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Published on August 29th, 2016 | by Zachary Shahan


If Tesla Model 3 Delivers, “Gas Vehicles Are History,” Gasoline & Automotive Services Dealers Of America Exec Says

August 29th, 2016 by  

No doubt about it, many of us EV enthusiasts have been blown away by the Tesla Model 3 and believe it’s the car that is really going to break the gasoline auto industry’s back. But we’re just EV enthusiasts, right? Treehuggers, tech heads, climate alarmists, and people obsessed with breathing clean air — that’s who we are, right?

Okay, we can throw in gearheads now too, since electric cars absolutely crush gasmobiles in acceleration and many a gearhead is now in love with them. And I guess we can throw in anybody who loves scaring the crap out of their passengers as they skillfully effortlessly step on the pedal without notice and with full force.

But, again, this is still just a niche portion of society. Maybe we’re all just crazy enthusiasts and don’t have a clue what the mass market wants.


In a new Wall Street Journal article, however, a striking quotation jumped out at CleanTechnica reader Karl Graves, who highlighted it and passed it on to me. Maybe it didn’t come from Grandma Gretchen, but it did come from the executive director of Gasoline & Automotive Services Dealers of America, Mike Fox. Here’s the beauty (which is a mix of paraphrasing from author Chris Mims and the straight words of Mike Fox):

“If Tesla can deliver on its current promises with the Model 3, says Mr. Fox, ‘gas vehicles are history—it’s horse and buggy days.’ “

Wowza. That’s one of the most “Tesla fanboy-ish” statements I’ve seen … and it’s from the executive director of Gasoline & Automotive Services Dealers of America!

Of course, auto industry execs must already know this (otherwise, they are in extreme denial), and they must be thinking more and more that Tesla is set to deliver.


The <$190/kWh price I added to the chart above comes from a statement by Jeff Evanson, VP of Tesla Investor Relations, in April 2016. The original chart was created by Nykvist et al. (2015).

Tesla battery price 190 per kwh

Based on certain assumptions McKinsey analysts made regarding cost-competitiveness with gas cars and plug-in hybrids, the analysts argued that a fully electric car using a $190/kWh battery would be cost-competitive with gas cars using ~$2.50/gallon gasoline.

Another wonderful quote from the Wall Street Journal article came from a more expected source, but it’s a whopper nonetheless:

“Pasquale Romano, chief executive of ChargePoint Inc., the world’s largest maker of electric-car charging stations, says he works with, and talks to, most major car companies. ‘We have seen their internal plans to just electrify everything,’ he said.”

Sims notes that initial plans are largely to create plug-in hybrids. Some researchers and industry insiders think this is a smart step in the coming decade. Others, and I would presume Mike Fox is in this boat, see the Tesla Model 3, Tesla Model Y, maybe Chevy Bolt, and other long-range yet affordable electric cars as the knockout punch that relegates plug-in hybrids to a short segment of the history books.

Plug-in hybrid buyers today certainly have reasons to buy them, but it’s hard to see a mass rollout of PHEVs as more than a delay tactic. If you want to drive electric, you want to drive electric — plenty of research has confirmed the obvious. Just listen to Akon talk about it, after telling me that he cut back from 28 fancy cars to just 4 cars — 4 fully electric Teslas — because of how much nicer they are than anything else on the market.

As affordable long-range electric cars become available, who’s going to want a plug-in hybrid with 14 miles of electric range and without the excellent acceleration of a 100% electric car?


So, what’s the auto industry really supposed to do if Tesla does deliver the Model 3 as planned, and if this really does mean that “gas vehicles are history,” and if plug-in hybrid versions of full gasmobiles really aren’t a legitimate stepping stone a few years down the road from now?

I have an article planned on how I think auto companies can respond, theoretically. If you’ve attended a Cleantech Revolution Tour conference, you probably know what’s coming. Otherwise, feel free to offer some conjecture.

Top photo by Zach Shahan, bottom photo by Kyle Field, both for CleanTechnica


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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA] — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in this company and feels like it is a good cleantech company to invest in. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort on Tesla or any other company.

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