Sunday, October 13, 2013

Gasmobiles Will NEVER Be As Good As Electric Cars

Reader Comment:
For nearly two months now, I’ve been planning to repost the excellent reader comment posted below. The comment came on an article by Shai Agassi regarding the lessons automakers should learn from Tesla Motors (and Apple, Ford, and other technological pioneers). That original post is worth a read as a preface. I was tempted to add an extra preface of my own, but the reader comment is so good that I think I’ll just add an addendum. Without further ado, here’s the reader comment:
A paradigm shift occurs when a product comes out that is *fundamentally* better than current products at a similar price point.
Typical cars will NEVER be as safe as a car with a crumple zone as big as a model S, it’s physically impossible.
A typical ICE car will NEVER be able to accelerate and generate as much torque as an electric car in the 0-60 range.
A typical car will NEVER be as efficient as an electric. An ICE engine maxes out at ~40% with energy conversion, an electric motor is above 90%.
A typical car will NEVER be as simple as a pure electric, there are simply more moving parts.
A typical car will NEVER be able to match the handling / AWD of a vehicle with two independently controllable electric motors that can dynamically send power to any of the wheels at any time.
A typical car’s suspension will NEVER be able to match the smoothness of an all air suspension.
A typical car will ALWAYS need more maintenance work.
No oil company is ever going to give fuel away for free, while Tesla will give electricity away for free forever.
The list goes on and on and on. These are fundamental improvements that all ICE cars cannot match, because they physically cannot.
My addendum: indeed, 80% of people who have driven an electric car in an EV trial program in the UK are open to ditching gasmobiles. I don’t really need to repeat the points above, but seriously: smoother ride, better torque (awesome to feel it), smoother ride (again, you have to feel it), fewer mechanical problems and maintenance needs, much more efficient, doesn’t require you to fund global warming and oil dependency, super quiet, you aren’t exposed to so many pollutants (which are smelly and obviously bad for our bodies and minds), you’re safer, and it makes you feel better about yourself.
As far as the cost, for many people, electric cars are now cheaper than gasmobiles over the course of a few years (a shorter timeframe than most are likely to own the car). Depending on your projections for the cost of oil/gas in the coming years, as well as the EV charging options your utility (or solar-powered roof) provides, you might very well be in that “better and cheaper” consumer boat.
Of course, if cost isn’t an issue and you simply want an awesome car, the Tesla Model S or a host of electric supercars are available.
Many people say that we are not yet sure whether EVs will take the market away from gasmobiles, or if hydrogen fuel cell cars will do so. It’s seems beyond obvious to me that EVs will eventually dominate. Again, look at the list above, and also look at the cost trends. Tell me if I’m missing something (even after all these years covering EVs and listening to the pessimistic anti-change “critics”).