Obama’s Electric car experiment a failure so far

The administration’s rosy hope: If we build it, they will sell, hasn’t panned out. Sales of GM’s hybrid Volt and Nissan’s Leaf are much below expectations in spite of heavy U.S. government subsidies. In fact, GM is temporarily suspending Volt production – again. Even the liberal Washington Post is disenchanted:

“No matter how you slice it, the American taxpayer has gotten precious little for the administration’s investment in battery-powered vehicles, in terms of permanent jobs or lower carbon dioxide emissions. There is no market, or not much of one, for vehicles that are less convenient and cost thousands of dollars more than similar-sized gas-powered alternatives — but do not save enough fuel to compensate. The basic theory of the Obama push for electric vehicles — if you build them, customers will come — was a myth. And an expensive one, at that.”

Part of the problem is that electric cars are impractical due to their limited range given the current state of battery technology. We knew that 100 years ago. The vehicle in the photo is the 1911 Baker Electric which could go 50 miles on one battery charge. The GM Volt can go 40 miles on a charge. The Nissan Leaf claims 100 miles on a charge, but that varies from 47 to 138 miles depending on conditions. By the way, hybrid vehicles, first developed in 1916, just make automobiles unnecessarily complex.

Emphasizing the impracticality of electric cars, a story last year about driving a Leaf from San Diego, California, to Tucson, Arizona, found that what is normally an 8-hour drive took a week in a Leaf.

GM is losing money on each Volt they make. They are selling the Volt for about $40,000 (much more expensive than comparable gasoline-power models), but it costs GM $89,000 to manufacture the vehicle according to Reuters.

Sales of the Volt have been weak even though federal agencies (i.e. taxpayers) have been buying or plan to buy them.

Another, related issue is The EPA’s Electric Vehicle Mileage Fraud. The EPA calculates a miles-per-gallon equivalent (MPGe) for electric cars that estimates the amount of fossil fuels which must be burned to create the electricity to charge the batteries of an electric car. In a Forbes article, Warren Meyers shows that “The EPA’s methodology is flawed because it assumes perfect conversion of the potential energy in fossil fuels to electricity, an assumption that violates the second law of thermodynamics. The Department of Energy has a better methodology that computes electric vehicle equivalent mileage based on real world power plant efficiencies and fuel mixes, while also taking into account energy used for refining gasoline for traditional cars. Using this better DOE methodology, we get MPGe’s for electric cars that are barely 1/3 of the EPA figures.”

It seems that the great green hype is more hope than reality. This exercise in crony capitalism and green dreaming demonstrates the incompetence of government in the marketplace.

See also:

Does the Chevy Volt produce more CO2 from its battery than from its gasoline engine

Tax Dollars to Build Charging Stations for Electric Vehicles

The Chevy Volt, just the latest expensive toy

Which Vehicles Are Most Energy Efficient?

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37 comments

  1. I guess you waited to buy Intel until the 1990s. Like chips, Batteries are not a 12month or gone investment. Near term benefits haven’t materialized, but the US is a major market, and if we can progress from lab work to US production, we will have our ROI. Look what’s in the university Labs and companies like Envia. Let’s see if we can keep some production at home.

  2. Maybe we can subsidize motorcycles instead. My Suzuki ex650 Adventure bike gets about 65 MPG if I ride it gently. Even my Ducati with 140 HP gets about 45 MPG.

    1. Richard, specify what you think is misinformation, or is your comment just politically motivated nonsense?

      1. I think what Mr. Slaughter is referring to is your lack of addressing any of the benefits of electric vehicles, only preferring to cherry pick the costs associated. Mr. Duhamel offers no evaluation of driver satisfaction, and instead makes some random reference to an electric vehicle from the turn of the century. What you fail to recognize, Mr. Duhamel, is that most purchasers of EVs are quite satisfied with their vehicles because they understand their limits. Perhaps providing more information about the source of energy that these vehicles consume would highlight the reduction in dependence upon subsidized foreign oil.

      2. What’s misinformation? C’mon, give me a harder question! The hardest part of THIS one is whittling down the list you gave us!

        Let’s start right in the headline- you call it “Obama’s” electric car, repeatedly assigning him credit for the Electric vehicle subsidies, ignoring the fact that president George W. Bush actually signed the EV Tax credit into law:

        Next, “Part of the problem is that electric cars are impractical due to their limited range given the current state of battery technology.”

        Having put around 15k miles on my leaf so far, like most leaf owners I find these claims of it being “impractical” laughable. Your agenda blinds you to the fact that “doesn’t work for my circumstances” does not equate to “is impractical to everyone”.

        Next, “… but it costs GM $89,000 to manufacture the vehicle according to Reuters.”

        Don’t you love “technical” correctness? It’s the best sort! It allows you to be completely factually correct when you mislead your readers entirely. As the analysis in your linked article states, it includes the 1.2 Billion dollar initial investment, which was a one-time investment that will contribute to EVERY vehicle GM produces in the future that uses a battery – and as much as you hate it, there will be many- even if EV’s don’t take off (which I believe they will – and are beginning to, for that matter), hybrids have proven to be a very popular choice already. When you distribute that cost among every future batery-including vehicle, the volt investment is a quite good one.

        Next up, your entire paragraph about MPGe seems to get to no point impacting any actual buyer. What are you hoping the MPG number represents, operating costs? pollution impacts? Something else? Either way, there are established studies that show the current figure to be a fairly accurate estimate – even conservative in many cases. As a driver of an electic and a combustion vehicle – one who tracks the cost of every mile I drive – For operating costs, my leaf has cost me 2.9 cents for every mile I’ve driven (I get around 3.7miles per kw/h including all losses, and I pay about 11 cents per kw/h, which I think is pretty close to national average). My combustion vehicle, a 25 mpg subaru, has cost me 15 cents for every mile – 5x the cost per mile!! Needless to say it doesn’t get driven much 🙂 Now certainly, there are much more efficient combustion-driven cars out there, but even at 40mpg that’s still 9 cents, more than TRIPLE the cost of the E.V. – and in the city, you won’t find many pure gas cars getting that. Even with the added expense of the leaf, it turns to a positive ROI pretty quickly, and by end of life will be ahead by thousands – even with worst-case estimates on battery life. All that is icing, though; the single point MPG would represent here would be a way for a customer to see cost per mile, and for that the current MPGe number is ***VERY*** conservative.

        Or were you talking pollution impact? A recent study by the U.S. Department of Energy concluded that, while the impact varied quite a bit dependent upon how your local energy grid was fueled, even in the worst areas, where coal is responsible for essentially half of the local power grid, EV’s contribute dramatically less co2 than gas – 13,000lbs of co2 per year per average gas vehicle vs 4,000 to 8,000 per EV (depending on grid power). Again, the MPGe number reflects this in aggregate fairly well… Not as conservatively as cost per mile, but still conservative. And since coal usage in the US is on the decline, these numbers are improving all the time.

        Your number is certainly “technically correct” (again, you love that, huh?) but what’s the point of a number if it is meaningless to any end user – which your suggested number would be? The ONLY way your number would be truly relevant is if you’re comparing an EV driven off of electricity generated EXCLUSIVELY by burning gas – a stupid and inefficient way to generate electricity; no surprise it’s one that basically noone uses.

        We get it. You don’t like Obama, and want to find any excuse to make him look bad, even if the issue doesn’t actually relate to him at all. I honestly could care less about that, have at it and have fun – but how about you stick to talking about his policies and leave good cars out of it?

        Meanwhile, you should give a leaf a test drive. If you can see past your nonsensical political rage, you’ll find it’s actually a brilliant car that’s fun to drive, comfortable, roomy, and best of all will save most people tons of money over the course of its life. Sure there are those that need something different – if you drive 40 miles one way to work every day, it’s not for you (though the volt cold be). But you don’t take a cruze off-roading either, and you shouldn’t expect a chevy 1-ton dually pickup to represent the most fuel-efficient commuter vehicle – that doesn’t make either vehicle a “failure”, just not suited to that particular application.

      3. I’m glad you like your leaf; it works for you. I wonder however, if you had purchased a comparable gasoline vehicle which presumably has a lower price, how long will it take the Leaf’s lower operating cost to break even with its higher purchase price. Where is the break even point and will your battery last that long?

      4. I’ve done that math Jonathan.

        If you purchased a full price (no subsidy) Leaf and charged it on eight cent electricity ( a reasonable estimate for off-peak electricity) it would cost you about the same as a $25k, 40MPG gasmobile burning $4/gallon gas over 11 years of ownership.

        In other words, EVs and ICEVs are priced just about equally right now.
        EV prices are almost certain to drop. Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Nissan and Renault, has just announced that cheaper EV batteries are in the chute. We’re probably no more than five years from the point at which EVs will cost the same or less than ICEVs to purchase and, obviously, significantly less per month to drive.

        When we get there we can start hanging on to the $1 billion we spend a day for imported oil and we can tell the oil country crackpots to pi$$ off.
        Those EV/PHEV subsidies are some good investments in our future, wouldn’t you agree?

        Cheaper driving. Improved balance of trade. More cash sloshing around inside the American economy. More national security because we won’t have to “protect our oil supply”.

        Has any country ever made a better investment?

        (Well, wind and solar are also paying off very big time….)

      5. I made a mistake Jonathan. I just rechecked my spreadsheet and the full-priced Leaf hits the break-even point after ten years, not after eleven. That means that if you drive the Leaf for the US average of 12 years then it’s cheaper than a gasmobile.

        Sorry for the bad info.

      6. What kind of gas vehicle are you comparing the Nissan Leaf to?
        The operating costs of a vehicle involves five major components:

        *Fuel

        *Maintenance (not including tires)

        *Tires

        *Unscheduled repairs

        *Depreciation

        Do you see the cost of fuel going up or down in the foreseeable
        future?

        Typical Maintenance:

        oil changes – usually every 3,000 miles

        belts – check with every oil change

        timing belts (where applicable) – usually every 60,000
        miles, or 90,000 miles

        brakes – front brakes usually last 20,000-30,000 miles, rear
        brakes usually 60,000 miles varies depending on driving habits and conditions
        (regenerative braking means less brake jobs)

        transmission services – usually every 60,000

        coolant services – usually every 2 years, some coolant types
        are good for 5 years

        hoses – check with every oil change, rot from the inside out

        spark plugs – usually every 30,000, some every 60,000, some
        every 90,000

        spark plug wires – usually every 60,000 miles or when they
        go bad

        distributor cap and rotor – cars that have them usually
        every 60,000 miles

        air filter – should be checked with every oil change

        Typical Depreciation:

        20% per year.

        http://www.automobilemag.com/am/2012/nissan/leaf/ownership_costs.html

      7. Yep. I generally don’t even add those maintenance costs in when doing an EV/ICEV comparison. EVs do well even without full accounting.

        My guess is that EVs will depreciate less than ICEVs. If you’re shopping for a ten year old car for your kid to drive to school your likely to be willing to pay more for something that costs $1/gallon drive as long as it has adequate daily range. Same for budget shoppers looking for a daily commute car.

        There’s already data that shows that high mpg ICEVs hold their value better than less efficient cars.

      8. With subsidies, I believe it will save quite a bit over its life, though there’s room for debate about what a comparable car is. Taking my Leaf, I paid $28k after rebate ($7500 rebate, so $35.5k before rebate). In my opinion, I think a good comparison would be a Nissan Versa hatchback 1.8sl with all options I got with my Leaf (things like backup camera, nav, cvt, intellikey, bluetooth, fog lights, …) – Same body size and style (though the Leaf has a bit more room in most dimensions), relatively high fuel efficiency, etc). I’ve seen a lot of comparison use something like a Cruze, but I believe that would be unreasonable as the Cruze is not a hatchback, and does not include nearly the options of a Leaf. So, with everything configured the same, according to Nissan’s web site, that puts the price at $20,500 for the Versa (1.8sl, with nav package, trunk/floor mats, cargo cover). Price difference: $7,500. Using the 12k miles per year estimate, and using city mileages (pretty much all my driving is city – higher mileage would work in the Leaf’s favor, lower would work in the Versa’s favor), with a national average consumer electricity cost of 11.8c per kwh, the Leaf costs $383 per year to drive. The Versa, at 28mpg city and $3.87 per gallon gas (current ntl avg, that’s 13.8 cents per mile, or $1659 per year in fuel costs. Per year, that’s $1276 in the leaf’s favor.

        As you can see, that price difference is made up in a bit under 6 years at current prices.

        Let’s extend this out to the lifetime of the vehicle. Leaf batteries are said to expect 10 years of life, and they’re warrantied for 8, so 10 definitely doesn’t seem unreasonable. There are fewer moving parts and less complexity in an EV as compared to a combustion vehicle, so we have every reason to believe that batteries will be the limiting factor in the life of the vehicle. So at 10 years, total cost of ownership is $28,000 + ($348×10) = $31,480.

        Comparison to the Versa: Total cost of ownership after 10 years is $20,500 + ($1564×10) = $36,140.

        Note that even though I said the Cruze wasn’t a good comparison, it’s still one a lot of people like. So I looked, and a Cruze Eco with auto, nav, and fog lights is also $22,500, and gets 26mpg city, lower than the Versa… so the comparison would be more unfavorable anyway.

        Much consternation is raised about this expected lifetime of the battery, but for comparison consumer reports says the average lifetime of a vehicle is 8 years, so honestly it seems a 10-year lifetime comparison is entirely reasonable and fair.

        Note that this is a savings of $4660 over 10 years to the EV owner. While this isn’t quite up to the total subsidy amount, it’s not far off; Given the initial costs of rolling out a completely different *type* of vehicle, the cost should drop significantly with scale – that’s the *purpose* of a short-term subsidy, to get past the initial economic difficulties associated with a transition like this. The fact that it comes extremely close to net equality *without* the benefits scale would confer, when compared to vehicles with very large scale production, is a huge indicator that with adoption EV’s will be dramatically more economical than even the best gasoline vehicles (most projections estimate that with scale and advances continuing at their current pace, Li battery costs alone will drop by 33% in 5 years; the only analysts saying it won’t base that on their belief that the needed scale won’t happen).

        And for that matter, that’s before figuring fuel price increases – consider that gasoline prices have increased by 170% over the last 10 years, while electricity increases in the same time period only increased by 40%. Of course, there’s no way to know whether those trends will continue, but I think most people would expect gasoline prices to rise faster than electricity for the foreseeable future.

        (Also note that I didn’t even bother adding in the expected dramatically reduced maintenance costs. While there is reason to expect that these will be much lower, it’s probably too variable to compare in any fair way.)

      9. GM has reported that their Volt batteries are holding up better under real world use than they had expected. We’ve seen Prius hybrid batteries last for 300k. There may be pleasant surprises ahead for EV/PHEV owners.

        Electricity prices are likely to rise slower in the future and eventually start to fall. As wind and solar produce more of our electricity they pull down the cost of electricity. Germany has seen major price drops on sunny days with the wholesale price of power dropping to late night levels. Texas is seeing prices drop very low some nights as wind kicks in a lot of inexpensive supply.

        Paid off wind turbines and solar arrays are going to produce some very cheap power later on. Turbines should easily give us 40 years of service, solar panels that much and more. If we do normal 20 year LCOE pricing we can essentially cut those numbers in half when considering fuel-free generation. Half of a nickle is well under all of our present generation technologies.

  3. Wow, Great piece of omission and total mis-information! I don’t even know where to start…if only there was an individual that is familiar with the Auto industry that wrote an informed opinion piece about the Volt in a popular publication where business takes precedence like Forbes….oh wait there is…. and it’s by Bob Lutz. Find it at:
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/boblutz/2012/09/10/the-real-story-on-gms-volt-costs/. I am sure Mr. Duhamel has his own set of myopic facts and conjured up timelines to rely on. Or maybe Mr. Duhamel’s article is meant as some kind of joke. Stupefying nonetheless, my hat is off to the author!

    1. You and some other comments are arguing over accounting systems. The Forbes article you cite makes a good point, but it also says “ amortization of the initial investment, [is] based on the TOTAL NUMBER TO BE PRODUCED OVER THE LIFETIME of the product.” But so far the total number produced is much less than expected, therefore the unit costs are very high. With more production, unit costs amortized will be lower as pointed out in the source I cited.

      1. It’s dishonest to attribute all the costs to the first year’s product run if this is not the industry standard.

        If you realized that costs would be spread over years of production then you should have either pointed out the error in the Reuters article or kept quite about the entire issue.

  4. Here’s a question – why would it be so terrible if electric cars were used prominently rather than internal combustion? Since this blog seems to assume it would be so bad.

  5. I’m old enough to have lived through some transitions. One day when I was in grad school someone came into the lab with a new Texas Instrument scientific calculator. Everyone else bragged about how much faster their slide rules were and how superior.

    Within two years the two major slide rule manufacturers had shut down their lines.

    Then I experienced the computer revolution. People said that they would never catch on. Typewriters and ledger books hung on for a decade or so before they expired.

    Two meg digital cameras that cost several hundred dollars were brought to market along with the 21st Century. Too limited, just didn’t have the resolution and dynamic range of film. By 2010 film was essentially dead.

    I’m betting that we are in the first couple of years of another complete technology shift. A few years of development will bring longer ranges and lower prices. In a few years you will go to your dealer and be presented with two choices – the exact same model car, one with a gas engine and another with batteries and an electric motor. Both the same price.

    The EV will have enough range to let you drive for about three hours and stop for less than 20 minutes to take on another three hours worth of charge. You’ll be able to drive all day with two brief breaks. About what you now do with a gas-powered car. Stop once for gas and once to eat.

    Difference, the EV will cost you about 4 cents per mile and the gas car more than 10 cents per mile plus oil changes and more frequent repairs, especially brake rebuilds.

    At that time we’ll see another changing of the guard. Gas stations will go the way of slide rules, typewriters and film canisters.

    Henry Ford introduced his Model T in 1908. Look through some 1930s city street scene photographs and see if you can see any horses other than ones in parades.

    1. Bob, I, too, have gone through some changes, and I used a slide rule in college. The main detraction of electric autos is the battery technology. The limited range just cannot complete with fossil fuel power vehicles. That is why electrics did not make it 100 years ago. Perhaps that will change if new battery technology is developed.

      1. If you used a slide rule then you’ve lived through the development of computers.

        The first computer I “owned” – our first lab computer – was the size of a refrigerator, had a grand total of 16k RAM (yes “k”), a teletype for input and stored programs on punched paper tape. It cost about $150,000 in today’s dollars.

        Take any technology you use today – cell phones, digital cameras, TVs, etc.. They all started limited and expensive but soon improved and dropped in price and pushed the old technology aside.

        Right now a “100 mile range” EV would work quite well for many multi-car households. I doubt many have more than one car driving long distances on a regular basis. Many could use an EV for their longest commute, save a bundle on gas purchase, and use an ICEV for the shorter commute and long trips.

        Right now a full price Leaf (no subsides) costs less to own and drive over 10 years than does a 30MPG ICEV burning $4/gallon gas.

        The point at which EVs replace ICEVs is when ranges reach ~175 miles and prices are less than $3k more. We’re not far from that point.

      2. *” . Perhaps that will change if new battery technology is developed. “* *
        *
        *In the last year A123 has doubled their battery cycle life from 1,000 to 2,000 (and eliminated the need for cooling systems). Doubling cycle life means that batteries can be cycled deeper thus getting more range out of the same size battery pack.*
        *
        *
        *–*
        *
        *
        *A company called Envia has a battery technology that is expected to cost less than half the half cost of other EV batteries. $150 per kilowatt vs. $400 per kilowatt (apparent current cost). *
        *
        Has over three times the energy storage. 400 watt-hours per kilogram vs. 120 watt-hours per kilogram. This goal is already met and interdependentlyconfirmed.

        Currently more than 450 cycles with <25% capacity loss. 1,000 cycles expected with development.

        Verified in testing of prototype cells at the Naval Service Warfare Center’s Crane
        evaluation division .
        *
        *Not going to manufacture but license to other manufacturers. Has entered an agreement with GM for battery production.

        –*
        *
        *
        *Then there’s IBM’s air-zinc battery which could be a major improvement, but like large well-funded companies generally do, IBM is playing their cards close to their chest. They have no need to publicize for investors and can avoid giving their competitors leads.

        *

  6. Jonathon, are you aware that it can cost over a billion dollars to bring a new car model to market and it commonly takes several years worth of savings to recoup those costs?

    GM has stated that they aren’t loosing anything like you claim on each Volt they sell. Someone did some dumb math and divided R&D costs over too short a model run. Check the follow up report in Reuters so you don’t embarrass yourself again.

  7. Not sure why the article title associates the introduction of EV’s with Obama. The Volt and LEAF were under development well before his office started. Politicizing of EV’s is just disingenuous.

    To characterize EV’s as impraticle is completely unfair, if this were so how could I have clocked up 15,000 miles in a year of ownership? What’s the source of your angst against EV’s? Who are you trying to convince?

    It’s early days for EV’s and when they do become mainstream we will be able to look back on articles like this and chuckle how political polarization blinded many from what was about to occur.

    1. The association is that the Obama administration played crony capitalism by heavily subsidizing EVs with taxpayer money rather than allow the market to determine their worth. Maybe the poor sales reflect the fact that consumers have already decided the worth of EVs.

      1. Jonathan – please identify a few technologies which have not received considerable governmental help to get established.

        Railroads? Nope, got lots of government assistance.
        Electric grid? Nope, got it.
        Jet air travel? Satellite communication? GPS? Computers? Internet? Nope, nope, nope, nope, nope.

        Think things through. The “free market” does not do the heavy lifting required to create major new technologies. The free market favors doing what is profitable, not what might be profitable after long years and lots of investment.

        The free market is good in that it rewards initiative and effort and it produces innovation and lower costs via competition, but the free market is not a wonder drug that cures all ills and solves all problems.

      2. How about Apple?

        Do you know the history of the 8080 chip that made it possible for Woz to invent the Apple? That chip was developed with plenty of federal money input. The money that created a market for Intel came from the sort of mini-computers I bought with federal money a decade earlier.

        Without the government furnishing research money and being a major purchasers of computers along the way we might have had ‘computers on a chip’ but it would almost certainly been many years later.

        Big business had their mainframes. They were satisfied.

        The free market was not calling for personal computers. Only a very small number of geeks found the idea interesting and in no way would have had the resources to develop the hardware it took to bring the first generation of small computers to life if they had to jump straight from mainframes.

        Apple, Mac, iPad – those are developments that were made after the heaviest lifting was finished.

        Once we get a bit better, bit cheaper EVs/PHEVs there will be no need for government assistance. The demand for “$1/gallon” cars will sweep the market. But we get there only with government aid. There’s no need for a car company to do it on their own, they can just keep making ICEVs and people would keep on buying them.

      3. Oh, Microsoft? We were writing those languages and operating systems in government funded university labs before Gates bought DOS.

        Microsoft took a product others created and improved and marketed it.

        The market is excellent doing innovation and improvements as long as the initial investment is not too high and the route to profits too long. The really big projects take a wider “investor” base.

        A billion federal dollars means that we each pitch in about $3. Making the investor base that large means that we can afford to do things like the space program. And from that we get satellite communication, GPS, etc.
        No single company or individual would have ever financed the space program.

      4. The $7,500 tax rebate for EV’s was introduced before Obama. I still question the connection. Don’t get me wrong I’m no Obama fan, didn’t vote for him and won’t.

        The Laisse Faire approach is a valid option we have as a nation. However please understand that we need to foster EV’s Why? Because they are the future (oil and gas WILL run out) and I would much prefer a world where I could by US manufactured EV’s and components, rather than allow other nations such as China and Germany lock up the market and us have to import batteries, motors, inverters etc from abroad. A situation that would be no better than importing oil. We have an opportunity to stop importing so much from abroad, balance the trade gap, and foster job growth at home. Doing nothing would result in a huge opportunity to secure our countries finances and future security be missed.

        This isn’t about politics, this is about global markets and who will dominate them.

      5. It’s also about national security, as you point out.

        We are now fighting our third oil war. These wars have cost us $9 trillion or some absurdly high number in that neighborhood.

        We are spending billions and billions on “Homeland Security” due to oil. Oil is why we get our junk fondled or our nads beamed when we fly.

        We have to spend extra hundreds of billions in order to keep a military presence in the oil producing countries.

        We ship around $1 billion across our boarder every day to purchase other people’s oil. Spending that money at home would strengthen our economy, reduce our foreign trade imbalance and lower our national debt.

        We’re building EVs and EV batteries here in the US. We’re installing wind turbines and solar panels to charge them. Even if we have to buy some of the parts and materials from other countries that’s better than a daily massive purchase of oi.

        Then there are the health costs caused by oil burning pollution. Our tax dollars and health insurance premiums are taking a hit from that.

        IMHO, the very smartest thing that America could do would be to greatly increase the EV/PHEV subsidy and get manufacturing levels up to where economies of scale kick in and lower manufacturing costs. Anyone who understands manufacturing economics should easily grasp this.

        Right now almost every single American driver could do their “daily” with either a 60 mile range EV or a 30 mile range PHEV. We’ll have full-sized PHEV pickups and SUVs on market in a few months.

        Put Americans in EVs and PHEVs and we could cut our oil usage to 30% of what it is right now. That’s a number we could produce from our own wells.
        We could get ourselves out of the Middle East conflicts.

      6. It amuses me that you seem so Anti-EV, and you claim it is because you hate subsidies. So what does YOUR vehicle run on? I’m sure it’s not Gasoline, given how much you hate subsidies, right?

      7. Interesting graph, Jonathan.

        Fossil fuels received a tremendous amount of federal subsidy and over time they keep getting more and more expensive.

        In the last few years we have been investing money in renewable energy generation and their costs have been plummeting.

        Roughly 30 years ago electricity from wind farms cost about $0.30/kWh. Now prices are down to $0.05 and expected to drop down to $0.03. That’s six to ten times cheaper that where we started.

        Don’t you wish you could find more places to invest money and save 6 to 10 times it’s value.

        And about 30 years ago solar panels cost around $100/watt. Now they are being manufactured for less than $1/watt and on the way to less than half that. A 100x to 200x drop in cost.

        Any investor would die from over-drool if they could get that sort of return on investment.

        Where we really screwed up was with those terrible investments in fossil fuels. We help them out and the charge us more and more and more.

        How dumb was that?

    2. That’s an interest point. As I recall the Obama administration felt that GM should drop the Volt as part of their recovery but GM pushed ahead with it.

      I suppose if your desire is to get a Republican into the White House in order to make the wealthy even more wealthy then you just say anything you can think of, truthful or not.

  8. One of the problems we as American need to resolve is our fixation on instant profits.

    Other countries like Japan look at long term payoffs….over as long as 10 years.

    And as such they take American inovations that we are too impatient to develop and exploit our ingenuity with their patience.

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