100 Miles A Day

Here’s a comment I made on the NPR site about a story they did. A person from “The Detroit Bureau”, said that electric cars need to get up to 100 miles of range before EVs will be bought. Which ignores the fact that GM doesn’t try to sell EVs yet and so can’t actually have much data on this.

Here’s the show, so you can listen for yourself:

My comment:
” . . . the industry doesn’t need apologists, what it needs is can-do people that realize that in order to exist, not even succeed, they have to change with the times. Those times are coming to the point where it’s getting to be pretty irresponsible to own Hummers and Suburbans in their current condition. If you look at the average amount of energy expended by US citizens, it’s on the crazy side of high compared to other citizens of Earth and it’s not sustainable. For that matter, buying a Prius or Tesla isn’t sustainable, but they are at least steps in the right direction. What GM and the others should be doing is trying to change minds.

Right now most people in the auto industry think that people need a 100 mile range. That’s patently false. Most people, like myself, only need a fraction of that amount of driving most days. Even Bob Lutz, who doesn’t believe in global warming, agrees with this fact. Most days, I only go downtown on the bus, and/or up to my girlfriend’s place in my car, maybe down South. That’s 12 miles round trip, maybe 16 miles with errands. Any home built electric car can make 20 miles of range, and highway speeds, fairly cheaply. It’s just a little more work to get 40 miles of range, and some home built EVs can get this “holy grail” range of 100 miles. The car industry should be able to best these home built EVs by a huge margin, but all we hear are complaints, whining, and how they need more funding and bailouts. If I ran my business like GM, I would expect to go out of business. They were tanking before this economic downturn, and they’ll still be tanking if they’re given a bailout, unless they are forced to change their ways.

To respond directly to Paul, on what it will take for electric cars to succeed? Professional, wide-spread, advertising, promotion, and availability of electric cars. Whining and complaining never sold a product and it shouldn’t be expected to now. Switch half of the market over to electric cars with even a 40 mile range and have everyone hearing how little their neighbors spend on gas, seeing ads during the superbowl about how normal/fast/quiet they can be, can look good, and can save you over the cost of your car if you keep it for X years, and you will definitely see people buying them.

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