Washington Post Compiles List of “5 Things That Need to Happen Before Electric Cars Really Go Mainstream”

4 years ago by Eric Loveday 20

And the Top 5 Things Are...

And the Top 5 Things Are…

We so love it when the mainstream media tries to tell us what it’ll take for electric vehicles to go maintsream…to really go maintstream, that is

Chart is Not at All Relevant to This Article

Chart is Not at All Relevant to This Article…But We Figured You Might Enjoy it Anyways

That’s what’s going here, as the Washington Post is trying to say it’ll take 5 major things to occur before “electric cars really go mainstream.”

Here’s that list of 5:

Top 5

Top 5

1. Batteries need to get cheaper.

2. Drivers need to believe they won’t be stranded.

3. Policy supports need to expand, and not disappear unpredictably.

4. Gas prices need to get high and stay high.

5. More people need to try electric cars.

We’ve bolded what we agree with.  The rest remains suspect to us.

But perhaps we’re wrong.  Maybe the Washington Post is wrong.

What do you think it’ll take for electric to “really go mainstream?”

Source: Washington Post

Tags: , ,

20 responses to "Washington Post Compiles List of “5 Things That Need to Happen Before Electric Cars Really Go Mainstream”"

  1. David Murray says:

    1. Batteries need to get cheaper – I disagree. They are already “cheap enough” to take plug-in cars mainstream. For example, the cost disparity between a regular hybrid and plug-in hybrid has little to do with the battery and most everything to do with economies of scale.

    2. Drivers need to believe they won’t be stranded – I agree that drivers need to believe this. But the only way to fix this problem has nothing to do with technology and everything to do with education and busting myths.

    3. Policy supports need to expand, and not disappear unpredictably – I’m not even sure what this means.

    4. Gas prices need to get high and stay high – gas prices are currently “high enough” to make a plug-in vehicle a worthwhile purchase. Obviously higher gas prices would make them even more attractive.

    5. More people need to try electric cars – Absolutely. If anything, this is probably the most important statement. I would expect, as people try them (test drive them) somebody will be there educating them and answering all of their questions.

    1. Mark H says:

      1. +1
      2. +1
      3. +1
      4. +1
      5. +1

      1. kdawg says:

        I agree mostly w/Dave’s assessment, but I’d break it down to just 2 things.

        Price & weirdness.

        “Price”
        EV’s still cost more than their ICE equivalents. Yes, you save $ on gas/maintenance/etc. and they are more fun to drive, but the sticker shock is enough to send many the other direction. And even if they do the math, artificially cheap $3 gas won’t help.

        “Wierdness”
        EV’s are still a strange alien thing to most. They are something that many people are OK with *someone else* owning, but its too different for them. “You plug it in?”. This weirdness(phobia?) needs to be solved, along with any luggage that says “EV’s are only for tree-huggers” and so forth. Cars like the Tesla S help with this one. And word of mouth/keeping up w/the Joneses will help all EV’s. More test drives should be a priority. Time is on the EV’s side.

        I’ll also give a slight mention to “Politics”. I think for the most part this has faded since the election of 2012 has been over for some time, but it is still present. Hopefully it doesn’t rear its head in 2016.

        1. Mint says:

          There is a very simple solution to the price problem, and it’s killing me that nobody can figure it out:

          Adopt the US cell phone model on EVs.

          Charge EV users $49/mo to run the car, which is WAY less than most people pay for gas, and manufacturers can knock off $5000 from the price, get it paid back in 10 years w/ interest, and then probably get another 10 years of gravy payments since EVs are so reliable. Almost nobody who buys a car is unable to afford $60 of gas per month, so credit/transferability shouldn’t be a problem, and deadbeats can be caught during registration renewal anyway.

          Voila. LEAF S for $16k after credit, beats the piss out of any gas car at the same price in ride quality and features, still saves on fuel cost, still saves on repair costs.

        2. Martin T says:

          Oh the “Wierdness” issue LOL!
          looks like I’m in trouble on that front – as I’m one of the very early customers of the Volt in Australia and consider it “normal” to plug in every night to be rewarded with that sweet linear EV acceleration.
          I call now call my other cars “Vintage” (ICE only)

          I’m all ready looking forward to electric 4WD with torque vectoring.
          What’s wrong with the common public ?
          Still stuck in the stone age?

    2. arone says:

      1. nope . it need to be more cheaper.its not been cheap enough , the range of leaf is only 70 to 80 miles. the range must be more than a comfortable 300 or so miles.plug-in is not main stream.the cost of most selling cars are with in 20 t0 25 k .but the plug-in are more than that and their ev range is less than 40 miles.plug in hybrid may save some money,but it cant provide a knock out punch to oil monopoly. the ultimate aim of ev’s are kill the oil and being green.

      2.technology need to improve a lot more, even tesla can only provide 300 miles and charging hours at homes are still at 8 hr or more (for full). i like the range of an ev to be 800 miles are full charging is max 30 min. at super chargers max 3 min.the chemistry of cells are need to improve a lot. may be 5 times better at-least and of course more cheaper.

      3. more policy’s are required …but ev must have the potential to move forward with out much help.if not it will not explode to mass market.

      4.it need to be more higher. now the “break even point” for the ev driver at more than 8 yrs or so . if it falls to less than 3. it will be sweeeeeeeet.10 $ for gas … that it. its a killer.
      5.people will know more about evs …it will automatically happen. change is inevitable only it can be delayed.

      by the way these are not the best 5 reasons

      to make evs more mass market the price need to come down.at current technology a ev car can only build at 75k or so (tesla) but the mass market is at 20-25k. people can afford a 75k ev car is less than 5%(usa).so at current technology ev not going to be a mass market.but the point is the technology will improve. the battery technology need to improve the li-ion tech not got much room may be twice range for the same price .but that will make some damages but not a killer. i hope eventhough do not improve battery density they reduce the cost of it. the cost of battery at present at 300$/kWt or so.it need to be less than 100. by this calculation the range to leaf jumps from 80 to 480 mi “witch” is a killer. thats it battery tech is the biggest one it can single handily kill the oil.
      the another important one is charging time.super chargers are cool.but when ev become more mass market the install of charging station may not grow fast as evs and people cant wait 30 min for some one to move. so quick chargers in home are must , lets say a car got 500 miles less than 4 hr is good for full charge but i prefer less than 1 hr. and it would be so cool if the first 50 mi is less than 2 min.

      another major one is charging stations. but it will be okay when ev are more main stream. it will bled in to society and culture and psyche of people.i like the supercharging time is to be less than 5 min . more than a 1000 A may need to pass. but just do the damn thing. its far more crazy than the “oil harmony”.

      another one is price price need to fall from 75 k to 25 k….the leaf can only provided 80 miles which means at present battery cost its the max range. lets assume the price of the battery becomes half ,then 160 miles at that point the sales of ev will jump from less than 1% to more than 5%. at that time plug-in hybrid will be more cool because it could travel 80 miles and more range.the drivers 95% of the travel is been secured by ev.the break even point will fall to may be a 4 yr range and due to low cost for fuel people began drive more in their hybrids.which good for ev market.so the price of a good ev fall from 75 k to a 50 k or so

    3. Jesse Gurr says:

      2. Drivers need to believe they won’t be stranded

      That’s what AAA is for.

  2. Red HHR. says:

    Simplified pricing. Smart shopping will bring the price of a Volt down to the price of a Prius. Most people just see an expensive aberration.

  3. Spin says:

    1, 3, and 4. Like everything else in this world, its all about the money.

  4. Lou Grinzo says:

    Items 1, 3, and 4 are all facets of the same fundamental issue: The relative cost of EVs vs. ICEs.

    Items 2 and 5 are education issues that will fix themselves if the relative pricing is enticing enough.

    We’re not going to see “everyone” flip from ICE to EV “overnight”, nor would we want that, thanks to the market chaos that would ensue. (Consider, for example, what the automotive equivalent of a run on a bank would look like as ICE owners suddenly realized the value of their vehicles was plummeting.) What we’ll see is more and more people being exposed to EVs by knowing an early adopter, while the relative pricing of EVs continues to improve.

    Bottom line: Give the market a reasonably equipped $20k, 200 mile/charge EV and everything else will “magically” fix itself.

  5. Assaf says:

    2 and 5 are the same item.

    1 and 4 are both already at an acceptable level for mainstream EV penetration.
    Leaf cost-of-ownership via its lease, is easily $1-2k/year lower than buying a new ICE car, and even cheaper than buying a 5-10 years old used ICE car. Of course, #1 will continue happening as battery-production volumes increase and battery-material recycling gets underway.
    But as of right now, this is really a side-effect of #5: people are not aware of these beasts, what they can do, and how much they really cost.

    This leaves #3 (govt. subsidies). Right now, even GM and Nissan are >150k sales away from the US tax-subsidy phaseout (200k per maker). This means we’re at least a couple of years out from subsidy phaseout, even if EVs continue at a near-doubling of sales every year. That’s plenty of time.
    And then they are pre-programmed to gradually phase out over a year: 6 months at 50% and 6 months at 25%. http://www.irs.gov/irb/2009-48_IRB/ar09.html

    Of course, if we’re lucky and a U.S. House looking less like the Star Wars bar scene is elected next year, politicians might realize what a great investment these subsidies are and extend them. But my guess is that barring major economic/technological catastrophe, in 5 years max they won’t be needed anymore.

  6. pjwood says:

    In terms of education and economics, I don’t think the Post was far off.

    It’s enough that the MSM didn’t say fewer fires and $5 gas. “Get high” was the biggest stretch. Why it’s so hard to say gas is $.10-.12/mi and electric is $.03-.04/mi is beyond me.

  7. Delta says:

    6. Tesla brings out Gen III and it is exactly what they promised it would be.

  8. evnow says:

    #1. All other things are dependent on it.

    Essentially a 200 mile EV for $25k will make all other issues go away. When will Nissan get there ?

  9. Kimmi says:

    1 – Yep, and they ARE getting cheaper, it’s a working process but it’s in the right direction;

    2 – See number 5;

    3 – “Predictability” is the word here, but i doubt it will have a major impact in the future;

    4 – True, but more importantly, electricity needs to become/stay cheap;

    5 – 100% True, after that, many myths about EV’s fall down in peoples minds.

  10. Gadge says:

    This month marks the 40th year of the OPEC oil embargo (Oct 1973-Mar 1974) which I lived through…do YOU remember it? Should it happen again, you can bet your *** the electric car will go mainstream in a hurry!

  11. Spec says:

    Batteries need to get cheaper AND/OR gasoline has to get more expensive. Everything else will resolve itself as people slowly figure out that EVs are more economical.

    And eventually, gasoline will get more expensive.

  12. Nix says:

    Here are some more reasons:

    6) Not enough EV’s competing in enough categories. There need to be pickups, minivans, SUV’s, etc, just like gas cars. People didn’t choose those vehices because they had gas engines, they choose them because they fit their lifestyles and desires. Right now there aren’t enough kinds and types of vehicles made with EV or PHEV drivetrains to satisfy these people’s needs.

    7) For some folks, they won’t buy an EV until they keep getting their doors blown off, and the performance numbers beat gas vehicles. Tesla has done a lot with that, but more will have to happen for those buyers.

    8) Posters on kid’s walls. Lots of folks end up as adults buying cars that remind them of the cars they loved as kids.

    9) Break through cultural left-right politics.

    1. Josh says:

      #6 +1

      This is the single biggest factor in raising adoption. We need full US availability of competitive plug-ins in every product segment. Ideally 2-3 choices in each class. It will likely take another 5 – 8 years to get there though.

  13. bill howland says:

    You forgot #7).

    7). Brad Berman needs to make sure his Ecotality thing is competently installed..

    As much as I am underwhelmed by those (on the) Blink things, this one is clearly due to installer INCOMPETENCE. Didn’t anyone look at his photograph?

    Clearly, the attachment wires (which are field installed by either Berman or his “Big Expert” electrician) are the cause of the problem and fire.

    Maybe Eric Loveday can break it to him gently.