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Old 08-31-2013, 02:23 PM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default Automakers are losing money on EVs, so why are they suddenly so cheap?



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If patience was a cashier’s check instead of a virtue, it’d be worth more than a quarter-billion dollars. Conceivably, that’s how much Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf owners, who snapped up more than 50,000 of these plug-in electric vehicles from 2011–2012, could have saved had they waited until now.

Still, even with $7500 federal tax credits and $8.5 billion in automaker loans being handed out like cotton candy, no one could have predicted the plug-in segment to collapse on itself. In January, when Nissan cut the Leaf’s base price by $6400, that’s exactly what happened. By May, Honda cut its lease-only Fit EV from $389 per month to $259 and dropped the down payment. In June, General Motors undercut Nissan by another $2155 with the 2014 Spark EV and slapped $4000 rebates on 2013 Volts. In July, Ford slashed the price of the Focus Electric by $4000, and with continued factory rebates, the 2014 model now costs nearly $15,000 less than it did in 2012. Then, August: Chevrolet chopped $5000 off the Volt’s $39,995 sticker, Smart reduced the lease to $139 per month on its Fortwo Electric Drive, and Toyota offered zero-percent financing on its RAV4 EV. Today, five electric cars cost less than $30,000 before any federal or state tax breaks—and we likely haven’t seen rock bottom yet.


Under ordinary conditions, this shouldn’t have happened. Automakers want to boost average transaction prices, not cut them into pieces like consumer electronics. And while no one except Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne has come out and said it, the industry is losing serious money on EVs. The 500E, for example, costs Fiat $10,000 more to build than its $32,500 base price.

GM is reportedly losing more than $40,000 on each Volt, and even worse, factory incentives on new plug-ins are even more ludicrous than markdowns on full-size pickups. According to Autodata, GM spent an average of $9504 in incentives for every Volt sold in the first seven months of 2013. In that same time, Mitsubishi quadrupled incentives on its i-MiEV to $9693; Toyota tripled them on the Prius plug-in to $1325. Not even Tesla has made money from building its slick Model S. Price wars are never painless, but in this case, no one’s coming out a winner.

The Land of Milk and Money
Why the self-mutilation? Federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) mandates for automakers to reach a 54.5-mpg fleet average by 2025 aren’t really to blame. Due to outdated EPA fuel-economy calculations and exemptions for larger trucks, automakers only have to achieve a combined 36 mpg on actual window stickers under CAFE. Gas prices aren’t a great explanation, either, as they’re way down from record highs in 2008 and show no immediate signs of reaching European levels.
It’s California.

The state’s Zero-Emission Vehicle law dates back to 1990, a complex anti-smog code that requires automakers to sell cleaner vehicles under a cap-and-trade system. But by 2025, the California Air Resources Board wants automakers to allocate 15 percent of their California sales to plug-in hybrid, electric, and fuel-cell vehicles.

“What we’re trying to do is what’s actually achievable and realistic,” said John Swanton, an air-pollution specialist at the state agency. “The market’s going to be as diverse [in 2025] as it is now. We feel those standards are modest enough to let the manufacturer do that.” Continued...
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Old 08-31-2013, 04:44 PM   #2
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Seems like the tech and knowledge just isn't there. Most emission systems are band-aids and hinder performance. I hope this eco/green fad blows over like in the 70's.
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Old 08-31-2013, 05:03 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by GDB FAN View Post
Seems like the tech and knowledge just isn't there. Most emission systems are band-aids and hinder performance. I hope this eco/green fad blows over like in the 70's.
I disagree, I would love to see the automakers embrace the electric car even more. If we can get 300 mile range @ freeway speeds with 15 minute battery pack swaps (obviously all batteries would have to be built to a spec) then I can see the electric car take over. I would also love to see the OE tuners (NISMO, STI, MOPAR, AMG //M etc....) all build performance variants. High torque from the moment you touch the throttle? Yes please!
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Old 08-31-2013, 05:12 PM   #4
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Me too but I feel it won't happen for another decade or two. Either that or finding a new energy source. What ever happen to hydrogen cars?
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Old 08-31-2013, 05:20 PM   #5
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Me too but I feel it won't happen for another decade or two. Either that or finding a new energy source. What ever happen to hydrogen cars?
Fuel source was a PITA.

It will take a while for the infrastructure to be there for electricity, but it will happen. In the Seattle area there is quite a lot of public charging areas for EV's and as such I see a bunch of them (Leafs and Teslas mainly, but also Volts and Sparks) Hybrids will be the big thing for the next 10 years (sales wise) but full EV will over take them as the infrastructure comes into play. There will always be a place for ICE powered vehicles (rural areas etc...) but hybrids and EVs will be a huge part of the coming years. Alternative fuel vehicles future is grey. If the manufacture (*?) of hydrogen can be made cheaper / quicker it may have it's day, but that remains to be seen. Bio-diesel powered trains / semi trucks are certainly going to have a huge part in this future as well. Our (world wide, not just the US) dependance on fossil fuels can be cut back drastically.
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Old 08-31-2013, 06:35 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Hondaslayer View Post
I disagree, I would love to see the automakers embrace the electric car even more. If we can get 300 mile range @ freeway speeds with 15 minute battery pack swaps (obviously all batteries would have to be built to a spec) then I can see the electric car take over. I would also love to see the OE tuners (NISMO, STI, MOPAR, AMG //M etc....) all build performance variants. High torque from the moment you touch the throttle? Yes please!

If you are talking about a spec battery, isn't Nissan testing a quick change system with some taxis? Something like a 2 minute drive-thru swap?
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Old 08-31-2013, 07:55 PM   #7
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I would seriously consider getting an EV, but people like me who live in an apartment building have no means of charging them
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Old 08-31-2013, 08:18 PM   #8
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I wish our LEAF was larger, but its charging and range is actually quite adequate for my uses.

There are several quick chargers downtown (20 minutes to go from 20 to 80% state of charge) if I need range in a pinch on heavy driving days, level 2 chargers at local destinations like my workplace, and trickle charging at home (too cheap for level 2 so far) overnight that more than covers my commute.

The quick charging is more key than the level 2 chargers in the community, imo.
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Old 08-31-2013, 11:01 PM   #9
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What are you getting for actual range? I'm half-tempted by something like a Leaf or Honda Fit EV, because with fuel costs factored in the car is nearly free. Save miles on my toy car and rack them up on a commuter EV instead. But our office is moving in a few months and the commute will be just a hair under 50 miles a day, and I don't see anybody talking about installing an EV charger at the office.
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Old 08-31-2013, 11:21 PM   #10
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Wireless charging plates in the road as part of the solution makes sense. Can start off with HOV lanes, and perhaps city centers, and slowly build out from there. It would really help with the whole range issue and allow for smaller batteries, helping lower costs.

This was posted before IIRC:

http://www.wired.com/autopia/2013/08...charged-buses/
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Old 09-01-2013, 08:31 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Rootus View Post
What are you getting for actual range? I'm half-tempted by something like a Leaf or Honda Fit EV, because with fuel costs factored in the car is nearly free. Save miles on my toy car and rack them up on a commuter EV instead. But our office is moving in a few months and the commute will be just a hair under 50 miles a day, and I don't see anybody talking about installing an EV charger at the office.
The guess-o-meter is right on with the EPA estimate of 84 miles of range from 100% state of charge. Haven't run it empty to check, of course. Been getting about 3.9 miles/kWh, fwiw.
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Old 09-01-2013, 02:25 PM   #12
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Default BMW aims to expand car sharing in U.S

hi shikataganai..


BMW wants to expand its DriveNow car-sharing program to U.S. cities that will allow its electric vehicles to be picked up and dropped off on public streets.
DriveNow was launched in June 2012 in the San Francisco Bay Area, where the program has a fleet of 70 1-series coupe-based ActiveE EVs and 2,000 registered users. The Bay Area is DriveNow's only U.S. location.
BMW started the program in San Francisco because the area is a car-sharing hotbed, said Richard Steinberg, CEO of DriveNow USA. Competitors include Zipcar, City CarShare and taxi and limousine services accessible via the Internet, he said.
But unlike in Europe, where BMW runs DriveNow in four cities that allow the vehicles to be left on the street, San Francisco "hasn't embraced A to B car sharing," Steinberg said.
In the Bay Area, BMW must use parking garages and other privately owned areas for its DriveNow vehicles. It has installed chargers at each of the 18 locations, including Stevens Creek BMW in Santa Clara, Calif.
"One of the main drivers of success is the street access," Steinberg said. "Wherever you want to be, there have to be arrangements made with municipalities."
Having cars on the street in Europe has created buzz and drawn new customers. "The big difference is the visibility -- the vehicles market themselves," he said. "They have big decals on the side."
Steinberg said DriveNow got off to a slow start in the United States so he approached two companies in Silicon Valley several months ago, asking to have DriveNow cars on their corporate campuses. Now, the program leaves cars on four corporate campuses where company employees have access to the vehicles, he said.
"We had a limited footprint in the city," he said. "It was tough to compete, but now we are flying."
About 50 percent of DriveNow's business is corporate, he said.
DriveNow also added pickup and drop-off locations at the San Francisco and Oakland airports. Trips to or from the airports usually cost $12 to $15 from downtown and are cheaper than taxis or limos, Steinberg said.
DriveNow members pay $39 for a lifetime membership. They are issued a card with a radio frequency identification chip that also serves as a key. Cars can be booked using an app available on Apple and Android phones.
Members pay $12 for the first 30 minutes they use the car and 32 cents for every additional minute. An hour costs $20. If the car is parked, the rate drops to 13 cents a minute.
The DriveNow cars in the Bay Area are part of a 700-vehicle fleet of ActiveE electric cars in a two-year trial with lessees in key U.S. cities. BMW says those leases begin to expire before U.S. sales of the i3 electric car begin in the second quarter of 2014, but the leases can be extended until the i3 is available.


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Old 09-01-2013, 03:16 PM   #13
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Default Nissan to expand EV lineup to 5 models

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Blowing off media speculation that its bold ambitions for electric vehicles might have cooled, Nissan Motor Co. says it will expand its global EV product line to five models. Until now, Nissan has said it will build only three electric models: the Nissan Leaf, a luxury Infiniti sedan version of the Leaf and an electric version of its recently launched compact cargo van, the NV200.
The company has not announced what additional models it is planning and has not specified a timetable. But it indicates Nissan is taking a long-term view of the slow-growing EV market.
"We haven't announced what models they will be, but we have plans for five," Carla Bailo, senior vice president for r&d at Nissan Americas, told reporters here at a product preview. "The others will come in due time."
Bailo said future Nissan-brand EVs will use inductive charging -- an emerging advanced technology for recharging the batteries of electric cars wirelessly. Inductive chargers enable an EV owner to park on top of a charging mat to recharge a battery without hooking up a connector.
"Once that technology is ready, we will use it across our brands," she said after her presentation.
Previously, Nissan had said inductive charging was critical to differentiate the luxury EV planned for the Infiniti brand.
Production of the cargo van begins later this year in Europe, initially for the European market. But this spring, Infiniti President Johan de Nysschen said the Infiniti EV will be delayed. Infiniti said it wanted to wait for improvements in inductive charging technology.
That means that only the Leaf has made it to market so far, after more than three years of promoting the idea of EVs. The company spent $1.8 billion to move U.S. production of that model to Smyrna, Tennessee, and to construct a lithium ion battery module plant there. That factory, which began production in January, gives Nissan the capacity to build up to 150,000 Leafs a year and 200,000 batteries.
Sales of the car in the United States have more than tripled since last year, when it was still being imported. Through July, Nissan dealers sold 11,703 Leafs, up from 3,543 in the first seven months of 2012.


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Old 09-01-2013, 03:30 PM   #14
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New generations of a car usually sell for a loss, a few coworkers have Nissan leafs and if you remove the initial investment of the car they haven't paid much in the year or so they have owned them. They utilize the dynamic rate electric and only charge when electricity is free or next to free for a few hours during the night.

99% of my travels are within a 15 mile radius, I spend $50 a week on gas so that's $2400 a year which I could potentially save.
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Old 09-02-2013, 11:49 PM   #15
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An electric motor has a heck of a lot less moving parts than a gasoline engine. It won't be long before an electric car before adding the batteries will be much cheaper to make than a conventional car.
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Old 09-03-2013, 01:46 AM   #16
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An electric motor has a heck of a lot less moving parts than a gasoline engine. It won't be long before an electric car before adding the batteries will be much cheaper to make than a conventional car.
Yeah, there may come a point where people look back at our time and be amazed by the fact that carrying around 15 gallons of highly flammable liquid which then was used to create thousands of explosions per minute in a metal container that looked like a hollowed out anvil was considered the cheap and easy way of propulsion.
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Old 09-03-2013, 08:45 AM   #17
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The real problem is California. I say, don't cater to them.

--kC
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Old 09-03-2013, 09:18 AM   #18
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Yeah, there may come a point where people look back at our time and be amazed by the fact that carrying around 15 gallons of highly flammable liquid which then was used to create thousands of explosions per minute in a metal container that looked like a hollowed out anvil was considered the cheap and easy way of propulsion.
That may happen, but certainly not in your lifetime, or mine, or my kids. But yeah it may happen.

And then again, there may come a time when people look back the cluster that is EV sales and say, what the hell where they thinking trying that with cell phone batteries that can catch fire and weigh a ton.

Anything can happen.
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Old 09-03-2013, 10:41 AM   #19
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Yeah, there may come a point where people look back at our time and be amazed by the fact that carrying around 15 gallons of highly flammable liquid which then was used to create thousands of explosions per minute in a metal container that looked like a hollowed out anvil was considered the cheap and easy way of propulsion.
Perhaps, but I doubt it. You can't really say that toting around 60 kWh of electricity is inherently safer than a tank of gasoline. Different challenges, still quite dangerous.
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Old 09-03-2013, 11:16 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Len View Post
Yeah, there may come a point where people look back at our time and be amazed by the fact that carrying around 15 gallons of highly flammable liquid which then was used to create thousands of explosions per minute in a metal container that looked like a hollowed out anvil was considered the cheap and easy way of propulsion.
I feel like it's just a question of how long until this is reality. Think about it...pretty much all consumer-level appliances/machines/devices in our society are powered by electricity, with the exception of our vehicles (which still rely on electricity for everything except propulsion). Recharging and storage technology is coming along nicely...pretty soon costs will be down to a level where EV's are competing neck-and-neck with ICE cars, and infrastructure will follow as popularity increases. The only thing holding EV's back was the technology...once that is in place, it makes perfect sense for our cars to use the same power source that our computers/homes/devices/etc use.
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Old 09-03-2013, 11:50 AM   #21
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The only thing from building a city underwater is technology too. You say that technology will build up infrastructure, I think the basic technology is decent enough for some people today, IF THE INFRASTRUCTURE was there. So we have a case of chicken or the egg here.

I think you make some good points, but trying to catch up to the ICE is not like trying to catch up to stagnant target. New materials are making cars lighter, engines are getting more efficient. Hundreds of millions are still being poured into eeking out 5% here 8% there. You have inexpensive available compact cars besting 40mpg from most manufacturers now. EV/hybrid will undoubtedly catch on more and more, but the ICE is still getting better and it has a HUGE lead. Not sure EV will ever pull ahead for a long time.

You analogy to cars being an appliance is very telling. Appliances are used and discarded without emotion. This is not the path I want automobiles to go. If in fact you equate a car to an appliance then driving must be just as joyuous as using a toaster. I do not think that the majority of people think this way. If so why offer a V6 in a Camry when a 4 cylinder will do? Even in plain Camry world, people want to like their car.

The engine is the last thing to go electric, for many reasons. Years of developement, nothing is ready to take its place, solid and world wide infrastructure, power density of the fuel, and last but not least, is the engine is the heart of the car. It seperates econoboxes from legendary rally stars, it is the divider between grandmas runnabout and a epic muscle car. I do not think the entire population is ready to dismiss all cars as appliances. I think many want some soul, and drama in their daily drive. Nothing provides that more than an ICE.
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Old 09-03-2013, 11:51 AM   #22
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My next car will likely be electric, and my new home will have solar panels. I just hope there is an affordable one that will be fun to drive.
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Old 09-03-2013, 12:46 PM   #23
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The engine is the last thing to go electric, for many reasons.
Some would argue it was the 1st to go electric, gas followed later. Only until highways were contructed and longer distances could be travelled that gas started to win out.

The problem back then is the same problem today... long charging times providing only short distance capability. A problem that has existed since the 1800s. 120-130 years of development still has yet to fix that issue. Batteries take X amount of time to charge, and only can be used for Y amount of time before needing to be re-charged.

Add more batteries, and you increase weight which increases depletion.

This is why electric vehicles will mostly only be city runabouts as batteries have been around for a VERY long time... and science still haven't yet cracked it.

--kC
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Old 09-03-2013, 06:43 PM   #24
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Well, ****, what do you expect when the government throws gobs of money at the fossil fuel industry for 120 years? Shift half of the subsidies from the oil companies to battery/charging R&D and see what happens in a few years. It's total crap to say that electric cars can't compete with ICE vehicles. If the playing field was leveled (especially from the get go), it would likely be a different story.
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Old 09-03-2013, 08:08 PM   #25
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The real problem is California. I say, don't cater to them.

--kC
This could potentially be California plus 10 other states. The same 10 other states that have already adopted California emissions standards. It's stated in the article.
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