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Hooniverse Asks: Are we really ready for all these new EVs that are coming out?

Kamil Kaluski December 7, 2018 Hooniverse Asks 16 Comments

Just about every automaker is working on a new electric vehicle. An absolute EV, not one of those hybrid things with the conventional engine and a plug. Nope, fully electric vehicles, from just about every maker. The most notable exception is Toyota, who is sticking to the hybrid concept and does not currently have a plan for a pure EV. I’m sure there are others. 

Annual United States auto sales for the last three years have averaged over 16 million vehicles per year. Of those, less than 2% are electric vehicles. But the sales of EVs are trending up and with many new models coming to the market, that percentage will only increase. 

But there is more to cars than just their availability. Today we are asking if we have the right infrastructure to support 10% of annual vehicle sales to be pure EVs? That is roughly 1.6 million vehicles. It won’t happen next year but it will happen. What is the availability of charging stations where you live and work? How long are you willing to allow your vehicle to charge? What’s the longest road trip did you take last year? Is our power grid, with its random summer black-outs, able to support charging all these vehicles?

From my perspective, as I explained in my Kia Soul EV+ review, nope, at least not in downtown Boston. But your situation may be different.  

Quick Spin: 2017 Kia Soul EV+

  • smalleyxb122

    I could definitely get away with an electric car as my primary commuter. It will never be practical as an only car, but I also don’t foresee ever being down to just one car. I could conceivably get by with just an electric car, relying on rentals for situations beyond my vehicle’s capacity. I just wouldn’t want to.

    • Zentropy

      You nailed it. I think this is the biggest barrier. For people that only own one car, it’s not the most versatile choice. And while engineers are making great strides extending the range of EVs, the more significant issue is recharging time and infrastructure. I wouldn’t mind waiting 15 minutes for a recharge during a family trip (hell, my kids burn that much time using the restroom and browsing the snack aisle of the fuel station), but not anything greater.

      • P161911

        Somebody needs to partner with Cracker Barrel and Waffle House on charging stations for long trips. That would work at least in the South.

        • Vairship

          And I think this is where we’re going to end up: chain restaurants with chargers, or gas stations putting in chargers AND decent food/entertainment options. Essentially you get miniature truck stops.

    • wunno sev

      never? once battery capacity gets you to 500 miles, you’ll need that 45 minute break after eight hours of driving. as far as road trip infrastructure, I posit that it’s probably easier to build a quick charge station than a gas station.

      the transition won’t be immediate, but it’ll happen within the next 10-15 years.

      • outback_ute

        Just heard an interview with a guy who’d driven a Tesla around Australia. 2/3 of the trip he was on AC charging, then down the east coast there were Superchargers where the car was charged before he was ready ( eg stopped to eat), although he was stopping well before strictly necessary due to the spacing of the chargers and only doing small charges each time.

  • P161911

    Plug in Hybrids make so much more sense than a pure EV. They are a great way to ease a wary consumer into a EV. They completely do away with range anxiety. They just need to be sold the right way. Usually the gas savings on a PHEV can make up for the cost difference between a traditional ICE only vehicle, at least on the monthly payments (Sure the payment will be $100 more per month, but you will save $150/month on gas). Pure EVs are for those that fall into one of four categories: 1) Pretentious tree huggers. 2)Tesla/EV fan boys leasing a high performance EV. 3)Those taking advantage of very generous tax subsidies. 4) Cheapskates buying dirt cheap used EVs.
    I was in category 3 when I leased my Leaf. My Volt falls into category 4, but is a relatively cheap PHEV.
    The tax subsidies are going away and there aren’t that many people in categories #1 and #2.
    As a former EV owner and current PHEV owner, I can tell you that the infrastructure is NOT there in most places, especially if you don’t have a home garage to charge at Level 2.

    • Zentropy

      Hybrids make so much more sense to me, too. I wish Mazda would get their act together and bring out a rotary hybrid. The low-end torque of the electric motors plus the high-end power of the rotary engine (along with its light weight and tidy packaging) seem like a match made in heaven.

  • Fred

    Thanksgiving I drove about 420 miles one way to see my brother. No long stops along the way with which I could of charged up. I do a trip like this about once a year, so I don’t think a EV is in my future.

    • rovingardener

      I live in the vastness of the West and cannot see the EV as a solitary vehicle choice because leisure trips put you way out beyond the sticks. It is not a manageable choice nor is it likely to be in my lifetime in the West where desert and salt pans are more likely to be seen than a Wal-Mart or McDonalds.

  • Lokki

    You are looking too deep for a philosophical reason that manufacturers are pursuing electric cars. Just follow the money. California is the largest single market for cars in the U.S. The state is adamantly pushing Zero Emission Vehicles. (“…the state has aggressive electric vehicle targets, aiming to have 1.5 million EVs on the road by 2025 and more than 4.2 million EVs deployed by 2030”. So, it’s not about what most consumers want or need, it’s about what the state legislature in California wants. They feel that their pollution goals cannot be met without reducing the number of gasoline/diesel powered vehicles on the road.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/energyinnovation/2017/12/14/california-wants-4-2-million-electric-vehicles-by-2030-a-new-state-plan-charts-the-road-ahead/

    I have no problem with that as I don’t live in California and and thus not forced to purchase an EV. I have nothing against EV’s, per se. I might consider one if it suits my needs and circumstances and is no more expensive than a conventional gasoline powered car. So far, gasoline works best in my situation.

  • Personally? I’m not really ready for the Zap Xebra that’s still sitting in my back yard, so I’m certainly not ready for all these new EVs.

    • Vairship

      Hook up your Zap Xebra to a Tesla Supercharger and see what the future holds! 😉

  • The electric car is coming and in some European countries they will be the only cars you can drive in 20-30 years.Of course I’ll be long gone but it would be interesting to see how the US adjusts.

    • Vairship

      The US will be moving toward coal-powered cars, in order to fall behind as far as possible 😉 And then they’ll whine about unfair foreign competition.

  • Vairship

    Everybody is all worried about: “there won’t be enough charging points.” The simple fact is that almost every human-occupied building has an electric outlet, but very few have a gasoline outlet…

    Once you put a solar system or wind power system on your house or farm, it makes sense to fill up your car for free. Similarly, apartment and condo complexes will add chargers in their parking garages once the demand drives where people choose to live. So it’s only people that street park both at home *and* at work that may have to go looking for a charging station on a regular basis.