Perhaps most EVs ARE just compliance cars....

  • Active since 1995, Hearth.com is THE place on the internet for free information and advice about wood stoves, pellet stoves and other energy saving equipment.

    We strive to provide opinions, articles, discussions and history related to Hearth Products and in a more general sense, energy issues.

    We promote the EFFICIENT, RESPONSIBLE, CLEAN and SAFE use of all fuels, whether renewable or fossil.

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
93,751
South Puget Sound, WA
Alberta has a bit of a mess on it's hands. Farmers, by legislation, have to lease their lands for oil/gas production. With the downturn, many companies have walked away leaving unpaid electric bills. They were relying on the rule that they could charge the land owner for unpaid bills. That rule was supposed to apply to residential units ... not commercial oil/gas operations that need phase 3. Province is supposed to step in with unpaid land lease payments to help farmers recover them or pay them outright. Unpaid utilities may be the next in line:( My question would also be who covers clean-up and capping?
If it's like the US often the answer is 'we the people'.
 
Last edited:

Lake Girl

Moderator
Nov 12, 2011
6,939
NW Ontario
That seems to be the same here but it would be provincial level ... provinces control natural resources ... minerals, water, tree harvest.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
7,303
Northern NH
Interesting discussion that I appear to have stirred up.

Incentives are good to "prime the pump", new technology generally gets adopted faster when there are short term incentives put in place to encourage high volume manufacture to drive prices down, it has worked spectacularly well for PV and may sometime work for EV. The differences to me is that the PV effort led to it being essentially transparent to the typical user . In the case of PV, once the initial thrill of putting shiny things on the roof, there is zero impact to the typical homeowner except for financial. The bill payer in the household may notice but the rest of the residents don't have to alter their lifestyle. Unlike an off grid install, they don't have to change their lifestyle to adjust to PV and that's why PV is going mainstream.

I don't find that is the case yet with EVs and until the range issue goes away EVs require lifestyle changes that a typical user is not willing to adopt. No doubt there are plenty of early adopters who take pride in that lifestyle change but in order to mainstream the technology so there are large scale environmental benefits, the average user need to get on the bandwagon. To date priming the pump can drive the EV cost down but barring the replaceable battery concept that failed miserably in Israel and Tesla's abandonment of the concept, having a EV in the garage requires extra effort and planning than an ICE. This has been somewhat supported by reports I have seen that many of the corporate off lease hybrids (Volts) have minimal battery hours on them despite high mileage. No doubt many Volt folks take great pride in avoiding adding gas but I expect the business users are probably more of a typical user, when they hop in the car from the motor pool, they want to get on the road and when they get back they want to go home and don't want to fuss with finding a space to plug in or even spend the time to actually plug it in. Fundamentally an EV requires preplanning to ensure that the battery has adequate charge to cover the intended trip and that requires plugging it in in advance. I accept that there are EV folks who regard this as acceptable but I argue that to a typical ICE owner this is an imposition especially when the vehicle is used by multiple users. Stereotypically in a typical household the standard refrain is "some other family member used the car and didn't fill it up". This usually happens when someone else needs the car right now. Granted with a suitable electrical service to support a fast charger, the batteries can be fast charged in some period of time but with an ICE unless its bone dry its just a quick trip to gas pump.

My contention is the average driver is unwilling to put up with the extra hassle barring a significant increase in energy costs to the point where it impacts disposable income. It has happened in the past, but the current predictions are that fuel costs are going to remain low. Thus the need for external drivers to encourage EV use. A carbon tax could do that but given the recent election results, a carbon tax is highly doubtful anytime soon. The alternative is the CA approach, drive it from the supply side by forcing car manufacturers to subsidize EVs until someone will buy them at the discounted price. Thus the compliance car was born and barring major market changes I expect they will remain. I have no doubt there always will be folks who will buy EVs if they available and are gladly willing to accept what to them is a trivial lifestyle change. I just believe that market penetration will remain so low that any environmental benefits will remain lo.
 

woodgeek

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2008
4,577
SE PA
That said, EVs are contagious. We got one, and lo and behold in the last couple years three other families we know got one too. Of course, they are all two-car families with one long commuter, so with the miles logged it is quite affordable. And in those EV families, like mine, the two drivers fight over who gets to drive the 'good car', i.e. the EV.

The charging has been a convenient non-issue, car is just plugged in in the garage at night. Not really different than your phone...just plug it in at the end of the day, or maybe before that if you used it a lot.

Peakbagger is reading a lot into reports from some fleet users, where who knows what the mgmt expectations or policies were?

While I may concede the point that the makers are not really excited about the prospect of making long-range EVs, due to reduced profits or whatever, there are _plenty_ of people that are happy to drive them given the chance. As range improves and cost decreases, that fraction will expand.

People are naturally a little reticent with new tech for a big-ticket item. My dad always asks about the car...he's supportive but I think he expects the wheels to fall off at some point, or maybe for the squirrel under the hood to expire, I dunno. But your neighbors see you driving the thing in all weather for a couple years...they figure its a car.
 
Last edited:

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
7,303
Northern NH
Peakbagger is reading a lot into reports from some fleet users, where who knows what the mgmt expectations or policies were?

The reports are not from fleet users, its from used vehicle auctions commenting on the low prices used EVs get.. Take a look at Ebay on used EV prices using the option for transactions that actually were completed versus what people are asking, you will see that the prices are quite low compared to the original cost of the cars. I have know of one EV user that bought one who was quite distressed when his job changed and needed to trade in his now used EV to the dealer he bought it from in less than two years and the trade in offered was about a 1/3 of what he paid for it. The local large Chevy dealer near me will only special order Volts as they have been stuck with too many on the lot, that end up getting cleared out at a loss.

I understand that you are 100% advocate of the technology and want to spread your zeal to others, my point is that EVs are still in the early adoption phase where they are being bought by those willing to put up with still significant limitations that would preclude their purchase by the general population.
 

williaty

Member
Jan 12, 2015
103
Licking County, Ohio
The low used price of EVs represents the significant uncertainty in the ongoing cost of maintenance as much as anything else. Right now, there's not a near-100-year history of what they're like to maintain once the warranty expires or they come off lease. People are worried about just how much replacement battery packs are going to cost plus just how often new packs are going to be needed. On top of that, it doesn't help the used market at all that the technology is advancing so fast. When you come off your 2 or 3 year lease and have the option of buying the car, it seems pretty stupid to spend a considerable amount of money to buy the one you have already when the current year's model is better in every meaningful way.

Used prices will come up as the maintenance questions resolve and as the rate of improvement slows (making used cars more similar in performance to the newest cars).
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
93,751
South Puget Sound, WA
That said, EVs are contagious. We got one, and lo and behold in the last couple years three other families we know got one too. Of course, they are all two-car families with one long commuter, so with the miles logged it is quite affordable. And in those EV families, like mine, the two drivers fight over who gets to drive the 'good car', i.e. the EV.

People are naturally a little reticent with new tech for a big-ticket item. My dad always asks about the car...he's supportive but I think he expects the wheels to fall off at some point, or maybe for the squirrel under the hood to expire, I dunno. But your neighbors see you driving the thing in all weather for a couple years...they figure its a car.
I was surprised when my sister-in-law visited at how enthusiastic she was over the Volt. She is a firm BMW owner but actually got the fun factor of driving the Volt.

FWIW, GM reports that so far Volt battery replacements are very rare. These paks are conservatively designed and only a portion of the capacity is exercised so that it can't be drained too low.
 

woodgeek

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2008
4,577
SE PA
The reports are not from fleet users, its from used vehicle auctions commenting on the low prices used EVs get.. Take a look at Ebay on used EV prices using the option for transactions that actually were completed versus what people are asking, you will see that the prices are quite low compared to the original cost of the cars. I have know of one EV user that bought one who was quite distressed when his job changed and needed to trade in his now used EV to the dealer he bought it from in less than two years and the trade in offered was about a 1/3 of what he paid for it. The local large Chevy dealer near me will only special order Volts as they have been stuck with too many on the lot, that end up getting cleared out at a loss.

I understand that you are 100% advocate of the technology and want to spread your zeal to others, my point is that EVs are still in the early adoption phase where they are being bought by those willing to put up with still significant limitations that would preclude their purchase by the general population.

Sure. The resale on EVs is terrible compared to ICE cars. The former is a rapidly evolving technology, where products are getting better and cheaper (relative to performance) at a rapid clip, the latter is a mature or post-mature technology, where the prices have been climbing steadily for years (along with complexity) creating a significant food-chain and demand for affordable used cars. That is why most folks LEASE their EVs, and don't buy them. Add to this the fact that the first 40k LEAFs sold in the US had [email protected] batteries because corporate forced engineering into early release....and those cars are now nearly worthless.

I won't deny my zealousness...or the fact that existing (or near future) battery EVs do not fit the use model of many American car drivers.

I think strong hybrids like the Prius are struggling due to low gas prices (you need a LOT of miles, more than an average commute, to make up the upfront cost). Plug-in hybrids also have a high upfront cost because of their complex, ICE drivetrains, and the cost saving from electric miles make them only slightly more favorable than a Prius at current gas prices. I think both are and will continue to struggle on a 'cost/complexity' basis despite being useable for 100% of driver's use cases.

But battery EVs are another story entirely. The limited (~100 mile) 'no-wait' range make the car fine for nearly all commuters, but lousy for road-trips. Fortunately, there are a LOT of single commuter families and most of those commute <40 miles/day and already own 2+ cars. Think about how many families like that you know. Is it 3% of families, or 30%? For these families the lack of an ICE drivetrain reduces the upfront and maintenance costs of the car, significantly improving the economic analysis, even with cheap gas.

So, I claim that while 100% of drivers could us a plug-in hybrid or hybrid exclusively, most people don't want them based upon performance or cost. The apparent ceiling on Prius sales would seem to agree with this. But turning to battery EVs however, I claim that 30% of families have a perfect commuting use model (owning a second larger car for roadtrips), and that such cars' sales ceiling is thus 15% of unit sales, if costs continue to fall and practical range does not increase.

I think BEV sales (about 0.7% of US light vehicle sales in 2016) are held back by fear and unfamiliarity, as with all new technology. It's one thing to try something new when the investment is small (like a new kind of phone or appliance), but another thing entirely when its a big-ticket item that affects your ability to get to work. I am not surprised that most people (sensibly skeptical of advertising, or having been burned by new tech before) won't consider a BEV until they see their neighbors or family members have an extended successful user experience. But that is still compatible with every BEV sold selling three more after two years (my personal case), which is a 50% annual growth rate.

So 50% possible growth rate (realized in the US when gas was more expensive), combined with the 15% sale ceiling above means that BEVs could become a mainstream option in the US by 2020. In locations with higher gas taxes (EU) or better incentives (China) annual sales growth rates have been 50-100% over the last year.
 
Last edited:

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
7,303
Northern NH
Now that you have shifted the discussion to other than a primary vehicle market I do agree with you. I will buy the concept that for someone who has a primary vehicle and has use for a commuter car to commute within the range of BEV, a BEV is potentially an attractive option to an ICE car. Given the current pricing of new BEVs, I expect the economics would work better buying a used BEV to take advantage of the currently depressed BEV resale market. Of course that presupposes that someone would initially buy the BEV new and take the depreciation hit.
 
  • Like
Reactions: woodgeek

woodgeek

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2008
4,577
SE PA
Sure, but getting to a theoretical 15% of sales (20x current) on the back of 'cheap second car econ' without long-range capability would be enough to fund the engineering and rollout of 200+ mile EVs that are cheaper than small ICE cars. Then we get to the land of some additional people buying 200 mile EVs as primary cars just because they're cheaper, and either sucking up some manageable inconvenience on couple hundred mile trips, renting an ICE car, or taking the train/bus.

Given the current pricing of new BEVs, I expect the economics would work better buying a used BEV to take advantage of the currently depressed BEV resale market. Of course that presupposes that someone would initially buy the BEV new and take the depreciation hit.

Having looked at this, the lease options are quite attractive on the new units, often set to make the monthly nut comparable to a buying used with 4 year financing. You also have to keep in mind that a lot of batteries have an 8-10 year 'shelf-life', and so if you buy an EV coming off a 3 year lease, and pay it off after 4 years, it might not have much remaining life (or function) left at that point.
 

TonyVideo

Feeling the Heat
Feb 20, 2014
457
Rushville, IN
Once an EV can get to that 400 mile range with AC or heat running then they will take off. Until then fear of running out and left stranded will prevail. Which reminds me of a pic of a Tesla in a restaurant parking lot being charged by a Honda EU2000i. Priceless.

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
 

woodgeek

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2008
4,577
SE PA
I think 200 miles real world range and as many quick chargers as we now have gas stations will also do nicely.

And before that a LOT of 2 car families will get a 100+ mile commuter car as their 'second' car.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Nelson

spirilis

Minister of Fire
Sep 8, 2009
940
Baltimore, MD
I think 200 miles real world range and as many quick chargers as we now have gas stations will also do nicely.

And before that a LOT of 2 car families will get a 100+ mile commuter car as their 'second' car.
Waking this thread up from the dead mostly to squee about my new purchase ... 2017 Ford Focus Electric, a compliance car if I've ever seen one. Dealer had 4 in stock (most of any dealer in the Baltimore area) and really didn't have much practical experience about them. It feels like it has a lot of gizmos for the price (which was quite lower than MSRP), HID headlights/standard navigation, remote telematics et al, somewhat generous warranties coming from the ICE world.

We're firmly in the "second car as 100+ mile commuter" territory, with my wife tending to agree that I should drive it (as I can manage the range anxiety better than her).

That said, anyone who's never test driven a hybrid, plug-in hybrid and especially BEV should try it sometime. There's something immensely addicting about the high-torque nature of electric propulsion, along with the regenerative braking (e.g. how cruise control can maintain speed by using regen to brake). It's definitely something to be excited about.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
93,751
South Puget Sound, WA
Congratulations. EV driving can be fun!
 

WoodyIsGoody

Minister of Fire
Jan 16, 2017
1,437
Pacific NW Washington
The signatories are basically ALL the makers except Tesla and NIssan, which are coincidentally the only ones trying to sell EVs in all states and countries.

Your entire premise is wrong.

Tesla's Elon Musk also wrote his own detailed letter to the Feds requesting an end to electric vehicle subsidies:

http://www.businessinsider.com/elon...ric-car-subsidies-trump-administration-2017-2

He explains how the subsidies put Tesla at a competitive disadvantage and should be eliminated.
 

Seasoned Oak

Minister of Fire
Oct 17, 2008
7,217
Eastern Central PA
Just read an article about 6 models GM is thinking of Ending and was surprised to see the VOLT in there!
 

BrotherBart

Modesterator
Staff member
Listening to the radio a few days ago and heard a news item about GM shutting down Volt production for a while because of slow sales. Then the next thing was a commercial for the Volt. >>
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
93,751
South Puget Sound, WA
Cheap gas will set us back many years. That said, Volt sales continue to rise. I keep telling GM to put an SUV topper on the Volt chassis. Word is the Volt may morph into a crossover vehicle. That would be a good plan if they keep the driving fun in the car while increasing passenger capacity.

http://www.autoblog.com/2016/06/01/chevy-volt-nissan-leaf-may-2016-sales/
 
Last edited:

Seasoned Oak

Minister of Fire
Oct 17, 2008
7,217
Eastern Central PA
Will be interesting to see how the BOLT does against the Leaf. Would seem a no brainer unless your a big nissan fan. ID like to see the BOLT battery in an SUV.
 
Last edited:

woodgeek

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2008
4,577
SE PA
What I have read re Volt phase out is that it is part of a larger strategy to reduce sedan production....esp small sedan production, since sales of same are falling like a rock.

No reason the same drivetrain can't be used in a CUV.
 

woodgeek

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2008
4,577
SE PA
Will be interesting to see how the BOLT does against the Leaf. Would seem a no brainer unless your a big nissan fan. ID like to see the BOLT battery is an SUV.

The outcome will depend on price and incentives. Right now it looks like the LEAF Gen 2 will be cheaper than the Bolt MSRP, and the first release will have a smaller battery (although multiple battery options will likely be available later in different trims).

That said, Bolt leases have been coming in 50% more expensive than Gen 1 LEAF leases, which is a big ask for a vehicle that is still not great for long road trips, and has similar usability for commuting. I am lined up for being a LEAF Gen 2 early adopter in 2018....and I am hoping for a lease rate well below that currently offered by GM.

To speculate a bit....I think the difference in incentives between what GM and NIssan is doing presumably has something to do with Nissan WANTING to sell more EVs than GM does. Either b/c they want to grow the business more (e.g. the topic of this thread), or they have done a better job with cost containment, and are closer to profitability on each unit, or can project a near future profitable market than GM can.

GM certainly seems to be doing a slooow rollout on the Bolt. Maybe they are cautious with the tech in their first pure battery EV (BEV)....and they are watching their early sales data closely, lest they have to do a huge recall (like the Pacifica EV minivan). Or maybe they are just cautious. Or maybe they are not interested in selling a lot, and just want to have have the tech/data for insurance for an EV future that they are not sure will happen.

We'll see.

PS: Recent 'news' about cutting Bolt production is BS. They are retooling the line to make more Bolts (and fewer Sonics, that share the same line).
 
Last edited:

Seasoned Oak

Minister of Fire
Oct 17, 2008
7,217
Eastern Central PA
The BOLT introdustion partly makes the Volt obsolete. Im sure BOLT sales will eat into existing Volt sales when they go 50 states. Unless the VOLT is your only car. With 240 miles of range the need for a backup engine is greatly reduced
 
  • Like
Reactions: spirilis

woodgeek

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2008
4,577
SE PA
The BOLT introdustion partly makes the Volt obsolete. Im sure BOLT sales will eat into existing Volt sales when they go 50 states. Unless the VOLT is your only car. With 240 miles of range the need for a backup engine is greatly reduced

I am skeptical of this. A BEV with 240 mile range is still a tough sell for anyone who ever wants to take a real roadtrip....assuming (current best) 50 kW CCS chargers are available en route, you still have to stop for 1 hour per 4 hours of driving (or 30 mins every 2, etc). Most people will still prefer an ICE car (as I do) or a PHEV (as begreen) for that task. So lots of single car people will still get the Volt or a different PHEV. Because the bigger battery doesn't really help with the roadtrip problem....which is lost time.

The Bolt is a nice vehicle, its bigger than the Volt and seats 5 and has a lot of cargo space (its a mid-size hatch, like the LEAF).

That said, sales YTD are neck and neck between the Bolt and the OLD LEAF (about 7000 units each). There are many factors...Bolt only avialable in limited markets (but with most EV -popular states) AND being the new hotness. LEAF has been around for a long time AND may be suppressed by impending Gen 2 release.

And yet the old LEAF is keeping up with the Bolt??? Its about price!

Lots of leaks that the first release LEAF gen 2 will likely be 40 kWh/160 miles of range, versus Bolt's 60 kWh/240 mile range.

HERE: http://insideevs.com/next-gen-nissan-leaf-spotted-dash-displays-265-km165-miles-of-range/

If the 40 kWh LEAF costs 2/3rds as much as the 60 kWh Bolt, I think it will sell a LOT better. Neither car is good for long road trips, both are equally good commuters and the same size/cargo. And if GM wants another $1000-$1500/yr to lease the Bolt, why would I spend that to facilitate a couple short road trips, e.g. 150-200 miles??? I can still do those trips with the LEAF, and the Bolt might save me a couple charging stops? For $1000??

At the current price point, the Model 3 will eat the Bolt's sales. And the LEAF Gen 2 might reach a different (less spendy) segment.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: spirilis

sportbikerider78

Minister of Fire
Jun 23, 2014
2,493
Saratoga, NY
I fear that the US is about to undergo a complete about face on climate change. We are about to enter a period of damn the torpedos and full oil & coal ahead. The new admininster also wants to get rid of wind power, thinks they're ugly.

He has that in common with Ted Kennedy...who was all for alternative energy until they tried to ruin his view from his vacation home on the Cape with wind turbines.