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Auto industry does not want electric cars

I am frustrated by slow sales of EVs. I have had my Volt for a year and I'll never go back. Can't wait for my Tesla. None of the auto sds for EVs are nearly as informative, positive, or inspiring as the ads for the ICE cars. The Volt ads are terrible. The EV ads are anemic and wimpy. We need some good PR for EVs!

Of course they don't want EVs. The current automotive industry has decades of developed IP around the ICE and it's supporting infrastructure.

Changing to a completely new platform is writing off all of that R&D plus tooling.

Also think about the way cars are actually built - none of them actually make all of the components, there is a whole eco system of suppliers making everything from bolts to piston rings. An EV has a dramatic effect on this. Think about the parts which are no longer required and the specialist manufacturers for each.

An EV doesn't need;

Pistons, rings, conrods, oil pumps, fuel pumps, mufflers, catalytic converters, valves, valve springs, fuel injectors or injection computers, differentials, gearboxes or automatic transmissions, exhaust pipes, engine blocks (although they need the casings), air flow meters, knock sensors, flywheels, clutches, shift linkages, vacuum reservoirs or traditional brake boosters, fan/drive belts, spark plugs,a multitude of different gaskets,high tensile bolts for things like the heads rods or crank (which are also redundant). Universal joints other than in driveshafts, fuel and oil tanks, fuel and oil lines, fuel level sensors, cam chains or belts, air, fuel and fuel filters, spark plug leads, distributors, a multitude of hall effect sensors, intake/exhaust manifolds, starter motors,alternators, coils, camshafts, pushrods, hydraulic lifters, gudgeon pins, turbo chargers, welsh plugs, bell housings, most of the bearings, plus a whole heap of machining, drilling and casting work.

The flow on is more dramatic than you think and lots of the smaller suppliers will become redundant or have to switch to making something else. Just consider the complexity in manufacturing a modern engine and compare that to the simplicity of the electric motor - (ignoring power electronics etc). The guys at borg-warner who build transmissions would not be happy to see their new 7 speed automatics with all of that R&D become pointless. How about Bosche who make the EFI systems and Alternators?

An EV is a big threat to more than just the oil companies and they have a vested interest in delaying things until they are in a position to move - which many will hope will be never.

An EV also annoys lots of people who want to keep the motorist consuming - the distribution companies for the oil, the service centres, your independent mechanic, the list goes on.

As a car nut I'm excited and apprehensive at the same time.

I'm excited as the Tesla is the first EV that has the promise of being a great performance car that can be taken seriously, apprehensive that it will take time for the world to adjust.

BTW, the best EV ads that I've seen have been from Nissan with their oil burning hairdryers and computers!

Best post of the year. +1Kw.

An EV doesn't need;

Pistons, rings, conrods, oil pumps, fuel pumps, mufflers, catalytic converters, valves, valve springs, fuel injectors or injection computers, differentials, gearboxes or automatic transmissions, exhaust pipes, engine blocks (although they need the casings), air flow meters, knock sensors, flywheels, clutches, shift linkages, vacuum reservoirs or traditional brake boosters, fan/drive belts, spark plugs,a multitude of different gaskets,high tensile bolts for things like the heads rods or crank (which are also redundant). Universal joints other than in driveshafts, fuel and oil tanks, fuel and oil lines, fuel level sensors, cam chains or belts, air, fuel and fuel filters, spark plug leads, distributors, a multitude of hall effect sensors, intake/exhaust manifolds, starter motors,alternators, coils, camshafts, pushrods, hydraulic lifters, gudgeon pins, turbo chargers, welsh plugs, bell housings, most of the bearings, plus a whole heap of machining, drilling and casting work.

That's where we come in, "EVangilists" !

Exactly Dennis. People's knee jerk reaction to the EV possibilties are almost always negative. Growing up with only an ICE mentality will do that. It's up to us to spread the word and educate people to the possibilities. A ride in a Model S will change alot of those atitiudes. That EV grin is contagious.

Andrew18. GM puts its money in its’ cash cows. They advertise the cars that will produce the most sales. The Volt isn’t selling - it deserves better.

BIG ICE has big problems. 100+ years of history repeating itself. A perfect circle. They continue to build a better mouse trap, but it is still a mouse trap and the rats are flourishing.

My hat is off to Nissan for trying. Trying badly, but trying just the same. They spent $6Billion and 4+ years to design (convert) a Versa into a Leaf. But at least it is a BEV. Limited, ugly, but Leaf owners love the car. So you know there is either no accounting for taste or nothing else to choose from. We ,”Ssers,” choose to wait for a quality, viable product.

The ultimate car guy, Bob Lutz, was going to electrify the car industry with the Volt. In the end the Board wouldn’t , the engineers couldn’t, and GM didn’t build a BEV. But they did build a good, hybrid system which is more interesting than the others.

Mark E +1.

Exactly my thoughts when I observe how the German car makers have been "marketing" alt fuel so far. Only recently, I think there might be a breeze of change, but I may be wrong again. I hope Tesla will tip over the industry. One major reason why a German guy buys one of the first Model Ss? Because I want BMW to offer a competing car! ;-)

Ultimately, GM may have done EVs a huge favor with the Volt. The biggest factor I see holding back EV sales is range anxiety. Once the word from Volt owners gets around about how long they can go without having to visit a gas station, I think people will finally begin to understand how little range they really need for day-to-day driving.

EV is a distraction for the ICE companies for the immediately foreseeable future; it will be some time before it's a disruption. But it will probably happen. Though there is always going to be a major chunk of the population willing to put up with cost and gassy hands in order to have rapid on-demand refueling. I see no possibility of charging ever closing that time gap all the way.

It takes about 5 minutes to fill a gas tank. 45 minutes to 80% charge a Model S. Assuming the aerodynamic losses can't be made to go away, it seems you'd need either (1) ten times the amperage flowing into a battery system to give it that much juice or (2) make the battery capacity so large that the recharging is always done when the car is idle.

Also forgot to mention that EVs don't need Jiffy Lube! They will slowly experience the same fate as Travel Agents. Yeah, there's still some around, but not like in the old days. And the pay is the worst it's ever been.

EdG - Unless your daily driving takes you beyond the range of the Model S (<5% of the time for most drivers), you are never waiting to refuel. 10 seconds to plug in with NO WAITING. You refuel while you watch TV, eat dinner, and sleep. With a Gas Tank, you MUST WAIT at least 5 to 10 minutes every time. No plastic to pay? Well then you have to go inside and stand in line behind folks buying Slurpees, lottery tickets, and cigarettes.

EV owners will have an opportunity to do what Apple enthusiasts have done (over several years). Show the public why we love the cars! There are lots of people who once said they would never own a Mac. Now they love it.

David;
In bulk, you're right, of course. While individual fillups on the road (see EdG's calcs elsewhere of how many Supercharger stops you need to drive 500 mi at 80 mph) take much longer than gassing up an ICE, overall the amount of time spent by EV drivers "refuelling" hands-on will shrink drastically. Just because long trips are the rare exception in most people's lives.

Stopping every 200-250 miles for 30-45 minutes is probably not a bad safety feature.

jerry3....I agree. I do that now with my ICE car.

Actually Chevy has been running a new series of Volt ads, and I think they're pretty good, though they sort of stretch credulity at some points. In one commercial a woman claims she has save enough money on gas to pay for a vaction that she couldn't afford otherwise, which obviously makes no sense, given the premium price you pay for a Volt in the first place.

Anyways, that's something I've been thinking about too. Assuming ICE cars go away, over time, tons of car maintenence businesses will die: auto shops, car parts stores, manufactures of car parts and fluids, etc, etc.

Of course, there will still be need for some, as ICE cars are going to be around for a long time to come, and there are of course, a lot of ICE vehicles and machinery that can't easily be replace with electrical power systems for various reasons with current technology. And also, there's still going to be work for osme auto shops, and maybe even new work. After all the S still has brakes, tires, suspension, etc. And eventually, when there are enough cars, there will need to be an industry around maintaining and replacing the batteries and the other systems in the car. But no doubt about it, the demand for oil changes, collant flushes, transmission work, etc, etc is going to shrink.

Biggest problem with BEV:s in current situation that I see is city dwellers that need car but don't have garage. There are a lot of those. They need to recharge just like everyone else. This is a difficult problem to solve because if they go to some gas-station equal charging station as often as gas cars need refilling that longer charging time suddenly becomes a problem.

Maybe inductive charging at city streets? Not highways, but cities. As long as you drive around a city you just plain don't need to charge at all. Charger at every stoplight.

Then the problem becomes "who pays the bill?". How do you charge the whoever charges?

Timo:
I agree with you re city dwellers without garages - but I can see a potential way to solve it - a reinvention of parking meters that are charging posts. Here in Sydney (Australia) we have a number of areas where the meters accept credit cards for payment, making these also charging points - potentially this could be a long term solution.

There is also the opportunity for parking stations and shopping centres to have supercharger points in them. With a 300 mile range many people would only need to charge once per week - so while not optimal it is possible.

Incidentally I'd like to see the superchargers installed in shopping areas where there are a few restaurants or cafes to choose from to kill an hour while you supercharge on a trip.

I doubt cities are ready to rip up all their sidewalks to install megawatts of cabling for miles of street parking.

City dwellers who garage their cars will be able to charge them when their garages install the equipment. Those who keep their cars on the street will have to stick with other than EVs.

EdG:
I agree that ripping up the streets isn't a short term probability, although lots of the power cabling is already under there now.

EVs are not going to replace ICE in the short term anyway - despite what we'd like to think. It will take a while.

The auto industry does not want electric cars simply because they’re not sure that they can make money on EVs. After Tesla demonstrates that they can achieve profit margins of 30%, the big car makers will belatedly realize that they can make money, so they will pivot and start going green. (That’s the color of money after all. ;)

It is unfortunate for early EV adoption that conventional car makers rely on a distribution model in which dealerships are responsible BOTH for selling and servicing cars. It is no surprise that those dealerships that have EVs to sell might not be overly enthusiastic about selling EVs knowing that most of their profit comes from service.

It is no accident that when initially rolling out their cars Tesla chose to open their own stores, rather than farming out this essential function. However, years down the road, when EVs are the norm, I could envision them switching to a dealership model.

By that time Tesla will have paid off its government loan, and Elon may figure his objective has been reached. So it is quite possible that a big car maker will acquire Tesla. Toyota comes to mind. Starting with the roll-out of the RAV4 Toyota will have technicians trained to maintain Tesla power trains, so they will have dealerships equipped to handle EVs. Whether or not Toyota chooses to acquire Tesla, we can certainly see the advantages of a strategic partnership in which the existing network of Toyota dealerships service Tesla vehicles.

Larry

Excellent list by Mark E! I often rattle this kind of list off to friends but it goes over their heads.

By the time EVs get to mass market batteries should be in the thousands of miles. Drivers will not have to charge every night. 10 chargers per block would probably be enough to charge everyone.

I know the street lights down my block are all 277 volt single phase. The pole lights where originally incandescent lights many years ago, converted to mercury vapor and now being converted to LED. The LED versions draw little to nothing. I can tell by how the lights go out when the feed is cut that there are about ten to fifteen lights per feed.

My idea.

Switch the feeder to 480 three phase, 100amp. There is room in the 1" pipe. Worst case scenario it's only a 3/4" pipe and you are stuck with 480 three phase at 75 amp.

Create a charge device that mounts onto the light poles with a trough that comes down the back to the pull point low on the poles. Intercept the feed at the poles' pull point and take it to the charger through the trough. It could probably be all one nice looking unit around the pole.

The charger will have an internal 24 volt DC output to run an LED high output lamp on top of the pole.

The chargers will be close enough together to communicate with each other via WiFi or other air card. If the system is started near the city hall only one credit card call out computer will be needed since the charges can send the info down the line and back. If security is an issue use a membership type service like most charging stations do.

The chargers will monitor the amp draw on the line. The more people plugged in the less each pole puts into the cars. Customers can be informed thru text or E-mail how the car is charging and for an extra fee get priority charging.

A subdued LED light system at each charger can easily make drivers aware if the charger is the one they want to charge at.
green(full power 30kW), yellow(medium 15kW), blue (low 5kW), or red(no power)

That's my two cent. Even a private company can go this but they would take over the street lights service too or charge the city for power the light uses.


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