Where We’ve Been, Where We Are, And Where We’re Going

2 years ago by David Murray 117

The Nissan LEAF Makes Its Debut At The 2010 NAIAS (seen here with Mark Perry, Ex-Director Of Product Planning At Nissan)

The Nissan LEAF Makes Its Debut At The 2010 NAIAS (seen here with Mark Perry, Ex-Director Of Product Planning At Nissan)

Back in 2011, I was able to drive home in my Nissan Leaf after waiting nearly 18 months on the reservation list.  I was one of the first people in Texas to own a Leaf.  At that point I honestly thought that by this point today half of new car sales would be electric and charging stations would be at every grocery store, school, and workplace.

Now, fast forward to 2016 and things aren’t much different.  The only real difference between today and 5 years ago is that I do at least see other EVs on the road.  Not every day, of course.  Maybe every other day.  Of course, in Texas the selection of vehicles is much smaller than people in CARB states.  So when I see another EV it is usually a Volt, Leaf, or Tesla.  I occasionally see an i3 or Ford Energi cars, but they are harder to spot since they look exactly like their gas counterparts.  The point is, I’ve been at a loss as to why more people haven’t adopted EVs and PHEVs.

This last year (2015) was sort of a sales slump for the whole EV market in the US.  Many excuses have been made as to why that is.  And I’ve been skeptical of some of them.  But here’s a run-down of the common reasons.

Politics - Seems Like Whichever Leader Stands Beside EV Technology, Plug-Ins Immediately Make An Enemy From The Other Side

Politics – Seems Like Whichever Leader Stands Beside EV Technology, Plug-Ins Immediately Make An Enemy From The Other Side

1) Politics – I think we all remember the lies that have been spread in the early days about EVs, particularly the Chevy Volt.  Everything from fires, to tax payers paying $275,000 for each one sold.  Certain right-wing news organizations and talk-show hosts used every opportunity to turn people against the Volt.  Why?  Because somehow the car had been associated with Obama.  And anything that is associated with Obama must be bad. I don’t think these people had anything personal against the Volt.  It was just like anything else, such as Obamacare.  As soon as Obama’s name was attached to it, the right-wing hated it.  That’s just politics and the other side is just as guilty of this sort of thing.  The good news is that most of this has passed and the public has a pretty short memory, which is obvious every time gas prices go down and people start buying monster gas-guzzlers only to be surprised when gas rises again.

2) Georgia – Georgia’s incentive disappeared in June of 2015, likely causing a good 20% downturn in EV sales on its own, hitting the Leaf harder than any other EV.

EV Sales In Georgia

EV Sales In Georgia Hit A “Little Bump” Last Summer

3) Prius Plug-in – Phasing out of the PiP last year also made a good dent in over-all EV sales.  During the height of its sales in 2014, it was adding 1,000 to 2,000 units per month to the overall EV tally.

4) Osborne Effect – With the new Volt and Leaf announced with significant upgrades last year, many people held off buying a current model, preferring to wait for the next generation.  In fact, this issue continues today as many people are now holding out for a Bolt EV or a Tesla Model 3.  Also the i3 is suffering from this now.

5) Dealers – While some dealers are enthusiastic about selling EVs, most have not been.  Many dealers have been actively hostile towards EVs trying to steer potential customers away from them because they are too much trouble to sell and not profitable enough for them compared to gas cars.

The 2017 Chevy Volts Arrived In February...But Does GM Truly Have Enough Ambition To Market Them On Par With Other Products?(Image via Jeff K)

The 2017 Chevy Volts Arrived In February…But Does GM Truly Have Enough Ambition To Market Them On Par With Other Products?(Image via Jeff K)

Now, let’s talk about the elephant in the room.  It is my firm belief that most manufacturers have really not been motivated to sell EVs.  Even if the cars are technically profitable, I think they are less profitable than similar gas models.  So, much like the dealers, the manufacturers have had the same attitude.  Why sell somebody a Volt, for example, when the Cruze is so much more profitable?  Most of the manufacturers only got in the game to comply with CARB rules in the first place.  Hence, the plethora of compliance cars that are not available where I live because Texas has no requirements to sell EVs.

And then there’s the issue of selection.  Why are there no EV or PHEV pickup trucks from the likes of Ford, or GM?  Obviously they have the capability to make them.  Let’s face it, certain people love SUVs and trucks and they won’t buy anything else.  So even if they’d like to go electric, they aren’t willing to drive a sedan or sub-compact in order to make that a reality.  I believe this all goes back to the manufacturers.  They only want to sell a certain amount of EVs and thus have no motivation to offer these types of vehicles.

So, that’s where we’ve been and where we are today.  Now that I’m much more seasoned and wise to the market and my expectations are more in line with reality, I think I can confidently make some predictions about the next year or two.

The Most Important Thing To Happen To The EV Segment Since The Arrival Of The First Mass Marketing EVs In Late 2011

The Most Important Thing To Happen To The EV Segment Since The Arrival Of The First Mass Marketing EVs In Late 2011

The most important EV news over the last 5 years has been the reveal of the Tesla Model 3.  Many manufacturers have known this was coming. But, I think they have all probably been surprised by the scope of it.  Now many of them are probably in a panic.  The Model-S and X were not competition to anyone except the luxury brands.

For example, Ford and GM had nothing to really worry about. However, the Model- is going to change the market much like the iPhone changed the cell-phone market.  For the fist time ever, EV sales from Tesla are going to start eating into sales of gasoline cars by the major players.  This changes the entire dynamic because no longer do companies like GM and Ford have to make EVs to comply with CARB.  Now they have to make and sell EVs to prevent sales being lost to Tesla.  So now GM would rather sell you a less profitable Volt than not sell you anything at all, due to the sale being lost to Tesla.

So how will the other manufactures compete with the Model 3?

Chevrolet Bolt At The New York Auto Show In March - (InsideEVs / Tom Moloughney)

Chevrolet Bolt At The New York Auto Show In March – (InsideEVs / Tom Moloughney)

General Motors – I believe the 2nd Gen Chevrolet Volt was designed with the idea of doing battle against the Model 3, even before they knew what the Model 3 would be.  The Chevrolet Bolt EV was probably also conceived for this reason.  GM hasn’t been sitting around doing nothing.

Neither GM vehicle has shown the type of excitement by the public that Tesla has.  But that doesn’t necessarily mean anything in the long run.

For example, Android phones compete well with Apple’s phones, but Apple is the only one that creates that public excitement and has lines of people at their store.  I believe the 2nd Generation Volt is going to show some increased sales.  It’s hard to say yet due to limited inventories, but we’ll know for sure by August.  I’m expecting monthly sales to perhaps double or triple the previous generation.

The Energi Products (And Focus Electric) Has Been Ford's Answer To Date

Ford’s Fusion & C-Max Energi Products – Pretty Plain, But Fairly Successful Too (the Focus Electric is also a plug-in from Ford)

Ford – Ford’s efforts have been minimal to this point, yet surprisingly successful.  I believe their strategy from the beginning with the Energi cars has been to minimize the cost of producing a PHEV, believing that sales would never be strong enough to justify a dedicated platform.  Of course, what they now have is a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Since their vehicles are inferior to dedicated products, they are naturally limiting the sales of those vehicles.

Frankly, none of their vehicles are likely to compete with Model 3.  The closest thing they’ll have is the new Focus Electric that’s supposed to be on the way with more range and fast charging.  But I doubt many informed shoppers would choose that over a Tesla.  I don’t see much change in Ford’s monthly EV sales.

BMW i3 - Monthly Sales Which Are Impossible To Quantify Ahead Of Time

BMW i3 – Monthly Sales Which Are Impossible To Quantify Ahead Of Time

BMW – An interesting case, BMW never fails to provide some drama with their monthly sales numbers.  But one thing they are doing is diversifying by offering many different electrified models.

The i3 is the one that took the largest sales plunge, but I believe this is also due to the Osborne effect.  Once their new i3 with longer range shows up on the market (it enters production in July – details), I expect sales to rise back to traditional levels. But the vehicle is too polarizing to ever be a huge seller.  I don’t really ever expect to see the i3 sell more than 2,000 units per month.  However, I do see BMW staying near the top of the sales charts just due to the multiple different models they will have.

The 2016 Nissan LEAF Offers 27% More Range (up to 107 miles). Unfortunately, That Is Not Enough To Satisfy The Market, And It Comes In The Same Original Package

The 2016 Nissan LEAF Offers 27% More Range (up to 107 miles). Unfortunately, That Is Not Enough To Satisfy The Market, And It Comes In The Same Original Package

Nissan – I think the 1st generation Leaf is wilting.  For the longest time, it was the only capable EV being sold nation wide.  I think many of their sales were to people who wanted an EV and the Leaf was pretty much the only viable choice.  But the Leaf has a polarizing appearance to it and since there are so many alternatives now, I think people are moving away from the Leaf to other brands.

Even the increased range of the latest model hasn’t really caused a surge in sales.  If anything, one might say it is the only thing keeping the sales from tanking even further.  However – Nissan will probably be revealing a 2nd generation Leaf sometime this year.  They have already said the body style would be more mainstream.  So Nissan may have a Tesla competitor up their sleeve.  We’ll just have to wait and see.

Toyota Prius Prime On NY Auto Show Floor (InsideEVs/Tom M)

Toyota Prius Prime On NY Auto Show Floor (InsideEVs/Tom M)

Toyota Prius Prime's 11.6" HD Multimedia Unit

Toyota Prius Prime’s 11.6″ HD Multimedia Unit

Toyota – I wouldn’t have even bothered to mention Toyota until recently.  As I pointed out in my previous article, I expect the all new, Prius Prime to sell very well, perhaps as many as 50,000 per year, or more.  I doubt many EV enthusiasts will rush out to buy one, but the general population of Prius buyers will be the target.

And it’s obvious by the large center touch screen that Toyota has been paying attention to Tesla.  I’m not sure there will be a huge amount of cross shopping between Model 3 and Prius Prime, though.  I would not be surprised if Toyota has a Model 3 competitor in the works, though.  It may be a year or two before we see it.

VW / Audi – I don’t really see that they have anything now or on the horizon that is going to compete with the Model 3.   I think they have some serious work ahead of them if they want to stay in the game. Their best hope would be to bring the GTE model to the USA.

All-New Hyundai IONIQ Lineup Arrives - But Specs Fail To Live Up To Expectations Across The Board

All-New Hyundai IONIQ Lineup Arrives – But Specs Fail To Live Up To Expectations Across The Board

Kia / Hyundai – I know they have the new IONIC coming (both in BEV and PHEV versions) and also PHEV versions of their Sonata (Hyundai) and Optima (Kia). However, I don’t expect any of these vehicles to compete with Model 3.  I do expect them to be cumulatively adding at least 1,000 to 2,000 units per month to the overall EV tally, though.

Introduction Of The Model 3 May Adversely Effect Demand For The Model S, But Not Likely For The Model X

Introduction Of The Model 3 May Adversely Effect Demand For The Model S, But Not Likely For The Model X

Tesla – Odd that I am including it here.  But the Model S might lose some sales to the Model-III.  It is too soon to tell. It could have the opposite effect as well, with the Model 3 bringing more attention to the brand and those who don’t want to wait might spring for an Model-S today.  I don’t expect the Model-X to be affected, and I expect to see continued increase in sales from the X, adding an additional 2,000 sales to the overall EV tally.

So, my prediction for the next year or two is overall good, in that I predict a very noticeable rise in EV sales by the end of this year and carrying on into next year, driven mostly by increased number of available models as well as large increases for GM and Toyota.  Once things are in full swing I expect to see these monthly numbers on average from the big players:

2,000 – Tesla Model X
2,000 – Tesla Model S
3,500 – Chevrolet Volt
2,000 – Chevrolet Bolt EV
4,000 – Toyota Prius Prime
1,200 – Nissan Leaf
1,000 – Ford Fusion Energi
600 – Ford C-Max Energi
800 – BMW i3

That’s 17,100 already just from the main players.  I would expect to see over 20,000 units per month with all of the smaller players added in.  Which puts us near a quarter-million for a year.  Once Model 3 hits the market in volume, I wouldn’t be surprised if it will add an additional 250,000 units per year all by itself, maybe more, thus boosting the entire sales tally for 2018 to be half-a-million EVs sold in the USA.

...and now, you wait.

…and now, you wait.

There are some other considerations as well, that I don’t know how might play out.  It is assumed that many people may hold out for a Model 3 instead of buying a current generation EV.  That’s certainly possible and likely in many cases.  However, the opposite is just as likely to be true.  People may suddenly start craving that Model-3 but don’t want to wait 2 to 3 years to get one.  So instead they start shopping around for something now.  Thus Tesla continues to build public interest in the entire sector.

Also, manufacturers like GM may want to take advantage of Tesla’s delay and start advertising the Volt and Bolt EV.  The last piece of the puzzle is the government subsidy for EVs.  What will happen when it phases out?  My hope is that the increase in sales of EVs will further reduce battery costs to the point that manufacturers may be able to cut prices so that the consumer won’t see all that much increase in cost. (fingers crossed)

How will we know when we’ve reached the tipping point?  Simple.  This is my prediction.  Mark my words.  They day that Tesla announces an EV pickup truck, is the day that will prove we are there.  Why do I say that?  Because the moment Tesla announces a truck, GM and Ford will absolutely have to create something to compete with that, knowing that Tesla would be cutting into their bread and butter.  And they won’t create pitiful EV trucks just to comply with CARB.  They’ll create GREAT trucks to compete with Tesla. They’ll have to.  Once the market of EV pickup trucks is cracked, you can say goodbye to the oil age.

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117 responses to "Where We’ve Been, Where We Are, And Where We’re Going"

  1. Aaron says:

    Nicely written and thought through. Getting Wal-Marters on board with EVs is a tough nut to crack. Having an EV pickup with better performance than an ICE pickup would be a great start.

    1. evcarnut says:

      NISSAN…,So Little, SOOoooo Late…Get with it dudes! Build Some nice cars with long range batteries..You can do it !

      1. jstack6 says:

        And Nissan ,BOLT, or BMW have to see and built a Fast Charge Network like Tesla already did. That is a big key.
        Imagine a great cell phone with no network except 50 miles around your home. A network is a big part of the solution. Having it free is better, having it Renewable powered is amazing.

        1. Just_Chris says:

          Almost all the auto makers are going towards using the same or similar dcfc charging standards. Probably the better analogy is having and Apple Mac with superior performance in a company where almost everyone else has a PC with Microsoft on it.

          Neither the Microsoft or Apple approach is wrong and there is plenty room in this market. It drives me nuts that we have so many dcfc standards and so little infrastructure but when ev’s are at 10% market share (rather than 1%) maybe 3 basic standards will be ok. I don’t think the super charger network will stop other manufacturers from being successful.

          1. Just_Chris says:

            Sorry I didn’t really put my thinking down so clearly.

            My feeling is the dcfc network of all of the manufacturers other than tesla is going to grow out pretty quickly as the longer range models show up, it’s going to be a mix (mess?) of lots of different suppliers and technologies but will get bigger faster because it is not going to be tied to one or two model’s of car. Patchy, irratic and of varying quality in the early days but then everywhere. Tesla has the lead in some ways but there is a dcfc network for the leaf 2.0 and bolt.

    2. Taser54 says:

      Wow, class-warfare much?

  2. Alaa says:

    Where we are and the future is more important than the past. Today Tesla took 500,000 future sales from GM Ford etc. What will happen when a reporter or a normal person get to drive his own Model 3? Demand will be much higher. None of the big boys like GM Ford etc have a battery factory to satisfy current demand for their brands. So they have no chance to sell electric cars in the very near future. The only thing that they can do is reduce the price of their cars, till the price of the kWh of a battery pack goes to $100. At this point GM Ford etc will go bankrupt.

  3. ffbj says:

    While I think the thrust of the article is reasonable, the ev’s are coming, the numbers seem off, at least for Tesla. First Tesla will sell far fewer Model X, than Model S.
    The other manufacturers numbers seem realistic.

    Combining the numbers you have for Tesla at 4k a month will be less than 50k for the year, around what they sold last year with a handful of Model X’s. They are expecting 80k-90k, combined sales.

    1. Jean-François says:

      80-90k is worlwide. This is just about US sales.

      1. ffbj says:

        D’oh. My bad. My appology

      2. But did we not see 3,900 US Model S sales in this sites monthly chart? For March? (Sorry. I just looked again. It was 3,990! Plus 1,860 Model X! And they can now do 750+ Model X per week!)

        Basically…the numbers presented for Tesla in this arlice are very low!

        1. buu says:

          last month of quarter…

  4. Kosh says:

    Would love to know what is going on with Via Motors their trucks.

    How hard can it really be?

    1. Beta888 says:

      Their issue is price.
      Where they take must of the profit out of going electric, with a very high price, and really no incentive to lower that price.

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Doesn’t Via Motors make EV conversion vehicles, and nothing else? That’s a mildly interesting niche market, but much too expensive to ever go mainstream, or to have any significant impact on either the overall automobile market or the demand for oil.

      1. VoltOwner says:

        PHEV conversion of GM pickups and vans. 40 mile battery range, V6 generator. Something I’d give my eye teeth for. If only GM would start doing something similar with their small truck line…

  5. SparkEV says:

    i3 looks nothing like gas car counterpart. Is there anything that looks like i3?

    As for EV “FUD”, when people find out that I drive an EV, they automatically assume

    a) it’s expensive
    b) it’s slowest thing on road
    c) I must be some eco nut climate change doom fanatic

    SparkEV is rare EV that’s cheaper than comparably performing gas cars. It’s also quicker than all gas cars in its price range. But other than SparkEV (and Tesla), all other EV have been expensive relative to their performance. I wouldn’t have got any of them, so it’s no surprise that it hasn’t taken off, yet.

    In case of Bolt, I think it’s still lacking, so I don’t think sales will be much (maybe 30,000). But Tesla Model 3, now THAT is what I’m talking about! If Model 3 is ICE powered instead of EV, would I buy it? Positively YES! Hopefully other carmakers will follow and make great cars that happen to be EV, not EV that happen to be a car.

    As for “eco nut” perception, that’s another HUGE MINUS against EV. Climate change is simply not a pressing matter in minds of most people; it’s background noise and turns off most (over half) the people. EV should be disassociated with climate change doom and gloom and as an excuse for poor performance if it’s to have wider audience.

    1. David Murray says:

      I agree. Even though I am a firm believer in climate change, I know that you can’t sell cars that way. It’s analogous to trying to sell low-fat ice cream. Most people will assume it tastes bad and get something else.

    2. beta995 says:

      The i3 is hugely appealing to me.
      Fast, fun to drive, great handling, sophisticated, best efficiency on the market.

      But, the economics.
      To justify a BMW i’d have to own it for 15 years.
      The HoRroR Stories of BMW owners, puts a chill down my spine.
      But, yes, I Lust after this car, more than a model 3.

      This is the perfect car for a solar panel, zero energy home.

      The Volt, was perfect, until you see the rear seat headroom. For anyone above 5’10” it’s a non-starter, and kids today grow past 5’10”. I could have bought this car as a single person, but not with teens. The Volt, was perfect, and I DESPISE GM for not building a WAGON version with headroom and legroom, like the Prius V.

      The CMAX,so inefficient that it’s like buying $2 Dollar gas while driving electric.

      The Leaf, no collision prevention software.
      The 2018 Leaf, a 1 year wait, and then check headroom and collision prevention software.

      The Model 3, 2 year wait!

      The Prius Prime, 20 miles of range, are you kidding me!
      What’s that in Winter? 10? if lucky?

      1. SparkEV says:

        i3 comment was regarding author’s “they look exactly like their gas counterparts” in the article. i3 looks nothing like another car. And yes, it’s a great car, just bit too expensive for what it gives, at least for now.

        1. Ambulator says:

          The i3 comment threw me too, but on reflection I think it’s that the i3 looks like an i3 with range extender. The range extender makes it a gasoline car, at least in the eyes of the author.

          1. VoltOwner says:

            So the Volt is included why then?

            No, it’s just a mistake, a typo at best.

    3. VoltOwner says:

      “Climate change is simply not a pressing matter in minds of most people; it’s background noise and turns off most (over half) the people.”

      It’s _never_ been _more_ than half, according to the link provided down-thread:

      http://www.gallup.com/poll/190010/concern-global-warming-eight-year-high.aspx

      Notice that is a Gallup poll.

      1. SparkEV says:

        People will say one thing, but do quite the opposite. On your commute, count how many people drive solo stuck in traffic compared to carpool or public transit riders. If climate change is as serious as they say it is that could affect human civilization or worse, they’d be doing whole lot more as if their kids’ lives are at stake. That’s not happening. It’s business as usual despite the lip service.

      2. Beta995 says:

        Gallop, so 7 point Democratic undercount.
        That’s bad news for Repubs in the general election.
        They’re vastly underestimating the strength of climate change, and the voting power it contains.

        Well, it’s only natural that Repubs get wiped out before America gets wiped out.

        But, yeah, “concern” doesn’t translate into actually buying a hybrid. And I don’t understand that because it’s money in your pocket, while you do good for your kids and the world.

  6. manbitesgas says:

    A very thoughtful round up. Thank you.

  7. William says:

    “They day that Tesla annouces an EV pickup truck” under 45k. Then you have more than your EV urbanites waiting to put down 1k to get first dibs off the assembly line.

  8. Speculawyer says:

    You forgot gasoline prices as part of the reason for the slump.

    1. Ziv says:

      I agree. Gas prices aren’t the main reason for the slowdown in EV growth, but they are a contributing factor.
      It is worth keeping that in mind as crude is now flirting with $40 a barrel again, after going below $30 a few months ago and having spent most of 2016 under $40.

    2. Daniel says:

      And rightfully so.. I don’t believe gas prices are as big a factor as has been stated and is being repeated by many with no proof of such an effect. Numerous studies have concluded that gas prices may not really be hampering EV adoption to the extent believed.

      I for one would drive a BEV regardless of the price of gasoline simply because the EV driving experience is superior, is not joined at the hip to the volatility of oil and gas price swings, and moves my primary fuel source to within our own borders.

      Once you drive electric one would be “hard pressed” to go back to an ICE for daily use. The only way to get folks on board is to get them behind the wheel of a state of the art BEV. Once you live with a BEV on a daily basis the advantages become quite clear.

      The old “well I can’t drive eleventy two miles daily across the country and refuel in 2 minutes” is FUD. Much like owning a 1-Ton dually truck and using it as a daily driver because perhaps two to three times “a year” you need to tow your something or other for a thousand miles. Or buying a 7 passenger Suburban as your commute vehicle for the handful of times you “may” actually use it to it’s full capacity moving 7 people their luggage and a camp trailer etc.

      Ask yourself this, If you do not use the “entire range” of your gas car on a daily basis therefore having to refill your tank every day… then a 200+ mile EV would probably work as a daily driver and for most can be refueled while you sleep or work. Most vehicles are stationary far more than we realize (something on the order of 90+ % of the time your car is parked) so the “I can’t wait for the car to charge argument” is a non issue most all the time, as the car can be refueling while you sleep or while you work. Granted the infrastructure needs to improve to cover apartment dwellers and those without access to a plug on a regular basis, but it will come. Remember we did not always have gas stations on every corner either and travel between cities was as challenging for early ICE adopters as well.

    3. fotomoto says:

      Yup, MAJOR oversight.

      A look at hybrid sales vs gas prices over the last 16 years will tell you how important this aspect is.

  9. EVs says:

    “Once the market of EV pickup trucks is cracked, you can say goodbye to the oil age.”

    That’s a pretty egocentric statement. You are assuming that the world revolves around what happens in the US. the rest of the world is not in love with trucks as much as people in the US are. So to proclaim that the oil age will end based on what happens in the US is a bit near sighted.

    You need to take a world view to predict the end of the oil age. And that is not really the scope or this article. so a more appropriate ending prediction would be that “EVs will become main stream”

  10. Mike (evbww) says:

    My personal vehicle is a 2012 Honda Civic Natural Gas. My previous vehicle was a 2007 Honda Civic Hybrid (don’t get me started). One of my goals was to minimize my dollars that could go to countries that seem to hate us. Because of my Civic Hybrid experience, battery capacity vs time is of great interest to me. A separate factor concerns long distance EV driving. I have no interest in stopping for 30 to 40 minutes to charge every 3 hours. For me, stopping for 10 minutes max every 3 hours would be okay or stopping for 30 to 40 minutes every 6 hours (for meals) would be okay. I will probably get some hate for this post, but that’s how I feel. Notwithstanding my feelings, I currently have a reservation for a Model 3.

    1. V2 says:

      There is a thing called “bubbling”. If one is always in a company of people that think alike, no new ideas come through.

      As a Gen 1 Volt owner, I frequent gm-volt.com’s forums. One would rarely read anything negative about the Gen 2 Volt there. Best car ever! Excellent handling and interior and exterior and all around! Well not in my opinion. For what I would have to pay to drive a “minimally acceptable to me in 2016 equipped” car (~$400-450 lease), I can drive a new Lexus ES300h with twice the options and gazillion times better interior and exterior. Make that 100 gazillion times better. Now, for many of us here on this site, all electric driving is worth the sacrifice. For 99.9% of the driving public it is not. The sooner this sinks in on everyone the sooner the explanation why only a fraction of a percent of all car sales are EVs.

      1. V2 says:

        Just to clarify that I was comparing the Gen 2 Volt lease cost to that of the the ES300h. My lease is up in 1 months so the numbers I got are very fresh.

        1. philip d says:

          Um, these aren’t even in the same price range. I put down $7,500 on my 2017 Volt which I will get back next year at tax time and my monthly payment for ownership is lower than your quoted lease payment.

          With conquest cash the 17 Volt I bought that has the leather heated seats comfort package ends up after tax incentives at $27,000. The ES 300h starts at $41,870 and gets no tax incentive.

          The Volt gets 53 miles of pure EV range which covers 90% of normal driving. The ES 300h has 0 EV range. The Volt after the battery is depleted gets 42 mpg combined. The ES 300h always get only 40 mpg.

          The Volt has a 0-60 time in EV mode and hybrid mode of around 7.5-7.8 seconds. The ES 300h has a 0-60 time of 8 seconds.

          Finally if I configure a loaded out 17 Volt that has all the tech features like navigation, ACC, lane departure, high speed collision avoidance, auto park, etc. the pre-tax incentive price comes out to $41,025. With the fed incentive I costs $33,525.

          An ES 300h configured on their site with the same safety features and navigation, etc. comes out to $45,600.

          So the ES 300h no matter how you look at it is a car that costs $12,000-$14,000 more than a 17 Volt. It doesn’t perform better or get any EV range. It doesn’t even get better gas mileage. But you are paying $12,000-$14,000 more for lots of overwrought, squishy, over-the-top gaudy interior.

          It does have more interior space but doesn’t have the utility of a hatch with fold down seats like the Volt.

          These aren’t really two cars you should even be comparing.

    2. Bob says:

      A higher battery with the M3 should do the job. If you can get 300 miles with a charge, that’s 5h of drive.

    3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Mike (evbww) said:

      “I have no interest in stopping for 30 to 40 minutes to charge every 3 hours… I will probably get some hate for this post, but that’s how I feel.”

      You, and the majority of automobile drivers. You shouldn’t be castigated for speaking Truth.

      This is one of the main reasons why plug-in EVs still have less than 1% penetration of the new car market, worldwide and in the U.S./Canada. We EV advocates need to admit that reality, and push for faster charging capabilities in BEVs and public chargers.

      The EV revolution is advancing… but I wish it was progressing a lot faster!

      1. beta995 says:

        Ok, it means the Vast Majority of Americans don’t know how to use their odometer and have No Idea how may miles a day they drive.

        Or, you’re rural.

      2. Speculawyer says:

        Oh, I get that reality and fully admit that it is true. HOWEVER, people need to think rationally about these things and figure out how much it will really affect them.

        If you REGULARLY drive multi-hundred mile trips then an EV is probably not for you.

        However, if you just drive a few hundred miles only a couple times a year then having a relaxing meal while supercharging those couple of times instead of doing a 10 minute gas & go, is really not a reason to reject an EV with a 215 mile range.

        In fact I maintain that overall, you will spend LESS time fueling with the EV since you only spend 5 seconds plugging it in at night instead of weekly 7 minute long trips to the gas station.

    4. Speculawyer says:

      I certainly can’t say that stopping for 30 to 40 minutes every 3 hours is better than just stopping for 10 minutes every 3 hours.

      However, the vast majority of the time you will just take 5 seconds to plug in at night versus spending 7 minutes going to a gas station every week.

      For most people, the number of times you travel more than 200 miles is extremely rare (just a handful of times a year) and thus the switch from 10 minutes to 30 to 40 minutes is rarely experienced. But if one does regularly drive multi-hundred mile trips then pure EV may not be for you.

      1. philip d says:

        To put your point in perspective.

        Minutes per year spent charging/filling.

        EV:
        Regular charging: (5 seconds x 365 days) /60 seconds = 30 min.
        Trips: 2 round trips x (4 stops x 40 min.) = 320 min.
        Total charging for year = ~5.8 hrs.

        ICE:
        Regular fill ups: 7 min. x 52 weeks = 364 min.
        Trips: 2 round trips x (4 stops x 10 min.) = 80 min.
        Total fill up time for year = ~7.5 hrs.

        1. bibig71 says:

          It’s not only about math.
          10 minutes = No wait, Restroom, coffee, …
          40 minutes = Wait, except if you want to eat

    5. Bill howland says:

      Hi Mike..
      I too am interested in CNG cars, even though I currently have 2 EV’s, and have owned 3.

      Do you have a home-refueller, probably a Phill unit? They don’t last as long as in Europe since the final pressure is higher (3600 vs 3000 PSI), and must run 6/5 faster in North America, so the direct drive compressor chews its little heart out.

      It refills at a 1/2 gge rate, around 62,500 btu/hour.

      If not, I assume you refill at work, or else have a convenient filling-station nearby. Good for you that methane has gone from $12 /MBTU to $2 over the past 10 years.

      What are some comments you can make as to the longevity of the car or lack thereof, and cost of operation in general? Thanks.

      1. Mike (evbww) says:

        Generally, I think Honda makes good cars. This is my third Honda. My Civic CNG has had zero problems in 3 years. I know that my experience does not extrapolate to everyone’s but in my experience Hondas are extremely reliable.

        In my opinion, Honda did a poor job designing the Honda Civic Hybrid. See my reply to a comment on this here: https://evbww.wordpress.com/2012/09/13/electric-vehicle-battery-warranty-watcher-blog-purpose/#comments.

        As far as the Natural Gas Civic goes, I refuel at public stations. Here in the Oklahoma City, there are quite a few and only provide a mild inconvenience compared with gasoline stations. The cost and reliability of the home refueling stations has kept me from buying one. I have also read about issues with excess moisture in the CNG in home filling stations. I currently pay $0.99/gallon and get about 40 MPG (see http://www.fuelly.com/car/honda/civic/2012/cavalmi/372497) and about 240 miles per tank. CNG tank inspections and CNG filter changes (once every 3 years) are about $150/year at the dealer. Oil changes (once every 8 months) are about $75/year. Based upon existing CNG stations, I can drive to many cities in Oklahoma and Texas (http://www.afdc.energy.gov/fuels/natural_gas_locations.html). It is not great for family travel because the CNG tank takes up about half of the trunk.

        My net cost for my 2012 Civic CNG purchased new in July of 2013 was under $17000. My CNG tank expires in August of 2027. At that point, I expect that it would cost at least $3000 to replace it. However, I don’t expect that I will own it at that time.

        I have read stories indicating that natural gas engines last longer that gasoline engines, but have not found any hard data.

        A plus for me is most of the natural gas consumed in the USA is produced in the USA. Most that is not is produced in Canada according to http://naturalgas.org/business/supply/.

  11. Daniel says:

    Too bad that no one is getting behind VIA Motors. Their E-Rev Silverado conversion has pretty impressive stats. I don’t believe the near term battery capabilities can adequately support a full BEV pickup truck that could hold it’s own against current gas or diesel models, but an extended range PHEV truck with the added grunt of torque from an electric motor in the driveline that has 30-40 miles of all electric capability should compete well.

    1. David Murray says:

      The problem with those vehicles is simply the price. If GM or Ford decided to make a similar product right from the factory with economies of scale, it would probably be half the price of VIA’s offerings.

      1. Daniel says:

        Agreed! GM is sitting on a potential gold mine with the EREV powertrain. I see no reason why it cannot be scalable and used in light duty trucks ( Via has already don’t the heavy lifting for them ).

        1. Aaron says:

          The Volt “EREV” (quotes intentional) drive train is not robust enough to handle heavy-duty workloads. The VIA EREV (lack of quote intentional) drive train is.

          The Volt uses three clutches to switch between two electric motors and the gasoline engine driving the front wheels. VIA’s vehicles use an electric motor ONLY to drive the rear wheels.

          1. ModernMarvelFan says:

            Gen2 Voltec is different with less clutch.

            Also, it can be an AWD with additional motors in the back combined with a larger engine in the front and larger generators.

            The buffer can be designed to hold more for heavy loading and allow hold/blend mode with nearly fully battery.

        2. Priusmaniac says:

          I think Ian Wright and his company Wrightspeed http://www.wrightspeed.com have a card to play on erev trucks.
          The main problem as usual is the starting capital for the erev truck factory.
          A time will come when full ev trucks will be economically feasible but for the time being battery prices will still be too expensive for yet another decade, so erev are indeed very interesting. By the way that is also the case for agriculture equipment, erev systems there are the pragmatic way to introduce a first electrification step.

        3. HVACman says:

          The CT6 Voltec RWD drive train could be dropped into a Silverado or Tahoe almost without modification. Stuff 20 kWh of batteries under the bed and GM has PHEV PU’s and SUV’s.

          1. Paul Stoller says:

            I’ve been wanting them to put something like that into the Colorado ever since they came out with the new generation.

        4. Taser54 says:

          GM is waiting for VIA to sell a certain number of fleet vehicles to prove the demand for it.

          Once VIA creates the demand, it will be bought or GM will create its own EREV truck.

          1. Bill Howland says:

            I’m very disappointed in VIA. I don’t get Bob Lutz either – I thought he was someone who could get things done – as he obviously did with the VOLT.

            Their website has all kinds of technical mistakes in it, for years, and then they discontinue their SUV before even making it.

            Since it is just a conversion, and they get all the ev stuff from REMY anyway, why can’t they start making the stuff. There’s alot of Verizon trucks around here – supposedly they were going to buy alot of VIA’s, – but I haven’t seen a single one.

  12. Forever Green says:

    “How will we know when we’ve reached the tipping point? The day that Tesla announces an EV pickup truck, is the day that will prove we are there.” I could not agree with you more when you said those words. I firmly believe the beginning of the end for fossil fuel vehicles will be when Tesla starts manufacture Electric pickup trucks. That will cause a disruption in the market, big time!

    1. Priusmaniac says:

      Contrary to the image, trucks are actually low power density high energy demanding systems and ev now are more like high power low energy systems, so there is a mismatch between ev and trucks. For sure you could do one but not economically. Erev on the other end do match the low power high energy demand. That situation is for now and batteries will go on improving but it will still take a while to become economical. For cars pure ev time is now with the Model 3 but for pure ev trucks it will only start after 2025.

  13. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    An interesting opinion piece, but I disagree with a lot of David Murray’s points.

    Politics: I don’t think politics really plays an important role in what cars most people choose. Back in the ’70s, when Japanese make cars were taking a lot of the auto market from American auto makers, there were people who put bumper stickers on their cars reading “Buy a foreign made car and help 10 Americans lose their jobs”. You’ll note that this didn’t stop Americans from buying Toyotas, Nissans, Hondas, and other Japanese make cars. Similarly, I doubt the anti-EV propaganda today has much effect on anyone who isn’t already opposed to EVs for political or economic reasons.

    Competing with Tesla… or rather, not: Let’s keep in mind that what inspired GM to put the Volt into production was the Tesla Roadster. That didn’t directly compete with the Roadster, now did it? The Roadster was a high-end two-seater sports car; the Volt, not so much.

    Similarly, I doubt that the Model ≡ is going to give GM or Ford or Nissan or Toyota, or any other auto maker, that much concern. Let’s remember that in 2015, something like 88-89 million “light duty vehicles”, i.e. cars and light trucks, were sold on the international market. 300-400 thousand reservations for the Model ≡ is certainly an astonishing indication of demand for a compelling mid-priced BEV, but that number is only about 1/2 of 1% of the entire market. I just don’t see the major auto makers getting all that concerned about it, let alone panicking.

    Why major auto makers don’t make more EVs: Here David hits the nail on the head when he says this:

    “It is my firm belief that most manufacturers have really not been motivated to sell EVs. Even if the cars are technically profitable, I think they are less profitable than similar gas models.”

    And really, we can stop there. Sure, there are other reasons; most dealers seem to be uninterested in selling EVs, and many are outright resistant to the idea. But when auto makers start replacing gasmobile models with EV models, dealers will have no choice but to go along with the trend. And singling out Toyota canceling the Prius Plug-in as a reason why more EVs aren’t selling, is ignoring the facts. The Prius Plug-in had the smallest range of any plug-in EV (PEV). Toyota wasn’t serious about making or selling a compelling PEV, and they’re still not.

    As someone else said recently: “It’s the battery, stupid”. GM didn’t put the Bolt into production because they were worried about the Model ≡. GM put the Bolt into production so they would have some experience with building and selling a car designed from the ground up to be a compelling (by which I mean: actually competitive with gasmobiles) long-range PEV.

    What’s going to motivate more auto makers to put more compelling EVs into production is advancement in battery tech and PEV charging tech, not Tesla getting 400 or 500 thousand Model ≡ reservations.

    GM, just like most other auto makers, can see the handwriting on the wall. As battery prices come down and the tech improves, it’s inevitable that car buyers are going to start preferring PEVs to gasmobiles. It’s not a question of if, but when. The only real question for auto makers is when to start investing heavily in EV tech. Do they put a toe in the water early, to ensure they don’t fall behind, like GM and Nissan? Do they resist the reality as long as possible, like VW? Or do they bury their heads in the sand and foolishly pursue a dead-end tech while trying to convince themselves that’s an alternative to PEVs, like Toyota and their “fool cell” cars?

    Make no mistake, the EV revolution is a disruptive tech revolution. And just like all disruptive tech revolutions, starting with the introduction of the power loom, which caused the original Luddite movement, and continuing to today, following the digital camera and smart phone revolutions, some of the current market leaders will be driven into bankruptcy because they were unable to make the transition. Which current major auto maker will be the Kodak of the EV revolution? I’m looking at you, Toyota! Likely the auto industry will look very different 20 years from now, with different leaders, and some current leaders out of business.

    1. SparkEV says:

      Automaker should panic if they’re smart. Model 3 just showed there’s HUGE latent demand in the market for compelling EV. Based on reservations before the reveal, it’s probably some parts Tesla fandom (innovation) as well as great EV.

      When Tesla is ready with Model Y and who knows what else (SparkEV 2.0? haha!), they will suck the life out of lesser car makers, FCA being a prime example. As such, panic is the right word for those who plan to stay in business in coming years if they don’t offer compelling EV solutions. Horse has left the barn with its buggy; it’s time to make better EV.

      1. HVACman says:

        The FCA Chrysler Pacifica is a compelling mini-van PHEV that no one else has on the market. FCA designed it on a brand new platform that can support a variety of electrified vehicles, both BEV or PHEV. EVERYONE is getting on the EV train. Any anyone who thinks Toyota is NOT, well, just because Toyota “plays dumb” doesn’t mean they are. They may just be good poker players. They didn’t become one of the world’s largest auto makers by being foolish.

        1. Bill Howland says:

          I hear the words HVACman but with an EV-hater like Sergio Marchione at the top I wonder if its going to be like DeNyschen at Cadillac – discontinuing the ELR just 4 months into the model year, and a very delayed intro for the phev ct6.

          The Pacifica seems compelling – but I don’t see how when the guy at the top hates them.

  14. Anon says:

    Great article. 🙂

    What would a Tesla Pickup be called? Maybe a T150? 😉

    1. AP says:

      I expect the next seires of models Tesla will release will be the M, O, F, and 0.

    2. Josh Bryant says:

      Model T?

      Ford would have a stroke.

      1. Priusmaniac says:

        Excellent name. Right on!

  15. fotomoto says:

    “Ford’s efforts have been minimal to this point, yet surprisingly successful.”

    Yes, the Ford Energi twins combined frequently outsell the Volt/ELR line.

    1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

      They were much more successful once they really loaded up on incentives. Like every other plug-in. It’s a good thing to hear because it means that the manufacturers are going to have to keep bringing down the cost.

    2. ModernMarvelFan says:

      “Yes, the Ford Energi twins combined frequently outsell the Volt/ELR line.”

      Only since the Gen2 Volt news killed off Gen1 Volt sales.

      It couldn’t touch the Volt back in its glory days…

      It can barely keep up now. You should see the discount on those things…

  16. Orygun EV driver says:

    Re: Government subsidies.
    They were always meant to “kick start” EV production and development and were never intended to (nor should they) be a permanent subsidy.
    The original Plug-in Prius needed to go away and is questionable on whether you should use it’s sales numbers. I think that it was UC Davis (???) that did a study where 58% bought it solely for the HOV sticker. A very large percentage of those never plugged it in at all. Ever.

    1. Beta995 says:

      I don’t know.
      If the oil industry can milk gov. subsidies for 80 years, subsidies that never end, a level-playing-field requires that EV subsidies never go away either.

      At least till all oil subsidies end, the Vastly Larger oil subsidies.

      1. Ziv says:

        Oil subsidies are a mechanism to limit oil production booms and busts. Even with the subsidies there are price variations, but without them the public would be squealing like a stuck pig due to extremely high prices that would occur from time to time and oil companies would go out of business during the down turns.
        Subsidies limit market oscillation and may or may not be worth it.

      2. Doggydogworld says:

        Actual oil subsidies are tiny compared the the hundreds of billions in taxes paid by oil companies and consumers (gasoline pump taxes alone generate over $50b in the US).

        EV/PHEV subsidies are a reasonably effective way to jump start the industry, but once EVs take over we’ll have to pay full price. It’s unavoidable.

  17. Stuart22 says:

    Despite the impressive reception of deposits made by the Model 3, I think it has already reached the zenith point for its desirability. Not to be critical of it, just that I find it hasn’t the positively shocking impact that the Bolt had upon its debut. There are certain ‘iffy’ things about it that will likely limit its appeal – the spartan interior and controversial dashboard; lack of rear hatch, aspects of its styling…

    Time does not favor the Model 3. During the period between now and when it finally hits the streets, other manufacturers including GM will be pushing the envelope forward and even beyond areas where the Model 3 now shines. The Model 3 will not be entering a market empty of competitors as did the Model S. The scrutiny it will face will be far less friendly and far more of a neutral to critical bent than Tesla’s Model S ever got.

    1. V2 says:

      IMHO, the Bolt is much more “iffy” than the Model 3. Don’t know how the interior of the Model 3 will end up looking at production time but I’d say that – I’ll take a macaroon any day over a big slice of grocery store brand cake. More is not always better,

    2. beta995 says:

      Betting against Musk is how you lose money.

    3. Josh Bryant says:

      That is exactly why Tesla didn’t reveal everything about Model 3. In fact the only thing that was new, was seeing the body style and giving some ride alongs.

      We got zero information about battery sizes, top end performance, autonomy features (expected to have AutoPilot 2.0 hardware), and whatever surprises (HUD?) Tesla is saving.

      Bolt will have a solid market for itself. Most people that don’t want to option up a Model 3, will probably find the Bolt a better value. But for anyone that is willing to pay a little more than $35k, the Model 3 might offer some things you just won’t be able to get on Bolt/LEAF 2.0.

      LEAF 2.0 and Bolt is going to be more of the toe-2-toe matchup. But we won’t see how that plays out until late next year.

    4. Bill Howland says:

      Oh, I don’t know Stuart22. I think you’ll see quite a few model 3’s actually made – barring a Force Majeure.

      They have so many reservations (where people actually put down $1000) that it is difficult to believe ALL of them will change their minds.

      THe model 3 is kinda cute. Its a car people will want to own.

      While it is true that by the time it is released there may be more compelling vehicles to buy, I’m sure many people will buy the ‘3’.

  18. DNAinaGoodWay says:

    3-1/2 years and 2 Leafs later, no one I know has opted for one, mostly because of range, and I think most people who may be interested aren’t interested in a 100 mile car, if that, and can’t afford a Tesla. People with only one car and apartment dwellers with only few public charging options add to the drag.

    1. beta995 says:

      Humans are herd animals.

      Critical mass not yet reached.

      Just look at Tesla, now, Repubs want it more then Dems.

    2. Murrysville EV says:

      Here in the EV wasteland of western Pennsylvania, I have NEVER met another Leaf driver, which includes the time I had one from 2012-15.

      Even now, it is months between Leaf sightings for me.

      There are 2 Chademo chargers around here, but each is 25 miles from my house. Beyond that, I might be able to take a 100-mile trip in one direction only, because there simply aren’t any more DC chargers around.

      Many people in the EV community seem to think EVs are the inevitable choice. Think again.

      I say if you can sell EVs in western PA, then you’re golden. If not, then dream on; not every place looks like California. People here drive 15-year-old Elantras, trying to make it to their next paycheck, and all they have is street parking in a bad section of town.

      Let’s face it: the average car on US roads is 11 years old. Data shows that EVs – of any kind – are purchased by upper- or upper-middle class people. They weren’t driving beaters when they bought an EV.

      True EV adoption will occur when they affordably AND reliably appeal to truck buyers and used-car buyers and dealers alike. The terrible resale value of a non-Tesla EV means they are radioactive to dealers, and present a purchase risk to the consumer.

      1. Nathanael says:

        It’s all about the range. Tesla’s the only company which has gotten this right so far. Resale value on Leafs collapses because people can’t drive them home, limiting the market. It’s normal to look as far as 500 miles away for a used car…

        The Bolt will be interesting to see.

        In the realm of plugin hybrids, the Volt is doing all right in rural NY.

  19. scott franco (the evil EV owning republican) says:

    Politically slanted claptrap.

    1. floydboy says:

      Says a republican!?

      1. scott franco (the evil republican EV owner) says:

        You can read. I am impressed.

        1. Anon says:

          Liberals are generally more educated than conservatives, so I’m not sure where your surprise comes from…

          1. SparkEV says:

            Higher education, especially post grad level, require groveling for authority figure (advisers) while people (students) slave away. That’s in line with Democrat philosophy of big government and people sucking up. I’m surprised anyone who went through that came out non-Democrat.

            Interestingly, low educated Republicans do the same when they support strong authority figure like Trump, even if they didn’t go through higher ed brain washing. I suspect they’re not mentally grown up as kids also look to strong authority figure.

            1. Nathanael says:

              That’s not what higher education is like at a good university. They really do encourage open-mindedness if you go to a good place — obviously not all famous universities are actually good.

              I see you don’t like Trump. But Trump is *not* what’s wrong with the Republican Party….

              What’s wrong with the Republican Party is people like Ted Cruz.

              Cruz is a religious fanatic whose father told him that he was appointed by God to be one of the “seven Kings” who would create Christian “Dominion” over the world. Basically a Christian version of ISIS. He has a deliberate anti-democracy agenda because he’s an actual theocrat.

              And Cruz is a massive massive jerk (there are *articles* about this, you can Google them).

              He’s also a huge liar. His denomination supports being a “liar for Jesus”.

              People who support Ted Cruz are either dangerous Christian Dominionist like he is — or they aren’t paying any attention whatsoever, because there is no other reason to vote for him.

              This is one of the top two candidates in the Republican Party. The other is Trump. Do you see why many of us do not consider the Republican Party to be an option any more?

              1. SparkEV says:

                Let’s just say I was at one of the good universities, and groveling was high if you wanted to get out of there before every strand of hair turned white. Who’s there when it comes time to defend? Yup, lots of groveling involved. There’s a reason why grad students are often (always?) called slaves and drones.

                As for Trump, Cruz, and the rest of them clowns, they put on some entertainment past few months. Fortunately, none of them will take the presidency. Unfortunately, it shows lots of infantile minds among Republican voting crowd (ie, Trump backers)

                Also unfortunately, it’ll probably be Hillary, the signed, sealed, and paid for candidate. I just hope she will consider EV instead of some anti-EV lobbyists.

              2. SparkEV says:

                As for Cruz religious nonsense, you should hear some crap coming from Hillary. It’s just as bad IMO. But I think they all do this, at least in part or all of it just for pandering. As much as they spout that nonsense, they’re not going to turn US into Christian Taliban.

                What really worries me is when they support scapegoating like Hitler did, like Trump (yes, Godwin, I know). Democrats do that, too, for irrational “class struggle”, but Trump takes it to dangerous levels. AFAIK, Cruz doesn’t scapegoat nearly as much.

  20. My own first EV was bought 3rd hand in 2006! It was built in 1994 by High School Students, was twitchy and quick enough to fit in with Highway traffic at speed limits, but was lucky to get 20 miles range, but never all at once!

    My next EV will have a minimum range of 200 miles and will be bought about Summer 2018 I expect! Waiting for the Model 3 is OK, as it gives me time to get bills paid and save some money for it!

    So, for me, range per charge will have increased by 10X in just 12 years! Charging will be much faster, easier, and more available! If the next 12 years could improve as much, I don’t doubt we will be seeing the end of most regular vehicles being ICE powered!

    1. Oh yeah, replacement (Lead Acid) batteries on my first EV cost me more than half the price of the car!

  21. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

    I think you’re over-optimistic about the Prius Prime. I think that in the core market if people are aware of the Prime, they’ll be more likely to be aware of other options and could go for a Volt, Ioniq, Bolt, a sweet deal on a short-range BEV or wait for the Model 3.

    I think Toyota’s estimated 20k is about right.

  22. Assaf says:

    David,

    Thank you for a thoughtful diary. Since I entered the EV world a year after you, and hadn’t been following EV-related press before that, I had missed most of the “hatin’ on the Volt” campaign. I’ve noticed echoes of it here and there, but not the full-on assault phase. They still have Tesla squarely on their radar, though. It’s still pretty easy to find online, or even comments here, CTs to the effect that Tesla as a whole is “one huge scam”.

    I wanted to object to your shrugging off of this type of scorched-Earth response, in your words “That’s just politics and the other side is just as guilty of this sort of thing.”

    No, it is not just politics, and there’s no symmetry. To find a precedent to the Republican/conservative reaction to a Black liberal entering the White House, you will have to go to the fall of 1860, when the election of Lincoln was sufficient grounds to secede from the Union. Nothing else comes close.

    “Cutting off your nose to spite your face” would be an understatement. It’s more like poking out your eyes, cutting off your nose, eyes, all your limbs, and then starting to actually saw off your neck – all out of pure spite.

    Specifically on the EV front, it is quite telling that their prime targets have been genuine sources for American pride: both the Volt and Tesla’s cars have been conceived, designed and made in the US. If you take out the politics, it’s something all Americans can be proud of, and support incentives for.

    Which indeed has been the Republicans’ problem in picking this fight, because they find that much of their own base does not go along with it.

    Ok, I hope I haven’t started a flame-war here…

    1. SparkEV says:

      I’d take a flamethrower to your comment, but I see that you’re well insulated with your last line. But seriously, your view on Republicans as evil monsters is paranoia at its best. I suppose my view on Democrats as irrational cleptocrats is similar from opposite POV. But glad we can agree that EV are great.

      1. Anon says:

        Politicians that took dark lobby money from Dealer Associations and GM to block direct sales in a number of US States– were typically Republican. I could go on about Climate Change Denial and attacks on the EPA, etc..

        So why does your personal opinion seem at such odds with reality?

        1. deborah crazy train flower power says:

          AGREED !!!!!!!!!!!

      2. Assaf says:

        @SparkEV 1. I always draw a distinction between sectors of the public who support this or that party – and the politicians themselves.

        2. I don’t hold too much store by *any* political party. The Democrats are much closer to my world-view, so I tend to vote for them because it’s a 2-party system. But there my love of (political) parties ends.

        3. I don’t see Republicans, whether politicians or their constituent base, as inherently evil.

        4. All that said, the reaction to the election of Barack Obama, or more precisely to his entering office and actually, you know, doing the job he was elected for – that has been evil. But arguably more stupid than evil.

        I won’t play along with lame attempts to gloss it over. Sorry.

        On the EV corner you can see it both by the successful smearing of the Volt as the “Obamacar”, and by the re-embracing of climate-change-denial once Obama stepped into office. Look at this Gallup trend for example: from 2008 to 2010, the proportion of Americans worrying about global warming dropped by 15%, with (to my recollection) nearly all the drop happening on the conservative side. What had happened to precipitate that drop?
        http://www.gallup.com/poll/190010/concern-global-warming-eight-year-high.aspx

        By the way, in the trend you can see how strongly Americans are influenced by national politics on this question. In 2001-4 when Bush embraced denialism, the concern dropped like a rock, only to rise again when he started backpedaling from that position (and oil prices skyrocketed, that helped too). Only to drop like rock again once Obama stepped into office and became the Antichrist in the eyes of too many.

        Only now in Obama’s last year, with Americans realizing that 99% of the rest of the world has signed on to doing something about it, are we gaining back that lost ground.

        1. SparkEV says:

          I was going to write a big ole’ flame, but I won’t. Take your post and substitute references to Republican / conservative and their causes as Democrats/liberals and see how it comes across. Many people have hard time doing this as they’re completely blind to the other side, hopefully you’ll do better.

          As for climate change alarmism, most people don’t care. If they’re truly so alarmed as almost certain global catastrophe, they’d move closer to work or change jobs or host of other things to discourage personal transport of any kind, including EV. Clearly, that’s not happening. People are perfectly happy driving solo in gas cars stuck in traffic. Well, not happy, but they do it anyway instead of taking drastic actions as if their kids’ lives depended on it. In reality, it’s not a big concern for most people, despite the lip service.

        2. Paul Stoller says:

          Agreed +1

      3. Ambulator says:

        Democrats are irrational kleptocrats and Republicans are evil monsters? Yeah, they both sound about right.

    2. floydboy says:

      Sorry, American politics = flames.
      Your assessment is mostly accurate(Obama is actually a centrist) but you’ll find accuracy has little bearing on how things currently are. The EV movement is inextricably tied, by naysayers, in the U.S. to the president and every negative connotation he means to them.
      So not too much is going to get done on the governmental front while he’s in office, as he is facing something akin to the ‘Massive Resistance’ of the 1960’s.The ‘Obama-loving’, lefty, liberal, tree-huggers are going to have to wait it out.

  23. Rick Danger says:

    I am of the opinion that Nissan, delivering a slow, ugly, low range EV with legendary battery depletion problems did as much as any Fox news pundit to get the rEVolution off to a bad start.
    If Carlos is so gung-ho on EVs, where are the other EV models? Where’s the eNV-200? The Juke-like EV? Where’s the sexy Esflow-like coupe? Heck, for that matter, where’s the next-generation LEAF???
    I live in AZ, and after the way Nissan treated early LEAF customers WRT their battery failures, they will have a very hard time getting me into a Nissan EV in the future.
    Nissan may have been first, but the entire EV movement paid the price for their shoddy product.

    1. Assaf says:

      @Rick, I sympathize with your AZ experience, and surely Nissan has done a lot of wrong to its earliest adopters, in particular the ones in AZ and similar regions.

      But the world extends beyond AZ. As of February 2016, the Japan and England Nissan factories seem to be churning 30-KWh Leafs in nice quantities. After one year’s break, the Leaf is once again, far and away the world leader in year-to-date sales. http://ev-sales.blogspot.com/2016/03/world-top-10-february-2016.html

      I agree that other models, e.g. a 30-kWh eNV200 should start showing up.

      I disagree that Nissan is to blame for hopes such as David’s being relatively dashed.

      I think that in the time period of 2008-2011 a lot of irrational expectations were spreading regarding EVs. Nissan marketing/planning depts. were among the culprits, but I think it was a universal misconception, regarding how quickly auto technology and marketing can switch over.

      Now we’re getting closer to mass transition, but it still won’t happen as fast as our dreams of it.

      See here: http://insideevs.com/op-ed-counter-anti-ev-canards-just-say-never-show-fool-job-half-done/

      1. Nathanael says:

        Tesla’s production line was shut down for most of February retooling. Second quarter numbers may see them retake the lead over Nissan.

        This isn’t a knock on Nissan, just a note that being #1 can be due to temporary issues.

  24. Rick Danger says:

    BTW< thank you, David, for the article!

  25. Josh Bryant says:

    Great article David.

    I agree with most of your sentiments. Maybe being in Texas give us a more jaded view than CARB state EV followers. I was also one of the first Texas LEAF owners back in 2011.

    I am seeing more and more i3s in the North Houston area, but really it is all Tesla’s up here now. I see more Teslas than I do LEAFs and Volts combined. Model Xs starting to show up now too.

    As far as sales numbers, I can’t see how Volt will hit 3500 per month (on average) if inventory and availability of Bolt is similar.

    Also, you talked about 2 year timeframe, but you didn’t comment on how 60 kWh LEAF 2.0 would fit in. It isn’t if, it is when it comes to market. Mid 2017 seems to be the best guesstimate.

    1. Woochifer says:

      Living out in CA, the EV incentives can get pretty crazy. Aside from being able to choose from cars otherwise not widely available in other states, there are tax credits (now modified based on income) and the zero emission stickers that allow cars to drive the HOV and express lanes for free.

      Our 3-year lease on a Spark EV goes for $80/month. With the incentives, instead of paying a drive off, we’re actually getting a net $1,000 rebate. Basically a free car, plus we no longer pay for gas on my wife’s commute (electricity costs less than 1/4 of what we paid for gas).

      Our particular area has a lot of EVs, with public charging stations now appearing everywhere, including a lot of the DC fast chargers. Still mostly Leafs and Teslas. But, it seems that the dealers around here get a lot of electric cars because of the local market.

  26. Murrysville EV says:

    To properly discuss the EV landscape, we should discuss barriers to entry for consumers and manufacturers.

    First, manufacturers:
    1. EVs are unprofitable. They LOSE money. If they were profitable, they would be priced lower, and the government wouldn’t have to subsidize their purchase.
    2. Few mfrs are willing to commit the resources to EVs, only to lose money – even if they’d sell well. So they convert ICE cars to EVs in a half-hearted attempt to build compliance cars. Plus, what mfr wants to support a product for 10-15 years that is obsolete in 5 years?
    3. Trucks are money-printing machines. The Model X EV range is 150 miles while towing only a 5000-lb load. This is just physics. There is no way Ford is going to build an F-150 EV that costs $140k, to have it only be able to tow 5000 lbs over a short distance, and with no ability to recharge it at its destination. What a joke. A usable EV truck would itself weigh 8000 lbs and cost $200k. Sure, it could be done, but there is no business case for it.
    4. No universal charging standard. If YOU were building a 200- or 300-mile EV, what rapid charging port would you put in it?
    5. Plugs – This is a huge barrier. People balk at the trouble and cost of installing a Level 2 charger in their house. We’d have a lot more EVs if mfrs included a Level 2 charger for free.

    Second, consumers:
    1. Prius Prime – There is no way this car will sell 4000 units/month, when its predecessor only sold 1000/month. Normal people buy hybrids to get better fuel economy. They’re not interested in plugs.
    2. Plugs – This is a huge barrier. People balk at the trouble and cost of installing a Level 2 charger in their house. See #5 above. We want our cars to serve us, not the other way around.
    3. Range and distance driving – See #4 above. In 2 years’ time, the only way to cross the country in a BEV will STILL only be the Supercharger network. You won’t do it in a Bolt or Leaf 2.0.
    4. Battery degradation – My former Leaf lost 15% in 3 years in just 27k miles. It’s pretty tough to sell people a car whose capabilities are guaranteed to drop significantly before it’s paid for. Mfrs should really allow the unused battery reserve to be a shrinking buffer, so that daily range can be held constant for many years.
    5. Depreciation – Except for Tesla, EVs are worthless after about 3 years. It’s pretty tough to sell people a car that will lose 70% of its value in a few years. That’s why I leased.
    6. “Saving the planet” – most people don’t care (me included), so it’s a real turnoff to use this politically-charged selling tactic.
    7. Perception – Since most people still think of a 1975 Citicar when they hear “electric vehicle”, they’re not interested in an EV. Tesla has done the most to turn the tide in this regard.

    In summary, I reserved a Model 3 early, because I believe Tesla has resolved most of these issues with its approach to EVs.

    1. Woochifer says:

      We just leased a Spark EV. As part of the delivery, Chevy includes a $500 credit for a Bosch 240V charging station. The Bosch chargers start at $400 plus installation cost (which will vary depending on the electrical work needed). We’re not sure if we will install the charger, because my wife drives the car about 50 miles/day, and can fully charge the car overnight using just a regular 120V outlet.

      WRT battery degradation, I thought that the Volt has performed very well, and part of that was due to the thermal management setup for the battery, which the Leaf lacks. The Spark EV has two separate liquid cooling systems — one for the battery, and the other for the drivetrain.

      1. Murrysville EV says:

        The Volt is really a hybrid, so its battery never fully discharges – that’s why its battery doesn’t degrade like a Leaf’s.

        Tesla’s mighty range also means that in normal driving, you’re not discharging the battery as much as a Leaf driver.

        Thermal control is helpful, but really it’s deep cycling that kills lithium ion batteries.

        1. ModernMarvelFan says:

          “Thermal control is helpful, but really it’s deep cycling that kills lithium ion batteries.”

          Is that why Nissan warranty book on the LEAF says that don’t fully charge the car and park it over 120 C heat over 24 hours or let the car “freeze” for more than 5-7 days continuously? (Which would void warranties)

          1. Murrysville EV says:

            These are good cautions.

            Living where I do, though, I’m convinced that the cold weather – not hot – was very detrimental to my Leaf battery.

            But you can’t get around the fact that a hybrid’s battery which lives in a 25-75% state of charge is happier than a BEV which is constantly cycling twice that far.

  27. Eric W says:

    I don’t understand so many people’s problem with the idea of a Constantly Growing and Improving Nationwide Fast Charging Network to support people who WANT to and enjoy driving on long road trips, but now would like to do it in EV versus a Gas car.

    Charging at a Nationwide Fast Charging station is NOT the same experience as going to a Gas Station. You are NOT standing at Gas Pump holding the Gas Pump for 20 minutes, 45 minutes, 1 hour whatever time you Imagine you may need to get to the next stop. You plug in and go do something more productive with your time. Now, some people may have nothing more productive to do, and maybe driving electric long distance is not for you. Some people Never drive long distance in a Gas car, so why would anyone expect that Choice to change with an Electric car. If you like to fly, then fly no one is taking away your right to choose to do so.

    But, somehow creating a Nationwide Fast Charging (even current technology 170 miles [2.5 hours driving @ constant 65 mph] in 30 minutes) electric infrastructure to REPLICATE what Gas cars can do today, is some kind of high crime against humanity! I would never stand for it, therefore I actively hate on anyone who might choose to do something differently than me today or in the future, they must be idiots.

    Gas stations have been sprouting up across the country for 110 years and Nationwide Fast charging about 3 years, how about we give the Nationwide Fast charging 10 years (let alone 110 years) of growth before we call it a non-starter for the next generation of people and Electric cars. Who knows new drivers attitudes might change, new technology could improve things, it could be better, it could be worse, we will never know if we don’t try.

    You can view things as Problems or Opportunities. If you are on a Family Vacation Road Trip and you ENJOY doing Family Vacation things (on Family Vacations) like everyone eating in a nice sit down restaurant or shopping and eating at the Mall, then Nationwide Fast Charging might support your idea of a relaxing Family Vacation Road Trip. Maybe you “want” a convenient excuse to force family time (kids never want to hang out with parents). Maybe you or your spouse NEED to stop every 2 hours to go to the bathroom and known built in breaks helps with marital harmony.

    However, If you like to go all Space Lady and put on depends drive the car to the gas tank is empty, fill up and then do it all again, then any Electric car in Next 15 years is probably Not right for you.

    There is NO ONE solution that fits ALL people ALL the time. Want to drive a Gas car to Hawaii, not happening, afraid to fly, then your getting on a Boat or staying home. Is it so bad that SOME former Gas driving Family Vacation Road Trip people WANT to do the same Family Vacation Road Trip in an Electric Vehicle? I always thought MORE choice was better; a Nationwide Fast Charging does Not prevent You from Choosing a different form of transportation, it simply provides that Choice to people who WANT it.

    1. Nathanael says:

      Dammit, now you’ve made me want a car I can drive from New York to Hawaii! 🙂

  28. Priusmaniac says:

    For once Europe could switch to mostly electric market faster simply for the fact that trucks are rather a marginal fraction there. So if the Model 3 is a big success, the Bolt, the new Leaf and still some other ev could together grab a 50% market share sooner there, or at least reach a high percentage sooner.

  29. AudiA3 eTron says:

    No mention of Audi A3 eTron? Best selling PHEV in Germany for Feb 2016?
    Or e-golf?

  30. Nathanael says:

    “At that point I honestly thought that by this point today half of new car sales would be electric ”

    You’d never looked up how long it takes to build new factories and design new cars, had you?

    Most of us knew that 5 years wasn’t long enough to switch over all the factory production lines. Not long enough to produce the batteries or the motors, honestly.