The Astounding Non-Success Of Sparky Cars

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

Published without comment on our mostly coal-fired and highly subsidized electric car fleet … well, to be fair, I suppose that is a comment …

electric hybrid sales flat.png

My best regards to all,



324 thoughts on “The Astounding Non-Success Of Sparky Cars

  1. Ha. Those graphs will go up sharply after the government mandate for everybody to buy a hybrid or all electric car. I am sure it is coming soon.

      • Just curious George, from where would the money for these subsidies arise? I suspect it will either be borrowed (to be repaid by taxpayers) or directly raised by new taxes.
        Isn’t that merely the government first taking the citizen’s money and then offering it back to him if he abides by its whims.

        If the idea was all that good it the government would be figuring out a way to tax it not subsidize it.

      • I got a tax credit of $5000 to buy my golf cart because it was an electric car. I should have bought two.

      • One overlooks that a very strong reason for sales of the hybrids are perks for commuting:
        • toll discounts,
        • HOV lane use without passenger requirements,
        • premium parking at many office maintained parking lots, (especially government office parking lots).

      • Virginia finally stopped letting the stupid hybrids clog the HOV lanes without having 2+ riders…and suddenly there seemed to be fewer hybrids. Or maybe they were just less visible, since I think their fancy “hybrid” license plates are no longer available. Personally, I am much more impressed by people who carpool. They are actually dealing with some inconvenience, and they benefit everyone by decreasing traffic!

        You want to get a hybrid/electric/hydrogen/space car, fine. Just do not expect me to help pay for it, listen to you wax on about it, or worship you for buying it. It is still a car. And odds are that it is just as “bad” for the environment as a standard car, if not worse.

      • Bitter and twisted, that was Eurosocialism in six words.

        It doesn’t move, more subsidies.
        It moves! Tax it more so it doesn’t.

        I only wished this were humour and not an accurate description of affairs.

      • In too many cases, it’s not their own money, it’s someone else’s.
        Socialism is the art of taxing those who work in order to buy the votes of those who don’t want to.

    • It will take only a return to 5$/gallon gas (or 10 $/gal by the market forces like mid-East wars, or they will add more tax!) in the US to spur the up-take of EVs.

      • Petrol in South Australia today is $1.53/Litre = >$6/gallon and yet (an article from Jan 2018):

        “The State of Electric Vehicles in Australia”, published last year by the ­national body representing the industry, the Electric Vehicle Council, and written by zero-emissions advocate ClimateWorks Australia, said, “Australia is falling behind on electric vehicle uptake”, and put EVs’ share of sales at 0.1 per cent.

        Total EV sales since 2010, ­including estimates for Tesla ­because it declines to release figures, suggest that in a total passenger fleet of 14 million there are 8000 EVs on Australian roads, equivalent to one in every 1750 cars. Vive la revolution!

        In South Oz we would be charging at around 38c/KWh

      • Most of the savings from electric cars comes from the fact that electric cars don’t pay fuel taxes.
        If the electric cars ever become more than a tiny percentage of the total fleet of vehicles, it’s a safe bet that the government will find a way to start taxing them as well.

      • Since California (AKA Electric Car Mecca) is busy raising electric rates (already up from 10 ¢ / kW-hr to 19 ¢/kW-hr baseline – headed to 50 ¢ with tariff already filed with the PUC) that more expensive gas just creates a race condition…

        See they have to raise electric prices to pay for solar and wind… (Can you say Catch-22?)

      • MarkW: “If the electric cars ever become more than a tiny percentage of the total fleet of vehicles, it’s a safe bet that the government will find a way to start taxing them as well”

        What you say is very true, however, what is also true is that if electric cars ever become more than a tiny percentage of the total fleet of vehicles, their price will have dropped quite importantly due to economy of scale. So you will not need so much of cheap electricity for it to make sense to buy one.

      • We have NZ$2.19c per litre for 91, about US$7.80 US gal.
        . Electricity is 26.2c per kwh, with a range down to 20.3c per kwh off peak.

      • Regarding ELECTRICITY for charging electric vehicles………………….MOST of it is generated by
        those CO2 producing coal-fired-power-stations……so it simply shifts the discharge of CO2 from the car
        to the power-station………probably inefficiently……so the result is GREATER production of CO2 for the same distance driven.THEN , there is THE FUEL TAX currently levied on ALL FUEL for vehicles.( rebated to farmers and others ) but it will NOT be charged on the already expensive electricity as far as I can tell.
        So , PROBLEM . No FUEL TAX collected to build and maintain ROADS ; EV’s subsidised as well ?
        Government in a large black ( dark ) hole with this issue of EV’s. Affordability NEGATIVE .
        In Australia private enterprise ( The Royal Automobile Club of WA ) has built the “FIRST ELECTRIC HIGHWAY” ………..well………………they have established RECHARGING PLACES at intervals along an
        already built highway and called it by that name……….but by the time you stop and recharge at all those
        necessary places IT WILL MAKE IT A LONG JOURNEY by EV ! and they still wear out the roads anyway !
        I can’t see the EV’s becoming a great success in covering the vast distances that Carbon Fuel use allows
        at present ! You could say……………..Another “ideologically driven” dead end !
        ANOTHER THOUGHT : Even AFTER people have purchased their Solar Panels ( PV for electricity)
        AND BATTERIES……… or Wind-Farms have purchased their turbines………… THEY WILL ONLY LAST
        So , the vast expenditure for A DE-CARBONISED FUTURE is good for HOW LONG ? 20 or 30 years ?
        Then WHAT PRICE the NEW PV PANELS when there are NO MORE power lines connecting users to the
        grid ( removed because EVERYONE had become self-sufficient in power generation and storage ! ) ???
        I hope to live long enough to find out !!

      • @ Trevor, you are simply wrong about EVs being powered by coal. In the U.S., 60% of the electricity in generated by fossil fuels. The rest comes from nuclear, hydro, wind, (together about 35%) and a mish-mash of other crap (solar, geothermal, “biomass,” municipal waste) that provides the other 5%.

      • MarkW,
        “Nylo, most of those economies of scale have already been achieved”
        For Model S, maybe, as given its segment the sales are reasonable. For any other model, of any manufacturar, no, no way. That’s why they are bein sold at waaaaaaaay more price than it actually costs to produce them, individually. There’s still a LOT of I+D to recover, and when you expect such limited sales, you need to put more of it on each individual car.

      • The Renault Zoe sales, bestselling EV in Europe, are around 30 thousand a year, while the equivalent IC car of the same brand, the Clio, sells 10 times that much and is not so much of a bestseller.

    • That mandate will be called “ObamaCar” in honor of our previous president, who owns the precedent on government mandated purchases.

      Then, to make it all on the proper up-and-up, we can have Jonathan Gruber write the bill in so complicated a way that it takes advantage of the “the stupidity of the American voter” to hide the fact that it’s an unconstitutional tax.

      Unconstitutional (as is ObamaCare) because only Congress has the power to impose taxes; not the executive.

      • And you can bet Obama, Al Gore, Leonardo di C will never have to give up their gas guzzlers and big mansions.

    • How many socialist/left parties do not have a promise to remove affordable cars get out of fossil individual cars?

      The French “Parti socialiste” also wants to forbid pesticides!

      • I knew a man with a dictat. I thought it read ‘Swan’. But his girlfriend tells me it says ‘Saskatchewan’.


  2. I would buy a plug in hybrid, but never a pure EV. A mini ICE engine of some kind that was super efficient would solve a lot of the problems with range, heat, A/C, and a reduction in scaling the grid up large enough to charge a large pure EV fleet. Most automobile trips are fairly short, so even a Plug In Hybrid will be operating on batteries most of the time. What the EV market now needs is an innovative super efficient ICE engine of some sort that doesn’t weigh a lot, which would also allow for less battery weight. It seems counter intuitive to make a pure EV with a ton of batteries on board and haul all that mass around for a short commute.

    • Definitely. The power density of current batteries is fairly low, and recharge is slow. The cost of having more power hard-wired to the recharging station, and the upgrades needed for the distribution system as a whole, makes pure electric vehicles impractical.

      • Yes, upgrading the electric grid to support fast charge of many cars at the same time is widely impractical.

        What about coal powered charge stations?

    • They have. Its called a Wankle Rotary Engine last use by Mazda. Invented by the Japanese.

      • Japanese engineers have always struck me as being very adept in improving existing technology.

      • I owned Mazda’s Wankel engined small pickup truck and Mazda’s Wankel engined Cosmo sport vehicle.

        Both vehicles had incredible engine power and torque. I pulled cars out of steep ditches and hauled heavy loads with that small pickup. Back in an era where small pickups had 2 liter whiny underpowered engines.

        The Cosmo was an incredible car, sporty, in a retro Japanese way, quite fast and very powerful.

        Neither vehicle was “efficient”.
        Wankel engines pump a lot of airflow and gasoline with that airflow for that horsepower.

        Both vehicles had their highest efficiency levels at approximately 85mph. At 55mph, they waste fuel. Either run the engine at high revs in third gear or lug the engine in fourth gear.

        Then somewhere over 100,000 miles, the rotor seals start to fail. Once a seal fails, they guzzle oil.

        Still, I loved those vehicles back when gasoline was cheap; i.e. less than a dollar a gallon and often below $0.75 per gallon. 16 mpg wasn’t so bad then.

      • Those early Mazda rotaries were a blast to drive. I had an RX-3 wagon: it handled like an MG but went much better. Very light: you could see through the body in a strong light. They had a thermal converter on the exhaust that would load up with excess fuel on the over run which would then ignite with a loud bang. My favorite tale involves blowing past a row of parked troopers on the NE extension of the Pennsy Turnpike, flat out at maybe 120 MPH. When I saw them I lifted, then thought “oh what the heck” and put the hammer down again, only to have the car further insult them with its characteristic retort. They never moved… But I can still see their heads swivelling as they watched me go by.

      • I had one NSU Ro 80 Wankel in the seventies. All I can say: This was a gasoline guzzler. 50% more petrol per 100 km than my Audi 100 LS with the same hp.

        The problem of wankel was the bad shape of the combustion chamber, with a lot of unburnt petrol in the thight corners.

        The problem lasty was solved by rust of the car body. But it was the prettiest car I*ve ever owned.

      • I believe the main issue with the Wankel was emissions and flame propagation, the main reason it didn’t become more commonly used. People are working on rotary designs that don’t have these issues, specifically as range extenders. The idea is to use the engine to recharge the batteries on the fly, not to use the engine to run the car when the battery is dead.

    • Hi Earthling2 – I write as a long-term CAGW sceptic, a big fan of WUWT and someone who is grateful to Anthony, the mods and the contributors here for the ongoing education, information and entertainment.

      My company is based in the UK and we bought a plug-in hybrid almost four years ago, partly because the EU had been strongarming the UK Government to subsidise them (thereby saving the planet, of course) and partly because the technology had reached a point where the running costs seemed reasonably low.

      It has been an unqualified success. Because of the extraordinary company incentives for plug-in hybrids here we saved about £25,000 in year one and are currently saving £3,000 each year on petrol costs. We were supplied with a specialist charging point (free of charge) and barely notice the impact on our electricity bill. We fill the petrol tank about 8 times a year at most. I said to my company secretary at the time of purchase “We can’t afford NOT to buy one of these cars” and I was right.

      On top of that it’s a great car (Mitsubishi Outlander – other makes are available). Don’t know how long the battery will last but she’s going strong at the moment. We love the fact that it has two engines running different fuels – can’t see us ever trusting a purely electric car.

      • Thanks for a real world example.

        What happens if subsidies end? At what ranges do your vehicles operate? How much does petrol cost in the UK? Maybe petrol taxes pay for the subsidies.

      • extraordinary company incentives

        key words. this is NOT a deprecation over time of vehicle worth tax reduction but a direct subsidy and dealer AND buyer.
        IOW everyone that pays taxes in your area helped you get that vehicle.

      • John V. Wright

        Nice to hear your company bought an electric hybrid and it’s doing so well with government subsidies I pay for.

        I, on the other hand, traded down from a brand new, £40,000 Mercedes E Class diesel estate car I bought in 2015 when I had my own business, with no subsidies, to a £1,200, 2007 Renault Clio to get me the mile or so back and forth to my new employment (another subject entirely).

        I would love to be able to run a nice electric or hybrid car, and the cost Isn’t a problem for me, but it’s effing impossible to charge from my house, which doesn’t have a drive. What do I do, hook it up to the nearest lamp post, like 40% of the rest of the nation?

        Nice to run an EV or hybrid when on the company purse, or when facilities are available, but when they are expensive, when the common man relies on a used car under £5k for his daily commute, who will subsidise him?

        You might guess, I’m an out and out, through and through Capitalist. I object to my taxes, as one of the common man, being chucked at a useless technology that was proven subordinate to the ICE when both technologies emeregen in fair competition over 100 years ago.

        Battery and hybrid technology are still crocks, and will be until it can be proven they can travel 400+ miles, before being refilled to travel another 400 miles in 5 minutes or so, and continue to cost substantially less than conventional ICE powered cars.

        The only possible way that can be done right now is by spending my money on your transport.

        How about you pay for my gas and electricity bills for a year to male up for it?

        Am I fizzing mad? Bet your life on it!

      • “dmacleo April 17, 2018 at 2:52 pm

        IOW everyone that pays taxes in your area helped you get that vehicle.”

        Exactly! Take solar for instance. Here in Australia, those who cannot afford or cannot install (Tenants) solar subsidise those who can.

      • HotScot April 17, 2018 at 3:32 pm
        John V. Wright
        Battery and hybrid technology are still crocks, and will be until it can be proven they can travel 400+ miles, before being refilled to travel another 400 miles in 5 minutes or so, and continue to cost substantially less than conventional ICE powered cars.

        I had no problem doing any of that with my Honda hybrid, running costs were lower due to the higher efficiency of a hybrid.

    • John V. Wright, Welcome to the UK.
      Over here you may be right – in the short term.

      But you are relying on Government subsidy. You are relying on the replacement cost not changing at the whim of Government. And that the cost of recycling that battery will not be yours.

      It may pay off.

      But don’t risk your whole business on assuming that state subsidies will never change.

      That’s why bus companies – who even have known and predictable routes – are not all electric

      • Hi M Courtney – The point is that it has already paid off. The UK Government has already reduced the incentives but we got in early. I wish there was a reply button under Hot Scot’s comment but I can’t find one. Anyway Hot Scot, if you happen to read this, don’t be annoyed that a small part of your taxes went to subsidise our plug-in hybrid. This is how a mature economy operates. My wife and I are not blessed with children but a chunk of our taxes goes to funding schools and teachers salaries. We all support one another. And apart from our income tax and council tax we also pay corporation tax on our company profits. So we are all contributing. I agree that we are fortunate to have off-street parking (although we live in a modest semi) but don’t be annoyed that we have taken advantage of it – we are all trying to make our way in the world.

      • Get it where (and while) you can. Bureaucratically distributed public money ebbs and flows with the political tide.

      • “My wife and I are not blessed with children but a chunk of our taxes goes to funding schools and teachers salaries”

        My opinion is that most teaching, beside basic knowledge that everyone needs, is another massive feel good waste of money, resources, and time for children. People have to go through that because other people do, and they cannot afford to look “lazy”. It’s an exercice in gratuitous waste of human energy. At the end, we don’t even have an informed citizenship on any scientific issue with practical significance.

        But we have many student who can compute most derivative, without the ability to explain its geometric meaning. We have student that feel good saying something like “a multiple solution of an equation is a solution more than once”, as if 2+x = 4 when x = 2 was true once but x**2 = 0 was twice true. (How many times is 2+2 = 4 true?) They just repeat meaningless phrases.

        Many exercices are presented in a way such that understanding the meaning of the question is optional as long as you can remember a few procedures.

    • “What the EV market now needs is an innovative super efficient ICE engine of some sort that doesn’t weigh a lot, which would also allow for less battery weight.” They have that now. One, the BMW i3, has a small two cylinder ICE engine that only runs a generator. But that doesn’t allow for less battery weight unless you want to reduce plug in charged battery propulsion. I think it goes 120 mi battery only then another 120 mile on gasoline charging the battery. The car is Fugly though if that makes a difference to you.

    • Totally agree on that, Earthling2. Battery Electric Vehicles (ie pure electric cars) don’t make a lot of sense. However, hybrids are a reasonable-enough proposition and offer the best of both worlds. Hell, if you throw in subsidies and user perks (somebody mentioned HOV lanes), it’s difficult to understand why more folks haven’t bought them.

    • “I would buy a plug in hybrid, but never a pure EV. A mini ICE engine of some kind that was super efficient would solve a lot of the problems with range, heat, A/C,”

      I would buy one if I could plug it into, and run my house electrical system when the power goes out. Any good suggestions along that line?

      • TA, here is my wish list. I want a 4×4 Jeep plug-in mini diesel genset/battery with only a 60-70 mile EV range, with a Class 3 hitch that could either plug into my house for an emergency back-up or power up the cottage and/or camping trailer and power that remotely, or run my welding/service trailer remotely. A mini ICE 2 cylinder diesel dedicated DC genset of 40 Hp (25 Kw) for charging on the fly. Add a couple 4-5 Kw inverters for a 110/220 VAC power supply. Maybe a foldout 2 Kw solar array that would go over the welder trailer or camping trailer for a battery minder for stationary application. This plug-in hybrid Jeep I would have complete use for, and additional extended utility for home, camping, cottage or work. I think I will have to build this myself, but parts and ‘kits’ are off the shelf. I probably get no subsidy, but I get what I want which would be put to good use. P.S. I sort of have this set-up already as pure ICE, but it is just a 2008 diesel Jeep, and have my 16 Hp Diesel Millar 400 Amp welder (10 Kw) on my welder/service trailer with 4 lead acid RV batteries and 2.5 Kw inverter, and/or my nice little camper trailer with 500 watt solar roof and same battery and inverter set-up. Everything weighs too much! Having the Jeep a plug-in diesel hybrid would transfer a lot of the weight to the converted Jeep and be the icing on the cake for rural and remote living for a very nice home/cottage/work back-up utility portable power supply.

    • Back in the day, my friend had a 1983 Volkswagen diesel pickup truck.
      It got 50 mpg.
      It was pretty slow, but certainly enough to get around town.
      A battery pack would help.
      I don’t think we need to invest a lot in the small ICE engines.

  3. Not surprising.

    A vehemently Green relative was recently waxing lyrical about EVs and the way that their take up will mirror that of smart phones. I had to gently point out that smart phones do something that nothing else does, but EVs are an inadequate replacement for something that is already widely used and their take up will only increase if people are bribed or forced to buy them.

    They didn’t get it.

    • You could have added that our ancestors had electric cars a hundred and fifty years ago, but abandoned them for ICE cars as soon as they were available. It’s not a new tech like smartphones, it’s a very old tech with lipstick slapped all over it.

      • ICE cars were available but small statured folk were unhappy that they had to be cranked to get them started. Then the electric starter came and EVs became an historical footnote.

      • John F. Hultquist April 17, 2018 at 9:56 pm
        ICE cars were available but small statured folk were unhappy that they had to be cranked to get them started. Then the electric starter came and EVs became an historical footnote.

        Actually the manual starters were dangerous, in the early days of the automobile it was the number one cause of injury, the kickback often broke arms. Leland who ran Cadillac caused the development and introduction of the electric starter in response to the death of a friend. After they introduced it the featured women as drivers in their adverts, made possible by the new starter.

  4. The USA is not the world. Look at the numbrrs for China or Norway. If the US car industry doesnt wake up and smell tge coffee it is toast (with apologies for muddled metaphors)

      • True. My bad.

        Although is does import fossil fuel power. And its non-electric cars still burn oil, so there are limits on further EV uptake, as more hydro power is unlikely.

      • From what I’ve heard here, Norway doesn’t have a lot of potential hydro sites left.
        So all new demand on the grid is going to have come from something else.

      • I understood that hydro was harmful for the life cycle of fish, hence not “green”.

        So which one is it?

        Half “green”, half evil?

    • You are quite right. The USA is not the world. We will purchase what we like here. US car manufacturers will sell us what we want and if they want to make something for other markets’ demands they can do so.

      I think it is great that China has so many EV’s. Dandy. Lovely. Of course, on a side note that would explain why they also are planning to build so many coal fired electric plants. It sure isn’t wind or solar power that is charging those EV’s in China.

      • Well, China did build a lot of windmills, they just don’t hook them up to the electric grid.

    • Quite plainly, if one wants to switch to EV’s in the US one had better embrace nuclear power. That is the ONLY way that such a huge fleet will have sufficient power.

      • The US has been the leader in producing electricity with nuclear power since the beginning. There is not even a close second.

        The US is is also blessed with huge amounts of coal, gas, natural gas. Clean air and water too.

        I have no problem conceding leadership in EV, PV, and ping pong to others.

    • Three million late last year out of ~1.3 billion automobiles in the world. Whence will come the electric power to run 433 times as many electric vehicles, especially since ICE autos and trucks are mostly much bigger and heavier than little golf cart-like EVs?

      • You would need to remove the battery from the equation and transfer the energy from the road surface directly to the car

      • Or overhead, like electric trolley cars. You’d still need batteries however once disconnected for the last mile or so. Probably also a problem with city streets. Charging all of them probably risks electrocution.

      • Economists frequently say not to trust official Chinese government statistics. Should we trust these figures on Chinese EV sales?

      • “You would need to remove the battery from the equation”

        Like that?

        Obviously, unlike with electric trains, if you insist on uninterrupted power supply, you can’t have a crossing or turnout, ever.

    • John Hardy April 17, 2018 at 1:34 pm Edit

      The USA is not the world. Look at the numbrrs for China or Norway.

      Right. I find this:

      Sales of electric and hybrid cars rose above half of new registrations in Norway in 2017, a record aided by generous subsidies …

      Gosh, John, if they are such a great idea, why does the ordinary Norwegian taxpayer have to pay subsidies to people that buy them?

      All Norway has shown is that if you pay someone to buy a car, they’ll buy it … color me entirely unimpressed. That’s a country I do NOT want to emulate.


      • In Norway, you can basically sign over all your income to the government. Check out this charming video about the tax system:

      • Chimp – you are being too harsh on electric trolley buses. London had trolleybuses in the 1950s and I used to travel several miles to and from school every day in west London on trolleybuses. They were brilliant and vibration free, unlike the noisy and rattling diesel buses that replaced them.

        But of course the electricity that ran in the overhead wires was produced by coal fired power stations, in fact there was a very efficient power station on the Thames at Battersea so people living in central London understood that electricity isn’t produced by unicorns and could see the coal barges travelling along the river. Actually my journey on the trolleybus took me past the Brentford gas works where more coal was burnt to produce West London’s town gas. The smell of rotten eggs/sulphur was very strong. Clean air acts doomed that process.

        Occasionally the trolleybuses threw a pole going round a bend and the conductor had to get a long bamboo rod out from under the bus, stand on a rubber mat and hook up. Only took a moment and no one ever got a shock.

        But the trolleybuses were got rid of because diesel buses were more adaptable and route interchangeable. Ahh, the nostalgia. Not what it used to be.

      • Moderately Cross of East Anglia April 18, 2018 at 1:37 am
        Chimp – you are being too harsh on electric trolley buses. London had trolleybuses in the 1950s and I used to travel several miles to and from school every day in west London on trolleybuses. They were brilliant and vibration free, unlike the noisy and rattling diesel buses that replaced them.
        Occasionally the trolleybuses threw a pole going round a bend and the conductor had to get a long bamboo rod out from under the bus, stand on a rubber mat and hook up. Only took a moment and no one ever got a shock.

        One of my summer jobs while a student was working as a bus conductor and I worked on trolley buses. They were great to work on as you say, on occasion I had to get out and reconnect the pole (no rubber mat) but not difficult. One of the routes had a turntable at the end of the route and we had to disconnect the poles and turn the bus around and reconnect, on several photos while doing so.

        But the trolleybuses were got rid of because diesel buses were more adaptable and route interchangeable. Ahh, the nostalgia. Not what it used to be.

        Where I worked on them one of the reasons for phasing them out was the ‘unsightly’ nature of the overhead wires.

    • John Hardy, Norway has a population of around five million, five times that many people live in Florida alone. Using any small European country as an example that the USA should follow is in the realm of silly. China is a different kettle of fish altogether, nearly 1.4 billion. If just one auto per family of three that is still around 500 million personal cars, not counting delivery, mass transit, etc. To supply energy to all those cars either as diesel, gasoline, or battery will require a lot of energy annually, over twice what the USA passenger fleet burns today. There are a lots of reasons why the American automobile industry might become toast but not producing EVs is not high on the list of reasons why. GM and Chryslers collapsed in the 2007-08 was due to mismanagement not the lack of engineering prowess.

    • Other countries subsidize electrics even more than the US does, and that proves that electrics are about to take over the world.

  5. For a numerical, detailed comparison between similar el. and a gas car, open: MasterResources. Nissan Leaf vs Honda Civic.

  6. No, no, no, those graphs are executed all wrong! We need to be focused ONLY on this portion:

    … and lengthen the y axis, for God’s sake, … to show HUNDREDTHS of a percent, so those lines will slope sharply upwards over a much longer vertical path.

    Have you no experience in making mountains out of mole hills?

  7. The graphed lines for hybrids and plug-in hybrids merely reflects Toyota’s excuses in recent years for not upgrading the old cheap battery type they picked and marking time with how to make the Prius uglier on the outside with each new wasted round of money. The pinnacle of ugly is the Toyota hydrogen car that was designed not to sell any more units than necessary in California but meet compliance on offerings. It was brilliant corporate backsliding. Free the Prius!

  8. Willis,
    As you have so often demonstrated, many things are more often better stated with fewer words
    Sometimes the graph speaks for itself…in Volumns and Tomes.

  9. Prior to falling 83% short of their Q3 2017 Model 3 production guidance, Tesla had forecast “1,500 Model 3 sedans in September and grow that to 20,000 vehicles a month by December.”  .  JPMorgan halved their Q4 2017 Model 3 delivery estimate from 30,000 down to 15,000 vehicles.

    Tesla barely topped 1,500 Model 3’s in Q4 2017. 145 in Oct, 345 in Nov and 1,060 in Dec. In Q1 2018, they delivered less Model 3’s than Ford delivers F-Series pickup trucks in a typical week.

    Tesla: 8,180 Model S in Q1 2018,… And the Model S was the top-selling sparker in the US.
    Ford: 87,011 F-Series in March 2018.

    Ford sold 22,000 more F-Series pickup trucks in March than the combined total sales of sparkers in Q1 2018.

    • may find this interesting and related to graphing

      For the second time since February, Tesla said Monday it has temporarily suspended production of its Model 3 sedan, a move that analysts say underscores the immense challenges for the company to deliver its first mass-market electric vehicle.

      The pause comes just days after chief executive Elon Musk downplayed worries about manufacturing delays with the Model 3, and after the company disclosed it had failed to meet its goal of producing 2,500 cars per week by the end of the first quarter. Analysts say that a successful rollout of the Model 3 is crucial to the company’s long-term success. And for Musk himself, the car represents the culmination of a plan to supply affordable, widely available vehicles powered solely by electricity.

    • New engines come and go and come and go [insert Wankel rants here] but I think this company has a good chance at success. Most of their customers require confidentiality, but one customer (Aramco) is letting info out. They have a Ford F-150 that gets 37 mpg and meets current EPA requirements. Opposed piston is not a new idea, the Junkers version of it was used for long range bombers in WWII because of its fuel efficiency.

  10. The issue is Range.
    That is particularly problematic for the USA. A large country with large distances between suburbs and workplaces.

    I want an electric car. They are quieter, have better torque and fewer moving parts to break.
    But they don’t have the range to be worth it, yet.

    If they find the battery breakthrough – an element more ‘electrically charged per mass’ than Lithium or something completely new – then I’m 1st in the queue.

    However, my next car will probably use an ICE.

  11. Can someone respond to this video. Tony Seba says the declining price of photo voltaics, batteries, and Lidar will make the internal combustion engine obsolete in a few years. Amongst other things as well.

    He is watching the price curves drop, like the price of a memory chip has fallen, and has put all the pieces together in his presentation.

    • Not watched the video but I do hope he’s right.

      However, the cost problem is only part of the issue. The cost can fall due to economies of scale. And our great advances in mining technologies will also lower the cost of raw materials.

      But there is a second problem. A problem with the chemistry.
      There is only so much ‘energy per mass’ that a battery (or capacitor) can store.
      That is why, after more than a century since the first battery powered car, people still rely on fuels to store the energy in moving vehicle’s.
      Or use rails. Or overhead cables. Or desperate peasants in relay pulling the tuk-tuk.
      Batteries cannot store enough onboard energy to make the vehicle reliable over the same range as a petrol tank.

      That needs a technological breakthrough.

    • Energy density (joules per cubic meter):
      Solar 0.0000015
      Geothermal 0.05
      Wind at 10 mph (5m/s) 7
      Tidal water 0.5–50
      Oil 45,000,000,000
      Gasoline 10,000,000,000
      Natural gas 40,000,000

      • Oil, natural gas, and gasoline has zero joules per cubic meter WITHOUT ADDING OXYGEN!!!
        Please include the number of cubic meters of atmosphere necessary to combust the oil, nat-gas etc.

      • David Dirskes, There is no shortage of air.
        Calm down.
        Breathe in and out. And in.
        There you go.

      • Lets try another apples v oranges there M Courtney………how many joules does a cubic meter of water at a hydroelectric plant contain….?

        See if you get this “trick” question.

      • David writes “Solar is not measured in joules per cubic meter.”
        Calculate the volume (one meter square patch of earth to centre of our orbit around the sun); divide the usable 100 W/m2 by this volume; sunlight takes 500 seconds to reach earth etc. . . . I reckon that’s about 1.5 x 10-6 J/m3.

      • No Warren take an area of 1 sq meter with a height of 1 meter , and another area of 1 sq meter that is 0.5 meters tall.

        Both volumes get the same number of joules, but one volume is half the other.

        Take it to the extreme: a 1 sq meter area with a height of 1 micron…….the energy density of solar in that volume exceeds any/all fossil fuels.

      • According to David, if we cover a car with solar cells it will be able to go further and faster than a car powered by gasoline. Especially at night.

      • David you wrong. Where you are wrong is you do not get greater power density just by reducing the area unless you run some sort of light collimator say a magnifying glass or parabolic mirror.

        It is clearly spelled out for you here

        Intensity can be found by taking the energy density (energy per unit volume) at a point in space and multiplying it by the velocity at which the energy is moving. The resulting vector has the units of power divided by area (i.e., surface power density).

        So it’s one of the strange quirks that you end up with a vector quantity that is 2 dimensional being an area but the measurement is actually of a 3D section of space.

      • I should say that if you quote your number say at earth as 1,368 W/m2 what you are really talking about is a volume of space 1 square meter in area by 3x10E8 meters long because you are after the power per second and the light moves 3x10E8 meters every second.

        It would be strange to work in volume because you would talking about a 3 nanoseconds worth of power

        So that conversion in volume would be 1368 watts / 3x10E8 which is 0.00000456 watts per square meter but that only covers 3.3 nanoseconds and it’s still 1,368 W/m2 you just reduced the time base.

      • The actual “solar constant” is NOT 1368 watts/m^2 at an average earth orbit radius.
        1362 is the correct value. The remaining “conversions” are not needed and misleading.

      • You missed the point he wanted the energy density per cubic meter which is what the conversion gives, the accuracy of the number I leave to those who care about this stuff to work out. There is nothing wrong or misleading about the conversion he is working on a problem he wants the energy denisty per cubic meter and that is how it is calculated .. end of story.

    • Goggles, He is full of it. Photovoltaics do not follow Moores law (which is based on shrinking transistor size). PV price reduction follows an experience curve. Provided details of at Judiths in a guest post on grid solar. LiIon Battery prices fell with volume (think Musk’s subsidized Gigafactory) but are now rising with rising lithium and cobalt prices. Lidar may have to dowith how a car is operated (autonomous vehicles), but has squat to do with how it is powered.
      This speech is unicorn farts.

      • Thank you, This is requiring a number of technologies coming together to change the market pricing across many fields. I hope that it lowers the price of oil due to a reduction in demand.

    • The sun doesn’t shine at night, utility rates are subsidized and batteries may never get to where they can compete.

    • a few years

      I’ve never been able to pin down what “a few” means.
      It seems to me more than 2 and less than 100.
      If speaking to a geologist, then “few” may mean 10,000,000 years.

  12. Remember all the hype about hydrogen as a car fuel about 15-20 years ago? I always wondered how they would produce all the H2 i guessed by solar cells, that all died out.

    • See essay Hydrogen Hype in ebook Blowing Smoke for a trip down memory lane. Correctly energy and emmissions accounted, the best current hydrogen fuel cell vehicle would cost more than twice as much and have considerably worse CO2 emissions than the 2014 Toyota Prius.

    • As I have long understood it the marketing problem with hydrogen are relatively basic and two fold, the Hindenburg effect which the public is remind of fairly regularly and storage. Mercedes for a couple of years tried to overcome the Hindenburg effect. They had videos on line of two cars side by side, one with gasoline and one with hydrogen. They set both on fire at the same time. The hydrogen car burned off all its hydrogen and that car looked basically untouched. The gasoline care burned to crispy critters and was a burned out hulk that didn’t look much like a car when it was over. Of course the storage problem is related to the Hindenburg effect. What many fail to appreciate is the one of the miracles of modern society, our mass distribution system for gasoline and diesel. The only “easy” competition for the relatively near future is electricity.

      • Hydrogen leaks. It’s what it does.
        I wouldn’t store hydrogen powered car in an enclosed garage.

        How exactly did they set both cars on fire? Last time I checked hydrogen cars are filled with the same types of flammable stuff as all other cars are.
        BTW, the gasoline in the tank won’t burn, even if you throw a match in. There isn’t enough oxygen in the tank for it to burn.
        On the other hand, if you take the cap off a gasoline cap, nothing much happens. Do the same thing to a hydrogen tank, and the contents tend to make their way out of the tank rapidly.

      • MarkW April 17, 2018 at 4:22 pm
        Hydrogen leaks. It’s what it does.
        I wouldn’t store hydrogen powered car in an enclosed garage.

        Why not it’s safer than gasoline?
        First half of the 20th century houses had a majority Hydrogen gas piped to them, no problem with explosions, when it was replaced with natural gas more home explosions.

      • Town gas had hydrogen in it, but it wasn’t pure hydrogen and it wasn’t pressurized.
        Why don’t you try to come up with a valid example for once.

      • spoke in a parking lot with a guy driving a hydrogen car. He kept talking about how hydrogen is safer than gasoline. Asked him about Hindenburg effect. “It was the fabric that burned. All the hydrogen just vented off.” I was going to ask if he has ever seen a lead/acid battery explode, but he was from UCSB. Can’t argue with a university guy.

      • MarkW April 18, 2018 at 8:01 am
        Town gas had hydrogen in it, but it wasn’t pure hydrogen and it wasn’t pressurized.
        Why don’t you try to come up with a valid example for once.

        Town gas wasn’t pure hydrogen but as I said it was the majority component. Hydrogen is safer than methane because after a leak it very rapidly diffuses to produce a non flammable mixture. Methane however tends to produce a flammable mixture which remains hazardous. The situation in a garage with a hydrogen powered car would be the same, a very low explosion risk compared with a propane tank for example.

      • I have to differ on the “romance” side. As much as I despise Elon Musk and Tesla, and personally don’t go for the design of their cars, there’s no denying the “romance” factor for a lot of buyers. Even my little Think City, which I fondly describe as the product of a drunken encounter between a Chunky candy bar and a Smart car, has a certain plastic appeal, especially with steer horns. And it’s fun to drive.

        But frankly, at this point EVs have not yet advanced to the level of a 1952 Chevy. Give it time. They’ll get there.

      • Phil, nice of you to change the scenario and ignore half of the response.

        1) Degree of pressurization makes a huge difference in how much something leaks.
        2) By definition, garages are enclosed spaces, so diffusion isn’t going to happen.

      • JakeJ, they’ve had even longer to “get there” than IC cars have. Just how much longer should we wait?

  13. They just don’t have any appeal. It’s not the range or the costs. They will never have a date to the prom.

    • As I said earlier, “They are quieter, have better torque and fewer moving parts to break.”
      That’s appealing.

      • Battery technology seems to be orders of magnitude below what is required by many applications. I assume that current EV models have no more room for a battery and range under normal conditions is 300km journey with no or a single refuel of no more than 5 minutes.

        So once the range has increased by 10x the size halved and the recharge time reduced by a factor of 10 then I’m with M Courtney, but that time is a long way off.

        One other factor is pre-used spare parts. Many people keep their vehicle maintained in a working condition by regular visits to scrap yards, replacing virtually any part of an ICE vehicle with a 2nd hand part is possible. But I’m not sure that this will be the case for an EV. Will this drive people out of car ownership?

      • Well I’m I’m not so much alluding to the practicalities that may make a car appealing, but rather the romance and love of the car that people have with their cars within the car culture. Its not a practical or tangible thing. EVs just don’t have it, whatever it is. They just don’t turn (very many ) people on.

  14. they do it like a locomotive and build big car I would.
    crown vic size, small low rpm diesel eng turning ac generator ( and drive pulleys for a/c,power steering, brake booster,alternator,etc ) driving traction motors on axles.

    • The Fisker Karma, not quite a Crown Vic, but works exactly as you say, gas powered generator powering motors, driving wheels and charging batteries.

      • not the same as it uses battery.
        I want nothing to do with a battery.
        I am in cold climate (well below 0 deg F often in winter, not the hassle I want to deal with.

  15. Electrics make little sense due to cost and range. Agree with WE. Know of only one possible future potential breakthrough, a doped laser scribed graphene LIC. Guest posted on it over at Judiths a couple of years ago for those here techically curious about the advanced edge of energy storage. Clue was PR about Fiskers Nanotechnology.
    Hybrids definitely can make sense depending on the vehicle and degree of hybridization. We have owned a Ford full hybrid (Prius architecture) Escape small SUV since 2007. 32 mpg city, 28 mpg hwy at 65, even tho ours is AWD (costs 2 mpg over the FWD version CtM has) plus class one tow hitch. The performance comparable V6 AWD MY 2007 Escape was IIRC 18 city, 21 hwy. Have the specific details archived in a supercap marketing presentation, but not worth looking them up for this comment.
    The hybrid fuel efficiency gain comes from 4 things. 1. Engine off at idle, which picks up about 5-7% in city driving. 2. Regenerative braking, which picks up 7-9% depending on driving conditions. 3. Because of the ~80 hp in the electric machine, engine is downsized from 200 hp 3 liter V6 to a 120 hp 1.5 liter I4. Saves engine weight and fuel directly, about 20%. 4. Rather than the Otto cycle V6, the I4 is Atkinson cycle, which saves about an addition 15% but sacrifices torque. No matter, as the missing torque (just like missing hp) is provided by the hybrid electric machine.

    Now the biggest saving is NOT the improvement in fuel economy. The V6 Otto required premium, the I4 Atkinson uses regular. In these parts, the per gallon difference is always over $1/gallon. The hybrid Escape paid back its ~$1500 price premium the first year. Been a ‘cash machine’ since. Still going strong at ~75k miles with no signs yet of any hybrid battery deterioration. Just normal maintence and repairs except for one $35 traction battery temperature sensor a few years ago. Battery is NiMH from Sanyo, sitting under the rear cargo deck where a full sized spare would ordinarily be. No loss of usable cargo space. A compact spare is undercarriage mounted instead. A small negative tradeoff, but we have never needed to mount the spare—used 1-2 cans of aerosol emergency tire filler instead to get to a tire service place now twice. Just part of the car go bag along with tools, gloves, jumper cables, and a collapsable hand tree saw of the backpacking type (when off roading, you never know what lies ahead and we have had to use that saw more than once to clear the way for the Escape).

    • You can’t burn fuel in a “power station” [at best 60% efficient, discarding heat] and expect a automobile which needs heat [winter] to be less efficient. Bottom line: If you are a human, a bicycle is the only way to go [ for short distances].

      • A car powered by a gasoline engine is roughly 19% efficient, including the 10% loss at the refinery. A car powered by electricity is somewhere in the mid-40% range, given the current mix of U.S. generation. This number is rising as methane replaces coal as the primary source of U.S. electricity generation.

      • JakeJ, you are assuming that electricity production is 100% efficient.
        You have to account for the more than 50% loss from generator to motor.

  16. Again, the “offal-system” puts everything “off”. Sell a car for $40K; sell a battery pack for $20K, seven years later.

    Wake-up. Today’s electric vehicles are a bigger fake than “power generating windmills”. At least the “old style Holland windmills” pumped water…!!!

  17. The graph does show that at about $4 a gallon between 2011 and 2014 there was an interest in electric cars/hybrids. Less so lately at under $3 a gallon. Gasoline will have to get above $4 a gallon to get to 4%, still a tiny fraction.

  18. Until EV initial cost, range on a single charge, charge time, and charge availability are solved it will be a niche player. Charge availability and time are infrastructure problems that won’t be solved easily or quickly.

    • Arent the hybrids non plug in hybrids? If they arent plug in hybrids they must be non plug in hybrids. I know the Chevrolet Volt was a hybrid that needed the gasoline engine to recharge the large electric battery but it was classed as a plug in hybrid since you could charge it through an outlet. . So Willis’s graph was essentially complete.

    • David Dirkse April 17, 2018 at 3:21 pm

      Willis, two things.
      1) Please include non-plug in hybrids, as they qualify as “sparky”

      If you weren’t in such a hurry to claim that I’m doing it wrong, you’d have noticed that they are already on the graph.

      2) Please identify the owner of this particular vehicle:

      I believe that is Anthony’s car … and since I said nothing about Anthony or his car, you’ll have to tell us just why this is relevant. Yes, there are 3% of all individuals for whom electric cars make sense, otherwise they wouldn’t have 3% share of the market. And yes, Anthony is among the 3%.

      So freaking what?

      Dude, you are so desperate to bite my ankles that you are making a fool of yourself. Go attempt your nonsense on someone else, it doesn’t work on me.


      • ” you’ll have to tell us just why this is relevant”

        It’s relevant because the owner of this blog has already voted on the SUCCESS of “sparky” vehicles with his wallet.

      • So in your view, if an electric is successful for one person, that proves it is the best option available?

      • No more stupid than your claim that Anthony’s car, all be itself is relevant to the question as to how well electrics are doing.

      • I made no claim as to “all be itself ” that is your supposition, not mine. You have a laughable habit of injecting your bizarre bias into conversations you are not a part of .

        Let me [be pruned].
        If you are the guest of a host that has painted the room you are in blue, don’t say, “Blue is a god-awful color to paint a room”

      • If you are the guest of a host that has painted the room you are in blue, don’t say, “Blue is a god-awful color to paint a room”

        Why not? Especially if that room happens to be a debating forum.

      • As always, when confronted with reality, the troll digs a deeper hole to hide in.
        If the point wasn’t “all by itself”, then why did you even bring it up. Unless of course, like all your other posts, your only goal was to sidetrack and distract.

  19. I’m an EV fan and so was Henry Ford, who made a tremendous effort to produce a practical electric car, with the assistance of Thomas Edison (battery). Electricity is by far our most widely available energy source- it is ,literally,everywhere. And an electric drivetrain is (or can be/should be) the simplest and most reliable mechanism for propelling the vehicle down the road.It is also, typically, the most powerful. In the past there were three big obstacles to a practical EV : battery prices and battery recharge times and driving range.
    Driving range and reharge times are interdependent : a fast recharge time means that a driving range doesn’t need to be as great. Right now the CCS (SAE Combo) charging protocol has become the de facto worldwide standard – only Tesa and Nissan don’t use it, but Nissan will have to adopt it. The spec allows for 350KW and 500KW chargers of up to 800 volts. The EV developed by Porsche (Mission e) has demonstrated the ability to recharge using the 350KW charger – obtaining 240miles (80%) of driving range in less than 15 minutes. Fully charged, the car is capable of travelling over 300 miles on a full charge. The long range Tesla Model 3 is also capable of 300 plus mile trips on a single charge. The Chevy Bolt can go 240 miles. The world’s automakers are going to be sending to their showrooms over 120 electric car models over the next several years. GM is confident that battery prices will drop signifcantly below the magical $100 per kWhr mark. Normal sized electric cars with a 300 mile range typically require roughly 80 to 90 kWhr batteries.
    This is a far cry from the battery prices on the first Tesla Model S cars ($40,000, with 250 miles of range
    and 75 to 80kWhr batteries). And the batteries will outlast the car – recent data showed that Tesla battery packs still retained 90% of their capacity after 160,000 miles. Think 15 years plus for a battery lifespan these
    days. One can look at sales data (as above) and draw very misleading conclusions. Those data show sales,not demand, and are for a market which only has less than a half a dozen electric car models available.
    Tesla could sell 450,000 vehicles this year if they could produce them, and GM has over 6,000 people in Europe waiting to buy one of their Bolt versions. Over the next few years GM will have 20 EVs, BMW will have an electric version of every model they sell, Mercedes will also, VW will go all electric , Kia just put an EV on sale, Volvo will no longer produce gas powered vehicles after next year, etc etc. I like electric cars because they are superior performers, are mechanically far simpler, last longer (Tesla warrantees their electric motors on their semi trucks for a million miles). They are easier to repair and have about 2500 fewer parts than an equivalent gas powered vehicle. Right now, as always, it is battery prices that make an electric car more expensive , but not THAT MUCH more expensive and considering their reduced operating expenses (fuel,etc) they will not be more expensive to own over time. Jaguar has electrified their 1967 XK-E
    and will produce this most beautiful vehicle if there is sufficient demand. I’ll get in that line is an instant.

    • Then why are there still huge subsidies that take money from other taxpayers to give to electric car buyers?

      • Those subsidies are on their way to being phased out for both Tesla and GM. They existed to get the industry on its feet. The United States has a very long track record of subsidizing emerging industries.

      • Even with the subsidies, the industry isn’t “on it’s feet”. As experience has shown elsewhere, as soon as the subsidies disappear, so do the sales.

    • arthur4563 April 17, 2018 at 3:22 pm

      I’m an EV fan and so was Henry Ford, who made a tremendous effort to produce a practical electric car, with the assistance of Thomas Edison (battery). Electricity is by far our most widely available energy source- it is ,literally,everywhere.

      You truly don’t understand this, do you? Unless you’ve discovered an electricity mine, electricity is NOT an “energy source”. It is a way to MOVE energy that comes from an energy source at point A to a use for energy at point B.

      And despite all of the wondrous claims in your comment, LOOK AT THE GRAPH! And that is WITH huge subsidies to electric cars. Here in California, people with as few scruples as you are reaching into my pocket for taxes to pay $7,000 FOR EACH NEW SPARKY CAR, and that’s just the State subsidies. The Feds add another $2,500 to $7,500 per car, that makes fifteen grand … and me, I’m driving a fourteen-year-old truck that cost me ten grand.

      It is a sick reverse-Robin-Hood scheme, where you and your ilk are robbing from the poor to give to the rich. Yes, if you pay someone ten or fourteen kilobucks, they’ll buy electric … so what?

      Come back when the subsidies go away, and we’ll talk about it. Until then, you’re just backing a scheme to take taxpayer money to pay for your unattainable uneconomic green fantasies …


      • Same goes for the shameful subsidies that support wind turbines and solar arrays. Power companies, farmers in windy areas and Elon Musk are all sucking at the public tit.

      • Willis, my understanding is that California doesn’t subsidize hybrids just plug-ins? As shown in your graph the majority of ‘sparky’ cars are in fact hybrids.

      • Phil. April 21, 2018 at 4:30 am

        Willis, my understanding is that California doesn’t subsidize hybrids just plug-ins? As shown in your graph the majority of ‘sparky’ cars are in fact hybrids.

        Sorry, Phil, but that’s not true. Both hybrids and battery powered vehicles are subsidized. See here for details.

        Best to you,


    • “Normal sized electric cars with a 300 mile range”….is that with the heater or AC running full blast?

    • The faster the recharge, the shorter the battery life. The marketing numbers are based on always trickle charging the battery.

    • “…..In the past there were three big obstacles to a practical EV : battery prices and battery recharge times and driving range…..

      Sorry Arthur, but recharge times, driving range and the lack of recharging infrastructure away from home are still issues with me….and I’ll bet that they are with a lot of people. I can fill up my car in five minutes (not 15) and fill up stations are everywhere you go…….except for maybe out in the middle of a desert somewhere.

      Govt would not have to subsidize them if car buyers did not have significant issues with EVs. Also, batteries don’t like cold weather, correct? We are STILL getting a lot of that here in Wisconsin.

      When recharge stations are everywhere gas fill up stations are and when an EV takes no more time to charge than filling my car with fuel does, feel free to let me know. I’m with you on the MSR and 4th generation nuclear power technologies Arthur, but EV batteries still are in need of a technological breakthrough. Batteries have been around for…..what…a century now? Considering that, I won’t be holding my breath waiting for the tech breakthrough to happen.

      • The electric battery in its modern form was invented by Volta in AD 1800, but predecessors extend back to Thales c. 600 BC.

      • The Baghdad Battery is believed to be about 2000 years old (from the Parthian period, roughly 250 BCE to CE 250). The jar was found in Khujut Rabu just outside Baghdad and is composed of a clay jar with a stopper made of asphalt. Sticking through the asphalt is an iron rod surrounded by a copper cylinder. It is thought it was perhaps used for electroplating, although that conjecture is also hotly debated. Maybe for electrotherapy.

      • You’re welcome. Dunno if this will come through or not. Volta’s “electric column”:

        One name for an electric battery in Spanish and Italian is still “pila”, and “pilha” in Portuguese. But “bateria” is also used (“batteria” in Italian).

    • “And the batteries will outlast the car – recent data showed that Tesla battery packs still retained 90% of their capacity after 160,000 miles.” On the other hand, Tesla software doesn’t allow the full capacity of the battery to be used. As the car ages, the software allows a larger fraction of the battery, but the company is not forthcoming in how big these numbers are. Remember the hurricane in Florida when Tesla provided internet changes to their cars for greater range to get out of the hurricane path?

  20. The biggest problem I see for any type of “high efficiency” vehicle is a blizzard.
    Once your car gets stuck, just how long are you going to be warm ?

      • There is a whole new complexity of a different kind of risk with fire depts, ambulance crews and even towing companies having to deal with the threat of electrocution and fire. So when you are in an accident in an EV, the ambulance crew will have to wait for a specially trained squad of fire fighters than can ensure the potential high voltage is not a risk to rescuers or first responders, and try and figure if there is an electrical potential short circuit. That would be a real bummer if you are inside the EV bleeding to death after an accident, with the threat of fire to erupt any second, and having to wait for a crew of specialists to arrive to try and de-energize the car and/or batteries. Or just as you are getting safely pulled out of your EV car/crash, you are electrocuted, just for good measure.

        Even hauling the EV car away, the tow company needs a specially designed box to put the car in, in case the batteries start on fire after having been damaged. Something to think about even parking your EV in your attached garage at night. One bad battery cell, and you have a L-Ion battery fire, creating its own oxygen. At a relatively low penetration rate so far in the consumer market, we haven’t seen a lot of the issues and problems of safety yet. But a higher percentage of EV’s in the market will undoubtably see an increase in these important fire and electrocution safety issues. It isn’t a mature technology just yet, but I still want a plug in hybrid Jeep that goes at least 60 miles on a battery charge before having to start the aux ICE genset.

  21. So 3.2% of car sales are green things?
    But just think of how much better those 3.2% of car buyers feel than the rest of the Neanderthals.
    (I wonder if the percent lines up with the percent of the Elites who want to tell us how to live our lives versus those of us who just want the freedom to live our own lives?)

    PS Does that include the Tesla Elon Musk sent to Mars but is heading for an asteroid instead?

  22. This just in earlier today on Tesla shutting down production for a week or more to fix failed production line.
    Elon Musk admits he screwed up production line with too many robots.

    Also, China just removed a trade/manufacturing barrier to production of auto’s including EV’s. Tesla expected to move to China to manufacture the Model 3 in numbers they promised, away from USA. I am sure that will make Uncle Sam grumpy.

  23. I would love to see what would happen to those numbers if the subsidies and mandates were ever removed.

  24. I wonder what that would look like if you took San Francisco and Los Angeles out of the data.

  25. If and when California adds more and more EV’s the grid will fail spectacularly. They and most of our neighboring states have done very little improve the grid and they’re tapering off fossil energy production and relying more and more on solar and wind. Peak use is right after work for few hours and solar is long gone . At times in the summer it is dangerously close to overloading the system. Imagine plugging in a few million EV’s? The fireworks could be amazing.

  26. A battery is a bomb that releases its energy in a controlled way.
    The barrier to explosion lessens as you get to higher energy density and faster charging.
    Storing power in batteries generated by inefficient generators (solar/wind) is a very silly idea.

  27. I wonder what EV and hybrid sales would look like with NO subsidies at any level from manufacturing to purchase and use and also no taxes on gasoline and diesel. I believe it would actually spurn innovation in EVs, hybrids, and battery technology.

    • As EVs grow as a share of cars, there will be alternative taxation, most likely in the form of a mileage charge.

  28. What will happen, I wonder, when the greens finally discover the challenge of toxic battery chemical disposal.
    I mean, what in the heck are we going to do with all those dead batteries?
    Bury them in Nevada?

  29. By the way. Has anyone calculated the load on our electricity infrastructure?
    If all these green vehicles spend all night sucking up electric milk, will we have enough coal and nuclear fired power to supply all the necessary electricity?
    Will our transmission lines be able to handle the added load?

    • Last time I ran the numbers, a 100% EV fleet would require a 25% increase in US electricity generation relative to current output.

      • More like 19%. But that’s not going to happen for many decades. There’ll be plenty of time to prepare.

      • The average U.S. vehicle is driven 15,000 miles per year. The average PEV consumes 30 kWh per 100 miles.   This works out to 4,500 kWh/yr per PEV.  

        The IEA says that we need to put 600 million PEV’s on the road by 2040 to save the world from Gorebal Warming. 600 million PEV’s would consume 2.7 million GWh/yr of electricity.  This is equivalent to 62% of the average total U.S. electricity generation from 2010-2016.  

        There are about 263.6 million passenger vehicles in the U.S.  If the entire U.S. fleet was converted to PEV’s, it would consume the equivalent of 27% of our current annual electricity generation:

        Adding 27% to the load while degrading the reliability of the grid with wind & solar… You literally can’t make this up.

      • @ Chimp, I will do that if I get some more requests. It’s going to be laborious, and I don’t want to go through all the trouble for just one person. But I did do the work.

      • For starters, there are 185 million cars. Light trucks don’t count, at least for now and probably for a long time, because of battery limitations that are not likely to be overcome to the degree that they will be converted. Run that through your calculations, and you’ll arrive at about 19% if the entire fleet were converted — which will not happen for a very long time, if for no other reason than the time it takes to turn over the fleet.

        Most people, pro and con, operate on pre-existing prejudices and emotions, and don’t bother to dive into the details. The electric opportunity is, at least for the time being and likely for quite a while, centered on urban commuter cars and plug-in hybrids.

        Oh, and something else: The average car is driven 13,000 miles a year, not 15,000. The average BEV is driven 9,000 miles a year. The numbers simply are not what you imagine them to be, and any conversion will be slower than everyone thinks, and take place segment by segment as opposed to in one fell swoop.

      • The conversion will absolutely be slower than “everyone” thinks.

        In the table I provided 185 million vehicles would be close to 19%.

        However, there is no reason that most light duty trucks could be PEV’s if battery and charging technology improves the way “futurists” say they will.

        Right now, it’s what it is. The future is always not what people imagine it to be.

      • David,

        Thanks! Electric trucks would require even more power.


        IMO Mark has also requested to see your calculations. As suggested before, why not send a query to “Submit story”?

      • Almost matches the Aussie calculation David, which was 132% increase required of the nation’s electricity to support 100% EVs. Calculations on JoNova website.

  30. Please… oh please… can someone post an energy comparison for gasoline, natural gas, coal, solar, wind etc? There was some doubt about the comparison shown above. OK. Can the technical types on this thread figure one out?

    I’ve used energy per gallon in joules before.

  31. Gee I thought all those Democrat protesters of carbon must have one of these little beauties. Oh I forgot, virtue signaling doesnt have to cost much. Like planting a tree to cover your air trip, a bumper sticker with Go Progressives on your Hummer should do the trick.

  32. Burning natural gas to produce electricity to charge a battery to power a vehicle isn’t cost effective….It’s almost as stupid as raising corn (a carbohydrate) richly fertilized with natural gas products to produce a hydrocarbon “substitute”. Why not burn the natural gas to directly power our vehicles? It’s a lot easier to expand our natural gas delivery system than our electric grid….forget about expensive, heavy batteries and use compressed natural gas (CNG).

    • Natural gas powered vehicles have even less range than the new electrics. Using natural gas to make electricity is highly efficient with the new combined cycle generators. If we were to replace all the coal plants with natural gas, we’d see a big jump in efficiency, including of electric cars.

  33. Electric cars are of no value in terms of CO2 emissions if the energy to charge them comes from fossil fuel. Government needs to step in and supply solar powered charging stations for all owners of electric cars. I want to do my part but I cannot afford an electric car so I want government to step in and provide me with a free electric car and a home solar charging system that will operate off grid and will include batteries so that I can use the car during the day and have it charged up at night. I want the car to have roof solar panels so that some charging will take place while the car is outside during the day. If government supplies me with such a transportation system free of charge, I will make use of it.

    • Only 60% of U.S. power is generated by fossil fuels. The rest comes from nukes (20%), hyrdo (7%), wind (7%), and a mish-mash of others like solar, geothermal, “biomass,” municipal waste, and even diesel. Here are the numbers:

      • Thirty percent comes from coal, 31.7% from natural gas and 0.9% from other fossil fuel sources, for a total of almost 63%. Take away the subsidies from wind and solar, and their share would plummet.

        Without more nuclear power, no way can we run our fleet of cars and trucks, boats and ships on electricity alone, not to mention aircraft.

      • From your link for 2017, Million Kilowatthours:

        Coal Petroleum Natural Gas Other Gases
        1,207,901 21,091 1,272,864 14,159

        Nuclear, Hydroelectric Pumped Storage, Conventional Hydroelectric Power
        804,950 -6,495 300,045

        Wood Waste Geothermal Solar Wind
        43,284 20,773 15,976 52,958 254,254


        For 7.6% from solar and wind, vs 20.1% nuclear. Have to increase solar and wind 8.3-fold to replace fossil fuels, but there still wouldn’t be enough power when and where the load were needed.

        Not gonna happen. Ever.

      • Never say never, but I agree that an all-renewable system won’t happen in this century. The only way I think I could be wrong would be if there was such a breakthrough in PV panels that costs declined so much that things like pumped storage became viable. I don’t see that happening.

        Storage is the key to solar and wind, because of the intermittency issue. Batteries show no sign of dropping in cost to the degree that they can (in combination with wind and solar) outcompete the dominant nuke/fossil combo, and I’m not seeing it with solar either.

        You should not read me as a renewables zombie. Quite the contrary, unless we get some heretofore invisible technology leap.

      • OK, for “ever” read “in this century”.

        But IMO “renewables” will not replace fossil fuels. Something else, such as fusion, or other technologies now unknown will do so. Thus solving the storage issue won’t be needed. There could be a breakthrough in batteries, but the world’s navies have been working on that since 1888, with little to no luck.

      • I’ll say never.
        The public will never put up with sacrificing the amount of land that will be needed to support 100% renewable power generation.

        Remember you can’t build just enough generation to cover what we are going to need. Giving the vagaries of the sun and wind, you need to build 5 to 10 times more capacity, so that there is enough generation somewhere.
        Then remember that since by the time you build this much, all of the best sites are going to be taken, so second and third order sites will have to be developed. Which means even more most be built.
        Then since most of the best sites are not where people happen to live, you have to factor in huge transmission losses getting the power where it needs to go.
        Which once again increases the actual amount of generation capacity that has to be built, into even less optimal sites.

        The cost is going to be staggering, both environmentally and economically.
        It will never work, it will never happen.

    • Where I live the local nuclear plant has been decommissioned and there is no way to increase hydroelectric power. Any additional demand that I put on the grid will have to be made up by using more fossil fuel. So along with the free electric car I will need an off grid solar power system to charge up the batteries in order for me to help reduce the use of fossil fuels.

  34. I hear about these “coal fired electric cars”.
    Nice phrase.
    Has anyone calculated how much CO2 is produced by a coal fired electric plant to power an electric car for 100 miles?

  35. Gotta say that a hybrid car is much more interesting than a non-hybrid. I drive a Prius — which is somewhat embarrassing because of all of the virtue signaling that goes on with Prius purchases — and what a blast: an internal combustion engine and two motor-generators, combined with a huge battery. Brakes last forever (regenerative braking), no starter, no alternator, simple “transmission”, great gas mileage, quiet (silent at a stop), A/C works when the engine’s stopped, … and it’s fun to drive.

    So let’s not be hybrid haters and virtue signalers of our own. No subsidy for non-plugins, no excessive electricity demand. Let those who enjoy it have fun, even if some of them mistakenly think it makes them a better person.

    • No subsidies. Period.
      It really is interesting how so many people are only against subsidies that benefit other people.

  36. 480 miles on 10.4 gallons of diesel. Sprightly acceleration with potential for wheel spin in the first three forward gears, cold air conditioning in the summer AND all the heat one needs in near arctic conditions. Comfort and affordable. Plus the car easily cruises at speeds exceeding even the Texas Autobahn limit (85 MPH) with reduction in mileage to 38 MPG.
    I can get from central Texas to Wichita KS on a single fillup. Then it is a 15 minute stop to replenish the concentrated stored solar energy elixir, micturate and grab a snack.

  37. Central planning always fails. I guess it’s better that it fail early rather than late.

    I guess I wouldn’t mind a hybrid with few/small/light batteries for acceleration. You could make it kind of a game, have a quick-charge gauge, and when the gauge is full you can engage in a little illegal street racing.

    I mean, you will have that extra power for merging or something like that. For safety. It’s a safety thing.

    • Central planning doesn’t always fail if it’s done right. If it always failed, we wouldn’t have the highway network, the flood control dams, the hydro dams, the railroads, the telecomminications network, or the semiconductor industry, to name a few.

      • None of the things you list came from central planning.
        Some of the interstate highway system came from government directives, but local and state roads didn’t and they are by far the biggest component of the highway system.
        It takes central planning to note that a flood control dam is needed, and build one? You have a really weird notion of what central planning is.
        The same goes for hydro dams. How much “central planning” is needed for an engineer to determine where a good place to build one would be?
        The railroads were built by private companies, absolutely no central planning there.
        The telecommunications network was built by private companies.
        The semiconductor industry is 100% private.

        “to name a few”????

        I’m still waiting for you to name one.

      • The semiconductor industry in the U.S. wouldn’t exist but for the gov’t-sanctioned telecommunications monopoly that existed from the early 20th Century until AT&T was broken up in the 1980s, and for the U.S. missile program. This has been long documented.

        Going back much further, the federal government subsidized first the canals in the 1800s, then the first roads, then the railroads, then the telegraph lines, then the highways, then the telephone system, then the flood control dams, then the hydro dams, then the aircraft industry, then the semiconductor industry, then space travel, then the Internet. Not to mention medical research, which is still massively subsidized as we speak, and mechanized agriculture, and mass access to higher

        The combination of ideology and naivete here is laughable. Look, kids, this isn’t to say that all subsidies are sensible, or without serious flaws in their execution. But still: grow up.

      • Jake,

        Semiconductors grew out of WWII radar research, not the telecommunications industry. The transistor was indeed developed at Bell Labs, however a monopoly permitted by the government is not the same as a subsidy, IMO. Nor should defense spending be considered a subsidy.

        The Erie Canal (completed 1825) was financed by New York through selling bonds, not the federal government. IMO bonds also don’t count as a subsidy.

        The Cumberland Road (approved 1806) was the first “internal improvement” with federal backing. After completion, maintenance costs were transferred to the states.

        I guess you could consider the interstate highway system a subsidy for truckers, to the detriment of railroads. But then the national government did encourage RR building by giving the companies land along their routes.

        The record of subsidies for solar and wind power is dismal to abysmal. Same for encouraging EVs. At best a waste and at worst squandering money and political payola. If “renewables” and EVs aren’t economical, the government shouldn’t be encouraging them. It’s misallocation of resources on a huge scale. EVs may eventually have some valid application, but so long as they need subsidies, that day hasn’t yet arrived.

      • Jake J April 18, 2018 at 12:19 pm Edit

        Central planning doesn’t always fail if it’s done right. If it always failed, we wouldn’t have the highway network, the flood control dams, the hydro dams, the railroads, the telecomminications network, or the semiconductor industry, to name a few.

        Jake, it seems that to some extent you are conflating central planning and subsidies.

        The Interstate Highway System was built under the directive of Eisenhower. During WWII it became apparent to Ike that the US highway system was not adequate for moving troops and war materiel. So when he became President, he ordered that a modern highway system get built. That was war planning, which almost always is central planning. Note also that the Interstate Highway system benefits everyone, not just one small segment of the population.

        The Hoover Dam was paid for by a $140 million dollar Federal loan that was finally paid back in 1987. It was repaid from the profits of the dam. So it was neither central planning nor a subsidy.

        The problem is not with central planning of something static and long-lasting like a road network or a dam. The problem is when the government starts getting involved in a) anything fast-moving and dynamic, or b) picking “winners” and giving them money, like say Solyndra, Elon Musk, or the like …

        The best description of the first issue I know of is that of Matt Ridley, who pointed out that something over a million people in London go out to buy lunch every day, with nobody knowing what anyone will want to have for lunch, and capitalism and the free market ensures that they all get satisfied.

        Now, can you imagine being appointed as the London Lunch Commissar under a central planning system and designing a centrally planned lunch system to do that? Specifying all of the different food shipments to different locations and the like? You’d have an ulcer in a few days, and likely commit seppuku in a week.

        Best to you,


      • JakeJ, are you delusional, or are you merely being paid to look dumb.
        During the day of the so called telecommunications monopoly, Ma Bell was still using mostly relays and mechanical switches.

        While missiles did use electronics, the private demand for them was 100’s of times greater.
        What you declare to be “documentation” rarely qualifies as documentation.

        Yes, the government did subsidize some of the canals and roads that were being built.
        That doesn’t qualify as central planning.

        Ditto for everything else on you list. You seem to be taking the insane position that if the government has any involvement, that proves it couldn’t have happened unless the government was involved.

        Speaking of growing up, you need that more than anyone else here.

  38. The problem with cars is that if you can only afford one, it has to be a tradeoff. Most of the time the car carries only one person, but you have to have extra seats for those other times and you have to have luggage space for those times you have to carry something. And you want safety. So you buy a car that is bigger than what you need most of the time. To carry around a couple hundred pounds of driver, you have a car than weighs a couple thousand pounds or so. That’s not very efficient. Making it electric does not change that. If you want to be a righteous environmentalist you have to get rid of a couple of wheels. Unless it rains.

  39. EV’s. Sound good in theory, less so in practice! Having been in two very different areas where vehicles are used, a lot, I can safely say, that EV’s do not have the capacity or ability to replace conventional transport!
    Firstly, the transport industry. Often times, these vehicles are required to travel huge distances without refuelling. When I was driving interstate, I could drive from Melbourne, to Brisbane, and about 200 k’s return, and top up with enough fuel to get me back to Melbourne! Another issue, is that to get range, batteries are notoriously heavy, severely restricting the carrying capacity of a transport vehicle. Transport operators are looking at ways to maximise the carrying capacity of their trucks, not reduce it!
    I have also been a member of a police force. Our patrol and divisional vehicles run around the clock! They may also be required to travel at high speed, or an extended distance for operational purposes, at the drop of a hat. If push came to shove, you could refuel in a matter of minutes, and continue. Try that in an EV!
    So, in my estimation, the shortcomings of range, weight, and battery recharge times are huge obstacles that need to be overcome to allow EV’s to be readily acceptable to Joe Public.
    These shortcomings will not be readily overcome in the near future.
    They are nothing more than niche vehicles.

    • Electric vehicles are currently a niche for the reasons you mention. However, it’s a large potential niche, especially for plug-in hybrids. >95% of the personal passenger miles driven in the U.S. are in metro areas, where the average daily use is 30 miles. The newest EVs, i.e., the Chevy Bolt, make a lot of sense as urban commuter cars, and plug-in hybrids, i.e., the Chevy Volt and the newest Priuses, offer all-electric commuting and a gas engine for road trips.

  40. What an incredible belch of Luddism. sorry guys

    For goodness sake, HOW MANY times on here do we hear that ‘technology’ is gonna solve the future -agri-tech for food, computer-tech = ‘stuff’ made from sand, energy-tech.

    And how many times do we see this: “Who knows what energy sources we will be using in the future”

    Get real.
    Electric cars are the way to go. Only ONE moving part with no metal-on-metal frictions. No oil. No seals. Very basic bearings. All solid state electrics.
    Replacing the ‘engine’ in an electric car will be as easy as changing the wheel.

    By example:
    A few years ago I came upon a UK someone railing about a destroyed (manual) gearbox in his Japanese car.
    The new part (a 5-speed manual box) cost him £800 plus another £800 for fitting then 20% tax on top of that.
    He went digging and found that that gearbox started out as a chunk of metal going into a factory in Northern England. It emerged, fully manufactured, fully machined, fully functional, with a guarantee and with all costs covered including profit at a cost of £80. Eighty quid. Not 800 that he paid for it.
    All tax, salaries, overheads, raw materials everything covered at £80.
    Remember that.
    Recently I went looking for a new motor and did my research on the all electric Renault Zoe.
    I cold-called a dealer who was advertising a 2nd hand car.

    I genuinely think he wouldn’t have sold me that car had I had him at gunpoint and was throwing a blizzard of cash at him.
    He Did Not Have A Good Word for the vehicle he was supposedly the main-dealer for

    The gearbox example says why….
    PS Complete brand new engines could be had for £250 – cost from the parts dealer= £2,500 and fitting?…. You guessed.

    Seemingly here in the UK, Vauxhall are at this very moment sacking/firing every last one of their dealers and are aiming to re-hire only 50% of them.
    Because modern cars are soooooo reliable now, very little servicing and garage work is now needed. They are shedding that overhead of spare-parts – actual metal on shelves and grease monkeys in the shed next door.
    And that is Vauxhall – the reliability joke of UK motoring.
    At that rate, Volkswagen-Audi, BMW and Honda etc etc will be dumping 90% of their dealers!

    Bring in electric cars and will the figure be 99%……….. Remember, only one moving part in an electric car.

    Yes batteries are the sticking point but they ain’t too far away.
    When I looked at the Renault, if the battery cost could be halved then the electric car ‘had it’
    And 10 or 12 years ago, a battery for a notebook PC came in at £100+
    Now the same battery can be had for £12. Taking inflation into account is that one-tenth of the cost 10 years ago.

    Lets try less Luddism and less pessimism – or is pessimism contagious off Warmists.

    And would you believe the cure could be soooo simple – just add 15grams of saturated fat to every meal you eat.
    (and DO try to contain yourself to 3 meals per day initially. You’ll discover that 2 is actually more than enough)
    That applies to everyone, Warmists especially.

    • Electrics and batteries are old technologies. Technologies that have already failed.
      Using government money to force a return to a failed technology is not smart.

      • @MarkW, every diesel locomotive runs on electricity. The diesel engines power a generator, which turns the wheels. Electric motive power is not a failed technology. Other way around. It’s more of a challenge to put it into passenger cars, but it’s happening. Oh, and it’s 2 to 2-1/2 times as energy efficient as diesel or gas.

      • Jake,

        No it is not more efficient if the electrical energy comes from fossil fuels. Even nuclear, hydro, solar and wind have costs and inefficiencies that have to be factored into the price of electricity.

      • Sorry, but I’ve done very detailed work on the issue. At the current mix of U.S. generation, an EV is about twice as efficient as an equivalent diesel vehicle and about 2-1/2x as efficient as a gas vehicle. This accounts for all the conversions from the refinery onward, and incorporates conversion factors for coal, nuclear, and natural gas, along with conversions within each type of engine, including electricity transmission losses and losses between the plug and the wheels within an EV.

        You don’t know me at all, but I am a fanatic about getting numbers right. Forget about the bogus AGW crap. I’m talking about energy efficiency. One thing that falls out is that, as natural gas replaces coal as the top fossil-fuel input for electricity generation, EV efficiency compared to gasoline and diesel rises, because natural gas conversion efficiency is 2x that of coal and nuclear. It’s really quite remarkable.

        My support for EVs is entirely based on this. I am as old school as it gets about it: “waste not, want not.” If you can go 2 to 2-1/2 times as far on a unit of energy in an EV, that alone is reason enough to want more EVs. You’ll just have to try to trust me when I say this isn’t any kind of virtue-signaling.

        It’d be good if either a) one of Anthony Watts’s regulars would address the issue directly, in which case I’d offer all the details, or b) Watts would pop in here and indicate his interest, and allow me to write something for this site. I am not, not, not some goofy EVangelist. I’ve done this strictly by the numbers and am fully capable of showing my work, with links to real references. I just don’t want to do it for one commenter in the middle of a thread.

      • Jake,

        Use the “Submit story” link to send our host a query and short outline of your proposed post.

      • Jake, Trains because of the need for high torque at low RPM.
        2 1/2 times more efficient? So your claiming that hybrids get over 100mpg????
        Are you completely delusional? Or just paid to spout nonsense?

      • For someone who’s a fanatic for getting the numbers right, you sure do have a problem getting your numbers right.
        Additionally, your absolute refusal to show your work is also telling.

      • I can easily show my work, as I did in a different post here. But some commenters here are stoutly fact-resistant, so I see no point in doing more work for you.

      • [quote]2 1/2 times more efficient? So your claiming that hybrids get over 100mpg????[/quote]

        Electric motive power in a car is about 2-1/2 times more efficient than gasoline. In fact, when the energy content of gasoline is converted to electrical terms, the typical EV gets 100-120 equivalent mpg. My first-generation Think City EV gets 108 “mpg-e” on average across an entire year, ranging from 95 mpg-e in the winter to 123 mpg-e in the summer.

        Later generations of EVs are showing some improvement in the numbers. Tesla’s EVs do worse because they have more powerful motors.

      • MarkW April 18, 2018 at 3:04 pm
        Jake, Trains because of the need for high torque at low RPM.
        2 1/2 times more efficient? So your claiming that hybrids get over 100mpg????
        Are you completely delusional? Or just paid to spout nonsense?

        No he didn’t claim that, try reading what he wrote!

      • Jake, like all of your facts, your claims for EV efficiency are totally bogus. You are ignoring the 50% or greater loss in electricity between power plant and electric motor.

        Phil. as always, you are a day late and several dollars short.
        Most cars get 30 to 50 mpg, so if an EV was 2 1/2 times as efficient, they would 2.5 times that.

      • MarkW April 19, 2018 at 2:43 pm
        Jake, like all of your facts, your claims for EV efficiency are totally bogus. You are ignoring the 50% or greater loss in electricity between power plant and electric motor.

        Transmission losses are not close to 50%.

        Phil. as always, you are a day late and several dollars short.
        Most cars get 30 to 50 mpg, so if an EV was 2 1/2 times as efficient, they would 2.5 times that.

        Yes they would, however what I objected to was your claim that hybrids would have to be over 100mpg based on your misreading of the original post. Most cars in the US don’t get ’30 to 50 mpg’ either, the average is about 25mpg.

  41. Like wind turbines, the electric car industry is great at manipulating it’s public image, but ultimately brings little to the table.

    I’m not even opposed to electric cars, reducing pollutants is just common sense for our own sake.
    Still, until we get a break-through in energy storage & recharging rates, electric cars will always be the sub-optimal cousin to the combustion engine’s efficiency.

  42. Oh WUWT. Always pretending that global warming is somehow American warming, and that what happens in the US is relevant to what the rest of the world is doing *sigh*

  43. Why do campers and RV-ers buy gas powered generators instead of many more batteries? Asking for an idiot friend of mine.

  44. Um, perhaps these figures reflect the ownership demographic.

    One fact is, as with solar panels, most people live in cities with no possibiity of accessing a charger on the street, or having a rooftop to collect their subsidised power on when it is working, or even the disposable income to pay for either electric cars or solar panels if they have managed to scrape together enough to afford an actual house in the burbs WITH a garage or driveway. So the mass of people all end up paying for the privileged few rich enough to profit from the subsidies, like SIera club members, Elon Musk, and those with off grid mansions that do. etc.

    Q: Who are electric cars for?
    A: The few rich people who can afford to use them. See % figures. QED

    PS Many smaller US towns and so-called cities still have a mess of overhead power cables delivering electricity to save money. How soon to the installation of kerbside charging units on the pavements there? Perhaps a way of tapping the overhead lines with croc clips on sticks plus a transformer ac/DC converter? Cheap energy for hybrids, Life threatening Redneck style. “It’s electrifying”.

      • You may not have had such a school uniform? Brit Kids his age all did. Probably in colonial Oz as well. Yes its a look he could have lost without a problem, Bon SCott was a bigger loss, but Angus built the Brand and stuck with it by incremental development, like the Quo, Stones, etc. Evolution. Not everyone can be David Bowie. To me they never really recovered from Bon Scott’s death. His voice and stage presence had more character than Brian Johnson’s shouting at 11. His character also killed him. Sad. PS American trousers that don’t reach your shoes look weird too, look like they shrunk and they can’t afford replacements. But the Blue beat mod kids did that in the UK, even. White Jamaicans? Hardly, mon.

  45. I just love to drive my EV, not because it is green, but because it is so much more enjoyable to drive. All petrol cars feels so slow, noisy and sluggish after I have become used to the super smooth, noiseless and rapid acceleration of my EV.

    A bonus is that electricity is much cheaper the gasoline, at least here in Europe, we does not have free gasoline like you have in the US.

    Well, I know it is not totally free, but everything below 4 $ / gallon is virtually free compared to European prices.

    • Interesting, anything that isn’t taxed to death, is free?
      Enjoy your subsidies while the government can still afford them.

  46. Is there a tamper proof and also privacy protecting way to tax “road consumers”, without taxing the energy source?

  47. We still live in a free-market economy (relatively). If people wanted electric cars, we would have had them long ago. The principle is F.A. Hayek’s — “If socialists understood economics they would not be socialists.”

  48. I like this website very much, but no one’s perfect. Wattsupwiththat really screwed it up here. Someone needs to say so, and I’ve designated myself as the messenger.

    The graphic and the words badly misrepresent what’s really happening. In fact, sales of plug-in cars are surging. They are up 32% in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the first quarter of 2017, while sales of cars declined by 11%. As a result, plug-in vehicles (half fully electric, the other half plug-in hybrid) have gone from 2.8% of the car market to 4% of the car market in a single year.

    It’s true that cars continue to decline as a share of the total passenger vehicle market. However, because of the limitations of batteries, plug-ins can compete only in the car segment, which accounts for about one-third of U.S. passenger vehicle sales. It is misleading to use a share of total vehicle sales for a product that competes in only one category.

    I am not the electric car salesman. I do own one, just as the owner of this website does. I bought it not because I believe the anthropogenic global warming story — I do not — but out of sheer curiosity. It helped that the maker (Think) went out of business the year I bought it, so I acquired it for less than half price. I put the overwhelming majority of my total miles on my one-ton diesel Ram 3500 pickup truck, which is about as polar opposite as you can get from my EV.

    I do support continued EV development and subsidy, but not for climate reasons. I have done extensive research on the issue, and in fact I’d be happy to write an article for Wattsup about it. When all factors are considered, electric motive power is 2 to 2-1/2 times as energy efficient as gasoline and diesel motive power. This is why I am in favor of electric vehicles. Given battery limitations, I think subsidies should be focused on plug-in hybrids with an all-electric range of at least 50 miles, with that number rising over time as battery costs decline.

    Regardless of whether this site or its commenters agree with me about that, I expect Wattsupwiththat to be factual and more fairly representative than this article was. I see no reason to disparage electric motive power, which after all is that powers every freight train (ever heard the term “diesel electric?”) simply because the lunatic “greens” present it as the Answer to All the World’s Evil. I look at it in very old-school terms: “waste not, want not.” Climate aside, if you can go 2 to 2-1/2 times as far on the same number of BTUs with an electric system, that’s reason enough to encourage it.


    U.S. battery electric vehicle (“BEV”) sales were 27,751 units in the first quarter of 2018, compared with 21,061 units in the first quarter of 2017, an increase of 32%. U.S. plug-in hybrid (“PHEV”) sales were 27,516 units, compared with 20,860 in the first quarter of 2017, also an increase of 32%. This is from Inside EVs, an outfit that has tracked BEV and PHEV sales from the very beginning.

    U.S. car sales were 1,323,869 units in the first quarter of 2018, compared with 1,484,944 units in the first quarter of 2017, a decline of 11%. This is from CSI Market, which tracks vehicle sales.

    Combining the numbers:

    BEV market share in 2018 is 2% of car sales. In 2017, it was 1.4%.

    PHEV market share in 2018 is 2%. In 2017, it was 1.4%.

    • March was an improvement from Feb, and “light trucks” continue to dominate sales. It will be a long time before electric pickups become popular, or even SUVs. From your link:

      March 2018 U.S. Car Sales

      • U.S. Total Vehicle Sales 1,689,166 units up by 6.78 %

      • U.S. Car Sales 537,750 units down by -8.71 %

      • U.S. Domestic Car Sales 415,394 units down by -8.43 %

      • U.S. Foreign Car Sales 122,356 units down by -9.65 %

      • U.S. Light Truck Sales 1,109,516 units up by 15.86 %

      • U.S. Heavy Truck Sales 41,900 units up by 19.19 %

    • Jake J April 18, 2018 at 11:15 am

      I like this website very much, but no one’s perfect. Wattsupwiththat really screwed it up here. Someone needs to say so, and I’ve designated myself as the messenger.

      The graphic and the words badly misrepresent what’s really happening.

      Sorry, Jake, but the graphic IS what is happening. Those are the facts. Now you are free to spin them any way that you wish. And you are free to provide alternative facts to support your case.

      But the ugly truth for you, what you can’t deny, is what the graphic shows—total sales of all types of electric vehicles have stayed at about 3% during the prior decade. And that is WITH a huge subsidy.

      I note that you very carefully don’t mention that people are getting a subsidy of $7,500 to $15,000 per electric vehicle. You want alternate facts? Consider how many electric vehicles would have sold without the subsidy … and now consider how many conventional vehicles would have sold with a seven to fifteen grand subsidy. Reverse the subsidy and see what happens.

      Sorry, amigo, but without the subsidy electric car sales would wither and die, as happened in Hong Kong and Denmark. You’re beating a dead horse to try to get it to move …


      • This is worthless. To be accused of providing “alternative facts” is complete b.s.

        I like the site here a lot, but the comments in this thread are loopy to the point of weirdness. Yes, I know there are a bunch of commenter who are on a rant about subsidies, etc., which I am often critical of. But I gave incontrovertible facts, and logical analysis based on them.

        Carry on, then. You’re no better than the EVangelists. Sheesh.

      • Subsidies or not, Willis Eisenbach, EV sales in the U.S. are up 32% in 1Q18 compared to 1Q17, both for battery-only cars and plug-in hybrid cars. Even if we compared this to total vehicle sales, which I explained would be a misleading comparison, EV sales grew much faster than total U.S. passenger vehicle sales.

        There really isn’t any need to lie to people. The EVangelists do it, but this site has rarely done it. Until now. Why don’t you have a second look, and then write the rarest words on the Internet: “I was wrong.” That would be you. You were wrong.

      • Jake J April 18, 2018 at 3:29 pm

        This is worthless. To be accused of providing “alternative facts” is complete b.s.

        Whoa, cowboy, cool your jets. That was not meant as an insult. “Alternative facts” simply mean other facts than the facts I put forwards, facts that support an alternative conclusion. That’s what you put forward. Or you could equally say that you put forward facts and I put forward alternative facts to support my conclusions. In any case, my apology for the misunderstanding.

        I do note that rather than address any of the substantive points I raised, you simply declare that the comments are “loopy” and you high-tail it for the nearest exit … I hope you are not under the misconception that your actions in doing that impress anyone. They just make you look like a man who can’t stand the heat and is getting out of the kitchen …

        Meanwhile, if conventional cars got subsidies and EVs didn’t, the EV sales would crater and you know it. Which of course is among the reasons for your hasty dash to the egress …


      • Jake J April 18, 2018 at 4:36 pm

        Subsidies or not, Willis Eisenbach, EV sales in the U.S. are up 32% in 1Q18 compared to 1Q17.

        Say what? That figure is not “Subsidies or not”, that’s ludicrous. That figure is WITH SUBSIDIES, and damn big subsidies at that.

        You get your own theories, but not your own facts.


      • JakeJ, I love the way you claim that subsidies are irrelevant to the point of whether EV cars are a success.
        Speaking of being impervious to facts, you really should check out a good mirror.

        Willis, the subsidies don’t stop once the EV is purchased.
        IC cars have to pay road taxes, EVs don’t.
        EVs don’t have to pay tolls on many government owned toll roads.
        In many places EVs are permitted to use HOV lanes even if they only have one driver.

    • So you know, I despise Elon Musk to the degree that I was banned from his sites a long time ago. I think he’s a b.s.-er from the word “go.” When I talk to people about EVs, I always tell them to avoid Tesla EVs, period. If you’re going to buy a car, I say get a car made by a car company. If I were going to buy an BEV these days, I’d get a Chevy Bolt. If I were going to buy a PHEV, it’d be either a Prius or a Volt. Those cars are real. Elon Musk is a hot air merchant.

      • He left his native South Africa because he wanted to avoid conscription. Obviously he is not the sort of guy who had the courage to say “Right or wrong – my country”. I expect him to run again when Tesla stikes colours. I’ll call him Elope Musk then..

  49. Jake J April 18, 2018 at 2:53 pm

    Sorry, but I’ve done very detailed work on the issue. At the current mix of U.S. generation, an EV is about twice as efficient as an equivalent diesel vehicle and about 2-1/2x as efficient as a gas vehicle. This accounts for all the conversions from the refinery onward, and incorporates conversion factors for coal, nuclear, and natural gas, along with conversions within each type of engine, including electricity transmission losses and losses between the plug and the wheels within an EV.

    Jake, if they are so good … why do sales crater when the subsidies are removed, as has already happened in Hong Kong and Denmark?

    You seem to think that some theoretical efficiency is the be-all and end-all of value. In fact, to succeed they need to be economically competitive in the open market. This means that their overall performance (range, range using heater or aircon, charging time, cost per passenger mile, carrying capacity, appearance, weight, availability of charging stations, and many more) must be better than ordinary cars.

    And as the graph in the head post shows … EVEN WITH SUBSIDIES, this is still not the case. So it appears that pure efficiency may not be as important as you seem to think.


    • Jake, here is an extremely detailed well-to-wheel efficiency analysis done by the Japanese. It basically agrees with your conclusions.

      NOTES: FCHV – Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle; HV – Hybrid Vehicle; CNG – Compressed Natural Gas; BEV – Battery Electric Vehicle

      I note that battery electric vehicles are about twice as efficient as diesel engines, and on the order of 2.5 times as efficient as gasoline engines, so they basically agree with you.

      However … please note what I said above. There are many, many other factors in whether an electric or a gasoline car is chosen by the buying public.

      Best to you, I always admire a man who runs the numbers himself.


      • I have all the numbers for EV v gas. I think fuel cells are a joke, so I didn’t even bother. Anyone who takes a serious and practical look at the issues surrounding hydrogen fuel cells collapses with laughter even faster than I did once I decided to take a serious and practical look at the anthropogenic global warming fraud, er hypothesis.

        The only reason I’m not puking it all out right now is that I honestly don’t see the point in doing so for the benefit of maybe 5 people who’ve made it this far down a comment thread. To go get the numbers and then put it in readable language is something of a chore, and too much of one for this format. If Watts is interested and will jump in and say so, I am quite willing to lay it all out in a posting for this site.

        Look, we don’t know each other but I have a long background in facts, regardless of where the chips may fall.

      • Jake J April 18, 2018 at 6:38 pm Edit

        I have all the numbers for EV v gas. I think fuel cells are a joke, so I didn’t even bother. Anyone who takes a serious and practical look at the issues surrounding hydrogen fuel cells collapses with laughter even faster than I did once I decided to take a serious and practical look at the anthropogenic global warming fraud, er hypothesis.

        The only reason I’m not puking it all out right now is that I honestly don’t see the point in doing so for the benefit of maybe 5 people who’ve made it this far down a comment thread. To go get the numbers and then put it in readable language is something of a chore, and too much of one for this format. If Watts is interested and will jump in and say so, I am quite willing to lay it all out in a posting for this site.

        Jake, since I just posted numbers that agree with yours, I’m not sure what the point would be. The Japanese numbers appear to agree with yours, and they include numbers for a variety of other types of prime movers (hybrids, fuel cells, CNG).

        However, people make buying decisions on a variety of things. Let’s take one of them, like say payload. Gasoline weighs about six pounds per gallon, so a 15-gallon tank full of fuel weighs about 90 pounds. On average, therefore, the fuel weight in a car might be about 60 pounds.

        The battery for a Tesla Model S, on the other hand, weighs about 1,200 pounds, and it weighs that whether full or empty. This means that a battery-powered car is hauling around something over 1,100 pounds (500 kg) of useless extra weight. Now, some folks will prefer to use that hauling capacity for something more useful than carrying around a battery …

        Or take range on one charge. Here in the US, I and many others routinely take long drives in the country … where there are no charging stations. So an electric car is out of the question for me.

        Or take running out of fuel. If I run out, I grab the gas can out of the back of my truck and pour it into the tank. Or if I’m in my gorgeous ex-fiancee’s car, I hitchhike or walk to the gas station, buy a can, fill it with gas, and go back to the car and put it into the tank. Or I call a buddy to bring me a can full of gas. But it’s kinda hard to travel with a can full of electrons … them tiny buggers tend to leak out of the can.

        These kinds of considerations, rather than well-to-wheel efficiency, are what has kept electric cars restricted to 3% of the market over the last decade.

        I don’t say any of this to discourage you from running your own numbers, however. Like you, I suspect, I don’t believe anything until I’ve actually done the calculations myself.

        Best to you,


    • I’m not saying they are “good.” That’s virtue-signaling b.s. I got one because I’m a car nut and was curious. Period. It’s one of 16 cars, a motorcycle, and a UTV that I’ve owned over the years. I don’t put value judgments on vehicles. I have liked some more than others, but in the end they are transportation.

      As for subsidies, that’s a long discussion. I’m fine with the subsidy schedule right now, because it’ll end for Tesla pretty soon but it did get the industry off the ground. Going forward, I’d yank subsidies for any EV costing more than the average non-electric car, and plow the subsidies into cheaper EVs and especially PHEVs. Not because they are “good,” but because you can travel farther (2 to 2-1/2 times as far) per BTU in an electric car. This is a fact, and since this country’s founding we’ve subsidized a whole lot of things that offered less benefit than that.

      Over time, subsidies ought to decline as manufacturing scale economies and improving battery technology makes them unnecessary. I don’t know what the “end all and be all is,” but I do think that doubling (at minimum) the energy efficiency of the passenger fleet is worth the cost.

      As for performance, I am the very first to say — much to the consternation of EVanglelists — that the current crop of BEVs are not suitable complete substitutes for petroleum-powered cars. But in the predominant application, which is urban use, even when you strip away all the range hype and worst-case it, which I always do, a PHEV represents a big advance in energy efficiency, and BEV range in the very newest models makes them viable metropolitan vehicles.

      New advances always start slowly. EVs are creatures of the lithium-ion battery, and really didn’t appear until 2011 or so. From nothing at all, they now constitute 4% of U.S. car sales. I think that, by 2030, they’ll be at least at the 25% mark, and maybe higher. Maybe a lot higher. I am quite well equipped to have a rational, factual discussion about all of these issues, but there’s a contingent here — apparently you included — that takes an ideologue’s view. I take a practical, engineering-based view of it. I place no inherent value on the type of fuel, and I laugh at the save-the-climate side of it.

      • “even when you strip away all the range hype and worst-case it, which I always do, a PHEV represents a big advance in energy efficiency”

        I fundamentally agree with that statement, and it solves W.E. problem of carrying around the ‘can full of electrons’. The Plug-In Hybrid Vehicle (PHEV) is definitely the clear winner in both worlds. A small pure EV for a town runabout also makes sense, although I don’t see a technical challenge in adding a micro ICE generator to make them all PHEV’s. Lower the battery weight that gets lugged around and most of the miles will be on batteries, since the average car trip is less than 40 miles a day.

        Most of the negativity here for EV’s come purely from the subsidization of such. Once the subsidy is over, then market forces should move the percentage of EV and PHEV’s up as the price of mobile FF such as gasoline/diesel goes up. And it will over time. However, and here is the sticker, if the price of mobile FF goes up because of an ‘artificial’ carbon tax, then that too is a market distortion just like a pure subsidy is to EV’s because the carbon tax makes FF artificially higher and penalizes the traditional gas/diesel auto makers. And those (carbon tax) proceeds are being used to win elections by funnelling the carbon tax into general revenue where it can be used to ‘subsidize’ (buy) votes for the governing party, at least in most other countries than the USA that have a carbon tax or similar. Talk about muddy waters trying to get to the bottom of subsidization. So WUWT commenters are still mainly correct that some type of subsidization is at the root of the problem and why they rail against the technologies that get these massive subsidies. Including Big Solar and Wind. And protesting the case for a carbon tax, which kills everything to do with economic growth.

    • One more thing.

      It seems as if some of this peanut gallery thinks I’m some alternative energy evangelist, when it’s just not true. I’ll give one more attempt at a proof statement, and if it doesn’t work I will give up.

      Where I live — out in the countryside in Washington State, having escaped the insane clutches of the People’s Republic of Seattle — the local solar evangelists aren’t happy with me. Why? Because I spoke out in support of my local utility’s decision to end its 1:1 “net metering” program, in which people who send a kilowatt to the grid are entitled to get a kilowatt from the grid.

      I live in a sprawling county: 1,900 sq mi, with 21,000 people. It costs a lot to deliver electricity. Infrastructure maintenance and administration costs are about 60% of the electricity price here. Kilowatt for kilowatt pays solar panel users the retail rate, which gives them the grid for free. This means that the people without panels pay the costs for people with panels, most of whom are richer and above all smugger about themselves.

      I suggested a compromise, in which grid charges would escalate with solar panel penetration. No sale. The panel people think they are entitled to a free ride, the whole thing. To say that it sticks in my craw would be the understate the case, considerably. It’s even worse here, because 89% of our power is hydro from the Columbia River dams, and another 8% is from a nuclear plant 100 miles away. In reality, people with panels in these parts actually add to CO2 emissions (as if I care) when you consider how panels are made, and shipped on diesel-powered boats from East Asia, then trucked to where we are.

      So: It pains me, and outrages me, to think that anyone here might regard me as some Kool Aid-drinking zealot. Yep, I take it kinda personally. In the end, I am a fact-based guy, and will take my facts where I get them. I feel like a vanishing breed.

  50. Consumer adoption of new tech appears to take a lazy “S” curve with a slow and then accelerating ramp up. I guess the question is how much do subsidies skew adoption and what will happen if they stop or taper off. Or, alternatively if oil returns to a $100/bbl range. As a car buyer, I have looked at electric twice and passed. The “value” proposition did not seem to be there for me. Prius, Leaf, Bolt, Volt etc. are too small or inconvenient. Whereas, other upscale cars seem to come with cost premiums for me; plus, lack of convenience. But, I anticipate the lines will cross and I, along with others will be buyers.

  51. Interesting to see: versus money spent on these boutique cars.

    I’m all for using electric motors, but until we can use the same infrastructure we have today (meaning liquid / gas fuel—all with MUCH higher energy densities than batteries) that is more efficiently converted into electricity. SOFCs have the potential to do this, and the combination could result in 10-times the fuel efficiency, allowing me to drive from coast to coast on one tank of fuel.

    Otherwise we’re just wasting resources on salesmanship.

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