Is it possible for "electric vehicles act III" to succeed?

In this Daily News article ( http://www.dailynews.com/opinions/ci_16299097 )blogger John T. Boal describes the past and raises doubts that what he calls "electric vehicles act III" has any chance to succeed in our economic and political environment. I have previously written here that peak oil and global warming are concerns that were not as present at other times. We also once thought that the iron curtain could never fall. What would it take to succeed?

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    It all depends on how you define success. If your definition of success is for EVs to take a major market share then I would say that the time is not right now. If you define success as getting enough of a market share that they will stay around and continue to develop then I would say yes.

    EVs are starting to get a lot of attention due to the promise of low operating costs and low maintenance. Many American homes have at least 2 cars. The idea of being able to have a car that has a low operating cost and doesn't require frequent servicing is very attractive. The range issue isn't that big of a deal to many people. 50 miles is more than the average commute plus errands. A car with a 200 mile range provides more than enough range for 99% of the activities that the families commuter car would provide.

    The electric car will emerge and people will start accepting it. As it becomes more accepted the infrastructure will grow, the technology will continue to develop, and purchase prices will drop. The electric car makes sense and people will want it. I don't think that government incentives are required for the EV to emerge, but the incentives will accelerate deployment. The time is right for the EV. I don't think that we are in 'ACT III' yet, but I can hear the overture playing.

  • 1 decade ago

    Until the electric vehicle manufacturers change their marketing ideas I don't expect to see many sales. Their errors include marketing to the wrong people. The people they should be trying to sell to are the people who drive big RVs with small cars towed behind. They rarely use the small car for long trips, They could build the recharge setup right into their RV and they have the spendable income to make such an investment, especially if pitched in terms of durability and low maintenance. Another error is refusing to make engines, parts, batteries and information available to the general public. I have bought one new vehicle in my life. It was a Chevy Vega which I chose over the Ford Pinto because when I popped the hood, all I could see in the Pinto was hoses. In the Vega I saw things I recognized. I put 185,000 miles on that Vega. If you want to sell electric vehicles to me, I've got to have knowledge and familiarity with what is in it and its probable failure mode. Two things about this. They should sponsor a prize for the fastest electric drag racer, and get American ingenuity and word of mouth on their side. The second thing is, I looked at an electric vehicle awhile back. I asked the salesman where the emergency battery disconnect was. He had no idea what I was talking about and the car didn't have one that I could find. I've been flying electric Radio Control model airplanes off and on for 30 years. I have great hopes for electric cars and would love to convert an old Triumph GT6 or Spitfire to electric (and take out all the darkness by Lucas). But, there are things I demand in experimental and first generation vehicles and a plain old Frankenstein switch or its equivalent at the batteries is the first thing I look for.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The problems are not technological, they are political and always have been.

    I glommed this from a guy who posted on CNN and paraphrased it. It's the best succinct statement of the problem I've ever seen.

    "Until the average person takes the time to educate themselves in the real workings of the political structure of this country, and is able to distinguish between what is in their best interest and the lies told by the political class, there will be no hope."

    So the answer is currently, no, not a chance. Things may change but I'm not holding my breath.

    There are too many hurdles. Lack of real alternative products. The plug in conversion Prius is the only viable product I see right now. Lack of charging infrastructure. Even if people are willing to pay to have charging stations installed they will overwhelm the local grid. Millions of EV's will overwhelm the national grid. Electric rates are about to be uncorked. Is it a concidence that just as we make a breakthrough with EV's (some are available, anyway) electric rates skyrocket?

    What would it take for EV's to be real? A committment to clean electric generation and a national super-grid. It took decades to build the last one and that was with incentives, like, people went from not having electricty to having it.

    No such incentive exists now, except for the vague problem of peak oil or some future environmental crisis. People will switch to electric cars when gas is $8/gallon. People will pay attention to Global Warming when wheat is $400/bushel.

    The incentive for the switch will only come after the fact, by the time it is too late to avoid major disruption.

  • 1 decade ago

    It would require much public education about the technology, cheapening of vehicles (incentives for purchase), private sector involvement towards charging stations, public sector involvement, a system for charging that allows people that park on the street every day to have their car charged all the time, taxes or other disincentives aimed at fossil fuels, political attention, changes in law that require manufacturers to produce electric cars (kind of like EVs act II), but protected in some way from vehicle manufacturers and oil companies attempting to defeat such a law in court (what happened in act II).

    Also hydrogen vehicles should not be stealing attention from electric vehicles as hydrogen vehicles are just electric vehicles with an extra unnecessary commodity to transport (much easier to transport electricity than to transport hydrogen, much safer as well), lower efficiency (transport, conversion to and from hydrogen, compression, liquefaction if required, etc.), less safety (although electric vehicles would show a risk of electrocution, hydrogen burns almost invisibly to the human eye, is also compressed), and most hydrogen nowadays is produced through the cracking of methane (natural gas), not through electrolysis of water.

    Everything is possible, but there is a lot of work to be done.

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  • J.
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Peak oil is a lie, as is global warming. There is plenty of crude oil and natural gas in the ground to supply the needs of the US for centuries. The problem lies with the greed that goes along with those resources- too few people control it's production and distribution.

    That is the real reason electric cars will only remain a novelty and limited. As good an EV-1 was, it still had limitations and would not be suitable in some areas of the US. But it should have been developed and kept available as an option for those who wanted them. They will however remain expensive.

    Governments come and go- which is why the iron curtain fell. It was just a matter of time. It only took a few thousand years for candles and oil lamps to be replaced first by gas lighting and then by incandescent lights. It took the cost of installation of electricity to drop before it really took hold over gas lighting.

  • BB
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Until the technology advances much further it is unlikely... unless current 'electric' vehicles are crammed down the consumers' throats by our increasingly intrusive government.... that such an act will succeed.

    In addition, until an alternative means of generating safe, cheap and reliable electric power is found, there will be little or no benefit to driving electric vehicles..... wind and solar technology just is not cutting it at this time. Solar shows some promise down the road but wind energy is an expensive boon-doggle.

    The so-called "peak-oil" claim has been debunked as a hoax perpetrated by AGW proponents, environmentalist groups and (allegedly) oil companies.

    Oil remains as the driver of modern society and with revelations of the past year exposing the tainted 'science' supporting so-called man-caused global warming, climate change, climate disruption or whatever..... it will remain as the world's chief energy source.

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