Analysis: 5 things to come for electric vehicles

Analysis: 5 things to come for electric vehicles

Summary: One of the true benefits of the past two weeks is that I have not received my usual 50 or so e-mails in my three different e-mail accounts, which means that I have had time to do some reading and recalibrating of the themes for my 2011 coverage. I've already blabbed on about my hopes for the solar industry.

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One of the true benefits of the past two weeks is that I have not received my usual 50 or so e-mails in my three different e-mail accounts, which means that I have had time to do some reading and recalibrating of the themes for my 2011 coverage. I've already blabbed on about my hopes for the solar industry. While I was on the PikeResearch site last week, I also came across two great research reports that I'll dissect today and tomorrow. The first is their predictions for the commercial viability of electric vehicle market in 2011.

There are 10 electric vehicle (EV) themes explored altogether, in PikeResearch's "Electric Vehicles: 10 Predictions for 2011" report. I've picked out the five that have me most intrigued. I highly recommend that you download the executive summary of the report for more details on each of these themes, along with the five that I haven't mentioned. It is "free" except for the fact that you will need to register.

  1. "The majority of people who drive a plug-in vehicle won't own it." What exactly does this mean? Pike believes that most consumers will receive their first exposure to electric vehicles through rental car programs with the likes of Avis, Hertz and Enterprise, which are all testing beginning to include electric or hybrid electric vehicles in their fleets. The other place you're likely to get your first electric cruise is in a taxi-cab in places including London, New York, Tokyo and San Francisco.
  2. "Automakers will get pushback from EV owners regarding the length of time it takes to fully charge a vehicle." Let's be honest: you and I don't like waiting for anything, let alone having to twiddle your thumb while your vehicle charges. Pike Research makes the point that none of the initial wave of consumer vehicles -- the Nissan Leaf, the Chevrolet Volt or the Mitsubishi I-MiEV -- can use the Level II charging standard, which lets you charge the vehicle in a few hours rather than overnight.
  3. "Many EV charging stations will spend the majority of their time idle." There are a number of public places -- including retail shopping malls and gas stations -- that are beginning to invest in charging infrastructure. But during the next couple of years, the owners of that real estate are unlikely to see much demand, because PikeResearch predicts that most of them will charge their vehicles at home plus the penetration won't be all that deep anyway. So, investors aren't likely to see much revenue from those installations.
  4. " 'Range anxiety' will prove to be more fiction than fact." The biggest FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) factor associated with EVs to date has been related to the notion that people can't travel very far in them before needing a recharge. But PikeResearch notes that most drivers travel 30 miles or less per day, so the notion that this will be an obstacle may be overblown. The PikeResearch analysts write: "Knowing how far you can drive before you need to refuel is a skill that all car operators have mastered, and EV ownership will be no different."
  5. "The best-selling EVs won't have four wheels." This one has particular interest for me, because, realistically, I'm not in the market for a new car for a few years. PikeResearch notes that the EV category includes bicycles, scooters and motorcycles, which are expected to generate an appreciable growth in global sales over the next few years. For example, PikeResearch predicts there will be more than 53 million two-wheeled vehicles sold in the Asia Pacific region in 2011. During the next 12 month, sales for two-wheeled electric vehicles will outpace those of passenger cars by 8 to 1. In that market, e-bikes will represent 97 percent of all EV sales during 2011.

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9 comments
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  • Number 4 is wishful thinking

    because range anxiety isn't FUD. Range limitations have always been the nail in the coffin for electric vehicles, all the way back to the early 1900s. You did know that electric cars were being produced back then, didn't you? And back then they had a range of about 20 to 30 miles, too. Which was perfectly fine when you were dealing with a horse and buggy. But when the IC engine came along with ten times the range on a fuel supply you could store in your garage, the electric car quickly died.

    And I don't buy for a second the "most people drive..." research. It always seems to be the exact same number that an electric vehicle can provide on a charge.
    frgough
    • RE: Analysis: 5 things to come for electric vehicles

      @frgough With my current job I average around 24 miles per day both ways but that was not always the case. A purely electric car would be great for me going back and forth to work based on the range and that I can find a general use outlet to charge my vehicle while at work but for any sort of family trip (The beach we vacation at for example is a 5 hour drive away) it would not fly and I am not rich enough to keep an extra vehicle around just to go back and forth to work in.
      athynz
      • RE: Analysis: 5 things to come for electric vehicles

        @athynz Then get one like the Chevy Volt that has a 350 mile range, of which the first 50 is pure electric and the rest is just a good mpg on gasoline! There fixed that for you! 8-)
        leopards
  • RE: Analysis: 5 things to come for electric vehicles

    Number 4 may be true, I certainly don't even drive 20 miles a day and so a 40 mile limit is not a huge consideration for me when it comes to commuting. But, a majority of car owners don't own one car for commuting and one for all other driving. Wealthier people may, but most people use the same car they use to commute back and forth to work in to drive to family over holidays, or to take a weekend get-away, etc., and a 40 mile range isn't going to cut it. Further more, consumers are smart and educated and eventually someone is going to have to explain to consumers why Tesla Motors can make a sports car that can travel over 200 miles on a charge while Chevy can't get more than 40 out of theirs! Yes, cost may be one factor, but for $100,000 I can get 220 miles, or for $40,000 I can get 40 miles. Breaking it down, one way a per mile cost is $454 per range mile, and the other is $1000 per range mile. As someone that takes trips fairly often in the car, I can tell you that between 200 and 250 miles is the magic number. That is approximately a 4 hour drive. For weekend get aways, anything with in a 4 hours drive is an option, and on occasion I've taken longer trips in the car (instead of flying) and those often include 12 hour and 16 hour trips. The thing about that is that every 4 hours we already stop for a nice lunch, or dinner, and these breaks are almost always 1.5 - 2 hours long. So, if an EV can get 200+ miles (approximately 4 hours), and there are charging stations that can do the 1.5 hour or 2 hour charge, then the electric car becomes functional for commuting and for traveling. Anything below the 200 - 240 mile range then becomes just a commuting car, and that excludes a large percentage of the market that doesn't buy cars based on function and rather buys a car to do everything.
    mgrubb@...
    • RE: Analysis: 5 things to come for electric vehicles

      @mgrubb@?
      I don?t know how to break it to you. But according to MotorWeek, their test unit did not get any near 200 miles per charge. If I?m not mistaken John Davis said that with spirited driving the range quickly sank to around 50 miles per charge.
      Rick_K
  • #1 does not make sense

    [i]Pike believes that most consumers will receive their first exposure to electric vehicles through rental car programs with the likes of Avis, Hertz and Enterprise, which are all testing beginning to include electric or hybrid electric vehicles in their fleets. The other place you?re likely to get your first electric cruise is in a taxi-cab in places including London, New York, Tokyo and San Francisco. [/i]
    Rental companies do not care about fuel price, but they care about the original price of the vehicle... a no go here.
    A cab makes many miles any day so it would have to take breaks to recharge... a no-no if I were a cab driver.
    Linux Geek
    • RE: Analysis: 5 things to come for electric vehicles

      @Linux Geek
      I bet rental companies are salivating at the prospect of a car that very few renters will be able to fully recharge right before returning. This will allow them to tack on something like a $19.99 "recharging convenience fee" to each rental bill.
      0xBADF00D
  • RE: Analysis: 5 things to come for electric vehicles

    First, a quick look at the numbers will tell you that the average american household has 2.28 automobiles, so not sure where mgrbb gets the idea that "most" households use one car for everything. Second, who doesn't know that the Volt goes as far as you want, just add gas... If you commute less than 40, then N.M.G., if you take that roadtrip, you get great mileage, especially on the first 40. Lastly, does anybody recall that cell phones used to be in briefcases, and flat screen TV's were many thousands of dollars? Technology improves, prices fall and so on and so on....
    Personally, I can't wait to buy my first electric, I live in the country, so Leaf will work, at 100 miles per charge.
    johnr1001
  • Not for me

    My daily commute is a bit over 100 miles, so these vehicles will not work for me. I support the technology, just not for me.

    What I would like to see would be a true hybrid. In other words, a vehicle that is driven by electric motors in the wheels powered by a high efficiency diesel motor running a generator. This is tried and proven technology that would give us 100 mpg cars of a size that a real person can fit in, and would be adaptable to all vehicle types, from small cars to 4WD trucks and SUVs. Trains have ran on this technology for decades. What are the car companies waiting for?
    itpro_z