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The Think 4-Door Concept, shown here, might eventually find its way to America as well.  (Source: Think Global)

The petite Think Electric car is coming to America next year, thanks to General Electric, A123 Batteries, and Think Global.  (Source: Think Global)

GE is retrofitting buses with ultracapacitors and sodium-metal chloride batteries to test out these lithium-ion alternatives.  (Source: CNET)

GE invented one of the first electric car models, seen here, in 1914.  (Source: CNET)
GE is partnering with Chrysler, A123, and Think Global; Is launching a 50,000 unit electric car in 2009 with partners

Electric cars are perhaps the hottest item in the car industry.  While Ford remains uninterested in deploying an electric car, the other two major U.S. automakers, General Motors and Chrysler both have large electric car projects set to commercialize in 2010.  GM's hopes in particular are riding heavily on its electric car program, with the Chevy Volt becoming the crux of its advertising campaigns.  While there have been some slight hiccups, such as the missteps of Tesla Motors, few can disagree that even amid a weak economy the plug-in business is booming.

If there's one component most critical to electric cars' performance and success, it would have to be the batteries.  The batteries determine the weight, the electric-only mileage, and most importantly the cost of electric cars.  Better batteries will make a better electric car.  For that reason tech giant General Electric (GE) is betting heavily on electric cars and battery technologies.

GE has aggressively invested in an attempt to position itself as the clear battery leader.  It invested in A123 batteries, one of the two startups that is competing for the Chevy Volt battery contract.  With a $30M USD second round of investment in A123, GE cemented its relationship and controlling position over the startup and with it increased its position in the battery industry.

It also invested in A123 partner Think Global, which is debuting a small plug-in car in 2009: the Think Electric town car.  The little car, available in limited quantities resembles a Smart Car ForTwo in styling and size.  It will surely be a hot seller, if it’s able to meet its release date, beating the Chevy Volt to the market.  GE is working with its two partners to develop the vehicle.  Think Global plans to ship 50,000 units to North America in 2009 which will retail for $30,000 without tax credits.  The car has a top speed of 65 MPH and can go 110 miles on a charge.

Mark Little, senior vice president and director of GE Global Research, says the new battery efforts follow closely with GE's Ecomagination initiative which seeks to cut carbon dioxide emissions, and conserve water and fossil fuels.  The program is expected to grow 21 percent this year, with revenue reaching $17B USD.  GE is planning on rolling this money back into its R&D efforts, increasing these expenditures by $1.4B USD.

Mr. Little praised electric cars, saying that they will lead to lower energy prices and smaller carbon footprints.  He states, "My own view is that even if 5 to 10 percent of vehicles become electrified, that's a huge opportunity."

He is championing another key battery effort, which sees GE partnering with Chrysler on a Department of Energy-sponsored research project.  The new project will explore designing better batteries for passenger cars.  The details of the project are still being arranged.

Another important effort is GE's research into adapting sodium-metal chloride batteries to automobiles.  This type of batteries are used in trains and could offer lower prices and higher efficiencies if optimized.  It is also experimenting with using ultra-capacitors as a battery alternative.

GE also has ongoing projects to develop large-scale power utility battery storage.  If can do this, it would be a great help to some forms of inconsistent alternative energy, such as solar PV or wind power.  Its ultimate goal is to provide the grid with several hours of storage capacity nation-wide.

Perhaps it’s unsurprising GE is looking to lead the industry in battery efforts -- after all, one of its engineers built one of the first electric cars, built in 1914. 



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Sticker price
By Spivonious on 10/30/2008 9:45:08 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
The car has a top speed of 65 MPH and can go 110 miles on a charge.


That's not very much for $30,000. You could buy a Chevy Aveo for $12,000 and get a higher top speed and a longer "per tank" range.

Let's say you drive around the town for 10 miles each day. Aveo gets about 30mpg, so that's 1/3 gallon per day. Let's say gas prices go crazy and get up to $5 per gallon. Each day of driving will cost you $1.67.

Let's also assume electricity is free.

It will still take you 10,778 days to break even. That's almost 30 years!! It's no wonder GM is hemmorhaging money these days.




RE: Sticker price
By Aloonatic on 10/30/2008 10:05:46 AM , Rating: 2
Those sort of calculations always put a damper on things but I guess that pure economy is not the main reason why many people will by these cars.

In saying that...

...If you live in a country like the UK where many councils and Mayors are itching to follow London's example and bring in congestion charges (to save the planet and make our lives easier as we travel through these busy city centres being blocked by others in traffic jams because they just love to block the roads and be held up of course, they aren't there because they have to be too and it's not just revenue raising) which start at £8 a day (at the moment) when driving a polar bear hating petrol or diesel car, then the savings for electric or hybrid cars that don't have to pay this are pretty substantial.

I'm not sure if similar "charges" (not a tax, it's a different word with different letters and everything, see??) are levied in the US or other countries?

A fair few people drive those Gee-Wiz cars in London now, and there are special small parking bays that they will fit, some of which even have recharge points.

Of course, that is until a lot of people start to do it, congestion is no lower and there is a hole growing in the town/cities finances faster than the hole in the Ozone layer during the 80s and some other excuse is made to take your money.

Anyone have any idea how long the batteries last by the way?

Those savings may be soon be eaten up by replacements and such?


RE: Sticker price
By quiksilvr on 10/30/2008 11:11:03 AM , Rating: 2
If done right, Lithium Ion batteries can last a LONG time:
http://www.batteryuniversity.com/parttwo-34.htm

On top of that, there is talk of Lithium Ion NANOWIRE batteries, which have 5+ times the energy density than regular Lithium Ion batteries.


RE: Sticker price
By Jedi2155 on 10/30/2008 4:36:58 PM , Rating: 2
To expand on that, it depends on the chemistry of the lithium pack.

The current one popular for automotive applications are the lithium iron phosphate batteries which have been demonstrated to have between 4000-7000 recharge cycles. For the Chevy volt, this means its about 150k miles.


RE: Sticker price
By Raidin on 10/30/2008 10:14:57 AM , Rating: 2
What do you expect? It's a new technology with very little market presence, which means high production costs. You're comparing apples to oranges.

Look at the Volt. It's expected to be around $40K, and only have a range of 40 miles on battery power (even considering the carbon nanotube upgrade, to 80 miles). This makes the Think look like a bargain, which it is, because you're comparing things on a realistic level.

If all you care about is a car to go from here to there, then any hybrid or electric car is going to be pointless for you, unless you plan to keep the car long enough to reap the savings.

Look at Sony's OLED display. It's 11" but it costs around $2,500. No one compares it to other displays like LCDs and plasmas and goes "wow, what a rip off!" , because it's new technology that's still in its market and production infancy.


RE: Sticker price
By Ringold on 10/31/2008 12:34:36 AM , Rating: 2
I don't see how a comparison to the Volt is apples to apples either, or a "realistic level." Look at this tiny little thing. This is comparing apples to an apple slice. IMHO, the extra functionality of the Volt makes the Volt a far better value.


RE: Sticker price
By Raidin on 10/31/2008 12:15:31 PM , Rating: 2
Because the volt is an electric car just as the Think, so they can be compared, apples to apples, in terms of performance. But you can't compare a gas car to an electric car that's still in it's technological infancy, on an equal level.

If we have refined electrical power for cars as long as we have petrol fuel cars, then it would make sense. That's what I meant by a realistic level. You can't just ignore that electrical power for cars is still new and unrefined.


RE: Sticker price
By Ringold on 10/31/2008 4:09:41 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Think, so they can be compared, apples to apples, in terms of performance.


Okay... An F-250 is an ICE-powered vehicle, and so is a Civic. Do you see how the comparison becomes futile? Yes, same technology, but vastly different sizes.

I agree that direct comparison with ICE and electric vehicles can't be perfectly done and all that, I'm just arguing over the comparison to the Volt, the larger vehicle. Sure, these will get better and cheaper as companies discover new tricks in how to mass produce these kinds of batteries.


RE: Sticker price
By JoshuaBuss on 10/31/2008 5:01:23 PM , Rating: 2
the point is that comparing an F-250 to a Civic on the basis of their technology and value makes infinitely more sense than comparing either to these electric cars right now.


RE: Sticker price
By Raidin on 10/31/2008 5:24:50 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. The difference between the Volt's 40-mile range and the Think's 110-mile range is quite large, but that has to take into account their weights, aerodynamics, motors, batteries, etc.

These are obvious, because they apply to any vehicle using the same propulsion technology, which is why they need not be mentioned specifically.


RE: Sticker price
By Ringold on 10/31/2008 11:13:32 PM , Rating: 3
You guys still seem to be looking at technology or something, but I'm still on value. For 10k more, the Volt, with similar technology, is larger, probably more comfortable in every way possible, can actually carry some cargo, and seat a bunch of big people in comfort. And for most people on most days, it can be 100% electric.

For 10k less than the Volt, you get a tiny golf-cart with nice range but almost nothing else. You said it was a bargain, and I'd agree... if you think golf carts are hot. Otherwise.. I'd take a Volt long before this dingy thing, and they're both just electric cars.


RE: Sticker price
By JoshuaBuss on 11/1/2008 1:59:24 PM , Rating: 2
i agree with you on that point, but you made it sound like comparing two different vehicles based on the same technology was pointless with your F-250 / civic argument, and that's where i disagree.


RE: Sticker price
By inighthawki on 10/30/2008 10:23:48 AM , Rating: 1
1. It;s new technology. It will cost more to make, and more to buy

2. People buy it BECAUSE it's an electric car, cost really isn't the point when comparing electric vs gas cars

3. Depending on how you want to take the argument, it's cleaner, producing no pollution

Whether these three things make the car worth it in your mind or not, it does for some people. Also keep in mind, eventually gas will run out or cost a lot more. Then the people with these cars have the upper hand because its "free" compared to $10 a gallon for gas, etc


RE: Sticker price
By Raidin on 10/30/2008 10:37:49 AM , Rating: 2
Amen.

OPEC has cut production to try and stabilize the cost of oil, since there are fewer buyers now. The whole point of an oil cartel is to make sure the members make as much profit as they want without any competition driving prices down.

OPEC will continue managing how much oil they produce as the reserves dwindle, so one way or another, prices will go up in the long term.

This is why we need cars like this, regardless of price. If they succeed, even only in a niche market of wealthy individuals who like to adopt new tech or want to be more eco-friendly, they will end up driving the industry forward and make way for new models, which will perform better and cost less.


RE: Sticker price
By FITCamaro on 10/30/2008 12:50:59 PM , Rating: 5
It's also why we need to start drilling for ourselves. Then we don't have to worry as much about what hostile foreign governments are doing regarding oil production.


RE: Sticker price
By Aloonatic on 10/30/08, Rating: 0
RE: Sticker price
By FITCamaro on 10/30/2008 1:42:45 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
How much oil is there under America or off America's shore by the way?


Many estimates say more oil than in the entire Middle East when all sources are considered.


RE: Sticker price
By eyebeeemmpawn on 10/30/2008 1:52:33 PM , Rating: 2
so why aren't they drilling on the currently leased land?


RE: Sticker price
By FITCamaro on 10/30/2008 2:21:16 PM , Rating: 3
Because the oil is elsewhere. We aren't drilling where we know oil is. We're drilling on places the government will currently allow but we don't know it is.

It's also a matter of the cost to get oil out of the ground. If oil is $80 a barrel but it will cost $90 to get it out of the ground, then they won't drill. That is one thing that the higher cost of oil did allow. Drilling in places where it wasn't economically feasible before.

We know there is oil in some places. The question is how much but Democrats won't allow companies to go find out.


RE: Sticker price
By croc on 10/30/2008 6:25:28 PM , Rating: 2
Links please...

Like this one... www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/international/reserves.html

That seems to be a pretty reliable site, and seems to say to me that you are a US-centric, right wing BS artist.


RE: Sticker price
By Spuke on 10/30/2008 6:34:26 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
That seems to be a pretty reliable site, and seems to say to me that you are a US-centric, right wing BS artist.
Learn to read first before making accusations. Your link sites PROVEN reserves which don't include ANY undrilled oil which is what FIT is talking about.


RE: Sticker price
By croc on 10/30/2008 8:26:37 PM , Rating: 2
Learn to understand technological terms, butthead... A proven reserve is a known reserve... Drilled or not. A bit further research on your part would show that the recently 'discovered' reserves in the arctic circle, even if they turn into 'proven' reserves, would add little to the US total as the vast majority are in Canadian or Russian territorial areas.


RE: Sticker price
By Aloonatic on 10/31/2008 9:11:15 AM , Rating: 2
News just in...

Canada is the home of terrorists and is now the centre of the axis of evil.


RE: Sticker price
By Spuke on 10/31/08, Rating: 0
RE: Sticker price
By eyebeeemmpawn on 10/30/2008 1:23:53 PM , Rating: 2
"An Associated Press computer analysis of Bureau of Land Management records found that 80 percent of federal lands leased for oil and gas production in Wyoming are producing no oil or gas. Neither are 83 percent of the leased acres in Montana, 77 percent in Utah, 71 percent in Colorado, 36 percent in New Mexico and 99 percent in Nevada." -AP

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5111184

I know, I know, its msnbc, and its from 2004. I'd be curious to see what the stats are now, if they supported drilling, I'm sure it would be all over the news.

If they wanted to drill, there is plenty of land already leased. Truth is, they want to keep the prices high to rake in the record profits. I personally suspect that the price of oil was intentionally raised to scare the public into supporting the leases so big oil could grab up the land and squat on it. Why not make the unused drill sites available for other companies to use? If independent companies could drill this unused space maybe we'd see some actual competition in the oil market. I have yet to hear a reasonable argument for more land access, only the idiot-in-a-hurry drill baby, drill chant.

BTW, oil prices exploded because our government decided it would remove the word "oil" from the federal trade regulation. No more oversight, and a Dark-Market trading environment caused the recent rise in fuel prices, not a limit in supply.

http://www.stopoilspeculators.com/


RE: Sticker price
By FITCamaro on 10/30/08, Rating: 0
RE: Sticker price
By jimbojimbo on 10/30/2008 2:58:04 PM , Rating: 2
Prices aren't only about supply, don't forget high demand especially from China.


RE: Sticker price
By Ringold on 10/31/2008 12:41:22 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
No more oversight, and a Dark-Market trading environment caused the recent rise in fuel prices, not a limit in supply.


Not sure if someone so biased is capable of comprehending even recent historical events, but you'll notice that demand was rapidly growing -- right up until prices started to drop, when the global economy cracked and much of Europe entered a recession. As prices dropped, we've come to learn that China's also slowed down.. if you believe their 9% number, it hasn't slowed much, but others think based on more solid data their growth actually was halved to 5%.

Demand was growing.. prices went up. Demand collapsed due to the onset of global recession.. prices went down. Is that too much for you, or do you have to blame evil, vile "speculators?" Also, please explain the wild price volatility historically seen in commodities not traded on markets at all, such as onions. How can evil speculators drive up and down prices when speculators can't speculate? Never mind, don't even bother trying to answer that.

quote:
Truth is, they want to keep the prices high to rake in the record profits.


Then why are oil companies throwing themselves at Cuba's feet to drill Cuba's newly discovered 20 billion barrels, discovered just 50 miles from Key West? And why is Cuba saying oil will start flowing by the end of next year? These fact's done jive at all with your propaganda.. why? Because reality is oil companies will drill like mad as soon as they're aware of its location and have permission to do so.


RE: Sticker price
By Raidin on 10/30/2008 1:48:41 PM , Rating: 2
The problem with using our own reserves is that it would decrease the pressure and urgency to develop alternative sources of energy, the pace of development will lower one way or another. Not only that, but while we will create a lot of new jobs and a new market, we will also be polluting even more, in our own backyards, along with the fact that eventually, many of these new jobs won't last, which means looking forward to more unemployment after a short-term boom in employment. Something to consider.

I'd rather keep the reserves we have as a backup in case we really need it, and keep focusing on true, permanent energy independence. Just look at the news, when's the last time you heard about ethanol fuels like E85, hydrogen powered cars like BMW's hydrogen 7-series, or hybrids and electrics popping up all over the place.

Ten or twenty years ago, it was unheard of by most citizens. I like the way things are changing and I hope the pace only gets quicker.


RE: Sticker price
By FITCamaro on 10/30/2008 2:17:53 PM , Rating: 2
I don't see a need to pressure ourselves into using less effective fuels and sources of energy.

I'd rather I never heard of E85 since the though of using it is pointless. It get worse mileage than gas and doesn't store as much energy. Electrics won't have the range of gas cars for years even with the breakneck pace. Hybrids just make cars more expensive and add the component of replacing a battery every 100-150,000 miles. And they'll likely just get thrown in a landfill. Plus their production is hardly "green".

Hydrogen powered cars and fuel cells are the only things that show promise. A methanol fuel cell vehicle is probably the best bet though since its implementation would require the least change to our existing infrastructure. Producing hydrogen just consumes too much energy and it store so little energy.

And in the end it may be for naught since we've already got algae that can produce diesel fuel. Why change to hydrogen, fuel cells, or pure electric when we can continue to use the same kinds of engines as today but with a carbon neutral footprint? Not that I see engines that produce CO2 as a problem.


RE: Sticker price
By Raidin on 10/30/2008 2:50:48 PM , Rating: 2
All the tech you've listed are in early stages, so of course they aren't efficient, practical, or competitive on a price or performance level. On the other hand, we've had a lot of time to refine the ICE.

At the same time, we don't all view efficient ICEs as acceptable. You have a point when it comes to clean diesels, especially if growing it from algae or bacteria using organic waste. But even that technology is pushing forward due to dependence on fossil fuels. Suddenly increase the world's supply of oil by a vast amount and you are certain to see delayed deadlines, longer research projects, things done "right" rather than more frequent experimentation and more "outside the box" thinking.

Some alternative fuels are very effective, just as much if not better than gasoline and other fossil fuels, but they are not at that level yet. The last thing we need is to slow their research down, keeping gas as the most effective fuel source, which only creates more obstacles for alternative energy research. Remember that most of this work is business-based. If it's more profitable and economically-sound to stick with gas, that's what will happen. Only when a need presents itself, will businesses and governments step in and change the norm.

Now if clean diesel tech, harvested rather than refined from oil production, really takes off, then we'd have no reason to rush, as we are not compounding the problem in the present, as we are doing now.


RE: Sticker price
By Ringold on 10/31/2008 12:46:12 AM , Rating: 3
So the solution is shock the economy with pain in order to get it to move in the direction which you feel is morally superior?

See, this is why I mourn the CSA defeat during the Civil War. If that had gone differently, it's pretty clear the union would've got back together afterward anyway. The difference for today is that if people like you wanted to do insane things like intentionally cause economic pain in order to achieve a social objective, you could do so on a state level instead of forcing all 50 states along the same path. Why should tiny Montana be forced in to your self-induced pain simply because a huge number of people in California and New York out vote them? Democracy? "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb deciding whats for dinner. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."


RE: Sticker price
By Raidin on 10/31/2008 12:22:25 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, you have some serious personal issues to work out if you managed to infer all of that from my post.

All I was saying was that we should be taking advantage of our situation, rather than making it worse by extending the problem. Just because we have an opportunity to push research further due to demand, doesn't mean we take advantage of the situation by intentionally making it worse to see how far we can push the development of new technology.

We are where we are, not because someone pushed us to it. Just because there's an advantage here doesn't mean we exploit it.

And when did this become about morals? Where did you get that from?


RE: Sticker price
By Ringold on 10/31/2008 11:23:33 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
All I was saying was that we should be taking advantage of our situation, rather than making it worse by extending the problem.


And by that you mean not drilling off shore and exploiting the natural resources we can in order to keep oil prices high, right? That's where we're in big disagreement. Thats creating economic hardship that doesn't have to take place.

quote:
And when did this become about morals?


If we can produce oil and it is cost-effective, then the most efficient course of action is to do that and continue to let alternative energy companies work to become competitive in time, when the time arises. Any other course of action is no longer based on economic reasoning, but morality; ie, this energy source being superior in some non-economic way than another source. Advocating not tapping domestic energy in order to keep pressure to develop alternatives up isn't an economic argument, it's largely a moral one. When those technologies are competitive, they'll come to market without such top-down government help.


RE: Sticker price
By sinful on 11/2/2008 2:11:03 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
And by that you mean not drilling off shore and exploiting the natural resources we can in order to keep oil prices high, right?

It'll take 5+ years for the "Drill Baby Drill" oil to have any impact on the market. Building the drilling equipment, refineries, etc, etc takes a LONG time.

There's even debate about whether or not the initial startup costs would make it economically useful in any sort of "real" timeframe. i.e. investing $1 Billion in more capacity is a great 20 year plan, but realistically it's not going to be a significant factor in reducing cost until that initial cost is paid off.

(In other words, everyone looks at the high costs of building solar, etc, but nobody considers you have to build refineries for the extra oil too).

Secondly, even when the new oil does come online, it's going to have been dwarfed by the increased demand in the meantime.

To use an analogy: The Titanic is taking on water, and the oil folks are saying "We just need to bail the water out faster!".
The green folks are saying "We should build a life raft instead of wasting time trying to bail out water!"

It's pretty hard to ignore the fact that at the end of the day, bailing out water only prolongs the problem.

The only way drilling for more oil makes sense is if you can increase global oil supply faster than global demand.
That's a VERY dubious proposition.
In other words, if in 5 years we've increased oil supply by 5% but demand went up 10%, we're then 5% WORSE OFF then we are now.

At least with alternative energy, we're moving away from the oil demand. I.e. it doesn't matter if China is using 120% more oil, because we're THAT much less dependent on oil.
i.e. if everyone's cars runs on electric, it doesn't really matter if China is paying $10/gallon for gas, now does it?

quote:
Any other course of action is no longer based on economic reasoning, but morality; ie, this energy source being superior in some non-economic way than another source.

Well, there is the whole "We should stop funding countries openly hostile to us" concept.
The average cost of production for a barrel of oil in the middle east is about $1/barrel.
In other words, when oil is $100/barrel, Iran is making $99 in profit.
If the US drills and it costs us $60/barrel, even if we sell "at-cost" and make $0 profit, our enemies are making $59 profit.

In short, not matter what we do, we're at such a disadvantage when it comes to oil that competing in that market is pure economic madness.

What will you do if OPEC decides to lower the price of oil to $20/barrel? They'd still be making a profit. How long would it take the US oil industry operating at a loss of $40 PER BARREL before the industry goes under?
If they shut down, how long before the expense of those idle billion dollar refineries catch up to them?

In short, the Middle East can essentially bankrupt any competitor they choose to, and STILL make money.

Competiting in a market like that is insanity.

quote:
When those technologies are competitive, they'll come to market without such top-down government help.

But that's just it -- it seems pretty obvious that gas prices will only increase at this point - we cannot possibly increase supply fast enough to match the increase in demand.

By the time those technologies are competitive on their own, we will have been LONG past the point we should have switched.

i.e. If you know in 3 hours you're going to be in excruciating pain, do you wait until you're in excruciating pain, AND THEN take pain medication, and wait -- in excruciating pain -- until the meds kicks in?
Or, do you act in anticipation, and take pain meds BEFORE you're in agony?

In other words, nobody is saying your solution "doesn't work" - what we're saying is "Yes, it will work, but we're going to suffer a LOT between the time we realize we need it and when we can switch. Maybe we should act in anticipation and avoid the suffering altogether."

Investing in alternatives is like taking the gross pain meds in advance of the inevitable onslaught of pain.


RE: Sticker price
By rett448 on 11/3/2008 2:50:43 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
To use an analogy: The Titanic is taking on water, and the oil folks are saying "We just need to bail the water out faster!".


Do both at the same time. The oil folks bailing out the ship gives the green folks enough time to build a more effective raft


RE: Sticker price
By Gzus666 on 10/31/08, Rating: 0
RE: Sticker price
By Ringold on 10/31/2008 11:19:41 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You mourn that the racist slave drivers lost? Wow, just wow.


Congratulations for revealing you received a government education, and, as always, the government teachers failed to impress upon you any of the actual issues revolving around the Civil War, why it was fought, and it's consequences. Since you can probably barely read, I'll say it plainly: It had nothing to do with slavery or racism, and everything to do with states rights. If it hadn't been slavery, it'd of been any of a number of other issues they had clashed over during the previous 60 years or so.

quote:
The reason California and New York have more pull than Montana is probably because Montana has like 12 people. Granted I don't like the electoral college or separate state voting and all that crap, but seriously, you don't like democracy?


Again with the government education. No, I do not like democracy, democracy is mob rule if liberty is not protected. If you'd educated yourself, you'd know the founding fathers had the same reservations I do, and probably wouldn't be at all happy either that California and New York can force their will upon smaller states that are completely powerless to resist.

quote:
I have a feeling you are a hillbilly with racist undertones.


If by hillbilly with racist undertones you actually mean educated in our nations history with many educated black friends and a preference for asian girls, you'd be correct!

But, I know, disliking Obama = racist these days.


RE: Sticker price
By William Gaatjes on 10/31/2008 10:24:38 AM , Rating: 2
If the u.s. did not consume the amount of oil they do, there would not have been a problem. It is "your" own lifestyle that caused this and friedman's free market (without a controlling eye to cut away the greedy parasites and keep the free market healthy).

For some information :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keynesian_economics

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_market

I think of Enron for example and what is going on with all those banks ? People used there houses to increase their virtual wallet. When the housemarket collapsed, the banks had to follow. Super invester Jim Rogers predicted it would happen in if 2003/2004 if i remember correctly.

Oil consumption is a direct example. If there where laws that force that a certain amount of fuel efficiëncy must be reached, then it is much easier to make higher fuel efficiëncy happen. Also tax reduction for higher fuel efficiëncy is much more important. In the UK for example this has proven to work for lease cars where people do not pay their own gasbills directly at the pump. The carmakers are always complaining that it is difficult to make cars with better milage. It is not, it is just that there is less profit to be made cause more R&D has to be done.

Many people say that the only way sustainable energy can be maintained through subsidiaries. You do not want to know how many disguised subsidiaries are given for fossile fuel's.
Solarcell powerplants do not need a fuel source other then the sun.
Windmills powerplants do need a fuel source other then the windenergy which is an effect of the sun.
Nuclear powerplants do need energy but with current new technology we do not need to refuel that often.
Coal powerplants need to be supplied with coals, and the price of these coals are not calculated in the costs.

No, electric cars are the way to go. It is a win win situation :

Electricity is cheaper then oil.
Electric cars have a higher effeciëncy.
When standing still, no electricity is used to propel the vehicle.
Cleaner air.

And only the utterly dumb and utterly greedy do not see that electric cars only have advantages.

I myself said that oil was and still is important, but not for mobility. And mobility is a much more important reason why we have wealth.


RE: Sticker price
By William Gaatjes on 10/31/2008 10:29:01 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
When standing still, no electricity is used to propel the vehicle.


This is obvious. i meant to say :

When standing still, no electricity is used to keep the motor running.


RE: Sticker price
By werepossum on 10/31/2008 7:06:36 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If the u.s. did not consume the amount of oil they do, there would not have been a problem. It is "your" own lifestyle that caused this and friedman's free market (without a controlling eye to cut away the greedy parasites and keep the free market healthy).

This is why, when Obama and Pelosi say they are going to save the world, they intend to destroy the traditional American lifestyle. It has always offended liberals that the "little people" can hop in a car and drive wherever we want. When the Democrat revolution is fully realized, most Americans will be equivalent to Europeans, taking public transportation from small but efficient apartments and condos, crowded together in high density developments, to their work, shopping, and approved recreation areas. This has been underway for some time, with green belt laws and other bans on new developments beyond a certain line, driving homes to be smaller and in higher density neighborhoods. Liberals hate suburbs and suburban lifestyles, and have wanted since the sixties to force Americans into a more controlled society similar to Europe. (To a liberal, Osama bin Ladin is a saint with fully justified reasons to kill Americans when compared to a mom in an SUV.) Now they have two compelling justifications, the scarcity and high price of oil and global warming, to do just this. Obama is just the tool to realize a decades-old socialist dream, although it will be interesting to see if, like Bloomberg, the Democrats repeal the 22nd Amendment to allow Obama to serve as long as he wishes.


RE: Sticker price
By William Gaatjes on 11/1/2008 5:00:42 AM , Rating: 2
Well, There are a lot of educated people in America that claim for years that the lifestyle some of you have cannot be maintained with respect to the income your country has. The best example is that factories and companies went to 3rd world countries in the past because labour was cheaper there and still is. That means less money is pumped around in the U.S.

quote:
they intend to destroy the traditional American lifestyle. It has always offended liberals that the "little people" can hop in a car and drive wherever we want.


I am not as liberal as you think, but i do use common sense. Maybe you should rethink what kind of lifestyle you want to have. There is nothing wrong with more efficiëncy.
To compare the lifestyle some of you have, it is like having a house with all windows open in the winter with the heating fully active. You had a bubble lifestyle that cannot be maintained. Many people say the free market will correct itself. It sure will but it will cost more people then it will benefit people. If you draw different aspects of the free market economy for example into a graph, you will see a oscillation shooting up and down. If you would dampen it a little, it would be less dramatic creating less excesses. The free market should be like good weather, sometimes rain, somtimes sun but on average it is pretty constant. And a backup for when once in a while the weather get's really ruff.
The point is that there is no complot. I am not sorry to break the conspiracytheorists happy thoughts. It is just one event with the next event in history that amplifies eachother while having nothing to do with eachother other then that the outcome of one affects the other in a way not foreseen. Learn from your history.

quote:
When the Democrat revolution is fully realized, most Americans will be equivalent to Europeans, taking public transportation from small but efficient apartments and condos, crowded together in high density developments, to their work, shopping, and approved recreation areas. This has been underway for some time, with green belt laws and other bans on new developments beyond a certain line, driving homes to be smaller and in higher density neighborhoods. Liberals hate suburbs and suburban lifestyles, and have wanted since the sixties to force Americans into a more controlled society similar to Europe


I will give you an example, public transport, healthcare, hospitals ,electricity, houses ,food and banks must always be under tight goverment control with the right policies. And supported by government with a limited free market option there. Because these are the basic needs of current sociëty. When 1 of these fall away sociëty starts to crumble. Afcourse, the right attitude of the people is important for this to work.


RE: Sticker price
By Staples on 10/31/2008 4:41:16 PM , Rating: 2
How about we just tax the hell out of people who drive heavy vehicles for no reason? I think anyone not driving a small car is just as responsible for oil shortages as the US' energy policy. In fact, more so.

So far the problem has been stupid people (like 40% of Americans) and non other. There is enough oil being pumped to go around.


RE: Sticker price
By William Gaatjes on 10/31/2008 5:12:25 PM , Rating: 2
A car should be taxed after it's weight and fuel efficiëncy.
The higher the weight, the higher the tax. The higher the fuel efficiëncy, the lower the weight tax becomes.
In my country only the weight of the car is taxed. Afcourse the weight of the car has something to say for the fuel effiëncy but when the fuel efficiëncy is taxed too, people will look for fuel efficiëncy as well. And that is when you get cars with smarter motormanagement will start to appear. But the electric car is still the best way. And afcourse electric cars are heavy, but the electricity can be created with sustainable energy sources as well as with optimized clean nuclear state of the art powerplants. There is no pollution to compare.

And i feel, that the american people are forced to think in a them or us manner by the media. Republicans against democrats for example. If your not with us you are against us... Where have i heard that before...
If you don't join in you are a loser. No right to your own opinion. Just shaped...
It is the american way it seems to always have an enemy.
Before it where the communists, now it is the europeans or any muslim. when there is no enemy, people in the U.S. will start to think about how life is really going in their country. Maybe now this will change, maybe just a little bit will be a fine beginning.


RE: Sticker price
By Spuke on 10/31/2008 6:33:16 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The higher the weight, the higher the tax. The higher the fuel efficiëncy, the lower the weight tax becomes.
What about people that use their vehicles for work? Do they get taxed also?


RE: Sticker price
By William Gaatjes on 11/1/2008 4:05:50 AM , Rating: 2
I know that vehicles (cargo vans and trucks for example) used for work by entrepreneurs are charged with a lower tax because they are used to create income. If you drive a personal vehicle just to get to work you pay the normal vehicle tax. That is as far as i know.


RE: Sticker price
By Spuke on 10/31/2008 6:34:01 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Before it where the communists, now it is the europeans or any muslim.
Europeans are not our enemies. LOL! Where did you get that from?


RE: Sticker price
By William Gaatjes on 11/1/2008 3:55:58 AM , Rating: 2
I am glad to read you agree on that.


RE: Sticker price
By eyebeeemmpawn on 10/30/2008 1:01:04 PM , Rating: 2
OPEC has historically lowered oil prices to kill off alternative automotive energy research. We need the market to create a permanent, price-competitive electric vehicle to give OPEC some real competition. The economics aren't there yet, but they have to start somewhere, unfortunately they didn't start with the Baker Electric nearly a century ago.


RE: Sticker price
By jimbojimbo on 10/30/2008 3:00:01 PM , Rating: 2
OPEC is the worst organization ever. Where else in the world can you go "I think I'm just going to work less and charge more so I can get more out of my resources?" And this is allowed? How? Oh yeah, they own us - literally, not the slang.


RE: Sticker price
By Gzus666 on 10/31/2008 3:56:57 PM , Rating: 2
Aren't monopolies fun?


RE: Sticker price
By Schrag4 on 10/30/2008 12:19:13 PM , Rating: 1
I hate to be a stickler (sp?), but the electricity you recharge the car's batteries with isn't free (although it's a lot cheaper than purchasing gas). So 10,778 days is actually a bit low.


RE: Sticker price
By inighthawki on 10/30/2008 3:34:58 PM , Rating: 2
thats why he said lets assume - since a lot of the argument is saving money by not requiring the person to buy gas, he was trying to compare an ideal and ultimately perfect situation for the electric car, to try and prove his point that it will take a while to get you moneys worth. (he is aware electricity is not free)


RE: Sticker price
By Nik00117 on 10/30/2008 5:04:50 PM , Rating: 2
Your right, not only that you were very genious with your calucations in favor of the electric car, you could easily argue a pay off to about 12-15 years.

Tell me, how many 12-15 year old cars are common? My trade in guys hate anyting pre-2000.

It'd be a tough sale when your picthing it aganist a focus $15,000 and a 30,000 car.

Focus top speed 105 MPH
GE Car tops peed 65 MPH

Focus range 480 miles (14 gallons * 35 miles)
GE car range 110 miles

Focus cost 15,000 (a fully equiped nice one is about 20-22k)
GE car cost 30,000

Twice the cost for half the speed and a 1/4 of the range?

Hybrids annoy me anyways.


RE: Sticker price
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 10/31/2008 9:40:28 AM , Rating: 2
Yea and to add to it, it would be a GE product. They can not even make a good light bulb. With my luck on GE products, come the 24th month I would need to replace the batteries. :)


RE: Sticker price
By werepossum on 10/30/2008 5:58:09 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
by Spivonious on October 30, 2008 at 9:45 AM
quote:
The car has a top speed of 65 MPH and can go 110 miles on a charge.

That's not very much for $30,000. You could buy a Chevy Aveo for $12,000 and get a higher top speed and a longer "per tank" range.

Let's say you drive around the town for 10 miles each day. Aveo gets about 30mpg, so that's 1/3 gallon per day. Let's say gas prices go crazy and get up to $5 per gallon. Each day of driving will cost you $1.67.

Let's also assume electricity is free.

It will still take you 10,778 days to break even. That's almost 30 years!! It's no wonder GM is hemmorhaging money these days.

When you take into account the cost of electricity and the cost of money, the car will never pay off, even if you drive 100 miles a day. But if you assume gasoline will continue to increase, and you assume that electricity will not, then the payoff improves to "almost never".

I suspect that most people willing to spend $30,000 for such a tiny all-electric car dwell in medium to large cities and are also affluent. Therefore they probably also frequently indulge in air travel. When you look at it that way, $30,000 is pretty cheap for the privilege of looking down your nose at your neighbors again.


RE: Sticker price
By Spuke on 10/30/2008 6:36:57 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
$30,000 is pretty cheap for the privilege of looking down your nose at your neighbors again.
True indeed.


RE: Sticker price
By lco45 on 10/31/2008 3:39:19 AM , Rating: 2
Fair enough, so if you drive 10 miles a day then forget about it.

But some other scenarios...

20 miles/day = 12 years to break even
50 miles/day = 6 years
100 miles/day = 3 years

And in UK where fuel is about £1/litre = $2US/litre = $US7.20/US gallon this would be:

20 miles/day = 12 * 5/7.2 = 8.3 years to break even
50 miles/day = 4.1 years
100 miles/day = 2 years

Seriously, most people I know would do more like 50 miles a day return, than 10.


RE: Sticker price
By Spuke on 10/31/2008 11:44:09 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
20 miles/day = 12 * 5/7.2 = 8.3 years to break even 50 miles/day = 4.1 years 100 miles/day = 2 years
Do you guys even drive that much? I was under the understanding that your commutes were very short. Let me know if I'm wrong.


RE: Sticker price
By werepossum on 10/31/2008 7:46:59 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
by lco45 on October 31, 2008 at 3:39 AM
Fair enough, so if you drive 10 miles a day then forget about it.

But some other scenarios...

20 miles/day = 12 years to break even
50 miles/day = 6 years
100 miles/day = 3 years

And in UK where fuel is about £1/litre = $2US/litre = $US7.20/US gallon this would be:

20 miles/day = 12 * 5/7.2 = 8.3 years to break even
50 miles/day = 4.1 years
100 miles/day = 2 years

Seriously, most people I know would do more like 50 miles a day return, than 10.

If you assume 36KWH per gallon of gasoline and an average of $3 per gallon, then at equivalent efficiencies electricity needs to be less than 8.33 cents just to break even. I believe the average cost of electricity today is probably around 12 cents per KWH. Therefore just to break even from day to day we need 40% better efficiency in the electric car. Is that practical? Maybe. A well-engineered IC engine would (I think) be about 30% efficient in day to day operation, or perhaps 45% in a dedicated battery recharging engine (de-coupled from the power train surges.) Thus to even begin payback, we need an efficiency above 43% for a well-engineered stand-alone IC engine or 65% for a well-engineered plug-in hybrid IC engine.

I'm assuming 95% in the electric motors (including transmission losses) and 85% in recharging and maintaining the battery, which would give an overall efficiency of 80%. In other words, one dollar's worth of energy would give you 3.6 KWH for a conventional automobile, 5.4 KWH for a plug-in hybrid, and 6.7 KWH for our electric car. In our Aveo example, that 3.6 KWH will move you ten miles, so our electric car (if chassis efficiency is assumed to be equivalent) saves 3.1 KWH per 10 miles or 0.31 KWH per mile, which is $0.037 per mile.

Thus if you drive 12,000 miles per year, you would save $444 per year. $15,000 per year (assuming that you have the money to buy the electric car and would otherwise invest it conservatively) is $450 per year. Thus, this is a rich person's toy, a way to look down on others, a way to make a statement, a way to "save the Earth", or just a way to enjoy a quiet car and avoid gas stations. It is NOT a way to save money, even if you plan on driving it the full 110 miles every day.

How's that for some off-the-cuff bullshit? Personally I want my Tracker 4x4 convertible in a plug-in Volt-type hybrid - but I want it for no more than $20,000!


RE: Sticker price
By omnicronx on 10/31/2008 11:18:37 AM , Rating: 2
With people like you around, its a wonder we are not using coal firing automobiles. For a first generation plug-in, a pricetag of 30k before rebate (which could result in as much as 7k off), this is quite amazing. Regardless of how long it takes to make your money back, we have to start somewhere, and 25K (assuming a 5k rebate) is a pretty good start. I don't know why you mention top speed either, this is designed for city only driving, and the chances are if you drive a short distance, that you will almost never use the gasoline engine either. If these cars catch on their is no telling how cheap they could be in 10 years. If we combine these cars with better forms of electricity (A.K.A nuclear) then the electricity used will also be much, much cleaner.

Also one of the big selling points of these cars is that they are totally quiet, I recently made fun of my friend's parents for buying a prius, when I told them they will never make back the money they spent, they replied that they could care less, as long as they don't hear the engine.


Convenient
By FITCamaro on 10/30/2008 10:14:33 AM , Rating: 1
When an actual car smashes into you they can bury you in it. Saves time and money on casket costs and funeral prep.




RE: Convenient
By Aloonatic on 10/30/2008 10:26:37 AM , Rating: 2
and if the wheels still go around, it'll save the pallbearer's backs too.

Everyone's a winner :D


RE: Convenient
By Parhel on 10/30/2008 10:45:58 AM , Rating: 3
The orange one looks like I should be putting a quarter in it at the mall.


RE: Convenient
By FITCamaro on 10/30/2008 12:52:08 PM , Rating: 1
Hot Wheels Power Wheels for adults.


RE: Convenient
By InvertMe on 10/30/2008 11:26:56 AM , Rating: 2
For inner city type driving it's not really so much of an issue but on the interstate... yeah I wouldn't risk it unless everyone was driving one.

I have an old jeep willys that really isnt a whole lot bigger than that and I really enjoy driving it. Smaller vehicles are easier to park and get around in. Compaired to the Expedition I used to drive - I would take the Willys anyday.

I guess it all depends where you want to drive them.


RE: Convenient
By jimbojimbo on 10/30/2008 3:02:16 PM , Rating: 2
So let me guess, you drive an Abrahms to work? That's the attitude to take all right. Unfortunately people are selfish and generally only think about themselves, except when they're talking publicly.


RE: Convenient
By Spuke on 10/30/2008 5:31:10 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
So let me guess, you drive an Abrahms to work?
Actually, he drives a Cobalt.

quote:
Unfortunately people are selfish and generally only think about themselves, except when they're talking publicly.
Actually, most Americans are very giving as evidenced by how much time and money we donate to various charities.


RE: Convenient
By omnicronx on 10/31/2008 10:54:30 AM , Rating: 2
This argument is getting old, the more small cars on the market, will mean less big cars on the road. Europe has done quite nicely with cars that average 2/3 the size of north American vehicles, with lower safety ratings and they have less fatal accidents. The transition to small cars is coming whether you like it or not, moms driving SUV's everywhere they go is no excuse for not attempting to promote smaller and more economical vehicles.


RE: Convenient
By Spuke on 10/31/2008 12:06:07 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Europe has done quite nicely with cars that average 2/3 the size of north American vehicles, with lower safety ratings and they have less fatal accidents.
This argument is also quite old. Continuing to compare Europe with its high urban population densities with the US with it's much lower population densities is not apples to apples. I won't even mention how much physical room we have over the typical European country. What works for them doesn't necessarily work for us.

Also, we're not transitioning to small, European style cars, we're transitioning back to sedans. Compare the sizes of the typical European car to the typical American car. Even the sizes of our "small" cars are quite a bit larger than theirs. Our Corolla is larger than theirs. Even our Yaris is larger than theirs.


its good to be oblivious.
By SandmanWN on 10/30/2008 4:32:07 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
While Ford remains uninterested in deploying an electric car

quote:
The petite Think Electric car is coming to America next year, thanks to General Electric


Reality:
quote:
Ford created Think in 1999, when it bought Pivo Industries of Norway for $23 million. It renamed the company and has since invested another $100 million in an attempt to develop a line of electric cars for sale to the public and government agencies.




RE: its good to be oblivious.
By SandmanWN on 10/30/2008 4:34:25 PM , Rating: 2
Followed by this:

quote:
The Ford Edge with HySeries Drive™ is the world’s first drivable fuel cell hybrid electric vehicle with plug-in capability.


http://media.ford.com/newsroom/release_display.cfm...


RE: its good to be oblivious.
By SandmanWN on 10/30/2008 4:36:38 PM , Rating: 2
And More:
quote:
Ford is testing a new plug-in hybrid Explorer concept that could get up to 120 mpg

http://www.businessweek.com/lifestyle/content/jan2...


RE: its good to be oblivious.
By theboomboomcars on 10/30/2008 6:02:32 PM , Rating: 2
Except Ford sold think,
quote:
Willums picked up Think, its factory, and Ford's nearly completed design for a new-model City for the fire-sale price of about $15 million.


http://money.cnn.com/magazines/business2/business2...


RE: its good to be oblivious.
By SandmanWN on 10/31/2008 7:40:45 AM , Rating: 2
yep after dumping well over 123 million into it. sold at 15 for a car that is 7 years late. my point was Micks blatant act of making false statements for the second article in a row.


Highway
By FranksAndBeans on 10/31/2008 8:52:26 AM , Rating: 2
I'm fine with the product and understand the target market and pricing.

What I don't agree with is making a car that can only go 65mph. Unless these things are clearly not highway legal then they should be able to travel at real world highway speeds.

People will come in an argue that 65mph is a high enough speed for all US highway minimums, and that's fine. But I'm getting mighty tired of people driving 55mph on a ~80-85mph average speed highway. How you can develop a ground up product that people will use in that environment without the capability is beyond me.

And don't give me crap about "people who buy these know better or won't use them like that". Riiiiiiight.




RE: Highway
By Spuke on 10/31/2008 12:10:46 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
And don't give me crap about "people who buy these know better or won't use them like that". Riiiiiiight.
I agree. People will use these like regular cars. And they will be used on freeways. I've seen Smart cars on freeways before. Our here in the western states, the slowest speed limit is 65 mph and that's in urban areas. Outside of urban areas, the speed limit can be as high as 80 mph, nevermind the actual speeds that people drive at.


RE: Highway
By andrinoaa on 11/1/2008 6:47:02 AM , Rating: 2
Unless you had a brain fade or typo, did you say 65MPH in urban areas? seems I have a keyboard problem lol!!!


RE: Highway
By andrinoaa on 11/1/2008 7:06:44 AM , Rating: 2
The rest of the world doesn't travel at anywhere near 65mph in urban areas.


only the electric make sense
By RoberTx on 10/30/2008 6:51:37 PM , Rating: 2
The electric car is the only sensible alternative to petroleum powered cars. Charge it up on solar, wind, tidal, geothermal, nuclear, so-on and so-on. Electric motorcycles with fairly good performance are already available. Their rang is limited but increasing. I rode an electric moto-cross that KICKED ASS for about 60 miles. The accompanying Yamaha WR 250 race bike ran out of gas about the same time.




RE: only the electric make sense
By RoberTx on 10/30/2008 6:57:55 PM , Rating: 2
I forgot to add that the electric cost about the same as the 4 stroke Yamaha. Weighed about the same also. There aresome rider and owner reports on them at advrider.com.


Booming?
By Spuke on 10/31/2008 3:39:55 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
While there have been some slight hiccups, such as the missteps of Tesla Motors, few can disagree that even amid a weak economy the plug-in business is booming.
Yeah, it's booming alright. LOL!

http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-10079963-54.html




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