Some Chinese Electric Cars Are ‘Simply Worthless’: Industry Body

From CX Tech

By Dave Yin / Sep 27, 2019 06:40 PM / Business & Tech

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

It’s “inevitable” that China’s electric cars have little resale value and some are inherently worth little, according to one of China’s top auto industry bodies.

In its latest weekly update on China’s ailing auto market, the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA) listed several reasons why value retention is “too low” for new-energy vehicles (NEVs), including fully electric, fuel-cell and hybrid cars.

The list includes a shortage of purchase statistics that could be analyzed to help manage risks. The discrepancy of technologies used in Chinese electric cars is also large, meaning certain models are not reliable and are “simply worthless,” the association said.

“As startups release more products, standards will rise incrementally,” the association said, adding the lifespan of electric car components and batteries are still inferior to that of similar components for traditional vehicles. “It’s not very feasible to simply wait for electric vehicles to raise their value retention,” it said.

CPCA’s remarks come as Chinese electric vehicle sales start to contract alongside traditional vehicle sales that have been falling for more than a year. The nation is the world’s largest NEV market, after building up huge capacity on the back of generous government incentives. But the huge buildup, often using older technologies, has led to observations that much of the nation’s output is far from cutting-edge.

Full article here.

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September 29, 2019 2:29 pm

Leave China alone! Nissan LEAF is worthless, too. 71% depreciation in two years. I’d call that catastrophic depreciation; nothing special about the Chinese cars.

J Mac
Reply to  Gamecock
September 29, 2019 3:56 pm

But the virtue signalling is priceless!

Reply to  Gamecock
September 29, 2019 5:22 pm

Let’s see now, 70% of $40,000 (Canadian) is $28,000 so I should be able to buy a two year old Leaf for $12,000. Awesome. Except, when I look at the car ads, I can’t even buy a two year old Leaf for twice that amount.

Where does the 71% figure come from?

Right-Handed Shark
Reply to  commieBob
September 29, 2019 5:42 pm

Just a guess, but I expect that if you want to trade one in, that’s what the dealer will give you. And the high re-sale price, well, would you buy a used one if it didn’t have new batteries?

Bill Powers
Reply to  Right-Handed Shark
September 30, 2019 9:05 am

Don’t try to reason with socialist thinking Shark. Their economics thinking is a fuzzy as their Climate Science.

Reply to  Bill Powers
September 30, 2019 12:12 pm


Reply to  Right-Handed Shark
October 2, 2019 4:58 am

I’d buy a used Tesla. Some have racked up nearly 500,000 miles. There are plenty of Chevy Bolts with more than 100,000 miles on the clock. Electric cars and climate change are two different topics. Electric cars are three times more efficient than ICE cars. What’s not to like about that?

Jake J
Reply to  Trebla
October 2, 2019 9:28 am

Electric cars are three times more efficient than ICE cars. What’s not to like about that?

False. ICE cars convert about 20%-27% of the fuel’s energy to motion, depending on which engine is used. EVs convert about 45% of the electric generating system’s energy to motion. You are making up numbers. I have actually found them. When will EVangelists stop making things up?

By the way, Mazda’s “SkyActiv” line of engines is up toward 27%. Mazda says a second generation will raise that to about 40%, and that they are working on the third generation that will boost it to 55%.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  commieBob
September 29, 2019 5:49 pm
Reply to  commieBob
September 29, 2019 6:11 pm

I don’t know where you are looking, but 2019 Leafs start at $30K and run to $45K.
At CarMax, the only 2017 Leaf that I could find was priced at $13K. There was a 2018 for $21K, but it only had 7K miles on it.

Reply to  MarkW
September 30, 2019 5:00 am

I’m in Canada. There is a 2017 Leaf in AutoTrader for 25K CAD, 18.75K USD. link

The internet seems to think Canada is a better place to buy used cars, so I’m not sure what’s going on.

Reply to  commieBob
September 30, 2019 7:24 am

They use salt to preserve food, so shouldn’t all that road salt make cars last longer? :*)

Reply to  commieBob
September 30, 2019 12:41 pm

Two thoughts:

1) Prices for used vehicles vary from area to area depending on demand. Comparing one area to another is tricky due to that.

2) Just because you put a price on something doesn’t mean it’s a good price or you’ll get anywhere near the asking price. The other day I saw a 20 year old Crown Victoria with 300,000 miles on it being advertised for $5k, seller was claiming it was a reliable runner with many more miles in it. No thanks!

Bryan A
Reply to  commieBob
September 30, 2019 12:36 pm
If Nissan is trying to resell an older leaf without accounting for the depreciation, they’re simply trying to screw you all over again.
Once bought, twice screwed

Reply to  commieBob
September 30, 2019 10:20 pm

I looked on and found 8 2016 Nissan leafs and indeed you can buy about 6 out of the 8 for arround 12k. Several have less than 20k miles. Those cars have horrible resale. Also I bought my Platinum Ford fusion plug-in hybrid for half price 1-year-old with 12,000 miles on the clock. A year later and it’s worth 2/3 of what I bought it for.

Reply to  Gamecock
September 30, 2019 11:05 pm

A fairly random statement, depreciation varies per car, and petrol car depreciation is pretty much the same, between%75-80.
but this is a dumb statement made on its own because you save $4-5000 every year with an EV on running costs and petrol so if you stick that money in the bank you are way ahead financially from your bank with the constant repairs of a petrol car. It is very unintelligent to quote a statistic without any context

Reply to  Malia Stewart
October 1, 2019 6:42 am

you save $4-5000 every year with an EV on running costs and petrol

Don’t know what kind of ICE car you’re talking about, but my old one’s costs are no where near your numbers. And if that car was using that much fuel (use), the charging costs of an equally-used EV would be quite significant in both money & time.

IOW, your numbers are very questionable for an avg situation.

Ronald M
Reply to  Malia Stewart
October 1, 2019 11:46 am

Don’t forget that the batteries on EV will need to be replaced at ~5 years. $10K additional cost. Enjoy that wonderful smug self satisfaction.

Jake J
Reply to  Malia Stewart
October 1, 2019 3:18 pm

You do not “save $4-$5,000 every year with an EV. I own one, and save 4.6 cents/mile on fuel. The average EV is driven 9,000 miles a year; the savings would amount to about $415 at my electricity rate of 9.6 cents/kWh.

Most electricity rates are substantially higher than that, the U.S. average now being about 13 cents. This would reduce the fuel savings to slightly more than $300. Add an annual an oil change in there for $50, and we’re talking $350 to $475 or so savings per year. These numbers will vary depending on which EV and which comparable gas vehicle are paired up, but it’s not even remotely close to the fantasy claim made here.

I’m not sure who bugs me more: the anti-EV knee-jerk crowd, or the EVangelists who grossly lie about the performance, utility, and economy of EVs. Just tell the truth; it really won’t kill you.

Jake J
Reply to  Malia Stewart
October 1, 2019 6:28 pm

you save $4-5000 every year with an EV on running costs and petrol

That claim is wildly untrue.

The average EV is driven 9,000 miles a year. At the average U.S. electrical rate, gas price, and comparative car sizes for EVs and gas cars, the typical EV saves about 4 to 5 cents a mile in fuel cost relative to a comparable gas car. That’s $360 to $450 a year. Add $50 for a yearly oil change on a gas car that’s not part of owning an EV, and the running costs and fuel advantage for an EV is $400 to $500 a year.

In return, an EV owner gives up significant vehicle range and flexibility. There are situations where EVs make sense: as commuter cars and grocery-getters, like my own EV. But there’s no reason to just make up false numbers to promote EVs.

John Endicott
Reply to  Jake J
October 2, 2019 7:30 am

It really depends on the assumptions one makes.

Some numbers and the assumptions behind them from a 2017 article on the subject:
“Plug In America reported research from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute that showed the sales-weighted average fuel economy for new vehicles in 2016 was 25.3 mpg. If you take that number and the average cost of gas per gallon in the last two years ($2.35/gallon) and assume a person drives about 15,000 miles in a year, the average cost of fuel is about $1,400.

Do the same with an EV at the national average cost of 12 cents per kWh, and you’ll find that an EV will cost about $540 per year. That’s saving of roughly $860 in just one year.”

My comment: to state the obvious if you assume less miles in a year, the savings is lower, assume more and it’s higher.

And that’s just fuel. You mention $50 a year for oil change. again, that’s based on assumptions. at the 15k mile assumption using the recommended 3k or 3 months standards are you are talking 4 to 5 oil changes in a year. assume $15 a pop that’s $60 to $75 in oil changes. Change the oil less often, spend less, change the oil with more expensive synthetic blend (IE increase the cost per oil change) and the cost is more.

And there’s more than fuel and oil changes, again from the same 2017 article:
“The Alternative Fuels Data Center run by the U.S. Department of Energy states that all EVs generally require less maintenance.”

me again: less maintenance = less cost.

back to the article:
“This is because there’s simply less that can go wrong. The sheer number of parts in an EV is significantly less than a typical internal combustion engine counterpart.

The components of the powertrain in an EV will require minimal maintenance. There are fewer fluids to change, regenerative braking functions reduce brake wear, and the lack of as many moving parts means less wear and tear overall

Of course, EVs are not completely void of routine maintenance. Tires, brakes, suspension, lighting, and various other components can and will fail over time and need to be fixed or replaced. Still, you’re bound to save a lot of money during the vehicle’s life. Routine maintenance intervals will likely be farther apart than you’re used to, meaning you’ll spend less time at the shop. “

so depending on the assumptions one makes regarding those maintenance costs added to the assumptions about fuel and oil could easily drive that savings number north of $1000 a year. I’d love to see what the assumptions were behind the 4-5k number, as that seems excessively high even if you assume higher gas prices/lower electricity prices. (assuming, of course, that the poster didn’t just pull that number out of their neither regions, which is always a possibility on the internet).

Jake J
Reply to  John Endicott
October 2, 2019 9:21 am

In the real world, an EV will save $300 to $600 a year relative to a gas car’s operating costs, in return for shorter range and less flexibility. Here are the numbers:

The average gas car is driven 13,500 miles a year. The average EV is driven 9,000 miles a year on account of lower EV range. The average gas price today was $2.662 (source: AAA) and the average electricity price as of July 2019 was 13.27 cents (source: Energy Info Admin).

Using those numbers, and incorporating the forthcoming 1.7 cent/mile EV tax coming next year, my Think City EV’s fuel cost would be 5.3 cents a mile vs. 7.2 cents/mile for the equivalent gasser, a Scion iQ. The 1.9 cent/mile savings amounts to $170/year at the 9,000-mile average EV use, and $285 if we were to accept the inflated 15,000-mile driving figure.

Obviously, there are other pairings to be made, such as a Nissan LEAF vs. a Nissan Versa, or a Tesla Model 3 vs. a BMW 3 series. The Tesla would save 3.4 cents/mile at average U.S. gasoline and electricity rates, or $300/year on fuel if run for 9,000 miles and $500 if run for 15,000 miles. The LEAF would save 1.9 cents a mile, or $170/year at 9,000 miles and $285 at 15,000 miles. I calculated those numbers were calculated using Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy estimates, combined with the same gasoline and electricity price numbers I used before.

I haven’t run those numbers, but I doubt they’d be a whole lot different. The Vers

It’s absolutely true that there are other operating savings associated with an EV, such as no oil & lube jobs, exhaust work, or air filters. But those components for gassers are typically quite durable or cheap. For example, exhaust systems typically last well over 100,000 miles. On the EV side, batteries DO degrade, and someone who keeps one for a long time will have to replace it; if he sells his EV, the buyer will discount the purchase price for battery degradation.

So, when looking at annual operating costs, I’d give the EVs $100 in lower annual operating costs because there are no oil & lube jobs, and fewer brake jobs. That’s it. My Think City and someone else’s Nissan LEAF would save $270 if I or they were to drive it 9,000 miles in a year. Someone else’s Tesla Model 3 would save $600 if they were to drive it 15,000 miles in a year.

John Endicott
Reply to  John Endicott
October 2, 2019 11:41 am

the irony of following the sentence “In the real world” with a list of assumptions that lead to varying numbers. As I said, and as your post inadvertently proves, the final number one comes to of savings depends very much on assumptions one makes. One of your assumptions is “the forthcoming 1.7 cent/mile EV tax coming next year” coming to whom, and where? It’s not a federal tax and not at the state level where I live, so here where I am, that is an invalid assumption to include in any calculation whereas where you are it (Oregon I assume) it wouldn’t be.

Jake J
Reply to  John Endicott
October 2, 2019 12:35 pm

My key “assumptions” are not “assumptions.” They are data from AAA, the Energy Information Administration, and (in the case of EVs being driven 9,000 miles a year) the Wall Street Journal. In case the WSJ wasn’t correct, I gave numbers for the 15,000-mile use, which is well above U.S. Dept. of Transportation data showing that the average car is driven 13,500 miles a year.

EV taxes are becoming more common, but they are difficult to “average” for these purposes. At last count, between 17 states levy EV use taxes. WA State, for instance, levies a $150 annual fee. At 9,000 miles a year, that’s 1.7 cents a mile. Oregon will offer EV drivers a choice of a flat $110 to $120 fee starting next year, or 1.7 cents a mile.

Some state fees are higher, and others are lower. For these purposes, I think 1.7 cents a mile is a reasonably good number.

I am a retired financial analyst. When I hired new assistants, I’d sit them down and remind them of the basic financial accounting principle of materiality. Get the most accurate numbers you can when building models, and keep in mind that there are plenty of leverage points in modeling, so small discrepancies can be magnified. At the same time, I’d tell them, beware of false precision. Materiality — what actually matters — is the guiding principle.

There are always approximations in analysis. But I did not just pull numbers out of my rear. When I could get the exact ones, I did. When I couldn’t, I shot for the middle. Some “assumptions” are much better than others, and that would include mine in this discussion.

John Endicott
Reply to  John Endicott
October 3, 2019 5:39 am

Calling assumptions, no matter how good “the real world” hardly makes them “much better”. You say 17 states levy those taxes, that means there’s 33 states (basically twice as many) that *DON’T* yet you think it’s “more accurate” to factor a number based on those 17 completely ignoring the 33. How is basing off the 17 “more accurate”? It certainly nowhere near accurate for two-thirds of the country! Good thing you are a retired accountant, if you were my accountant I’d have to fire you for such shoddy accuracy.

And I never claimed you pulled numbers out of your rear, I pointed out (quite rightly) that they are based on assumptions, change the assumptions (for instance regarding the tax, which 2/3rd of the country *DOES NOT HAVE* at this time) and the resulting numbers will be different.

Jake J
Reply to  John Endicott
October 3, 2019 9:39 am

When I wrote that 17 states have extra EV fees, I was quoting a 2017 article. It’s now up to 26 states. Another 12 states are considering such fees, and others will begin going into effect next year. Half the EV sales are in California, where a fee goes into effect next year. Most of the states where EVs are most popular have the fees.

Your attempt to depict my analysis as conjecture is laughable. While it’s true that there are comparability issues and incomplete data, making precision impossible, I have been rigorous and quite accurate here. You’re shooting at the wrong target.

John Endicott
Reply to  John Endicott
October 4, 2019 6:56 am

Keep telling yourself that if it makes you feel good. Again, as pointed out numerous times, all such totals depend on assumptions. period. Claim your assumptions are the best all you want, doesn’t make it so and does stop them being assumptions. It’s pretending otherwise that is the only “wrong target” around here.

Jake J
Reply to  John Endicott
October 5, 2019 1:15 pm

Are you sure your name isn’t Michael Mann?

September 29, 2019 2:44 pm

Nio stock has been in freefall. Poor sales, huge, growing debt, and thousands of cars recalled due to battery fires. A lot of green supporters are in the red.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  jtom
September 29, 2019 4:57 pm

They are NEVER going to hold their value until the battery is replaced by ultra-capacitors.

A new one is out storing 30,000 Farads. When the time comes, batteries are history and the whole economic equation changes permanently.

It also changes the economics and practicality of intermittent renewable energy generators. Be prepared.

Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
September 29, 2019 6:07 pm

I’m waiting on ultra-capacitors for my house. Cook a hot dog in 3 seconds. Melt snow on the driveway in 15 seconds. Wire up my outside door handles to keep the bad guys out. 50,000 volts gives you a lot to work with.

Reply to  rbabcock
September 29, 2019 7:32 pm

Electrocute brainless DIYs in seconds.

My Father used to use charged capacitors to teach kids not to play with electronics.
Of course, in those days, one could get electrocuted poking around in the back of vacuum tube TV.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  ATheoK
September 29, 2019 9:20 pm

I once reflexively threw a TV chassis half way across the garage when I picked up a chassis with my bare hands and accidentally touched a power supply capacitor. It is a wonder I made it through my teenage years!

Carbon Bigfoot
Reply to  rbabcock
September 30, 2019 4:48 am

And die when you have been cooked by the pulsed EMF microwave radiation of Dirty Electricity. Wait it until 5G hits we will all fry.

Reply to  Carbon Bigfoot
September 30, 2019 5:02 am

Carbon Bigfoot re: And die when you have been cooked by the pulsed EMF microwave radiation of Dirty Electricity. Wait it until 5G hits we will all fry.

Seems to be the common myth today; are you buying into that too?

Care to share any reputable studies with us? And I’m not talking the meta-studies that interpretively and creatively ‘suggest’ a connection, but bona fide lab tests showing definitive effects at the biological level?

Reply to  Carbon Bigfoot
September 30, 2019 9:02 am

Carbon must have forgot the /sarc tag.
No one with even high school physics could even begin to believe that bunk.
At least the 5G alarmists have not found their Greta yet.
They sure are pushing their product though.

Reply to  rbabcock
September 30, 2019 7:53 am

Turn your house into a crater in a millisecond….

The trouble with capacitors is that when they short out they do it approximately at the speed of light

Reply to  tty
September 30, 2019 10:17 pm

Not with the ultra caps I have at home. One type has such a high internal resistance that after shorting it out for a few seconds, it had recovered much of it’s charge before I got the voltmeter back on it.

John in Oz
Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
September 29, 2019 6:34 pm

I recall during my electronics apprenticeship in the late 60’s that a ONE farad capacitor would be the size of the aircraft hangar we were in.

Ain’t progress wonderful?

Be sure not to short out the 30,000 farad cap, though. How will it fare through water?

Jim Gorman
Reply to  John in Oz
September 30, 2019 9:20 am

What size of bleeder resistor is needed before working on one of these without waiting a week for it to discharge?

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
September 29, 2019 7:02 pm

30,000 Farads?!!! What type and make? I would not like to be anywhere near one of those if the quality was a bit off.

During my electronics training, we used to charge up a 1 Farad paper cap, bend the leads over and then throw it at someone.

Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
September 29, 2019 7:48 pm

0-60 in under a second but don’t expect to go more than a few miles.

Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
September 29, 2019 10:22 pm

An ultra- or super-capacitor is a totally different beast than a battery. Electrostatic vs chemical energy storage. They can supplement each other but not replace the other.

Reply to  Moose
September 30, 2019 6:08 am

The latest wonderbattery, due at the end of the year(!), and made of organic cotton, so it will actually be a carbon sink as well.

Must be true – I read it on the internet:

Reply to  UBrexitUPay4it
October 1, 2019 8:48 am

Battery-hype has become like the old perpetual-motion machine fad, and will end up the same.

Michael S. Kelly LS, BSA Ret.
Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
September 30, 2019 7:39 am

The energy density of the 30,000 F capacitor is 21 W-hr/kg, more than twice that of any other supercapacitor. Replacing the 85 kW-hr Tesla battery pack would take a 4,000 kg capacitor. The maximum curb weight of a Tesla Model S is 2,240 kg. Supercapacitors and ultracapacitors have a very, very long way to go to compete with batteries (which in turn are already at their limit).

Incidentally, it isn’t known whether the (Chinese-made) 30,000 F capacitor is actually only a capacitor, or a hybrid of a supercapacitor and battery. See:

Bruce of Newcastle
September 29, 2019 2:54 pm

The depreciation of EVs must be enormous, since they’re basically worthless when the battery comes to the end of its lifespan. Which may be 8-10 years, although I don’t know what the current figure is. Willing to be corrected.

Some friends of mine had the battery fail on their hybrid*, which was about 8 years old. They got $200 for it when it was towed away, and they bought an ICE car as the replacement.

(* Which was a well known brand that I won’t name.)

John Endicott
Reply to  Bruce of Newcastle
September 30, 2019 6:47 am

Some dealerships offer good money for trade ins some don’t, so $200 doesn’t say much about the value of the car without knowing what kind of money they usually offer for trade-ins. The nearest dealership (FORD) to where I live usually offers $100 for the trade in of any 8+ year old car (and that’s ICE I’m talking about, not EVs). You really have to haggle with them (or go to a different dealership further away or just plain sell it yourself) to get anything more.

Reply to  John Endicott
September 30, 2019 9:29 am

What kind of worthless dealership are you guys going to to get $100. Seriously a junkyard will give you $300 for weight in metal alone. Hell sell a used 8 year old none running car on Craigslist for parts for $2000 all day.

John Endicott
Reply to  Soulxlight
September 30, 2019 11:32 am

What kind of worthless dealership are you guys going to to get $100

As I stated: “The nearest dealership (FORD) ” I can’t help what practices the nearest dealership engages in, all I can to is decide whether to give them my business, or (as suggested in my previous posting) go elsewhere.

Seriously a junkyard will give you $300 for weight in metal alone. Hell sell a used 8 year old none running car on Craigslist for parts for $2000 all day.

And again, as previously stated: “… go to a different dealership further away or just plain sell it yourself…”

Roger Knights
Reply to  Bruce of Newcastle
September 30, 2019 10:29 am

AFAIK, it’s possible to get replacement batteries for Priuses from independents for under $1000.

Jake J
Reply to  Bruce of Newcastle
October 2, 2019 9:43 am

Battery life estimates are all over the map. Only experience will tell.

You typically look at this in terms not of time but of charging cycles, from what I’ve seen. I typically charge my 24 kWh battery every 65 miles. Based on my reading, I think I can expect it to last for 1,500 cycles before it degrades to 70% of its original capacity. If that’s correct, the battery will last for 100,000 miles. Actually, it’ll last longer than that, but the range will be less and less, and eventually there’ll be no point in driving it.

The newer EVs have bigger batteries. The latest Nissan LEAF, for example, has a 40 kWh battery. A reasonably attentive owner should get 110 miles between charges. If 1,500 cycles is a good estimate for “70% capacity,” those should last for 165,000 miles.

Tesla supposedly has changed the materials in its batteries, and there are claims that they’ll last for 1 million miles. But Tesla has a history of inflating its claims, so I don’t trust it. Apart from that, though, because their batteries range in size from 60 kWh to 100 kWh, their range between charges should average from 160 miles to 265 miles, and ought to have a “70% capacity” of 250,000 to 400,000 miles.

All of this is conjecture, given how new EVs are. Mine are educated guesses, but they are still guesses.

September 29, 2019 3:44 pm

Didn’t know this. EVs depreciate about 2.7 times more per year than ICE cars.

A standard Internal Combustion Engine sedan such as the Chevrolet Cruze depreciates an average of $2,114 per year.

A hybrid vehicle such as the Ford Fusion Hybrid depreciates an average of $3,301 per year.

An electric car such as the Fiat 500e depreciates an average of $5,704 per year.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
Reply to  icisil
September 29, 2019 5:19 pm

That depreciation figure for EVs is slightly misleading because it includes the effect of the tax rebates, which are only available for new car purchases. If a purchaser gets the full $7,500 federal tax credit on a new EV, that car depreciates immediately by $7,500 because no sane person would buy a used car for the same price it could be purchased new.

To get a valid comparison of depreciation rates, you have to first discount the purchase price of new EVs by the applicable tax credits. The irony is when all tax credits sunset, it will have the effect of raising the resale value of used EVs.

Javert Chip
Reply to  Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
September 29, 2019 9:41 pm

I suspect without the tax credits, no manufacturer could make money selling these turkeys.

Reply to  Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
September 30, 2019 5:58 am

Who pays the depreciation doesn’t eliminate the depreciation.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
Reply to  Gamecock
September 30, 2019 12:14 pm

It isn’t depreciation; it’s a subsidy. And who pays the depreciation makes a great deal of difference in the purchase decision. If you had a choice between buying a car that depreciated $2,000/year over the first 5 years or one that depreciated $3,000/year over the same period, how would that influence your choice? Now assume that the price of the second vehicle is discounted by $10,000 in tax credits; does that change your decision?

A subsidy is an admission that the subsidized product is worth less than it’s sales price relative to competing products.

Depreciation is the loss of fair market value over time. If you want a valid comparison of EV vs. ICE depreciation, you have to start with the discounted price.

Reply to  Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
September 30, 2019 6:09 pm

“You have to start with the discounted price.”

No, I don’t.

John Endicott
Reply to  Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
October 1, 2019 9:11 am

Indeed, you don’t if all you are interested is point scoring. But, on the other hand, if you want a fair and valid apples-to-apples comparison of lost value to the purchaser, you do (as Alan pointed out).
A 40K car that drops to 20k is a loss of half of the value you paid for. A 40K car that you got for 30K (due to a 10K subsidy/tax credits) that drops to 20K only lost a third of the value you paid for. see the difference?

Reply to  Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
October 1, 2019 4:59 pm

“But, on the other hand, if you want a fair and valid apples-to-apples comparison”

Comparison with what?

Fair? The depreciation of the LEAF is horrid. If you factor in whatever, it is still horrid. Defending it is a strange game. What is this need to be “fair” to an abomination?

John Endicott
Reply to  Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
October 2, 2019 5:22 am

Again you either want point scoring or you want a valid comparison. clearly you want the former and could care less about the latter, as such what you have to say on the subject has depreciated to the point of having no value.

John Endicott
Reply to  Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
October 2, 2019 6:55 am

Alan and I have been talking EV vs ICE depreciation in general, the quote icisil used mentioned the Ford Fusion Hybrid vs the Chevy Cruze. The Leaf has nothing to do with it other than as another example brought up not by Alan or myself but Jake J (so if you want to talk only about the leaf, talk to him). Bottom line either you want to validly compare the depreciation of EVs vs ICE or you want to point score. You’ve made clear which of those two options you want to do.

Jake J
Reply to  Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
October 1, 2019 3:42 pm

It occurs to me that the tax credit pass-through component might change once the credit is gone.

Until now, a buyer of, say, a used LEAF could demand the $7,500 credit be worked into the price because he could go buy a new one and get the credit. But now that the credits are close to being phased out, that market pressure will probably go away too.

Once a new EV really costs whatever you pay the dealer, you as a potential used EV buyer will have a weaker position in that market than you did when there was a new-EV tax credit. I also think the disappearance of the credit will likely put pressure on new-EV prices and/or on new-EV sales.

Other than Tesla, which sells nothing but EVs, we really don’t know the P&L on other EVs. You read various things ranging from battery costs having come down enough to make them profitable for some manufacturers (Nissan sometimes cited), to the exact opposite.

It’s more than a little murky. If everyone is still producing each EV at a loss, how much further will they subsidize them internally for political/p.r. purposes, as opposed to keeping prices where they are and cutting production of them?

Reply to  icisil
September 29, 2019 7:23 pm

Precisely why my friend leased his Tesla Model 3. He figured between battery depreciation and advancing technology the overall depreciation would be substantial. But, at least he’s pleased with it so far!

Reply to  icisil
September 30, 2019 5:30 am

There is an exception. Teslas do pretty well as far as depreciation.

September 29, 2019 3:47 pm

Battery price/quality is the key problem with electrics. If technology can make a battery replacement affordable things will be different. I wonder, however, if EVs will ever be as useful as internal combustion cars. Particularly when you need AC as we do here in South Texas. Big power drain. Guess hard winters would be a challenge, too.

Bryan A
Reply to  JimB
September 29, 2019 3:57 pm

Good thing winters are getting warmer than

Reply to  Bryan A
September 29, 2019 5:19 pm

Wish they were. In Queensland Australia I have installed a wood heater to cope with ever colder winters

Reply to  Peter
September 29, 2019 6:19 pm

Our department of transportation would probably take a dim view of that.

Stephen Richards
Reply to  Peter
September 30, 2019 1:08 am

In QLD they will be banning the burning of wood very soon if they are true to form

September 29, 2019 4:23 pm

In China, some of those cheap electric cars will undoubtably use cheap poorly made ‘knockoff’ batteries that were manufactured with little quality control by Chinese companies with no oversight such as a Tesla factory might enjoy. And good luck complaining about warranty in China… you would become an organ donor before you know it.

As soon as the subsidy is cancelled or greatly diminished, or the car is known to be just junk, then the EV party is over. In some jurisdictions in North America, the rebates are getting less and less, and the price of electricity is rising. Sales are flat lining or falling. Why bother with even trying an EV, when an ICE vehicle of proper quality will just work whenever you need it and get very good economy as well. Gas and diesel are still cheap after adjusting for inflation.

Reply to  Earthling2
September 29, 2019 7:13 pm

Yes I guess they could only dream of meeting the high QA standards demonstrated by Tesla. I mean, do they even have a tent?

September 29, 2019 4:55 pm

re: ” But the huge buildup, often using older technologies, has led to observations that much of the nation’s output is far from cutting-edge.”

So, we’re talking golf-cart class DC brush-type motors using staged rheostats coupled to the ‘gas’ peddle?

CD in Wisconsin
September 29, 2019 6:00 pm

Electric Tesla police car in California (where else) runs out of juice during pursuit of a suspect. It apparently wasn’t clear why the car wasn’t fully charged prior to the pursuit…

“..Fremont Police are part of a six-month pilot program with the Tesla to see how it integrates into the force. Bosques said that the department is monitoring all of the data…”

Muppets are us
Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
September 30, 2019 2:32 am

Police work shifts so the police cars need to operate 24 hrs a day, not the most obvious match to an EV operating profile unless you double the fleet size plus the parking lot size etc etc.

But its tax dollars seeking virtue votes !!!!

Jake J
Reply to  Muppets are us
October 1, 2019 3:10 pm

I read that story, and it pointed out that cop cars go out with half-empty gas tanks. I’m absolutely not an EVangelist especially when it comes to Tesla, but this wasn’t the fault of the car or EVs. Someone forgot to plug it in on the prior night, period.

September 29, 2019 7:22 pm

In Elizabeth Economy’s book The Third Revolution about China under Xi she explains that EV car development was directed from the top down, and they chose a number of cities to design and produce their own EV’s (competition is good, right?) Of course, they highly subsidized them, like wind turbines and stuff, ,and the cities produced cars of all different type and with different technologies, mainly to harvest the subsidies. And, they could not use foreign technology because the foreign companies would not share their technology.
I think it explains the low quality of these EV’s.

September 29, 2019 11:11 pm

China should just line the streets of their “ghost cities” with these worthless cars! They belong together!

Rainer Bensch
Reply to  RockyRoad
September 30, 2019 4:36 am

Or let them self-driving.

September 30, 2019 4:10 am

If you believe latest Tesla hype they claim to have discovered a million mile battery.

Reply to  Stevek
September 30, 2019 8:02 am

Might even be true. Provided you only drive very short distances and charge it really slowly, and avoid hot areas.

It’s deep discharges and fast charging (i e high temperatures) that kills batteries.

Roger Knights
Reply to  Stevek
September 30, 2019 10:39 am

Tesla is hosting a presentation of batteries in a month or so.

September 30, 2019 8:12 am

It has been said that sailing in blue ocean racing yachts is like standing in a cold water shower tearing up handfuls of $100 bills. Is there a similar metaphor to describe investing in Barium titanite ultra capacitors?

Someone, somewhere could become as inordinately rich as Creosote (a character in Terry Pratchett’s books whose name puns on Croesus).

September 30, 2019 8:32 am

Where will all the electricity come from to charge these vehicles ?

Reply to  Sue
September 30, 2019 8:57 am

To: Sue, re: “Where will all the electricity come from to charge these vehicles ?”

From the “Inductance Energy Corporation”?

Inductance Energy is powering humanity with the world’s most efficient energy source

Magnetic Propulsion forever changes the way we generate and deliver electrical energy. Reliable power that uses no fossil fuels, produces no heat, and requires no combustion.

“IEC Earth Engine and Alternator Demonstrated by Dennis Danzik”

/s (< — note well)

Reply to  _Jim
October 1, 2019 4:43 am

Thanks Jim

Be wary of any investment – I hope its possible

Best regards

Reply to  Sue
October 1, 2019 4:56 am

PLEASE note, Sue, my comment was laden with *sarcasm*, hence the “/s” tag at the last …

The “Inductance Energy” corp with their “Earth engine” indeed has to be a scam; no one yet on earth has successfully demonstrated a ‘free energy’ device based on extracting energy from magnets (despite a dedicated following of ‘fans’ devoted to same) …

Most of these characters rely on simple scalar (1 dimension, non-vector) meter readings for their ‘proof’ of operation and don’t understand stored ‘reactive’ (VAR or volt-ampere reactive) energy in an electric circuit. No where will one ever see an oscilloscope in use examining the power in vs power out, nor will one see NI (National Instruments) DAQ (Data Acquisition) instrumentation ‘plumbed’ up to such a device doing efficiency or ‘coefficient of performance’ (COP) measurements or tests either.

Jake J
Reply to  _Jim
October 2, 2019 2:31 pm

The U.S. Patent Office expressly forbids patenting “perpetual motion machines.” Whatever that outfit is, it will never get a patent.

Reply to  Jake J
October 2, 2019 2:40 pm

Jake J re: “The U.S. Patent Office expressly forbids patenting “perpetual motion machines.” Whatever that outfit is, it will never get a patent. ”

Oh Jake, – you are so old school; who needs a patent when the so-called ‘investors’ line up with cash in hand to invest and you (as the purported ‘scammer’) don’t reveal your devices’ secret internal workings!

READ MORE about the “Inductance Energy” company’s antics here:
“Earth Engine – Dennis Danzik_

Note: To get the big picture on these folks (including the legal entanglements by one of the principals) you’ll have to go DEEP into that blog post.

Smart Rock
September 30, 2019 9:55 am

Slightly off topic, but it says here that Tesla is going to phase out the use of cobalt in their batteries, replacing it with more nickel, which will supposedly increase the storage capacity and hence mileage.

Most probably a reaction to adverse publicity about unregulated cobalt mining with child labour in Congo.

Nickel market is hot, and this brings hope to tired and underemployed exploration geologists like me. Apparently the Indonesian government is getting tough with Chinese nickel mining companies and their poor environmental record; they have shut down one mine already, and are going on about wanting more processing in their country, and not shipping raw or semi-processed ores to China. Nickel supply is now less than demand.

September 30, 2019 12:21 pm

I’ve had some odd sounding explanations (from advocates) to explain the low resale values for EVs and hybrids. The answer given was that it was due to tech change of newer models. There was no mention of batteries, generators, specialized labor costs, etc. That explanation does fit with a throwaway car market segment I suppose. I just invested in a used V8 ICE SUV to watch reality unfold from the sidelines of what appears to be the setup for a cliff dive of the industry players.

Jake J
Reply to  ResourceGuy
October 1, 2019 1:54 pm

The low resale values are, to a significant degree, an artifact of the $7,500 federal tax credit. Buyers of used EVs expect the credit to be passed along, but the publications that track resale value don’t incorporate it in the starting price. Beyond that, the first LEAFs had battery problems, and that hurt them.

October 1, 2019 11:16 am

Funny, Rush says a police on duty driving a Tesla in San Jose chasing after a suspect’s car ran out of battery after 6 miles. Suspect’s car was later found abandoned & suspect got away. Office complained someone forget to charge it…..

John Endicott
Reply to  beng135
October 2, 2019 7:44 am


“…the Tesla was not fully charged at the beginning of the officer’s shift…”

“…the Tesla Model S, which the department bought in March, became involved in a police pursuit Friday but radioed dispatch to say that the electric vehicle warned that it had only 6 miles of battery life left and that he may not be able to continue in the chase….”

“…The chase was called off for safety reasons and the highway patrol later found the suspect’s car abandoned in San Jose…”

though to be fair, during the chase “…The department had other police vehicles behind the Tesla to take over the chase, and the California Highway Patrol was also responding, according to the department….” so you can’t fully blame the Tesla for the suspect getting away, as there were other, non-EV cars also in pursuit.

Jake J
October 1, 2019 1:52 pm

I interrupt these screeds with some objectivity.

I own a 2011 Think City. Made by a Norwegian outfit that was briefly Ford’s EV division before Ford ran into financial trouble and ditched them along with Jaguar and Volvo. The battery came from Enerdel, an Indiana company. Bought it in Think’s 2012 bankruptcy sale at 70% off, and have used it in 5 of the intervening years to drive 16,100 miles; the 2 year hiatus wasn’t on account of a problem with the car, but happened because we had five vehicles and the EV didn’t get used for no reason in particular.

We moved to the countryside a couple years ago, and as part of the move we ditched two of the cars and I started using the EV for grocery runs into town. It’s a fine little plastic grocery-getter, and has a shockingly large cargo capacity for a 10-foot-long two-seater hatchback. The only fixes so far have been to replace a set of tires and the 12-volt battery that runs the accessories. Averages 127 mpg-e throughout the year, peaking at 140 mpg-e for the summer, and bottoming out at 102 mpg-e in winter. This was entirely a curiosity purchase; I laugh at the AGW cult, and might be America’s only EV owner with a National Rifle Assn. decal on the back window.

One of these days, I’ll run it until the wheels stop rolling to see how much battery degradation there’s been, but my guess is not much. I track the numbers for every charge, and the peak fuel economy is usually in August. I aim to recharge when it hits 20% state of charge, and thus far have assumed (with no real basis) that the original 25 kWh capacity has declined to 23 kWh. Thus far, it’s been through 275 charging cycles, and based on what I’ve read I think I can expect at least another 750 cycles (and probably more like 1,250) before the battery degrades to 70% of its original capacity.

Between Aug. 9 and Aug. 14 this summer, I went 82.4 miles on 18.72 kWh, measured by a little submeter I had installed as part of our house construction. That made for 152 mpg-e. The lowest in the past year was between Jan. 12 and Jan. 18, when I went 52.4 miles on 19.2 kWh, for 94 mpg-e. At my electricity rate (9.6 cents/kWh), the fuel cost per mile for the year has been 2.6 cents/mile. This is untaxed, but in 2020 a 1.7/mile tax kicks in, so for comparison purposes let’s call it 4.3 cents/mile.

The equivalent gas car, a Scion iQ that is almost exactly the same size and weight, gets 37 mpg. The gasoline including taxes would have cost 8.9 cents a mile over the past year, or just a bit more than double. Bottom line: At least for me, the Think EV is a reliable and cheap local grocery-getter. No complaints yet. I’d also point out that, if I owned the Scion, I’d have been through a few oil changes by now.

I don’t care one single bit about CO2, but others do and I’m a nerd. So I’ve looked a little bit at that side although it’s not something I track. From my past reading, I think that my EV “emits” about 60% of the CO2 per mile that the Scion would, using the U.S. national average of fuels and methods used to generate electricity. Where I happen to live, though, 89% of the electricity comes from dams and wind turbines on the Columbia River; another 8% from a nuke about 100 miles away; and the remaining 3% from a coal generator about 100 miles in a different direction.

Thus, where I am, the Think’s CO2 output rounds down to zero. Again, not that I care in the least. No one has congratulated me for my eco responsibility, but if they did I would laugh at them. This was never an eco purchase, only a car nut’s curiosity item. By the way, my other vehicle is a one-ton diesel Ram 3500 pickup truck. Call me names. LOL

Reply to  Jake J
October 2, 2019 6:14 am

Thanks for the detailed account. I’d assume the lower mpg-e in winter is the use of cabin heating & lower battery efficiency at lower temps….

Jake J
Reply to  beng135
October 2, 2019 8:25 am

Yeah, I think those two factors are paramount.

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