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Cars new power source

Published on December 30th, 2013 | by Zachary Shahan

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The #1 Reason Why Electric Cars Will Dominate The Car Market



new power sourceThere are a ton of reasons why electric cars should be the dominant type of car on our roads — reasons why you should really ditch your gasmobile for an electric car. Some of those reasons would slowly sway portions of the market. But logic doesn’t often prevail in the marketplace — love, enthusiasm, and emotional desires do. And that’s actually why I think electric cars will quickly come to dominate the market….

I wish I could say it’s no secret, but it actually is something like a secret that electric cars are simply way more enjoyable to drive than gasmobiles. It’s common for people to think of golf carts or small, dinky vehicles when they think of electric cars. Only 22% of respondents in a recent nationwide study said they were familiar with the Tesla Model S, only 31% said that they were familiar with the Nissan Leaf, the highest-selling electric car in the world.

If so many people haven’t even heard of the vehicles, you know that they and others don’t realize how much nicer they are to drive. Mainstream media reporters, most of whom have never driven a modern electric car themselves, certainly aren’t communicating this to the public.

But word of mouth can be a powerful sales force, and word gets around increasingly fast as an awesome product starts to gain market share. We’ve seen this time and time again.

The rise of the computer. The rise of the laptop. The rise of the phone. The rise of the cell phone. The rise of the smartphone. The rise of the CD player. The rise of the iPod. The rise of email. The rise of the tablet. These things don’t happen overnight, but the growth occurs exponentially and proves a ton of “change skeptics” wrong within a relatively short period of time.


In the case of electric cars, you hear this story over and over again: “I was just planning to use the electric car for [insert some practical, routine purpose], but then I found myself never wanting to drive my [insert higher-end car model].”

Over and over again, you hear people saying: “I could never go back to gas cars now.”

This quote from an early investor in Tesla after testing out an early Roadster is extreme and refers to a prime Tesla product, but it still captures the essence of the story at all electric vehicle price levels: ”What the hell did you do to my Porsche? I just spent a quarter of a million dollars on this thing, and it sucks now!”

Of course, it’s not the car guys or the $250,000 Porsche guys who need to adopt electric cars in order to help us stop global warming, cut air pollution, cut energy insecurity and fuel price spikes. It’s the huge middle class. Also, notably, it’s women, since they dominate the decision-making process on family expenditures. After I had already decided to write this article and put the title in, I actually ran across a new GM-Volt Forum post that I think tells us where we’re headed:

Losing ‘my’ Volt?

My wife normally drives a CTS-V.

More and more, she asks if the Volt is charged. Of course it is.

Once more, she takes the Volt instead of the Caddy. Nothing to do with Saving The Baby Seals, and she has a full tank in Cad.

I think she likes driving it more.

This is what will cause the EV market to take off. Fun to drive.

Note that the Cadillac CTS-V is a luxury sedan priced between$65,000 and $73,000. The Chevy Volt, before tax credits or rebates, starts at $34,185. After the federal tax credit, the starting price is $26,685.

I said it before, and I’ll say it again… and again, and again: electric cars are totally awesome to drive compared to gas cars. I hope you do the same and help to spread the good word!

 

Haven’t driven an EV yet? Check out and test drive 11 electric cars that cost less than the average new car in the US, or the higher-end electric cars that actually cost more.

Keep up with the latest EV news and commentary here on CleanTechnica, and feel free to subscribe to our infamous EV newsletter — we won’t tell anyone.

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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy for the past four years or so. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the Network Manager for their parent organization – Important Media – and he's the Owner/Founder of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.



  • Clarissa Brooks

    I think, eventually, electric cars will not only dominate the market but be the only option. They are still a pretty new concept and as they continue to modify and improve electric cars they will become more and more accepted. I was at my local Chevy dealership in NJ last month and he made a good point when discussing electric car options that they need more places to charge such cars for longer road tips. If I weer to buy such a car I would want to be able to treat it like a gas vehicle and not have to worry about even finding the existence of a electric pump in some areas.

  • geraldshields

    One reason is purely obvious: Electric cars are more cleaner than gasoline cars. For anyone who has to deal with refilling “a” fluid, whether it’s gas, steering, transmission or otherwise, my guess is one doesn’t have replace a lot of those fluids with an electric car. Can anyone who has an E-Car confirm that?

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      yep, no such fluids. just windshield wiper fluid. almost no maintenance. no oil to change. no gas pumps. very simple electric motor that has insane torque.

  • SirSparks

    COMMENT FROM Ross; (USA) usually adopt new technology more enthusiastically than Europeans.
    Well that certainly isn’t true with credit card technology, we are still stuck with magnetic strips, no embedded chip and massive frauds. All because the CC companies and banks won’t pay a dollar extra for the chip. Something Europe did nearly 20 years ago.

  • mdog

    I think the Model X has the potential of being the best car ever made. If has all the advantages of a SUV including comfort and visibility, plus the small turning radius, plus the 0-60 4.4 sec time, plus the EV torque, plus the low center of gravity, plus all the other things that made the Model S great including the safety rating… it could blow the door off the entire auto industry as far as showing what a car could be.

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      you might be right… coming in a bit cheaper than the Model S doesn’t hurt either. :D i know many an auto journalist is drooling over its pending release. less than a year now, if Tesla stays on schedule.

  • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

    When more people realize that driving EV’s means that you can power generate the electricity on your own roof – and we can stop spending $1+ Billion Per Day on foreign oil, then we will see mostly EV’s on the road.

    And we need the car designers to improve the cars themselves. We can get much more range out of today’s batteries. If the Leaf had the same low consumption that the Illuminati Motor Works ’7′ has, which is ~129Wh/mile at 60MPH, then the Leaf would have a range of about 160 miles on the same battery pack it has today.

    My sister-in-law has not bought any gas for two years, since she got her Leaf, and my brother also drives an i MiEV for over a year now. They have a 6.37kW solar PV array on the roof of their home, and since it was installed they have paid less than 20% of what they were paying for their electricity – and that INCLUDES all their driving. It also includes an additional $1K/year savings by switching from oil-fired hot water, to a heat pump.

    So, now instead of paying 2-3¢ per mile each to drive (already amazing!) they are now paying about 1¢ for 2 miles of driving.

    Electric cars and solar PV are a virtuous circle, and they are a perfect match.

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      We should get an article up on this story. Want to write that one? (hint, hint)

      You have my email, right?

  • Mark Benjamin David

    I’ve only done a quick test drive of a Chevy “Volt” PHEV, at a car show, but the battery was depleted, so the gas engine (they call it “generator”) was running, it’s not a pure electric car, but, I do hear all it takes is driving an electric car to change people’s minds about them. I hope to convert my car to electric, as the options right now, as cars go, are not that good-looking, for what I like (I’m not into sedans). I might go for a Tesla Model X or, if they redo the Roadster with supercharger capability, (I read this rumor somewhere), that would be a fun 2nd car, if my ship comes in soon.

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      if you’re into conversions, that’s definitely an excellent way to go.

  • Steve Grinwis

    She can give me the CTS-V… It’s clearly being wasted in her possession.

  • JamesWimberley

    in 2014, please don’t go so swoony over electric *cars* – with some justification – that you forget to cover electric buses and vans. These markets are not driven by sentiment, though the buyers are influenced by image and in the case of municipal bus companies by some concern for the public interest. The reason this market matters is that vans and buses do very high mileages compared to private cars, and a shift to EVs will have more dramatic effects on carbon and particulate emissions.

  • Marion Meads

    The major bottleneck is still the purchase price. If the long range EV’s (at least 200 mile normal range at 70 mph) costs $25K WITHOUT Tax credits, then surely the ICE cars would become a relic of the past. While the Chevy Volt is almost there, only the high earners would be able to avail the $7.5K tax credits, you still have to pay upfront for $35K. The Spark EV is at $26K before tax credits but it is only limited to 82 mile range.

  • anderlan

    Took my mum on a Leaf test drive over the holiday. I quite intentionally tore out of the dealer lot with eco off. She was duly surprised and appreciated the help it could be in traffic. She now has a completely different attitude about electrics.

    (I think a lot of V6 versions of models get sold because some bashful drivers think they might one day need the extra power in a some sort of chance traffic accident scenario. But bigger ICE’s in the hands of a timid pilot just waste gas with their more thirsty idling and are never fully exploited. Whereas a higher spec’ed electric motor doesn’t waste energy when you’re not even using it.)

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      Yeah, the way that quick boost helps in traffic is one “small” thing that i think will sell EVs to many common people, including (apologies for making a gender stereotype) women who are less interested in power for the sake of it but definitely appreciate an easier & safer drive,

  • Ross

    The base model Nissan Leaf XE with 32A 6KW fast charger is €21,490 in Ireland after the €5,000 government discount. It is on the lowest annual road tax €120.

    The base model VW Golf (5-door) is €21,645.
    The base model Nissan Micra (5-door) is €14,995.

    Driving around 10,000km each year the fuel cost savings alone would be about €1,000 per annum.

    Keep the car for 5 years with modest mileage and it breaks even with the Micra. Compared against the VW Golf it makes immediate sense without even considering the impact of CO2 emissions.

    As far as I can tell the only things that might be holding people back now are: range anxiety (there are 30 public fast chargers and many more slow chargers) and the expectation of further improvements in battery technology.

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      Damn, those are some great numbers. Should turn this into a post….

      Would also be good to add a page listing all the EVs available in the UK. We have a decently sized UK readership.

      • Zachary Bravos

        Don’t tell anyone but gas cars are already obsolete. They just don’t know it yet.

        • Ross

          I think that’s an important point. I suspect many people have false concerns about the residual value of an EV if they buy it now.

        • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

          Yep.

    • anderlan

      I’m not sure why electrics aren’t growing faster in Europe, given the much higher gas prices and often shorter commutes than in America. If they are a deal here, they are killer in the EU. What’s up with that? Is everything just slower to transition in the old countries? It’s like the Hollywood studios are controlling the timing of the EV rollout abroad, like what used to happen with shows and movies or something ;-)

      • Ross

        I suspect the transition has been set back a bit by the recession. Car sales are starting to come back now so hopefully more people will give EVs a look. I’m told that the people in the USA usually adopt new technology more enthusiastically than Europeans. That was seen with the Smartphone revolution where the US leap frogged Europe with 4G/LTE deployments. Digital distribution of films and piracy has largely eliminated slow release of movies. Some of them are even released here before they are in the States.

        • JamesWimberley

          There’s no such pattern. Chipped credit cards, GSM, high-speed broadband, high-speed rail: all earlier in Europe. Besides, is it really the case that the EV market is growing much faster in the US than Europe, once you adjust for differential economic recovery? Look at recession-proof Norway.

          *Tesla* doesn’t do so well, partly because it’s a smallish American company with limited international presence, partly because it sells muscle cars which are simply too big and expensive for European markets.

      • Micke

        I can only speak for Sweden. Here the number of models of EV’s available to buy are still very few (Tesla, Volvo V60 plug-in, Prius plug-in, Volt/Ampera and recently the BMW i3, VW e-UP and Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in). And the ones available still cost (at least) twice as much as ICE cars.
        A Chevy Cruze cost from $25k here and a Volt costs $75k. And then you have to consider that Chevrolet is one of the absolute worst brands when it comes to quality and owner satisfaction here so it’s an uphill battle. If the Volt came from another company known for quality and reliability it would have helped a lot.

        For $30k you can get a diesel combi from a good (enough) quality brand that gets you around 59 miles per gallon. And most of the diesel here is with 25-35% renewables (mostly synthetic diesel identical on a molecule level to regular diesel).

        Nissan Leaf cost $54k and the Nissan Note $20k.

        Maybe the sales will go up since the VW e-UP, the Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid and the BMW i3 just started selling here. They make a lot of sense, are cars people would trust and (almost) make economical sense too.

        And the fast charging infrastructure is totally non-existent. Kind of ironic since ABB is from Sweden and they hold almost all of the market shares in Europe for the CCS chargers.

        So to sum it up. Way too expensive, no fast charging infrastructure and a very limited number of models available to buy.

        People here are very aware of the environment, economicly logical and not afraid of new trends and technology so once the electric car makes enough sense there will be a boom. And since our electricity is free from fossil fuels it’s a great place for electric cars to be.

  • SecularAnimist

    It is common for me to think of “small dinky vehicles” when I think of electric cars — but only because I wish there were MORE “small dinky” EVs on the market, for folks like me who want a little bare-bones hatchback EV for under $15,000 for day-to-day commuting, rather than the Big American Car models like the Volt and Tesla.

    Yeah, I know that for One Percenters like the guy you quoted whose main car is a $65,000 Cadillac CTS-V with a 556 HP V8 that does 0-60 in under 4 seconds and is advertised by Cadillac as “more car than you need”, the Volt is a “small car”, but what about the rest of us? Any news on when the Honda Fit EV will be widely available at a reasonable price?

    It’s common for people to think of golf carts or small, dinky vehicles when they think of electric cars.
    Read more at http://cleantechnica.com/2013/12/30/1-reason-electric-cars-can-dominate-car-market/#dz53dIKxcFkvaoFs.99
    It’s common for people to think of golf carts or small, dinky vehicles when they think of electric cars.
    Read more at http://cleantechnica.com/2013/12/30/1-reason-electric-cars-can-dominate-car-market/#dz53dIKxcFkvaoFs.99
    It’s common for people to think of golf carts or small, dinky vehicles when they think of electric cars.
    Read more at http://cleantechnica.com/2013/12/30/1-reason-electric-cars-can-dominate-car-market/#dz53dIKxcFkvaoFs.99
    It’s common for people to think of golf carts or small, dinky vehicles when they think of electric cars.
    Read more at http://cleantechnica.com/2013/12/30/1-reason-electric-cars-can-dominate-car-market/#dz53dIKxcFkvaoFs.99

  • Bubba Nicholson

    EVs are better cars and cheaper, too, if you buy used.

  • Jouni Valkonen

    Agree, the simple reason is that EVs are simply better cars. And only problem is the high battery cost, but this gets better as demand increases and technology matures.

    Solving oil scarcity is of course fortunate byproduct, but I would consider it only as byproduct.

    Here is short top-ten list why EV is better for the driver and society as a whole:

    #1: better and safer car
    #2: home and workplace charging
    #3: storage capacity for renewables
    #4: end of expensive and imported oil
    #5: no CO2 pollution (100% renewables can be used for charging)
    #6: cleaner air in cities
    #7: less traffic noise (especially electric buses)
    #8: less car maintenance
    #9: city traffic can be directed into tunnels and vertical parking towers
    #10: no need for speed limits on highways

    • jeffhre

      The only problem is NOT battery costs. Definitely a misconception. The bigger problem is the poor economics of manufacturing vehicles at a smaller scale. If EV’s were sold in the numbers that the Ford Focus is sold, price drops getting to that point would be continuous and substantial at each point. Batteries are expensive but are not the huge problem the production engineering uninformed of the media make them out to be.

      In fact replacing the expensive transmission, and engine plus pollution control equipment (with a cheap electric motor) makes the battery costs quite palatable. Only the chicken an egg problem of mass production economics will make up for the price difference between EV’s and ICE’s. Battery price reductions alone will not.

      • Jouni Valkonen

        Tesla battery costs $40 000 and it is the cheapest in the industry. EVs makes sense in premium category. With proper gasoline taxes or EV incentives this above $50 000 cars.

        • Bob_Wallace

          How do we know it’s the cheapest?

          85 kWh @ $40k is $470/kWh. That seems expensive to me. Is it $40k for the battery or for the pack including electronics?

          • Jouni Valkonen

            It is for the 90 kWh battery pack. (Tesla battery has 5 kWh for emergency reserve to prevent bricking)

            This $40k is what Tesla charges for new battery pack. Tesla’s battery cell cost is around $250 per kWh and this is clearly cheapest in industry. I do not remember the source, but it is “common internet knowledge”, if you know what I mean, because car companies do not like to discuss with exact numbers.

            Exactly the list price for 85 kWh battery is $44 564 and for 60 kWh battery it is $37 102. Ref: http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1089183_life-with-tesla-model-s-battery-upgrade-from-60-kwh-to-85-kwh/page-3

          • Bob_Wallace

            “85 kWh battery is $44 564″

            $524/kWh.

            16 kWh Volt battery $2,995.

            $187/kWh.

            Selling on line for $144/kWh.

          • Jouni Valkonen

            That Volt battery costs is just nonsense. At least they are not selling it for profit.

          • Bob_Wallace

            You think GM is selling their battery at a big loss?

            Their price to dealers is about $2,100.

            Why would they be taking a bath on selling batteries? How much do you think they’re paying their suppliers?

          • Jouni Valkonen

            You can try to buy $2100 battery pack from GM for your solar array storage. It would be far cheaper battery storage than forthcoming EOS utility scale batteries that are about the revolutionize the grid storage markets.

            The electricity cost of Volt’s batteries is less than $50 per MWh and this is five times cheaper than leading grid storage batteries and three times cheaper than EOS grid storage batteries.

            GM pays for LG probably around 400–500 dollars per kWh. This does not include battery pack manufacturing cost, but raw lithium-ion cells.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Doesn’t have the cycle life of the EOS zinc-air batteries.

          • Jouni Valkonen

            If they had same cycle life than with EOS batteries, then electricity from Volt’s batteries would cost only $10 per MWh. And this would be cheaper than hydroelectric power.

          • jeffhre

            “that are about the revolutionize the grid storage markets.” Now common internet knowledge comes with an included crystal ball. We have truly made tremendous progress :)

          • Jouni Valkonen

            EOS is vaporware. This is also common Internet knowledge. That what I said was nasty sarcasm, but you do not need to understand that.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Where does one find this common internet knowledge about EOS Systems?

          • Jouni Valkonen

            you just read it,

          • Bob_Wallace

            Do you have anything other than an odd feeling?

          • Jouni Valkonen

            No, I just think that EOS technology is as it presented disruptive technology and I do not believe that there exist small companies that have patent rights for disruptive technology.

            Especially this is matter of fact on Energy sector, what has perhaps the highest density of vaporware companies. Therefore I am ready to bet my money against EOS although I do not know anything else about the company than what Cleantechnica has written.

          • Bob_Wallace

            We’ll probably find out fairly soon. Supposedly EOS is hooking their batteries to various grids around the world for real world testing during the next few months.

          • Jouni Valkonen

            lets see if they can deliver. Note that I believe that EOS is semi-vaporware. They at least have working prototypes, but I am heavily skeptical that they are able to deliver with with disruptive price. Therefore they are mostly exaggerating the potential of their technology in order to attract high risk capital.

            Tesla and SpaceX are anomalies because they are both disruptive start-up companies, but with both cases they did not innovate anything revolutionary, but they just entered on markets that were empty, because they were dominated by effective cartels without motivation to innovate.

            Car industry cartel was supported by huge amount of capital invested on ICE technology and therefore unwillingness for changing the technology with much simpler technology. Hybrids were ok, because they were even more complex than gas only vehicles.

            Space industry on the otherhand was in hands of governments or heavily subsidized ULA and Arianne monopolies. So SpaceX was just first who tried what happens if 4000 best rocket engineers are put under the same roof.

          • Bob_Wallace

            It sounds like you assume no new battery technologies will ever be invented.

          • Jouni Valkonen

            I believe in Swanson’s Law applied to lithium or other advanced batteries. Technological progress happens through economy of scale, high sales volumes and intensive and hones competition.

          • mostlyfreeideas

            My favorite new quote is now “common internet knowledge”. I’m left digesting that phrase and whether it’s a compliment or criticism.

          • Jouni Valkonen

            Internet is smarter than any individual.

            How about that?

          • Bob_Wallace

            “everyone knows” 2.0

          • http://electrobatics.wordpress.com/ arne-nl

            My favourite quote is from a well known climate science denier who was called out on blatant lies in one of his opinion pieces and then tried to lay blame elsewhere by saying: “the internet lied to me”

          • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

            not familiar with that one. link?

          • http://electrobatics.wordpress.com/ arne-nl

            Jouni,

            Afaik, the 5 kWh protection is included in the 85 kWh, so effectively you can only use ~80 kWh of the nominal 85 kWh available.

            But I am interested in your statement, do you have a link where you found that information.

      • anderlan

        Volume and battery cost point to the same phenomenon. You see, battery costs are high because battery production is not high enough. I’m worried we may be going to go into a Lithium battery crunch if enough capacity isn’t built. We need battery manufacturing capacity to be flooded like solar PV has been. Just like the price of the rest of the electric-drive-particular parts of an EV goes down with volume, so does the price of the battery.

        • Bob_Wallace

          We built a bunch of battery factories in the US with economic stimulus money. I understand that some/most are operating below capacity.

          If things were really tight then I would think manufacturers would contract out some of their production.

          I suspect it’s more the case that demand is growing much faster than battery manufactures expected and they are scrambling to increase their own production abilities. IIRC it takes about a year to build a battery plant.

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