Are Electric Vehicles “Over-Hyped?”

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The media is fond of telling us that electric vehicles are over-hyped and destined to disappoint their owners. I took some people to the Alt Car Expo in Santa Monica a few weeks ago who told me all the things that EVs need to be: inexpensive and roomy – without that nagging “range anxiety.”

“Sure, that would be nice,” I explained. “And we’ll get there. But in the meanwhile, you may wish to look at the bigger picture.”

I went on to point out that in the US, we’re in the process of replacing 230 million cars and trucks. This year, Nissan will be making 20,000 Leafs (Leaves?) available to its dealers (one ten-thousandth of the installed base of internal combustion engines) – and they’re going to sell like hotcakes.

EVs aren’t for everyone right now, but think of how many multi-car households in single-family dwellings with garages have one car that commutes to and from work and performs local errands. I submit that a very large percentage of them would simply love to never pull into another gas station.

So what else will happen this same year?

  • The continued development of EV programs by virtually every established auto manufacturer on the planet – not to mention numerous start-ups
  • Progress with plans to install Level 3 (fast) chargers in high-traffic corridors on the East Coast
  • The continued decline in the cost per kilowatt-hour of lithium-ion battery storage
  • And by the way, despite the pushback from the fossil fuel industries, we’ll see the dogged perseverance in the migration to renewable energy over coal as the predominant source of electricity.

Are EVs all things to all people? Of course not. The Wright brothers didn’t build a Boeing 777 either. I’m sure the Kitty Hawk Times reported that their invention was over-hyped, but that’s not the way I see it.

Article by Craig Shields, appearing courtesy 2GreenEnergy.

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6 Comments

  1. Great look at the changing EV landscape here!

    There’s no doubt that despite some skepticism, EVs are the future. The investment we’re making in infrastructure is only the beginning of this next wave. Yes, they’re not for everyone, but the technology can only improve, making EVs available and practical for even more people. Did you know that there are already some EVs in this country that are considered classics? Here’s a story that looks at the past and future of electric vehicles:

    http://www.energynow.com/video/2010/10/01/ev-ready-or-not

  2. One of the greatest things about EV is that they’re silent. So even if they are a bit over-hyped at the moment I believe that in 50 years there will be plenty of people using them quietly.

  3. Great article. As people adopt to EVs I predict there will be a big adjustment in terms of expectations about what a car is! You allude to this with your comment about range anxiety – interesting term. Not to mention the heating and air conditioning, both of which will be a big change to people accustomed to conventional cars.

    Actually I view this as a good thing. People need to become a lot more aware of their energy consumption and the trade offs that get made in order to be efficient.

  4. So instead of throwing out pollution as you drive, we will have clean skies in our cities. The power to recharge will just be generated someplace else and pollute the skies there. As most of our energy comes from coalfired plants, how do we deal with that problem.

    I guess we could generate the cleanest electricity if we went nuclear finally for all our power.

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