WaPo Columnist: The electric car mistake

“The Obama administration’s electric-car fantasy finally may have died on the road between Newark, Del., and Milford, Conn.”

Charles Lane writes in the WaPo today:

…Federal billions cannot overcome the fact that electric vehicles and plug-in electric hybrids meet few, if any, of real consumers’ needs. Compared with gas-powered cars, they deliver inferior performance at much higher cost. As an American Physical Society symposium on battery research concluded last June: “Despite their many potential advantages, all-electric vehicles will not replace the standard American family car in the foreseeable future.”

If you don’t believe the scientists, listen to Takeshi Uchiyamada, the “father” of the Toyota Prius: “Because of its shortcomings — driving range, cost and recharging time — the electric vehicle is not a viable replacement for most conventional cars”…

Read Lane’s column.

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7 responses to “WaPo Columnist: The electric car mistake

  1. I heard the father of the electric car was basically saying it was a niche, not a mainstream endeavor.

  2. Charles Lane could have written the same W P article one hundred years ago with the same relevancy.

  3. And how does this reality change anything for the true believers? About as much as the recent court ruling that said that the EPA mandate for biofuels was unachievable–with the EPA answer to raise it for this year.

  4. Mossrock,
    The difference is that while electric and ICE based cars were both invented around the same time, ICE based cars have improved much more. They are now capable of transporting one in comfort for more than 400 miles on a tank of gas, at around 10 cents a mile, for 200,000 miles without major repairs. Electric based cars still have the same problem: power storage is insufficient to deliver comparable range and cost per mile at a similar range of comfort (think about very cold and hot weather). And it’s not for lack of trying. Literally billions have been spent pursuing this goal and still nobody has achieved it. Maybe in another 50 years, but certainly not in the foreseeable future. And for that I am quite sad.

    • It is hard to see it in even 50 years. All the chemical equations for batteries were available to us 150+ years ago, and the importants ones are listed in the redox section of any high school chemistry book.

      Yes we have gotten better at controlling the reactions, and forming the batteries in different shapes, but to get more power by weight would require a basic change to the Universe. Various Lithium – Ion technology batteries are the best and it won’t get any better. The oly option is to make the cars around them more efficient – turning them into very tiny, slow, underpowered vehicles. The problem is unlike electronics, there comes a point when you shrink a car that it becomes unusable because the passengers just won’t fit.

  5. Whoever invents low-cost energy-dense storage for electricity will make Bill Gates look like a pauper.

    • Not if someone else invents an efficient source. A cold fusion reactor in your trunk might be better than a battery.

      “Predictions are very difficult, especially when the future in involved.” – Yogi

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