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Electric Cars: Drivers Love 'Em, So Why Are Sales Still Low?

timothy posted about 8 months ago | from the opportunity-cost dept.

Transportation 810

cartechboy writes "The electric car challenge is what insiders call "getting butts in seats" — and a lot of butts today still belong to humans who are not yet buying electric cars. The big question is: Why? Surveys show drivers are interested in electric cars--and that they love them once they drive them. EVs also cost less to maintain (though more to buy in the first place) and many experts say they're simply nicer to drive. So what's the problem? Disinterested dealers, uneven distribution, limited supplies, and media bias are some potential challenges. Or maybe it's just lousy marketing--casting electric cars as a moral imperative or a duty, like medicine you have to take."

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2 Words (5, Informative)

Rhyas (100444) | about 8 months ago | (#45497993)

Infrastructure

Range

Re:2 Words (2, Insightful)

Mashiki (184564) | about 8 months ago | (#45498181)

You forgot cold weather.

Re:2 Words (2)

Teancum (67324) | about 8 months ago | (#45498297)

Cold weather mainly limits range. Electric heaters are not a problem for driving in cold weather and only in extreme environments like Antarctica (which also has almost no infrastructure as well) will it be a major problem.

Otherwise driving an electric automobile might even be beneficial as you have the weight of the batteries distributed more evenly on the automobile than the bulk of the engine up in front of the car as well as how many electric automobiles have all wheel drive (aka power to all wheels and not just the rear). In other words, they have about the same problems as any other automobile has in that environment.

Note also that even for gasoline engines you have reduced performance in cold weather... for many of the same reasons. You can also mirror the same issues for hot weather too in terms of getting air conditioning going, and I think it is much easier to run an air conditioner off of batter power than to deal with the insane thing of trying to put an AC radiator in front of the engine immediately next to the coolant radiator of that engine. For myself, I find air conditioners in automobiles to be an amazing piece of technology that simply shouldn't work but does anyway.

Re:2 Words (4, Insightful)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 8 months ago | (#45498183)

One Word: Price.

They look nifty, but for the price, you can have an extra nifty gas burning car - why spend $30K on an econobox when you can get a "real $30K car" instead?

32k is a new Mercedes or BMW... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45498273)

Who's going to trade that for a Nissan Leaf, Toyota Prius, etc etc?

No doubt Yupsters.

Re:2 Words (4, Informative)

robot256 (1635039) | about 8 months ago | (#45498317)

The $30k EVs--at least the ones that actually sell--are far from "econoboxes". They come with all the bells and whistles of similarly priced cars, and serve the same purpose if you get one that matches your lifestyle. Buy a Chevy Volt for and you won't have range anxiety, but you'll be among drivers who go an average of 900 miles between gasoline fill-ups. Buy a Nissan Leaf (like my own), and you may have to borrow a gas car or ride with a friend once in a while, but never have to worry about oil changes.

I'll buy one... (5, Insightful)

Max Threshold (540114) | about 8 months ago | (#45497995)

...when I can buy a used one for $5,000 and expect it to last me five to ten years without major maintenance.

Re:I'll buy one... (0)

elrous0 (869638) | about 8 months ago | (#45498085)

Exactly. Hard as is is to believe for the prosperous folks in Silicon Valley, Austin, Seattle, et. al.-- but most of us can't drop $60,000 on a toy.

Re:I'll buy one... (0)

blue trane (110704) | about 8 months ago | (#45498109)

Govt should subsidize the cost.

Re:I'll buy one... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45498145)

The government that's already running a deficit of $1 trillion a year?

Re:I'll buy one... (4, Interesting)

Max Threshold (540114) | about 8 months ago | (#45498203)

Sure. They can take the money from oil subsidies.

Re: I'll buy one... (1)

fizzer06 (1500649) | about 8 months ago | (#45498147)

No.

Re:I'll buy one... (4, Informative)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 8 months ago | (#45498209)

They already do to the tune of $7500 per EV.

Re:I'll buy one... (1)

crdotson (224356) | about 8 months ago | (#45498291)

Yeah! Then it'll be FREE!

Re:I'll buy one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45498373)

So you're willing to help pay for my car? Thanks!

Re:I'll buy one... (3, Informative)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 8 months ago | (#45498197)

One big issue I have is battery life.

I'm driving a 14 year old pickup truck, and a 23 year old sports car, both purchased brand new. Ya know the most common replacement component in both? Batteries.

Yes, Lithium-Ion / Fe whatever is different from lead-acid. Do you hear any electric car company making a claim that their multi-thousand dollar battery packs are going to last anywhere near 14 years? How about 23?

Re:I'll buy one... (4, Interesting)

Teancum (67324) | about 8 months ago | (#45498355)

One big issue I have is battery life.

I'm driving a 14 year old pickup truck, and a 23 year old sports car, both purchased brand new. Ya know the most common replacement component in both? Batteries.

Yes, Lithium-Ion / Fe whatever is different from lead-acid. Do you hear any electric car company making a claim that their multi-thousand dollar battery packs are going to last anywhere near 14 years? How about 23?

I think this is a legitimate issue. Tesla battery packs are claimed to last about ten years before they need to be replaced (where they are expected to have about half of the charge capacity as a new battery pack). Tesla even wrote a blog post about the topic a little bit before they started to deliver the Roadster, and showed how they reprocessed the old batteries with almost a 100% recovery of the contents with recycling efforts (hence the environmental issues are almost moot). Still, when you are calculating the per mile cost of operating an electric automobile you do need to consider the cost of the battery pack replacement in the figure.

I haven't seen the actual figures from Tesla or other similar companies, but some "fans" have estimated a battery replacement cost of about $10k-$15k. Cheaper than buying a new car, but certainly a non-trivial cost.

The funny thing is how the Baker Electric automobiles had a battery technology that didn't need nearly so much maintenance, and in spite of the fact that those batteries are now over a century old many of those automobiles (largely in museums now... but still serviceable) still have the original factory installed batteries that have only needed minor refurbishment and some new chemicals put into the battery. The trade off is that they don't really hold that much charge.

Re:I'll buy one... (1)

Dahamma (304068) | about 8 months ago | (#45498261)

Exactly! I'd even pay significantly more than that for a nice used electric car. But $40k for a new Volt or $80k+ for a new Tesla? Eh, no thanks.

money? (1, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | about 8 months ago | (#45498001)

A cheap electric car that performs well will sell like crazy.

Re:money? (1, Informative)

Roger W Moore (538166) | about 8 months ago | (#45498103)

Not if it's range is a few hundred km and the recharge time is 30+ minutes. Many of us may use our cars for in-town trips much of the time but we still want them to be able to go on long distance journeys a few times a year for family holidays. This, plus the current cost, are the only reasons we've not gone electric.

Re:money? (2, Insightful)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about 8 months ago | (#45498165)

but we still want them to be able to go on long distance journeys a few times a year for family holidays

I'd like to take a moment to introduce you to a fledgling little company known as Hertz.

Re:money? (1, Interesting)

elrous0 (869638) | about 8 months ago | (#45498247)

You obviously haven't priced a rental car lately. The figures simply don't add up. Electric costs SERIOUS money over gas, no matter how you cut it. Most people just can't afford it.

Re:money? (4, Insightful)

swillden (191260) | about 8 months ago | (#45498199)

A cheap electric car that performs well will sell like crazy.

Define "cheap". I bought my Nissan LEAF because, compared to every other new hybrid or ICE-only vehicle I looked at, it was the cheapest option.

Now, I was looking to buy new, not used, which means I was looking at a higher price point than a lot of people, and I am willing (and able) to spend a little more money up front in order to save it over the longer term. Within those parameters, though, and making some assumptions about the price of fuel (which, I have to admit, are pretty far off base right now; I didn't anticipate such a dramatic drop), the three EVs I looked at were all significantly cheaper than any of the other options over an eight-year time horizon -- and that was without even considering the lower maintenance costs, didn't factor in the tax credits and included some pretty pessimistic assumptions about EV resale value.

With the tax credits available, the break-even point against the next-best vehicle (the Honda Insight) as just a bit over two years. And the price of the LEAF has dropped significantly since I did the analysis.

Assuming a LEAF or an i-MiEV or similar fits your driving needs, they are very cost-effective options. And my LEAF is a lot of fun to drive; it performs quite well.

Re:money? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 8 months ago | (#45498285)

which means I was looking at a higher price point than a lot of people,

Well that's why people aren't following you to all buy EVs.

Incidentally, your post motivated me to check out the Leaf's 0-60 time [zeroto60times.com] , which appears to be 7.9 seconds, which is indeed fairly reasonable. So now we're just looking at price.

Re:money? (1)

slinches (1540051) | about 8 months ago | (#45498227)

This is essentially what I came here to say. It just doesn't make financial sense at the prices they want for electric cars. The cost difference between an electric and the gasoline powered equivalent seems to be around $7500 (after the tax rebate) which makes the fuel cost break even point somewhere around 100k miles. It may drop to 80k miles if you consider reduced maintenance costs as well, but there's no avoiding that it'll take a majority of the life of the vehicle to reach the point of being a net gain. Then there's the opportunity cost of not being able to invest that $7500 elsewhere.

I've done the same sorts of calculations for home PV electric systems and they just don't quite make sense yet. I'll keep checking, though. I like the idea behind both solar and electric cars. They are moving in the right direction of increased efficiency and lower cost while fossil fuel based power will only keep getting more expensive.

Re:money? (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 8 months ago | (#45498343)

Fast, cheap, long range.
Pick two.

Re:money? (1)

deathguppie (768263) | about 8 months ago | (#45498369)

also, large cheap bars of gold will sell equally well. Yes, the universe is full of free energy, that doesn't mean that harnessing it to "your" needs is going to be cheap. We live fat and happy off all the work the dinosaurs(mostly plants but I digress) put into creating energy, but never take into account that they used only a small portion of the energy available to us in the solar system. The question is not how to make cheap electric cars but how to make cheap electricity, because then even the creation of the cars becomes more economical.

Relatively cheap global oil price (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45498003)

Come back when oil is $500

Nowhere to plug one in (5, Insightful)

spaceyhackerlady (462530) | about 8 months ago | (#45498011)

It's as simple as that.

I live in an apartment building. I've discussed the matter with the building management but we haven't come up with an answer. While new buildings must have electrical hookups for electric cars, there is no incentive to retrofit old buildings.

...laura

Re:Nowhere to plug one in (0)

mysidia (191772) | about 8 months ago | (#45498089)

I live in an apartment building. I've discussed the matter with the building management but we haven't come up with an answer. While new buildings must have electrical hookups for electric cars, there is no incentive to retrofit old buildings.

The problem is you already live in that building..... get lots of prospective renters asking about it, and making clear the absence of the hookup is the reason they'll be looking elsewhere; at a time when the building owner is having trouble filling up all the vacancies.

Re:Nowhere to plug one in (2)

elrous0 (869638) | about 8 months ago | (#45498115)

Chicken, meet egg.

Re:Nowhere to plug one in (2)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 8 months ago | (#45498215)

Chicken, meet egg.

It wouldn't be hard to have outdoor chargers; the problem is that they suck a lot of juice and you'd attract leeches like nobody's business without some way to charge them and do so securely -- ie, if the charger was tampered with it or disconnected would shut off. Tragedy of the commons, theft of services, etc.

Re:Nowhere to plug one in (2)

Dahamma (304068) | about 8 months ago | (#45498349)

That's an easily solvable problem. There is no reason that an apartment complex or a random charger on the street needs to be *free*. Charge per hour, just like a parking meter. In fact I can't imagine that isn't going to be the future of urban electric charging anyway. If the majority of cars in the future are electric, then pay chargers will be almost as common as parking meters...

Re:Nowhere to plug one in (1)

bondsbw (888959) | about 8 months ago | (#45498159)

This is a chicken-and-egg problem, but once a critical mass buys electric cars, you'll start to seeing them in parking lots at your apartment, work, at restaurants, and many other places you spend time. They will do this because it offers a competitive advantage, the same way that offering free wifi does.

Gas stations will also provide this service, but I figure they will mostly go extinct once the entire country converts to electric (assuming this actually happens).

Re:Nowhere to plug one in (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45498207)

Gas stations will also provide this service, but I figure they will mostly go extinct once the entire country converts to electric (assuming this actually happens).

Probably not. Gas stations make almost no money on gas. Cigarettes, soda, candy, coffee, etc. People will still buy that. Gas gets people to come in, but they will still stop if they want that coffee.

But there just won't be one on EVERY corner. Probably will move to less expensive locations and be replaced by more drug stores, but convenience stores will still exist and do fairly well.

Unrealistic cost (3, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 8 months ago | (#45498229)

They will do this because it offers a competitive advantage, the same way that offering free wifi does.

You have got to be joking - do you have ANY concept of how much it costs to add a WiFi router to an internet connection the business already has, vs. running a high-load electrical connection out to even just TWO parking spaces? Not to mention cost of the electricity, not to mention the high likelihood of outside connections being vandalized...

There is no way you can justify the cost of adding car charging outlets to every small business.

This is the reason Electric is failing, because there's just so large a gap between the fantasy and reality.

Re:Unrealistic cost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45498245)

Plus given how crappy free Wifi tends to be I doubt you could even charge a car on public charger.

Price !!! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45498021)

How about they're too fucking expensive? Ever considered that?

Re:Price !!! (1)

MoFoQ (584566) | about 8 months ago | (#45498045)

amen!

if I could afford it, I'd get myself a Tesla Model S

Range is a concern too.

also, some of the other electric cars....are just ugly.
If Tesla can make an electric car that looks as nice and sexy as the Model S, why can't the other manufacturers?
Perhaps, they don't want to or think it won't sell.
Of course, if you make something that people want and at a reasonable price, it wouldn't be a problem.

Re:Price !!! (2)

Pentium100 (1240090) | about 8 months ago | (#45498287)

also, some of the other electric cars....are just ugly.
If Tesla can make an electric car that looks as nice and sexy as the Model S, why can't the other manufacturers?
Perhaps, they don't want to or think it won't sell.

Two reasons:
1. Battery technology is not there yet - so the car has to be as aerodynamically efficient as possible. A Mercedes W140 with an electric motor probably would not go very far.
2. If your electric car looks exactly the same as a gasoline car, how will anyone be able to see that you are driving an electric car and saving the planet?

No Jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45498029)

No jobs no butts in seats. Economics 101.

Re:No Jobs (1)

blue trane (110704) | about 8 months ago | (#45498153)

More government stimulus, in the form of direct payments to people, like Bush did. Make it a permanent basic income. There is no production capacity problem, only a demand problem.

Re:No Jobs (1)

crdotson (224356) | about 8 months ago | (#45498305)

Yeah! And none of this $600 crap, either. I want a million bucks.

i love my 15 year-old car (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45498037)

I plan to drive it until it dies, and after that will most likely buy another gasoline-powered vehicle. It's not that I'm biased over how my vehicle gets its power, it's just that the vehicles I like are not available as electric.

Because they're EXPENSIVE (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | about 8 months ago | (#45498039)

Let me know when a used one is in my working-class budget range, and we'll talk.

Re:Because they're EXPENSIVE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45498069)

seconded

Re:Because they're EXPENSIVE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45498187)

Agreed. Economics 101. They are too expensive.

If the cars were there, there would be a market for outlets at every parking spot. That stuff will all come out in the wash. Until then, big money folk will buy them, and the market will remain small. Rolex or McDonald's (or Ford and Jaguar, if you prefer). Those are the only two real models.
Right now electric cars are only for folks with Rolex.

Re:Because they're EXPENSIVE (1)

Bite The Pillow (3087109) | about 8 months ago | (#45498353)

We haven't bought new cars in 10.2 years, on average. Price of electrics takes a back seat to price of cars.

Ask about electrics when normal cars are selling like hotcakes.

PRICE!! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45498049)

PRICE!! I'd buy one in a heartbeat if they were a sane price compared to a gasoline equivalent.

Re:PRICE!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45498107)

Same here. I'd also like to buy organic vegetables if it wasn't for cost. Whole Foods is expensive, y'all.

Re:PRICE!! (1)

Dahamma (304068) | about 8 months ago | (#45498319)

And ironically (actually, no, it's not ironic - not even coincidental) the last time I was at Whole Foods (in Cupertino) I counted 5 Teslas in the parking lot...

Duh, no place to plug into (4, Insightful)

fozzy1015 (264592) | about 8 months ago | (#45498051)

Seems obvious to me. I, like many others, live in an apartment. My parking spot doesn't have an electrical outlet anywhere nearby, and neither does my office parking lot.

Re:Duh, no place to plug into (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45498201)

Sort of the same problem. Where my house is, we have only on-street parking, and the house is 60 feet from the curb (behind another house--it's a tightly-packed city neighborhood). No way to plug in. Public charging stations are starting to pop up, but not enough to rely on. And sure price is an issue, but presumably that will improve as the numbers go up (how much did your first computer cost?). Battery cost is a big part of that. As it is, though, I mainly use my car on the weekends, so it's just not worth it to spend a lot of money on a new car.

Really? And WHO says this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45498063)

To simply make a claim that people love them without ANY supporting documentation is what you expect from the biased propaganda of a slashdot'ng wanker.

dirty and not affordable (0)

mexsudo (2905137) | about 8 months ago | (#45498067)

oil fired electricity is very dirty and way more expensive than gas, propane or diesel. I am too green and too poor.

Re:dirty and not affordable (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45498141)

Hey dumbass, you can generate electricity lots of other ways than burning stuff.

Re:dirty and not affordable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45498301)

Hey dumbass, you can generate electricity lots of other ways than burning stuff.

We will start by cremating pricks like you who insult people
because they have nothing more valuable to offer the discussion.

Re:dirty and not affordable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45498303)

Hey dumbass, that would require a HUGE investment in infrastructure and still would only, at best, produce SUPPLEMENTAL energy.

Cost, range, software, and strategy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45498073)

I think that's the right order.

Initial outlay for the car is expensive.

You have limited range unless you shell out for a high-end Tesla. Supercharging is awesome; but too expensive (see previous reason).

The software sucks and/or wants to do things it should't do, like phone home about your driving habits. Get the privacy issues worked out, and use the KISS philosophy in your design. Separate the infotainment crap from mission critical systems, and audit the shit out of your code NASA red/blue team style and/or Open Source. That'll inspire a lot more confidence.

Strategy is in some ways a combo of all the other points. I've half-jokingly said that I'd like to see so many EVs on the road that gasoline demand actually drops. First the cost of gasoline would drop, hit a bottom, and then creep back up when gasoline becomes a specialty item. If it gets to the point where you have to go out of your way to find a gasoline supplier, you're way past the point where you should switch to EV. It's not known if drivers of existing ICE cars will ever see this EV didvidend, but it's nice to think about it.

Re:Cost, range, software, and strategy (1)

JasoninKS (1783390) | about 8 months ago | (#45498123)

You're close, but need to also add infrastructure and vehicle size. Many people have no way to charge at their house/apartment, and no where to charge at work. Let alone anywhere while out on a road trip. And a good many people need a vehicle with some sort of cargo room. These tiny Matchbox cars they're selling aren't much good for hauling a load of groceries home.

Range. That's #1. (5, Informative)

Tugrik (158279) | about 8 months ago | (#45498099)

The three year lease on my Nissan Leaf is over in a few months. I absolutely adore the car. It's been the best commuter vehicle I've had in all ways but one -- range. This is the biggest complaint of all those I've shown it to, as well. Many of the co-workers and friends who have ridden in my car over the years want one! Then they hear what the range is like and they lose interest.

My daily round trip (+lunch) comes in at just under 50 miles. With the highway speeds in my area (75 and up) and putting slightly better tires on it instead of the no-traction-in-rain stocks that I went through all too quickly, my real-world run-until-empty range is about 65 miles (When new with the super-eco tires and driving 65 on the freeway, I could get closer to 80-85 miles of range). This means that by the time I get home I can go back out to shop and return, and that's about it. I cannot use the Leaf for longer weekend runs, road trips, or even for the once every three weeks that I have to commute from San Jose to San Fran (about 120mi round trip). Therefore I have to have a second gas-powered car.

Being that I work in Silicon Valley, owning one gas car and leasing an electric car alongside is feasible. With how much I save on gas the lease is nearly 75% covered anyway. With my office soon installing chargers at work my range will extend considerably. But for most of my friends having more than one car is out of the question, budgetary-wise, and the limitations of a car that can only go about 65 miles before it has to charge for 5 hours (my usual L2 charge is 4h:40m or so, overnight) are just too restrictive. With L3 chargers being few and far between, and often having a cost associated with their use, they don't help much. So, no EV for them.

When my lease is up I'll probably try to get a Toyota RAV-4 EV. It supposedly has a real-world range of over 110mi - nearly double my Leaf. It's more affordable than the Tesla models, and more important to me, I can fit in it (I'm very tall-torso and short-legged; I simply can't get in the sports-car-low roof line of the Model S, and no Model X's exist that they will let a consumer sit in to see if they fit!). I'm bummed that Nissan hasn't found a way to 2x the range of the Leaf, or I'd gladly stick with that model. The Tesla-drivetrain RAV4 is still more expensive than I like, but it'll fit my EV driving needs far better.

When battery technology increases enough that 150+mi range EVs are Leaf-level affordable _then_ you will see sales take off in the urban areas. Any advancements in fast-rate (L3 or better) charging will help that too. Until then, for all of their benefits and wonderfulness to drive, they'll remain a niche for packed-urban-area dwellers who can afford to have a second, dedicated commute car.

Re:Range. That's #1. (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 8 months ago | (#45498237)

I don't drive too far, too often, but when I do a typical trip is 50 miles out and 50 miles back, with no guarantee of a charging station "on the far side..." that makes a claimed 115 mile range.... unimpressive. Even at 150 miles of actual range, I'd feel restricted, and I don't think I'm driving all that far, am I?

Climate (4, Interesting)

mirix (1649853) | about 8 months ago | (#45498105)

Up here, at least. In the depths of winter I think you'd be using a lot more power for heating than for driving. Though, it would blow hot air right away, which would be nice.

I imagine battery performance would be seriously hurt by the cold as well. I don't know how bad NiMH and Li-ion drop off in cold, maybe not as much as lead acid but still quite a lot I imagine, being how chemistry works... Get a big battery blanket, I guess.

I'm yet to notice any EV rollin' around here, anyway.

Re:Climate (1)

Pentium100 (1240090) | about 8 months ago | (#45498219)

Yea, people have trouble starting diesel cars when it's -25C outside, I wonder how far could you drivein an electric car - especially that heat is no longer "free" like in a gas/diesel car.

Re:Climate (2)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 8 months ago | (#45498361)

I imagine battery performance would be seriously hurt by the cold as well. I don't know how bad NiMH and Li-ion drop off in cold, maybe not as much as lead acid but still quite a lot I imagine, being how chemistry works... Get a big battery blanket, I guess.

The battery packs all have built-in heaters.
The power draw for heating the battery means less range, but your battery's life/performance is more or less safe.

Requires a garage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45498125)

I have a large house with two large driveways, but no garage. The driveways obviously do not have power sockets. I don't want to spend thousands of dollars and dig up my driveway to fit sockets. It's that simple.

Couple to this concerns about range: it gets cold up here in the north east United States and I'd have real concern driving to my mother in law's eighty miles away for the weekend given that she also has nowhere to charge and that'd be a 160 mile round trip plus whatever other driving we do. Add on the fact that gas drivers can just fill up, whereas visitors with electric have to borrow electrics, and oh god this is too complicated

Can't recharge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45498133)

Every car that lives on the street, in a lot, or in a parking garage when not in use is a car that doesn't have a clear charging solution. I can't easily find statistics on Americans who own garages but there's a clear problem right there. The cars that *do* have a way to charge up when not at home or work (e.g. Tesla power stations) are way outside of my price range.

Give me one, Elon! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45498149)

I'll drive it all over the place. For realsies.

Uh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45498161)

and many experts say they're simply nicer to drive

Many experts are apparently on crack.

Sure, is an overpriced Tesla going to roll better than your Accord? Fuck yes.

Is your Chevy Electriturd going to roll better than the Yugo that some seedy Eastern European paid *you* to take?

No, it is not.

Well, duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45498163)

just open source the 3D files and people can 3D print their own car at home! It's future !!! Luddites!!!!

Disruptive technologies have long adoption cycles (1)

JoeyRox (2711699) | about 8 months ago | (#45498167)

People have been driving combustion automobiles since the industrial age. It takes time for new technologies to move through adoption stages, not to mention time for manufacturing costs and yields to improve.

Re:Disruptive technologies have long adoption cycl (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 8 months ago | (#45498213)

People have been driving combustion automobiles since the industrial age. It takes time for new technologies to move through adoption stages, not to mention time for manufacturing costs and yields to improve.

Sigh. Not this 'electric cars is new technology!' nonsense again.

Our ancestors had been driving electric cars for years before the internal combustion engine came along. They are an ancient technology, not a new one.

They dumped electric cars almost immediately when internal combustion engines became viable, because electric cars sucked so bad. They still suck, for all the same reasons they did then.

Still too expensive, plain and simple. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45498171)

I make a good living, and an electric car like a Tesla would have to be a 2nd or 3rd car. I can't afford a 3rd car that costs $100k+. Other than the cool factor of having one, that's the only reason I'd have one. You don't buy one for the environment -- someone who drives a Tesla, doesn't have a Prius as a backup. When they hit $40k, I'll consider it, simply because it will never / can't be your only mode of transportation. Sorry, can't make that emergency run to the xyz because the Wife forgot to plug it in last night, vs you can always find a gas station on your way out with your main car.

Re:Still too expensive, plain and simple. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45498351)

If you "make a good living" but have to suffer a daily commute longer than the Tesla's range (so it would be your "third car," rather than your first, leaving some cheap but reliable old gas car for the rare long trips), then you should seriously consider changing where you live or changing jobs. Even if the rent is higher or the pay quite a bit less --- how much of your life do you want to waste sitting in traffic? How about reclaiming a few extra hours a day for something worthwhile?

I can understand not wanting a Tesla for the price (that's me and everyone else in ~95% of income brackets), but if "not enough range for my daily car" is your main objection, then your problem is not the Tesla. Stop screwing yourself over for money you don't have time to use.

40mpg (1)

gnomff (2740801) | about 8 months ago | (#45498173)

I routinely get 40 mpg in my econobox car, and it only cost me 15k brand new. An electric car would be great but with my current gas bill I would never break even

Re:40mpg (4, Insightful)

Moof123 (1292134) | about 8 months ago | (#45498269)

Yep, you got it. When I run the math, it just is not in my favor yet.

I drive a truck now, and have been looking to get a second car to commute with to keep the miles off the truck, as I like having a truck but never want to have to buy another one. When I run the math on a Leaf, or Focus EV the break even point is way out there. $35k ballpark vs. ~15k for gasoline. At $4/gallon that is 5000 gallons of gas for a break even point of roughly 200k miles. Given my commuting use of about 5k miles per year I am looking at a 40 year break even compared to a 40 mpg econobox. I'll still be racking up about 5k miles per year on long trips in my truck. So for me, despite the desire, the math stinks.

I have seen this trend on a lot of the for sale Leaf's, commuting modest distances doesn't rack up many miles. Lots of folks end up selling simply because they change jobs and end up with a long commute, but the range isn't adequate. Sort of a catch 22.

Battery life and environmental footprint? (1, Interesting)

Beeftopia (1846720) | about 8 months ago | (#45498177)

How long does the battery last before it must be replaced? And will that cost offset any savings I've obtained during the life of the vehicle?

How does the environmental footprint of the battery compare with the environmental footprint of an oil burner?

Re:Battery life and environmental footprint? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45498345)

Did you perhaps mean to write, "How long does the battery last before it must be recycled and replaced with a much cheaper and possibly superior next-generation alternative?"

Telecommuter (1)

JMandingo (325160) | about 8 months ago | (#45498179)

My personal "why": I code from home, so my car leaves the house twice a week and even then only to go 5-10 miles. My car is a '98 Mustang Cobra with a supercharged V8. I paid 15k cash for it used in 2002. I only get 17 miles to the gallon, but so what? I fill up maybe once every two months. I do a lot of my own maintenance. An all-electric vehicle would be perfect for my needs, and I could easily afford one, but I plan on driving my '98 until it rusts out from under me. It is a blast to drive, and the cost of fuel is a non-issue for so few miles.

Re:Telecommuter (2)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 8 months ago | (#45498249)

Get a garage, the fun will last longer. My '91 is still going strong.

Re:Telecommuter (1)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about 8 months ago | (#45498309)

You better keep driving it at least twice a week. If you ever taper off, the catalytic converter will die and the oxygen sensors in the exhaust system will fail and it won't pass emissions testing. As it is, you'd better find an excuse to go farther somewhat regularly, or your catalytic converter will still die on you. They need to reach operating temperature and be kept there a minimum of 15 minutes on a regular basis, or they clog and croak.

I found this out the hard way when I spent 3 years working from home and drove my 2001 Ram Air Trans Am only once a month. Infernal combustion vehicles really can't sit unused that much.

Correlation is not causation (0)

0123456 (636235) | about 8 months ago | (#45498195)

Duh. People don't love electric cars because they're better than ICE cars, only people who love the idea of an expensive car with limited range buy electric cars in the first place.

Re:Correlation is not causation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45498279)

You have that backwards. Republicans don't buy them because they want to actively damage the environment. Forget the hate they spewed recently in their diatribe here against solar power? The cars don't sell because of lack of love. They aren't selling because of hate.

Higher cost, less convienence (1)

joe_frisch (1366229) | about 8 months ago | (#45498221)

I believe that the cost of an electric car is still significantly higher than for a low-medium end conventional car (Honda Civic for example). The operating costs might be lower, but its not clear that is true. Now a Tesla is a much nicer car that a Civic, but out of the price range of most people. (If this isn't true, and electrics really are cheaper overall, then their marketing departments are doing a bad job).

Then there is the range issue. I can get in a standard compact car and drive pretty much anywhere, I don't need to check if there are gas stations on the way. If I want to drive from the SF bay area to Los Angeles, I can stop for lunch anywhere on the I5, fill my tank in 5 minutes and be on my way. With an electric I'd need to be sure that a station was available, and it would take considerably longer to charge than it does to fill a gas tank.

Its true that probably less than 5% of my driving would cause any range concerns, but I still want to be able to do that 5%. Renting a car for those missions is time consuming.

An electric sounds great as a commute car - charge at home, charge at work (if available), no wasted time at gas stations. It might be a perfectly reasonable car for a person or family with 2 cars. It does need to compete though with the very reliable, high quality, low cost cars that are already on the market.

yyou Fail It?! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45498223)

Shout5 To the worthwhjile. So I

No significant portion of the population wants em! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45498235)

Because almost no one has wanted the damn things for around one hundred years.
Do a little research, they have been in America for somewhat over a hundred years, with various models of supporting infrastructure.
I don't want one and neither to most other people.
The only reason we have as many as we do is because politicians have been pushing them with the taxpayers money. They don't want them themselves, they just want you to have use them.

It is just another waste.

it's easy (3, Funny)

bitt3n (941736) | about 8 months ago | (#45498255)

show me an electric car I can slap my truck nuts on without it looks like I'm doing it ironically, and you got yourself a sale

Re:it's easy (3, Funny)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about 8 months ago | (#45498367)

Elon Musk got quoted this week saying Tesla will be building a pickup truck in 2015.

So... give it a couple-three years and you can dangle your nuts in public all you like.

And knowing Elon, it won't be at all ironic. The motor on a Roadster is 60 lbs. With the space available in a truck frame, you can bet he'll put in a couple of fat puppies with so much torque it can drag around two F-150s like a pair of really dangly truck nuts.

Because they don't fit budgets or lifestyles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45498259)

They don't go far enough on a single charge, and they're priced like luxury vehicles. In this age where credit debt is at an all-time high, is it any real surprise that people aren't buying a special use-case car?

It's the gasoline, stupid (2)

Powercntrl (458442) | about 8 months ago | (#45498267)

If you can afford an electric car, your budget likely isn't being squeezed by the cost of conventionally fuels. Those who actually would be helped substantially by the savings an electric car provides generally don't have the income and/or credit score to purchase a brand new electric vehicle. The other problems with electric vehicles:

Range - For the most part, you can drive a conventionally fueled vehicle so long as it's mechanically sound and has fuel. Trip from Florida to Alaska? No problem, so long as you remember to stop for gas.

Inconvenience - Forget to fill up your tank and you can solve the problem with a call to a friend (or a long walk) and 5 gallon fuel container. Forget to charge your EV and you need a tow, which is generally a lot more expensive than doing the walk of shame, to a gas station. You have to plan your trips around the level of charge in your car. Just got home from a road trip to your aunt Susy's and now the school is calling that your kid needs to be picked up because he puked his guts out? Sorry, little Jimmy, you'll have to wait while the car has enough capacity to make it to school and back home.

Electricity - Sure, it's cheaper than gas today, but what happens if electric cars started catching on? They'd have to build more coal and natural gas plants (there's still that pesky fear of nuclear and renewables aren't feasible everywhere) and everyone gets to pay for them in higher utility costs. See, very little petroleum (roughly 1%) is actually used for electricity generation, so a shift towards electric cars would actually just make gasoline and diesel cheaper, while every fucking thing you use electricity for becomes more expensive. Now, I'm sure the car buyer who walks past the Model S isn't worried about it costing twice as much to microwave a burrito or watch the Superbowl on his 60" TV, but it is still something to consider.

Battery lifespan - If the battery craps out, you could be on the hook for an extremely expensive repair. This will be a bigger problem in the future as more electric cars start entering the second-hand market.

They need a lesson from Joseph Goebbels (1)

Suiggy (1544213) | about 8 months ago | (#45498277)

"All propaganda has a direction. The quality of this direction determines whether propaganda has a positive or negative effect. Good propaganda does not need to lie, indeed it may not lie. It has no reason to fear the truth. It is a mistake to believe that the people cannot take the truth. They can. It is only a matter of presenting the truth to people in a way that they will be able to understand. A propaganda that lies proves that it has a bad cause. It cannot be successful in the long run. A good propaganda will always come along that serves a good cause. But propaganda is still necessary if a good cause is to succeed. A good idea does not win simply because it is good. It must be presented properly if it is to win. The combination makes for the best propaganda. Such propaganda is successful without being obnoxious. It depends on its nature, not its methods. It works without being noticed. Its goals are inherent in its nature. Since it is almost invisible, it is effective and powerful. A good cause will lose to a bad one if it depends only on its rightness, while the other side uses the methods of influencing the masses. We are, for example, firmly convinced that we fought the Great War for a good cause, but that was not enough. The world should also have known and seen that our cause was good. However, we lacked the effective means of mass propaganda to make that clear to the world. Marxism certainly did not fight for great ideals. Despite that, in November 1918 it overcame Kaiser, Reich, and the army because it was superior in the art of mass propaganda."

- Speech by Joseph Goebbels on September 6th, 1934 to an audience of party members at Nuremberg , a series of training talks for Nazi party members

reasons (2)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 8 months ago | (#45498299)

1. I like to do a lot of my own maintenance but the high voltage warnings under the hood scare the bejesus out of me.

2. I don't drive enough to make it economically justifiable.

3. I'm old and cantankerous and have noticed mostly hipsters drive electric cars. Not really a hipster fan.

Re:reasons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45498363)

3. I'm old and cantankerous and have noticed mostly hipsters drive electric cars. Not really a hipster fan.

Exactly, the problem is a generation gap. Sales of electric cars will increase when the hipsters grow up and become cantankerous old people.

We are not ready for them! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45498323)

It's actually good that electric cars are nowhere near as popular as our ordinary gasoline-powered vehicles. The infrastructure is simply not ready for it and I do not mean the lack of outlets near public parking spaces.

We simply do not have enough electric power available to have everyone recharge their EVs. If we want to eventually replace most vehicles with electric ones, we need to improve our electricity generation first.

Too expensive (4, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 8 months ago | (#45498329)

Here in Australia the Leaf and Miev are both above $50k. I can buy two corollas and ten years of fuel with that amount of money.

Let them eat cake! (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about 8 months ago | (#45498335)

If you're asking the question, you probably don't realize how utterly clueless it is.

Consider the case of a great princess. When told that the peasants were starving and had no bread, she suggested they eat cake instead.

There are two obvious reasons (and every other comments makes them so I'll refrain). But if you live in a bubble, yes, you probably wonder why everyone doesn't buy an electric car.

Capital Cost (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 8 months ago | (#45498357)

It's the same thing that let MSDOS stuff into the office while everyone loved the Sun workstations and similar. An electric vehicle may be a lot better for some situations but the cost to buy one is very high compared with the competition.

It's the whole "getting stranded" thing (1)

kriston (7886) | about 8 months ago | (#45498371)

It's the whole "getting stranded" thing that doesn't exist with conventionally-fueled vehicles. I don't want to get a $300 towing charge to a recharger just because I want to drive around.

I think fuel cells are the real answer. Batteries, even the express battery replacement option, won't answer the demand for people who don't want to get stranded in their overpriced electric vehicle.

This is just reality.

hate paying the insurance twice for 1 driver (1)

frovingslosh (582462) | about 8 months ago | (#45498391)

Are we talking true electric or hybrid here?

Both can be more expensive to maintain if you keep the car long enough to replace the batteries. If you don't keep it that long then it becomes the next chump's problem, but you still feel it in reduced resale value.

Pure electrics have a serious problem with range. A multi-car family might be able to work with that for one of the cars, but a single person gets screwed. And they really get screwed if they have a second car that they use for longer trips, they end up being forced to buy liability insurance on each car, even though they can only drive one at a time. Note that I'm talking about the required liability insurance here, not the usually optional collision or comprehensive insurance. And I don't believe the big lie that the insurance is on the car, not the driver. Get a teen-age driver in the family and watch what happens to the liability insurance rate on the same car, or get points on you license or a DUI. The insurance is clearly on the driver, but that driver has to pay for it again if he wants a spare car to resolve the range problem. There is no way that I would ever buy an electric car (or even a tiny high mileage gas powered car with no carrying capacity) unless the lawmakers stop taking their instructions from insurance company campaign donations and clear up this insurance company windfall.

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