<< Return to Page One
Smith acknowledged that the Volt, together with other EVs such as those produced by Fisker and Tesla, represent "fabulous technology" but argued that the cars are not ready for the mass market. "They are way early on the development curve," he said.
In a sign of the challenges of launching an EV, Fisker has suspended the retooling of a former GM plant in Wilmington, Del. where it had planned to build a luxury plug-in hybrid, saying that it has to renegotiate a loan with the U.S. Department of Energy.
Smith argued that energy storage in EV batteries has to be sharply improved to allow drivers to travel long distances without "range anxiety" over whether the battery's charge will run out before a destination is reached.
Battery cost also has to come down to around $250 a kilowatt hour from the current level that Smith estimated at between $400 and $800. That would help cut the purchase price of EVs like the Volt which is currently listed at just under $40,000, a tag that Smith argued produces sticker shock in most drivers.
And drivers can't be expected to buy EVs in significant numbers when it takes half an hour for even a fast battery charge, compared with a minute or two to fill a car with gasoline, Smith said.
But Brian Wynne, president of the EDTA, contended that the Volt, for one, isn't much more expensive, once a $7,500 federal tax credit is taken into account, than the $30,000-plus that the average driver pays for a new car.
Wynne, who drives his own Volt, argued that such vehicles will have a bright future when people understand that their running costs are a quarter or less than that of a conventional car; that EV ranges can easily cover typical commuting distances, and that battery charging can be accomplished with regular 110-volt outlets overnight or during the work day.
"I don't go to the gas station anymore," Wynne said. "That would be an inconvenience."
Don Anair, senior engineer at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said EVs such as the Honda Fit or the of local transportation for households that have two or three cars.
"An electric vehicle could fit well as one of the options," he said.
AOL Energy provides access to news, analysis, thought leadership and discussions about the top stories in the electricity sector today. Participants in AOL Energy stay ahead of breaking news, participate in high-profile events and enjoy access to the central hub of the industry community as it transforms in response to fast-moving changes in energy politics and regulation, deals with financial challenges and leads technological advances.
More on EVs from SGN's Jesse Berstâ€¦
Forget peak oil! Worry about peak lithium!
Now your EV can shop for cheaper electricity
Automaker to utilities: Get your EV act together! We're waiting on you!
<< Return to Page One
|Volt suspension raises more questions about EV prospect|
|IMHO, news about EVs is generally overblown when it comes to EV acceptance and proliferation. The cars might be the sexy part that appeals to our classic American infatuation with the automobile, but the real barometer of EV expansion is inexorably tied to development of an extensive and reliable network of STANDARDIZED charging stations across the country, such that you don't have to do a Google search to be sure you can get back from a trip to the grocery store! And until that happens, most EVs will remain 'novelty' items.|
|M.A. Marullo - 09/11/2012 - 07:52|
|I wonder why it's not selling...|
|Gee..it's not selling. I wonder why...|
1) It's expensive. Sorry - most folks don't spend over $30k on a car. You can't throw a rock without hitting a Kia or some such cheap vehicle.
2) It has no range without falling back to being a gasoline auto. Why not just buy a regular car for 1/3 the price?
3) It's ugly. No one wants a huge ugly sedan.
|Jerry Zoellner - 09/12/2012 - 08:46|
|Outselling the |
|The Volt is outselling the Corvette. Yes, the corvette. The Volt just has its best month for the Volt in August with 2,500 units sold...should reach 20K for 2012, not bad for a 2nd year car. |
I disagree on the ugly car design, it was crafted by BoB Lutz. The man know how to make and design a car. Do you think the Prius sold 50K in its first 24 months? Dont' think so. Prius worked out pretty good for Toyota, eh?
Also, people are coming into the dealership to test drive the Volt and some are leaving with the Cruze. Fine probably because they can afford the Cruze ab it. more . But what brought them into the dealership? Great marketing by an American Car co.
Haters go home and live under your bed.
|Grant Gerke - 09/14/2012 - 07:23|