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Will electric cars become a mainstream technology?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Featured Debate 28


Will electric cars become a mainstream technology?

 

Electric cars are frequently in the news these days.  And as we know, many folks think the technology beats out other alternative fuels any day.  But that answers the "should they become mainstream" question....

 

When it comes right down to it, will they?

post #2 of 10

I don't think there's any doubt about it.  Just consider the fact that virtually every major auto manufacturer is working on either plug-in hybrids, fully electric vehicles, or both.  A couple have even discussed the goal of eliminating gas cars from their lineups altogether.

 

Gas is becoming ever more expensive and no more environmentally friendly, so people are demanding alternatives.  Electric cars are simply the best technology.  They're the most efficient at converting stored energy into motion, they have few moving parts that can break, they're quiet, fun to drive, etc.

 

The only issues holding them back are cost, range, and refuel time.  Mass production will take care of the cost disadvantage.  In fact, the Green Vehicles Triac is already cost competetive with gas cars, as will be several other EVs coming out in the next year or two.  And of course EVs have a huge fuel cost advantage, at about 2-3 cents per mile as opposed to about 8-9 cents per mile for the Prius and 13-15 cents per mile for your average sedan.  The range issue is being addressed - the Tesla Roadster already has 200+ mile per charge range, as will their 2010 Model S.  If EEStor is successful, so will the CityZENN.  EEStor would also solve the recharge time problem, as is Altair Nanotechnologies.

 

I think biofuels (particuarly algae oil) will also have a share of the market.  Hydrogen might eventually, but not in the forseeable future.  I think electric cars will comprise the majority of cars on the road before long.

post #3 of 10

just watched obama speak on his energy plan...which includes huge subsidies for auto makers to develop/manufacture alternative fuel vehicles, as well as $7000 individual subsidies for those who purchase these vehicles.  these subsidies are part of his goal to eliminate american dependence on foreign oil in 10 years.  ambitious, but bodes well for the increasing embrace of alternative fuel cars (including evs) by the american public in the near future.


Edited by lola - Mon, 04 Aug 2008 20:26:09 GMT
post #4 of 10

Along those lines, Obama specifically proposed getting 1 million 150 mile-per-gallon plug-in hybrids on U.S. roads within six years, converting the entire White House fleet to plug-in hybrid vehicles within one year, and converting all federal vehicle purchases to plug-in hybrids or all-electric by 2012.  And of course there was McCain's (gimmicky) proposal for a $300 million award for anyone who can make a leap foward in EV battery technology.  So even the presidential nominees see the EV writing on the wall.


Edited by dana1981 - Mon, 4 Aug 2008 20:52:07 UTC
post #5 of 10

For the overwhelming majority of people in this country, a vehicle that gets us safely from home to work *cheaply* and *conveniently*, is ALL we need. We don't buy gas cars because we love gasoline. So whether it's diesel, natural gas, electric, hybrid, hydrogen or _____ (fill in yet-to-be-invented technology here), is really beside the point. All that matters is cost and convenience. Our own economic survival is at stake and whichever technology solves our problem will win. The environmental benefit will be an after effect.

 

That said, electric seems to be the best prospect. If economies of scale can trim the cost of EVs substantially (below 30K for an entry-level) then they will mushroom. Cost is far more important than performance in this market. Most of us will be willing to live with less than stellar range and power as long as we save money.

 

PS. When I say "we" I refer to the average, mainstream American consumer






Edited by petera650 - Tue, 05 Aug 2008 22:45:39 GMT
post #6 of 10

 Hopefully, they will.  Problems of distance, speed, reliability, affordability are a large concern.  My electric vehicle was extremely overdone just to keep up with traffic.  The cost of mine has been outrageous- especially for those marine batteries ($1200.++ every 2 years or so).  Cost aside that is a tremendous way to get around- I sure hope more appear.  I feel like I am driving some sort of a one-of-a-kind vehicle amid more hybrids and even more oversize fossil-fuel vehicles!

post #7 of 10

It's going to be really interesting to see what happens in San Francisco as the Better Place and their EV infrastructure gets underway.  Do you think the "if you build it, they will come" theory holds true in this case?  Of course...there are two "they's" in this case.  On one hand there's the consumer and on the other hand, there's the manufacturer.

post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eli:

Do you think the "if you build it, they will come" theory holds true in this case?  Of course...there are two "they's" in this case.  On one hand there's the consumer and on the other hand, there's the manufacturer.

 

I don't think the Bay Area needs charging stations for EVs to become popular.  It's already a hugely popular place for hybrids.  Though charging stations will help because a lot of people in cities like SF live in places without access to power outlets.

 

I don't think it will make much difference to manufacturers either, except that they might put more dealerships in the Bay Area.  Basically all car manufacturers are already going full spead ahead on EV development.

post #9 of 10

That may be a bit optimistic. Given the bleak economy and relatively tight financing market, buying a new car and high performance car parts just isn't as easy as it once was. The million-dollar question going forward: Will the recession kill the chances of hybrid and electric vehicles from going mainstream?

 

** edited to remove link in violation of Commercial Use Policy


Edited by admin - Thu, 19 Feb 2009 01:45:50 GMT
post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by khooper:

That may be a bit optimistic. Given the bleak economy and relatively tight financing market, buying a new car and high performance car parts just isn't as easy as it once was. The million-dollar question going forward: Will the recession kill the chances of hybrid and electric vehicles from going mainstream?

The recession is sure doing a lot to everyday living!  I am still optimistic Electric Vehicles, but my CityEL parts are nearly impossible to buy in the US, both of my 3-wheel EV trikes have motors/batteries that are no longer made, yet I am forever hopeful for EVs and solar power!  Now about high performance...  ;-)

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