Electric Vehicles Aren’t Like E-Books, So Don’t Expect to See a Similar Boom in Sales


E-books basically changed the way some parts of the world read books and they did so almost overnight.

That’s because E-books offer mostly only benefits over traditional books, but come with none of the drawbacks.  E-books are cheap, easy to haul around and can quickly download the latest bestsellers.  Certainly there are a few downsides to E-books (for example, most now come with advertising), but none of the minute drawbacks take away from positives, or perhaps they do, but not enough so that the average consumer would decide not to buy one.  E-books revolutionized an existing product.

100,000-Plus and Counting Plug-Ins Sold in America...However, That Number Rises at a Slow and Somewhat Predictable Rate

100,000-Plus and Counting Plug-Ins Sold in America…However, That Number Rises at a Slow and Somewhat Predictable Rate

The same can not yet be said of electric vehicles.  In this state of infancy, most electric vehicles don’t take the standard automobile to new heights.  By this, we mean that EVs typically aren’t quicker than conventional autos, don’t necessarily offer improved handling, provide more range or come packed with more convenient features.  Sure, there are some EVs out there that do outperform their conventional counterparts is most areas, but, by and large, today’s EVs try to match, but not beat, the fossil-fueled competition.

Yes, electric vehicles clearly win in some areas, but they lose in others.  It’s not all evident, especially to the general public, that electric vehicles offer enough benefits (along with very few drawbacks) to make not buying one almost a foolish decision.

We believe the general public is waiting for EVs to be like E-books, then they’ll truly catch on.  When the day come where electric vehicles beat their ICE competitors on most or all fronts, ICE will quickly vanish and EVs will reign supreme.

How far off is that day?  Well, it’s coming, there’s no denying that, but we’ll have to patiently wait for quite some time still.

Natural resources are scarce.  The environment is fragile.  EVs are clearly the way forward, but we’re still all waiting for that no-compromise electric to come.  And it will come.  Place your bets on that.  The arrival of the no-compromise EV will mark the day when electric takes over and ICE fades away forever.

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3 Comments on "Electric Vehicles Aren’t Like E-Books, So Don’t Expect to See a Similar Boom in Sales"

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What I really like most about this article is the author’s concerted effort to speak of the strengths and weaknesses of EVs. The EV is on a slow steady growth pattern now that is likely not to change as Eric points out. The EV by itself is ready for prime time. I still have a problem with people complaining of the cost when a Leaf can be had for 21K and change and a Volt for 27K. Granted this is entry level with both discounts and the tax incentives but it is setting the standard for what you will pay. Probably the biggest negative to an EV to me is the generation of heat. This is the one thing the ICE will always do better but a small price to pay when the efficiency of the EV is so great. EREVs completely remove the range issue from the table so now onto just a few of the strengths. Most people hate the MPGe (mile per gallon equivalent) but it helps those transitioning to the electric world understand the potential. What adds to the complexity of the EV is the consideration for many to generate their on fuel if you will… Read more »

Not sure I follow the author on this one. Ok, so EVs aren’t like ebooks. Nor are EVs like bathtubs or canned tomato paste. Therefore?

Ebooks do have plenty of drawbacks in my view. Decent readers remain expensive, and therefore a potential theft target, they are much more fragile than any dead-tree copy (would you take one at the beach?), require batteries, most are locked to a specific bookstore, content can be withdrawn by the publisher, lending, reselling or giving away a “used” ebook is usually impossible, etc etc.
All in all, people actually don’t find them that desirable in the first place actually: http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/lifestyle/general_lifestyle/july_2013/75_prefer_traditional_book_to_electronic_reading_device

EVs are not only already cost-competitive with ICEVs (just compare the TCO of a Leaf to just about any gas-burner — and that’s before the extra rebates some states offer), they help solve a whole range of problems plaguing transportation, e.g. dependance on oil, impact on the environment, public health, etc.

Dramatically better than yet-another soon-obsolete electronic gadget…

One thing about them is it takes a lot of time vs posting something on the internet which can be made into tens of millions of copies over night. A thing like a electric car takes a lot of time and resources to build the car. While something like a e book can be typed up on a computer and posted on a computer website all without having to need any large factory to make it. This is currently going on with the Nissan leaf being made at their factory. Such as the demand is growing steadily from 500 last year to 1900 this year and a few months later to over 2000 a few months later which is making a leaf shortage at the dealerships. The factory meanwhile can’t keep up do to most likely they are still working out making large numbers of what is basically quite a new product in the car world that’s only been around less then four years. Mass built Gas cars meanwhile have been around over a 100 years and everyone knows how to build them but something like a electric car is quite new. Also the first groups of electric cars need… Read more »