DC source at 40Kw upwards. This is also sometimes called “rapid charge”.


Next, cells (a battery is composed of many cells wired in series like the battery in an electric toy is composed of a few AA cells in series). In 2013, world output of lithium ion cells was said to be a little over 30 Gigawatt-hours (Gw-hr) per year [3]. A Gw-hr is a measure of energy. A high powered household device like an electric kettle or electric fan heater might use 3 Kilowatts (Kw). Leave it on for an hour and you have burned 3 Kilowatt-hours (Kw-hrs). If you do half an hour of vacuuming with a 1 kW vacuum cleaner, you will have used half a Kw-hrs. A Gigawatt is a million kW, so if you do the maths, if you took all the lithium battery output of the entire world for 2013, it would (in theory and neglecting losses) power a million 3Kw electric heaters for ten hours, or ten thousand for 41 days (a thousand hours).

More pertinently, an EV burns 1 Kw-hr every 3 – 4 miles; so a 300 mile range EV would need 75 – 100 Kw-hrs of cells, so world output of lithium ion batteries in 2013 would at best be enough for around 400,000 EVs with a 300 mile range. Worldwide car production in 2016 was probably about 72 million. To electrify all of them to that range would require (again ball-park figures) roughly 200 times the 2013 production of lithium ion batteries.

The majors seem to be waking up (arguably too late and too slowly) to the fact that the supply of cells for battery packs is an issue. In June 2017 Ulrich Eichhorn of VW, went public with a statement that the whole VW group (Audi, Seat etc.) would need 200 Gw-hr of battery cell production by 2025 [4]. They have not announced any definite plans for sourcing these cells. Meanwhile, Tesla have once again thought ahead of the pack. They broke ground on their gigafactory in Nevada in 2014 with the initial target of 35 Gw-hr per year capacity: at the time this was roughly equal to existing global output from all manufacturers (love him or hate him, Elon Musk can’t be accused of timidity). More gigafactories are planned.

The problems for the traditional majors are illustrated by the GM Bolt. The Bolt is a 200+ mile range EV, which is seen by many as competition for Tesla’s new Model 3. However the Bolt uses cells from LG Chem (a Korean company). LG produce cells for the Bolt in a plant in Michigan which has a capacity projected to rise to around 3 Gw-hr in the next year or two [5]. Even if we assume that all these cells go into Chevy Bolts that is going to constrain Bolt sales to a fraction of what Tesla can achieve: 3 Gw-hrs is enough for about 50,000 Bolts. Tesla’s stated intention is to ramp up to ten times as many Model 3s.

For the next few decades at least the traditional majors need to think of cell production the same way they think of engine plants and put serious money ($billions) into it. There are trade-offs in the chemistry and packaging of cells that potentially affect battery management, charging, heating and cooling of the pack etc. This in turn has an impact on the cost and performance of the car.

Sales and maintenance

The standard sales channel for new conventional piston engine cars is via dealers, and the dealers do much of the maintenance, especially on new cars. The profit on the sale of new cars is low; the dealers make much of their money on maintenance [6]. This model probably won’t work with EVs, because they need so much less maintenance; no oil and filter changes, no exhaust replacements, no intake air filters, no spark plugs, no cam belts, even fewer brake pad and disc changes because of regenerative braking. Add to that the preference of the rising generation to do everything on line, plus the move to disintermediation across the commercial world [7], and the dealer model is probably dead.

There is another potential dealer-related issue for traditional automakers where the dealer is selling a mix of EVs and conventional cars. If a savvy dealer has two cars on the lot, one a high maintenance conventional piston engine car, and one a low maintenance EV, which vehicle is that dealer going to push [8]? Tesla have no dealers; they sell direct on the web and have in-house service centres (they also do software upgrades wirelessly and don’t do conventional advertising)

The Chinese aren’t just putting in lots of new coal fired power stations; they are developing EVs and lithium battery capacity. One forecast suggests that Chinese production of lithium ion battery production will increase by a factor of five between 2016 and 2020, making it easily the largest producer worldwide [9]

Figure 1 The all-electric Nio EP9 (photo Wikipedia)

China’s indigenous auto industry is also flexing its muscles. For a brief period in May the production car lap record at the Nurburgring was held by the Nio EP9 (Figure 1) [10]. It actually held the record for just two weeks and then a McLaren took the record. With a hybrid.

If this doesn’t make the CEOs of the traditional Western automakers wake up screaming at 2:00 a.m. then they lack imagination. Here is a company few in the West have heard of, from a country with almost no previous performance car pedigree, strolling onto one of Europe’s most iconic circuits and beating all-comers with a pure electric car.

Finally consider this statistic: plug in hybrid and pure EV sales in China in 2013 were under 20,000. In the US in the same year sales were about five times greater: close to 100,000. By 2016, US sales had reached about 160,000: a respectable percentage increase, but less than half the sales in China. Over 350,000 EVs were sold there in 2016 (Figure 2).

Figure 2 – Sales of Battery EVs and plug in hybrids in China and the USA for 2013 and 2016. Note that China’s growth rate is vastly higher than the US’s

A lot of the growth in China was a result of subsidies which were reduced in 2017 [11], leading to a slowing of growth in sales in Q1 of 2017, but in one sense that hardly matters: the capacity is being developed. No US or European automaker (apart from Tesla) could get anywhere near 350,000 units even if they wanted to.

In conclusion

Much of Western economic activity relates to cars: apart from the automakers themselves there are all the parts suppliers, and much of Big Oil is focussed on fuel for road vehicles. EVs will have a big impact on all this. It may already be too late for the Western automakers: they should have been breaking ground on cell production and rolling out fast charge years ago. But we are where we are, and maybe some will survive. If they don’t, our children will inherit even more of an industrial wasteland than is coming their way already.

In part 3 of this series I will take a look at several misconceptions about EVs


[1] 7,800 miles per year for privately owned cars = 21 m.p.d. Company cars 18,900 = 51 m.p.d. but they are a small percentage of the total number of cars

[2] dataset VM1. 11,244 miles per year is about 30 miles per day






[8] “Chevrolet currently has about 3,000 dealers in the U.S. but aside from some dealers in California and a few other locations, most seem pretty averse to selling plug-in vehicles. Sales people often don’t understand them and try to steer customers to other products that might have higher margins.” From:






newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Steve from Rockwood

I take exception to…

“If a savvy dealer has two cars on the lot, one a high maintenance conventional piston engine car, and one a low maintenance EV, which vehicle is that dealer going to push?”

I own a conventional piston engine car (BMW X3). I would not describe the car as high maintenance. Most of my shop visits are to change tires (summer to winter to summer), checking the brakes etc, things that an EV would also require.

My low maintenance piston engine requires an oil & filter change every 25,000 km. I also have my mechanic check fluid levels (including brake and transmission fluid). Do EVs not have transmissions, turning parts that require lubricants, brakes and tires?


Your typical car doesn’t need service until around 100K miles any more. And that is to change the plugs. Around 150K starter motors and water pumps go out – but it isn’t like the EV won’t have to replace parts and batteries at 150K. I would rather pay $400 for a water pump than $4000 for a new battery pack.

I guess if you throw in the 15, 10 minute oil changes a modern car needs over 150K and you might have a slight point. Put that dwarfs the extra time you would need for “quick” charging of the EV car batteries.

Pop Piasa

My ’95 Dodge truck has only needed a starter, O2 sensor and a water pump replaced since it was new. At $18K brand new, It has cost me average around $100 a month to drive it over 22 years, gas, tires and insurance included. (Yes, it’s loosing paint and rusted on the door bottoms, but a 318ci just runs too good to put out to pasture.)
When EVs can match that ownership cost, I will spend the necessary dollars to get one.

Non Nomen

When EVs can match that ownership cost, I will spend the necessary dollars to get one.

Wait until the cows come home and spend your money on really useful stuff.


Um, well, isn’t everyone forgetting the major overhaul every electric car requires when the batteries give up the ghost? What, in 5 years? And that cost is….$5,000? So all the savings you had on oil and maintenance go out the window in a lump sum payment.

Stephen Richards

Geoman November 7, 2017 at 9:22 am

Batteries in the Mitsubishi PHEV have a 10yr guarantee in france. However, if a cell fails. That’s 700€ but putting one good cell among 9 other less good cells will have consequences.


@ Geoman

You’re comment is ridiculous.

There are 10 year old Prius Battery Packs still going strong.

And the battery in my LG G3 has been through at least 1500 charge discharge cycles (many where the battery was completely depleted) over the 3 years I have owned it — and is still going strong.

Roger Knights

Karl: He was talking about EVs not hybrids.

How can you even have ANY charging if you park on the street? MANY MANY MANY UK homes are rows of terraced houses with on-street parking only. Where could you even put the charger? Wirelesss induction? Dig up EVERY terraced road in the UK, You think? Maybe swing-out arm from the house? The local kids are going to have a field day, if they don’t swing on the arms, they are simply going to unplug/cut the cable.
Charging is going to ensure that EVs do not make it to mainstream. Here is a first dig at the power requirements too:



It all comes down to THIS: Unless and until EV’s can show clear, distinct mechanical and financial advantages over conventional vehicles, in the absence of subsidies they will remain a fringe market, primarily of interest to those who want to make a certain “statement” via what they drive.
Which is pretty much where things stand right now. So far, no one has given me a reason to want one.

Leonard Lane

I am still waiting for an electric vehicle pusher to answer my questions.
1) If 50% of the cars in America were electric and the other 50% were internal combustion engine vehicles, how much will we have to enlarge/extend the national electricity grid?
2) How much will we have to increase our fossil fuel and/or nuclear power generation, assuming the grid is ready for the increases power needed for electric vehicles?
3) Where will we get the money to accomplish expansion of the grid and our reliable power plants?

I hope the author thoroughly researches these questions and acknowledges that they are more costs to expansion of electric vehicle use than just the vehicles themselves. Otherwise, we are discussing characteristics of vehicles and ignoring the electric power supply problems.


You do know that the tax credit disappears 1.5 years after 200,000 cumulative US sales (by manufacturer).

Has not stopped Prius non-plug in hybrid sales.


@ Leonard

The capability exists to home charge every single EV, using a home solar PV system.

Non Nomen

That home solar PV system comes for free? How many PV panels are required when 40-80 Kwh daily are needed mainly during nighttime??


@ non Nomen

what 40-80KWh?

The Average US home uses 1100 kWh/ month = 36-40 a day

Based on average daily drive, the kWh needed to recharge the average car is 10-11 Kwh

Sell the power during the day when you get paid more for it, then recharge at night when it’s cheaper

Lot’s of people already do it.

Non Nomen

MPGe: Miles per Gallon Equivalent: 1 gallon of gasoline=33.7 kWh. Do you get along with one or two gallons per day?

“It all comes down to THIS: Unless and until those new fangled automobiles can show clear, distinct mechanical and financial advantages over the horse and buggy, in the absence of subsidies they will remain a fringe market, primarily of interest to those who want to make a certain “statement” via what they drive.”


@ Non

About 1 gallon per day average in my ICE (24 MPG)

My daughter has a prius — she gets 50 mpg



If you’re going to try employing sarcasm you might need to avoid things that are objectively true.

Automobiles DID remain a fringe market until they showed clear, distinct mechanical and financial advantages over the horse and buggy.

Someday EV’s will solve their most pressing shortcomings and take president over ICE vehicles. But that time is not now, and it isn’t soon.

Stephen Duval


Just adding to your argument –

If EVs ever get up to 50% market share, then additional electricity infrastructure will push up the price of electricity while reduction in demand for oil will push down the price of oil.

I have to laugh at the author’s concept of “fast charge” – 20 minutes for 200+ miles. I get close to 400 miles in 5 minutes. Until EVs are comparable on this factor they will always be a fringe for long distance driving.

PHEVs make a lot more sense than EVs. PHEVs have a smaller battery than an EV to lug around the city most of the time. PHEVs use gasoline for the long distance drive. Best of both worlds. But even a PHEV costs $10,000 to $15,000 more than the same model ICE.

This article is a puff piece for Tesla.

Tesla’s Supercharger strategy is going to be an albatross when the majors roll out a faster charging network to serve all EVs rather than just Tesla. VW is committed to building a charging network due to its settlement of Dieselgate.

Tesla’s Gigafactory is another albatross if new battery technology to reduce charge times ever become economical. Pansonic only agreed to build the Gigafactory because Tesla guaranteed Panasonic’s profit.

Service charges on Tesla’s are very high due to Tesla’s inability to manufacture a quality car.

Jim Gorman


PV – sell during the day and charge your car at night. Charge with what source?


The savvy dealer would push the car that is going to make him the most profit.

It’s a complete myth that piston cars are high maintenance.
The fact that EV lovers have to keep pushing this lie is just more evidence that they know how weak their other arguments are.


It is not so much a myth as a outdated knowlege. For the last 15 years or so 100K service, for plugs, and O2 sensor has become standard. 10K oil changes are now standard. Even in the 1980’s the O2 sensor had to be changed every 30K along with the plugs, and oil changes were 3-5000 miles. Water pumps and starters blew at 50 – 80K miles.

Cars today, are so much better, but you still get repair places advertizing for the old standards – change your oil every 3000 miles – because by convincing you to come in more often they get more money. And old car folks seem to remember the 3000 mile from the 70s and 80s.


Just like the myth that EV skeptics keep repeating about EV battery life, which has been proven to be demonstrably false.


Being heavier, EV’s will put more stress on brakes and tires.

Model S curb weight: 4673.3 LBS
Lexus LS curb weight: 4234 LBS

Honda Fit curb weight: 2381 LBS
Honda Fit EV curb weight: 2940 LBS

Yes, EVs are heavier – but not significantly so. Most EVs have regenerative braking which saves lots of wear on the entire brake system. Some Model S owners have reported going 100,000 miles on the original brakes. Some taxi services are also using the Model S and reporting very low maintenance/ownership costs:


10% heavier and 25% heavier. That’s significant.
If it mattered, we could put regenerative breaks on ICE vehicles as well.

Retired Kit P

Yesterday took our son’s PU and got 3/4 of decorative rock. Weight makes a difference.

Our motor home carries 90 gallons of diesel and 60 gallons of water. It is one heavy rig, but it is hard to tell the loaded weight because of its design. It has very expensive tires to carry the load.

Here is the deal with tires that carry a heavy load. They come apart and do lots of body damage. If you are going to fast, you will die. Going fast makes them fail.

I keep bringing up RVs because in the US they out sell BEV in the world.

Our MH is now 20 years old. A new luxury MH with diesel engine and Allison transmission like ours runs $300k.

The reason you will never see 20 year old BEV is batteries are heavy. Batteries are expensive to replace. The novelty of a BEV is over at the first big bill.

Tom Judd

While everybody writes about the regenerative braking on EVs they seem to mysteriously forget that an ICE engine provides compression braking.


@ Mark W

My daughter’s Prius has the original brakes and has 115,000 miles — last oil change (which is the only maintenance needed) the tech said the brakes were fine


@ Tom

But that compression Braking still uses gas — not recoups energy like a hybrid or EV


“But that compression Braking still uses gas”

No it doesn’t, modern fuel injection engines don’t inject when the throttle is shut on overrun.


Then your daughter’s breaks are either seriously over built or she doesn’t do enough braking when she drives.


Zerofoo – I don’t doubt that folks love to drive their Model S’s, and have accumulated 100K miles. I doubt that they are driving 20-30 miles per day.

I Came I Saw I Left

EVs may be low maintenance, but they’re high hassle for most people. Furthermore the only real maintenance my ICE car has is changing the oil and air filter (instances measured in months). That pales in comparison to the every day hassles of EVs

You said it. High Hassle. I don’t want to have to plug in a car every single day or worry how the temperature and accessories shorten the range. This whole EV thing was foisted on the consumer by a radical regime with their market distorting subsidies of Tesla et al.

I Came I Saw I Left

Imagine having an EV, but not having a garage.

New EV owner without garage: “I’m so excited. My new EV is parked in the driveway, I bought a beefy extension cord to run out the window from the house, now let’s check the manual to see how to charge this thing.”

Chevy Bolt Manual: “An extension cord should not be used to charge the vehicle. Use of an extension cord may increase the risk of electric shock or other hazards.”

New EV owner without garage: “Derp!”

I Came I Saw I Left

Imagine having an EV, but not having a driveway.

New EV owner without driveway: “I’m so excited. My new EV is parked on the street/parking.lot, I bought a long, beefy extension cord to run out the window from the house/apt, now let’s check the manual to see how to charge this thing.”

Chevy Bolt Manual: “An extension cord should not be used to charge the vehicle. Use of an extension cord may increase the risk of electric shock or other hazards.”

New EV owner without driveway: “Whatever, I’ll just ignore that”

[weeks later]

Letter from from law firm Dewey, Cheatum, and Howl: “Dear Mr. So-and-so. This letter is to inform you that our client is suing you for being injured after tripping over the extension cord you had placed across the sidewalk.”

New EV owner without driveway: “OH SH!T!”

[Alternate scenario]

New EV owner without driveway: “Hello, is the police dept?”

Police dept: “Yes it is. May I help you?”

New EV owner without driveway: “Yes, I’d like to report the theft of my $200 extension cord.”

I Came I Saw I Left

Alternate scenario

Local newspaper: “So-and-so was murdered last night during a home robbery. Police said that thieves gained access to So-and-so’s apartment after noticing that a window was cracked to allow passage of an extension cord that was charging an EV parked in the parking lot.”


70% of Americans live in a house. 75% of those have a garage or carport. So there are 10s of millions of potential EV buyers that will not face the issues you bring up.



(1- (0.7 X 0.75)) = .475

By your numbers 47% of Americans (I assume you mean USA) cannot reasonably take advantage of the subsidies that they themselves pay for.

I Came I Saw I Left

Chris, I’d bet that a very large number of those carports are the temporary square tube and sheet metal kind that sit away from the house and are secured to the ground with 1/2″ re-bar stakes. Doesn’t make sense to spend money to run electrical service to one of those. Also, a very large number of those who live in houses are renters who are not about to invest thousands of dollars to install electric service on properties they don’t own.

70% of Americans live in a house.

I would venture to guess that those that live in a single family dwelling also have a higher percentage of children than those living in multi family dwellings making the 70% a bit dubious.


What about resale value? Sounds like zip when you’ve got aging batteries at let’s say, 70,000?


What about resale value? Sounds like zip when you’ve got aging batteries at let’s say, 70,000?

Awful. Just awful:

So I went back to my dealer contacts, who told me that many major franchise dealers either immediately send their electric trade-ins to auction or they list them for a very short period of time before sending them to the next large-scale auction. And then, as the apostle once said, the scales fell from my eyes. vAuto was measuring time to sale, but iSeeCars was measuring time to removal. In other words, iSeeCars could easily be counting cars that were dumped at auctions as “sales”.


The longer the extension cord, the more power is being lost to internal resistance of the cord.


The only difference between a driveway and a carport is the addition of protection from the rain.
All of the problems with charging in a driveway still exist when charging in a carport.
PS: not all garages or car ports are connected to the house or have power run to them.


Unless that carport has been wired for very high current, then you won’t even be able to trickle charge your EV.


Don said: Chris,

(1- (0.7 X 0.75)) = .475

By your numbers 47% of Americans (I assume you mean USA) cannot reasonably take advantage of the subsidies that they themselves pay for.

And your point is? Do you actually think that all subsidies can be taken advantage of by all taxpayers? 35% of Americas rent their home. It’s not fair that they don’t get to take advantage of the home ownership tax write off, correct? So therefore that should be removed, along with the dozens of other tax credits that are not available to all.


To the comments about the % of houses that are suitable for EVs – yes, the figure is not 100%. Maybe its 70%, maybe its 50%. So what? It’s still a massive market.

Tsk Tsk

Chris said:

And your point is? Do you actually think that all subsidies can be taken advantage of by all taxpayers? 35% of Americas rent their home. It’s not fair that they don’t get to take advantage of the home ownership tax write off, correct? So therefore that should be removed, along with the dozens of other tax credits that are not available to all.

Yes, next question. And it’s not a home ownership tax write off (unless you’re talking about a rental property and depreciation), it’s a mortgage and possibly property tax write off.


Tsk tsk said:

“So therefore that should be removed, along with the dozens of other tax credits that are not available to all.”

I’ll join you on Planet Dreamland when that statement becomes a reality. Trump’s tax plan was supposed to take away all the big deductions – the mortgage deduction stayed in, and many others will as well.


Teslas use a single reduction gear on the output of the electric motor. The lubricant for that reduction gear is changed in 5 year intervals.

Teslas have battery coolant. This coolant should be replaced every 4 years/50,000 miles.

Teslas also have traditional hydraulic brakes – that brake fluid should be changed every 2 years.

Teslas do not have anything that relates to a traditional ICE – timing belts, engine oil, spark plugs, air filters, O2 sensors, catalytic converters, fuel injectors, diesel particulate filters, fuel filters, valve cover gaskets, oil pan gaskets, EGR valves…etc.

Many Teslas are reporting 10 year old batteries with 90% capacity remaining or better. Tesla’s newest “drive unit” has a design lifespan of 1 million miles.

In the short run (while under warranty) the electric car is probably a bit cheaper to maintain than an ICE. In the long run, an electric car is way cheaper to maintain than an ICE.


Gee, I’ve just replaced the rear brake pads on my ICE car – at 101,000+ miles. And I change the oil, and filters, regularly. 5 minutes at the gas pump still beats a “fast charge”.

BTW, I doubt that we in Southern California drive 30 miles per day – before I retired, I was driving closer to 100 miles per day.

I have recently found out that our house was wired with just enough power, barely, to run the house (it is a tract home). Any electrical upgrades will require a new circuit-breaker box, new wiring to the street, new grounding rods – $6400. Would I have to do that to be able to charge my plug-in EV in the garage every night?

Paul Penrose

“Many Teslas are reporting 10 year old batteries with 90% capacity remaining or better.”
Only if they are driven infrequently and kept charged when not in use. But when used as a daily driver, no way, no how. Five years, tops.


“Only if they are driven infrequently and kept charged when not in use. But when used as a daily driver, no way, no how. Five years, tops.”

Links to support that assertion?


@ R E J

If you put in a Solar PV system you technically would need no House related electrical work. The panels could be routed to only the EV charger.

But you could also grid tie it with net-metering and make money when you’re not charging your car.

Not to mention the 30% tax credit, the increase in your property value, and if you intertied to your house, some electricity where you get a premium paid back to you.

You did say you live in California

old engineer

It’s true zerofoo, an electric vehicle inherently should require lots less maintenance than an ICE powered car. If everything else was equal, electric cars would be a slam dunk.

However everything else is not equal. First of all there is range. I am not talking about advertised range, I mean real world range. Range for instance, in Boston in the winter when the temperature is 20F and you need the heater, or Dallas in summer, when the temperature is 95F and you need air conditioning.

Another is recharging. I don’t just mean the time, I mean where. A great many people would have no place to charge their car. Sure if you live in a suburban style neighborhood, with a driveway and maybe a garage, you can run an extension cord to your car. But what if, like many apartment dwellers, you park on the street?

Then there is the matter of initial cost.

So it’s not just operating cost (maintenance plus fuel), but lots of other things where the electric car does not have an advantage that will keep the electric car from becoming a significant percentage of the on-road fleet.


@ Paul Penrose

I watch my neighbor drive her original 2006 Prius on the original battery pack EVERY DAY

yes way yes how

Oh, my LI-ION phone battery (3 years old) has been through at least 1500 charge discharge cycles

yes way yes how

Paul Penrose

Chris: OK, I’ll retract my statement slightly. It really depends on the number of miles you drive daily, how and when you charge the batteries, and how you drive the car. If you have a short daily commute, don’t allow the charge to get below 50%, and don’t drive it hard, then yes, a 10 year old Tesla Model S could still have 90% capacity on the battery. Which is a good thing for those owners because it’s not a cheap pack to replace. But put more miles on it a year, like the 15K that is typical in the Midwest, take the battery often down well below 50%, drive it hard in cold winter weather, and you won’t be seeing 90% after 10 years and 150K miles.

Karl: The Prius will still run with a battery well below 90% capacity since it is a hybrid. So just because it is still going means nothing. And as above, there are a lot of factors to battery life. And your cellphone battery life is irrelevant to this conversation.


Karl, how pray tell do you use PV’s to charge your EV overnight?


Paul, do you have links to support your revised assertion? Here is a very detailed article publishing the results from hundreds of Tesla owners. It shows that the battery capacity at 100,000 remains between 91 and 96% (just one respondent was at 91%). Above 200,000 km, where there are fewer data points (but still about 10), the numbers range from 90% to 93.5%. So really no issue at all.


Well, an electric drive train apparently has only 3 parts, an ICE 1,000

There’s a lot less engine, exhaust, fuel pump, etc to need fixing on an EV…??


Moving parts, Griff. There are lots of parts in an EV, also.


LOL. The griffster imagines s/he’s an engineer now…..

Tom Judd

An electric drive train does not only have three parts. Far from it. First you’re going to need a differential to compensate for the different diameter circles the left and right side of a car will track on a turn. That differential will comprise a large spiral bevel ring gear which will support three (planetary?) bevel gears set in bushings and which will, in a compensating manner drive two large beveled ring gears each set on its own shaft. Each shaft will be supported by ball bearings comprising inner and outer races, the cage, and the individual balls. And then there’ll be seals. The drive to each wheel will be through half shafts which will be splined to permit the shafts to telescope to different lengths depending upon suspension travel. The splines will be lubricated with grease and covered with rubber boots to prevent dirt and water from entering. Of course the EV doesn’t have magical rubber boots that are incapable of failing any more than the ICE car. Oh, and then each shaft is going to have inner and outer Constant Velocity joints to permit them to drive the wheels at the different angles suspension movements will require. These CV joints are lubricated by grease and covered by rubber boots that are no more magical than the boots covering the splines. And, now we get to the outer wheel bearings …



Comparatively, relating to the powertrain and drivetrain, and fuel/air induction system — relatively few


Tom Judd lists quite a few relevant parts, now let me step in with a few more.. the control system electronics are both the weak and the strong point of modern ICE cars. I’ve faffed around trying to resolve computer issues with my last ford, an Aussie 95 Fairlane, and after being through the hands of numerous auto electricians and mechanics unsuccessfully I resolved the problem myself – but I can say, tracking and resolving electrical issues in cars becomes worlds harder as cars add more and more electronics onboard. It’s with great relief I find myself driving and working on and old 1971 Dodge Pheonix (US= Plymouth Fury) with a few hand tools and the only electronic complications being the door lock servos I added myself.

Each (tin) solder joint becomes a risk of failure, each overheated transistor a risk of complete collapse – this isn’t just ‘my headlights dim when I put on my right blinker’ with an oily crimp increasing resistance, this is ‘ohshit my drive-by-wire steering has decided to throw the wheels 90 degrees sideways” or ‘the thermistor monitoring a battery pack has gone on the blink and allowed the pack to overheat catching fire’.

I’m not saying this is a ICE versus electric issue, I’m saying modern cars rely too much on automated electronics to be able to last the 40 + years that say an old Fury can manage.. and electric cars probably have way more electric control circuitry than ICEs do. I haven’t done the math on the environmental ‘friendliness; of maintaining a 40 year old car versus scrapping one every 5 years for a new car, but somehow my gut tells me longevity comes with a built in economy of sorts.

And chatting to folks who’ve been locked out of their cars by the electronics (or locked in), or unable to open the door to open the hood to replace the dead battery that drives the door locks, or who’ve had to leave their car untended with the windows down because they wont go up, or any number of other reasons that make me roll my eyes, I’m rather OK with manually winding my own windows, turning a key or pulling a lever every now and then.

Or to put it another way, I’d hate to be trying to trace electrical faults on a modern electric car in the future.


I’m not saying this is a ICE versus electric issue, I’m saying modern cars rely too much on automated electronics to be able to last the 40 + years that say an old Fury can manage..

Yet modern cars with all their electronics are two- to three-times more reliable in all respects than that 40-year-old Fury. Most easily go 250K miles with little more than oil and tire changes. How many 40-year-old Furies made it past 100K miles w/o an engine overhaul? You have to take into consideration trying to control emissions w/o computers too:

Run away screaming: 1985 Honda CVCC vacuum hose routing diagram×900.jpg?itok=hcgOx7Cx

richard verney

Why are EVs so expensive if they have no parts?

Michael S. Kelly

I drive a 2005 Toyota Tundra pickup truck. At 160,000 miles, it has had spark plugs replaced exactly once, tires twice (though the latest set will easily last me 30 years), and just $60 bucks or so every year for oil change and filter change (almost unnecessary). It gets 18 mpg highway, but I can tow a 5,000 pound trailer and get 17.5 mpg. It has never once broken down.

I’m 63, and although I don’t plan to retire for 13 years, this is probably the last motor vehicle I’ll ever own. I put 104,000 miles on that truck while living in Southern California, from 2005 to 2008. Then I moved to Maryland, and put 51,200 miles on it from 2008 to 2014. Since moving to Virginia, I’ve put 4,800 miles on it from 2014 to today. I stop at a gas station once a month. At this point, there is absolutely no economic reason to go to any other form of transportation.

John Hardy

Steve: no oil and filter changes, no exhaust systems, no catalytic converters, no induction air filters, no fan belts.. Tyres certainly , and brakes yes but less wear on these

Brian B

The dealers are going to die regardless of the technology. I agree with the google concept that as self driving cars become reality, more and more people will opt out of car ownership. No garage, no insurance, no fuel, no maintenance. If you want to go on a long trip, rent a car. It will be 2 car families will not replace an old car because they don’t need 2. Then they will not replace the second one. It might take a while, but it will start in the next 10 to 15 years.


“No garage, no insurance, no fuel, no maintenance. If you want to go on a long trip, rent a car.”
You forgot NO FUN!


People could do the same thing today by using taxis.
Yet they don’t.
They idea that vast numbers of people will give up the convenience of having their own car for the expense and inconvenience of renting someone else’s, is sheer lunacy.


I have an associate at work. He’s a full on Global Warming alarmist. He’s also fanatical about electric vehicles and in particular self drive cars. His favorite thing to say when this topic is brought up is “You get into your self drive car and the windows go up, the doors lock and it takes you to the police station because you have an unpaid fine and there’ll be nothing you can do about it. Won’t it be so good”? I am deadly serious. This is his vision of the future.

Non Nomen

The very same moment you are connected to the internet your freedom of unsupervised personal mobility is gone. Road tax, government restrictions -be they ridiculous as hell- open door to hackers who might offer you to bite the dust off the road if you dont pay and pay, insurances checking and fining your way how to drive, the list is an endless one. I’ll stick to my old motor that I know and that I can Fix Or Repair Daily or whenever necessary and drive without supervision by big, fat brothers.

Then it will be noted that the “poor,” who cannot drive a car now, are at a disadvantage. There will therefore be a government subsidy for, say, 10% of the self-driving “community cars.”

Then it will be noted that transportation is a basic “right” for all citizens. There will therefore be a government takeover of the industry, to ensure that all people have this basic “right.”


“You wish to reserve a car for Wednesday morning? I am so sorry, Comrade – at last week’s neighborhood meeting, you were observed to be the first person to stop applauding the Assistant Deputy to the Deputy Assistant to the Subminister for the Replacement of Golf Course Divots. I’m afraid that it has been determined you do not need a car on Wednesday, or any other day, considering that you do not use it to meet your obligations to society. Have a nice day!”


Yes Teslas do need oil changes in the driveline. This is generally ignored because it doesnt fot the narrative. Brakes should be less frequent but still there, tyres are tyres on any car (perhaps wearing more on heavy cars) suspension, steering, a/c , basic electrical all need care.

The dealer doesn’t care, he needs to move both of them one way or another.


“I own a conventional piston engine car (BMW X3). I would not describe the car as high maintenance. Most of my shop visits are to change tires (summer to winter to summer), checking the brakes etc, things that an EV would also require.”
Thanks for that accurate correction. Unfortunately inaccurate statements like that destroy the credibility of the author and the entire article.
I have a 2013 Cadillac CTS coupe (love it) and all scheduled maintenance including oil changes and a full bumper to bumper warranty was included for 4 years and 50,000 miles. I paid less for it than the price of a BOLT EV. I paid nothing for 4 years and have not had the car back to the shop yet since the free maintenance expired with a little under 50,000 miles.
The maintenance claim for ICE is nonsense along with the many claimed benefits of EV’s!
Since we have finally achieved independence from energy from unfriendly foreign nations via fracking, etc, why would we return to dependence on an unfriendly foreign supply for our materials for an Electric Vehicle?

Retired Kit P

The simple reason is to feel good about themselves. Guilt is not my thing. Before retiring I would sometimes stop in front of my house out in the county.
I would think that If a young person and came to visit another kid who lived like that, I would think they were really rich.
Our son who went to high school in that house now takes public transportation into Washington DC. He lectures me about Trumps’s policies on rust belt inter city schools. I will give him another year out of college before explaining why he never spent a day in those schools. Not to make him feel guilty but to recognize the use of guilt and but to avoid manipulation by politicians.


Good luck with that. I just dumped $8K to fix most of what went south in my 2003 BMW 325xi, and still the radio on-off switch doesn’t work, the AM radio antenna is nearly useless, and I’m afraid to fully open my sunroof for fear it will break again.
Engineers court success when they KISS (Keep it simple, stupid). The ICE is a Rube-Goldberg miracle, but in my mind, a rickety rope bridge over a deep canyon.

An electric car produces twice the CO2 of a petrol driven car!. Also the loss of revenue to the UK treasury is estimated to be 328 billion( Edmund King President AA reported in the Times)


My estimate of the CO2 emissions resulting from my local utility’s fuel mix (43% coal, 44% natural gas, 1% oil, and 9% wind and solar, and 2% “demand-side management”) is about 1.5 lb CO2 per kWh delivered to the outlet after a 3.03 multiplier for energy-conversion and transmission loss. For a 4 mi/kWh Chevy Bolt, that’s 0.375 lb/mi. If my estimate is right, and if burning gasoline liberates 19.6 lb CO2 per gallon, that’s equivalent to a 52 mpg car. Of course, that doesn’t take into account charger loss, so it may be a little high. Still, I’d say the Bolt is respectable from an emissions standpoint.

Not respectable enough to justify the Bolt’s relatively high cost, in my opinion, though. I understand that GM loses $9000 apiece on them, which presumably gets passed on to Tahoe buyers. And other taxpayers contribute to buyers’ subsidies.

richard verney

EVs only save significant CO2 in countries which have a high percentage of nuclear or natural hydro such as Norway and Switzerland.

Old England

@ Joe Born, you are forgetting CO2 emissions during battery manufacture. 150-200kg of CO2 per 1kWh of storage IF 50% renewable energy used in making the battery . Typical EV battery equates to around 8 years of driving a normal ICE car, and of course CO2 emissions from electricity to power this add far more.

IVL Swedish Institute study published July 2017.


Old England:

Good point. If your 200 kg/kWhr number is correct and a battery is used for 100,000 miles, then if my calculations are right the equivalent mileage falls to 30 mpg. And that’s before charger loss.

Non Nomen

…the loss of revenue to the UK treasury is estimated to be 328 billion…

Where does that money go to when the treasury can’t lay hands on it any longer? Is it spent for other purposes and might fire up the industry? Or are the ducats rolling into China in exchange for Lithium?


UK gov has been salivating at the thought of pay-per-mile for many years now. The loss of fuel taxes from EVs will provide the perfect excuse.

John Hardy

Choose your sources carrefully if CO2 is an issue for you. It isn’t for me

Moderately Cross of East Anglia

This post makes a number of very reasonable points. In a way it reminds me of what happened to the camera industry, with beautiful and brilliant mechanical cameras going the way of the Dodo in less than a decade once digital cameras got up to a decent resolution, price and quality.
The real objection to EVs is that they are horridly expensive, wasteful of scarce resources and I a, not convinced they are intended to do much more than provide transport for the very wealthy while the poor can go hike.

Pete Clegg

The ‘beautiful and brilliant mechanical cameras’ are not going the way of the dodo. They are coming my way and at silly low prices even I can afford. Long live film.

Moderately Cross of East Anglia

Yes Peter and I have my old mechanical cameras too. But show most people under 30 a mechanical camera and they probably won’t know how to use it. For that matter I bought up a whole load of incandescent light bulbs cheap in the week stores were getting rid of them while switching to mercury contaminated eco bulbs. Fortunately my stock has lasted through beyond the hiatus into the bright and better LED bulbs, avoiding spoiling my eyesight on the early eco-babble products. Hopefully we’ll miss the rubbish battery electric cars and see sense with hydrogen driven engines with nuclear power filling the world’s energy needs renewables never can provide.
Basic human premise : show people a better hole to crawl into and they will.

Who developed, manufactured and sold the first digital cameras? Kodak. Remember them?

Being too early is as bad (or maybe worse) than being late. Big investments and no revenue.

John Hardy

roving broker: Sony Mavica actually


That’s not true. Kodak developed the first digital camera in their labs. When the inventor, Steve Sasson, pushed for them to introduce one to the market, management resisted for fear of hurting their film sales. So you have it exactly backwards, Kodak lost out on the digital camera revolution by being late, not by being early.

In order ,,,

John Hardy wrote, “Sony Mavica actually.”

Actually, according to Wikipedia the Sony Mavica and Sony ProMavica, produced between 1981 and 1992 were analog, not digital cameras.
Mavica (Magnetic Video Camera) was a brand of Sony cameras which used removable disks as the main recording medium. In August 1981, Sony announced the Sony Mavica as the world’s first electronic still camera.
It was not a digital camera, as its CCD sensor produced an analog video signal in the NTSC format at a resolution of 570 × 490 pixels. Mavipak 2.0″ disks (later adopted industry-wide as the Video Floppy and labelled “VF”) were used to write 50 still frames onto tracks on disk. The pictures were viewed on a television screen.

Chris wrote, “When the inventor, Steve Sasson, pushed for them to introduce one to the market, management resisted for fear of hurting their film sales.”

Again, according to Wikipedia, not true.
The original Kodak DCS was launched in 1991, and was based on a stock Nikon F3 SLR with digital components. It used a 1.3-megapixel Kodak KAF-1300 sensor, and a separate shoulder-mounted processing and storage unit. The DCS 200 series of 1992 condensed the storage unit into a module which mounted onto the base and back of a stock Nikon F-801s SLR. The module contained a built-in 80 megabyte hard drive and was powered with AA batteries. It was followed by the upgraded DCS 400 series of 1994, which replaced the hard drive with a PCMCIA card slot. The DCS 400 series included the 1.5-megapixel DCS 420, and the 6-megapixel Kodak DCS 460, which retailed for $28,000 on launch. In common with Kodak’s later 6-megapixel models, the DCS 460 used the award-winning APS-H Kodak M6 sensor. A modified version of the DCS 420 was also sold by the Associated Press as the Associated Press NC2000. In parallel with the DCS 400 series Kodak also sold the analogous Kodak EOS DCS range, which was based on the Canon EOS-1N SLR. With the exception of the original DCS 100, these early models did not include LCD preview screens.
… more stuff …
Kodak discontinued the SLR/n and SLR/c in May 2005

It was not a digital camera, as its CCD sensor produced an analog video signal …

Just so there is no confusion. CCD’s (charge coupled device) are analog in nature. A digital camera digitizes the output of the CCD with an A to D converter.



Nothing I said is untrue. I did not say that Kodak never announced a digital camera, I said they were not the first to bring a commercial product to the market. I am correct in that statement. And I am correct in that there was a very long gap (1991 – 1975 = 16 years) between when Kodak invented the digital camera and when they brought a product to the market. Here is a much more detailed history than the wikipedia link:

I Came I Saw I Left

That’s already happened. Electric cars were abandoned in favor of something better decades ago.

Yep, almost 100 years ago at that.

John Hardy

I came I saw I left: you might care to read part 1which explains why a renaissance is happening now

I Came I Saw I Left

John, no it’s not. Until there is a breakthrough in battery technology no renaissance is happening. The recent advancements in battery technology are lipstick on a pig, so to speak.


I’d say 1.2 Million plug in sales in 2017 is a renaissance — especially when exponential growth is taken into consideration. (in 2012 it was 134,000)

Not to mention the 103GWh Current Lithium Battery production capacity

With another 200+ scheduled to come online in the next 5 years.

EV are inevitable — and are quickly becoming a disruptive technology

In retirement communities and golf courses around the world — small EV are replacing gasoline BY MANDATE because IC vehicles are loud, stinky, and wasteful

Why drive to the petrol station when you can plug-in?

I Came I Saw I Left

That 1.2 Million plug in sales renaissance is due mostly to tax subsidies. Once those go away the EV industry will the one getting disrupted.

Golf carts in retirement communities have been the norm for decades. Nothing new there.


“That 1.2 Million plug in sales renaissance is due mostly to tax subsidies. Once those go away the EV industry will the one getting disrupted.”

That’s not true. There are 600,000 deposits on the Model 3. Tesla will cross over the 200K total cars sold milestone very soon, an issue that the folks who made deposits are well aware of. They’re still buying.

Roger Knights

“IC vehicles are loud, stinky, and wasteful”

Their minimal loudness is helpful to pedestrians. They aren’t stinky. They’re much less wasteful (fuel-efficient) than they were, and further big improvements (from Mazdsa & GM) are in the pipeline.

Roger Knights

“I’d say 1.2 Million plug in sales in 2017 is a renaissance — especially when exponential growth is taken into consideration. (in 2012 it was 134,000)”

The resale price of Teslas is low (depreciation is high), suggesting that demand is a mile wide and an inch deep.


Lithium is not scarce.

Cell phones are much more resource hogs when it comes to rare earth elements.

Walter Sobchak

Digital cameras were a new technology. BEVs are very old technology. A century ago, my great grandmother owned a BEV, so did Mrs. Henry Ford Sr., and one third of the cars on the road were BEVs. ICE powered cars drove BEVs off the market 90 years ago. Modern BEVs are differ from century old BEVs solely in having Lithium Batteries. But, Modern ICE vehicles are far superior to 1927 ICE vehicles. BEVs cannot win a free market competition with ICE.


And modern EVs are far superior to old EVs, there are many other differences besides the battery. Have you heard of regenerative braking? All wheel drive? Over the air updates? You have the exact same mindset of folks who said PCs would never threaten mainframes.

David J Wendt

Rather impressive plans for expanding Lithium battery production in what appears to be a relatively short timeline. One wonders who exactly is going to produce all the required lithium.

Cobalt is the main obstacle.

Don K

If Cobalt really becomes a major factor, I imagine that “they” will quietly switch some models to a different battery chemistry. There seem to be a variety of usable Lithium and non-Lithium chemistries — each with it’s own advantages and disadvantages. Not surprisingly, there’s a huge literature on this. e.g.

Usable EV batteries probably don’t absolutely have to use Lithium either.

FWIW, older Prius hybrids use Nickel-Metal hydride batteries, not Lion. That may be why we don’t see many stories of Prius battery packs bursting into flames

Cobalt already is a major factor. There’s a reason why almost all EV’s currently use cobalt oxide cathodes…

Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide (LiNiMnCoO2 or NMC)

Specific energy (capacity) 150–220Wh/kg

Lithium Nickel Cobalt Aluminum Oxide (LiNiCoAlO2)

Specific energy (capacity) 200-260Wh/kg; 300Wh/kg predictable

And not…

Lithium Iron Phosphate(LiFePO4)

Specific energy (capacity) 90–120Wh/kg

Most Li-manganese batteries blend with lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC) to improve the specific energy and prolong the life span. This combination brings out the best in each system, and the LMO (NMC) is chosen for most electric vehicles, such as the Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt and BMW i3. The LMO part of the battery, which can be about 30 percent, provides high current boost on acceleration; the NMC part gives the long driving range.

NCA, LCO, NMC… C=Cobalt.

Undoubtedly, human ingenuity will find a way over or around the “cobalt cliff”… But that’s not likely to happen quickly.


And who needs so much cobalt? And where it is?
Its not alone a problem with the batteries:
“Electric motors often use permanent magnets based on so-called rare earth metals, which have a high energy density and are lighter than comparable magnets made from other materials, but there is a high degree of dependence on suppliers such as China for substances such as dysprosium.” To prevent supply bottlenecks when expanding electric mobility “We have to think about alternative machine types, develop recycling processes for particularly scarce raw materials and look for alternative materials,” says Matthias Klötzke, project coordinator of the study at the DLR Institute for Vehicle Concepts. ”
Problems over problems, which ar not metioned in the above post. Aside also a problem with the workers, an EV needs much lesser manpower to build it. But, I forgot, in the newer brighter world, we will all be feed bei the “KI”, no work ist needed-/double sarc

The “funny” thing is that wind and solar power require far more workers per unit of energy produced. So, future unemployed automakers will just have to learn how to install solar panels… /Sarc

Patrick MJD

“Tesla cars are internet connected and do over-the-air software updates like laptops, so presumably the fast charge locations the car knows about stay up to date.”

If they end up behaving like Windows 10 with their updates (Which I don’t have a choice and simply breaks stuff on my laptop. Even my Bose QC35 headphones had an update of over 100Mb) and more recently Apple iOS with an initial 1.8Gb update, then followed by 3 ~270Mb and then a fourth~380Mb update I think most owners will find a way to disable updates.

Don K

A lot of people think over the air software updates are a nifty idea. I can only assume that they have little or no hands on experience with software QA.


Don, almost all the redox equations for batteries were in your first year high school chemistry book. By weight Nickel metal hydride is much less dense than lithium. Lithium is used because it has the most energy dense combinations by far. Yes maybe cobalt can be substituted, but Nickel would make the cars unviable again.

Of course my car uses approximately 3.5 kw per mile, but it uses an energy dense liquid that only weighs about 4 lbs per gallons and is easily replaced.

Patrick MJD

Apparently Apple or Microsoft haven’t either.

Don K

marque2: “By weight Nickel metal hydride is much less dense than lithium” … ahem … no. .. Nickel and Nickel compounds are quite dense whereas Lithium is about as dense as softwood. It’ll float although that’s probably not something one would want to try as metallic Lithium is said to be pretty reactive. You’re right about redox. Lithium cells have a lot higher voltage than Nimh. But the greater physical density of Nickel and its compounds apparently largely offsets that? Anyway, the energy density of Nimh and Lion is said to be roughly comparable. But there are numerous other considerations apparently including some sort of patent nonsense. Lion appears to be the chemistry of choice for cars and electronics. … if you don’t mind your batteries occasionally exploding.


Most modern cars ALL use over the air updates for their navigation systems, as well as On-Star or whatever other safety service is installed



FYI: Gasoline is 6.07 lbs/gallon.


@joelobryan thanks – the real miracle is not that has is 6lbs vs the 4 I guessed. It is the energy density of about 5.5 kWh per pound and is easily transportable, accessible, and allows for rapid recharge at relatively long intervals.


“Apparently Apple or Microsoft haven’t either.”

If I remember correctly, Microsoft laid off thousands of QA testers three or four years ago.

The results were… unsurprising.


Other cars could be set up to do automatic updates for their software if there was a demand for it.

Non Nomen

Teslas have an open door to any kind of manipulation. The company itself may do it if you didn’t get your instalments paid right in time, hackers may do so to make some extra money by extortion, which, thanks to Bitcoin et al isn’t a real problem any longer. Some governments might feel inclined in regulating traffic as >>they<< deem appropriate or might stop or restrain private transport at all, whatever the reason may be. Governments are prone to nonsensical rules and regulations. If connected to the internet, a simple, undetectable software can tell where you are and what you are doing and what you are talking about, at any time. Some sort of Huxleysian Brave New World I personally do not like at all. I want my freedom and love to go in an antique ICE that I know and can fix myself if necessary.

Solomon Green

In an emergency Tesla can increase the battery life of some of its cars though the internet.

What is to stop Tesla reducing or even cutting off the battery life of its cars (temporarily) through the internet?

Do we really want to have Tesla controlling our cars?

John of Cloverdale, WA, Australia

Give me the sound of a muscle car V8. Electric cars sound like a vacuum cleaner or food processor.

Tom in Florida

That’s not a muscle car. This is a muscle car!


Absolutely, don’t know how many muscle cars I have seen on stands and blocks in garages that are a half done project, that will be gotten around to someday.

Muscle cars are definitely usually seen on stands like this one.


this is a V8

Don K

Maybe “they” can make the tires noisier with a nice, throaty tone that drowns out the motor whine.

Non Nomen

comment image


Yeah, I’d agree, the sound of that electric car is laughable, even embarrassing….


Link to: UNEP Transport Unit article.

Re: UNEP EV promotion.

‘Promoting Electric Mobility in Country Projects’, 22 pages

Also enjoy early 20th century Easter parade photos. Horses vs. autos. How quickly autos replaced horses.



‘Reducing Emissions from Private Cars: Incentive measures for behavioural change’, October 2009, 172 pages.

Includes unleaded fuel.

Report more for policy makers and manufacturers than for the general public.

More online on this topic.

Or use report title internet search.



‘UNEP’s Transport Programme’, c.2009

Scroll down to: ‘Planned Activities on Promoting Sustainable Transport’


Global Fuel Economy Initiative
Institutional Capacity Building on Mass Transit Technologies
Support the UNFCCC Climate Negotiations Process towards Copenhagen 2009

Tom Judd

John, that was truly painful to listen to. It sounded like fingernails on a chalk board. If this becomes the norm auto racing is dead.

Eric Stephan

@Tom, it has already significantly hurt F1 viewership. No-one likes it.


Electric vehicles safety crackdown: New rules will force cars to make noise so pedestrians can hear them coming

New law requires electric and hybrid car make a sound while traveling
It is required for when the car goes in reverse or forward up to 19mph
Manufacturers have until September 1, 2019 to equip cars with sounds

This come across a bit as cheerleading for Tesla.. Western car manufacturers are just going to wipe the floor with Tesla, they are in no rush to crash and burn with immature technologies, they have spent a fortune on r and d for zeV concepts and prototypes. They will bring ev cars to market, when the tech is viable enough, for an ev car to be used as a regular car, no compromises. Look up Audi q-tron and Jaguar I-pace.. the Ipace will steal very many Tesla sales. Dealer networks, a brand that will still be around in decades, and the proven ability to manufacture and develop volume car production. Andwhen Tesla has any competition, itt’s finances will collapse.. however good it’s cars are. Electric motors are fantastic in cars, instant torque, hardly any moving parts, etc.. the only real issue has been been ‘fuel’ . Ie the battery.. faster charging and/or 300-400 mile range will make ev cars viable for most people as it’s primary function.. being a car.

Tesla needs a cheerleader here… I beat them up in just about half of the posts I write… 😉


Kodak needed a cheerleader too. And Polaroid. But they are more like the carbon industry than the car industry.
Nikon, Olympus, and Canon seemed to recover, but only after Sony, with their electronics lead, kicked them around for a bit.


Don’t forget Panasonic.. their Lumix GH5 takes incredible video for a camera less than $2K USD and to me beats anything on the market.

I Came I Saw I Left

EVs are nothing new like digital photography was to film. Remember, we started with, and then abandoned, that technology. That’s why it needs cheerleaders regurgitating (over and over and over) the same incessant inane talking points. ICE technology’s capability speaks for itself.


By contrast Tesla built their own supercharger network with twice the power levels of most public stations

Uh, Tesla couldn’t have built anything, much less a vast network of charging stations, without $Billions in subsidies. Taxpayers like myself built it.

Well done, John… 👍👍

John Hardy

Many thanks David – that is very generous of you


If a savvy dealer has two cars on the lot, one a high maintenance conventional piston engine car, and one a self igniting EV

Introducing the Ford Electric Pinto… 🤣

I Came I Saw I Left

I think the epidemic of collapsed Tesla suspensions is a far greater danger, and may have caused some of those fires.

I Came I Saw I Left

More for your enjoyment pleasure

So how many teslas have caught fire so far? –


Unless they are BMWs

No US or European automaker (apart from Tesla) could get anywhere near 350,000 units even if they wanted to.

Tesla can’t get there either… at least not in the short term. Mineral supply chain issues, primarily cobalt, cap them at about 250,000 units per year.

The proof that electric cars emit double the CO2 of a petrol driven car is on my blog: the quote in my previous comment quote from AA President Edmund King should have been £28 billion not 328 billion.(previous typing error)

John Hardy

Terri – did I mention CO2?


Then what is the point? If CO2 isn’t the issue, we have tons of cars around that run successfully with proven technology off of energy dense liquids.

The point is that Mr. Hardy likes EV’s because of their performance. This is the only angle from which EV’s could even begin to make sense. If I wasn’t addicted to Jeeps and wanted to purchase a really hot car, I’d take a serious look at the Tesla Model S P100D.

But this would have nothing to do with trying to save the world from Gorebal Warming.

richard verney

But for that sort of money, you could buy a classic car which would be fun to drive, and would appreciate in value.

The problem with EVs is their second hand value. In Europe most EV’s have lost about 85% of their value within just 3 years. Obviously, things will improve with better battery technology, but until battery packs are cheap and reliable, EVs will struggle to make much of an inroad, unless they are heavily subsidised or the IC engine cars banned.

Clyde Spencer

Richard Verney,
I own a ’65 Corvette coupe. There is a workaround for the 105 octane gas that it was designed to run on.. However, I’m beginning to get concerned about how long I’ll be able to get stock tires for it, or if I’ll be prohibited from registering it to drive on public roads. In the future, there may be a market for museum quality muscle cars, but I’m not sure that ‘drivers’ will continue to increase in value.

Pop Piasa

@ David Middleton, I’m a lifetime Jeeper too. Wish they’d try an E-SUV.
Here’s a CJ-7 I bought for $2K that I’ll restore this winter.
comment image

It’s got an early 70’s 304ci bored out and hi-torque cam, with an Edelbrock 500cfm ‘performer’ 4bbl carb.
Was a junk yard phoenix used for mud pulls in southern MO.


@ Dave Middleton

EV’s make sense because they don’t waste the BEST feedstock for hydrocarbon based plastics, polymers, specialty carbon molecules, carbon nanotubes, and graphene.

Burning crude and coal for energy is STUPID — not because of CO2, but because they are more useful being used to MAKE THINGS

Non Nomen

Send me a 10% error fee and we’ll forget all about it. Bitcoins appreciated, Cheques – not.

The article makes a thing about Telsa creating (and the expense) a supercharger network.. well the had to, or nobody would buy their cars. all EVs.. the existing manufacturers will not, nor need not do this.. they can bring EVs to market when they are ready, starting with cars like the – Jaguar I-pace a£60k suv vehicle.. .. as the market expands, they and other manufacturers will just work with existing fuel station providers, and/or maybe new entrants to fuel/charging’ supply market for cars. . To add charging points at existing fuel staions, which are placed where people need them, where oil powered cars have a 300-500 mile range (on av) .. maybe in a decade or 2, half, or more fuel pumps will be replaced by very fast charging, charging points… Car manufacturers currently, do not explore, refine petrol, nor seek to supply it and maintain the fuel infrastructure.. Tesla had to.. (this costs)


See my earlier comment. Money out of my pocket paid for Tesla’s supercharger network.

The problem with electric vehicles is that they don’t address any of the electricity supply issues. Imagine a motorway services with 300 cars in the car park, taking 50kW each to fast charge in say 1 hour (that isn’t really sufficiently short or enough charge capacity). That is 15MW, and would need a grid connection, big substation, and a great deal of power station capital. OK there are hundreds of services, and the total cost would be billions of pounds. Who is going to pay for that? The crash has yet to come to the attention of politicians, although they have been warned by me amongst others. It is not the service costs which are the problem it is the infrastructure to allow widespread electric vehicle use. A levy on each car sold of say £20,000 would probably pay for its support costs, but then the whole idea is seen to be uneconomic, rather than being hidden as at present.

I would like to make a point about the protagonists of electric vehicles: they say that pollution kills 50,000 people per annum. This is due to complete misuse of statistics. It is suggested that each person in the country lives a few weeks less (although they cannot prove this), totalise the hours this represents and change the total to lifetimes! Such a procedure is invalid by definition, and a deliberate attempt to deceive the public. No one has yet had a death certificate with the cause as “general air pollution” because the present levels have yet to kill anyone, although they may exacerbate the symptoms in a few with serious lung diseases.

Electric cars are not any kind of silver bullet, and almost everything around the machine is partially untrue. The only thing which is true is the performance of the most expensive Tesla, as long as you don’t do it very often as then the range is tiny!


Local authority area with longest life expectancy in UK = Kensington and Chelsea

Local authority area with shortest life expectancy in UK = Blackpool

Kensington and Chelsea is in central London, where they regularly have “air quality emergencies”. Blackpool is by the seaside, and no-one who has been there would say it is short of fresh air.

Richmond on Thames is third in life expectancy, also in London.

richard verney


The statistics behind the pollution claims are pure farce


The vast majority of the “pollution” isn’t coming from cars any way.

richard verney

A lot comes from tyres, and since EVs are approximately 25% heavier than their counterpart IC model, EVs produce as much of the harmful pm 2.5 particulate pollutants as do IC cars.

See also:


It is now profitable to recover the platinum and indium emitted by the deteriorating catalytic convertors from road dust.

If inhalation of carbon particles constitutes a major health hazard, I can’t imagine platinum and iridium particles can be any better…

Crispin in Waterloo

Dave Zawadi

The current claim for air pollution is that it “contributes to the premature deaths of 4.2m people” none of whom have a death certificate saying ‘air pollution’. The reason might surprise you: attribution of contributions is a public health function and a cause of death is a medical diagnosis. Public health and medicine are not well-connected. They involve two very different sets of people with different agendas.

Thus it is technically incorrect for someone to change a claim for premature deaths into ’cause of death’. Something as subtle as a health policy tool (global burden of disease) being fundamentally different from a medical board of inquiry is lost on the average reporter who writes the most scary story they think they can justify. Thus attributions of contributing causes for cohorts already dead is transformed with the delete key into cause of death claims.

There are people who die of air pollution, like those who run a generator inside the house when the power goes off. Or the coal stove chimney is blocked. But that is rare.

More pertinently, an EV burns 1 Kw-hr every 3 – 4 miles; so a 300 mile range EV would need 75 – 100 Kw-hrs of cells, so world output of lithium ion batteries in 2013 would at best be enough for around 400,000 EVs with a 300 mile range. Worldwide car production in 2016 was probably about 72 million. To electrify all of them to that range would require (again ball-park figures) roughly 200 times the 2013 production of lithium ion batteries.

comment image

Annual production of 72 million EV’s would consume about 100% of global proved cobalt reserves and about 70% of global lithium proved reserves… every year.

John Hardy

Dave: you make a good point about cobalt. Reportedly it worries Tesla more than lithium. However cobalt isn’t an essential ingredient in EVs. I converted a diesel car to pure electric using lithium iron phospate cells (my favourite chemistry) and an induction motor. Modern LFP cells handle high C rates – the ones in my car do 6.5C no trouble and will reportedly handle 10C

Cobalt oxide cathodes are currently the key to long range. There are always work-arounds… But right now all the EV makers are focused on cobalt – because range is very important in selling EV’s.

There isn’t a shortage of cobalt; but it’s mostly a secondary product of copper and nickel mining. It’s not something that can be ramped up easily. There’s also the “ethical cobalt” issue, which bothers some people.

This doesn’t kill EV’s… not by a long-shot. But it does throw ice-cold water on forecasts of EV’s dominating the market by 2030 or even 2050.

Paul Penrose

LFP cells have much lower power density than those using Cobalt. No car manufacturer is going to bring an EV to market using LFP cells. Even the best NCA cells aren’t really dense enough, which is why EVs are still a niche product. Until battery density at least doubles, that will continue to be the case.

Walter Sobchak

There isn’t a shortage of cobalt, because you don’t care about children being enslaved to mine it in the Congo.

“There isn’t a shortage of coal, because you don’t care about children being enslaved to mine it..?



0x, are you a complete idiot? Or are you just paid to make yourself look like one?


MarkW November 7, 2017 at 4:46 pm

0x, are you a complete idiot? Or are you just paid to make yourself look like one?

You should re-read some of your stupid comments a few days later. What a complete idiot you are markie boy.

Leo Smith

I actually think that both scenarios considered here will not be what actually happens.

What I see is a new urban/suburban class who dont commute, arising. And they will use driverless electric taxis, or electric bicycles, which will replace buses simply because they will be more versatile, and electric trains will link the cities.

And remote working will become the norm.

Outside in the country, more than 50 miles from a railway, fuel cars – possibly synthetic fuel cars – will still be in operation.

Ships will be nuclear, and planes will either be fuel or electric depending on whether or not lithium air batteries turn out to be achievable.

We are so close to it, that we dont actually see how the widespread access to fuel cars changed the way cities worked. And their lack will have a similar effect.

Cities arose because of trade and work. Communications between cities arose for the same reasons.

But cities today are simply dormitories. Their reason for existence has in many cases collapsed. Think Detroit.

There is even less reason to need transport than at any time since the industrial revolution.


Or one good sized CME (or EMP) and we’re all back to being farmers.

Clyde Spencer

Be good friends to your Amish neighbors.


Electric cars do not resolve traffic jams. I think the electric car just in the big cities is a mere eyecleaning. There are better solutions. This includes a better expansion of the secondary transport network with railways, a cab lift system in the air would be worth thinking. But replacing one evil (ICE) with (EV) would be counterproductive, especially in big cities.

John Hardy

Interesting idea Leo


Leo Smith
‘Ships will be nuclear’

I can hear the “watermelons'” high-pitched screaming from here, and they’re in Moonbeam’s California . . . . .

It will need a sea-change.

Some – possibly a few – although, outside bragging projects – like ‘Savannah’ and the Russian Ice Breakers, ‘Lenin’ onwards – they seem conspicuous by their absence, outwith the military (where not needing to refuel every month is a very positive attribute; a big container ship will use hundreds of tonnes of Fuel oil per day [at 25 knots; the most modern are slower, and more efficient, with the Maersk Triple-E class – 400 metres long, 60 metres beam, reportedly under two hundred tonnes per day at 19 knots, and that is still 5,000 tonnes or a bit more each month!]).

Add in the real difficulties of getting trainable/trained crews, willing to work with nukes, spend months away from home [and currently with poor, slow – or non-existent – Wi-Fi], never mind the security issue – would State A allow a ship flagged in [or owned or operated or manned by] State B (which has an ambiguous relationship with State A) bring a nuclear reactor into one of their main ports?

Try it with POTUS, especially if you suggest that State B might be Iran – let alone Fat Boy Kim’s Gulag, just to the north of Seoul.

Not so much, I think,. nuclear.
LNG – that may well be a “half-way house” – the infrastructure for LNG Bunkering is, likely, going to be built [by a variety of players – ports, owners, governments, operators, oil-and-gas majors].



I’m thinking the “long trip” problem could be solved with a gasoline powered generator. This would be something one would rent from the dealer for the trip. It could be mounted on a one wheel trailer (For easy backing) and clamped to the ev rear bumper with a pair of clamps. The clamps could also serve as power contacts for electrical power.

Now you have converted your ev to a hybrid with a fair amount of range.

Bruce Cobb

Not only would that be expensive, it would also be dirty, and dangerous to boot.


this exist, but much too expensive (EP tender)


Chevy Volt is an ICE vehicle as you describe. It doesn’t have a mechanical linkage to the wheels.


Clever to mix engine and batteries together in some sort of Hybrid vehicle. If only GM would invent the Volt or Toyota the Prius!


Not exactly. These cars have parallel IC and electric engines, both motors can make the car run. We are talking of ICE that are NOT directly connected to the wheels, just generating electric power in their optimal power range. Whether on board, or on some tender.

Don K

My cocktail napkin says you probably need something on the order of a 10kw generator. That’s likely to be a bit bulkier and heavier than a breadbox. Maybe 250-500 kg (500-1000lb) Too big to fit in the trunk? Need a forklift to put it on the roof?

Don K

That said, an add on generator for long trips is not a dumb idea. Maybe with a Wankel engine and modern motor technology and some dumb luck it might be workable … maybe….


Mazda is working on a dedicated rotary (original Wankel) micro ICE generator. Just for charging, no direct drive to wheels. Solves a lot of the problems with charging where there is no charging locations, or long haul trips, and provides auxiliary heat for maintaining cabin heat and battery heat. Or A/C. This option or one like it is one I would have to have to buy one. A PHEV should be the goal, not a pure EV, at least for now unless maybe a little pure EV for a run about chore car only in town.


Why not tow a small windmill, so the slipstream will spin the charge generator? Voila! Perpetual motion machine.

Roger Knights

Mazda and Toyota (in partnership) will bring one out in 2019 using a rotary engine running at constant optimum speed (no seal-leak issues).


Which would then be a Hybrid by combining two types of energy.


Terri Jackson: the CO2 emitted by an EV depends greatly on the carbon output of the electricity needed to charge it. In the UK, the CO2 per MWh figure claimed by the electric industry in very recent years makes the EV CO2 emissions highly competitive: the equivalent of well over 100mpg.

There is a problem of course, and that is the CO2 per MWh figure is manipulated by claiming that woodchip fuel is low-carbon. Woodchips have replaced coal at most large plants in the UK. But we all know this was a fiddle.


They also ignore CO2 costs of manufacturing, installing and maintaining wind mills, and pretend the cars are all charged from these windmills at night when there is no wind.


What about the CO2 output to harvest then transport all those wood chips from North America to Britain?

Ian W

As if reducing CO2 was a good thing. We need more CO2 for verdant plant life not less.


Yeah, we need more CO2 to grow more trees faster, to burn for electricity and create more CO2, to grow more trees … Ain’t Mother Nature brilliant?


Wood is high carbon. That’s the sad irony. The progression from wood to coal to oil to gas is increasing hydrogen and decreasing relative carbon in the hydrocarbon fuel.


I don’t know that order is correct Gabro. However the woodchips replacement for coal is definitely dodgy. Trees are cut down in N America (it’s not “waste wood” as some claim), energy is used to transport, convert to woodchip and ship to UK. Meaning the carbon footprint conceivably exceeds that of coal.

A C Osborn

Especially as the DRAX power station was built on a Coal mine to take advantage of it.
Plus you need twice as much, it’s energy density is approximately 50% of coal and it burns much dirtier.
DRAX was recently slated by some Greens for increasing Polution and I don’t mean CO2.


As long as we have cheap fracked oil, electric cars won’t make economic sense. The biggest constraint on electric cars is the price of the batteries and the necessity of replacing them on a regular basis. link

Some years ago Clayton Christensen wrote The Innovator’s Dilemma. One of the things he points out is that companies facing disruptive technology are usually done in by their value chain (ie. their very structure). It’s hard to change. The best strategy for a company in that position is to start a new company and keep its current management and its processes as far away from the new company as possible.

We’ve been working on batteries for a very long time so all the low fruit is probably picked. There probably won’t be a significant breakthrough any time in the near future. Elon Musk may be able to reduce the cost of batteries in his gigafactory, but not enough that electric vehicles will be attractive to the average consumer, all other things being equal.

One thing that has the potential to disrupt Elon Musk is the use of ammonia as fuel. It can be used in an internal combustion engine or it can be used to supply hydrogen for fuel cells. Ammonia can be produced using surplus electricity from wind or solar farms. If the cost of oil quadruples it may become attractive. link

michael hart

I wouldn’t rule out simple hydrogen fuel-cells either. Electrolysis has the capacity to generate the hydrogen in situ without need for a hydrogen distribution network. Advances in hydrogen storage and fuel-cell technology seem just as likely to me as do advances in battery technology. Possibly more so.

Sure, predicting future technologies is a mug’s game. Perhaps the only certainty is that somebody is going to guess wrong bigly, and that government is at least as good at guessing wrong as anybody else, if not better.


When predicting the future, the best bet is usually to assume that whatever is happening now, will continue to happen, with small improvements along the way.
Truly disruptive technologies are few and far between.


Indeed “Truly disruptive technologies are few and far between”, but they have tremendous effect. LED is not a small improvement of old oil lamp, nor is ICE a small improvement of Watt engine,


LED’s are a small improvement over incandescent or florescent bulbs.
Incandescent bulbs were an improvement of kerosene lamps, but not a revolutionary one.
ICE engines are easier to maintain and less dangerous than steam engines, but the difference once again is evolutionary, not revolutionary.

Non Nomen

LED’s are a small improvement over incandescent or florescent bulbs.

The Chinese fully agree and applaud. There are no production lines for LED’s in Europe any more except one…Thank you, EU.


You think you got ICE and LED by evolutionary change of steam engine and fluorescent bulb? You are utterly wrong. Both are completely different technologies.


MarkW… “Incandescent bulbs were an improvement of kerosene lamps, but not a revolutionary one.”

What a low IQ statement to make. You must feel some embarrassment for some of your statements, or are you here just to be a troll?


@paqyfelyc the internal combustion engine is a variant of gas lamp engines which were used largely in textile manufacturing in Europe. It allowed the use of gas the cities provided for gaslamps to be used for mechanical energy. Those in turn were based on more complex steam engines which used pistons themselves. This has engine was appropriated for use in automobiles. The fact that the has engine can also produce energy is no different than the way a traction engine could be used to generate energy. It was an incremental change.


Whether they are different technologies isn’t relevant. The fact is that they do the same job. That is what the consumer cares about.
ICE did the job better than steam engines, which is why they replaced steam engines. However they were still doing the same jobs.

E2, I know that you like to embarrass yourself, but should you really try that hard?
LEDs do the same job that incandescent and florescent did, they just use less energy in the process.


well, i guess that, since engine are doing the same job than ox and others animals, YOU can tell that engine are just evolution from animals. Only YOU will say that,


MarkW said: “Whether they are different technologies isn’t relevant. The fact is that they do the same job. That is what the consumer cares about.”

No, that’s not what you said. You said “LED’s are a small improvement over incandescent or florescent bulbs.
Incandescent bulbs were an improvement of kerosene lamps, but not a revolutionary one.”

Which is a preposterous statement. Incandescent bulbs eliminated the household pollution issue, the risk of fire, and the need to transport fuel to the home and top up the lamps. If that’s not revolutionary, then nothing is. Modern medicine is not a revolutionary improvement over shamans making poultices because, you know, it’s just fighting disease.

Non Nomen

Batteries are not interchangeable. No chance of powering a Renault ZoE with Teslas clumsy cubes. Fuel IS interchangeable, as long as you don’t mix Diesel with Regular. Refuelling an ICE takes 5 minutes or seven, if you dawdle. How much energy can be packes in a battery during that period?


For most folks with EVs, they will charge at their home overnight, so the wait is 0. On the occasions where folks drive longer distances in a single day, they’ll have a 20 minute wait to get an 80% charge.

Retired Kit P

Commie Bob
Your link gives zero info on how ammonia is used. Anhydrous ammonia is too toxic to use as a transportation fuel. Ammonia is use for many things in an industrial setting including fertilizer.
You have to ask where surplus electricity or stranded natural gas is used to produce ammonia. It is more cost effective to transport ammonia to a fertilizer plant, than to use it a transportation fuel.

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

I like the EV’s, except for the Cost, Subsidies, Rare Earth requirements and mining horrors of same and their resource supply, range of EV’s especially in hot or cold weather, Battery Pack replacement cost, and charging.


Good points but you missed a return to dependence on unfriendly foreign countries for our energy distribution, just when we broke our dependence on foreign oil from unfriendly countries


We broke the dependence by inventing lateral drilling which opened up many gas and oil fields that were formerly tapped, or unviable. It wasn’t because we suddenly started driving electric cars. Note that Australia has a huge play in oil by Coober Peddy,and even England has large gas fields which can be accessed with lateral drilling. Coober is done in by lack of water, but in Europe where they could have been independent of gas from Russia by now, fell for all the eco whining about lateral drilling and how the world would implode like a rotten tangerine should Europe start doing this. So they are still dependent on Russia and the middle east.

If they stopped being babies, in two years they could be independent.


+1 marque2
Except that they are not babies, they are frightened old women.
European countries have roughly twice the population they had before WWI, but lower count of living babies born (HALF as much for Germany, Spain or Italy; France boast a particularly high count, that is … almost as high, but still lower, than a century ago). The difference is mainly made of old people that just care to not be disturbed.
Life expectancy almost doubled, so that the old people that didn’t matter at all, are now the prominent political force. This obviously has political consequences. “Left” only survived by turning even more reactionary than good old fashioned conservatives.


Minor nit: We didn’t invent lateral drilling and fraking, the oil companies did.


MarkW (message below) I meant “we” as in humanity. A minor nit to you, the oil companies wouldn’t touch it. It was created and developed by new independent companies that didn’t exist 20 years ago.

Crispin in Waterloo

You guys spent far too much time worrying about chemical batteries. The future is solid state (ceramic) super capacitors which do not require lithium or cobalt. They also can be made from common materials.

A top drawer super cap weighs about 1/25th of a lithium battery. There is no contest. They can be charged millions of times and the charging station can also be a super cap with a 24/7 connection to whatever renewable or other sources are available.

Super caps are a disruptive technology and will be the solution to the whole distance and fast charging issue. No doubt the capacity will double every five years or something Mooreish.

Tsk Tsk

Supercaps are still caps, i.e. they have even worse specific energy than batteries.


No doubt the capacity will double every five years or something Mooreish.

Just as battery capacity has doubled every five years since the debut of the production EV in the late-1800s. That’s why ICE cars never really caught on because EV battery capacity increases were oh so Moorish.

Retired Kit P

You left out that a battery pack literally weighs a ton.

John Hardy has missed entirely the fast charge situation. Tesla Motors DC fast chargers(Superchargers 120KW) do NOT use what is certain to become the standard protocol, which is CCS Combo, used currently by all German and American automakers and shortly by Nissan, largest EV automaker and the remaining Asian automakers. Tesla is out in left field – NO automaker except them uses their Supercharger protocol (or ever will) . There will be well over 120 electric car models coming to market within the next 3 years. In Europe, two things are happening : Royal Dutch Shell acquired a charger company and will begin installing fast chargers in their gas stations (CCS protocol). And most German companies have banded together to build fast charge stations on the highways of Western Europe. They use the 350KW CCS power level and can recharge more than twice as fast as Tesla superchargers can – they will build 400 stations and , since they can handle more than twice as many cars as a Tesla charge station, they will equal over 1000 Tesla supercharger stations. The first new electric that we know can handle 350KW input is the upcoming Porsche Mission e – it can recharge to 80% in under 15 minutes. Such a vehicle already exists and is in testing.
Since Porsche is part of the VW group, we can assume al of their electrics will also have such fast charging capabilities. CCS Combo also supports a 500KW charger, which would reduce 80% recharges to less than 10 minutes in most cases (battery size is obviously a factor in recharge times). Tesla’s Elon Musk made a huge strategic mistake in attempting to build a proprietary charging network and then forcing other automakers to buy into it. When all of the automakers banded into two camps, Musk realized his blunder and last year rather pitifully begged the other automakers to use his charging protocol,no licensing fee required. None took him upon that either. So now Tesla has to go it alone building their network, which they can never even remotely match against the density of the upcoming CCS network, which may get some start up help from automakers (along the major highways), but more likely will be built by the oil companies, using their gas stations, which are the best locations and have the best economics for recharging one can imagine.
Complaining about a lack of public fast charging stations is rather out of place – until it was certain that the fleet is moving towards electric propulsion, along with the knowledge of which charging protocol will be the standard and at which power level, investing in fast public chargers was unlikely by the major players (the oil companies).

Rod Everson

But does any of this make economic sense? Or are they doing it all because of a combination of pressures from government officials and from subsidization? When the average person starts switching to an electric vehicle because it’s cheaper than a conventional car (without subsidies) and performs about as well overall, then it will be economic. In the meantime, a lot of auto companies will be flushing away stockholders’ money, including Tesla.

I Came I Saw I Left

“There will be well over 120 electric car models coming to market within the next 3 years.”

Most of those will be hybrids, which are really not EVs. They are ICE cars with electric assist/optimization.

Non Nomen

It is the lack of easily accessible charging stations. The energy required for a charge or even a quick charge is immense, and the power grid couldn’t take it w/o considerable improvements: cables underground, thick as an elephant’s leg, made of copper. Is copper going to be the next cliff? Recharging takes more time, and, let’s assume, just for the sake of the argument, that a fuel station has as many charging facilities as it has petrol pumps, that wouldn’t work either. Battery charging done at home? Garage owner – may be, but some investments into a charger must be made beforehand. Street parking and street charging? Forget it.

John F. Hultquist

… but more likely will be built by the oil companies, using their gas stations, …

Locally we have 3 sorts of places to refuel: (a) stations owned by major ‘gas’ companies, (b) neighborhood stations selling packaged and hot food, milk, beer, and gasoline, and (c) interstate node travel plazas (many services for long-haul trucks and a dozen or more gas pumps for autos. Here is a photo of a plaza:×450.jpg

As EVs grow and grid power expands, all these places can add chargers, and charge for the product.
30 years from now a photo such as this one will look remarkably similar.


And the product that is being delivered will be remarkably similar as well.

Ian W

No the photo there shows a very light day with fueling taking 5 minutes. Now imagine the days with queues and cars circling looking for available pumps. Fast (sic) charging even by the most optimistic EV supporter takes 10 minutes so now double the queues or outlets. Now work out the continuous load that has to be supported by the electricity supply to just that one service station then multiply it by all the service stations and the country power generation requirements and local distribution required. Anyone who believes this is just a case of putting in a few sockets and all will work is in the realms of ‘Magical Thinking’. UK is already so close to the edge with its power capacity that if the winter is bad it is likely to get rolling brownouts. There just is not the power capacity available and arm waving will not magically make it appear.

Lee L

Now I am thinking barbeque. Specifically, a propane fired barbeque. I don’t worry about fast charging the tank when it gets empty, I just hand it over to the local grocery store and they give me another one, filled and ready. Each tank is tested and refurbished at the actual filling station, and there is a ‘dead date’ stamped in the metal beyond which the tank will not be reused, but it is a pretty fast charge system.

Can we not do the same with an electric battery? You want a full range refill, you buy a couple of battery cartridges. You want a quick emergency refill, just buy one. The car can be designed to accept battery ‘cartridges’, use them in sequence , and ignore them when empty. Those emptied, can be recharged by the roadside, or by a cartridge charge and redistribution network. Onsite inventory would cover peak demand rather than sizing the electric supply to cover fast charging. Charging is offline and maybe offsite. It might need some handling equipment or the size of the individual battery packs could be made small enough to be man handled.

Think like the old days where soda pop came in cases of refillable glass bottles and empties were driven back to the bottling line.

Paul Penrose

Sure that could be done. But first, all the car manufacturers in the world would have to agree on a battery standard which specifies not only physical size and shape, but voltages, charge/discharge rates, interconnects, etc. And remember, these packs are not light; they weigh hundreds of pounds. So you are not going to just pop it out and then back in. Some sort of mechanical device to remove and reinstall the battery pack will be required. Standards will need to be established for that as well. All doable, but it would take a lot of time and money.


The only wear and tear on most propane tanks is the discharge/recharge cycle.
The quality of a battery pack depends very little on it’s age, but how many times and in what manner it was charged and discharged.

John Hardy

Arthur: current CCS is I thibk 50 – 90 kw, with I think. the first two 350kw chargers unveiled in July this year. Chademo are also planning 350kw or so . and the Chinese already have bus charging stations at this level. May the best standard win

Roger Knights

Thanks for the info.


For the engineering comparison between two similar cars, electric Nissan Leaf and gas Honda Civic, open this link. Contains actual data, charts, grid demand, and a listing of variables influencing energy consumption of either car.


Leaf is a much smaller car. You know, the biggest way I could get my ford focus to have the efficiencies of an EV, is to reduce the engine size to the equivalent of the EV. Replace my 160HP engine with one half the size/weight, and HP and I would have an eco rocket easily able to get 60mpg. Why we have to contrive an electric vehicle, and play around with numbers, and pretend the energy going into the vehicle is much less than needs to be produced, etc, is beyond me.

When gas gets expensive enough, people will naturally demand smaller horsepower vehicles, and when gas costs get dire, without government intervention, inventors will figure out ways for us to locomote, and may even settle on electrical vehicles as the best option. Today, they are a waste of economic effort.


This weekend I saw a big rig that had coverings over the well in each of it’s double tires. I assume this was for aerodynamics. I’ve also been seeing a lot of trailers with skirts and whatever those weird contraptions that hang off the back are called.

In cars, removable panels that cover the rear wheels and airplane style door handles would also improve aerodynamics.

Rod Everson

A voice of reason, you are sir.

I Came I Saw I Left

Tractor trailers are also going to single-wide tires (looks pretty cool) on aluminum rims. Better fuel economy, better rolling resistance, virtually no tire failure, and increasing cargo capacity by about 1,000 lbs.

John F. Hultquist

Yea, that weird contraption. I presume it is making the back less square for aerodynamic reasons.


MarkW November 7, 2017 at 7:00 am and John F. Hultquist November 7, 2017 at 9:40 am Those side skirts help with the aerodynamics, but also create a bigger surface when they get broadsided with a strong wind going 60+mph can shove them off the road or into the next lane and cause roll overs. Those contraptions on the back of these trailers control the Draft as the air comes around the rig and catches some of Draft that helps push it down the road giving better fuel mileage. Back in the late 1980s I had a VW bug that I could get behind a big rig and being a CB enthusiast I’d contact the driver and ask if I could Draft behind them. Some would let me. I could go from Phoenix to Tucson and back with my bug in neutral most of the distance doing this. By the way, it is rude to do this without the truck driver’s permission and I see lots of this being done by people these days and the trucker will hit their brakes on them.

F. Leghorn

So Tesla is the Betamax/HDDvd of 2017?

old construction worker

“Ships will be nuclear” Why not skip to transportation will be fuel by nuclear


Cars should (and, i think, will) go the same way than trains, boats, trucks:
on-board generator + electric motor.
electric motor, small battery (barely enough for, say, 10 km), energy provided by on-board small, high efficient, generator (something that burns 3 liter per hour fuel will provide enough). Diesel or gas turbine generator will do perfectly.
Makes much more sense that big batteries with out-board gas-generator
Some kind of zinc-air or aluminium-air, non rechargeable (*), batteries emerges
(*) you dump and collect the used metal oxide, and replace it by a fresh charge of metal, as you do with gasoline

Patrick MJD

For personal car transport, it is already available, called the Fisker Karma.


I don’t mean premium 100k bucks things, i mean the usual ~10-20 k everyone car.

Poor Richard

A couple of the problems EVs will need to address are the need for heat and defrost capabilities in places that have cold and snowy winters and the need for air conditioning in places where it becomes uncomfortably warm. Both of these will take energy from batteries; energy that would otherwise contribute to extending the vehicle’s range.


Many use propane heaters.


Better keep those tuned up, could be a CO nightmare.


So could a nat gas furnace in millions of homes around the world. Very rarely do you hear of problems, but it does happen from time to time. A small safe propane heater would make sense for an EV. Maybe older readers will remember when the VW Beetle had an optional gasoline auxiliary heater, because the air cooled VW engine didn’t supply enough heat in colder locations.


Your house heater doesn’t suffer from the environmental abuse that a car heater has to endure.
Nor do you have to worry about the fumes from a properly vented house heater being blown back into the house. While a car at a stop light could easily have that problem depending on wind direction.


You are full of baloney markie boy. Just make stuff up out of thin air.

Hardy seems out of touch all over the place. First was his invalid claims about fast chargers now he seems unaware that today’s battery cells are facing obsolesce from several potential directions.Toshiba has disclosed a superior cell and , just as likely, solid state cells are apparently only a few years away. By the time these new cells appear (or others) electrics will comprise a relatively small percentage of the fleet. Fears about battery cell supply will have become, most likely, of historical interest only.

I’m optimistic about solid state batteries as well, but we are in the early days. As far as battery tech as a whole, I think we are somewhere in between the “Peak of Inflated Expectiations” and the “Trough of Disillusionment” in the hype cycle. John Goodenough had an interesting Q&A with Bloomberg last week in which he states that an electric car that is competitive with the internal combustion engine will be here in 10 years.

Hopefully we’ll see progress in the phone sector in the next few years.

Included in the Q&A link above were a couple of head scratchers. One was with regard to a battery running on ambient heat. Steingart discusses this comment here:

Goodenough also mentioned that they haven’t licenced their technology yet, although a few months ago there was a report that 90 companies had expressed an interest in investigating it. Not sure how long it should take between investigating and licencing. I’ll give a few more months before I declare my optimism as being misplaced.

John Hardy

Arthur: thats a bit unkind. I dont think I am that far out of touch. If you want to keep up to date on battery developments, John Goodenough’s solid state battery is one to keep an eye on


There is a good case to be made that “cars” per se will run into a use constraint in the not too distant future. While population growth is trending towards a peak of ~10billion, the growth of large cities will absorb much of that growth. If peoples desires and needs keep cities growing they simply won’t have the room for surface transport by and parking of small vehicles.

That is fortunate in a way because lithium is not an abundant element- iron is ~6.3% of the earth, lithium about .5-^7 %. What lithium exists is found in small deposits, mostly in small amounts- 10-30ppm. And 2/3 of the lithium currently goes into other uses such as ceramics, glass. Lithium batteries currently are cheap, but all the supply constraints(scarcity, limited supply, environmental and social damage, pollution) are going to complicate production and battery supply. In the end, lithium powered electric cars are going to be an even shorter term solution than gas powered cars have been.

John Hardy

I discuss Lithium supply in part 3

Bill Weronko

Electric cars may one day be practical. At the present they are anything but. Many commuters can find the modern day electric car able to fulfill their daily needs. If their commute is short enough and they have a long enough time to recharge they can find the electric car suitable. However they are not economic. The premium for batteries and the need to change them out makes the economics on the electric car problematic.

For the rural driver or someone that takes their automobile on vacation the electric car makes little sense. The short range and long recharge time makes driving none workable. Moreover, the cost of most recharge stations is more expensive than gasoline.

Only when batteries can give a 500 plus range a day and/or a recharging time of under an hour and a equivalent price equal to a gas powered car will they become anything more than a rich person’s novelty.

Matthew R Epp

Elephant in the room.
17.4 million new vehicles in USA in 2016
Top 20 link

Top seller, Ford F-Series pickups.
#2 Chevy Silverado pickup
#3 Dodge Ram pickups All with increased year over year sales.
There is a hybrid pickup being marketed
which may have some practical applications, but reading the PollyAnna, electric car, musings of the author, . . . I just have to shake my head and laugh.

Imagine a contractor, running around town from job to job bring men and materials to where they are needed and suddenly, he has to stop for a 20 min + recharge, assuming he doesn’t have to wait? Even better, a rancher with a load of haybales pulling a horse trailer, how far will that get on a full battery charge, 50-100 miles, maybe?

Keep dreaming, but don’t put blinders on and think the rest of us will magically adapt to your 20 miles perday commuting, compact, rolling coffin, “see electric cars work if you change your lifestyle to mine”, world view. I like my big truck, don’t ever plan to change.

John Hardy

Matthew – don’t misunderstand me – I’m not in favour of the government or anyone else forcing you out of your truck. My concern is that this stuff is coming and complacency may result in vehicle manufacturing leaving the West for good

A few weeks ago I was reading an article in a classic car magazine (EV’s will never replace classic ICE cars, fortunately and they will never sound as good as my V8 Mustang). The article was discussing cars built in the late 19th Century,1895 to be precise. There were three types of vehicle: Steam, ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) and Electric. They were all, initially selling in similar numbers, steam fell out of favour, due to the time it took to heat the water in the boiler before the car could be propelled. Electric vehicles were bought by women, because of the difficult task of hand-cranking to start the petrol engine. These early electric vehicles had Lead/Sulphuric Acid batteries and a range of 100 miles, which in those days was probably enough, because social mobility was very limited. Modern ICE vehicles are economical, reliable and cheap to run and the hand-cranking issue is no longer a problem.
Over the years there has been interference by governments and the State of California that have invoked the Law of Unintended Consequences on many occasions. In the 1970’s California banned the sale of leaded petrol for all new vehicles, the result was poorer performance of ICE’s. Customers were not happy about this at all, so the motor manufacturers made their engines more powerful by increasing their displacement (Jensen who built the Interceptor increased the engine capacity from 6.3 litres to 7.2) so fuel consumption and therefore CO2 emissions both increased. This was fine because petrol was cheap and CO2 was not a problem, then the Arab oil crisis happened and petrol was no longer cheap. Our government in its wisdom in 2010 decided to offer subsidies for the purchase of new diesel vehicles because they emit less CO2. Anyone who has been following a badly maintained diesel vehicle would realise that their emissions are far worse and far more toxic than CO2. So, now we have a diesel scrappage scheme (those that bought diesel cars received two payments from the UK taxpayer, one to buy a car and five years later another one to scrap it) and a promise to ban all new ICE car sales after 2040. No-one has thought how this huge amount of electricity is going to be generated, distributed, or supplied. Closing down coal and gas fired power stations is going to make things worse as is relying on renewables. It is economic vandalism, based on scientific ignorance and gross stupidity in believing that an increase in concentration of a gas, vital to life on our planet, that an increase in concentration by 0.0012% has changed our climate..

Ethan Brand

The fast charge issue is the ultimate Achilles heel of the EV. Consider that an average house has 200 amp service at 240 volts…a rough absolute maximum power capacity of about 48,000 watts. No house will ever use this capacity. It is there for “dark” start capacity (ie everything on, power cycles, transient in seconds).

Now, fast forward to fast charge…I am seeing values of 40,000-over 100,000 watts. Ok, a local arbitrary grid system can undoubtedly handle a few of these at the same time. Now, lets go to the real world…a highway charging station on Friday….hmmm….thousands of EVs….40kw plus….sun is setting, wind dying down.

Sorry, I have not seen any plausible mechanism for fast charging more than a relative handful of EVs at any given location. 20 Minutes apiece…take a look at a busy highway gas station…now replace the 5 minute fill up for 300-500 mile range with 20 minute fill-ups for less than 300 mile range. Lines anyone? And what exactly is providing that massive power capacity?

Power outage anyone? Maine just endured a storm which took out over half the states power for nearly a week. ICE vehicles kept right on going….either because of their inherent long range, or a lowly generator (to run the gas pump) at the filling station on some back woods road.

EVs in the winter? Sorry…they will be parked, and the ICE Ford F150 will be doing what it has been doing for decades…providing reliable transportation in almost any circumstance with almost no infrastructure.


EVs will be used for 2nd and 3rd commuter cars…with slow charge overnight or at urban work locations. And as wealthy play things. The rest of the world (the vast majority) will continue to enjoy the convenience of long range and convenient and truly “fast” recharge (ie filling the gas tank) of the ICE.

Let’s try a “social” experiment….let’s offer a $7500 tax credit on a Ford F150 (for example), and none on an EV. Now switch the credit and see want sales do. Oh wait…we already did this…:)

Ethan Brand


You are right. 200 amp at 240 V are 48 kW. I very much doubt that average home has so much. None of those i know has. Rather 3 to 10 kW, that is, ~10x less. Basically, a single EV needs about as much energy and power (at low charge speed, i.e., a full night to fill her up) than an entire home.
Moreover, the local grid may be not the “smart grid” talked about, but it isn’t completely dumb either. At night, electricity is charged lower price, but not at the same hour for every one, so that peak power is not concentrated and the grid can cope. Obviously, having everyone in the neighborhood charging up cars every night would change much the distribution equation, more than doubling the demanded power.


An electric demand such as the EV charging at night would sure change the spot market pricing for surplus electricity in the middle of the night. Definitely be some low hanging fruit there for the early adopters. But then the cheap price on the spot market in the middle of the night will disappear. Plus the neighbourhood electrical infrastructure will only charge so many cars at once. Perhaps the Smart Meter can help coordinate charging times, but ultimately whole neighbourhoods would have to vastly upgrade the distribution capability. All the more reason for starting with a Plug In Hybrid EV (PHEV.)

John Hardy

Apologies – didn’t explain well. Fast charge would not happen at home but on long distance routes at locations with an industrial power supply


“Sorry, I have not seen any plausible mechanism for fast charging more than a relative handful of EVs at any given location. 20 Minutes apiece…take a look at a busy highway gas station…now replace the 5 minute fill up for 300-500 mile range with 20 minute fill-ups for less than 300 mile range. Lines anyone?”

The vast majority of people who have EVs will charge them at home. So 90% of the “fill ups” that you can’t do at home with an ICE, you CAN do at home with EVs. For long trips,people will charge during meals. And if the economics don’t work out for long distance travel, that’s fine. Then EVs will be limited to roughly 1/2 the market, since most families have 2 cars. The EV will be the commuter car, and the ICE for weekends and longer trips. This is no different than families who have a big SUV which they mainly use on weekends, and a small, fuel efficient car they use for commuting and errands.


How many people eat every three hours?
Most families have 2 cars, both for commuting. You want them to have three.


How many people drive more than 600 miles per day? 1%? Good grief, you are looking for any reason to trash EVs, even to the point of saying it would be a massive inconvenience for you to stop one time for 20-30 minutes on a day when you are driving 500-600 miles. Oh, and the EV mfrs are constantly working on extending the range, so the idea that we’ve hit a wall at 300 miles max range is preposterous. A 2011 Nissan Bolt had a range of 75 miles, a 2017 Chevy Bolt has a range of 238 miles.


WHen on vacation, lots of people do.


“When on vacation, lots of people do.”

Links to support that statement? 600 miles is 10 hours of driving. So in a worst case scenario, you would need to stop twice for around 20-30 minutes to do a fast charge. That would get you 700-800 miles, or 12-14 hours of driving time. And if doing that for the few days per year that you’re driving more than 600 miles per day is a massive inconvenience, fine, don’t buy an EV. Most people buy vehicles based on what they’ll use it for 95% of the time, not what they’ll use it for 5% of the time. Clearly you’re different.


“The rest of the world (the vast majority) will continue to enjoy the convenience of long range and convenient and truly “fast” recharge (ie filling the gas tank) of the ICE.”

Wrong. China is pushing EVs in a big way, in part due to terrible air quality in their cities. That’s 25% of the world market right there. Europe is too, also in part due to urban pollution, as well as reducing CO2 emissions. That’s 20% – and remember, Europe has expensive gas, so car owners will save a lot of money this way.

You completely ignore the emissions and pollution reasons that are causing many urban areas to push to restrict gas and diesel vehicles.


Another troll falls for the propaganda.
China’s pollution isn’t coming from cars or coal plants.

F. Leghorn

Europe has expensive gasoline ONLY because of taxes. Do you really think their socialist governments will just smile and do without that revenue to “save the planet” with EV’s? The poor suckers will have limited range transportation AND ridiculously high taxes.


Another MarkW post with zero supporting links or data. That’s what, 15,000 posts without including a link to supporting data?

I bring data, you bring claims backed by nothing. “The common sources in almost all cities are coalburning emissions and vehicle exhaust emissions, among them: coal-burning emissions contribute more in the northern cities in winter. Since the motor vehicle exhaust is one of the largest pollution sources, severe technical and manage measures should be taken to decrease its emission. Finally, policies and technical advices are put forward in order to provide a theoretical basis for PM2.5 pollution control in China.”

PM2.5 pollution in major cities in China: Pollution status, emission sources and control measures (PDF Download Available). Available from: [accessed Nov 07 2017].


“China’s pollution isn’t coming from cars or coal plants.” Really MarkW, do you really think that cars and coal fired ‘plants’ don’t cause pollution? Then what is causing pollution in China..tell us? Do you even read what you write before posting comment? And why is Chris a troll, and you are not?

John Hardy

A couple of good points Chris. I note that you were insulted rather than having your points answered…


E2, did I say that cars and trucks don’t pollute?
Regardless, the pollution that China is suffering isn’t do to cars and trucks.


No markie boy, you said “China’s pollution isn’t coming from cars or coal plants.” And then you said “E2, did I say that cars and trucks don’t pollute?” You can’t even remember what you just said in the same thread, and then you try and refute it. What an idiot. You should get a sign and put it around your neck that says ‘I’m an Idiot.’ Just read above what you wrote, and then try and tell all of us here you are not an idiot. Geesh…get of the pot.


Still waiting for links from Mark2 on proof that cars, trucks and coal plants are not a major factor in China’s urban pollution.

Pat McAdoo

Great points, Ethan!

The EV folks must be concentrating upon local emissions of evil gases while ignoring basic thermodynamics and electrical engineering and then mechanical/civil engineering to get all that electricity to a charging station at home or on the highway.

The infrastructure required to have zillions of charging points is the long pole in the tent, best I can see. Oh yeah, where is all that electricity coming from? So without nukes or hydro or millions of square miles of panels and millions of bird-slicers, we have to get the volts and amps from someplace!!!

So I see the EV vehicles as great for high population cities and such, and mainly moving the polution from the city to the desert or forest. The doggone things are great if you drive 5 or 6 miles to work and then stop at the pub or grocery on the way home. ‘course, your 200 amp x 240 volt electric service could be a problem, especially if you live in Phoenix or Miami and want air conditioning. Suckers are great for the golf course and around a large wharehouse or factory as lifts and basic movement of personnel.

I live in a subdivision with maybe 3 or 4 dozen homes in a 1 square mile area. So right now we could not charge the batteries if only half of us had EV’s. The electric cables are just not big enough. And think about high density abodes such as apartment houses and the cramped housing we see in our older cities. The electric cables would have to be 3 or 4 inches thick. I simply don’t get it. I don’t think the greenies and others understand basic engineering – electrical, mechanical and civil engineering.

And lastly, even with a ten minute “quick charge”, look at pictures of the Florida highways in early September hen many folks tried to leave south Florida!!!

Gums sends…

Well said. Sounds like an engineer! +10

John Hardy

Pat: I address the power supply issues in part 3

The range of an EV in the winter will be greatly reduced, due to the need for lights, de-misting heating/aircon. Plus of course a battery uses a chemical reaction to produce the electricity and most chemical reactions slow down when it is cold, so recharging will also take longer.

richard verney

I do not know about the US, but in the UK, our motorways (freeways) are very heavily trafficked and there are service stations approximately every 20 to 35 miles. The fuel at these service stations is at least 10% more than at a garage off the motorway, and yet these service stations do not go out of business. There is plenty of demand for their fuel, and this is with cars that have a range of about 300 to 500 miles per tank. This suggests that cars driving on motorways need fuel, not simply that fuel is a convenience. This suggests that every day there are tens of thousands of people driving hundreds of miles per day.

A C Osborn

Richard, just take your local Tesco station, there is a queue at any time of day.
To get the same throughput they will need 4 times as many Chargers as Pumps, therefore they would have to expand the forecourt by 400%.
Of course they could put some in the Car parking spaces.
But you can’t do the same thing in a corner Garage.


The demonstration in Florida, on the 24th of November at 4pm Florida time,
Might make a difference to how EV are powered.
Stirling powered generator’s, maybe?


There is a possibly relevant essay on the history , present developments and future prospects of Li batteries by consultant George Blomgren in a recent issue of Interface , published by the Electrochemical Society (ECS) :
The abstract reads :
-“This year, the battery industry celebrates the 25th anniversary of the introduction of the lithium ion rechargeable battery by Sony Corporation. The discovery of the system dates back to earlier work by Asahi Kasei in Japan, which used a combination of lower temperature carbons for the negative electrode to prevent solvent degradation and lithium cobalt dioxide modified somewhat from Goodenough’s earlier work. The development by Sony was carried out within a few years by bringing together technology in film coating from their magnetic tape division and electrochemical technology from their battery division. The past 25 years has shown rapid growth in the sales and in the benefits of lithium ion in comparison to all the earlier rechargeable battery systems. Recent work on new materials shows that there is a good likelihood that the lithium ion battery will continue to improve in cost, energy, safety and power capability and will be a formidable competitor for some years to come. “-
This is an open access article so you do not have to be a member of the Electrochemical Society to read the full text , but a college knowledge of inorganic crystal chemistry would be useful. (It is not confined to automotive batteries , there are other articles in other ECS journals for that , but you may be asked for a membership or institution password).
The link below is to the abstract but you can click on the full text from that page :

David A Smith

There is a tesla store (dealership) in a mall in Toronto, so it is not only sales by internet.


Probably owned by Tesla.

John Hardy

Yes there ars Tesla stores; owned and operated by Tesla. Not dealerships

Ethan Brand

The EV crowd loves to keep using the “30 miles” a day…as the “coup de gras” as to why the EV can replace the ICE.

Consider this: I live in northern Michigan. Retired. I usually us my 2003 Chevy Avalanche to drive about 3-5 miles a day. Awful mileage, no doubt about it. I’d love to have a nice cheap electric motor which could be trickle charging away…..

Now, tomorrow, I need to move some logs for my Saw Mill. I’ll hook that old Avalanche up to an 8000 lb trailer loaded with logs and drive to the mill…a couple miles away.

The next day I might drive up to the UP to enjoy some winter sporting activity. Snow, cold, 200 miles, towing a trailer.

What world, exactly, has a EV doing this?

Don’t get me wrong…I love battery powered things…my weed wacker…my leaf blower, my electric deer fence…my flashlight….my Avalanche starter battery….


Ethan Brand


So if you only own 1 vehicle, then an EV is not for you. No big deal. No different than someone who has a pickup truck because they need to haul stuff. A pickup truck is impractical and expensive for someone who lives in a city and has to navigate tight traffic and small parking spots, but great for someone outside the city who needs to haul stuff. Horses for courses.

It’s amazing the lengths to which EV skeptics will go to criticize EVs.


So why do you EV lovers keep talking about banning ICE cars?


It’s amazing how tone deaf EV fanatics are to taxpayers’ complaints about being forced to pay for said EVs.

Ethan Brand

Hi Chris

The difference is that I am not expecting you in any way to subsidize my PU. If you want to buy a EV…go for it. Just leave my pocketbook out of the equation.

OBTW, being in small town, I’d happily give you a tow after your battery goes kaput…..will you be able to do the same when the gas guzzler empties the tank?…nope, didn’t think so…no towing capacity.

I have no issues with EV. Just EV preachers.
Ethan Brand

F. Leghorn

Why didn’t you call us “EV deniers?”


Hi Ethan,

I am subsidizing your PU through increased health care costs, which my taxes in part go for.

Brian McCain

I keep on hearing that “if you own 1 vehicle, then an EV is not for you. No big deal.” This isn’t flying any more. Either there HAS to be an electric vehicle solution for everybody, every situation, every time, every use condition or we cannot outlaw the ICE.

My former boss owns a Volt and his wife loves it. But he drives a Jeep everyday, has a motor home and he would drive the 23 mile one trip to work in his beloved diesel Jetta if he would ever get the brake pump fixed. But he hasn’t went out and bought 2 more Volts for his family.

Point is, EV’s are a niche market. Until the range issues, battery supply issues, heavy hauling, electrical supply issues are figured out, we will see the ICE in use in huge numbers for a long time (>20-30 years). Anyone who thinks otherwise is fooling themselves. Come back when you have an electric solution for the mining dump trucks that run 24/7/365 mining all those minerals to make the batteries for all those Telsas.


There goes Chis with yet more lies.
This time trying to invent non-existent health issues.


MarkW said: “There goes Chis with yet more lies.
This time trying to invent non-existent health issues.”

Lol, there goes MarkW claiming there is no link between automobile pollution and health issues with zero supporting evidence. According to MarkW, the researchers in all the countries that have done studies on this – the UK, China, France, the US, etc – are all wrong. Nope, MarkW is correct. No proof provided or required, he just knows there is no correlation.


@all the whiners

If you don’t like what the gov’t spends revenue on — elect other officials — period

Non Nomen

— elect other officials —

You seem to have missed that this has happened last year. Fortunately, the Hilarious C. didn’t make it.

Non Nomen

I’d love to have a nice cheap electric motor which could be trickle charging away…..

How about this?

Ethan Brand


Towing capacity?

Non Nomen

Oooh – but it sells as a “Silverado” , so I thought there ought to be towing capacity galore…I should have read the manual beforehand…

F. Leghorn

Ethan Brand on November 7, 2017 at 9:55 am

Towing capacity?

Judging by the size of people riding these things at Wal-mart they can pull quite a bit. Just don’t get in a hurry.

Or this from England in the 1950’s

Non Nomen

These vehicles are just having some sort of revival: “Deutsche Post”, the equivalent of US Mail, has just decided to put some 20.000 battery-propelled delivery vehicles into action.
The postmen and -women hate it. It’s got no heating, and when you get in with damp clothes, which is not uncommon in German weather, all windows get fogged. The postmen are sorry, but not safe.

I remember the milk floats from my childhood in the late fifties and sixties. The wheels were so small they used to get stuck in the snow and because they were so quiet when we played in the street getting knocked down by one was a real hazard.


They do love averages (I guess you need a starting point for discussion), but gloss over the mass of people doing well over the average that make up that number. Cities are getting larger, commutes longer (often now inter city/inter region/inter State) and public transport stays rooted in the 1990s. I dont see EVs as a grand transition, just another vehicle choice that will fill a niche.


I made this comment for part 1, and will repeat it here: no DEFENSE is necessary for a well designed, well built, useful product. If a Tesla (or other electric car) or hybrid fits your needs and you can afford it, you will buy one. If it doesn’t, you won’t. Ford Motor Company launched one of its most expensive ad campaigns attempting to convince consumers to buy an Edsel – it didn’t work.

Currently, government mandates and/or subsidies are needed for wind turbines, solar panels, and electric cars. These need to be stopped as they represent massive wastes of money. The market should be allowed to determine winners and losers for consumer dollars.

geoffrey pohanka

Electric cars might sell if….
The cost is equivalent to similar gas powered cars
One can recharge the battery 80% within 15 minutes
The cost to charge a battery is not more than the cost to fuel a car with gasoline (this includes infrastructure and taxes)
Range is at least 300 miles
CO2 emissions are significantly less than a gasoline powered car
Electric cars pay a similar tax as gasoline cars for roadway maintenance…..

I don’t think it is possible that all these can be met.


All but the last are well onto their way of being met in the next 5 years if not sooner, with the last one likely once EV volumes increase.


90% of the benefit of mass production has already been achieved for EVs.


You bet?
Easy : in 5 years or later, i will buy an EV, and you pay the difference between its price and the same with ICE.
If the EV cheaper, you win the difference.
If it is the same, you neither win nor lose.
If it is more expensive, you lose.
Ready to bet?


“90% of the benefit of mass production has already been achieved for EVs.”

Proof of that?

We may have to use 20 minutes to charge, but the others will happen quite soon and with good margin. Five out of six is not that bad?

Electric cars use less than a third of the energy of a combustion car per mile and we can expect the fuel cost to reflect that.

Electric engines have far fewer moving parts and maintenance points compared to combustion engines and we can expect that this will have an impact on both the production price and the total cost of ownership.


“Electric engines have far fewer moving parts and maintenance points compared to combustion engines and we can expect that this will have an impact on both the production price and the total cost of ownership.”

Keeps getting thrown out there. We “expect” why is this not the case now? ICE is mature techology and most users dont look under the bonnet from one month to the next, the roads are not littered with broekn down cars. When will renewable benefits be here and now, not just forever coming, expected , just over the horizon? Wind power has been around for decades with these sorts of statements and is a costly, destablising disaster

We “expect” why is this not the case now?

The cost off batteries are dropping quickly and the drop is expected to continue for several years.
One example is the use of the expensive cobalt. The battery in the 2008 Tesla Roadster contained eight times as much cobalt per KWH as a modern Tesla model S. Batteries without any cobalt at all is expected to take over soon.

Another factor is that we have not seen the full effect of mass production in the same scale as for the combustion engines. Production prices per unit becomes lower when millions of engines are produced than some ten thousands.


The claims of energy efficiency are only true if you only look at energy from the output of the battery to the motor.
When you factor in getting the energy from the power plant to the battery and back out of the battery, EV’s turn out to be the real losers in the efficiency game.


@ yarpos

Denmark gets 40% of it’s electricity from WIND — and frequently has to sell it’s excess production to Germany and Scandinavia. (that’s how interconnected grids are supposed to work) —

Non Nomen

You happen to forget to mention that Denmark has the highest electricity prices in the world. If that’s the effect of wind turbines and PV, then it is the end of the line

A C Osborn

Non Nomen, you are a lttle out of date, South Australia now has the highest prices and yes you guessed it, due to Wind & Solar.

John Hardy

Geoffrey – why is CO2 an issue?


Lets not kid ourselves. In mind of the general public, c02 reduction is the rationale for switching to EVs. At least that’s what they have been told by the MSM. Now I know, and you probably know, that there is no real need to mitigate c02, and that EVs won’t make much of difference even there was.

So why indeed?

Many people also see the benefit in the absence of exhaust pollution from the tailpipe and non existing engine noise.

A C Osborn

With most new ICE cars there is very very little polution from the exhaust and the Tyre Noise is louder than the engines.

don rady

one thing I am not reading on any of the comments is how well Tesla’s drive; fast, low to the ground feeling, quiet, safe. This is a big advantage, granted in the lower end EV’s, it may not be as much.

Non Nomen

one thing I am not reading on any of the comments is how well Tesla’s drive; fast, low to the ground feeling, quiet, safe.

It would be highly astonishing if a Tesla would not have all these features, especially when you look at it’s exorbitant price.
But the more gadgetry and electrickery they integrate, the more error- prone these EVs are.
A friend of mine just three days ago spent more than half an hour on a rainy and windy late saturday evening trying to unlock her Tesla, where the door handles showed extremely erratic behaviour. She finally managed it when another friend gave her a helping third and fourth hand.


If the numbers of EVs on the road increase significantly, then the price of electricity will increase with greater demand, probably significantly as well. (and a greater % of wind and solar will significantly increase the cost of electricity all on their own) The relative inflation adjusted price of gasoline and diesel will also probably decrease a bit further if demand slacks off a bit. A point of equilibrium between ICE being less expensive, and more practical, and EVs being not too expensive, will probably be reached, that will put a ceiling on EV numbers. The EV market will likely be a limited market assuming it survives the pulling of subsidies which is probably just around the corner.


There are more ICEs globally now than 10 years ago. So why has the price of gas gone down and not up?


Because like the climate, there are many things that impact the price of gas most of them much more important than the one you fixate on.

I Came I Saw I Left

“There are more ICEs globally now than 10 years ago. So why has the price of gas gone down and not up?”

Increased inventory/capacity coupled with decreased demand. Economics 101. More cars doesn’t equate to more driving (ie, fuel consumption).

F. Leghorn

MarkW on November 7, 2017 at 8:25 am
Because like the climate, there are many things that impact the price of gas most of them much more important than the one you fixate on.

You mean the law of “supply and demand”? If you want to accuse us of “fixating” on facts I’m okay with that.

Paul Penrose

Because average fuel economy has increased in the last 10 years, keeping demand from surging. Also, increased production of oil has kept the price of gasoline down.


squiggy, If you think that only one thing impacts both supply and demand, then you aren’t thinking.


“Because average fuel economy has increased in the last 10 years, keeping demand from surging. Also, increased production of oil has kept the price of gasoline down.”

Yes, and if EV increases power demands, why can’t additional electricity production be the answer?


In terms of supply and demand, greens are pursuing policies that reduce the supply of stable grid electricity, while at the same time pushing policies that increase demand of the same energy supply. And at the same time pursuing policies to restrict accessible ICE personal transport or make it a too expensive alternative for most.

I didn’t see much about how the electric utility infrastructure will have to adapt. Residential homes, apartment complexes, businesses will have to add capacity, modify existing services, etc. Time of day metering? More power plant capacity? I figure the typical response will be to scoff and dismiss these concerns (like the auto industry) based on little understanding of the complexity of power generation, transmission and distribution. “They only “use” 70% of the capacity anyway.” Don&#