Why Did the Electric Car Fail?

I saw a trailer for what looked like an indie documentary about the idea of an electric car from the mid 90s failing to catch on. I remember hearing about it back then.

So why did such a potentially great idea fail?

Update:

Speed? Man, you'd figure that in 2007, they can *make* a battery that would improve speed if we can put together a vehicle that can travel to & back from space....

11 Answers

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  • ?
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Politics and big oil Company executives have put the electric car on hold. The best thing that could happen is if we round up these greedy oil barons and send them off to Iraq or Afghanistan to fight the wars. The electric car has to make a come back for all our sakes. The technology exists to make a car that is fast and last long on a single charge. Look at Norway's th!nk electric car.

  • 1 decade ago

    The thing I heard was no one had an extension cord long enough.

    Seriously, a combination of things: Battery technology is not up to making a battery cheap enough that anyone could afford to buy the battery, let alone the car. The cars would go fast, but not very far. Charging stations are nonexistent, so you would have to bring your own charger and it takes longer to charge than the time to go the distance to recharge. Cost, cost,cost.

    Kind of like the guys here who own 50 Caliber machine guns. The only place legal to shoot them is Fort Gruber. They stay up all night loading ammo for $3.50 a round and go out in the morning and shoot them all up in 30 minutes.

    I wouldn't mind having an electric car, or a 50 Caliber machine gun, but neither suits my fancy, as is the case with most people, because at this point neither is practical and politics has nothing to do with it..

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    first of all, in response to what someone else said..... the ev1 only had a range of up to 90 miles. so what? 90% of the population drives less than that a day. why can't you have an ev1 or two and still have the suv for the weekends? no reason. people can afford it.

    the reason i believe that electric cars failed is that the car companies didn't want to see them succeed. how would you like to sell a car that could never have anything major go wrong with it? and if it did, all you'd have to do is replace the battery.

  • 1 decade ago

    Electric vehicles exist, and can be bought, but suffer from a bad rap because of negative and untruthful information put into our culture by special interests.

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    Contrary to some disinfo you may have heard, electric cars are very cheap to drive, and don't pollute anywhere near what gasoline vehicles do. A gas engine is less than 25% efficient. Electric motors are more than 90% efficient, and delivering electricity by wire is 95% efficient. This beats trucking gasoline to thousands of gas stations! Fuel also burns far more efficiently at a big power plant than it does in your little car.

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    I can prove this by showing you fuel prices - after all, you will be paying for fuel no matter how it gets to you, right? About how much does gasoline cost per mile? It varies of course, but it's somewhere around 10 to 15 cents per mile. How much does it cost to drive electric? The Toyota RAV4 EV, for example, gets 4 miles per kilowatt-hour. Off-peak (nighttime) electricity costs about 3 to 10 cents per kilowatt-hour, depending where you live. This means driving electric only costs about a penny per mile - MUCH cheaper than gasoline, and it's all due to the greater efficiency of EVs.

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    Efficiency improvements mean less pollution - because you are driving further on less fuel. Remember also, that only about half of electricity is made from burning dirty fuel (and only 3% is made by burning oil.)

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    Did you know an electric car can be had for as little as $5000? For this price you get a conversion - a gas car converted to electric. Cars like this look and handle like normal cars, and do freeway speeds, but have limited driving ranges. This is the kind of car I drive. More info here:

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    http://www.squidoo.com/cheap-electric-car/

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    If you want a new electric car, here's an exciting one, coming out this year. It will go up to 250 miles on a charge, carries 5 people plus cargo, and can charge in only TEN MINUTES. This car is REAL and can be pre-ordered NOW. Info here:

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    http://phoenixmotorcars.com/models/fleet.html

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    The Phoenix will be expensive though. If you don't need to get on the freeway, you might like the Zap. It's a very fun vehicle that only costs $10,000.

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    http://zapworld.com/ZAPWorld.aspx?id=188

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    I'll bet you've never heard of any of these cars. Popular culture, with help from the media and various nterests, continues to propogate the myth that such cars are impossible. Join me - drive an impossible car!

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    Source(s): --------------------------- Transmission line efficiency ----------------------------- Paper: 'Economic and engineering constraints on the restructuring of the electric power industry' http://public.lanl.gov/u106527/ELISIMS/Econ_paper.... (points out that the industry standard is 95% efficiency) ------------------------------... Efficiency of power plants: ------------------------------... National renewable energy Laboratory http://www.healthgoods.com/Education/Energy_Inform... says new technology coal plants are up to 85% efficient. -------------------------- Battery efficiency -------------------------- Lithium-Ion Batteries: Linear Technology http://www.national.com/appinfo/power/files/swcap_... Paper says 88% efficient (over the usable charge-discharge range) ------------------------------... Electric motor efficiency ------------------------------... Public Service of New Hampshire http://www.psnh.com/Business/SmallBusiness/Motor.a... Chart showing that 25+ horsepower electric motors have efficiencies between 90 and 96%
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  • 1 decade ago

    batteries. We just do not have the know how to build a decent battery that costs little, can last long enough, and still be small enough to work out.... although it is getting better.

    The new electric gm is coming out with for example. the battery wieghs in at 400 pounds, costs almost $10,000 and only gives the vehicle a limited range. How far can you drive with $10,000 worth of gas? Now add in the fact that your still paying to recharge that battery each time, and the battery will only last a few years before you have to replace it. (and thats assuming that you will still be able to find a suitable battery to replace it when it dies in a few years, and it isn't obsolete.)

    Financially speaking, it won't save you much, if anything at all in the long run.

  • 1 decade ago

    There are a couple reasons....

    1. These would be notoriously hard to work on (not to mention dangerous) due to high voltage and toxic batteries.

    2 Limited range. The GM EV1 had a range of about 90 miles. That pretty much rules out any road trips.... ever.

    3. Collision damage. Accidents happen, and crash tests can't be pretty.

  • 1 decade ago

    Cheap gasoline and expensive cars and batteries. Even now it cost a few thousand dollars to replace the batteries in a hybrid. As for the power needed to generate electricity we could use coal which can't be used directly in a car but we have plenty of it.

  • 1 decade ago

    Its not practacle. Did you know with an electric car if it it bumped when the car is off, and it moves even a 1/4 of an inch the car is a write off, because it fries the entire electrical system. Did you know that you have to be both a licensed mechanic and a licensed electrician to work on them. did you ever think about where the energy would come to charge them, power plants would be creating more polutants then what gasoline cars are now to produce the electricty it would need to charge all the cars.

  • 1 decade ago

    cost of and limited battery technology. Batteries cost too much at this point the the ROI is just not there fast enough for the average consumer

  • 1 decade ago

    Have you heard of "big oil". They had no desire to see an electric car suceed.

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