Tuesday, January 20, 2015


The new Era has come true evidence that electric cars will soon enter a new era of much greater consumer acceptance so don't be afraid of the new era. Unlike the current period circa 2010 to 2014 in which key vehicle shortcomings were overlooked, the next phase will be based on the toughest reality from the past few years: limited range is plus limit sales where to plug in.
President Obama set a goal of putting 1 million plug-in cars on U.S. roads by 2015 or by 2020. The reality is that it might take until 2018 or later to reach that milestone. Carlos Ghosn, Nissan’s chief executive, echoed Obama’s optimism, and until recently, held firm to his prediction that electric cars would represent 10 percent of the market by 2020. In late 2012, he finally admitted that his previous sales targets would not be met. This occurred in a time when affordable battery-powered cars averaged around 80 miles on a charge.

Why might the next phase of EVs be any better? EVs offering 200 or more miles are in the works. In recent weeks, carmakers are openly discussing the possibility of producing and selling electric cars that get 200-plus miles on a single charge. That’s huge.

Mark Reuss, the global product chief for General Motors, confirmed earlier this month that the company was working on a 200-mile car. As reported in Automotive News, a trade publication, two other people familiar with GM’s plans, said it would be based on the Sonic subcompact model.

Now consider what Dr. Heinz-Jakob Neusser, chief of powertrain development at Volkswagen, said at conference earlier this month: We’re about five years from an EV that gets between 300 and 370 miles per charge. Neusser characterized plug-in hybrids as a “bridge technology” for the next few years, until the longer-range electric car is commercialized.

“We can look today to the E-Golf, which has an operating range of around 115 miles,” said Nuesser. Let’s overlook this bit of exaggeration, when actually the E-Golf’s 24 kilowatt-hour battery will deliver something closer to 90 miles. Instead, let’s focus on this statement from Nuesser: “I expect the next generation in 2015-17 [range] will increase to around 185 miles, and the following step will be around 300 to 370 miles.”

There you have it. Two of the three of the world’s biggest automakers saying that 200 miles or more is coming soon. (Toyota, with its fondness for fuel cells, is the exception that proves the rule.) Meanwhile, Tesla, the most successful electric car company in the world, has for years said that big-battery longer-range EVs are the key to market success—and that 125 to 150 miles is a functional minimum.

Anybody can say that EV sales have been disappointing so far. Fair enough. Yet, that’s premature, because the EVs on the market (with one exception) are not currently offered with the minimal functional requirements. Based on what some influential auto execs are saying: that's about to change.

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