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CNN Admits Electric Cars are Foolish Pursuit

Posted By Alan Partis on January 17, 2009

CNN Money: Electric Cars Will Need Lots of Financial Support

The above CNN article is interesting in oh-so-many ways. They are essentially saying that electric cars don’t make good financial sense, and won’t do so in our lifetimes, but they still think that governments should spend billions upon billions to push them through anyway. This is in spite of their own conclusions that:

  • "If cost-effectiveness were the goal, improving the performance of today’s internal combustion engines would be the best option."
  • "… by 2020, when battery costs will have come down, a battery for an electric car with an 80 mile range will still cost about $14,000."

$14,000 in 2020 just for the battery in a car that can go 80 miles a day?  So what is it today? $20,000? Let’s say the battery lasts 5 years (an unlikely scenario especially given how long rechargeable batteries last today), and it’s only used 50 miles a day, 5 days a week in that time.  That would be a total of 62,500 miles and would still work out to over 22 cents per mile just for the battery (reality is probably far higher).  You would still have a ‘fuel’ charge for the electricity to charge it as well as other maintenance, etc. Total cost of ownership at that rate of use would take it well upwards of 40 cents per mile! That’s significantly higher than the cost of driving the vehicles in our garage right now, even with a barrel oil at $150 and gas at $4/gallon. And with our current vehicles, we can easily drive 600 miles in a day. The electric car would require 7 recharging stops to do that. A covered wagon might be faster!

I thought I wanted an electric car someday, but not with those numbers.


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