The Biggest Challenge Facing Electric Cars Is Still Affordability


Falling EV battery prices resulted in longer range. Not lower purchase prices.

When Elon Musk announced job cuts at Tesla last week, he gave a clear reason for the belt-tightening. “We face an extremely difficult challenge: making our cars, batteries, and solar products cost-competitive with fossil fuels,” he wrote to his employees. “While we have made great progress, our products are still too expensive for most people.”

Tesla showed the world that electric cars can provide long range, luxury, and incredible performance. Its vehicles upended the notion that EVs were cramped and compromised city cars. The whole industry followed Tesla by increasing the size of its batteries. That’s a good thing. But it has not helped with EV affordability.

Yes, the cost of EV batteries continues to fall. So far, that hasn’t translated to lower prices for electric cars. “Decreasing prices as a function of the battery price has allowed automakers to put vehicles out there with larger and larger batteries,” Scott Shepard, an analyst at Navigant Research, told InsideEVs. “The purchase price hasn’t dipped down. As federal purchase incentives come out of the market, you’re likely to see prices stay at the same level for you the next four to five years.”

Shepard said that Tesla’s strategy to start with the top of the market made a lot of sense. “The price premium is significantly diminished in the luxury segment because there are a lot more bells and whistles,” he said. “In the economy segment, it’s significantly more difficult to make those trade-offs.”

A People’s (Electric) Car?

That’s precisely the point made this week by Hans Dieter Pötsch, Volkswagen’s chairman. He said that it will be difficult to make a viable business out of small, entry-level EVs.

Pötsch explained: “The current price level cannot stay the same if these cars are equipped with electric motors. Therefore, it will inevitably lead to significant price increases in the small car segment.” As a result, Pötsch said that EVs could very well remain “unaffordable for people on low incomes.”

If he’s right, we can expect wealthy people to buy electric Audis, BMWs, Jaguars, Porsches, and Teslas – and even relatively expense models from the likes of Chevy. But lower-income folks will have to wait for those cars to show up on the used market.

These trends are confirmed by a survey of more than more than 22,000 EV drivers conducted by PlugInsights, the world’s largest EV driver-research panel. There’s a big distinction between consumers buying expensive long-range EVs with big batteries and those driving lower-cost electric cars with smaller batteries.

The least expensive EV is the Smart EQ ForTwo. It sells for about $16,000 after incentives.

Forty-five percent of EV buyers who bought long-range EVs (Tesla cars and the Chevy Bolt) make more than $200,000 a year. With the introduction of the Model 3, the percentage of long-range EV buyers making more than $200k has decreased to about 38 percent. But the overall EV slightly shifted toward wealthier buyers.

Meanwhile, EV buyers who purchased an electric car with fewer than 150 miles of range are a different set. Only 17.5 percent of those EV drivers make more than $200,000. From 2011 to 2018, 38 percent of folks buying lower-range EVs make less than $100,000 a year.

Elon is right. He said it five years ago and he said it again last week. EV affordability is an “extremely difficult challenge.” His email to Tesla staff explained what he believes is at stake: “Our mission of accelerating the advent of sustainable transport and energy, which is important for all life on Earth.”

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209 Comments on "The Biggest Challenge Facing Electric Cars Is Still Affordability"

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Makes sense. the used car market is where the “affordable” EVs are. Leafs can be had for under 15K. Even 3-4 year old BMW i3s with and without range extenders are available for under 20K. At least in the USA. In Cali you can find even more cheap Evs like the Fiat 500e for example.

Cheap used 500e’s are available pretty much nationwide. I picked mine up in Florida. Love that thing to bits!

Your “at least in the USA” comment is very significant.
Used EV values fall at nothing like this rate in Europe, and leases are far less attractive, because of the very different structure of incentives and lack of a ZEV mandate. In most of Europe, there’s no requirement for a % of cars to be ZEV, which in the US causes the manufacturers to sell compliance cars primarily so they can sell other cars. Meaning, they’re subsidizing the cost of the EVs, but aren’t really interested in making them and think most of the public isn’t interested in buying them. Their ICE cars subsidize their EVs. That’s also the reason for the incredibly cheap leases.

As for example the Leaf in Europe, in July 2015 the bare bones Visia trim with 24kWh was for 26500 EUR. In November the same year came the 30kWh version, but was offered only in the higher trim Accenta for 31500 EUR. Today the next generation Leaf with 40kWh in Accenta trim is for 37000 EUR. And the 62 kWh version is offered only in the highest Tekna trim for whopping 46700 EUR.
Even when I would compare the rising prices for the highest Tekna trim it was 32400 EUR for the 24kWh, 34200 EUR for the 30kWh both in November 2015 and today the Tekna with 40kWh is 41000 EUR and as mentioned the 62kWh Tekna for 46700 EUR.
The Nissan Leaf is actually getting much less affordable over time. And yes the cumulative inflation over the past 3 years in the EU was only 3,8% (0,2%, 1,7% and 1,9%) aka its very low. And therefore gives no reason for rising prices.

Chevy Sparks are under $10k. Sounds like a lot of fun for under $10k, and they are awesomely fast off the line.

Cars really are a luxury, and a quite expensive one at that, even if you buy the least expensive ones, as I do, used cars. Still you have to take care of them, a garage is highly desirable, it’s like having a high maintenance pet, which I also don’t advise, pets in general, are too expensive, and so are cars.

Having an affordable and reliable car for getting to work without getting wet is a necessity in the USA. In a 3rd world country, I agree, it would be considered a luxury.

There are many parts of the world in the 1st world where you really don’t need a car…. some it’s a hinderance. NYC, London, Paris, Berlin, Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing, Singapore… to name a few. Most of those places, obesity rates are very low because people walk and take public transportation. It will be ideal if more people can do that.

Also Los Angeles once had an extensive light rail system that was actually very good. Big Auto killed it in the 1930’s and now we have soul destroying traffic.

Yes ,if I lived in Manhattan I wouldn’t in a car but I live in the suburbs so I do

Add San Francisco to that list. It’s stressful and confusing to drive there and it costs a fortune to park.

I forgot Bay Area

it’s true. It is mostly a necessity in the U.S. By a luxury I also meant it in the sense that kings of old were not so blithely or swiftly conveyed to the places they went as we are today.

True, they didn’t have electricity either.

Nor indoor plumbing.

Perhaps the better way to phrase that would be something like this. In the United States for the most part owning a vehicle is a necessity not a luxury being that public transportation outside of a few large cities is quite poor. Therefor price matters more so than in other markets.

Just so happens I’ve done research on this. I can cite study after study after study most of which are either government source, social justice type organizations, advocacy groups for poor and minorities. And EVERY SINGLE ONE comes to the same conclusion: Owning a reliable car is the single biggest factor in a) keeping someone out of poverty and/or homelessness and b) Getting them OUT of poverty/homelessness. These studies also point out that in most US cities, public transportation systems are designed for, are concentrated in areas of, and paradoxically not helpful or even harmful to the people that utilize these services heavily. I know that sounds like a left field comment, but these studies point out that in most cities it can be a 90 minute trip just to go a couple miles to try to get to a job because the jobs are likely not in the core poverty area where the poor person resides. The routes and schedules just don’t line up much less trying to get to an actual supermarket vs inner city convenience stores which are overpriced and often the only place available to but food. The long and erratic behavior of the routes creates… Read more »

All of that can be witnessed in the San Francisco Bay Area and its outskirts.

That’s so true


It’s true except in Chicago and Philadelphia-NYC-Boston corridor

I live in the suburbs of Philly and you need a car around here.

It’s still true in most of the suburbs of those cities. The only US urban area where’s it’s visibly not true (as in, the stats say most people don’t have a car) is NYC.

Yeah, garages are highly desirable. Where else do you put your table saw.
Parking cars inside is inconvenient though.

Right, too much sawdust in the house, otherwise.

Pretty sad if you’re not being sarcastic.

Because I am going to take the bus to the remote airfield where I work?

Even though my income is below 200K/yr, I can afford a $50K car.
However, the inconvenience of charging on the road turned me away from EV.
For $50K, I bought a very well equipped ICE.

If you get a Tesla, you’ll be surprised how easy it is to road trip. Owned a EV for 3 months now and I am pinching myself on how easy it is!!! Took it on 3 road trips and I’ll probably never use my ICE car again. Also first two months of owning EV, we saved about $200 month in gas.

He’s trolling

why are people downvoting this – i’m due a new car in feb (when my lease ends) and had to go for a kona niro hev. In london, most homes don’t have garages or off-street parking – it would be super inconvenient and even more expensive to go electric. Once off-street parking problem is solved (don’t see any easy solutions) I can’t go for an electric, as much as I like to.

If you are in downtown London…do you really even need a car?

The same problem is in 99% of other European cities.

Take the tube or National Rail

Where does he say he’s in Downtown London? Greater London has around 10 million people and most areas have the same parking issue. He doesn’t need to be living in zone 1, and even if he did, most people still need a car for when they are travelling outside of london – most people use their car for things other than commuting.

Heck, London is irrelevant in this, he could be living in almost any Town in the UK and have the same issue.

If you are living anywhere where it is so dense that there is nothing but street parking, you are likely to be living in an area where you really don’t need a car. There will be public transport, uber, etc.

The OP didn’t mention that he HAD to charge “on the road.” It he/she could afford a $50K car, and had available charging, there is not much of an excuse to get at least a PHEV.

He is getting downvoted because he has built a false either-or fallacy. He could have simply bought a PHEV and spent well less than $50K and then just filled up with gas at any gas station. Instead he bought an ICE. Nothing to do with your situation.

In Holland people never charged their PHEV’s so the government stopped the incentives..

Well if he doesn’t have a parking place at home or work with a plug, then a PHEV isn’t all that helpful. There was no clarity in the post and that warrants a downvote.

There’s a lot of chargers in greater London area

It’s downvoted because he obviously, clearly not to you, was spreading half truths. Would you not agree that a viability of EV strongly depends where you live and where and how you drive daily? Since he never mentioned any of that, he had zero intention to be objective … He was just trolling, unfortunately.

I would call you an early un-adopter.
If the car does not fit your lifestyle, and you have no easy place to charge then you make the best decision for you. Eventually things will improve for ev’s and decline for everything else. For instance ICE bans in cities, on certain days, or avenues, or periodic bans dependent on polluted air. Low resale values, like people that got burnt buying a TDI from VW group.
I bet your well equipped ICE did not come with OTA updates, so it’s a give and take. What matters most to you.

My last tdi was my best car purchase ever. Paid $22k, drove it 50k miles in 2 years and was paid almost $25k to sell it back. The wife’s, we put 100k on it and sold it back for $4k less than we paid. They were great cars and if I could buy another one with the same performance today I would. A great road trip car, San Francisco to Denver in less than 20 hrs, left at 1 pm and was home at 10 am.

I’m very happy with my 2016 Golf SE. Loaded for $24.5 , practical, small on the outside big on the inside, well appointed and feels a class or two above the price.

Cracks me up how selfish some folks are.

“Yeah, my TDI was the greatest, sure, its been proven its a dirty diesel that sends billions of cancer causing particulates into the air – sure VW admitted lying to us TDI owners and were forced to buy them back – gee, a boon to me and my wife – h*ll, I’d buy another one”… (!!!) How about the millions of humans that had to breathe TDI smoke? But thats OK, ‘Cause you got a great deal…You wish VW spent 15 more years scamming governments and their customers so YOU could benefit again!…P.S.: You’re so dense, you probably don’t realize just how self centered and selfish that sounds. Plus, you, your wife and kids had to breathe those emissions too! 😣


I was able to get a lightly used Model S over a year ago with under 30k miles for around $42k. Let someone else take the depreciation hit and the early warranty recall headaches. My car is pretty much perfect I have over 50k on it now and since it was a 2016 I get free supercharging. Consider the preowned options offered by Tesla directly. They still have warranties and in many cases are more solid than a brand new one since the first owner took care of the bugs for me. Charging can be a little bit of a headache but its only because where we tend to drive to the chargers are normally a detour and not located next to a restaurant or rest area. I’m in the midatlantic region of the eastern US. YMMV as the saying goes as in some parts of the country Tesla has put the chargers in slightly more road trip friendly areas ( closer to interstate or restroom ). That being said in 30 minutes I can usually get enough juice to drive another 3 hours.


I’m in Wisconsin and there’s not a lot of EV’s here, but a couple years ago I pick up a Model S P85+ for under $50k and it’s been a dream for long road trips. It’s the 7-seater, I’ve driven my family of 5 as far as Boise Idaho, and it’s been a better experience than other vehicles. I’ve done a lot of road trips in other vehicles and the inconvenience for charging is almost non existent. Drive 2 hours, stop to pee, drive 2 hours, stop for lunch, etc., makes for a much easier drive. With all the inconveniences of an ICE, I can’t see how the EV could be considered less convenient.

That’s the challenge, all right. Vehicles need to be affordable and they need to be able to go where the owners need them to go. And right now, EVs offer one or the other. You can either get a used Leaf that’s affordable but has limited range, or a new Tesla that has good range, but costs a lot. As the technology improves, hopefully that will change

It will also change with the development of the used market.

A decent used market relies on enough used vehicles to service it. If only a small proportion of people are buying higher end EV’s then that market isn’t really going to materialise.

The other issue is, if a lot of those cars are from premium manufacturers/are premium cars when new, the cost of maintaining and repairing them (even when they’re EV’s) will be to hard on the wallet for those lower income buyers to even consider.

And still the world waits for a better battery…

It’s almost as bad as waiting for our flying cars – granted this time there are over a dozen countries pouring tens of billions of dollars of research money into better batteries and infrastructure. But still, the batteries are just never quite good enough.

About 1.4 million people disagreed with you last year.

There’s no point in waiting…it is actually counter-productive. If everyone waits, it will never come because the vast majority of technology improvements come as gradual refinements to exist technology, not big breakthroughs.

So… when all the gradual refinements to the batteries we have now finally make low cost BEVs a reality, wouldn’t you say that those would be better batteries and that we had to wait for them?

And still the world (minus the 1% people) waits for a better battery…

And those vast improvements mean there’s a worry that your $40-60k vehicle will be superceded very quickly, suppressing the resale value and making the TCO much higher than the equivalent ICE car.

There are arguments both ways, but EV’s are still currently a relatively niche market for those with either deep pockets or a conviction for it.

And that’s why you lease…

Apparently you missed it. The world isn’t waiting. EV sales are continuing to go up 50% year over year.

Neat. More and more 1% ers are getting onboard. The other 6,930,000,000 people on the planet are still waiting. Apparently you missed this- we are not all wealthy.

And mostly not “wealthy” people don’t actually drive cars and certainly don’t buy new cars. Only “wealthy” people buy new cars by most worldwide definitions of wealthy.
In the largest auto market of the world, PEV sales hit 5% in the last month I could find (Novemer 2018). So 1% of worldwide sales probably isn’t accurate anymore.

China hit 8% in December.

EVs were >2% worldwide last year.

I was recently shocked to discover all those upscale pickup trucks that ordinary people are buying cost from $55k to $70k! Average prices above $40k. No wonder Detroit likes to focus on that segment. Apparently people will stretch their budgets to buy what they want.

The ease of getting auto loan and relatively low rates is making many people buy cars they should not be able to afford. I know a couple of millenials who live with their parents who own lifted Ford 150’s and Ram 1500s. They make $10 an hour and spend 1/2 their income on car payments. That’s Detroit’s market for you.

Ha you think they all make $10 an hour because they don’t wear a suit to work? I work for a local water and sewer authority and I make $36:an hour but I still think. $70k for a truck is ridiculous. I bought a loaded Golf for $24.5k. When you make $10 an hour pretty much anything is half of your income.

Auto loan bubble is about to bust

Average transaction price for the number one selling vehicle in the world was $35,800 or the about the price of a Tesla model 3…

What makes you think the price of a Model 3 is about $35,800?

He said about, give or take $20k…..

To be fair, with gas savings and incentives, $35k is about right for the base Model 3.
And hey – if you live with your parents – the gas savings is even better since they aren’t likely to hit you up for the extra $20 a month in electricity.

So buy an F-150 with a $600 payment and $150 in gas or get a model 3 for $750 a month. Almost identical monthly payments.

Now is isn’t truly fair to consider average transaction price to base price for sure. But we aren’t really talking huge differences in price.

I think you’re missing ‘just’ one important factor here – there’s a slight bit of difference in utility between the two vehicles. Ones five foot longer than the other, has 5x the cargo capacity and can tow. The other is the equivalent of a Fusion, which is certainly not selling for an average price of $35k.

60k is the new 35k

Honestly, this winter has left me feeling that my 310 mile Model 3 doesn’t have quite long enough range and/or chargers aren’t quite common enough yet. I want to be able to reliably go 200 miles in adverse conditions without having to resort to hypermiling techniques. Give me a rated range of 400 miles and I think that’ll definitely be enough. Alternatively, chargers need to be more common. My wife wants to take a weekend trip to a spot that’s 60 miles from the nearest supercharger, in the heart of New England Winter. I don’t want to hesitate about this. I don’t want to think, “We’ll be okay as long as we don’t wander ~10 miles and we don’t stay an extra night.” I want to think, “We’ll be okay,” period. The supercharger needs to be within 30 miles of it. Then round trip with winter efficiency means it’ll eat 120 rated miles between the supercharger and the hotel instead of 240 (eek – cutting it way too close… the hotel supposedly has a destination charger, but what if it’s unavailable? Way too high a chance of being simply screwed.) Or, alternatively, if the car had 400 miles of rated… Read more »

I completely agree, I have a mid range M3 and I burned 130miles yesterday driving about 40 miles I also live in New England. It’s was about 8F yesterday. When I got home with 90ish miles left I got a warning my charge speed was limited and I was getting about 6 miles an hour. I put down my seat and blasted the heat for about 30 minutes. I then went out in the cold and reseated my charger. That got me to 12 miles an hours, I woke this AM with it at 200 miles.

Yeah I’m not dealing with that crap. My 14 year old ice might not like the cold, but it starts, and I can fuel it in 5 minutes on my way to work or home. I never have to wonder if it’s full or not, as it doesn’t ever matter.

What are you going to do when cites start telling you they are not putting up with the crap coming out of your tail pipe?

If he lives in the United States that’ll be a long time in the future.

Don’t bet on it.

So you really believe that most cities in the United States are going to tell 99% of their car driving citizens that they can’t drive their car in the city? I can see it now “hey all you people in the suburbs don’t come into our city and spend money”….Ha! Look most if the time when I go to center City Philly I take the train, every time I go to Manhattan I go by train but you’re delusional.

We will cross the bridge when we get to it. But the inconvenience of living with an EV is here and now.

The inconvenience of living with ICE is also here and now. That is why even mediocre EVs are selling out.

And here you are surviving it and telling the world about it. Obviously, if this is something you do daily, driving 130 miles in sub zero C temps, you probably have to rethink your EV application. If it’s not, it’s hardly a deterrent to anything ….

I think the same.

You know there are many more chargers than superchargers. And even at worst, a 110 outlet can get you some 40 miles overnight.

You won’t get 40 miles overnight when it’s subzero (F, so about -20 C). The car will use about half the energy just to keep itself warm. Then you have 20 rated miles of range, good for 10 miles of actually driving in such brutal weather. Not good for much when the nearest Supercharger is 60 miles away.

To be clear, this scenario is edging on being the exact opposite of hypermiling, but my wife really asked to visit this town in one of the coldest weeks of the year.

Yes, when one winter road closure out in BFE can send you back tracking for 20 miles followed by a 55 mile long detour, thus adding 75 miles total to your trip… you had a 70 mile buffer in your trip plan… and now you are SOL. Personal experience, two days ago!

Until L2 charging stations are as prevalently dispersed along the countryside as fossil stations, maybe more EVs in the USA should be designed with a little ~30hp REX like the i3. It’s worth a once annual oil change for not being effing stranded in the middle of nowhere due to a winter road closure… Not having to pay an extra $15k for ~300+ estimated miles of range, 150 miles (~ 1200 lbs) of which you never want to dip into. Better to have 200 miles of all electric range with a $3,800 optional 285 lb. backup plan (REX) for those who are replacing their only vehicle with a BEV(x).

You do realize that ICE runs out of juice too right?

Sure, but most ICE have at least 400 miles of range (top selling Cars/SUV’s and most trucks – many have 600+) and you can top it up quickly in that scenario using a small can of fuel (which you can even store in the car, for those “just in case” moments.

Recharging 20 miles from the nearest plug is much harder.

I passed 3 gas stations on that 75 mile detour, zero EV chargers. Series hybrids (a.k.a. BEVx) are still a welcome option in the USA. You can drive 100% electric 100% of the time unless you get basically stranded due to adverse conditions. So many more potential buyers might go EV if a fossil backup was part of the options, it’s the reason PHEVs are selling when you’ll likely never make the back the ~$10k price difference and performance sucks. CARB needs to re-evaluate their BEVx stance because they are greatly reducing EV adoption rate.

You do realize your battery weight is off by about a factor of 2. And it is really hard to get that ICE weight entirely at 8 inches above the ground in the center of the car.

You don’t have a second car?

This is why I bought an ICE instead of EV last year.
I didn’t have to live with one to realize it.
We need better ways and more places to charge EV’s.

Hmm – we have been electric only for coming on 4 years. It isn’t an issue at all. A bit of inconvenience on a trip, and a world of convenience in the day to day.
Probably 300 gas station trips avoided (for the 2 of us and the Leaf is 6 years old), 20 oil changes avoided. Probably a tranny oil change, coolant flush or two avoided.

Leaf – 60k miles; Tesla 70k; The Leaf hasn’t seen a service station since the last free battery check 4 years ago. Well except 1 tire change a few years back but those are super close and super quick. Tesla last went in for its one and only maintenance at 50k miles a year or 2 ago.

15 supercharger visits maybe. So pick your poison.

Sure, this could easily be avoided. I could just tell my wife that we can’t do the trip, sorry, end of story. But I didn’t buy this car to only commute in it, and I’m not interested in such a dull life. We’re young and don’t have kids yet – we want to go have some adventures while they’re still cheapish and easyish.

Its funny how those frequent romantic road adventures beget a surprise little one! I can attest! – Please use Romance Mode Easter egg carefully and sparingly… Plus, try to stay in the FRONT seats! 😀

20 oil changes? My car gets the oil changed once a year or every 10,000 miles.

SOme people still think their vehicle has a carbrettor and rely on 3,000 mile changes. That said, there are still some cars that seem to have silly short change intervals.

Grasshopper, you will learn not to stress. Call the hotel and reserve the charger. Most have ways of switching cars out if need be. If you have destination, you should not stress.

Ugh. I’d feel like a burden. But okay – I’ll call and say what? Can I reserve a charger from 8 PM Friday to midnight or something, and then I’ll get up and move the car elsewhere at that time?

What kind of system will they have – some kind of sign telling people that I’ve reserved it so don’t park there?

Just ask the front desk to put their orange cone (or a chair) out in the EV parking spot with a “reserved” sign or something. If they tell you nobody ever parks in that spot, you could take your chances. Do… put a note on your windshield with your phone # incase the next guy comes along and needs a charge. Also helps to find hotels with multiple chargers, just in case.

I would say the biggest challenge is making electric cars that are both affordable for the consumer and profitable for the car manufacturer. Otherwise you’ll just shift the problem from affordability to availability.

Elon is trying to solve one problem but he is creating another. then it is not a good solution.

From article: “The Biggest Challenge Facing Electric Cars Is Still Affordability”


The majority of the population still knows little about EVs.

“…UC Davis surveys show the vast majority of Californians remain unaware of electric vehicles, with even fewer able to name one than in previous years…Californians are not deciding they don’t want PEVs. Rather, they remain to a great extent unaware of PEVs and anything about them…” -source:

I blame Tesla for not spending any money on advertising.

Does “affordable” = up front cost? Or does “affordable” = total cost of ownership?

Yes, EVs still do have a relatively higher up front cost but they are cheaper to fuel, cheaper to maintain, and I would speculate they last longer than ICE vehicles.

I also think traditional auto companies are addicted to the profit margins of ICE vehicles so when someone like VW says BEVs are going to be tough to make profitably, I think they’re hoping to make BEVs at the same or similar profit margins of ICE vehicles which is ridiculous.

Traditional auto has had 100+ years to develop and perfect ICE vehicles, they are cash cows. BEVs are completely new by comparison.

The good news is the cost to produce ICE vehicles isn’t declining very fast, if at all. While BEVs are getting measurably cheaper to produce with each passing year.

Time is on the side of BEVs.

Usually people don’t change their cars because they didn’t last anymore. It doesn’t matter if BEV “lasts longer”.

“Traditional auto has had 100+ years to develop and perfect ICE vehicles, they are cash cows. BEVs are completely new by comparison.”

This isn’t true. Traditional auto developed EV and ICE at the same time, over 120 years ago. BEV was actully more popular than ICE for a few years. They faced the exact same problems today with BEV as they do now. They chose ICE because it has the same benefits it has today. It was nothing to do with being a cash cow and everything to do with applying common sense and using the most appropriate technology for the requirement.

Yes, BEV and ICE have technically both been around for a long time but my point is that ICE vehicles have been mass produced for 100+ years, creating efficiencies, cost reductions, and improvements.

I would argue that any improvements for ICE vehicles going forward would be incremental. Whereas BEVs, and specifically battery technology, are improving at a much faster rate.

I disagree with you about traditional auto choosing to produce ICE vehicles because of the benefits. I believe it has everything to do with profitability. These are big businesses and they are making decisions based on what is best for their business in the near term. They have goals to hit, stock prices to manage, etc. For example, traditional auto pushes large trucks and SUVs in the U.S. market because of the profit margins, not because it’s the most appropriate technology for the requirement.

I agree to an extent but I think the reason there’s such high profit margins on trucks is , for whatever reason, people want them and are willing to pay the price. It’s not like they were charging $70k for a truck THEN talked people into buying them, it was the other way around

Cost is important, but I also think education is just as important. There is still a lot of ignorance about EVs. Many of which is based on outdated information or simply things blown out of proportion.

That is indeed still a big problem. Hopefully the supply chain for battery raw materials and EV parts can become more efficient and thus reduce costs.

And we need PHEVs to address larger vehicles that are even more difficult to electrify than the sleek aerodynamic cars that Tesla builds.

Wouldn’t it be ridiculously more practical to build aerodynamic cars?

Hard to build them more aerodynamic than Tesla builds them and expect wide market acceptance.

Electric cars are better in almost every measure… except for batteries.
Batteries are still expensive, have limited life, and very low energy density (compared to a fuel tank).
Believing in what some say about what makers are playing for batteries (mainly Tesla) EVs shouldn’t be a lot more expensive.
Tesla is said to have battery packs for $140/kWh (assuming 25% for making the pack over cells), a 50kWh pack would add $7000, add $25k for the rest and a $35k model 3 seems perfectly reasonable.

If those announced values for cost of batteries are true…

To be fair… It’s been difficult for companies like GM and Ford to even build small, affordable gas cars that make the company a profit. However, what I think will eventually happen is that with all of these luxury vehicles coming to market over the next few years, this will help build out the charging infrastructure more and of course awareness of EVs. I think that cheaper EVs with 100 miles of range will work for a huge number of people as long as the charging infrastructure is there to support them. So, hopefully at some point cheaper EVs with smaller batteries might make a comeback. But for the moment, it doesn’t look that way.

Yup, more and faster chargers allows for smaller batteries

When we say hard for GM and Ford to make budget cards we’re talking about $15k-$20k cars. That’s a whole lot cheaper than any EV today. The way you make money at those levels is volume – Civic and Corolla are good examples.

I have been advocating for keeping 30kWh battery EVs …. Nobody essentially using two vehicles per household needs two long distance cars. It’s a nonsense, created by range anxiety patients … Or people who don’t have access to house charging. Many many do ….

It makes no sense to take a car that no one wants, namely a low range BEV, and make it more affordable. Only if you are trying sell in India or other third-worldish markets does that work.

Tesla got it right and started with first building cars that people would want to own, and then working toward making those cars more affordable.

Most others prior to 2017 built low range cars that no one really wanted to buy unless they had a burning desire for a green car at all costs to their own convenience. Those car companies have been using the drop in battery prices to make their cars more desireable to buyers by increasing range usually without changing the price point (much). If they started with a very low range eco-box (aka urban commuter), then they have a long way to go to make it into a car anyone would want to buy.

Affordability does not equal sticker price. Five year cost of ownership was established because of the unreliability of ICE cars. But EVs last longer with greater reliability than gas cars in the 5 to 10 year time frame. While most ICE now has low maintenance for the first 100k miles, it rises rapidly after that.

If we consider 10 year cosy of ownership, EVs already are more affordable. If we consider fleet service, EVs are already more affordable than their ICE counterparts in just a few years.

Sticker price is the issue for the average person now. But that will change as the used market develops. While most people would not consider an ICE car with 300k miles as likely to have high reliability, people who know EVs would assume a 300k mile EV to have a long and useful life left.

This will keep the cost of used EVs above a similar ICE car as the ICE car becomes virtually useless after 300k miles, but used EVs WILL become a cheap and RELIABLE source of transportation within the next 10 years.

The battery cost will make a 300k mile BEV a risky buy

Is that a serious comment?

For Tesla at least, batteries are hitting 300k with better than 80% capacity. Compare that to ICE at 300k and tell me which is the risky buy.

I have seen several report of high mileage Tesla’s with new batteries long before 300k. My Bolt seems to be down 10-12% already at only 1.5 years in. I don’t plan on owning it past 100k, too much of a risk if the battery fails as they are ~$12k for a new one.

Sure, any car can be abused, but the average Tesla battery is lasting 300k plus to 80% and that is not exactly end of life for a long range EV. And unlike an ICE, Battery problems and state of charge will be apparent at the time of purchase.

Old ICE is a real risk now. EVs are not.

Have you rebalanced lately?

Yes it is, how about the battery in a Leaf? In all honesty how many people are looking to buy a car with 300,000 miles? The car itself usually wears out before the drivetrain. An ICEV with 300k miles would cost about as much as a good dinner at a decent restaurant so not very risky. I’m not anti EV but I’m not delusional either.

The Leaf is known for issues, like many ICE cars I could mention. But at least it is possible to replace the battery and get a practically new car.
And you bring up why ICE will fall away faster than people think. No one wants a 300k mile ICE, but EVs are demonstrating much greater durability.
A 300k mile ICE may be a piece of crap, but a 300k mile EV is still a desirable asset.

I’ve never gotten rid of a car because of drivetrain failure. It’s always other things like rust, worn-out door hinges, the desire for something new excetera. electric motors are very dependable but you know they wear out also I work with them on a daily basis. I’m planning on my next car being electric but that doesn’t mean everything with them is perfect

Yeah, because you wouldn’t have to replace any ICE components over 300k miles, right? Oh, and ICE component replacement is really cheap, right?

I never said that, personally I don’t think most people are looking for a car with 300000 miles on it regardless of whether or not it runs on gas or electricity.

Agreed. 300k miles isn’t a very realistic mileage to expect out of either platform.

You don’t need to even consider the battery. at 300k most cars (at least outside of desert regions) will have serious rust issues, will probably have had multiple welds to their underside, have required a couple or more suspension, steering, brake repairs (among others) unrelated to the engine.

Interior will probably be pretty ropy (especially seats) and there’ll likely be squeeks and rattles from all over the place. The exterior will probably have flaking paint on plastics and chips all over the paintwork too.

There’s more to maintenance and wear of a vehicle than the powertrain, something a worryingly large number of people seem to forget.

For folks who don’t sharpen their pencils and only look at the front end cost, EV’s are too expensive. Big picture, it’s not the case.

You’re right. I only drive 5,500 miles a year so the $500 a year in fuel savings, first year for a charger at home, will make up for the extra cost in like 20 to 25 years….

Sure, by all means, use yourself as the model for EVERYONE. I happen to drive 14,000 – 16,000 miles per year because I have an active family. We had a V6 SUV before we bought our used Volt for $18,000 5 years ago. AND we have solar. in 5 years I’ve averaged 170 MPG in my Volt compared to 18 MPG for our SUV. 4100 gallons x $3.25 is $13,325 in gasoline for the SUV compared to the 440 gallons I’ve run through the Volt, which is $1400 I’ve paid in gasoline. That’s a savings of $12,000 alone in gasoline. Never mind the maintenance. Gasoline alone has paid for 2/3 of the Volt’s purchase price in only 5 years.

Good call, we should sh!t can EV’s and stick to oil burners.

Sure, by all means, use yourself as the model for EVERYONE.

Never said that. I merely shared another perspective. Simply that electric cars can be affordable, depending on the situation. There ain’t ‘one size fits all.’

The conversation effectively went…

John : If you look at the lifetime costs of an EV, it can be cheaper than ICE.
Chris : You’re right, but I worked out that if I bought an EV it would take 20 years to recover the cost difference.
John : You’re perspective doesn’t speak for everyone. Look at my perspective, that’s way more relevant (plus a couple of sarcastic comments as if Chris just suggested cancelling all EV’s, when all he’s done is agree with you).

Chris saying it doesn’t make financial sense to him is no less valid than you saying it does for you, there’s no need to give him a sarcastic response. Nowhere did he suggest he is representative of anyone but himself.

I respectfully disagree. His original post ” For folks who don’t sharpen their pencils and only look at the front end cost, EV’s are too expensive. Big picture, it’s not the case.” The “sharpen your pencils” line and his declaration about only looking at the upfront cost implies that people who think EVs are more expensive are less intelligent than him. I think most BEV’s are cheaper in the long run, unless it’s a Leaf where IMO it’s a $20k car build wise if it was ICEV and also the known battery issues, it’s just that a lot of the savings is down to gas savings which obviously is dependent on mileage. I simply put out a counter point.

Actually, I didn’t start out at as a smart ass with my original comment. I responded in kind, when you said I was sarcastically “right” and then explain how I wasn’t (using your personal situation only).

Sorry for meeting you on your own level, you (and Dave 100e) reminded me why I shouldn’t respond to sarcastic comments to begin with.

And stating that I came off in my original comment as more intelligent than ICE owners is quite a generalization based on one statement. In my experience, most folks actually DON’T sharpen their pencils before making large purchases- they impulse buy. I rarely (if ever) run into an individual who tallies the super expensive lifetime expense of an ICE against a comparable EV. I guess that sharing my experience in that regard makes me somehow better than everyone else.

Your interpretation of Chris’ first response is different than mine. I read it that he sarcastically agreed with me and then explained how I was wrong. If I interpreted it wrong, then that’s on me. But I wouldn’t break down the numbers to show how it CAN (not always) be fiscally prudent to purchase an EV over an ICE if I was purely being a jackass. That’s all.

Drives almost double the average mileage for an American and comparing apples (a V6 SUV) to oranges (a Volt).

Of course his figures work, just a shame that’s not remotely similar to most people on the road, as you say. It’s a common trend though for those claiming EV’s are more economic.

Yes, they can be, but only in certain circumstances, certainly not for the majority of people right now.

Exactly, I often hear the comparison of a new ICEV and a used BEV which also isn’t apples to apples.

I’m not the one who use myself as a model for everyone, the other guy with the sarcastic condescending post about people who don’t sharpen their pencils assumes everybody drives 30,000 miles a year. I live close to work so I don’t so therefore I was pointing out that for me the gas savings will not make up for the additional cost like for like at this point in time. If Volkswagen would bring the new Neo to the United States for around thirty Grand I’d buy it in a minute but the pay $55,000 for a Tesla and then tell me that I’ll make the money back on gas means I would have to live to be about 400.

I never said I was the model for everyone that was the other poster who seemed to apply that I was simply pointing out that there are different scenarios. I pay $600 on gas the year so assuming electricity was free it would still take me 20 years to save $12,000.

Fair enough. But remember, gasoline isn’t the only expense you save with an EV.

I’m not anti EV I’m simply saying for people who don’t drive a lot of miles or necessarily keep a car for more than 100,000 miles I wouldn’t expect a lot if savings. Having said that I plan on a BEV for my next car I just want a car that I actually want for cliser to $30k. I spend around 500 to 600 a year on gas ice looked at chargers and even installing it myself the first years savings on gas AND my yearly oil change is gone. If the Neo comes to the States, I want a hatchback not a sedan, for close to $30k well equipped I’ll get one.

Sorry Chris, that wasn’t aimed at you. It was for John, who told you your example wasn’t representative of everyone before giving us his situation as if he actually represents everyone and that your experience is invalid because it doesn’t fit into his version of reality.

No prob, hey I expect my next car to be an EV but since I don’t put on a lot of miles I don’t expect to save much or if I do it’ll take quite a few years to break even seeing that a BEV does cost more upfront compared to a comparable ICEV. As long as the cost is close there are other reasons I want a BEV.

At the end of November, worldwide plugin sales stood at 1,728,629 which needed another 271,371 to hit the 2 million mark.

Now the China sales for December has come in at 181,385 which boosts the worldwide sales last month to 262,563 with many important countries like USA, Norway, Germany, France included.

Still some more countries like UK, Korea, Japan are yet to come in, another 9,000 is needed to hit the 2 million.
All this is for light duty vehicles, if we include heavy vehicles worldwide sales are well above the 2 million.

At 151 mile range, $30 K price tag and 116 cu. ft. of interior space with 5 doors, Nissan Leaf is an affordable EV.
In China, many more affordable EVs are sold in around $22,000 price range before incentives.
There are affordable EVs, but please don’t show Smart-EV which has a humiliatingly low 58 mile range and can seat just 2 and is sold by MB to insult the EV buyers.

Just wait for 2-3 years, some of those Chinese EVs will hit US & EU and it will force every automaker to reduce the price on their EV.

True but the problem is my 2016 Golf is far nicer to sit in and drive compared to the Leaf, has twice the range, can easily be refueled and cost $24k . Do unfortunately still there is a a cost to getting an EV compared to a comparable icev.

Sticker cost. 10 year total cost of ownership is far lower.

Again this depends entirely on the person. This isn’t an anti EV statement but the truth. To try to compare like-for-like you also have to take into account the rest of the car as in how is it built quality-wise fit-and-finish Etc. I have it Golf if I got a comparably equipped e-golf which has a 125 mile range so I assume the smallish battery helps keep the price down it is still $8,000 more than my golf equipped the same. I spend about $500 a year on gas and $80 on a yearly oil change. So my payment on the e-golf would be about a hundred and fifty to $160 more a month and I would save about $60 a month on gas and maintenance for those first five years. So at the end of five years I’d be about $6,000 in the hole. At that point the car would be paid off and I’d be saving $60 a month plus I’ll budget another $500 a year for unexpected repairs and maintenance with an iICEV although that is probably a bit on the high side. So assuming my Bev cost me absolutely nothing in unexpected repairs or maintenance I’d… Read more »

I know you live in a world where I guess everybody’s buying either a Mercedes S-Class or a Tesla Model S or Model X right? Yes in that scenario to Tesla would be cheaper but not in everybody situation. Why you guys look at this is being anti electric car is ridiculous and defensive, I think most people who point this out would love it if the cars cost approximately the same and you could easily make the money back quickly and fuel savings while at the same time helping the planet. It’s not there yet though particular for people who don’t drive a lot. If I’m wrong then let me know when there is a 300 mile range BEV that’s well made and cost $25,000 or less not factoring in incentives

If you drive twice the average mileage, or you discount any maintenance requirement for the EV, yet insist on doing 3,000 mile oil changes for the ICE at an expensive dealership for the entire ownership period.

There’s also the issue that most people don’t own their cars for 10 years. The average is around 6.

Yes, for some people that TCO is better, but for many it’s currently not.

For me personally, an equivalent EV would need to be around $5k more than the ICE for the TCO to be less, over a period that is sensible for the ownership of the vehicle (5-7 years). We’re not currently there.

As an EV enthusiast I would actually be happy to pay a few thousand extra to get into one, but there’s still nothing on the horizon that makes sense for my usage, even when looking at something for $10k more than the equivalent ICE.

If I were looking at buying a BMW sedan and commuted a lot then sure, there would already be vehicles out there (like the Model 3 Mid/Long range) that would likely do what you say, but like most people, that’s not the market I’m looking at.

Which is exactly how I feel but if you make this point they call you anti EV. I live close to work so I only drive around 5,500 miles a year and when I run the numbers if I got an EV that cost me an extra $8,000 it would take me about 12 years to break even.I also would be willing to pay a few thousand more but at the current price premium comparing a new EV to a new ICEV of similar quality it’s a lot more than that to get into an electric car. Personally I would love Volkswagen to bring the Neo over here for around $30,000 and I’ll take it.

True but the Leaf is a $20k car if it was ICE, with a 350 mile range. Having said that I rarely drive that far so rang is less of an issue for me.

So Elon says it and it’s gospel, a VW boss says it and it’s evil….

The difference is one has a can do attitude, the other is defeatist.

Chris is the latest serial anti-Tesla troll who is also anti-EV coming here to carpet-bomb his anti-EV and pro-ICE FUD.

That’s funny. I’m anti EV if I use fact based thinking ? I’m actually pro EV and argue their case all the time to big truck loving guys I know. Elon said it before I did. It’s TRUE if you take 2 cars of the SAME quality build wise a BEV will cost significantly more than an ICE version to purchase . If you drive a lot of miles you’ll make it up with gas savings but if you dont there is a price premium. Enjoy your religion…….

Batteries are expensive.

Lithium batteries are a wonder; but, are the single most expensive component that prevents an accelerated transition to clean energy…the OEMs and fossil fuel industries will fully exploit this problem to slow down the transition so they can continue the profit party of selling obsolete, dirty cars as long as possible…this is a sad because these cars will be around polluting the Planet every day for 15-20 years. Batteries currently are way behind in meeting demand and will remain expensive until the supplies catch up.

After all, EVs, compared to ICEV, are simple and easy to build and except for the high cost of batteries would be available in high numbers at fair prices. This country needs a good $20,000 family EV.

Elon is being stubborn. He can and should put out a 150 mile version of the TM3

No they shouldn’t.

What ever you do, do not buy a 35k model 3, or else you will be blamed for trying to put Tesla out of business!


No, the biggest challenge facing EVs is untrustworthy range figures: How do you answer the inevitable question “What is the range of your EV?” An honest answer to this question is never a brief answer. People want a vehicle they can trust, not a vehicle they have to accommodate.

Next is the issue of depreciation.

The Leaf and other early short-range EVs depreciated like crazy, and they did so because of terrible battery degradation. This is why nearly all of them were leased, and that’s bad for the market. You don’t help your brand or the technology if people don’t trust enough to *buy*, and they treat EVs like last year’s cell phone.

However, since 80% of the North American EV market is now owned by Tesla, depreciation may become less of an issue. On the other hand, Tesla offers a continuous stream of drama, and that leads to a different set of trust issues for mainstream consumers.

Why is this an inevitable question for EVs? This conversation never happens:

A: I’m thinking about buying a car.
B: What kind of car?
A: A Nissan Altima.
B. What do you plan to do with it?
A: I travel at highways speeds long distace 250 days a year. So long distance travel.
B: What range does it have?

It’s completely nonsensical. Yet it seems that each and every conversation about EVs are about range and long distance travel. I find it just as nonsensical as the above conversation.

Everyone wants more for nothing when it comes to EVs. More range. Faster charging. Charging stations on every corner. Each and every one of these wants makes EVs more expensive. So folks wait, and EVs remaing unavailable and high priced.

The correct answer is “Enough.” There’s enough range, enough charging stations, and fast enough charging not to be a bother to most people. Stop pushing a not enough agenda and more will consider it.


It’s less of an issue with ICE vehicles as pretty much every popular vehicle will do at least 400 miles on the highway between refuelling. In winter it’s efficiency will drop by 10-15%, so rather than 400 miles it’ll still do at least 340 miles, far more than most people will ever drive in one go without stopping, or passing a refuelling station.

Conversely current BEV’s have ideal highway ranges of 150-300 miles, and that range can drop by 30% in winter, meaning 100-200 miles, which, with current charging infrastructure can cause problems.

That’ll change in future, with the rollout of more charging infrastructure and larger battery packs (the 400 mile option for example). We’re not there yet, hence the debate about range is still there, especially for those of us that live in cold climates.

My problem with this is that many instantly decide that whatever value is determined is not enough. And that valuation isn’t really based on facts, but on perceptions based around the existing technology. In short many “feel” that EVs needs 300+ miles of range because they are used to ICE having that and that EVs are somehow deficient if they don’t meet that standard. Same for charging: Since ICE “recharges” in less than 5 minutes, then EVs have no utility unless they can do exactly the same.

But these are the drivers for rising costs. And those costs are the true determinant for adoption except for the wealthy few.

Most try to fix the EVs. Or wait until the EVs get cheaper. But the flaw is in the expectation, not solely the vehicle or the charging infrastructure.

Like others, I believe it’s going to take a large shove to get things going. Mandates like no ICE within cities will finally tip folks over. You can see it in Norway for example. The package of incentives for EVs has driven new car purcharses near 40%.


I expect China and VW will have a big impact on prices eventually. Tesla will strictly be luxury cars nothing more. You just can’t compete with cheaper European and Chinese labor so Tesla is doomed eventually without more emphasis on solar and storage.

Cheaper European labor?

Poland, Hungary etc.

Tesla has cheap Chinese labor. Your logic goes downhill from there.

I want to replace my 2010 Subaru Forester with a comparable all-electric SUV. My needs are simple: AWD, heated front seats, power moonroof, at least 250 miles range, and enough headroom in all seats for my head to not hit the ceiling. (I’m six feet tall.) Lots of ICE cars with MSRPs in the $25-$30K range meet these requirements (e.g., Subaru Forester, Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, etc.). Negotiating down into the $24K-$27K range is realistic. As a thought experiment, I wondered what a comparable Tesla would cost. I pretended that the Model 3 was an SUV, that my head didn’t hit the ceiling in the back seats, and that it came with a moonroof. I didn’t pretend that I could live with a black car, so I added the larcenous $1500 option to get a car that’s an actual color. I also pretended that Oregon’s $2500 incentive is a tax credit instead of a potentially taxable cash rebate, so I subtracted that plus the $3750 federal tax credit (a total of $6250) from the Tesla’s $52,500 cost. My Tesla pretend-SUV would cost me $46,250. That’s about $20K more than not-pretend SUVs that meet my requirements. On a base of $27K,… Read more »

I’m hoping VW bring the goods. They are probably the best option for an affordable midsize mainstream SUV for the near future.

The biggest challenge has been the production of the ugliest cars by the car manufacturers in the form of EVs. Look at Nissan Leaf, BMW i3, fiat evn etc etc and I cant get my head around of what Tesla is thinking when designing the interior. I’ll be the first buyer if and when BMW comes up with a 200+Mile EV that looks just like my current car which is 320i series. I personally don’t like to draw attention to myself so I prefer driving EVs that don’t look like spaceships.

Uh dude……….. in the late 50s many cars looked like spaceships. Check out the fins on the Caddies.

We need plug in cars with range of about 60 kms range
This will be sufficient day travel for most people in the world at same time avoid pollution
For distance travel big battery cars will be needed
In fact in future for cities plug in should be mandatory.

But, but….EV’s have much less moving parts and are easier and cheaper to make!

There are some very low powered ICE cars that are meant to be gas savers. Can’t someone make an EV with a weak electric motor so it doesn’t drain the battery as fast? Then you could have more range with a smaller and therefore cheaper battery pack.

You could give it a lower-than-usual gear ratio so that you have enough torque at the wheels. Top speed might only be 85 mph but that’s okay for an efficient little commuter car.

It doesn’t really work that way. A Model 3 is more efficient than an old Leaf and way faster. The new Leaf has gotten faster but the Model 3 is still more efficient.
Gas saving ICE is about a small motor. All electric motors are small. Then you save a lot of money with less weight but there is the battery…

That’s not how electric motors work. More power does equal lower efficiency.

But if you want low power and high efficiency go find a Hyundai Ioniq

Not really.
Most electric motors have little efficiency difference between 5% and 85% of peak output.

That’s the benefit of a transmission. You can have an ICE vehicle with a pretty small engine that works okay. I think you’ll see 2 spend transmissions in EV’s at some point because it would be more efficient and cheaper than doing dual motors.

in an I rather kill the planet priority, nothing is affordable

EV’s are still too expensive for most drivers in my neck o the woods in northern England, Stagnant wages abound here and good salaried jobs are far & few between, I’ve been reading that sales of new diesel cars are down over 30% but used diesel car sales are on the rise.
I talk to friends about EV’s but all I hear from them is they’re too expensive & the used ones are close to or out of warranty that they wont take a risk on.

Affordability of BEVs will come with autonomous taxi services like the forthcoming Tesla network. This will start in a year or two and scale quickly from there.

enviromentalism is a matter for rich. Period

Good article. I think the affordable EVs are coming fast but from China rather than Germany or the US.

Affordability or perceived value for money?

In 2018 the US, an average new vehicle sold for about $36K (vs. $31K in 2011, if I am not mistaken, so it’s going up year on year). The best selling, everyman’s vehicle is no longer the Camry or the Accord; it’s the F-150, the Silverado/Sierra, and the Ram.

In Northern Virginia, the lowest asking price for the Bolt is $32K, which is before haggling and before incentives. So, it’s $24-25K vs. the $36K average. Case closed. Affordable, but not good value for money in the eyes of the mass consumer.

The biggest challenge is the supply problem. There is not enough models available. And therefore customer do not have genuine choice.

This is particularly problematic as Tesla is struggling to bring the base model Three with a tow hitch into markets.

And most importantly, Tesla does not have time and money to spend on advertising. Instead ICE cars are filling the advertising space. Over 90 % of all new car customers do not have adequate knowledge on electric cars. So they do not even know that an electric car is actually the car that they want to buy.

If your production limited you do not advertise.

I agree. Out of all BEV brands on the US market that sell in visible quantities and nation-wide only Tesla offers a semblance of “range” to choose from. Counting all the permutations of models, powertrains and battery sizes and ignoring the trim levels it’s probably 8-9 distinctive cars. At the same there are only two i3’s (REx and no REx), one Leaf, one Bolt and one e-Golf.

By the way, I think the best-selling PHEV’s (>1,000/month) like the Prime or the Clarity and FCEV’s also exist in one model per manufacturer only … amarite?

Comparing used to new is an unfair comparison. It has to be like for like. That’s like me saying a Mercedes S class is cheaper than a Camry, if the Camry is new and the S class is 7 years old.

Interesting to notice that the main concern about EVs has shifted from battery life and range to price. Today price is the main obstacle for the untapped market of the huge “middle class”. People must be educated that carring aound enough gas for hundreds of miles/kilometres in your car (Prius has a over 800km “range” when full) is a total waste of energy. There is a gastation on every corner. Two more are being built in my neighborhood! 🤔
In reality how often are you in need of such range? If you think about it, a 100M/160km range is plenty for most users. Hundred percent for all second cars. These vehicles are also quicker to charge. But the price is still prohibitive.
To open up this market a base 100 mile EV should not cost more than a base Prius. US$35,000, with no incentives, will simply not do it! Ai current exchange rates, and no incentive in Ontario, that traslates to well over $40k Canadian. At that price there is no way I can trade in my Prius. 😟

“People must be educated that carrying around enough gas for hundreds of miles/kilometres in your car (Prius has a over 800km “range” when full) is a total waste of energy.”

Well not exactly. With ICE it’s a confluence of a few factors: cannot gas up while parked, cannot gas up at home/work, light weight of gas for hundreds of miles of range. Extra range has little impact.

The education is that EVs are different. A full “tank” everyday means the need to carry extra is lessened. The weight means carrying more costs in money, space, and efficiency. Real problem is that for many car that serves 95% of need is insufficient.

EVs should be sized to 150% of worst daily usage with fast charging. Worst is cold, fast driving with heat. Likely more like 200 miles than 100.


Once the range of EV’s is up around 400 miles, I think overall EV cost will start to drop precipitously as companies stop increasing the battery cell count, or start requiring less battery cells for the same result, and continue to scale up. I think within five years you’ll see base EV’s for 20-30k that go 400 miles on a charge.

Agreed. I think 400 miles is the magic number. That’s the range ICE cars seem to have normalised at (for whatever reason) and a range that even in winter gives you enough driving time.

That’s not to say all cars would need to have 400 miles of range, just that the option is there for those willing to spend a bit more to sate their range anxiety (whether it’s real or not).

Funny, it used to be 200 miles now it is 400 and why not 800. Think of it: in the winter 800 is only 400!
You guys are missing the point. Lots of 100-150 mile EVs are better for the environment than a few high mileage electron guzzlers. The whole point behind EVs is to reduce pollution, not to show off your money. So let’s stick to 150 miles and strip the gadgets and the crazy goodies like glass roof, even go back to crank windows if you have to but make and sell some sort of mid size car. And make it a hatchback for God’s sake!
Set the target price for the base model US$25,000 clear without incentives. Let people dress it up with electric windows, glass roof and a Dutch windmill on the top of that, whatever, for US$50,000.

People are short sighted. If you look at the total cost of ownership, EVs, even if the purchase price is higher, are much less expensive in the long run. Fueling is much less expensive than gas vehicles even if gas prices were lower than they are today. Maintenance costs are near zero.

The one thing people are not keeping in mind with those used “cheap” electric cars is that they tend to be too small for most American household’s taste, have too low of a range for the average low-income persons daily commute (typically 30+ miles each way), and reliability has still been a problem when we’re hearing about the Nissan Leaf not making it past 70,000 miles without severe battery degradation, or the fact that the 500e isn’t fast charging compatible, and takes no less than 4 hours to charge. Maybe they should invest more in hybrid for now if they want to go mainstream, as opposed to thinking people are supposed to magically pull $30,000 out of their budget where it doesn’t exist.

Using income range of $200k to $100k per the metrics above would mean 3% to 13% of US income earners.

On affordability, middle range Ford F-150 is pushing $50k which is purchased by people more in the median US income range of $34k per year. People spend more than they should on personal cars and trucks.

Even at that, for Tesla and profitability improving quality and tapping the $50k and up market seems to have an excellent future for at least next 10 years. It provides significant volume, likely five times Tesla’s current small volume. Subaru is a niche mfg. doing very well at 500,000 cars a year.

And the real mission is 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 2000 levels by 2050 which hybrids and PHEV’s can help us achieve. Prices for those cars are right or below average new car price of $35k.

I wish car makers weren’t so feature addicted. The best EVs for the average guy will be minimal in gimmicky new-fangled features that become dated before the donuts get old. They need to stick with the basics. (Battery capacity, performance, interior space, reliability, safety, and of course *PRICE*) Autuonomous driving is still too pie-in-the-sky for mainstream and the average customer has no business buying that kind of fluff and won’t. Keep it simple, nimble, and fun to drive without all the crap. An electric Miata would be nice for affordable foxy two seaters. Take the form factor of accepted designs and meld them with an EV drivetrain. (a good minivan, sedan, pickup, and SUV) If someone wants to make something feature-rich, let them sell it to the money-rich but don’t expect the masses to buy them.

Why do I always feel in these forums that I’m in with a bunch of marketing people???

Cost will be driven by scale going forward. Now that we have significant models in the 200 plus miles of range, it’s just a matter of volume production. That will happen very quickly, next 12 to 18 months prices will start to drop fast. Tesla will continue to push the envelop since they are the first to reach significant volumes and later this year will release a 35k version model 3.

There is no reason for an EV not to be $20k. There is also no reason for us to not be driving around gasoline cars that get 500+mpg. The tech for that was invented in the 1960’s It’s called a pressurized vapor combustion engine. Well, I take that back there is a reason. Some very powerful people want things to stay the way they are. They make alot of money getting you to never realize that your 2019 car gets about the same mileage as your 1950 car. Everything has evolved on your vehicle but that. At the turn of the century (1900AD) There was about 33% gas cars, 33% steam cars and 33% electric cars in the USA and the oil industry got their way. You can look up Jay Leno’s Baker Electric car which is over 100 years old.