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Range Anxiety #1 Concern in EV Sales. Well Duh…

Posted in Economy Cars, Electric Cars, Electric Vehicles, Featured, Other Rides, Rides by MrAngry | February 21st, 2011 | 5 Responses |

Electric Cars
*Photo Credit: Good.is

Let me be the first to congratulate Indiana University for being total masters of the obvious. You see according to AutoNews.com they’ve just conducted a study that states that the majority of consumers are not ready to own electric vehicles (big surprise). The study was done on the heels of President Obama reiterating his goal of getting 1 million electric or advanced technology vehicles on the road by 2015. Hey Barack – here’s a news flash, it ain’t going to happen buddy. Regardless of how much money government and or manufacturers throw at the development of electric vehicles, there is still one major problem – people don’t want them yet. We’ve seen manufacturers like Tesla and Nissan tout how wonderful these machines are, and I’ll agree that from a technical perspective they are. For practical everyday usage though, they’re simply not there yet. Drop their initial cost, up their range and make them as practical as a regular automobile and then you’ll have people stopping to take notice.

Dead Battery
*Photo Credit: Jagbo.com

Obviously the biggest issue that consumers are facing with today’s EV’s is the notion of range anxiety. It’s that same “Oh Shit!” feeling that you get when you run out of gas. Instead of getting a gas can and being on your way within 15-20 minutes though, you’re stuck someplace for the next 12-20 hours before your car recharges. Then there’s the issue of towing it to an electrical outlet via a special tow truck that is designed specifically for rescuing dead EV’s. Sounds fun right? Listen, the technology for developing new advanced vehicles is progressing faster everyday and will only get better over time. However, these cars really won’t make sense until State and Local governments come together to develop a viable infrastructure in which to support them. Say what you will, but until that happens I have a feeling that most electric cars will be nothing more then novelty items for those who are eco-friendly.

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5 Responses

  1. Taylor says:

    Personally I will never buy into electric vehicles for two reasons.

    Practicality, they are in no way practical. The batteries are designed to move the car and a certain amount of weight for a certain amount of time. Works great for most instances but the time when that load increases above typical your range will take a hit which goes back to the point of the article.

    Green weenie train, derailed. Stop and think about all the people screaming about dirty electricity for the last couple of decades. Now throw something in there that will tax the system even more. Doesn’t make one bit of sense. From their perspective, all they are seeing is getting however many fossil fueled vehicles off the roads without regard to the increase of fossil fuels burned behind the scenes.

    Give them time though (25-50 years maybe). Gearheads are a dying breed. Even with the many sites, like this one, and auto related magazines out there to support the passion/hobby. Many people today buy cars based on pedigree, technology or looks, not for a particular driving experience.

    How many people drive gigantic, lifted, 4×4 diesel trucks without ever once using them to haul anything or even take them off road?

    How about all the people who jumped in the import tuner scene after they won a wicked cool race on GT whatever number or Forza Motorsport or saw some stunt driver do some kick ass shit on the big screen?

    How about all the people who buy high end (very capable) American, European or Asian cars without a care in the world as to what makes them as great as they are?

    Just as manufacturers have and will use mass media (games and movies) to push a particular car today, the same will eventually happen with electrics. All they have to do is make it cool to be seen in one (and find a way to take care of range anxiety) and it’s all down hill from there.

    There will always be a few hanging on (I hope) but we are a dying breed. Hell, who knows, we may even end up with a society like the one in that old Lee Majors movie The Last Chase.

  2. MrAngry says:

    The Last Chase – Jesus, I haven’t seen the movie in years, good call!

    “Just as manufacturers have and will use mass media (games and movies) to push a particular car today, the same will eventually happen with electrics. All they have to do is make it cool to be seen in one (and find a way to take care of range anxiety) and it’s all down hill from there.”

    Dude, I completely agree with you which why us gearheads and hot-rodders not only need to hang to what we’ve got, but educate those as why our cars so much.

  3. Isn’t the Volt the exception? From what I read this car is quite practical and has great range even though it’s electrical because it also has a traditional powertrain to back it up. Granted it’s not 100% electrical but close enough. Actually it’s very stressful trying to find a gas station even in a normal car. There were times when I was in an unfamiliar area and couldn’t find a gas station for the life of me and almost had an anxiety attack because the E light was on.

  4. Edwin Solares says:

    I found this post a bit comical and laughable to say the least. This “range anxiety” everyone talks about is just another boogie man created by either drama loving reporting or oil industry advocates. Studies have shown, the average american drives approximately 40-80 miles a day depending on what state you live in. Second, local economies will not build infrastructure for a vehicle that does not exist. Once EV’s start being mass produced for the public, then public and private entities will start investing money into charging stations. Why build infrastructure when it is not needed yet? Second argument is price tag. What I find amusing are the cries of speculators on how “expensive” electric cars are, but in reality that is definitely not the case. When one looks at the total cost of ownership of a gas vehicle in comparison to that of even the most expensive EV the Model S (Price tag of about $50,000) over a period of 5 years, one will notice something completely different, and even more so in a period of 10 years. Considering gasoline will only continue to rise, the price of a gas vehicle in comparison to an EV will only grow exponentially. If you don’t believe me, then pull up a spreadsheet and calculate how much fuel costs for 15,000 a year for 5 years at about $4.00 a gallon. When compared to less than half a buck for electricity (in my state it’s about 15-20 cents a KWh). The average battery capacity of an EV is around 23KWh and I believe the Model S is around 46-60KWh.

    • Kurt Ernst says:

      Edwin, you’re aware that the Tesla Model S doesn’t even exist yet, right? And that using the extended range EV Chevy Volt as an example, there are circumstances where it’s more economical to run the car on gasoline than it is to run it on municipally supplied power? (I believe the cut-off point was around $0.23 per kilowatt hour). The economics of electric cars, then, vary greatly by location (same as gasoline fueled cars).

      As for the range anxiety issue, cars like the Leaf fit a very specific demographic, and most will be purchased as a second or third car. I can guarantee that some owners will find out the hard way that range is dependent on a variety of circumstances, including traffic, weather and battery load from accessories. I’m not anti-Leaf, but the car just doesn’t fit what I want out of an automobile. Neither does the Volt, although it comes much closer.

      I salute the early adopters of electric car technology, since you have to start somewhere. I’d like to think that a practical electric car, one with a 300+ mile minimum range and performance comparable to a gasoline car is achievable in the near future. This much is certain: it’s not just around the corner.