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Ford Transit Connect Electric  (Source: Ford Motor Company)
Ford is on a roll these days and the Transit Connect Electric is a part of the company's "green" future

When it comes to electric vehicles, DailyTech has mostly covered the consumer side of things. General Motors is going full steam ahead with its Volt "extended range" electric vehicle, Nissan is developing its all-electric Leaf, and Tesla is hitting a higher price point with its Roadster and Model S all-electric vehicles.

However, all-electric vehicles aren't just limited to the consumer market -- they can also make sense for the commercial market as well. A year ago today, DailyTech first brought you news that Ford would introduce an electric version of its small but capable Transit Connect commercial van. Ford is making good on that promise and today announced the 2011 Transit Connect Electric.

The 2011 Ford Transit Connect Electric was developed in conjunction with Azure Dynamics Corporation and uses a "Force Drive" electric powertrain. The vehicle uses a 50 kW electric motor and the 28 kWh lithium-ion battery pack -- developed in conjunction with Johnson Controls-Saft -- allows the Transit Connect Electric to travel up to 80 miles on a charge. Top speed for the vehicle is 75 mph, so don't expect the Transit Connect Electric to keep up with Atlanta highway traffic anytime soon.

Ford says that the Transit Connect Electric can be recharged from either 120V or 240V outlets.

Transit Connect Electric exemplifies how we are leveraging our relationships as well as our hybrid and advanced powertrain programs to bring energy-efficient technologies from the laboratory to the street,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. “Not only is this an ideal vehicle for eco-conscious fleet operators, it is an important part of Ford’s future.”

"These vehicles actually are meant for specific types of customers that have a predictable drive route, continued Praveen Cherian, Program Manager of the Transit Connect. Most of our customers have said, look we don't drive more than 50-60 miles on a give day and these commercial customers like, for example, florists or a handyman, plumber, or a Best Buy Geek Squad, utility type purposes vehicle… so we've designed this vehicle to have a range of 80 miles on a full state of charge."

Even with a large lithium-ion battery packed into the Transit Connect Electric's compact frame, the 181-inch vehicle still has 135 cu-ft of cargo space which is almost as much as a Chevrolet Suburban.

Ford has not announced pricing for the Transit Connect Electric yet, but do expect to pay a premium for the luxury of not having to worry about using gasoline anymore. The base price of a standard Transit Connect is $20,780, so let's hope that Ford can keep the price of the Transit Connect Electric below $30,000.

Following the launch of the Transit Connect Electric, Ford says that it will also launch an all-electric version of its next generation Focus next year.



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Will it really be cheaper?
By callmeroy on 2/9/2010 8:50:02 AM , Rating: 2
All this talk during these past few years of alternative fuels, with electric being the most popular at this point, is great for energy independence but will it be any cheaper?

I know the three big reasons folks want alternative energy -- Cleaner for the environment, less dependence on foreign oil and saving money.

I'm not sure how all three would be acheived though. At least not with electric. What's the trade-off environment wise if you need the coal or nuke plants to produce the electricity to power an all eletric vehicle market? Cost wise -- wouldn't the laws of supply and demand make it so you barely save any money in electric costs versus paying $3-4/gallon now for gas?

I can't see our electric companies being "nice people" once their importance in the marketplace sky rockets because now they power our vehicles as well as our homes.
I suspect electric rates would significantly increase, even doubling or tripling wouldn't be unthinkable.

No matter what happens the change is going to be slow - especially at the pace we are at now. Before the majority of the US is switched over to the previaling favorite alternative fuel, and until those "power/refueling" stations are plentiful to the point its just like gas stations today -- you don't think about them.

We got a good 30 years or so before that happens...I'll be (God willing) an AARP member by then.




RE: Will it really be cheaper?
By Schrag4 on 2/9/2010 9:10:23 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
I can't see our electric companies being "nice people" once their importance in the marketplace sky rockets because now they power our vehicles as well as our homes.


If electricity really skyrockets in price (which it should, if demand is higher) then there will be more incentive to build new power plants. More power plants get built, the price goes down. The only thing that can really screw us over is the government stepping in and saying we can't build new plants (oh, I think they already do that).

...and on a related note, I'm really sick and tired of people complaining about the price of something going up because of a shortage and/or an increase in demand. That's called opportunity. If it's so incredibly lucrative for those playing the game, then maybe you should play the game instead of complaining. I would gladly pay a little more in order to guarantee that the supply isn't shut off completely. And this comment isn't limited to energy prices, it goes for everything, including skyrocketing prices for plywood, bottled water, and batteries before a hurricane hits.


RE: Will it really be cheaper?
By Reclaimer77 on 2/9/10, Rating: -1
RE: Will it really be cheaper?
By Schrag4 on 2/9/2010 11:45:52 AM , Rating: 5
Care to elaborate? The "game" I'm talking about is the free market. If something is priced too high, there's financial incentive to enter the market, and new competition ultimately reduces prices for obvious reasons.

Take my pending-hurricane example. If you think a hurricane is going to hit Florida in a week, it would be risky, but you could drive a truckload of these supplies down there and try to make a buck. Some would say that's gouging, but the alternative is to do nothing (or sell them at a loss? no.). If I lived there, I'd rather have the option to pay through the nose rather than not having the option of buying those supplies at all. Of course you could just hope that the government will bring you all that you need, before you need it. That would be unwise...


RE: Will it really be cheaper?
By wempa on 2/9/2010 12:24:16 PM , Rating: 2
The problem is that we are also dealing with basic utilities that have monopolies (or close to it) in a lot of cases. How many different companies can you buy your electric from ?


RE: Will it really be cheaper?
By AEvangel on 2/9/2010 12:35:47 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
The problem is that we are also dealing with basic utilities that have monopolies (or close to it) in a lot of cases. How many different companies can you buy your electric from ?


Yes and the reason we have that is because both your Republicans and Democrats support those monopolies since those monopolies support them.


RE: Will it really be cheaper?
By wempa on 2/9/2010 1:28:45 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, I agree with you 100%.


RE: Will it really be cheaper?
By porkpie on 2/9/2010 9:50:34 AM , Rating: 2
". And this comment isn't limited to energy prices, it goes for everything, including skyrocketing prices for plywood, bottled water, and batteries before a hurricane hits. "

Hear hear. The worst thing the government does in these situations is prevent the price increases under the guise of "protecting people from gougers". So the price doesn't go up, the product sells out overnight, and everyone is left in the dark, waiting for the government to show up three weeks with their free "aid".


RE: Will it really be cheaper?
By btc909 on 2/9/2010 12:23:02 PM , Rating: 1
...and on a related note, I'm really sick and tired of people complaining about the price of something going up because of a shortage and/or an increase in demand. That's called opportunity. If it's so incredibly lucrative for those playing the game, then maybe you should play the game instead of complaining. I would gladly pay a little more in order to guarantee that the supply isn't shut off completely.

I wouldn't use the term "iddiot" a "moron" would be more appropriate. Awah just "pay a little more" is always the crap I hear in Kalifornia from the Govinator. Yet a problem is just put off & another scam is found to get more money for the masses for the next fiscal crisis.


RE: Will it really be cheaper?
By zinfamous on 2/9/2010 1:05:19 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
And this comment isn't limited to energy prices, it goes for everything, including skyrocketing prices for plywood, bottled water, and batteries before a hurricane hits.


don't forget the hops. Oh dear god, don't forget the hops!


RE: Will it really be cheaper?
By kelmerp on 2/9/2010 9:39:08 AM , Rating: 2
Baby steps man, we can't do everything all at once and this seems like a good start.

Also, how do nuclear power plants pollute? I understand the used fuel rods have to be disposed of somehow, but I'm not sure that's pollution. I'm not being argumentative, I just don't know the answer.

Isn't the Obama administration putting a lot of emphasis recently on nuclear as a bridge technology, since they consider it to be less polluting? The new budget has something like 38 billion in incentives to get some nuclear going.


RE: Will it really be cheaper?
By porkpie on 2/9/2010 9:52:25 AM , Rating: 3
Obama has set aside funds for loan garauntees for new nuke plants. Only problem is, no one has requested them -- and its unclear they ever will be able to. The regulatory burden towards building a new plant runs into the thousands of permits, and can take 15-20 year to fulfill...assuming you even succeed, of course.


RE: Will it really be cheaper?
By tjr508 on 2/9/2010 8:42:02 PM , Rating: 3
Let's not forget the whole slamming the brakes on Yucca either. What I hear from Washington and what I observe are entirely different.


RE: Will it really be cheaper?
By xpax on 2/9/2010 11:41:19 AM , Rating: 5
Technically you have to do something with the spent fuel rods, as old-school reactors only use a small percentage of each rod. They go into a cooling pond for a while, and then are usually buried somewhere. At some point, it'll build up, and we'll have to shoot them of into space.

Still, this doesn't have to be the problem it once was. We now have fast breeder reactors, reactors that use thorium instead of uranium. These use most of the fuel and thus produce far less waste.

Fact is, nuclear is the greenest technology we have at the moment.


RE: Will it really be cheaper?
By JonB on 2/9/2010 3:47:26 PM , Rating: 3
The fuel is not buried. Period. People like to use the term "buried" because of all the images in brings to mind. After many years of cooling and radioactive decay, spent fuel is cool enough to remove from the "pools" they are initially kept in. Some plants never remove them from pools, but many will place the cooler fuel assemblies into "dry cask storage." These massive steel and concrete cylinders stay above ground. If, and that's a big IF, the Yucca Mountain storage facility ever gets used, they still won't really bury the fuel, just move those dry casks into rock chambers carved into the mountain.

And although Thorium reactors do use more of the fuel than Uranium 235 reactors, they still can't use "most" of the fuel, just a lot more. Thorium is more plentiful and produces very little plutonium as a byproduct. Both good attributes.


RE: Will it really be cheaper?
By rudy on 2/10/2010 2:16:26 AM , Rating: 2
If you can keep it comparable it actually is cheaper because the oil companies cannot run away with prices since they are kept in check by competing energy like electric, hydrogen or biofuels.


Luddites
By Fozzie on 2/9/2010 11:16:45 AM , Rating: 2
Seriously? I thought this was a tech site, I would think this is aimed at the Amish based on the responses here. You know if Ford can sell these things then more power to them! There have been huge advances in battery technology in the past few years and these vehicles are more viable then ever. I'm sure the same crankpots would be complaining about "Guvment motors" and Obama ruining the free market if this was GM coming out with this. Remember Ford isn't owned by the feds? Ford is just responding to market pressures. If they flop they flop!

Lighten up and enjoy the technological advances for what they are! If people choose to drive electric then why the hate?

Remember that it takes a amazing amount of electricity to convert crude into gasoline in the first place. If you save the power and put it right into an electric car you are almost to the same energy-distance equivalence right there! And there is MASSIVE amounts of electricity that is wasted at off-peak times, according to the DOE we could run MILLIONS of PHEVs just on that surplus capacity alone. Which will actually reduce costs for utilities as they have a more even power usage model.

Why is everyone so depressingly cynical if it isn't about their particular favorite technology? "Its government mandated crap ruining the free market if its not HYDROGEN!!" (Lets ignore the billions that has been invested in Hydrogen research by the public sector).




RE: Luddites
By Yawgm0th on 2/9/2010 11:25:56 AM , Rating: 2
This is DT. Half the residents here would complain about Ford because it is based in the US and we have a government.

That said, anything with EVs is going to see government subsidies on the final price and probably research grants as well. The truth is that most of the car companies would not be bringing anything to market before, say 2015 or 2020, if it weren't for public money. Even then, what they bring won't see any sort of wide-scale adoption until probably the 20s because it's still not economically self-sustaining. Gas needs to hit $5/gallon in current dollars, if not more, before plug-ins start making a lot of sense. Even hybrids are barely feasible with gas under $3/gal.

I'm all for the progress of technology and protecting the environment, but the truth is this is a direction we're being taken in prematurely, and not by Ford or the market or necessity. It's very much government-driven, and regardless of the principle behind that, it's not the right direction for us economically or environmentally.


RE: Luddites
By Fozzie on 2/9/2010 11:53:09 AM , Rating: 2
I disagree, but obviously this is a very gray issue that is hard to prove one way or another. We can do arm chair calculations till out keyboards break, but I doubt either of us (though I may be wrong) is in the position of having a fleet of delivery vehicles that this is targeted at.

This particular area is a perfect example. There is specifically a need out there for transit like electric fleet vehicles and Ford is far from the only one bringing products to the market. Smith Electric is just one example. Why else do you think the Post office is looking so closely at this? And no it isn't a new Obama thing, they have been looking at electrics for years and it is specifically LiFePO4 batteries that are allowing it to be cost effective.

Electric fleet vehicles in the right applications can save money right now on fuel costs even including the price premium AND save significantly on maintenance expenses.

BTW, why such the hate for Public sector investment in new technology? Actually I don't mind if it is consistent statement. But the same people I see calling for government investment in private space flight for example will decry a $7500 expiring tax credit on EVs.

Also where were these people when the Bush "Stimulus plan" in 2003 allowed for a $100,000 (!!!!!) tax deduction for businesses buying SUV's?


RE: Luddites
By AEvangel on 2/9/2010 12:40:16 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Also where were these people when the Bush "Stimulus plan" in 2003 allowed for a $100,000 (!!!!!) tax deduction for businesses buying SUV's?


I was right here complaining that Bush was one of the most socialist president we have ever had.

People need to realize that the only difference between Bush and Obama is the color of their skin. Point being that Republicans and Democrats both support bigger govt and less freedom they just do it with with different actions.


RE: Luddites
By Yawgm0th on 2/9/2010 2:01:12 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I disagree, but obviously this is a very gray issue that is hard to prove one way or another.
It's not hard to prove that a $30,000 (after $7,500 subsidy) car is unaffordable by the vast majority of consumers. Solar power is similarly nonviable by any calculation. These aren't new technologies about to go throw leaps and bounds. They follow fairly predictable cycles, with continual, incremental price reductions. There's absolutely nothing that indicates EVs are about to advance to a point where they are 30-60% cheaper, and subsidizing the current generation isn't going to get them there much faster.

quote:
This particular area is a perfect example. There is specifically a need out there for transit like electric fleet vehicles and Ford is far from the only one bringing products to the market. Smith Electric is just one example. Why else do you think the Post office is looking so closely at this? And no it isn't a new Obama thing, they have been looking at electrics for years and it is specifically LiFePO4 batteries that are allowing it to be cost effective.
They're close because of heavy subsidies. Even so, at 50% increased price they simply do not save money. Gas is not expensive enough. Virtually any electric car needs to hit between 250,000 and 500,000 miles to save on energy costs compared to its gas version.

Hybrids are just barely at the point where they can ever save money over a similar non-hybrid. If hybrids were subsidized at even half the level of EVs, it would probably result in ten times the national fuel consumption reduction as every plug-in coming to market in 2010/2011 combined simply because of how many people would buy them.

quote:

BTW, why such the hate for Public sector investment in new technology? Actually I don't mind if it is consistent statement. But the same people I see calling for government investment in private space flight for example will decry a $7500 expiring tax credit on EVs.
I have no hate for public investment in principle, although a lot of DT members would claim to (until it comes to defense or space flight, yes). The problem is that a $7,500 tax credit is subsidizing the relatively wealthy. It's trickle-down economics taken to a sick level, with the environment being used as an excuse. I am against this instance of the investment, not the principle of it.


RE: Luddites
By Fozzie on 2/9/2010 9:36:04 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It's not hard to prove that a $30,000 (after $7,500 subsidy) car is unaffordable by the vast majority of consumers.


Its a ridiculous benchmark because hundred of thousands if not millions of cars are already selling for more then $37,500. I hope your not trying to claim that you can't sell a car for $37,500. Plenty of those cars that sell for more then $37k are priced as such for reasons that may be entirely spurious to sections of the market (performance or image for example).

A Doctor friend of mine just put $1k down for a Volt. He did this because he wants the car. The same basic reason another Doctor I know spent over 50k on a BMW. The first Doc knows he won't ultimately save money on gas over other sedans. The point is he WANTS the car, proof of a market.

BTW, the Ford above is not directed at "consumers" it is directed at companies with a fleet to maintain. You've taken that out of context and created a straw-man arguement. I never tried to claim that it was affordable "by the vast majority of consumers", and I don't think that has ANYTHING to do with whether a technology can sell. Should we use that benchmark for video cards or proccessors?

No one is waiting for a miracle technology. The point is that the battery technology (for example LiFeP04 or LiMN) is here now and you can make a viable vehicle for a significant part of the market RIGHT NOW. And there absolutely is a gain to be made from having solid public sector support such as DOE grants. I live right in the middle of it in West Michigan where two large Lithium battery plants are in the process of being built/converted. This will allow for significantly more competitive prices in the domestic market lowering prices even more. Something that would not have happened without government support.

You and I both know that sometimes technologies will never get developed if an artificial demand doesn't prompt it. Where would we be with air travel if WWII hadn't massively pushed airplane technology along. Nuclear power! Would we have it without the Manhattan project? How many technologies would we NOT have if it weren't for the space race or defense spending? Or how about the freaking internet? Would it exist without Darpa?

The point is we don't know if they would or not, some certainly would have been developed, some may not have been. But we have them NOW without a shadow of a doubt because of what DID happen. Now I AM NOT claiming that the government should have a hand in everything with uncontrolled spending. However the other extreme is that anything the government has a hand in is bad, and its just as wrong.

Anyone that is claiming that the technology isn't ready.. Explain the car above! The proof is in the pudding! If the technology wasn't "ready", then why does that car exist? Only because of a tiny volume based expiring tax credit? If it sells then the technology is ready! You may not buy one, you may not think it is worth the money. You may think everyone is a fool for buying one.. Point is if the product exists and sells then the technology is ready.

Look at Nissan, they have basically bet the company on electric. They have invested millions and millions into developing and testing EV technology and they say it is ready to go. Wanna bet against them? If you really think they are putting all of that based on a single tax credit in one country then... Well then I'm not wasting anymore of my time arguing with you.

BTW, if anyone claims that electrics aren't ready and then advocates for Hydrogen Fuel cells... I don't even know where to start with that one.

quote:
I have no hate for public investment in principle, although a lot of DT members would claim to (until it comes to defense or space flight, yes). The problem is that a $7,500 tax credit is subsidizing the relatively wealthy. It's trickle-down economics taken to a sick level, with the environment being used as an excuse. I am against this instance of the investment, not the principle of it.


Well then please ignore the previous rant.. It wasn't directed at you. :) My apologies! I do understand where you are coming from. However any new technology will start out on the more expensive side. But a $30k Volt or a $20-something Leaf is not exactly a premium super car at that price range.

Also the government certainly has an interest in the development of transportation technologies and a reduction in the use of gasoline. There is already significant subsidy towards gasoline, such as tax breaks for oil companies, "defense" spending directed at the middle east and externalities like air pollution.

I would also put money down that the total government investment thru the $7,500 tax credit will not overtake spending on Hydrogen fuel cells anytime in the next decade.

Finally, I think its funny that so many people have panned the viability of this and there is absolutely no mention of price in the above article.


RE: Luddites
By Yawgm0th on 2/10/2010 1:50:21 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Its a ridiculous benchmark because hundred of thousands if not millions of cars are already selling for more then $37,500. I hope your not trying to claim that you can't sell a car for $37,500.
It's not ridiculous because tens of millions of cars sell in the $15K to $25K price range, compared to hundreds of thousands, maybe a few million in the $30K to $40K range.

Regardless, the cars in those range sell for luxury. Not frequently as fleet vehicles (not in the market for this article or cab companies or most sedan fleets). Even as fleet vehicles, 30% to 60% cost increase is not justifiable, period. For the consumer market, the $32,750 Volt is the only practical plug-in, but is out of the price range for the vast majority of consumers, and that's after a $7,500 tax incentive. It won't sell well because only rich environmentalists can buy it.

Your doctor friend is a good anecdote, but proves the pointlessness of anecdotes. He's one rather well-to-do person who doesn't represent a substantial portion of the country. Even if everyone making $100,000 went out and got a volt, we would be better off if everyone making less than $80,000 could go buy a hybrid. More fuel is saved. We're talking about 20-50% fuel savings for tens of millions of vehicles instead of the same percentage for a million or two. I don't feel the need to do any deep research on the exact numbers, because we're talking a whole order of magnitude here.

I am speaking in general terms, with this article as the catalyst for the conversation. I'm not trying to create a straw man at all. The vehicle described in this article will probably cost in the low 30s after a tax incentive. If the ICE alternative is in the low 20s, then it's not viable for fleet use or consumer use. End of story. This is true with the Volt as well, with some hybrids (Fusion), every Tesla, and will probably be true with Leaf.

I won't argue the principal that sometimes the government must create an artificial demand for a technology to get it developed, or even finance it directly. Obviously there are some great examples. The problem is that I DO believe plug-ins are a viable technology on their own with far less government financing than what we're seeing now. I don't believe throwing more money at this particular technology is going to make it viable any faster. Battery and plug-in technology is going to progress on a slow, almost predictable cycle, much like processors. Much like processors, throwing money at the research is going to have greatly diminishing returns past a certain point, and we're way past that point. The tech needs five or ten years to advance, and subsidizing relatively wealthy companies and individuals is not going to change that. It's not going to help the economy, and I've already pointed out how much more we could reduce fuel consumption and help the environment in doing so.

I don't know about others, but I would claim the technology isn't "ready" only in the sense of economic viability. If Ford can sell this thing en masse without a subsidy than I will eat my words. Chances are, though, that even with an outrageous subsidy it will get relatively small market share.

quote:

Also the government certainly has an interest in the development of transportation technologies and a reduction in the use of gasoline. There is already significant subsidy towards gasoline, such as tax breaks for oil companies, "defense" spending directed at the middle east and externalities like air pollution.
I agree with you. From an economics and environmental standpoint, the pollution from cars must be dealt with. But any economist will tell you there is a limit to how much you can spend on pollution control. To quote my professor from college, "Some pollution is good. You need to have some pollution". The amount we're spending now is getting to be too much, or at least it isn't spend effectively. We're trying to force a 2020 solution in 2010. Instead, this money could be used to subsidy hybrid cars and efficient diesels. If every middle class urban/suburban resident switches out their sedan, coupe, or SUV for a similar hybrid over then next ten years, the reduction in fuel consumption will be huge. Air quality would increase noticeably, and as some of those hybrids slowly transitioned into to plug-ins, we would be making an affordable, mass market, incremental change to electric vehicles. Forcing electric now is expensive and ineffective, and we'll see hybrid adoption rates suffer because of it.


All this is well and good, but...
By silverblue on 2/9/2010 8:27:22 AM , Rating: 2
...how much does this mileage go down when the vehicle is even half loaded?




RE: All this is well and good, but...
By Belard on 2/9/2010 8:37:43 AM , Rating: 2
... and how much does the electrical bills go up?

Going ALL electric for cars is fine (its a step away from oil & middle east BS) - but that only means more coal and nuke power plants = pollution still.

Now, when Solar panels get cheap and good enough (they do seem to be improving) and every home has one - then WE WILL have a pretty good system in which the SUN powers our homes and recharges the cars... free power (kind of).

Maybe even a personal wind-mill too.


By bug77 on 2/9/2010 9:46:52 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Going ALL electric for cars is fine (its a step away from oil & middle east BS) - but that only means more coal and nuke power plants = pollution still.

Now, when Solar panels get cheap and good enough (they do seem to be improving) and every home has one - then WE WILL have a pretty good system in which the SUN powers our homes and recharges the cars... free power (kind of).


Umm... Making solar panels is not exactly environment friendly. And neither is producing batteries (if you want power at night).


By Yawgm0th on 2/9/2010 11:33:05 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Going ALL electric for cars is fine (its a step away from oil & middle east BS) - but that only means more coal and nuke power plants = pollution still.
As long as oil has value money will go to the Middle East. Our hat supplies most of our oil anyway, but oil is a fungible commodity, and one of rapidly increasing value. We're not going to be able to wage any kind of economic war on the Middle East through energy policy, and doing so isn't going to help us anyway.

Nuclear provides effectively no air pollution and little pollution overall for how much energy it provides. Coal is obviously a problem but economically, there's no reasonable way for us to make it go away. That said, even if we were 100% coal, it would still be less pollution to have all electric vehicles than it is now. It is far more efficient to generate electricity at a power plant than to generate energy in a small combustion engine.

Solar panels are at least a decade away, if not two or three, from being even remotely feasible economically.

We're going to need to rely heavily on petroleum for at least another decade, and that's all there is to it. We should still make progress, but most EVs coming to market in 2010/2011 are premature at best.


By shin0bi272 on 2/9/2010 10:00:53 AM , Rating: 2
That's what I was thinking. They tried to do all electric trucks in 1903 with lead acid batteries and the truck couldnt drive up a 5% grade with an empty bed! Obviously we've progressed a little bit but you'd think they'd test those types of things before releasing a utilitarian vehicle that's all electric.

Then on top of the issue about power becoming more expensive if we have more people sucking power off the grid to run their electric cars. You also have to think about where we get the lithium for the batteries in the first place. Most of it comes from china and is dug out of the ground with steam shovels and hauled away on huge diesel powered dump trucks... so if you want more lithium they have to pollute more to get it. And lets not forget that on a standard home outlet these electric monstrosities take 8 hours to fully charge. Unless all of our homes are going to start carrying a 480v 50a plug to plug our cars into specifically that is (and even then it's still almost an hour to "refuel" the thing).

Electric vehicles are just a waste of good engineering IMO. Stick with making a better gasoline car and maybe work on improving hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The Honda one has 138hp and a couple hundred mile range and it only takes about 5 min to refill the tank. That sounds more like how our country is set up than this incompetent 80mile range bs. While 80 miles might be ok for people who live in a densely packed city there are those of us who live outside the city and commute an hour or so to work. 63 miles one way to work and uh oh... cant get home now cause I drive a cheap POS electric vehicle... Thanks Detroit for "saving the planet" in your mind and screwing me out of a useful vehicle!

To quote larry the cable guy, "its like standing next to a bonfire and turning to the guy next to you and asking him to put out his cigarette because it's getting hot in here" man made global warming is a total fraud stop worrying about it and move on with your lives people!


Electric Vehicles Are Not Green!
By dark matter on 2/9/2010 10:08:32 AM , Rating: 3
FFS will you stop reporting electic vehicles as being "Green".

I could go into all the issues regarding the metals required for the batteries but let us concentrate on the fuel aspecty.

The only difference between the Electric vehicles and the Petrol powered vehicles it the localisation of the pollution.

Really annoys me when manufacturers claim their vehicle is "green" as it produces no emissions. Sure, but the electricity used to power it certainly does!

Idiots.




RE: Electric Vehicles Are Not Green!
By Yawgm0th on 2/9/2010 11:05:09 AM , Rating: 2
Green does not necessarily mean non-polluting or Carbon-neutral or any variant of either. For a technology to be green it must simply be a substantial improvement over the status quo.

More specifically, and this has been beat to death on DailyTech and Every forum out there ever, but it's well established that the production of electricity, even if it's made with coal, is far more efficient than using individual ICEs in vehicles. The pollutants released from the power plant (assuming it's not nuclear, wind, hydro, etc.) will be less per mile driven than those released from a car's engine. Additionally, there is the potential to create entirely clean electricity sources (be it 50 years from now, it can happen). Oil will always be dirty.

I'm also tired of hearing nonsense about making and disposing of batteries. The most serious form of pollution is what we release into the air. Other pollutants can be captured or disposed of more safely. Batteries can even be recycled.

I'm not saying they aren't a problem, but there is effectively nothing we can do to stop cars from releasing pollutants into the air that we breath. Air pollution is a far more serious problem.


By werfu on 2/9/2010 11:50:09 AM , Rating: 2
That's totaly true. Clean coal technologies have been improving. They are not realy "clean" as coal still produce CO2, but efficiency has been improved steadily. Also, increased usage of electricity will put a strain on current grid and demand. With more usage and more cash going into the electric sector, more innovations will follow up. The system will transform and get better. That's all what green is about : statu quo is not viable.

About batteries, forget about pollution. Every batteries in these cars will be recycled. The price of the components in these is so high that no one will let them rot in a scrap yard.

Nuclear power is also a good solution. New reactor design are by far more efficient and safe. Nuclear reactors only require proper disposition of the spent fuel. That's a no brainer. That's exactly if you could catch all of the by product of coal combustion. You'd have to dispose from it a good way.


By jabber on 2/9/2010 11:13:10 AM , Rating: 2
Indeed, the fact that in order to charge that 'green vehicle' up will probably require quite a lot of fossil fuel to be burnt at the power station kind of negates the idea.

But no one from the 'green side' seems to mention that.

Kind of cart before the horse tech.

Electric isnt the way to go right now. The infrastructure doesnt support it.

High efficiency small petrol/diesel engines with efficient small twin turbos are the answer I reckon.


Nice spin
By bug77 on 2/9/2010 8:35:42 AM , Rating: 2
With marketing like that, Ford will soon be targeting individual neighborhoods. Or maybe make a vehicle with unlimited autonomy, as long as you don't drive past the length of the power cord.

But then again, who am I to judge, so long as the public demands EVs?




EVs are forced
By Yawgm0th on 2/9/2010 11:18:09 AM , Rating: 2
The drive to get EVs is premature. What everyone on my own side of the political sphere is afraid to admit is that for the most part, EVs are going to be economically unsustainable for the next, say, ten years. Tax incentives can be justified, as can the higher price for consumers, but to a point. A 50% increase in cost of acquisition on a product that is already heavily subsidized just isn't justifiable. There are better ways to use the money to reduce our impact on the environment whilst simultaneously improving the economy.

Pollution and even global warming may be problems, but so are poverty and wealth distribution. We're getting setup to subsidize the upper-middle class and upper class in their transition to "green" vehicles.

Instead of forcing EVs now, what we ought to do is slowly transition to them over a decade or two. In the meantime, R&D money would be better spent (for the economy and the environment) on getting, cheaper, better, faster, more efficient hybrids. Ford should be working on an affordable hybrid Focus and getting the Fusion Hybrid to a reasonable price.

Getting ten thousand gas vehicles replaced by electrics is just not as effective as giving a 50% fuel efficiency increase to ten million vehicles. Rapid, sweeping increases in fuel efficiency are possible in the decade. A wide-scale shift to plug-ins is not.




"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer














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