Top 10 Reasons Electric Cars Will Make ICE Obsolete


BMW i3

BMW i3

“Breaking the Inertia of the Status Quo”

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.

To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

― Buckminster Fuller

In 2007 I began to drive a Gem e4 Neighborhood electric vehicle (NEV) powered by roof top solar, It was a personal experiment connecting affordable solar PV “sunshine” to transportation.


Gem e4 Electric Car

In 2009 I began to drive the BMW Mini-E, a full electric car capable of around 90 miles of driving between charges.

At that time, in 2009, there were just the Mini-E and the Tesla Roadster drivers with no charging infrastructure, aiming at the goal of a better future for transportation.

That hopeful vision of the future was far from assured.

We had been down this road before, about a decade earlier with the GM EV1 and the Toyota Rav4EV and a few other smaller production run cars. That episode in the development of EV’s ended in disaster, and potentially our era would follow, arriving at the the same destiny.

*Editor’s Note: This post also appears on Peder’s blog. Check it out here.

The inertia of the status quo is a powerful foe of change. Its strength and certainty comes from the common knowledge of today and yesteryear.

By 2011 Chevy, Nissan, Tesla and others were in the EV game for good. No longer an R&D exercise, billions of dollars of plant development were green lighted for full production of the electric car. The future of the EV was almost certainly going to go forward with no chance of the stalled effort of the GM EV1 and Toyota Rav4EV.

Today, in 2015, we are looking at dozens of manufacturers and an ever growing number of plug in cars. From those first days of 2009 and less than 1000 cars on the road, to now, just five years later and 300,000 cars with plugs on the road. Amazing exponential growth.

2017 looks to be the tipping point where the average electric car will improve to 150-200 miles per charge with both battery density and cycle duration increasing, with many manufacturers offering high volume electric cars. There ends the main obstacle of electric cars, range anxiety.

It’s possible, I would say predictable, that we will see a perfect storm in favor of EV’s in this 2017-2020 time frame. Extremely high gas prices and several models of 150-200 mile EV’s powered mostly by renewable energy.

It would not be surprising to see 30% of all cars sold being a hybrid or better with roughy 10% being pure electric by 2017. Exponential growth will continue. By 2020, a true revolution takes hold in transportation, the replacement of the gasoline vehicle feet will be underway en-masse.

New Versus Old

New Versus Old

Below is my view on why the electric vehicle will replace the gasoline powered car, and why it will do so very soon:

Top Ten reasons why the electric car will make the existing gasoline car obsolete.

1. They’re quicker.

2. They’re quieter.

3. They’re more fun to drive.

4. They’re connected to your home, instead of connected to oil.

5. You charge your car at home, not at the gas filling station. (just like your laundry is done at home and not at the Laundromat)

6. They’re up to 5 times more efficient and1/5th the cost to operate over the lifetime of the car. (energy conservation is wealth creation)

7. You can make your own fuel on the roof of your home.

8. They clean our air. Every EV that replaces a gasoline car makes every breath we take, cleaner and healthier.

9. They’re technologically superior, yet far simpler machines.

10. They will usher in a new transportation future including multiple mobility choices for our cities.

Bet on it!

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66 Comments on "Top 10 Reasons Electric Cars Will Make ICE Obsolete"

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Sorry if i seem to be splitting hairs here, but the first reason is not correct; evs are NOT quicker, at least what is understood by the term, namely speed.
Ev top speed is usually below that of an ice.
Where they shine is in acceleration! Top speed is less important and exciting to most driving enthusiasts that I have spoken to anyway.

So with that “correction” I agree with all 10 points!

Quick for cars refers to off the line speed. Fast for cars refers to top speed.

Even that is NOT necessarily true.

EVs on “average” are quick in 0-30mph (due to extreme low gearing and instant torque), but most of them are signficantly slower than average ICE cars in 30-60mph or 40-70mph acceleration…

If you compare average EV into Ferrari, then electric cars are slower to accelerate in Highway speeds, but if you compare average hatchback EV to Ford Fiesta, then your EV hatchback is not any slower to accelerate.

Then we have of course also Tesla Model S P85D. That is as fast as any executive Mercedes because both are limited to 250 km/h top speed.

How about comparing midsize V-6 sedans vs any of the EVs?

How about comparing the 4 cyclinder econ box such as Civic and Mazda3 with those EVs?

If they are slower it is by design to be that way. My Zero SR does 40-60 MPH in 1.7 seconds and 60-80 MPH in 2.5 seconds. Just because you want to have an EV doesn’t mean sacrificing performance. You just have to pick the model that does what you want. On the Pikes Peak Hill Climb Challenge the Lightening electric motorcycle beat all ICE bikes and the current model has a top end of over 200 MPH.

Quick EV-
201 mph @ 6.94 sec – Lawless OCC Electric Drag Bike & Larry Spiderman McBride

Fast EV-
A Colorado Couple Built The World’s Fastest Electric Motorcycle In Their Garage

The author is correct in his statement that EVs are quicker. Quicker refers to accelerations, your counterpoint would have more merit if he said that EVs are faster.

From Cambridge discussion of the difference:

“We usually use quick to refer to something happening in a short time, or a shorter than expected time.” – acceleration;

“Fast refers to things that happen or go at high speed, e.g. a train, a person running.” – Top Speed, EVs do not win here.

Top speed is limited by the transmission in EVs. EVs use of single speed reduction gear instead of a more traditional ICE transmission limits their top speed. I see future EV sports cars with 2-3+ gears coming eventually. An automated manual or a CVT could be possibilities.

Check out the Lightening electric motorcycle. Top speed is 218 MPH and no transmission needed.

The entire existence of multiple-speed transmissions is an engineering fix for the shortcomings of an ICE, which produces maximum torque and horsepower in only a very narrow range of RPMs. Nevermind the small problem of how an ICE simply doesn’t work at all at very low RPMs. The way to make an electric motor reach high speed is with sufficient horsepower and torque and the right gear reducer to ensure that speed is reached before the motor redlines. Since the motor can operate all the way down to 0 RPM, there’s absolutely no need for having any other gear. You simply put less power to the motor, even if you’re in the ludicrous situation of reaching 30 mph at 1/3 RPM. The real problem is getting that power into the motor. If we had a Mr. Fusion that was capable of producing 1.21 GW (that converts neatly into 1 million horsepower, by the way, meaning that the 300 horsepower Doc Brown’s time machine would need at the wheels would be a tiny rounding error on the powerplant side) in such a small form factor, the “problem” would be licked. Until then, we still have trouble creating portable batteries that are… Read more »

All that is needed to increase the top speed of electric supercars for the “automobile enthusiasts is a multi speed gearbox and probably only a two speed; which, beats the devil out of the cost and complexity of the current ICE 8-10 speed boxes now in most ICE autos.

11. Less maintenance

12. Hopefully less wars to fight, less areas to protect militarily , less dictatorial regimes will be able to rely on tapping into oil.

As a side effect , because of this, one unintended consequence of mass EV transition could be wars. I don’t see oil bullies sitting idle when their lifeline is useless.

There is a book called Twilight in the Desert which was written about about the oil supply in Saudi Arabia and how it came into being. The book was mainly about how Saudi Arabia was not clearly telling everyone how much oil they had and how much control they had on global oil markets.

The biggest thing the book warned about was how dependent Saudi Arabia was on using their vast oil wealth to keep the peace and national budget in order.

If EV’s in the US did manage to cut global oil demand by two to three million barrels it could have massive shock waves in Saudi Arabia.

I recommend “Ausgebrannt” from Andreas Eschbach. Ist is available in lots of Languages but no English.

But Korean, Russian, French and several others. UNBELIEVABLE !!


Huh, wonder why no English?

I don’t know any other languages so I guess I’m SOL.

+1 Kdawg

I’m getting tired of crawling under my cars to change the oil, brakes and filters. It’s always a filthy and toxic job. I look forward to way less maintenance, when I switch to EVs.

I agree with your 10 reasons why the electric car will make the internal combustion engine car obsolete, but I don’t see it happening in the timeframe that you stated. When I can drive an electric car from Baltimore Maryland to San Antonio Texas without any prior planning and make it there in the same timeframe I would in an internal combustion engine vehicle, that will be the tipping point. Until then the extended range electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids will reign.

Long live the electric car!

“When I can drive an electric car from Baltimore Maryland to San Antonio Texas without any prior planning”

I just don’t think EVs need to be able to do that to dominate the market.

If we had reliable 300 mile EVs that charged fairly quickly, we could very well see a scenario where people use their EVs for 355 days a year, 99.99999% of their driving.
And the once or twice a year they drive from MD to TX they just rent an ICE.

(Heck, I drive 155 miles in a day 1-2 times per year. I think I drove 250 miles ONCE the last 14 years.)

It’s kind of like a Moving Van. our daily commuters don’t need to be able to move a couch. The rare times you need that, you rent a moving van.

A few weeks ago Virginia had at least eight DC Quick Chargers open up in several different towns and cities. Before the Quick Chargers you couldn’t take a 200 mile trip in a EV. But now in theory it’s possible. As if now all I need is for two to three quick chargers to open up along this one section of Interstate Highway and I will be able to go anywhere I want to in a EV.

I believe all BEV’s are basically city cars (including Tesla S). I have a Nissan leaf for a little over 2 1/2 years and I can tell you from experience, the BEV is not ready for primetime. The BEV has to be able to go anyplace, anytime, without compromise for it to replace the ICE. I believe we will be there in about ten years. That is a very short time for the changes that will take place. I know some of you purest will think that is not fast enough, but this will involve a whole different way of thinking and living.

I’ve driven from Texas to Maryland and back. Unless there is a bunch of cargo, I’m never doing it again. 22hrs of driving is insane compared to 3hrs of flying.

Amen! If it’s more than 400 miles I’m flying (Or in Europe maybe take the train), if it’s less then a 200m EV and a DCQC or 2 works fine, after a couple of hours I want a break anyway.

“They’re up to 5 times more efficient and1/5th the cost to operate over the lifetime of the car. (energy conservation is wealth creation)”

That is NO longer the case with the current gas price.

5x more efficient is also misleading b/c that is NOT the case for all comparable models. Generally, 2x to 3x is definitely true especially when winter condition is considered…

You’re right. The low gas prices that we’re experiencing now will last forever!


I agree with that fact that it won’t stay forever low.

But the fact is that nobody drives their cars “forever” either. It is like a sampling theory. You get to sample a long history of gasoline price for about 3 years at a time for leasing or 10 years at a time for owning. It is all about how much gasoline price inside your sampling window.

I remember back in 2011 when I was looking into buying my first EV that just about every EV supporters on the internet swore that gas would be more than $5/gallon by the time 2015 rolls around…

I guess it depends on who you ask. It was around $5.15 a gallon around November here in Vancouver.

The price of oil is dependent on the whims of oil suppliers, as we’ve noticed lately. When Saudi Arabia changes its mind about what it thinks the price of oil should be, they just make it happen, just because they can, for whatever reasons they decide, whether or not they even tell anyone what those reasons are.

By contrast, my local electricity producer is extremely regulated and they can’t raise my rate on that without years of advance notice. This makes the budget for powering my car pretty much a fixed deal. Nevermind the fact that it only costs me around $40 a month.

In winter conditions, ICE loose 20% efficiency vs 30% for an average EV, BUT since 65% of the loss in an EV is due to cabin heating, the more the batteries will have superior range, the less PERCENT will be the loss. In the end EVs will loose less than ICE who are stuck with technological limitations.

TL;DR, Counter-intuitively, electric cars save you more money in the winter.

Actually, NOT exactly. Remember that demographic survey was done with the “old gas price”. Even in the same survey, it shows that EV has higher reduction in efficiency (29% vs. 19%). So, the so called “saving per mile” is very misleading since it didn’t list the cost of gasoline in calculation nor the cost of electricity and miles/kWh or mpg used. But we can make an estimate here based on the numbers provided. It showed that at 73 deg, the EVs are getting $0.026/mile and gasoline car is $0.124/miles. If that is the case, we can then make some estimate. $0.026/miles is awefully cheap for EV. Assuming 4 miles/kWh (pretty high for average), the electricity would have to cost $0.104/kWh in order for that to make sense. Let us say that is the case here. Now, if “comparable” gasoline car cost $0.15/miles, then at $4/gallon, the mpg is 26.67mpg. That is “low” for comparable sized ICE cars, especially if you include hybrids such as Prius or Insight… If gas is $2/gallon, then mpg is only 13.3MPG, highly unlikely. So, we can clearly see the problem with this assumption. If gasoline is $2/gallon and we average 26mpg, then the per mile… Read more »
Since I enjoy doing math, here is the math for my fleet. Please correct me if you think I made a mistake. Honda Insight summer/winter MPG = 47/35 (26% less efficient in winter) (NOTE: These are measured every time I tank up the car by dividing miles travelled by gallons of gas purchased) Nissan Leaf summer/winter mpk = 3.2/1.9 (41% less efficient in winter) (NOTE: These numbers are 85% of the number reported on the dash, to approximate charging losses. After all, I pay for electricity from the wall, not from the battery) The infographic was made when gasoline cost $4/gal, so I’ll start with that. I pay $0.12/kWh for electricity, so I’ll use that. Summer: Insight: $4/47MPG = 8.5cents/mile Leaf: $0.12/3.2mpk = 3.8cents/mile Leaf Savings = 4.7cents/mile Winter: Insight: $4/35 = 11.4cents/mile Leaf: $0.12/1.9mpk = 6.3cents/mile Leaf Savings = 5.1cents/mile On the one hand, with gas at $2.50/gal, the savings will be less in winter. On the other hand, the Insight gets better gas mileage than any car that isn’t a Prius or a plug-in. Well it turns out that any car that gets 34/25 MPG in the summer/winter will see the same savings, so any car that is… Read more »

In addition, you should also question their math (sorry, engineering habit).

If ICE loses only 19% in range, thus efficiency in the winter, then why does the cost increase by more than 19%.

15 to 18.6 is an increase of 24%, not 19%.

2.6 to 3.8 is an increase of 46% in cost, not 29% listed…

Of course, that is assuming that range loss is a reflection of the efficiency. If it is NOT, then there are other “non-moving” efficiency is included, why aren’t those listed seperately?

Also, “using harmonic average” to explain the math isn’t exactly the clear way to illustrate the problem, especially when the fine prints are as small as it gets.

“In the end EVs will loose less than ICE who are stuck with technological limitations.”

NO amount of technological limitation change the fact that in the ICE car the wasted heat in the winter is an efficiency gain where in the EV, it is a drain.

Doesn’t matter how you do that, you can’t change the law of thermodyanmic…

What is interesting about EV’s is that they might start acting like computers from a upgrade stand point. Such as you can upgrade your existing computer by adding more ram and more storage memory but you can’t upgrade your lawn mower or gas engine to make it better. A EV you can upgrade by putting in a bigger battery or quick charger while a gas car you can’t really upgrade.

I’ve found you can get around this heating problem by wearing heavy winter boots in the winter (because winter). You have to get out of the car sometimes after all, so it’s better to be prepared.

It is trivial and very cheap to install an auxiliary combustion heater into electric car. Also hybrids and even modern fuel efficient Diesel cars are requiring auxiliary heater because there is not enough WASTE HEAT produced.

Agree except for the idea that hybrids and EVs grow equally. The more the popularity of EVs, the less of hybrids. At the point of a midrange price EV with 150+ miles range, the hybrid sales decline.

I hope to see the day when BEV replaces ICE.

Your 2020 timeframe may work for compliance car states, but those of us who live in states where most of those cars aren’t even available, we see very few EV’s on the road, but do see a small number of Chevy Volt’s. The word of mouth advertising and such is way behind your adoption curve. I have faith that it will get here after a time, but I would hesitate to believe that quick of a time frame for most of the states that don’t border the Pacific Ocean.

I do hope this happens, but over half of the cars on the road are large SUV’s and pickups. Is it possible to make a EV SUV at an affordable price? Tesla’s SUV is likely to be very expensive.

suv/pickups will be the last to the ev revolution simply cause of aerodynamics, larger tires,weight,towing capacity, etc. but by ~2025 and up battery tech will be far more advanced.

I for one will be extremely surprised if in calendar year 2017 EVs take up 10% of the market (I assume you mean US, not global), even after including PHEVs.

Demand aside, just jotting down numbers of production capacity projections from major EV makers, leads to conclude that it is physically impossible.

2020? That’s another story. 10% market share would is be very optimistic even for 2020, but we’ll plausibly have at least 3 affordable >150-mile BEV models in the US, each produced in high volume. Not to mention <100-mile EVs, which by that point should become 'too cheap to not buy' if they suit your needs.

12. They will allow autonomous driving to take hold. (Can you imagine a gas car starting up and driving from its parking spot to you in a crowded parking lot?)

There’s really no technological reason a gas car couldn’t do that as well. Most transmissions are electronically controlled anyway, so the notion of “shifting into drive” is a little out of date.

EVs are ideal because their drive systems are already highly computerized, allowing the autonomous systems to interface easily.

We are not there yet in terms of battery production. 10% of global market mean 6mln of 300kg+ batteries.

However, 2020 will for sure mark year when all luxury cars owners will want EVs. 🙂 and some SUVs owners will go sedan to get EV. (bigger the car bigger the battery hence sedans will go EV first)

Something that cannot be claimed now but IMO will prove over time:

Longer lasting

An electric motor should have no problem lasting at least 2X as long as an ICE.

I would guess right now an average ICE should have an expected shelf life of 150k miles before major work. An electric motor would be 300k miles easy.

The only reason this revolution will occur is if electric cars are LESS expensive than gas. If you look at solar vs coal, digital cameras vs film, mobile vs land lines, etc. you will see that all the tech and social reasons only get early adopters. The mass market only listens to CASH.

Note: I do believe this WILL happen in 2017 to 2020, just not for the 10 reasons above. Rather, electric cars will be CHEAPER to buy, and ALSO cheaper to run, BOTH. Hard to imagine, but then again solar is now cheaper than coal, just takes time!

#5 is an (unintentionally?) excellent point, in that if you are a person who has to do their laundry at a laundromat (or other pay facility), a BEV will almost certainly not work for you.

BEVs can be practical for about half of America, but there will always be a need for ICE-style quick-refueling away from home. The question is whether those vehicles will be powered by petroleum, hydrogen, or something else entirely.

It would not be surprising to see 30% of all cars sold being a hybrid or better with roughy 10% being pure electric by 2017. Exponential growth will continue. By 2020, a true revolution takes hold in transportation, the replacement of the gasoline vehicle feet will be underway en-masse.

Today’s EV sales are 0.5% of cars, and you think the percentage will grow 20-fold in two years? What are you smoking?

They’re up to 5 times more efficient and1/5th the cost to operate over the lifetime of the car. (energy conservation is wealth creation)

I’ve owned an EV for 2-1/2 years. Not including depreciation or cost to insure, it costs 10 cents a mile to drive, compared to an equivalent ICE that would cost 13 cents a mile.

These numbers come from actual data, not someone’s made-up fantasy.

13. No need for dealership, because maintenance need is significantly lower. And dealership business model is based on that ICE cars are requiring more regular service.

‘9. They’re technologically superior, yet far simpler machines.’ I love this concept and it reminds me of railroad locomotives. I love trains, but believe that I am one of the few train buffs who does not look longingly…but instead REALISTICALLY, back at steam locomotives. Back in the 1940s, you see the last gasp of steam as it overlaps the diesel electric locomotive. In retrospect, you wonder WHY anybody still messed with steam when diesel came along. With diesel, you could have ONE train crew run several locomotives, you didn’t have to stop every hundred miles for water/fuel, maintenance and operation became greatly simplified…and several other reasons. However, when you examine what they did to steam engines in that last decade, the complexity of systems (along with their maintenance) became overwhelming. I still marvel at ALL that crap when they show one of these old timers being overhauled. I would love to agree with the author’s timeline, but these reasons will certainly reveal themselves in retrospect as we look back at this timeframe a few decades hence. All the complexity that they are having to include in ICE mobiles just to squeak out a few more mpg…it should make the objective… Read more »

I can easily answer that question:

Jobs, and stranded assets.

A good many people were employed in the maintenance of the old steamies. Plus there was considerable infrastructure in place for their maintenance. Add to that the fact that the old steam engines weren’t cheap, and the companies that owned them were not going to let them sit idle, and you have all the conditions for a drawn-out phasing out of an inefficient technology.

It’s also the reason that I have to continually stress why we need to put resources into the *right* alternative fuel for the future of our transportation. There’s a considerable amount of sunk costs in any infrastructure, and it’s going to take at least 20 years to convert the whole fleet. If we pick the wrong horse, there’s a strong likelihood that *another* huge infrastructure change is inevitable.

I agree with your 10. However, people who don’t drive EVs will not move to EVs until: 1. It is less expensive than driving ICE. 2. Range approaches 200 miles (For those who don’t have an EV, range is about fear, emotion. Not research) 3.The charging network, including QC reaches a more critical mass. 4. There is increased regulatory pressure/reward: in other words, the US starts putting its regulations where its best scientists have been for a decade. 5. The growing public concern about Climate Change reaches a tipping point. Additional points: there is significant hangover from the oil era — power, lobbies, policy. When subsidies for alternatives approach subsidiies for oil/gas the will be seismic shift. Or, when Europe’s progressivenes embarrasses us. (Although I wouldn’t count of that.)

I don’t think you’re correct in these assumptions, because some of these factors have already been overcome in several countries, yet they haven’t yet had significant market share taken up by EVs.

Ireland, Japan, and the UK all have plentiful DCQCs on the ground. Yet only Norway has more than 1% of new car sales being EV.

The only thing that Norway has that is better than any of these places is the fact that a Nissan Leaf is roughly the same price as a 1.4L VW Golf because of their tax scheme. You can conclude that literally nothing else matters to the widespread adoption of EVs but the sticker price. Once any significant number of people own them, people will demand improvements in infrastructure and get what they want because the numbers support that market. Once people start to realize the ancillary benefits of EV ownership, (like the stunningly low operating costs, negligible maintenance, and the lack of a transmission), it’s game over gas.

Had me at #5. Gas stations provide the worst shopping experience on the planet. They’re stinky, smelly, noisy, and congested. Ugh.

My 2000 Ford Ranger EV has already “obsoleted” the following ICE accoutrements for me for the past 15 years: Smog checks Tune ups Oil changes Muffler repairs Transmission repairs Starter/generator/alternator repairs Radiator repairs Gas stations Look for these industries to ultimately go the way of the buggy whip industry when autos made their evolutionary appearance in the late 19th century. Ironically, those first cars were EVs. Didn’t happen overnight, but it did happen. Also to EV Vinod: I and many others will gladly pay more or the same for EVs in order to prevent a portion of my fuel dollars from going to pay for IEDs and other weapons to kill my countrymen. Would much rather pay my American utilities for fuel or, better still, generate my own clean fuel from the solar panels on my roof. Also to GDTRFV Volt: Nissan made a beautiful full size SUV EV called the Altra in the late 1990s. With Lithium Ion batteries and a claimed 100 mile range. Never released to the general public as far as I know, but the Toyota RAV4EVs of that same era were smaller SUVs and many are still on the road. NiMH batteries just like in… Read more »

I once had to spend $400 in Muffler repairs for the Dino Juice mobile at home.

There is not enough battery-building capacity for this exponential growth timeline. 200mi BEVs make this constraint worse.

The single fundamental reason electric vehicles will replace those powered by internal combustion engines boils down to this factor…EFFICIENCY. In a world of rapidly increasing population and decreasing resources, it’s the main aspect of EV’s from which many other of the benefits are derived ultimately leading to their dominance…it’s simply a matter of physics.

This song here best tells what will happen to most Ice Cars when 200 mile range EV’s will come out

The 80 and 60 mile EV’s still have hope that you can upgrade the batteries on them.

Unfortunately #4 + #5 don’t really apply to the millions of people living in situations where street parking is their only option. I drive a Focus EV and charge at home in my suburban driveway, but if I lived in the city, I would have no desire to figure out when and how I would charge my car. Regardless of range, this is a big issue to overcome for widespread use of EVs in cities.