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The economic realities of electric car?
(01-19-2018, 10:11 AM)Rhea47 Wrote: Battery powered cars are slowly becoming more prevalent. But are they worth it due to the limited life of the battery?

Well...a few points about the limited lives of cars and what's worthwhile in them:

Based on evaluation of 126 customer-operated Teslas that drove a total of millions of miles, the battery packs retained 80-85% of their life after 100,000 miles. That's still a useful range, and the replacement of the battery pack is cheaper than a new car.

Meanwhile, back in ye olden days of yore (like the 1960s-1970s) automobiles were considered to have about a 100,000-mile life. In the 1980s, "Built-in obsolescence" was a running joke about Japanese cars, which ran great then "blew up" at 100,000 miles, and Japanese cars had better reliability than US-made cars. (In 2012, New York Times declared "200,000 is the new 100,000" for care lifespans.) Teslas and other electric cars are well beyond that.

And what's a worthwhile range of cars? The world didn't avoid cars in the 20th Century, waiting for 21st Century cars with 200,000-mile lives. Some nations, some continents, embraced those short-lived cars of the 1920s, 1950s, and 1980s. And those cars accomplished what the owners asked of them: commuting, errands, professional work, etc.

Which is a point to consider: what do the owners need of electric cars?

For example, I was very close to getting a Chevy Volt. I was looking for a new car when US gas prices were hitting $4/gallon. It only had a 30- to 35-mile range on battery, but that easily covered my daily commute. Its gas engine handled the long distance driving I did on the weekends and alleviated any fears I had of battery exhaustion. If the battery was down to 85%, 75%, or even 50% of its original life at 100,000 miles, it'd still handle the daily driving I asked of it. Eventually, I caved in to a mid-life crisis and got a Charger, which is way more car than I really need but I'd gone through 25 years and 325,000 miles in sensible little cars.

Which is another point: what's worthwhile in a car? Skipping arguments that mass transit systems are all most people really need, all most people need in a car is not more than 10 or 20 horsepower; 100-200 miles range (less, if daily refuelings are possible); faster speeds than foot, bikes, or animal-drawn conveyances; a protective shell; and enough cargo capacity for their family and regular errands. You know, a VW Bug, Tata Nano, or Fiat 500. In that light, the popular electric cars today are as much gross overkill and salves for ego as an over-powered car like Dodge Charger. Getting 250 miles range, 100,000 miles battery life, and 100mph+ speeds from a Tesla is more than the minimum you ever need out of cars.

I used to wonder about the practicality of Teslas and Leafs and other modern electric vehicles, but I think they've proven themselves out well. Their lifespans are rivaling those of the cars I grew up with; the media is not filled with stories of distressed motorists stranded without a recharge; and their sales are better than any of the electric cars (e.g., EV-1) in the past.

With good, sustained sales and customer interest, car companies have the funds and justification to improve on batteries. Those battery packs are not stuck at current levels of performance. They're improving, and they have the funding to continue improving just like cars did in the 20th Century.
Mike Miller, Materials Engineer

"Everbody's always in favor of saving Hitler's brain, but when you put it in the body of a great white shark, oh, suddenly you've gone too far." -- Professor Farnsworth, Futurama

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RE: The economic realities of electric car? - by Cray - 01-20-2018, 12:18 AM

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