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-   -   Electric cars and liberals’ refusal to accept science (http://www.cleanmpg.com/forums/showthread.php?t=43057)

ALS 03-07-2012 10:33 AM

Electric cars and liberals’ refusal to accept science
 
It costs a fortune to pump, refine and ship crude oil. Yet even accounting for all that, gas-powered cars are a better value than electric vehicles and will be for some time.

http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/523/Volt_News.jpg
Charles Lane - WASHINGTONPOST - March 7, 2012

Oh the points I could argue with this guy over this piece. He so right and so wrong on a few issues. --Ed.

President Obama boasted at a United Auto Workers conference last week that General Motors was back in business, producing cutting-edge vehicles like the plug-in electric Chevrolet Volt. He even promised to buy one when his time in office ends “five years from now.”

Whoops! Just three days later, GM announced that it would suspend Volt production for five weeks this spring, idling 1,300 workers at a Hamtramck, Mich., factory.

Alas, Obama’s endorsements notwithstanding, there’s not much of a market for this little bitty car, at least not at the price of almost $32,000 — after a $7,500 federal tax rebate.

GM fell 2,300 units short of its sales target (10,000) for 2011. It is not on pace to hit 2012’s goal of 45,000 units.

So much for Obama’s goal of 1 million all-electrics and plug-ins on the road by 2015. ... [Read More]

Chuck 03-07-2012 10:39 AM

Re: Electric cars and liberals’ refusal to accept science
 
I'll take a pass on government-funding issues except to note Toyota did not need any to develop the Prius.

Weren't the 1st PCs and cell phones huge, unwieldy and crude? The Volt is a testbed.

ItsNotAboutTheMoney 03-07-2012 11:33 AM

Re: Electric cars and liberals’ refusal to accept science
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Chuck (Post 337283)
I'll take a pass on government-funding issues except to note Toyota did not need any to develop the Prius.

But they've benefited significantly from Japanese government policy, including Japan's national management of metals.

Quote:

Weren't the 1st PCs and cell phones huge, unwieldy and crude? The Volt is a testbed.
But they fulfilled a need that wasn't being met. The Volt is just a different way of doing something: so the Volt simply isn't going to sell well at current price or efficiency.

MaxxMPG 03-07-2012 11:43 AM

Re: Electric cars and liberals’ refusal to accept science
 
The best solution currently available is the "compromise". In between the all-gasoline ("Republican", based on the tone of the article) and all-electric ("Democrat", based on the tone of the article) is the gasoline-electric hybrid. The hybrid is more expensive than the all-gas car and less expensive than the all-electric car. Its improved fuel economy allows buyers to recover the extra cash spent on the car within a reasonable time frame.

What needs to happen is for automakers to offer basic hybrid models at an affordable cost rather than loading them up with creature comforts and selling them for high end prices. The Prius hits the mark with the "III" package, offering 50mpg and a price tag that is in the same range as competing gas-only cars. The Insight misses the mark in that it offers the lower pricetag but does so with option packages that force buyers to pay Prius-size sticker prices to get the equipment and features they want.

herm 03-07-2012 11:59 AM

Re: Electric cars and liberals’ refusal to accept science
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by MaxxMPG (Post 337295)
What needs to happen is for automakers to offer basic hybrid models at an affordable cost rather than loading them up with creature comforts and selling them for high end prices.

ahh come on!.. you want that adaptive cruise control so you can safely tailgate Explorers doing 85mph

rhwinger 03-07-2012 12:04 PM

Re: Electric cars and liberals’ refusal to accept science
 
If we paid the true cost of gas at the pump that included all those external costs like wars, health, political policies that support despots and all the rest - the Volt would be flying off dealer's lots!

Pavel4 03-07-2012 12:05 PM

Re: Electric cars and liberals’ refusal to accept science
 
Mr. Lane ends his piece with:

"What’s “progressive” about that, I’ll never understand."

Progress is rarely linear, it's more like the Evolutionary record, full of fits and starts (Punctuated Equilibrium). The road to petroleum-free vehicles is just beginning - we are probably 20 years behind where we could have been. When the ICE was new, it must have seemed very impractical for some time... the same is true for this new attempt at a measure of energy freedom.

By the time Volt III or IV is available, it will be much better. But Charles Lane has overlooked the obvious - you need Volts I and II to be built first.

MaxxMPG 03-07-2012 12:19 PM

Re: Electric cars and liberals’ refusal to accept science
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by herm (Post 337297)
ahh come on!.. you want that adaptive cruise control so you can safely tailgate Explorers doing 85mph

Yes! And I want Bluetooth without having to rinse my mouth with Ty-D-Bowl. That'll give you lotsa blue tooth.

I am waiting to see how the Prius c compares to other B-class entries. The pricing and packaging details seem to suggest that it will be a good commuter car without all the extra gizmos and will offer fantastic fuel economy if driven in a sane manner.

Jay 03-07-2012 12:33 PM

Re: Electric cars and liberals’ refusal to accept science
 
I agree with the author of the article on his point that government should not be subsidizing electric vehicles. Let the marketplace choose which energy technologies should come and go. This makes the most efficient use of all resources.

WriConsult 03-07-2012 12:46 PM

Re: Electric cars and liberals’ refusal to accept science
 
Quote:

By contrast, even state-of-the-art batteries deliver far less energy than gas, in a far bigger package. A Volt can go 35 miles on a single charge of its 435-pound battery. This sounds like a big deal until you realize that a gas-engine Chevy Cruze gets 42 miles per gallon — and costs half as much as a Volt.
The basic point about energy density is true, but:
(1) It exaggerates a bit -- the 42mpg rating is only for the rare XFE model, and the Cruze gets far, far less in city driving; in town (where it counts), the Volt can still go further on a charge than the Cruze can on a gallon.
(2) It misses the point: 35-42 miles is enough to cover most daily driving. For longer trips the Volt still has a similar range to the Cruze, and gets about the same mpg after depleting its pack.

Quote:

It costs a fortune to pump, refine and ship crude oil. Yet even accounting for all that, gas-powered cars are a better value than electric vehicles and will be for some time.
The true cost isn't included in the price of gas. Some people care about that, even if Charles Lane doesn't give a s***.

Quote:

Gas savings on the Volt would take nine years at $5 per gallon to offset its higher price over the Cruze, an Edmunds.com analysis found last month.
Unlike gas prices, electric rates vary widely across the country. To say it "would take" 9 years for the average consumer is misleading again, because few Americans are "average consumers" when it comes to juice. For many folks back East, it would take much longer than 9 years to recoup the cost. For people like me, where electricity is well under 10c/kWh, the payback would be much shorter -- perhaps less than 5 years.

And so what it it did take 9 years? Last I checked, the average car is on the road 9 more years, and that will certainly be more true of a higher-end car like the Volt than a disposable econobox. So it actually does pay for itself economically, let alone envrionmentally.

Quote:

Gas consumption creates “negative externalities” — instability in the Middle East, carbon emissions — not fully reflected in its price. But another fact about electric vehicles is that their juice comes from the fossil-fuel-burning grid in the first place.
Well, here he at least acknowledges the externalities ... but he actually avoids addressing them head-on and misleads his readers again:
(1) Not everyone is charging their EVs off a primarily fossil-fuel powered grid. Our base power is over 50% renewable here (and cheaper than the national average), and for 8.75c/kWh we can get 99% renewable energy.
(2) EVs are 3x more efficient than gas cars. Even when charged off the eastern coal-based grid, the 99mpgE Volt is using less energy in EV mode than the Cruze.

Quote:

Originally Posted by MaxxMPG (Post 337295)
The best solution currently available is the "compromise". In between the all-gasoline ("Republican", based on the tone of the article) and all-electric ("Democrat", based on the tone of the article) is the gasoline-electric hybrid. The hybrid is more expensive than the all-gas car and less expensive than the all-electric car. Its improved fuel economy allows buyers to recover the extra cash spent on the car within a reasonable time frame.

What needs to happen is for automakers to offer basic hybrid models at an affordable cost rather than loading them up with creature comforts and selling them for high end prices. The Prius hits the mark with the "III" package, offering 50mpg and a price tag that is in the same range as competing gas-only cars. The Insight misses the mark in that it offers the lower pricetag but does so with option packages that force buyers to pay Prius-size sticker prices to get the equipment and features they want.

I agree. The Volt and Leaf are bleeding-edge vehicles, and no one is pretending they are the best value out there. To say they won't pay for themselves misses the point, and is like saying a Mercedes S500 won't pay for itself. No duh.

Meanwhile the better hybrids ARE a good value -- the Prius still blows away everything else, at a competitive price, and has been rated the best value family car by Consumer Reports for several years running IIRC. Personally I can do fine without fancy options beyond PW, PDL and AC (Prius level II is FINE with me), and might well have bought an Insight last spring if the base model had been available post-tsunami. I do still think we need to see hybrid technology trickling down to sub-$20k vehicles. The Prius c will be a fantastic addition to our menu of choices, even if still a bit steep for most economy buyers.


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