Who Killed the Electric Car?

I watched this movie over the weekend. I’m a sucker for documentaries and such. It was very interesting.

I remember back around 2000 a co-worker told me his mom had leased an electric car. And I was always curious if these cars had heat and air-conditioning. Anyways, I didn’t hear too much in the news or advertising regarding electric cars.Now this movie sheds some light on the situation. Let’s look at a few things.

Infrastructure for fossil fuels: Fossil fuels are running out and fuel prices are steadily rising. We have this backbone already in place but hurricanes still take out refineries and oil rigs. Wars slow the import of fossil fuels. And there is the environmental impact on obtaining fossil fuels.

Infrastructure for hydrogen: Until there are as many hydrogen stations as gas stations in our country this just isn’t going to work. You would need to plan every trip around where you could fill up. And I believe the current process of creating hydrogen uses more fossil fuels than if we just used fossil fuels to begin with.

Infrastructure for electricity: It is already here. It’s in all of our homes and businesses. Now we could always work on the way our electricity is generated. Let’s try to get away from coal and move towards hydro, wind, and nuclear.

Some people say that the electric car can’t go far on a charge and is not very fast. This is not true. Look at the Tesla which gets 220 miles per charge and goes 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds! Just imagine what could be done if all of the big motor companies were working on developing electric cars and were not being funded by the oil companies.

The automobile companies like to say that there is no demand for electric cars. But maybe that’s because there is no advertising drive done for such a vehicle. That’s what happened to the electric cars of a few years ago. They didn’t advertise them and then said that there was no demand. But that is exactly what advertising does. It build demand for a product. If the auto companies really wanted to sell these vehicles all they needed to do is market them. In fact, after the auto companies pulled their existing electric cars from their leases, they sent them to be destroyed. Protesters stood outside these lots and raised over 1 million dollars to purchase the remaining 70 cars. But they were denied. In fact, they had a waiting list with several thousand people who wanted them.

Something I learned and didn’t really think about until after watching this movie is how this would effect the parts industry. It would certainly hurt the parts carriers as electric cars did not use air filters, oil filters, motor oil, and other maintenance parts that the average car uses. This makes any maintenance on electric cars minimal and umm… clean to work on!

Imagine a world where super-efficient cars are desirable, affordable and everywhere… where gasoline no longer makes history, but is history…

On a related note. The X Prize Foundation has recently announced the Progressive Automotive X Prize with $10 million dollars to be won. This contest will award $10 million dollars to the first team to bring a car to market that gets 100 miles per gallon. So far none of the large auto makers have shown any interest.

3 Comments

  1. Reply
    kerry beauhrt March 24, 2008

    Nothing like a big lie, I suppose. Where in the world did you get th enotion that the automakers are “funded by the big oil companies.”? GM execs would get a big laugh with such obvious proof of how stupid and ignorant viewers (and gullible believers) of that crockumentary film really are. Electric cars during the days of the EV-1 used lead acid and then NiMH bateries, you moron. A car with an NiMH battery pack required to achieve the 250 miles of range (of the Tesla) would need more than 60 kilowatthours of capacity – that is over 3000 POUNDs of NiMH batteries, stupid person, meaning you would need even more than those 60 KWhrs,
    thus even more weight. And guess what, a 250 mile range implies no AC, no hills, no fat tires. The Tesla seldom can travel over 210 miles and guess what else? That means you are limited to destinations less than 100 miles away. And what if there’s a detour, bright fellow? And would you expect people who take trips to travel a mere 200 miles every day, even if he could get recharged at night? And that car cost $90,000 dollars. And the battery pack cost over $25,000, and won’t last more than 5 years, making it the most horrendously expensive do-nothing vehicle since the Detroit Electric of 1907, the last successful electric car. And what about that EV-1 that the lying film claimed was a wonder car? It cost 3 times more than a much better Honda Civic, was nominated by auto writer a month ago as one of the 50 worst cars ever built, with that wonderful 80 mile range NiMH battery pack that cost over $20,0000 and wouldn’t last beyond 5 years when used in an all-electric car like the EV-1. The car wasn’t even legal for sale – it was classified by the Feds as an “experimental vehicle.” Never were more than 800 of the 1100 EV-1s
    on lease at the same time. Only 50 morons of 5,0000 GM customers who had expressed interest in an electric car were stupid enough to sign the (very subsidiezed) lease agreement. The EV-1 took 8 hours (!!!) to recharge and cost over $43,000
    to build. The Honda EV and Toyota Rav4 electric were both manufactured during this period and were both cancelled, one after only 6 months. The EV-1 was a piece of useless crap. You’d think someone as old as you would have at least a passing knowledge of what a personal vehicle is supposed to do. Ed Begley’s big lie was that the car could meet the needs
    of 90% of the public. Unfortunately, people
    often need to travel more than 80 miles a day and 90% of the public doesn’t even have a place to plug-in an electric car.
    And we all don’t have $43,000 lying around to spend on a glofied grocery getter.

  2. Reply
    Richard March 25, 2008

    That is the longest winded bunch of crap from a oil employed truth basher I have ever heard. You obviously havne’t done your homework either, and you bash others? The Testla is $98,000 and no one said the batteries would only last only 5 years. They begin to degrade at 5 years and then gradually many years after that. Most people DON’T drive more than 40 miles a day unless you’re a paper copier salesman, like yourself. The EV1 was never considered an experimental car. There’s no such classification, MORON! Many people drive low speed EV, without much thought to how far they go because they don’t need to go far, smart fellow. In sensitivity to our energy volatility, It’s in the world’s interest that we transfer our consumption to alternative energies. Oil has gotten out of hand directly causing wars, lives, and now a recession. Believe me, smart guy, EV’s are not only viable and needed, but they are coming into their own. Soon they will be very affordable, as in Mitsubishi’s case, and of course, Tesla is coming out with it’s new sedan EV that is a lot more affordable. So, my well versed ingoramous, read up before you try to pass your crap for truth. Amen

  3. Reply
    New Sweden March 29, 2008

    The debate seems a bit heatend up. “Who Killed The Electric Car?” is the headline. I don’t think that anyone actually killed it. It’s just VERY tough to get it to work in the right way. Mitsubichi tried the “in-wheel” plug-in and had serious problems with it (failed?). The project manager of the Prius (Toyota) was asked in an interview about his ground brakeing innovation, said that if he’d to do it all over again he wouldn’t (lead the project). He regrets his unbelievable sacrifice to get the project going with serious health issues as results.
    I don’t think that this is so easy to say “Who killed the EV”. If this actually will succeed and we will have an EV in reasonable time, governments from several nations and car producing companies needs to go joint venture. The investments and infrastructure is that huge.

    I wrote a diary on Daily Kos about one EV project that you will see out on the streets soon. How soon? We talk about a couple of years.

    Here’s the link copy’n paste

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/3/16/15124/4985/984/478033

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