I followed a Tesla Model S driving home last night. Attractive blue sedan, even in the Chicago gloom.
I have not personally seen any other makes of electric vehicles other than a rivian pickup, which looked like it had never been driven on the streets of Chi-town. I know Ford has sold some Mustangs, and GM sold some Bolts, which they discontinued. I see no electric BMWs or Mercedes or Audis or Chinese built electric varieties in my town.
Tesla owns the American market for electrics, but their behavior says they are running scared. Two price cuts in the last month. All of Tesla’s competitors are investing heavily in advertising, battery plants, and lobbying, yet so far they are still not legitimate rivals on the street. The Japanese car companies have finally decided to maybe, perhaps, possibly put electrics into the marketplace.
I have questions.
Americans like trucks and husky SUVs. Does an American market clamor for a lithium-ion electric that takes half an hour to charge? Do they want a vehicle that gets 100 to 200 miles with any kind of load before requiring charging in cold weather like Chicago, much less Duluth? Frankly, I doubt it.
If my assumptions are correct, does that mean today’s electric cars are primarily sedans built for Phoenix and Miami markets?
I know this is short-term thinking because eventually there will be more charging stations with faster charging, but even Elon Musk has yet to solve the weight and distance issues
President Biden and Governor Newsom of California can proclaim and legislate as much as they want, but if electrics do not do what American vehicle buyers wish to buy, the electric market will be limited to city driving with light loads, i.e., your mama’s car in Los Angeles.
I think Elon Musk, the ultimate entrepreneur and risk taker, sees this. He has more experience building batteries and searching for a replacement for lithium than anyone. It appears he has no imminent replacement for the element. America actually has huge amounts of lithium, but we don’t mine it because environmentalists make it too difficult and expensive. So we haul it in from Bolivia and Africa. Forget about getting it from China or Russia. Meanwhile, Biden likes the idea of expensive gasoline and diesel, and Exxon and Chevron are not objecting.
If we really wanted $2 gas to lighten the load on American drivers we could eliminate taxes and ethanol subsidies, but would you bet $5 on that idea?
Musk is sending us a message with Tesla price cuts. I think he is saying, “Okay GM, Ford, Toyota, and BMW, try your best punch. By the time you finally put a viable vehicle on the road in 2025, 26 or 27, I will have huge brand loyalty and identity. You will all stumble with recalls and missteps like Tesla once did. While you spend billions on TV advertising, Tesla will work on improving its car and squeezing out better mileage, even in Anchorage.
By increasing Tesla’s sales volume, he will expand his margins. And, he might even put the first driverless car on the street for people to buy.
Elon Musk is tweeting it out to all of his competitors. Tesla is a moving target. Throw your best punch.
Question: What will it take for you to buy an electric vehicle?
Does liking a CEO of a company affect your buying decisions?
Buy a Tesla!
They are making transformative changes in the way automobiles are made.
Look up “Giga-Castings”.
Better manufacturing process are all being pioneered by them.
Every person I know who owns one is passionate about their experience.
Our business needs a Ford Transit van to replace our aging delivery van. We have a full time driver who drives 150-250 miles a day mostly to move parts between outside op vendors. We ordered a new basic gas powered Ford Transit van in Feb 2022 and we are still waiting for Ford to “overcome supply chain challenges” to build it. I get an automated email every 12 weeks reminding me how important my order is to them. Meanwhile the local Ford dealer has 9 E-transits unsold on their lot that are ~$15K more than the gas version. The published range is 108 miles (probably unloaded) and it takes 11 hours to recharge on a level 2 240V 50 amp charger. I’m not sure who could actually use such a product? I figure if forced to use an E-transit for my business I would have to buy 3 vans and place one in Indy, one in Cincinnati and one in Dayton all on chargers and switch them out to do what we need to do.
Good morning, Lloyd.
In a short answer, I will electrify my existing vehicles (i.e. Alfa Romeo Spyder, gen-1 Ford Explorer) rather than invest in a vehicle from manufacturers that will likely prevent my access to service data and spare parts or charge subscription fees for prepaid functionality.
A few points to consider:
* Likely not enough raw materials (lithium) to satisfy long-term battery consumption and solid-state battery production requires massive (billions of dollars) production investment and significant energy consumption.
* As with the railroad steam to diesel-electric conversion, effective vehicle service life will likely increase due to lower mechanical stresses. This assumes electronic planned obsolescence and battery life does not render this advantage nil.
* Electric vehicles are not zero-emissions, they are displaced emissions. What generated the energy in the first place – Coal? Nuclear? Solar?
* How do we effectively recycle batteries? Hopefully better than we recycle lead-acid batteries.
I hope that further developments will enable small hydrogen fuel cells using ammonia as a storage medium will eventually pose a viable solution.
My 3.5L Ecoboost in F150 Supercrew commutes at 19mpg, hauls machine components in the 6.5′ bed for repair, and pulls our 26′ camper at 60mph (1796# payload, 420ft.lb. torque at 2500rpm) for 300+ miles on a tank (10mpg, 36 gal tank). The F150 Lightning won’t handle the payload, range would be less than half a day’s tow, and state parks don’t have charge stations at campsites yet. I don’t see being able to afford an electric truck with 1800# payload when those finally roll out.
I would need 300 mile range, 1800# payload capacity, and infrastructure to charge the battery on my terms – fast, now, and here, wherever that finds me.
Yep, there are a lot of Tesla cars here in the LA area, and California sure is pushing for electric vehicles and everything else electric. But, I’m just not really interested in an electric vehicle (and I don’t drive a big SUV or truck.) My commute is less than 30 miles roundtrip and I mostly make short trips around town, so I should be a good candidate. But I also use my car for long family trips which would be inconvenient. Cost-wise, I think I can buy a lot of gas for the difference in price I would pay for the car. I also keep my cars for a long time, so I don’t expect to need to buy a car for several years anyway.
Also, California hasn’t quite figured out how we’re actually going to be able to power all this increased electric usage it’s encouraging. Electricity prices are set to encourage conservation, not use. Pricing set to encourage solar means charging too little money from customers with solar installations to support the power grid which is in need of maintenance.
I’m often reminded of a comment (I think it was on this blog some time ago) about a guy with a “coal-powered” lawn mower. It was an electric mower, but where he lived, not likely powered by green energy. Just because something is electric, doesn’t make it greener.
Wonderful comments by a wonderful and smart bunch of readers.
Does anybody care whether Musk is warm and fuzzy? Remember the lovable Henry Ford?
I bought the Tesla Model 3 just for its performance. I can always get a smile with a little push on the accelerator pedal. I also wonder why there are so many EV cars with such small batteries. I have large 320+ mile of range battery pack. I have done many 3,000-mile trips in the past 4 years with no problem getting to a Tesla Superchargers on the interstate. Superchargers are great, you get a 200 mile charge in 20 minutes. In Indiana I pay $3 for 100 miles of range. The ONLY time I have to wait for a recharging is on 200+ mile trip. I always fill up in the garage, out of the cold and rain. In the last 4 years I had to fix one tire that blew out on a chuck hole, and I filled the washer fluid twice. No need to schedule a visit with the dealership. No oil changes ever! Next is a tire rotation. Brakes do not wear out with the regenerative breaking. The Model 3 is a compact executive class car. It is fun to drive, less fatiguing to drive and sometimes I let the car drive me. I am sold on 300+ mile battery, but city folk could manage on the 100–200-mile a day battery and recharge overnight.
Here in Tesla land – California’s South SF Bay area, they are all over the place. A joke would be: “Bank robbed in Palo Alto, getaway car was a White Tesla – Police give up after pulling over 100 of them.” The people buying them (all electric cars) evidently feel comfortable with the way they work for them. I do not have an electric, but I have considered a plug-in hybrid. My rooftop solar would maintain enough daily miles for me to continue my retired life, (with zero gas usage) and, if needed, run to Los Angeles with a 40 MPG vehicle on gas. Commercial applications will have to wait until range and charging catch up to their needs. (and they will). But many local delivery set-ups could live with the 108 miles per day of the E-transit. Even charging off the grid ($$) is cleaner in California than in many places in the US, if that matters to you. As they say, “Your mileage may vary”!
I rented a Tesla Plaid. I liked it so well I bought 2. It’s a wonderful daily driver. 1000 horsepower electric golf cart. Outruns a Z06 Corvette in quarter mile by 2 seconds.
No love from Tesla when you buy one. Experience is similar to getting a cellphone from Verizon. Closing took 5 minutes. Me “Do you want to show me how to drive this thing?” Them “No I have confidence you can figure it out”