The Pain Keeps On Coming For Electric Car Operators

SmugOne day, the technology for electric cars may advance to the point where they’ll be a better deal than gasoline-powered vehicles. However, that day is not today. Today, electric cars are underpowered, overpriced golf carts with limited range and expensive replacement parts. In essence, they’re cars for the short sighted and those rich enough to buy a car just to make a statement.

That much, most people already knew.

But there’s yet another downside to electric cars that in hindsight, should have been easy to see, but in practice is just becoming widely known: They’re very difficult to resell.

When the new plug-in sales share of the total market is only a pathetic 0.65%, this is hardly shocking:

Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf Prove Tough Resells – Used EV Market Less Than Booming

Fuel-frugality aside, it seems the 2013 Chevy Volt and 2012 Nissan Leaf are proving to be expensive long-term investments.

One of the main questions every new car buyer should always ask themselves is what is the depreciation of the vehicle and therefore its potential resale value? Recent reports have suggested that electric cars don’t hold their value quite as well as their regular counterparts.

Of course all new cars lose roughly 20% of their value the moment they roll off the lot. But there are a lot of used plug-in-specific problems.

You don’t get the $7,500 federal bribe on the used ones.

The very-much-higher up-front retail price is rarely if ever made up in fuel savings over the life of the vehicle.

Americans Won’t Pay $40,000 for a $17,000 Car

The $40,000 Volt is basically a $17,000 Cruze – with a 500 lb., 25-mile range, eight-hour-to-charge battery.

The Chevy Volt is a particularly bad deal. It’s not so much an effort to create a vehicle that will sell as it is an effort to create a vehicle that will draw subsidies from the federal government. Well, one day the technology will be there….maybe. In the interim, the makers of these electric cars should send out “Thanks, sucker!” cards to all the people who’re taking these lemons off their hands.

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5 Responses to The Pain Keeps On Coming For Electric Car Operators

  1. CW says:

    So, has anyone deigned to study the increased monthly electric bill on your home from plugging these carbon polluters in to the grid?

  2. It’s the batteries John. Current batteries are heavy, slow to recharge and of very limited energy storage density. They also account for much of the price differential between electric and gas powered vehicles.

    Electric motors are far more efficient than the internal combustion engine, i.e. gas and diesel motors. Thus pound for pound electric motors are actually much more powerful. It is Battery technology that just isn’t there yet, that is the hold up in producing electric vehicles that can compete price wise with conventional autos.

    There are a number of very promising battery technologies being developed in various research labs and the potential for energy storage in various materials is most encouraging. Try a recharge in 5 minutes and a range of 500 miles. Those new technologies are not yet commercially viable and until one or more are, electric vehicles will continue to be of limited appeal.

  3. Daver says:

    500 mile recharge in 5 minutes? That’s about 100 kW-hr in 5 minutes or on the order of 1 megawatt charge rate. What are they doing? 10,000 Volts at 100 amps? At 90% charging efficiency, that’s around 100 kW of waste heat that has to be dumped somewhere (1000 100-watt light bulbs all inside the hood of your car). I’m not saying it can’t be done, but it’s going to be interesting getting the technology to the point where your average inattentive driver can pull up on a rainy night and charge their vehicle.

  4. Les says:

    I always like when they bring a hopped up EV to demonstrate it’s ability to out race a dead stock over regulated sports car using 2700 24 volt camera batteries. Let me bring one of the 8500 horsepower funny cars to race against the EV. Should be an interesting contest.

    Has anyone collected the costs of actually keeping these cars plugged in and charged up? Here a factoid not written up. I have 4 collector cars that I close down for the winter. I unplug the battery and jack the car off the ground and its stored. I doesn’t use a single drop of gas sitting there. I reconnect the battery, check fluid levels and fire it up. I can do that for a couple days, weeks, months, etc. and the car uses nothing sitting there. I have had some batteries drain down nothing I couldn’t jump start with another car and be on my way. What happens with the EVs? Do I have to keep them plugged in to keep the battery topped off. If it drains completely does it kill the battery? I do know that hot charging them murders the batteries greatly reducing the battery’s life.

    The EV has been around since before the gas powered car. It’s a play toy for research engineers. If it was a viable vehicle, we would be driving them. I know the old argument that oil companies have been holding them back. Oil companies didn’t keep Brazil from using Sugarcane to create fuel for their cars. The Oil companies don’t keep socialist or communist countries from pursuing this technology.

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