Tony Seba Says Electric Cars Will Soon Offer Porsche Performance At Buick Prices


Tony Seba

Tony Seba

Tony Seba, a lecturer in Entrepreneurship, Disruption and Clean Energy at Stanford University and a serial Silicon Valley entrepreneur, says that all new vehicles will be electric by 2025, due to cost-effectiveness.

At an investment forum, Seba made a speech, most of which covered electric cars. Seba stated:

“You will soon be able to get Porsche performance for Buick prices and when you get that, neither Porsche nor Buick are able to compete.” 

According to Seba, electric car performance has improved very rapidly and prices are falling so quickly that soon the ICE cars won’t be able to compete.

CNBC adds:

“[Seba] said he expected the cost of an electric vehicle to fall to about $30,000 by 2020, compared with the $33,000 current median price of a new ICE car in the U.S. By 2022, a low-end EV would be available for as little as $22,000, he predicted.”

“Seba said the “marginal cost” of owning an EV was essentially zero because maintenance costs were so low, noting that while ICE cars had more than 2,000 moving parts.”

Seba predicts that soon electric cars won’t be purchased because they’re the “green” choice, but rather because they are “the rational, economic choice.” 

Seba sees a market flooded with plug-in vehicles by 2020, and dominated by the plug in 2025. His views are optimistic, though not necessarily out of line with lesser predictions put forth by others.

Source: CNBC

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40 Comments on "Tony Seba Says Electric Cars Will Soon Offer Porsche Performance At Buick Prices"

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The Model 3 will be.

Really? I thought the Model 3 will cost more than 22.000$ 😉

Does he include the cost if a home charger install? Either way, I’ll willing to believe this. Many hybrids have more than 500 miles of range, but not everyone needs that.

EU have 220v as standard at the outlet….

We only had to buy a home charger and only had to add a breaker and add a 240V plug to our garage once. Since 2013 we have now owned 3 plug-ins.

That was a one time cost that doesn’t have to be repeated each time you buy a new EV. I don’t know how long this charger will last but it it lasts 10 years then that comes out to about $5 a month. Then I’m sure in 10 years its replacement will be much cheaper.

VW Dieselgate makes VW fixed to invest in own “Gigafactory” in Germany for $11 billion.

And Daimler which own Mercedes is also investing in own battery Factory in Germany in Germany med

And more car makers will of course follow nextcoming years and therefore will of course battery costs decline within next 5-6 years.

It’s been ~ten years I’m telling this.
Electrics are cheaper than ICEs. Suffice to build them massively.

If you to go, many new SparkEV are listed for $18K before subsidy along with many Leaf, etc. In the real world, under $20K low end BEV is achieved even today.

Not sure about 2025 but in 2030 definitely you will not be able to buy a new gas powered car.

Let’s be optimistic say you’re right. The problem is that Seba said “…all new vehicles will be electric by 2025”.

All vehicles? I’ll bet that not even most heavy freight trucks will be fully EV by 2025, let alone all ships, airplanes, or other vehicles.

PEVs are on the verge of going mainstream for light duty vehicles; cars and light trucks. Other vehicle classes are still a long way from the EV revolution overtaking them.

Yes there are issues with many other types of vehicles. Electric airplanes is pretty far off for sure, that is possibly where hydrogen fuel cells will shine because of the weight.

Electric trucks can be solved longer term as battery technology improves but it’s probably further off than cars.

Trains are already electric in Europe so that isn’t really a big deal.

When it comes to ships it’s probably the same thing as with airplanes. You need to carry a lot of energy with you to power the ship, hydrogen might have an advantage here for longer journeys because you have plenty of space for hydrogen and it doesn’t weigh too much.

Re EV ships: The weight of batteries in a ship is far less of a constraint than it is in a commercial airliner. However, the space and cost of batteries make a BEV drivetrain pretty impractical for most shipping. Regarding ships, we’re essentially at the point in the EV revolution that we were at in the early days of steam power. In the early days, steam engines were used only to work ships in and out of port, because the steam engines used up their fuel (coal) at much too fast a rate for use over long distances. Later, as steam engine efficiency improved somewhat, travel over longer distances at sea became possible, with coaling stations along the way. At that stage in the steam engine tech revolution, ships couldn’t carry enough coal for an entire trans-ocean voyage. The first steamship capable of a non-stop passage from Europe to Australia entirely under steam power was the Great Eastern, launched in 1858, the biggest ship of its era, which proved impractical for commercial use because it cost too much to operate. Currently, the only BEV ships are short-range ferries which spend most of their time tied up at the dock, so… Read more »

Biggest problem with ships and airplanes is they routinely go on very long trips without the possibility to stop for a quick charge. Limited range is a real problem there, as opposed to LDV’s where it is more of a small inconvenience.

You have to include Buses in the mix.
BYD already put 10 000 city buses on the road and they most probably relieve a lot more carbon and poisonous gas than all the private BEV car sold so far.
Next doable is freight truck who can swap high capacity battery pack at every 4-5 hours stop.
They also put a lot of crap in the air.

Nice to see such an optimistic prediction, altho this seems a bit unrealistic: “Seba said the ‘marginal cost’ of owning an EV was essentially zero because maintenance costs were so low…”

I’ve seen data suggesting the maintenance cost of EVs might be 40% less than a comparable ICEV, and over time that might drop even more. But “essentially zero” maintenance cost isn’t being realistic. Even a BEV will occasionally need, for example, new wiper blades, wiper fluid, and new tires.

Don’t be ridiculous. Expensive maintenance means changing all those parts that wear out in time. Whispers are dirty cheap, compared to changing belts, orrepairing gear box, or hydraulic breaks, or changing exhaust and intake filters….

EVs will have expensive battery replacement (when taking whole 20y of service and 300 000 km lifespan). Less expensive air filters, and break repairs (mechanical ones, they still need to be functional!).

Should be nicely in favor of EVs. (After aftermarket single cell repairs become standard)

Tony Seba is wildly optimistic about the future for electric cars and you just gotta love the guy for his outrageously good attitude.

One of Seba’s main themes is that the electric drive-train is inherently superior to combustion engine technology, and that it will only be a matter of time until that is made manifest. Most everyone involved in promoting EVs sees it that way.

My own gut feeling, however, is that electric cars need at least one more significant battery breakthrough before they can compete heads up with ICE on all parameters. For the general public the range issue is real and the fear of running out of juice somewhere without a gas can terrifies them.

While it’s certainly true that the price of the batteries themselves needs to come down to make EVs more cost competitive up front, I would argue that we need at least one more significant battery breakthrough to put the range issue to bed once and for all.

Then ~..~ we can all dance the Macarena.

Remember when I was a kid and my parents bought a bit bigger car. Range anxiety was really thing. Gas canister in a car was a norm. But now? Who cares. You can charge it at the every corner.

But EVs? At your home. That means that at least order of magnitude more car owners could get EVs and enjoy them without any range anxiety. 😉

Ah, forget that breakthroughs. People said that 10 years ago, and without breakthroughs, batteries have gotten 2x energy dense and 5x cheaper.

Steadym evolutionary progress is all that we need.

2025? Not by a longshot. But the day will eventually come.

Just for 2020 in EU and 2025 in USA most of the cars will go at least partial electric.

Toyota came out with the original gas electric hybrid in Japan in 1998. The Prius hit the pavement in the U.S. two years later in 2000.

In the 18 years since first introduction and in spite of the fact that Toyota, and later Ford along with Honda and even some European manufactures began to make and sell numerous hybrid model, hybrids have never risen above being eco-friendly niche cars. The two best markets for hybrids are Japan and the U.S. American sales have hovered around 2-3% for years. There has never been a break-out moment that put hybrids over-the-top and assured their future dominance.

That’s why a significant battery breakthrough is essential for EVs. It’s not an option. Without better batteries and range parity with ICE vehicles, EVs could very well end up as perpetual niche players like the hybrids have been for almost two decades, loitering around 2-3% of total sales.

Hybrids where bad cause performance electric motors broke multi gear gearbox’s…

Ask Tesla. That is true reason why they went single ratio setup.

Some advancements here and a lot in battery chemistry, capacity, and emission standards give us situation where high end must be partial or full electric. Middle is coming soon.

Also is Tesla is able to do 1 million by 2020, they will do 3 millions by 2025, and the rest of industry another 3 millions. Or more cause billions throwed arround got serious recently.

There is a fundamental difference between hybrids and electrics, in that hybrids are essentially the same as ordinary cars, they still run 100% on hydrocarbons and contain this massively complex machine to go forward.

2025 might be optimistic but but it will happen sooner then most people think.

When Florida and other low-lying coastal areas are underwater/unusable because of the rapidly increasing effects of AGW, science will triumph over the idealogy/money that is holding us back.

At that point things like progressively escalating carbon tax or other mechanisms to force universal electrification/zero carbon everything will start happening.

“When Florida and other low-lying coastal areas are underwater/unusable because of the rapidly increasing effects of AGW, science will triumph over the idealogy/money that is holding us back.”

Despite the ridiculous levels of alarmism about sea levels rising from the “Chicken Littles” screaming about a few piffling degrees of global warming, if you look at the actual data it becomes clear that at current rates of sea level rise, that won’t be an issue for centuries.

Personally, I firmly believe the EV revolution will be complete long before we ever need to worry about turning much of Florida into a clone of Holland, with dikes and windmills everywhere to fight against encroachment by the sea.

Lol, what ignorance.

The current speed of sea level rise is what it is: the current level. Nobody can guarantee that it will remain steady. Worse, all science point to the fact that sea level rise is accelerating.

From the second article: “Since 2009, the volume loss in Greenland has increased by a factor of about two and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet by a factor of three.”

Another nice addition to you pittoresque picture of Florida’s future. Sorry that reality is a bit more complex than your naive assumptions.

“It will take technology not yet imagined to overcome the challenges posed by South Florida’s unusual geology: the limestone bedrock that is both a blessing and a curse. Mined, limestone provides fill to build roads and create what constitutes high ground. In its natural state, it’s a porous sponge. Water runs through it. It can’t be plugged. Seawalls can be raised—as the city of Miami Beach has ordered. But seawalls, no matter how high, can’t stop water that bubbles up from beneath.

Even the Dutch would have difficulty protecting the narrow, seven-mile barrier island that is Miami Beach, a top tourist destination.”

And don’t forget about this Florida mayor:

or these others:

And by the way, who do you think pays for these disasters?

We all do through our government and higher insurance premiums and god forbid some heavyweight rich and well connected industry gets slammed and demands a Bailout!

Finally,- someone I agree with….. people don’t realize how fast things move when their time has come…. can never be fast enough for the planet.

Hey Stephen, how’s your Leaf holding up? I hear it is to be joined on the island by another one, coming from Japan soon. How long do you think it will take the Jamaican government to acknowledge this new generation of electric cars and see the benefits?

He’s right about the trends, wrong about the timing. Bad numbers will do that:

1. Jeep Liberty 5 year fuel cost $15k. It’s actually $6k based on 25 mpg EPA combined and $2.50/gal.

2. Jeep EV 5 year fuel cost $1536. It’s actually $2400 using 3 miles/wall plug kWh. He used 4.6, which is silly.

3. 14-16% annual Li-ion cost declines. After 25%-ish declines in the ’90s, Li-ion matured to a steady 8%/year.

4. $250/kWh Powerwall. Yeah, right.

5. $1.20/day full house energy storage in 2020. Assumes batteries last 7500 cycles. Inexpensive Li-ions are more like 500-750 full cycles.

6. $0.49/kWh peak rates vs. 0.05 overnight? C’mon, man.

These are just a few examples. He’s proof that if you torture the numbers enough they’ll say whatever you want.


And if batteries are cheap the difference between night and day charges will decrease because it will make economical sense for the producer to store it…

Ddw- per “Inexpensive Li-ions are more like 500-750 full cycles.”, is an interesting come back, since most LiFePO4 specs report 1,500 cycles at 1C Discharge and 1C Charge, with 100% To 0% to 100% cycles!

I have seen cycle specs to 70% – 80% state of discharge, that show numbers from 5,000 to 7,000!

So I don’t think Tony Seba created any of those numbers on his own.

I would be extremely skeptical of any company claiming on its website that it was selling commercially produced li-ion batteries capable of being cycled 0-100% 1500 times and still retaining most of the original capacity. If the battery cells really are capable of that, then they have been so extremely optimized for lack of fade in cycling that they would be either useless or too expensive — likely both — for any real-world application.

Let us remember that outrageous and entirely untrue claims are rampant in the high-tech battery industry.

“My top advice really for anyone who says they’ve got some breakthrough battery technologies, please send us a sample cell, okay, don’t send us PowerPoint. Just send us one cell that works with all appropriate caveats; that would be great. That… sorts out the nonsense and the claims that aren’t actually true. Talk is super cheap; the battery industry has to have more B.S. in it than any industry I’ve ever encountered. It’s insane.” — Elon Musk, Nov. 5, 2014

Robert, some LiFePO4s have good specs for home use but they aren’t what I’d call inexpensive. They certainly aren’t on the kind of pricing curve Seba is talking about.

Quick question for all of you.
How many of you want to buy a new ICE vehicle in 2019, KNOWING that within 3-4 years, it’s resale value will be around 10-20% of the original car?
IOW, u buy a nice BMW 328i for around 50k. Now, 3 years later, it is worthless than 5000 because no one else wants to buy an ICE vehicle that is slow, and will have problems finding fuel for.
Now, some of you will argue that it will not drop that fast. Yet, by 2020, new upper-end ice vehicles will have to drop their prices 20% just to get ppl to buy them. Again, that will also put extreme pressure on resale values.

So how many middle to upper class ( which are where majority cars are bought ) are going to buy ICE vehicles in 2020 Knowing they will be worthless in a few short years?

Seba is spot on, and may even be conservative.

I agree with you, but your timing is a little out. Someone buying the car in 2025 will have the dilemma you are describing though.

The transition away from the old tech will be more rapid with cars, simply because a car is a very significant purchase for most households. If you get it wrong it can wind up costing you a lot of money.

Another guy just reading the future out of his crystal ball …. And pretend to know what “Porsche performance” really means.

He’s probably the same guy who thinks that Leaf is a great car because it can handle good amount of G, inning around on a skid pad ….

Don’t forget, they changed the tires.