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High Depreciation May Slow Electric Car Acceptance

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the may-is-putting-it-lightly dept.

Power 354

Hugh Pickens writes "The New York Times reports that as cars like the Nissan LEAF and Coda Sedan become available, one question that may give electric car buyers cold feet is bubbling to the surface: How much will these next-gen vehicles be worth a few years down the road? According to a report from the UK's Glass Guide, unless manufacturers properly address customer concerns regarding battery life and performance, the new breed of electric vehicles (EV) soon to be launched will have residual values well below those of rival gasoline and diesel models, with a typical electric vehicle retaining only 10% of its value after five years of ownership, compared to gas and diesel-fueled counterparts retaining 25% of their value in that time period. According to Andy Carroll, managing director at Glass's, the alarming rate of depreciation is a function of customer recognition that the typical EV battery will have a useful life of up to eight years and will cost thousands of dollars to replace. Carroll added that manufacturers could address this problem by leasing the battery to users."

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354 comments

Funny, leasing is what they're doing with the Leaf (2, Informative)

BoxedFlame (231097) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701626)

Seems like the article is a bit late...

How much? (4, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701738)

If batteries wear too fast, the cure should be a better technology, not another business plan.

Unless there's a subsidy somewhere, a short battery life should have as much impact on leasing costs as it has on devaluation.

Re:How much? (2, Interesting)

JamesP (688957) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701802)

Well, you can think about

- returning old batteries for a lower battery replacement cost
- replacement with newer technology batteries or equivalent (fuel cell maybe)
- if electric cars become more popular and it's easier to recharge them battery capacity may go down as well as cost

Re:How much? (4, Interesting)

ulski (1173329) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701834)

Another problem is that the battery prices might increase more than you would expect (or more than the oil prices anyway). A college of mine in Norway bought a "Think car" http://www.thinkev.com/ [thinkev.com] because she lives on a small island where the only road leading out there was an expensive toll road that was free if you drove an electric car. She wasn't happy with the electric car and sold it. The new owner later on started a lawsuit because the car needed new batteries. When my college originally bought the car, the reseller told her that the battery cost would most likely fall as production picked up, but instead the price of the batteries skyrocketed so much, that the cost of replacement batteries was more than the price of the entire car when it was brand-new. A side note: I read somewhere that the new generation of Think cars are been sold together with some sort of "battery subscription contract" where you pay a monthly fee which will cover all battery costs.

Re:How much? (2, Interesting)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701938)

Prices increased because demand is rising too fast, and there aren't enough companies producing them. They'll come down quickly once more companies pick up that market.

By the way, didn't she tell him the current battery capacity before selling the car?

Re:How much? (4, Interesting)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701836)

Did the article mention that people who buy second had gas cars worry about the transmission and whether the previous owner ran the engine in properly, always changed the oil on schedule and always warmed it up before screeching off down the street?

EV batteries bring new problems to the table but they also eliminate a whole bunch of other old-fashioned mechanical problems. If the study wasn't paid for by Big Oil they might have mentioned that.

Re:How much? (1)

Apple Acolyte (517892) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701992)

and always warmed it up before screeching off down the street?

Modern ICE-based cars with electronic fuel injection don't require much warm up time. Unnecessary idling of a cold engine does not improve performance; instead it wastes gas, releases more hydrocarbons and may even do harm to the catalytic converter if practiced over long term. See Ask Our Experts: Car Engine Warm-Up [motherearthnews.com]

I get only an advertisement from the NYT link (5, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701630)

Maybe in the future you should link sites that work correctly when visited by the paranoid. But this is pure fud: "Glass's has developed a proprietary methodology that has enabled it to forecast EV residual values, taking account of specific battery ownership and warranty details, as well as factors such as supply and anticipated patterns of demand. This new methodology is being used by manufacturers to assist in their launch planning and business modelling across Europe" Or in other words, we made up some shit on behalf of big oil that will be used to spread FUD to attempt to prevent EV uptake. It won't work; there are always more pre-orders than can be filled. If EVs fail, it won't be because of lies about their resale value. EVs are in fact likely to have HIGHER resale value because they eliminate so much that can go wrong with the typical auto.

Re:I get only an advertisement from the NYT link (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32701660)

In the UK motor trade Glass Guide is known as the black book and is the motor traders bible when it comes to pricing, so it might be made up fud but it is made up fud that has a very real effect on the price of used vehicles.

Re:I get only an advertisement from the NYT link (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701752)

In the UK motor trade Glass Guide is known as the black book and is the motor traders bible when it comes to pricing, so it might be made up fud but it is made up fud that has a very real effect on the price of used vehicles.

In the US we have a "blue book" made by a publisher called Kelley. From my extensive experience buying used cars [hyperlogos.org] I can tell you that it means basically nothing. Our book is ostensibly created by taking average used car sales prices, but I have come to suspect that it is not statistically valid since nobody I know ever pays full blue book for most cars, and nobody ever gets some cars as low as their blue book "value". Is your book really different?

Re:I get only an advertisement from the NYT link (1)

b1t r0t (216468) | more than 3 years ago | (#32702070)

That would probably be because the "blue book" price is supposed to be for a vehicle in perfect condition, with no problems, and sold by a dealer. Like comic books and collectibles, the actual price is factored down based on condition.

Re:I get only an advertisement from the NYT link (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#32702138)

Weren't you paying attention? He said that it's a black book.

Re:I get only an advertisement from the NYT link (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32702056)

You lefties blame everything on conspiracies every time your cockeyed schemes go awry. Electric cars have been around for the better part of a century and few people prefer them to internal combustion engine cars. If you want to drive an electric car, go out and buy one.

Re:I get only an advertisement from the NYT link (2, Informative)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 3 years ago | (#32702078)

My first car lasted me 10 years (1996 saturn) and the only two things I had to do to it was a new fly wheel and a new alternator. The total of which set me back about $400. Now there was standard maintenance (tires, breaks, battery, oil changes, etc..), but I had not transmission problems. Gave it to a family member for their 16th birthday and it's still on the road and other than a new set up spark plugs & wires, they've not done anything to it.

My last car (Chevy Malibu) I got 6 years out of it before it was totaled by ice falling off a roof, and I put on new tires and brakes in the 5 years, 90k miles I had the car. I had no other mechanical problems with it.

My Dad has a 97 Astro van that's at 145k and has had a new fuel pump ($500) and alternator ($300) in 13 years plus standard maintenance. He also has a 2004 Impala that has 100k miles and so far, had to have an instrument board replaced, total cost $200. He's put a new set of tires on the car, but has yet to replace the breaks. And before the 96 Astro he had an 86 Astro for about 15 years. Outside of routine maintenance, the only thing he ever put on it was a new starter. Not sure what that cost, but it wasn't more than $200.

Overall, we've not had a lot of things "go wrong" with cars and trucks. We tend to drive them 10 years/150k miles and have pretty much bought all GM products. Buying a car that you know is going to have a maintenance cost roughly the same as a transmission replacement in 8 years just doesn't look that attractive to me. And I'n the market after a year of dealing with insurance companies and lawyers about my previous car.

I guess if you're the type that trades every 3 years, then maybe, but damn you loose a lot money doing that. And if I was looking at used cars, knowing there was going to be a repair bill within x years that could be equal to what I paid for the vehicle doesn't make it particularly attractive either.

I've been looking at new cars since my settlement and probably going to buy a Sabaru Legacy. Hell, they get 30MPG highway now and are all wheel drive and that's with the automatic (which gets better milage than the manuals now thanks to CVT).

I do have to say I like the Chevy Volt's approach with the gas/electric system. Makes a lot of sense, but $40k is a little out of my price range at the moment plus I'll let someone else be the beta tester for those.

Re:I get only an advertisement from the NYT link (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#32702252)

Maybe in the future you should link sites that work correctly when visited by the paranoid.

Works fine for me, I'm probably more paranoid than you. I use refcontrol. I have nytimes.com set to have a referrer of "http://google.com/"

New headline (0, Troll)

swb (14022) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701638)

"Despite being browbeating car companies into making them, electric car dream still victim of market forces."

Re:New headline (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701826)

"Despite being browbeating car companies into making them, electric car dream still victim of market forces."

When Carlos Ghosn took control of Nissan, their battery technology program was essentially secret. He could have axed it then, but instead he's chosen to bet Nissan on EVs. Nobody is having to force automakers at large to build EVs — only certain automakers. Like, you know, almost all of them. But nobody is forcing them to make EVs. The Japanese were capable of meeting proposed California emissions standards without them; only US automakers were too incompetent. That, or they were too tied to Big Oil; we'll likely never know. Nobody had to force Chrysler to build GEM cars [gemcar.com] , either. (hmm, if I lived in town, I'd build an electric VW NVE to get around in it... My road is posted 45, though, IIRC.)

Electric isn't ready... (-1, Troll)

Manip (656104) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701642)

I know it isn't a popular opinion but electric cars just aren't here yet. The batteries hold too little power and age far too quickly - there is no economical reason to drive electric. While hybrid cars do solve the distance issue and also mitigate the second issue by having far less batteries (which reduces its economic cost). I would love to drive electric but unless I am just burning money - I won't.

Oh and please don't post a link to a research project and suggest electric cars are almost ready since they managed to make an insanely light car with batteries that cost $100,000 wholesale - which can go great distances and the batteries last forever... The issue is that no company is making a road car that is economically justifiable.

Re:Electric isn't ready... (4, Insightful)

sonnejw0 (1114901) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701706)

Toyota RAV4 EV's sell for more than their original MSRP 10 years ago right now on eBay. Residual value is a matter of supply and demand, this 'analyst' sounds like he wants to mess with the demand part.

Re:Electric isn't ready... (2, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701794)

> Toyota RAV4 EV's sell for more than their original MSRP 10 years ago right
> now on eBay.

They are also a rare novelty item. Not predictive of what will happen when EV's become commonplace.

> Residual value is a matter of supply and demand, this 'analyst' sounds like > he wants to mess with the demand part.

He's just being realistic.

Re:Electric isn't ready... (3, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701868)

Toyota RAV4 EV's sell for more than their original MSRP 10 years ago right now on eBay.

I don't want to hear about the auction of a curio on eBay. I want to hear about used car sales through local dealers.

   

Re:Electric isn't ready... (4, Insightful)

SimonInOz (579741) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701740)

It is truly difficult to conquer a technology that has been refined for 200 years. Electric cars have been all-but-abandoned for most of that time (British milk floats a fairly honourable exception). The amount of money and infrastructure behind petrol cars is staggering - consider the investment in roads, garages, cars themselves, mechanic training, vehicle design, the odd political manipulation (we won't mention any bribery to get "trolleys" off the road, now will we?)

So it will be tough. Petrol is a magnificently concentrated form of fuel. That's hard to beat. Can we get anything like that density of energy into anything else at the moment - er, no.
But really, can we continue pumping oil out of the ground (or into the gulf of Mexico, not to mention much of Africa) and burning it, generating CO2. Er, no.

So things have to be done. Changing over to using electricity generated in very efficient plants, using 1/10 the energy and possibly allowing CO2 capture (yes I know it's hard, but not as hard as on the tailpipes of a billion cars).
It's possible it will not be as convenient as petrol cars. It's possible we will have to go without the vroom, vroom of big V8s, It's possible people might even have to ride bicycles a bit. Oh dear. Maybe they'll get thinner and healthier - that'd be a bonus.

But it beats the heck out of everyone dying.
So let's get on with it.

Electric cars don't need to compete with every petrol car in existence - they don't have to be faster than a Ferrari, go further than a .. um, diesel Golf. Covering basic commuting would be fine - and that's 90% of what people do (lacking better public transport). You want to go skiing - rent an appropriate vehicle.

A good start would seem to be delivery vehicles - predictable loads, distances, always park at the same place. Sounds ideal. And indeed this is being done - I reckon they will be a huge success (there are some excellent hybrid diesel vans starting to appear already).

I'd be surprised if a great deal of people would not be pleased at the possibility of a small simple vehicle for commuting - quiet, quite fast, fairly small, easy to park, amazingly cheap to run. And very low polluting. What's not to like?

So let's get on with it. (Hang on, didn't I say that before?)

Re:Electric isn't ready... (2, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701814)

Sane cars dont need to do 0-60 in 4.2 seconds. Only really silly or foolish people believe that a car is unsave because I cant accelerate fast... Honda Civic is a slow car, it's safer than any Mustang GT. It's more about uneducated drivers and really bad driving habits and far less about power and speed. Power and Speed only come into factor when you are pulling weight or racing. If an electric tops out at 70mph on the highway, it is perfectly safe you will NEVER need to overtake a car doing 70. It's all ego talking there... I'm important I deserve to do 75-85.....

In fact hybrids and electrics are NOT really for the united states in general. WE have more people that commute 30 miles on a highway to work daily than we have that live within 10 miles of work, have public transportation available or can walk there. So 30 miles 70mph means a car like a honda cvic wins for efficiency. My 2007 2dr coupe gets 44mpg on the highway regularly. This is better than most hybrids, and is very close to what the Civic hybrid gets. If I were to slow to 65mph I would get the same gas mileage as the Civic hybrid. and only add 2 minutes to my commute, if there was no traffic or slowdowns... Real world driving give me large time losses as the traffic congestion the last 10 miles would remove all time saved if I drove 90mph the whole way.

Re:Electric isn't ready... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32702118)

Only really silly or foolish people believe that a car is unsave because I cant accelerate fast

Only ignorant opinionated fools believe that. The cars that do accelerate fast are the safest on the road, they have uprated breaking, chassis and suspension. They hold the road better and the stop in less distance. Try doing some tests before voicing an incorrect opinion. A few minutes on a driving course using different vehicles will teach you the actual facts.

Re:Electric isn't ready... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32702188)

"If an electric tops out at 70mph on the highway, it is perfectly safe you will NEVER need to overtake a car doing 70."

Agreed. Because you will no longer be living, because the other non-cars on the highway will have crushed you.

If all the vehicles were cars, maybe you would be right. And how long are you talking about "tops out." My Dodge Neon tops out at 114mph. It gets up to 107 fairly easily, the last 7 mph will take over 20 seconds on flat highway. Does it take the electric car you are supposing as safe 10 seconds to go from 60-70mph? That's unsafe.

Cars are small and are not the only vehicles on the road. There are substantial larger, heavier, and less maneuverable vehicles on the road, namely large semis, concrete/asphalt haulers, oversize load, and logging vehicles. These vehicles, whose drivers as a whole drive better than the typical car drivers, don't always have good, aware drivers, and even if they did, drivers of such vehicles make unintentional mistakes too. So unless you have the horsepower to pass them and avoid every possible scenario, or to anticipate other cars moves that are around them and may force them to make a decision that impacts you literally, some decent horsepower is necessary.

I do a fair lot of driving. 4-6 hours a day in my vehicles on average. The times I've almost died/been in an accident on the highway, involved 3-4 large vehicles merging on a 2-4 lane highway. When a semi doesn't see you, or doesn't choose to see you, you want that acceleration. 70mph is, quite frankly, shit.

I agree that it doesn't have to be a lot like a lot of people suppose, but just being able to reach 70mph is not enough. As an example, last year, I was moving through a wolf pack in a highway zone doing 70mph. I was doing about 75mph. Not unsual where I live. Had a semi in a pack of 2 on my right. The on ramp had 2 logging haulers full (massive tree trunks) that had come down off the ramp and sped up. The rear semi merged over to the left lane to let the rear logging vehicle in, the 1st logging vehicle continued on a collision course with the 1st, which I didn't see (screened by the semis). Front semi simply pulled in to me. There was thankfully a small shoulder between the median barricade, or I would have been squashed in the last 20 feet. btw, the rear logging vehicle also then decided to make his merge a double, so even when the rear semi backed off (which he was smart enough to do, not all of them are that situationally aware), if I had braked, I would have been crushed there. In fact, it seemed he almost clipped the 1st semis corner (I think he made it only because of the angle of hthe logging vehicle during the lane changeis ).

4 years ago, I had 2 semis on my left, and 3 dump trucks come in off an on ramp. There we were doing 60mph in a 65, traffic was heavy, I was in the travel lane. The 3 came packed in. They merged as one. I accelerated and merged between the two semis in the passing lane. The semis saw what was happening and the front one accelerated, the rear one braked. The vehicle in front of me accelerated away but had to pull to the left of his lane. The vehicle behind me braked onto the shoulder it seemed (could see the stone dust from the shoulder, unless that was it being hit).

I'll agree with you that you don't need a lot of horsepower. You don't needa 500horsepower monster. But if you don't have a good gear system, and a good engine whether electric or gas or diesel or what have you, you're screwed, and your stupid, silly, and arbitrary 70mph number is just plain lacking if acceleration is not given any consideration. Quite frankly, I don't think you do a lot of driving, much less good driving.

Re:Electric isn't ready... (1, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#32702224)

semi trucks have brakes. And the drivers tend to be better trained at driving than the car driver.

Note: europe is FULL of slow low power cars. They dont have this problem you imagine.

Re:Electric isn't ready... (2, Interesting)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701854)

A good start would seem to be delivery vehicles - predictable loads, distances, always park at the same place.

Yes, and taxis should be a good second step for electrics. They never drive too far from the base and run mostly on congested inner city traffic, where running idle becomes an appreciable percentage of fuel consumption for gas or diesel vehicles.

Slow speeds also benefit electric taxis since they can recover energy from regenerative braking. It's only when speed is high enough that wind resistance becomes appreciable that electrics start spending energy they cannot recover.

Re:Electric isn't ready... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701884)

It is truly difficult to conquer a technology that has been refined for 200 years

It's not like we haven't been refining batteries all that time. And indeed, we've even substantially refined flywheels to the point that they are useful for power storage in racing [wired.com] , improving the efficiency of regenerative braking substantially. Electric motors are already ~95% efficient in typical EV/Hybrid scenarios, and over 90% efficient as a generator as well.

Changing over to using electricity generated in very efficient plants, using 1/10 the energy and possibly allowing CO2 capture (yes I know it's hard, but not as hard as on the tailpipes of a billion cars).

The US DoE proved in the 1980s (at Sandia NREL) that they could capture up to 80% of the CO2 emissions of a coal- or oil-fired power plant by bubbling the exhaust gases through algae ponds, thus dramatically improving yields; thus, CO2 capture is already a solved problem in the short-term, if only the solution would be put into place. Obviously this only slows down the release rate of this CO2, but it can reduce the amount of oil we have to burn. In other words, we can at least use that carbon twice with extant and indeed readily available technology.

Electric cars don't need to compete with every petrol car in existence - they don't have to be faster than a Ferrari, go further than a .. um, diesel Golf.

Well, they can do the first thing, but not the second. (You might well compare to a 300SD, which has a ~20 gallon tank along with 30 mpg freeway, I have no trouble getting well over 400 miles on a tank in vigorous, mixed driving. Not that I ever run it dry... priming that thing is a PITA.)

Covering basic commuting would be fine - and that's 90% of what people do (lacking better public transport). You want to go skiing - rent an appropriate vehicle.

Indeed, many homes have multiple vehicles as it is. This is probably the easiest group to target.

Re:Electric isn't ready... (1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701928)

It is truly difficult to conquer a technology that has been refined for 200 years

Humm... not really. ICEs are a really crappy technology. "Refinement" in this case means "make it suck less"

. Electric cars have been all-but-abandoned for most of that time

90% politics 10% actual merit

Petrol is a magnificently concentrated form of fuel. That's hard to beat. Can we get anything like that density of energy into anything else at the moment - er, no.

100% true. But you can keep petrol and have a better power unit / drive train tech and double the efficiency. Also research on fuel cells means an electric car that runs on gas OR ethanol with better efficiency

Re:Electric isn't ready... (1)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 3 years ago | (#32702108)

Good post

A good start would seem to be delivery vehicles - predictable loads, distances, always park at the same place. Sounds ideal. And indeed this is being done - I reckon they will be a huge success (there are some excellent hybrid diesel vans starting to appear already).

I think hybrids are an excellent place to start, and a good proving ground for lighter and more powerful batteries.

I have a hybrid (Ford Escape) and my previous vehicle was the non hybrid sister vehicle the Mazda Protege (V6). The hybrid uses about half the gas and has the identical feel of amount of power. There's no practical difference in power of my current hybrid and the older V6. But I'm probably saving about $100 in gas per year. That, combined with the green discounts I received upon purchase means I'm way ahead even if the batteries completely failed.

Batteries will get cheaper with mass production, and hybrids are a good way to get there while reducing the dependancy on oil.

The item I'm waiting on is electric motorcycles. For the days you don't need cargo space and are just getting from point a to b, you cant beat it.

Re:Electric isn't ready... (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#32702142)

we won't mention any bribery to get "trolleys" off the road, now will we?)

This is fantasy.

Trolley lines were in deep financial trouble before World War One.

The trolley was a commuter service.

There were tracks, cars and overheads to maintain but almost none of the twenty four hour a day freight traffic of heavy rail to help cover the cost.

The operating costs of the Ford car was pennies per mile.

Cheaper than the standard 5 cent fare.

It's possible people might even have to ride bicycles a bit. Oh dear. Maybe they'll get thinner and healthier

Weather permitting.

Past summers here have been hot and humid enough to be dangerous to a fit young adult on a bicycle.

Re:Electric isn't ready... (5, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701774)

I know it isn't a popular opinion but electric cars just aren't here yet.

You here attempt to use a technique of propaganda: you paint yourself as an oppressed class when you are indeed in the mainstream. It is the popular opinion that EVs "just" aren't here yet.

The batteries hold too little power and age far too quickly

This is a logical fallacy, the unsupported comparison. Far too little power for what? Far too quickly for what? It's also the unsupported conclusion; we don't know how long they last. Finally, "age far too quickly"; are we now time travelers that the batteries will be moving faster through time T than the rest of us? The assertion should be that they "wear out" too quickly; then I could simply say [citation needed]. Which I do say.

there is no economical reason to drive electric.

[citation needed]

While hybrid cars do solve the distance issue and also mitigate the second issue by having far less batteries (which reduces its economic cost).

No, it doesn't. A hybrid costs more to build because it has to carry two powertrains. It has only one transmission, but it's twice as complex to support two motors. The LEAF is projected to be cheaper at launch than the Prius was.

I would love to drive electric but unless I am just burning money - I won't.

That's very evocative, but you have still failed to support any assertion.

Oh and please don't post a link to a research project and suggest electric cars are almost ready since they managed to make an insanely light car with batteries that cost $100,000 wholesale

We discuss the LEAF in the summary. You have reached a whole new level of deliberate disingenuousness.

The issue is that no company is making a road car that is economically justifiable.

Your FUD against EVs is noted. I can see that you are either a shill or a troll. Please include citations in your next comment, or don't bother.

Re:Electric isn't ready... (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 3 years ago | (#32702230)

This citation needed parroting of wikipedia has to fucking stop.

We aren't here writing research papers or even encyclopedias. This is a little niche web forum and most everything we write here is forgotten within 24 hours and will be viewed thereafter only by robots, or in some search engine's cache.

You, for instance, failed to include any citations for any of the assertions you made. I, for instance, rightly recognize, just as I did in the OP, that you are just some guy with some opinions you are stating based on your personal experience and beliefs and I would be capable of proceeding with the argument on those grounds, were I so inclined, without engaging in tangential games of demanding excessive investments of your time flitting through search results.

Also, you wrote a point by point rebuttal. Which is classic. HAND.

Re:Electric isn't ready... (2, Interesting)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701796)

Which is why conservation is still key. What I never get in this whole alternative energy hype is why more people aren't calling for conservation and why people are obsessed with better cars when a much simpler solution is to use the current cars less. The government really should be exempt (almost) all 2 wheel vehicles from sales taxes. Considering most trips are at most a couple of miles, bicycles are the obvious choice over cars, but even motorcycles get at least 3x as much per gallon as SUVs do, sometimes up to 5x as much(and motorized scooters, which are great for residential zones, get even better mileage). Plus making an electric motorcycle would require a much smaller, and thus cheaper, battery.

Now I know there are times where a car is more convenient, and most people, at least in the US, should keep their cars, but just because something isn't an panacea doesn't mean it is totally worthless.

Re:Electric isn't ready... (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701934)

The government really should be exempt (almost) all 2 wheel vehicles from sales taxes.

Oh, I can't wait to hear this.

Considering most trips are at most a couple of miles, bicycles are the obvious choice over cars, but even motorcycles get at least 3x as much per gallon as SUVs do, sometimes up to 5x as much(and motorized scooters, which are great for residential zones, get even better mileage).

So what? My car gets 30 mpg on the freeway, and it's a 3475lb land yacht from 1982. I can transport four adults in comfort with better mileage than a pair of motorcycles. Most motorcycles get real-world mileage under 30 mpg because of the irresistible urge to twist wrist. But it's very few motorcycles actually on the road that are rated at more than about 30 mpg. Most motorcycles are operated with a single rider most of the time, just like a car. But motorcycles produce four to ten times the emissions per mile traveled of the typical car, and more than twice those of the typical SUV. If we replaced half our auto miles with motorcycle miles, we'd be choking on fumes.

Now I know there are times where a car is more convenient, and most people, at least in the US, should keep their cars, but just because something isn't an panacea doesn't mean it is totally worthless.

Motorcycles have long been available to the public, and the public has overwhelmingly voted in favor of cars. Most people simply do not want to be on a vehicle which WILL be crashed; ask ANY motorcyclist smart enough to wear safety equipment (squids need not apply) and they WILL tell you it's not if, it's when you will lay down your motorcycle. Further, there is a great deal we could do in the area of making smaller, more efficient cars; the Smart ForTwo is a prime example. Its spaceframe is supposed to provide impact protection superior to a much larger vehicle. And finally, a simple solution to having too many large vehicles on the road is to require that people have a higher grade of license before they are permitted to drive a heavier class of vehicle. We do this already in most to all states when it comes to commercial licenses, with higher grades of license required for heavier classes of vehicle. Surely this could be applied to consumer vehicles?

Indeed, the problem is one of government collusion. California is the most populous state and has the most cars both per capita and in general. We the people of California attempted to institute new emissions standards to force automakers to sell us the cars we want to buy: those which do not pollute unnecessarily. Japanese and German automakers were prepared to go forward in this environment, but US automakers claimed that they could not meet these restrictions. This is of course pure nonsense. The truth is that they wanted to sell us ever-more-inefficient vehicles, because luxury vehicles come with a cachet and cachet comes with markup. Japanese automakers responded by offering the more-efficient, less-polluting vehicles anyway, and then offering a bloated, inefficient edition to compete with the American cachet-based entries.

In any case, motorcycles have terrible emissions and wouldn't have such great efficiency (which actually is not very great! 3475lb at 30mpg, or 425lb at 35 mpg, pathetic!!!) with emissions controls which would make them more efficient than cars, and they have been largely rejected by the market. They work, in fact, for even fewer people than EVs. In short, they are not the answer we're looking for, or even a significant part of it. I would love to see motorcycles replaced with electrics though, since they are far worse polluters per mile than cars.

Re:Electric isn't ready... (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 3 years ago | (#32702162)

For once, I think the European solution is not bad: extremely high gas prices (about the same for 1 liter in France as you pay for 1 gallon in the US, except 1 gallon = 4.5 liters). That entices people to buy smaller cars, use them less, use public transport...

The income from those taxes is extremely mis-spent as always, but at least, they encourage the right behaviour.

Re:Electric isn't ready... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32701804)

"I know it isn't a popular opinion but electric cars just aren't here yet. "

You are correct, sir. ( I speak from the perspective of having a grad degree in
ME, as well as having been a car nut for over 30 years ).

Of course this truth ( and their own lack of in-depth understanding ) won't
stop the hordes of self-proclaimed geniuses on Slashdot from wanting
electric cars because it's fashionable to want one.

The smart money is on a VW TDi. And yes, I own one ( from 1997; the older cars
are simpler, more reliable, and get better fuel economy than the newer TDis ).

Look at what people drive in Europe -- the future is already there, relative to the US
market. Of course, for some reason many EU-market diesels are not sold in the US.
This mystifies me, because they sell some pretty neat stuff over there in Europe.
I refuse to believe the notion that these cars wouldn't sell in the US. Honda, Subaru,
Ford : I'm looking at YOU.

Re:Electric isn't ready... (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701832)

Hybrids are crap. Instead of an engine to maintain, or a battery to maintain, you now have both. Thats not only two engines to maintain, its also more weight, and more troubleshooting. Electric cars don't need a transmission, but a hybrid has to have one too, and a drive line, etc. I drive 25 miles each way to work each day, and an occasional jaunt across town. A leaf would be perfect to replace my vehicle. I have a Dodge Dakota, and spend about $300 a month on gas. (really don't need a pickup) My travelling costs would basically be free. For longer trips, we would use our family car (a minivan).

And by the way, the Leaf is going to sell in the mid $20k's, not the 100,000 wholesale you mentioned.

Re:Electric isn't ready... BS. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32701924)

And Linux isn't ready for the desktop. Yeah, sure.

The aging of the EV is Bullsh?t.

If anything, electric motors are far more durable than explosion ones (the explosion part really does not help). It's quite common that electric compressors, tools, refrigerators, train cars etc. reach 20+ years of use -- even more in rare traditional factories.

What ages is the battery -- but the battery is not the car! Nobody argues here that a common automobile is its fuel tank, so... spare me the bs, please.

Now, if an idiot maker ties the car to the battery, that's what both are, the maker and the buyer: idiots. Even if done by specialists, changing batteries should render an EV totally new (minus the need for painting). In fact this has happened in Brazil with trolleybuses... it was nice to see their retro looks...

Other factors come into play like general vehicle care, but this affects any vehicle -- not just electrical!

Re:Electric isn't ready... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32702120)

I'll agree with you that pure electric vehicles aren't there yet. However, that doesn't mean electric vehicles aren't there yet. The chevy volt and similar vehicles which include a gasoline powered generator to provide electricity are a good intermediary for the foreseeable future. The increased efficiency and ability to use gasoline when the battery is depleted are what will make them replace pure gasoline, provided the battery costs can come down. And yes, I do see that as an 'if', but a likely event to occur. If they can get the cost of the car to about $5000 over the cost of an equivalent gasoline car, the economics of it should be about break even. $5000 comes from the approximate savings in gasoline over a 5 year period from increased gasoline efficiency and recharging a moderately sized battery overnight and estimated at 20,000 miles per year.

Re:Electric isn't ready... (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#32702246)

I know it isn't a popular opinion but electric cars just aren't here yet.

Even worse than unpopular, it is a wrong opinion. Electric cars are made and sold. That means they are "here" no matter what your opinion is.

The batteries hold too little power and age far too quickly - there is no economical reason to drive electric.

For your driving habits, maybe that is true. There are other people for which electric cars are adequate. As to whether electric cars are economic, you have yet to mention a reason. For example, the battery life is alleged in the article to be eight years. That's more than long enough, time-wise for someone who puts a lot of commuter miles on a vehicle.

People are just now realizing this? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32701652)

Wow, I'm continually underwhelmed by the average intelligence of my fellow countrymen. I actually thought about buying a hybrid vehicle 3-4 years ago, but I ran the numbers and decided that even if gas was $5 a gallon, I would STILL come out ahead by buying a fuel-efficient gas-powered car. In the end, I just decided to keep my "old" car, which only has about 105k miles and can probably go for another 150k+. I kinda like keeping that extra $500 a month in my pocket! A car is not an asset, folks. Buy Japanese, and you can drive that bitch around for 15+ years if you want to. I see the overpriced shit American manufacturers turn out, and then I understand why so many people buy a new car every few years. What a colossal waste of money. And if I had to replace a $3000+ battery every 8 years (even on the Japanese-model hybrids)? Fuck that! Get that battery life up to $300k miles, and get the price of the car within a few hundred of its gas-powered cousin, and then I'll buy it. But I'm not going to run up $35k of debt just to so I can tell myself what a fucking great person I am every time I get in my car.

Re:People are just now realizing this? (1, Informative)

Posting=!Working (197779) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701858)

Buy Japanese, and you can drive that bitch around for 15+ years if you want to. I see the overpriced shit American manufacturers turn out, and then I understand why so many people buy a new car every few years.

While I've only been driving my overpriced American shit for 14 years, the 194,000 miles I've driven in it hasn't given me any indication of it disintegrating anytime soon, despite frequent trips to the dragstrip, autocross course, and several road courses. Also, it didn't seem to affect the longevity despite the fact I ported the heads, installed a new camshaft and other parts that added over 100 HP more than 150,000 miles ago.

I'm pretty sure every car sold in the US since the Yugo will last more than 15 years, unless you do something really stupid with it.

Re:People are just now realizing this? (2, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#32702164)

It's not about making informed decisions anymore. It's all about being trendy, owning the newest shiny, and looking like I'm part of the crowd.

I just bought a new home for WAY WAY under appraised value because the sellers were downright desperate. I got the loan for $15,000 more than purchase price and still am $20,000 under what I could sell it for when the market pop's back.

What am I doing with the $15K? Replacing the furnace and AC with SEER 18 and >95% efficient as well as adding another 18" of insulation in the roof (walls are already good) as well as replacing the windows with triple pane LowE ($100.00 a window if you know where to get them)

The cost of living for my wife and I just dropped drastically. Mortgage will be $490.00 a month WITH insurance and taxes in escrow. After upgrades Heat and AC will be under $90.00 a month (Live in michigan) so that if we both were unemployed and worked at McDonalds flipping burgers at minimum wage we could afford to pay or bills.

What do friends say we should do with the cash? Remodel the kitchen with marble counters, add a theater room, Buy a Lexus or BMW, go on a vacation, etc... They are appalled that we are "wasting" that money on home improvements that are not visible. Things that are flat out stupid to do. People in general put a high value on things that are visible that others see and low value on invisible things that will pay back better than any Savings CD can ever hope to do. (I will make back that money in 5 years... 100% return in 5 years is something that everyone in wall street would literally kill for) Plus I limit my financial liability. Something that most people also do not understand.

I recently sold my SUV and bought a New Honda Civic, non hybrid. The gas saved is equal to the car payment at $2.90 a gallon, if gas goes up I save even more. Insurance saved is $30.00 a month. I'm net positive and also will have a lower TCO on the civic than the SUV.

The Cost difference between the Cvic and Civic hybrid is huge. So huge that it makes the car a net loss due to the insignificant increases in gas mileage compared to the Non hybrid civic. To this day I cant understand why anyone would buy a hybrid. The only hybrid I ever saw that made sense was the Honda Insight 1st gen. It got real gains, current hybrids get insignificant gains compared to the non hybrid same model.

Texas (5, Insightful)

ebonum (830686) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701674)

These batteries don't like heat. Simply leaving them in a hot place for a year can rapidly degrade their performance. 8 years sounds like a stretch to me. Is this using once a week and storing at 55 degrees ( Fahrenheit )? What happens to the battery in a black car left in the Texas 100+ degree sun every afternoon?

Re:Texas (1)

JDevers (83155) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701684)

A hell of a lot more than just Texas has that kind of heat. Pretty much the entire Gulf coast, lower great plains, and desert southwest area all have 100+ degree temps for at least a third of the year.

Re:Texas (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#32702132)

Hmmmm. Actually, the lower great plains typically only hit 100+ for 1-2 weeks/year. To be fair, though, you have several months of mid-high 90's, which is still damaging.

Re:Texas (0)

hort_wort (1401963) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701746)

Don't worry about it. When you drive electric, little fairies will show up and shield your car from the sun with leaves. Wait... Texas, no leaves. They will shield your car from the sun with Mexicans. Besides that though, with electric, global will stop and Texas will cool off anyway, right?

Seriously though, the charge adapters for these things are pricey and large. I don't think you'd be leaving your car outside as often as you think. They're talking about building platforms at businesses just so people can recharge while they're at work. Which is good for the business, because they'll make sure you don't have enough charge to get home until your shift is over. :(

Re:Texas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32701910)

Seriously though, the charge adapters for these things are pricey and large. I don't think you'd be leaving your car outside as often as you think. They're talking about building platforms at businesses just so people can recharge while they're at work.

Parking enclosures/structures are still "outside" so to speak as they are not typically climate controlled (unless you're some movie star burning your money in profligate yet flashy ways.) So while your vehicle may not be baking under the sun in such a structure it'll still be pretty hot. And of course if used in a normal usage pattern such as errands and shopping then your vehicle will absolutely be spending time baking directly under the relentless gaze of the sun.

Re:Texas (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701780)

An interesting question! My favorite personal experiences on business trips to Austin, Texas during summer:

I left a CD on the back seat of the car, before going into work. When I went back after work, the CD was fine . . . but the plastic case was warped!

A colleague bought a bottle of Knob Creek bourbon as a gift for the hotel concierge, because he help us a lot during our extended stay. Our employer has a "no alcohol or weapons on the premises" policy, so we left it in the car. Knob Creek is a premium brand, so instead of a screw top, it has a cork, secured with wax.

So we go out after work, open the car doors . . . and nearly fall flat from the fumes. Yes, the bourbon got so hot that it popped the cork, and the car interior smelled like a distillery. We had to leave the windows down on the ride home, or we would have been Lindsay Lohan drunk.

The gag was that my colleague had to take the car back, and it still reeked of booze when the Hertz guy checked the mileage. He made no comment, but gave him a funny look.

But anyway, back to the point if extended heat really is a problem for batteries, I hope that the car companies do extensive testing in areas with extreme temperatures.

Or, maybe the batteries need an air conditioning system? Run off batteries, of course.

Re:Texas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32702090)

I'm sure that there is SHADOW somewhere in Texas. (Bonus-Points for those who park in the shadow of solar panels....)

I would not park any car in the direct sunlight, regardless of if it's conventional or electric. Every car gets unbelievable hot in the direct sunlight with the windows closed. It's always fun trying to drive with a painfully hot driving wheel while sweating like a pig in the hot drivers seat.....

Re:Texas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32702104)

This is only true for some types of batteries. Liquid slat batteries (often used in electric cars!) have build-in heaters to keep them at operating temperatures, which could be as much as 400 degrees Celsius.
In Texas you would save a lot of electricity otherwise needed to maintain that operating temperature, it would not degrade their performance at all.

Re:Texas (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#32702158)

Li-Ion are NOT lead acid. Lead acids DO have the problem. In fact, South West heat is far worse for a battery than is a Minnesota or Colorado mountain cold.

DVD (5, Insightful)

rock_climbing_guy (630276) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701682)

Do any of you guys remember how much the first DVD players cost and how good the quality was compared to the ones available now?

Re:DVD (2, Interesting)

jmichaelg (148257) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701812)

Batteries are not DVDs. Batteries have been a stumbling block for EVs ever since EVs were invented in the late 1800s. It has not been for want of investment that batteries haven't managed to store more than a 50th the amount of energy that's in gasoline.

My hunch is that as oil supplies wind down we'll end up manufacturing hydrocarbons [lanl.gov] because of their energy density. Moreover, manufacturing hydrocarbons will mitigate the advantage that China has accrued in cornering the rare earth market. [nytimes.com]

Re:DVD (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701998)

Moreover, manufacturing hydrocarbons will mitigate the advantage that China has accrued in cornering the rare earth market.

Given the usefulness of rare earths as catalysts... I wouldn't bet on the process that you link to uses none. (Not to mention the myriad of non auto related uses for the rare earths.)

Re:DVD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32702082)

I have one of the early DVD players - a Pioneer DV535, I think the model number was. It cost a fortune at the time. Anyway, it still absolutely wipes the floor with any modern 'budget' DVD player that you can pick up form the super market for £25/$40. The quality of the RGB output was astounding. The only downside was that the transport rattled.

Re:DVD (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#32702170)

Yes I do. I still have a 1st gen DVD player it works great. I have a pile of dead current generation junk Dvd players.

The first ones are always built better. after they figure something out, then they try to build it as cheap as possible.

Battery replacement (1)

gringer (252588) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701686)

Carroll added that manufacturers could address this problem by leasing the battery to users

How about having a user-removable battery (or at least, machine removable, but able to be operated by users). Battery stations replacing — or augmenting — petrol stations would be a nice touch as well, as mentioned in a TED talk I viewed over a year ago.

Re:Battery replacement (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701782)

Unfortunately that would make ensuring the batteries are a proprietary spare part rather harder.

it's a good thing (1)

phrostie (121428) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701698)

most people who will be getting these will do so because they want to make a statement or be trendy.
the 10% or so resale value will be based on market demand and will allow others to make the jump based on economics.

it's a good thing

Wait, that makes no sense (4, Insightful)

NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701702)

I mean if you buy something you pay up front and get it cheaper. If you lease it you basically rent over time and end up paying more. I mean really are they saying the want them to hide the cost of the battery by making it "separate" and making you pay for it separately? (And making you pay more for it? You're going to pay for the battery one way or another.)

Re:Wait, that makes no sense (1)

BigSlowTarget (325940) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701754)

Bingo - dead on. People should realize that finance isn't about changing the functionality of things, it's about changing how they are paid for and distributing cost risk. You can set up a lease (or whatever) to spread out the cost but that is not making how it works or how long it lasts any different. About the time we said goodbye to manufacturing in the US we seemed to begin to forget about how real physical products work and started believing Moore's law applies to everything and that fiddling the numbers can change the world.

Re:Wait, that makes no sense (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701818)

> I mean if you buy something you pay up front and get it cheaper. If you
> lease it you basically rent over time and end up paying more.

But you know in advance how much it is going to cost you. This is a worthwhile tradeoff for many people.

Re:Wait, that makes no sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32701984)

"If the anticipated £8,000 cost of the battery in such a car were taken off the list price, and recovered instead through a long-term £100-per-month battery lease scheme, the retained value in monetary terms would make it one of the best performing used cars in its segment, rather than one of the worst."

right. do the math. right in the article. at £100/mo, don't take the lease, it's simply a bet that it won't last the projected 8 years (if you believe the battery will last 8 years as the full 8 years and you believe you'll keep it that long; either way put it in the bank, you're basically paying £100/mo in depreciation costs upfront otherwise.

Re:Wait, that makes no sense (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#32702176)

That is most people. Wat too stupid to look past the monthly payment number.

Battery leasing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32701712)

http://www.think.no/ these lease the batteries to the customer.

Did the first Prius have this problem? (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701724)

It was my impression that they sold pretty well, despite the newfangled technology. Sure, it was a hybrid, but still . . . was deprecation a concern with buyers?

Anyway, I don't know, I'm just asking . . . ?

Re:Did the first Prius have this problem? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701850)

> Sure, it was a hybrid, but still . . . was deprecation a concern with
> buyers?

Is it a concern for iPod buyers? Until now the EV/hybrid market has consisted of EV fans and yuppies showing off how "green" they are. As EVs move into the mainstream (as they will) many things will change.

10% in 5 years? (5, Insightful)

cnaumann (466328) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701728)

So in 2-3 years, I should be able to pick up a used Tesla Roadster for about $10K? I can't wait!

You get the feeling that 90% of these statistics are made up?

Re:10% in 5 years? (2, Funny)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701764)

You get the feeling that 90% of these statistics are made up?

No, they just depreciate at the same rate.
In 2-3 years time, the predictions will have depreciated to only 10% accuracy.

Re:10% in 5 years? (2, Interesting)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701900)

Yes, you will get a Tesla Roadster for that sort of money, But you will only be able to get it to the end of the driveway before the battery runs flat. It will cost about whatever the difference is between a Tesla Roadster and a normal car of that class to replace the dead batteries.

citation needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32701964)

citation needed.

I mean, really? Funny how those batteries are guaranteed for 15 years and when replaced you get substantial credit for the old batteries (where the materials cost is a huge part of the cost of the original and with a much smaller energy need to recycle those materials, you can do this and remain ahead).

And even ignoring the laughable hyperbole of the "won't get to the end of the driveway", you will still manage 80-90% of the rated range. And on a long highway commute where 50% of the time is spent slowpoking in the last 10% of the trip, your electric is not wasting energy idling unlike your petrol engine.

Re:10% in 5 years? (4, Insightful)

PingSpike (947548) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701942)

This is modded funny, but it should really be insightful I think.

Also according to this, I will be able to buy a 5 year old Nissan Leaf for $3000. By the article's own assertion, it has 3 years of battery life left. That means for the lost cost of $1000/yr plus insurance (had to pay this anyway, I can get basic coverage though on a $3000 car) minus fuel cost savings (I spend $1000/yr now to drive to work with my 30mpg car) I get to drive a 5 year old car. My car is already 5 years old!

This sounds like a hell of a great deal. I can't even buy a 5 year old chevy aveo manual transmission for that much right now. Who cares if the batteries only last 3 years? I'll just sell the car for a few hundred dollars worth of scrap and buy another one.

Re:10% in 5 years? (2, Informative)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 3 years ago | (#32702030)

Other sources (http://green.autoblog.com/2010/05/27/details-on-nissan-leaf-battery-pack-including-how-recharging-sp/ [autoblog.com] ) claim an estimated 70% - 80% capacity left after 10 years.

But let's assume for a moment that the "battery dead after 8 years" is correct. Then it still looks like a good deal. On top of that, advanced battery technology as used in the Leaf is still getting cheaper, as more vendors get into the business and competition drives down prices. So you may get a pretty good deal on replacement batteries a few years from now.

Re:10% in 5 years? (1)

will_die (586523) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701956)

Probably not, Tesla cars in are in the luxury/cool arena so will not loose as much value as a normal vehicle.

Huh? High depreciation? (5, Interesting)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701730)

If anything, electric cars have much less breakable parts, they need less maintenance and have a real chance of lasting decades! Once battery technology improves, you swap out the batteries and the charging electronics - everything else stays the same. There is no more universal "fuel" than electric energy, which is agnostic to how it was produced, or where (i.e. you might have your own wind or solar plant at home, and the "product" will work just fine with the electric car).

Electric cars are, IMHO, truly future-proof.

Re:Huh? High depreciation? (1)

Devout_IPUite (1284636) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701792)

Not in Vermont! Our salt will rust your car's body out in about 10-15 years. Real shame too.

Re:Huh? High depreciation? (2, Insightful)

PingSpike (947548) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701972)

That's why this article is so great! Just buy a 5 year old Leaf for $3000, drive it until the batteries die to the salt kills in and then throw it away! You can just buy another one for a mere $3000! Who cares if they last, at that price they're quite disposable.

Re:Huh? High depreciation? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#32702196)

Wrong. The electronics in cars are made as cheap as possible. So now you get to replace the charger pack, the BCM, etc.. the ONLY thing being changed from a normal car is the motor is replaced with electric.

you replace a mechanical device with a different mechanical device. they still have friction brakes, wheel hubs, steering racks, transmissions, and differentials.

When we get hovercars, THEN your statement becomes true.

Charging can't work, so what are the other options (5, Insightful)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701756)

You can't charge a car fast enough to match gasoline. It's like a car full of DVDs in the trunk. It might be low tech, but it's higher bandwidth than anything we can run over fiber. Moving the storage medium, gasoline, is too fast. To recharge a car fast enough, you'd need refuel stations that provide as much power as a medium electrical plant. It just isn't practical.

But, if the makers agreed on a standard tech. Standard sizes. Then you'd not do a charge. You'd do a swap. And the batteries would be conditioned, tested, and recharged with every use. Charge them overnight or other low periods at lower cost. And, when the batteries are old and dying, they are retired at the charging station so that a portion of the charge cost goes to replacement, hiding/spreading the cost.

If the government wants to toss out subsidies, then getting the infrastructure in place for this, getting car makers to agree on quick-change layouts and compatible battery technologies (perhaps even a choice of regular or premium batteries at differing costs for "cheap" lead acid batteries vs whatever premium battery technology is adopted (NiMH, Li, or perhaps some mix of the popular ones so that no single resource is overstressed).

Aside from that, I don't see any way for there to be a 5 minute or less charge of a car with a 400+ mile range, like we do with gasoline. If anyone else has an idea, I'd like to hear it. And the plus of this plan, it eliminates the problem with depreciation and battery replacement people fear. Hide the cost (it really isn't that much per mile anyway, but writing big checks makes people cry) and make the replacements fast and safe (maybe even homogenizing the replacement procedure so much that it can be done in 30 seconds or less with robots), and electric will be much more interesting. People in the US hate it because they can't drive cross country. Not that they will, but for the same reason SUVs are popular. They don't go off road, but they could. So you have to make it appeal not to rational people, but to the actual people, who we recognize aren't always rational.

Re:Charging can't work, so what are the other opti (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701856)

You can't charge a car fast enough to match gasoline.

But if you use Sony Batteries, you can match the burning ability of gasoline!

Re:Charging can't work, so what are the other opti (1)

chocapix (1595613) | more than 3 years ago | (#32702014)

You can't charge a car fast enough to match gasoline.

But if you use Sony Batteries, you can match the burning ability of gasoline!

Hey, careful with these matches!

Re:Charging can't work, so what are the other opti (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#32702212)

Yes you can IF you use capacitors. Design it right and you can charge a capacitor bank in 30 seconds. it takes 5 minutes to fuel a car. if they designed it right, you could pull into a charging pad, swipe the card, it's charged and drive off. Gas station fillups would be faster than a toll booth.

not as bad as it sounds (2, Informative)

confused one (671304) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701788)

OK, so the car was more expensive originally; and, after a number of years its value drops to, or just below, the price range of a similarly aged gas powered car... So, it appears to have lost more value.

Early adopters of any technology often find this is the case. They spend more to reap the benefit earlier. The price will normallize after some time and those that follow will reap the benefit of the experience gained in manufacturing and using the initial versions.

Let also look back at cars in the past for a moment: How many of you remember 40 years ago? (or were driving 10 year old cars 25-30 years ago?) The engines weren't as reliable. It wasn't uncommon to have to re-power a car (replace / rebuild the engine) after 6 or 7 years. We've gotten used to having cars with engines that will last 10-15 years. We've been spoiled, really. This technology will catch up, in terms of longevity and utility, eventually.

Re:not as bad as it sounds (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32702258)

When looking at the price of electric cars, you also have to include the savings in fuel over those years.
Especially in the Netherlands where todays gas price has dropped to just: 7.35 U.S. dollars per gallon.

What's slowing electric car appreciation (1)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701798)

is that people like fast cars and practical cars. Right now a family car to fit a family of 5 and get groceries and practical mileage per cost just isn't there. And it won't be there. Not to mention terrain. I live in North East region of Pennsylvania. Lots of mountain and hills here which is a knock against electric vehicles. Also farm country here. Farmers won't want drive their trucks hauling equipment and having to travel the rough terrain of the fields, nor will it probably never be practical for any electric farm equipment. And the truth is, despite what the gov't says, they don't want to give up their reliance on the oil companies either.

Re:What's slowing electric car appreciation (1)

PingSpike (947548) | more than 3 years ago | (#32702016)

Aren't large amounts of hills something an electric or hybrid vehicle is good at? The regenerative braking systems return energy on the way down the hill, whereas you don't get that with a gas vehicle.

I agree that the main enemy is the government, since their are tons of powerful entrenched players with lobby groups they will use to outright destroy or hinder these kinds of vehicles. It is far from the only technology that suffers this fate, but it might be the best example.

Don't get me wrong, there are some real draw backs to these cars as they stand now...but they actually would work for a lot of people, and the prius doesn't make any financial sense and still sells well.

Re:What's slowing electric car appreciation (1)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 3 years ago | (#32702054)

A hybrid I can understand, but the amount of energy on the downhill would never make up for the amount of energy lost on the up hill here.

Leasing battery won't change cost (2, Interesting)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701866)

How would leasing the battery change the cost of replacement 10 years later? It'll still cost, no matter who owns the battery. I'm guessing the idea of leasing is to trick the buyer into not seeing that it costs the same either way, it's just spread out. Let's say the battery lasts for 10 years and costs $3000. That's a $30-$40 monthly lease payment, when you factor in overhead, on top of an already-expensive car.

Re:Leasing battery won't change cost (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701970)

That's a $30-$40 monthly lease payment, when you factor in overhead, on top of an already-expensive car.

The problem with your analysis is that it's not an expensive car, at least in the case of the LEAF, which is priced competitively with other hot hatches with far less performance. Well, after subsidy, but it's a new model. In a few years the price will drop and it won't need the subsidy (which is good because it won't get it any more, either.)

This is worthy of being posted? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32701916)

slashdot has really fallen off with what is real news and what is just posted garbage that some blogger has put up on their website.. Yea cars lose their value the longer you own it so do lot of other items you may own. This is something worth posting about because?????

Electric cars should be cheaper (1, Insightful)

PietjeJantje (917584) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701936)

Electric cars should be cheaper in the future than their fuel burning counterparts. This is because it is a simpler device. It doesn't have to generate the energy from the fuel, the electricity is generated elsewhere. We don't have to drive around with our tiny energy factories (from fuel) any longer. So currently they are vastly overpriced. Which is to be expected from an early adopter product. Personally I think the battery should be easily swappable, possible like fuel is now, you swap it at the battery station. This would solve all problems of battery life time and charging time issues. Of course the current generations of huge built-in batteries don't allow that. In any case, the value of what remains is just of the carriage. So this problem won't go away. The cars are just overpriced once you take out the motor, there is nothing wrong with the value after 5 years, especially when you realize the improvements the batteries will make over the next decades. You pay for innovation, and of course they are hoping the same old prices will stick. That game will stop once electric cars become more common and competition picks up.

Battery replacement not the only reason (1)

will_die (586523) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701940)

This has been talked about for a while. Batteries replacement is not the only reason, it is the overall technology. Each years model brings about huge increases in technology so if you are purchasing a used hybrid car are you going to get the 6 year old technology or the 4 year old technology. It is the same as saying are you going to purchase a Pentium 4 or a dual core system

The batteries are modular and replaceable! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32702036)

Seriously, is this really a problem? As battery technology develops you'll be able to get newer, more reliable and higher capacity batteries for your electric car.

Cars like the Leaf do not have a single battery. https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/wiki/File:Nissan_Leaf_012.JPG shows a cutaway view of the Nissan Leaf with dozens of modular, removable battery packs visible underneath the floor.

So what happens if a battery fails? Buy a new one. What happens if new batteries come out? Buy a whole bunch of new ones and increase your car's range.

It is quite conceivable that after owning a Nissan Leaf for 10 years, new batteries may be pushing the vehicle's range beyond 300km (180 miles).

And that would have the effect of keeping the car's value over a longer period of time.

Or just get a German diesel (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32702150)

My family and I went from Toronto to Ottawa in a 2010 Audi A3 TDI with an average fuel efficiency of 5.5 l / 100km with 2 adults, 2 kids, and a trunk full of luggage and Quebec beer. That's slightly better than a freakin' Yaris' posted numbers with FAR better performance and more cush per squarce inch.

And a solid resale value 5 years down the road with no need to dick around with batteries.

Further, electric cars are only as clean as the power grid you're attached to. If you're in Hillbilly, USA, that electricity is likely generated by inefficient, emission-spewing coal. At which point, a gas-fuelled SUV might be a /better/ choice than the electric. The equation changes, of course, if you're in a region with ample wind, hydro or, possibly, nuclear.

Depreciation is for lesses and car-swappers (2, Insightful)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 3 years ago | (#32702222)

I buy a car and run it into the ground. This won't affect me at all. It also won't affect people who buy a car with zero down and high interest and immediately owe more than it's worth, they don't concern themselves with these things. If you have to have the latest and greatest every few years, you're going to have problems.

Electric cars are a long term investment, paying for themselves over time as gas usage is less. It's not for the buy-and-sell crowd. When they are the most common type of car on the road, this will change.

Article is garbage and author is myopic or a shill, or both.

What a load of crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32702262)

The opposite is true. Teslas are still selling for close to retail. I'd snag one for $12 grand in a second....I haven't seen one sell for under $85,000 yet, regardless of mileage age or condition.

10% my ass

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