Ford unveils its first all-electric car (Update)

Jan 07, 2011

Ford unveiled its first strictly electric car on Friday, a Focus which is expected to get up to 100 miles (160 kilometers) on a single charge and will be available in North America late this year.

Alan Mulally, chief executive of the number two US automaker, introduced the four-door passenger car at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Mulally declined to detail the hatchback's total range or how much it would cost, but a Ford spokesman said the Focus Electric's mileage on a single charge would be "competitive" with similar electric vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf.

The Nissan Leaf has a range of up to 100 miles before needing to be hooked up to a power outlet.

Ford said the lithium-ion battery in the Focus, which has a top speed of 84 miles per hour (136 kilometers per hour) can be fully charged at a home 240-volt charging station in three to four hours, half the time of the Leaf.

Mulally acknowledged the need for regular charges would be seen as a drawback by some customers.

The brand new all-electric Ford Focus is displayed as Ford Motor Company President and CEO Alan Mulally delivers a keynote address at the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show at the Las Vegas Hilton in Nevada.

"We know electric vehicles are not for everyone, they're only part of the solution for greener driving," he said.

But, Mulally added, "we know that many customers are looking forward to driving a zero emissions electric vehicle and never having to visit a gas station again.

"We believe most of these customers are prepared to embrace the reality that a full battery does not last as long as a full tank of gas," he said.

Ford said the range of Focus Electric will be enough to "cover the majority of daily driving habits of Americans."

Rebecca Lindland, an analyst with IHS Automotive, said "the risk to the marketplace is that consumers aren't asking for these."

Hybrid auto sales fell last year to 2.4 percent of the US market from 2.8 percent in 2009, according to the research firm Autodata.

A lack of public charging stations is another barrier to adoption. There are currently only 1,800 public charging stations in the United States.

But Ford said more are coming. "We know that during the next 18 months we're going to see at least 12,000 installed in cities around the country," said Mike Tinskey, Ford's electric vehicle manager.

Nissan delivered its first all-electric Leaf to a San Francisco customer last month and General Motors has also recently begun sales of its plug-in electric hybrid the Chevy Volt.

Toyota is also planning on bringing a plug-in electric hybrid to market soon and will introduce a wagon version of the popular Prius hybrid on Monday at the Detroit auto show.

The Focus Electric is one of five hybrid, plug-in hybrid or all-electric vehicles Ford plans to bring to North America and Europe by 2013.

Ford Motor Company President and CEO Alan Mulally plugs in the brand new all-electric Ford Focus after he delivered a keynote address at the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show at the Las Vegas Hilton in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The company came out with an all-electric van, the Transit Connect Electric, in North America last year.

Ford said the Focus Electric would be built at its Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan, where the gasoline-powered Focus is produced.

It has not yet decided where the Focus Electric for European markets would be built.

Ford integrated its latest smart driving technology, such as hands-free voice commands, into the Focus Electric along with a touch display mounted on the dashboard which features an on-board navigation system.

Ford also developed a mobile application for the car, MyFord Mobile, that allows drivers to remotely monitor and control battery charge levels.

The home charging station for the Focus Electric includes a feature developed by Microsoft which allows owners to charge the vehicle during off-peak hours when electricity rates are the cheapest.

In keeping with the "green" appeal of the car, Ford said the seats in the Focus Electric are made from recyclable material and that recycled blue jeans were used as insulation.

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User comments : 70

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fixer
5 / 5 (8) Jan 07, 2011
Make that 100 miles or 160 kilometers.
Quantum_Conundrum
not rated yet Jan 07, 2011
Yeah, 100 miles is roughly 160 kilometers.

60 miles is roughy 96 kilometers.

Which is it?
Bob_Kob
5 / 5 (1) Jan 07, 2011
Whoever wrote the article probably did the wrong conversion of 1 mile = 1.6 km
DamienS
5 / 5 (9) Jan 07, 2011
Not fantastic range, but it's a decent start. I don't think too many people will be using this vehicle as their sole means of transport. Rather, it will be their second car - something they can use to go shopping or run errands. It could also be used for commuting to work, provided the workplace isn't too far away and you don't need to drive beyond the workplace. Other than that, range anxiety becomes the limiting factor.

But still, even given these limitations, it could still take a decent amount of gas-guzzlers off the road, and range can only improve over time.
John_balls
5 / 5 (10) Jan 07, 2011
95% of cars on the road drive less then 100 miles a day , so , yea thats a good start.
trekgeek1
5 / 5 (4) Jan 07, 2011
The only way to get better is to just start making some electric cars with flaws and all. That is the catalyst for improvement. You can only wait for the technology to mature for so long before you must dive in and mature it yourself. We're in need of a really great battery advancement for our mobile electronics and cars.
TabulaMentis
2.2 / 5 (6) Jan 07, 2011
The biggest drawback to these electric cars is that a person needs to get out of their car and plug it in. That may not seem like a big deal to some people until one starts doing it all the time. It can be outright dangerous if there is a mistake. Most people would rather pay more for gas than go through the hassle.
However there is an alternative. In Europe they are experimenting with magnetic induction recharging where there is no plug required. With magnet induction all a person has to do is drive over what looks like a manhole cover and park. It does not have to lineup exactly for it to work. Cities can have them at parking meters and business can have them in parking spaces to make extra money. They are even talking about having them on the road spaced every so often that charges the car while one drives. The driver will receive a monthly bill for the electric use or it can be prepaid.
Magnet induction is not as efficient with about 15% loss.
Skepticus
5 / 5 (1) Jan 07, 2011
"... to 100 miles (60 kilometers)..."

Dear me! Thank God the one who wrote this is not in charge of missiles firing solutions. A lot of innocent people could be killed!

The Leaf's news release gave quite detailed info on the range under different testing condition. As a late comer, Ford doesn't do itself any favor by being cryptic while not offering an obvious better deal regarding range and cost. Fast charging is convenient, but is hell on batteries life with current batteries. Ford gave no assurance on batteris live either, unlike the Leaf which did. From all this, I don't know what their marketing positioning is, apart from buying American.
Skepticus
1.8 / 5 (5) Jan 07, 2011
Whoever wrote the article probably did the wrong conversion of 1 mile = 1.6 km


You meant to say, 1.6 mile = 1 km ?
Skepticus
5 / 5 (5) Jan 07, 2011
@TabulaMentis:
I don't know what you mean by "it can be outright dangerous if there is a mistake". There is not much that can go wrong pluging in a power cord. The first thing the designer would do is to made the connectors idiot-proof, so that there is no chance of wrong connection, unless you really determined to jury-jig it for obsolete sockets. Everyone in this day and age knows electricity can be dangerous, so proper use is a must. You don't smoke when filling your tank with gas, do you?
Hassles or inconvenients are relative, and there will always be whiners (my Hyperion Mk IX only does Warp 9.99, and the Dilithium matrix has to be replaced after 5 years!!!). Back when the automobile was in its infancy, you have to crank it by hand, adjust the mixture to start, weekly grease this and that, no safety nor creature comfort, but people still went crazily in love with their new fangled machine. You are having it all on a plate. Make some personal effort to eat.
PPihkala
5 / 5 (3) Jan 07, 2011
Whoever wrote the article probably did the wrong conversion of 1 mile = 1.6 km

You meant to say, 1.6 mile = 1 km ?

You misunderstood him. What he was trying to tell is this:
Whoever wrote the article probably did use the wrong conversion factor (exchanging miles and km). The correct factor is 1 mile = 1.6 km.
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (10) Jan 07, 2011
@Skepticus:
I don't know what you mean by "it can be outright dangerous if there is a mistake".

First of all, the period goes before the quotation mark at the end of a sentence. A lot of people broke their arms and got killed by cranking cars. I know a whole bunch about electrical wiring, more than you will even know from the way you are talking. Outdoor weatherproof covers can become damaged, loose and fall off leaving the receptacle exposed to the elements which can destroy the receptacle over a period of time. At that point the receptacle can short-out becoming a danger to whoever uses it. The GFCI protection, if built into the receptacle, could stop working providing the user no protection, except for the branch circuit breaker, providing it works properly. If the person using the receptacle is standing in water they could get killed instantly. As a person plugs in the cord they take a risk of getting shocked or killed if there is a loose connection or a minor short.
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (7) Jan 07, 2011
continued

That is especially true if they grip the plug firmly with the hand because when one is getting shocked they will not be able to let go. Some people will not keep up the maintenance of damaged or defective cords or receptacles. Older people will find it very difficult to use electrical cords, especially if they are 240 volt @ 30 to 60 amps. 240 volt cords are heavy, become brittle and rigid as they age. Magnetic induction recharging will do away with all of that. Auto manufactures need to get together and have one standard universal design for magnet induction, 120 volt and 240 volt cords.
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (10) Jan 07, 2011
I forgot to mention disabled/handicapped people will find it a major inconvenience and people who do not like to wear shoes will be in for a shock! And do not forget about the people who are too cheap to hire a qualified electrican and hire a Bozo instead.
TabulaMentis
1.2 / 5 (5) Jan 07, 2011
I cannot place the links in this message, so here are some headlines regarding magnet induction that can be placed in a Web browser:

Magnetic Induction Technology: Charging Without Wires & Plugs.

Wireless Electric Car Charges through Magnetic Induction; London Gets it First
trekgeek1
5 / 5 (9) Jan 07, 2011
Not being electrocuted is easy if you think. People don't smoke at the gas station while gallons of flammable liquid pour out of a hose and into their tank. You can make very safe recharge systems. For instance, the system can require that it is plugged into the car before you can switch on the power from the source at the outlet. That way you have no contact with the cord while it's hot. The current outdoor outlets are not complex systems. With just a little more investment, the systems can be much safer.
Howhot
4 / 5 (4) Jan 07, 2011
As a greeny hothead, I like it, and it was introduced at the always geeky CES. My suggestion to you if you go electric car is consider purchasing a Grid-tied Solar electric system to offset your electric usage. For a typical 30 mile round trip commute this could be a really nice car.
eachus
3 / 5 (1) Jan 07, 2011
Back when the automobile was in its infancy, you have to crank it by hand, adjust the mixture to start, weekly grease this and that, no safety nor creature comfort, but people still went crazily in love with their new fangled machine. You are having it all on a plate.


My grandmother had the first automobile in Bedford, Pa. It was delivered by train, along with a mechanic to maintain it. (How did my grandmother get so lucky? Her father was Governor, and several Presidents got their first automobile ride in that car.) Bedford, Pa. is almost due north of Washington, DC, and many congressmen and Senators, and a few Presidents spent their summers there. (My great grandfather, and eventually my mother and her sister, owned the Bedford Hotel, as well, with a spa, indoor pool, and other amenities that only became standard at resorts much later. ;-)
Jotaf
5 / 5 (2) Jan 07, 2011
Good news! I agree that the time for waiting is probably over, there's a good deal of technology improvements that can only come after version 1.0 is in the consumers' hands. I'm sure there are issues no one ever considered up to this point, as with any technology.

TabulaMentis makes some good points, but they gotta think about that since they don't want any bad publicity. And charging an electric car in the rain is not exactly a bright idea... :)
TabulaMentis
2.7 / 5 (3) Jan 08, 2011
Existing electric cars could probably be retrofitted with a manufacturer post production accessory or a third-party product compatible with magnetic induction systems.
Coldstatic
1 / 5 (1) Jan 08, 2011
This a good idea but there are problems, example, the only 240 outlet in my house is for my dryer. also @John Balls
95% of cars on the road drive less then 100 miles a day , so , yea thats a good start.

where did you get this data? I live in Northern VA and anyone who commutes to work either takes the train or commutes up to 120 miles a day. I agree this is a novel idea but you can't really use this unless your just shopping or errands. Even then, 100 miles doesn't seem far but it can add up quick, you have to account for a round trip.
Skepticus
4.3 / 5 (3) Jan 08, 2011
@TabulaMentis:
I have nothing against induction charging technology. But power cords is here and now. Every pitfalls you described falls under my posted words "proper use". Age brings disabilities, but also accumulated wealth and wisdom (usually!). If you have decided to buy one, you should have already planned and included any costs of upgrading any shabby sockets. Lack of maintenance is no excuse. If someone is so cavalier about his life and keeps using loosened, damaged, fallen off weatherproof covers leaving the receptacles exposed to the elements,even standing in water as you said, he is asking for a Darwin's Award. This is mains electricity, not Galvani's cells. I also don't know of any power cords so old and stiff (maintenance again!) that the elderlies/disabled can't even handle them. If they are that feeble/disabled, how come they still [want to] drive? Where is the wisdom in that?
By the way, I'd done my fair share of electrical wiring work, thank you.
Glyndwr
4 / 5 (1) Jan 08, 2011
Would these new Metal-Air batteries coming out for IBM ...being any use if converted for automobile use?
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (5) Jan 08, 2011
@Skepticus:

I have designed electrical systems and engineered electrical plans for 200,000 square foot factories. How many have you?

The handicapped alone could probably sue local governments and auto manufacturers for not taking them into consideration. Have you never heard of paraplegics' who drive automobiles? Maybe you should consider how they fill. And maybe you should take the elderly into account also!
jimology
5 / 5 (2) Jan 08, 2011
Regarding re-charging...In Israel they are using a quick change battery system. Almost as quick as a gas fill-up.
fmfbrestel
4.6 / 5 (9) Jan 08, 2011
@TabulaMentis

You aren't telling us anything new when you point out the potential flaws and dangers of high power electrical connections. So yes, if improperly maintained, dangerous conditions can exist. Welcome to life. If i dont keep my bicycle in the garage or oil the chain, I could be seriously hurt riding it. And bicycles do not take paraplegics needs into account very well either. I personally think the handicapped of america need to initiate a class action lawsuit against Schwinn for not taking their needs into account.
Skeptic_Heretic
4.6 / 5 (9) Jan 08, 2011
The biggest drawback to these electric cars is that a person needs to get out of their car and plug it in. That may not seem like a big deal to some people until one starts doing it all the time.
I walk into my house each day. I plug my phone in inside my car every day. Routine is routine. Plugging things in is hardly a real pain in the ass.
It can be outright dangerous if there is a mistake.
That's true of any electrical connection.
Most people would rather pay more for gas than go through the hassle.
Yeah, doubtful.
I have designed electrical systems and engineered electrical plans for 200,000 square foot factories. How many have you?
And I actually use 240 electrical connectors all day. I've never had a problem, nor has it required more attention than fueling a car or plugging in any electrical device.
I live in Northern VA and...commutes up to 120 miles a day.
The majority of cars are not in Northern VA.
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (4) Jan 08, 2011
@fmfbrestel:
You aren't telling us anything new when you point out the potential flaws and dangers of high power electrical connections. So yes, if improperly maintained, dangerous conditions can exist. Welcome to life. If i dont keep my bicycle in the garage or oil the chain, I could be seriously hurt riding it. And bicycles do not take paraplegics needs into account very well either. I personally think the handicapped of america need to initiate a class action lawsuit against Schwinn for not taking their needs into account.

This article is not about bicycles. It is about electric vehicles. The major problem with electric batteries is cost, life of product, length of charge and how to recharge the battery. In order to get people to stop driving gas guzzlers the pollute the planet, auto manufacturers need to make it as easy and as safe as possible for people to operate their product. Paraplegics do not ride bicycles as far as I know.
Coldstatic
1 / 5 (1) Jan 08, 2011
@Skeptic Heretic, im not saying there are, I am just giving an example, I find it hard to believe that 95% of cars on the road travel less than 100 miles a day. Even then out in the rural areas you have still drive further, the nearest grocery could be 20+ miles. That distance coupled with the fact it takes 2 - 3 hrs for the batterys to charge. I just think they need increase the range before these vehicles will be widely accepted
Skeptic_Heretic
4.3 / 5 (6) Jan 08, 2011
@Skeptic Heretic, im not saying there are, I am just giving an example, I find it hard to believe that 95% of cars on the road travel less than 100 miles a day.
95% of cars are in suburbia or cities, all the things you need are about 10 miles or less away. Short trips are the vast majority of driving and the minority of people live in rural areas.
Skeptic_Heretic
3.7 / 5 (6) Jan 08, 2011
Think about it this way. I have a 2 hour commute to and from work and I cross half a state. That's about 80 miles a day. Anywhere I need to go in between maybe adds another 10 miles to that figure. That's less than 100 and I have a ridiculous commute. Even cars in rural areas don't drive all over the place. They drive into town and get everything they need and work and drive home. Would you want to make that trip several times a day?
John_balls
5 / 5 (2) Jan 08, 2011
This a good idea but there are problems, example, the only 240 outlet in my house is for my dryer. also @John Balls
95% of cars on the road drive less then 100 miles a day , so , yea thats a good start.

where did you get this data? I live in Northern VA and anyone who commutes to work either takes the train or commutes up to 120 miles a day. I agree this is a novel idea but you can't really use this unless your just shopping or errands. Even then, 100 miles doesn't seem far but it can add up quick, you have to account for a round trip.

I took some liberties with my data.

"Range anxiety" is a reason that many automakers marketed EVs as "daily drivers" suitable for city trips and other short hauls.[54] The average American drives less than 40 miles (64 km) per day; so the GM EV1 would have been adequate for the daily driving needs of about 90% of U.S. consumers.[
" -wikipedia/electric cars.
fmfbrestel
1.7 / 5 (3) Jan 08, 2011
Paraplegics do not ride bicycles as far as I know.


Neither do they drive vehicles, thats the point.
Simonsez
4 / 5 (1) Jan 08, 2011
Until they make a hybrid or all-electric vehicle that looks like a sports car, these will never catch on like the greenies want them to; in that respect it is almost conspiratorial that all the most economical and environmentally-friendly (with a grain of salt) cars share this new age garbage look. Yes that's my personal opinion - I've known quite a few people to like that style but for fans of the muscle cars and sports cars, this style is anathema and just won't be accepted. If auto dealers want people to buy them, they will make them look sleek and powerful, not rounded.
John_balls
5 / 5 (6) Jan 08, 2011
Until they make a hybrid or all-electric vehicle that looks like a sports car, these will never catch on like the greenies want them to; in that respect it is almost conspiratorial that all the most economical and environmentally-friendly (with a grain of salt) cars share this new age garbage look. Yes that's my personal opinion - I've known quite a few people to like that style but for fans of the muscle cars and sports cars, this style is anathema and just won't be accepted. If auto dealers want people to buy them, they will make them look sleek and powerful, not rounded.

Why do you have to be greeny as you say to want to drive an all electric car??
If you want sport go buy a tesla.
fixer
5 / 5 (3) Jan 08, 2011
Give me an all electric SUV.
And you can get a wheelchair in the back!
The only drawback is you can't hear them coming, perhaps they can play a tune like Mr Whippy?
Totomojo
3 / 5 (1) Jan 08, 2011
I own a business and the 100 miles a day would work for going back and forth to work...except some days when I have errands that would need to be performed including running to banks, visiting accounts, etc. It seems I would have to keep 2 cars. I am inclined to lean towards Hybrids.
TabulaMentis
3 / 5 (2) Jan 08, 2011
@fmfbrestel:
Paraplegics do not ride bicycles as far as I know.

Neither do they drive vehicles, thats the point.

I know people who are paraplegics who drive vehicles. They use their hands to steer, and have hand controls to accelerate and brake.
Eikka
3 / 5 (2) Jan 08, 2011
95% of cars on the road drive less then 100 miles a day , so , yea thats a good start.


99.99% of cars need to drive more than 100 miles on some days. It would be a real bugger if something unexpected turns up but you have to wait 4 hours for your car to recharge, or call a taxi.

It's in those situations when you think: "See, this is why I bought a car so I wouldn't have to... hey..."
Coldstatic
3 / 5 (1) Jan 08, 2011
Does anyone know if these things have regeneritive braking?? That would allow a slightly further range, also the life epectency of the battery is a huge issue. A replacement battery for the tesla roadster is $30,000.
Eric_B
4 / 5 (1) Jan 08, 2011
New battery tech is coming... ultracaps just might bury LithiumIon.

No word on pricing this vehicle yet? No doubt the batteries are most of the cost.

I wonder what the curb weight is?
Daein
4 / 5 (1) Jan 08, 2011
These cars will never take off until they either get much cheaper
Skepticus
5 / 5 (4) Jan 09, 2011
@Skepticus:
...I have designed electrical systems and engineered electrical plans for 200,000 square foot factories..


Well done for your achievements. Although i doubt that you will take all users-disabled and elderly-into account when you designed those systems. Engineering is an excercise in compromises. You can't accomodate everybody. Take a look of the modern car's engine bay. Everything have to fit in there, and sometimes you have to disassemble 10 components to get to the one you want to fix. I don't know of any mechanics suing the designers for this. So, keep fighting on for the "rights" of less abled persons, but don't expect change anytime soon. With your logic, NASA would be sued into the gutter for discriminated designs that prevent disabled persons from going to space, or planes not suitable for quadriplegic pilots...or food that can't be consumed by the so disabilitated that all they can do is blink. Where is the line, between an opportunity and a God-given-right?
insignificant_fish
3 / 5 (1) Jan 09, 2011
@TabulaMentis :)

@Simonsez look up the TESLA


ormondotvos
4 / 5 (1) Jan 09, 2011
For long trips, I rent. For short trips and light loads, my 75 mpg Honda Helix maxi-scooter. For everything else, Toyota Echo, 35+ mpg.

I will allow the early adopters to buy the electrics until the nano-hyper-doodad batteries arrive and economies of scale reduce the price.

All this nitpicking arguments about dangers of connection are trivial and childish.

Of course the GFCI might fail. Fail safe, of course. You're more likely to be electrocuted by your toaster being too close to the kitchen sink.
Yelmurc
4 / 5 (1) Jan 09, 2011
One interesting thing to note is that all of the focus's will be built on the same assembly line. This means that they can build as many electrics as they do gasoline or hybrid. They easy adjust the amount they produce to meet consumer demands. Hopefully it will get the cost of building a electric vehicle down.
John_balls
5 / 5 (1) Jan 09, 2011
95% of cars on the road drive less then 100 miles a day , so , yea thats a good start.


99.99% of cars need to drive more than 100 miles on some days. It would be a real bugger if something unexpected turns up but you have to wait 4 hours for your car to recharge, or call a taxi.

It's in those situations when you think: "See, this is why I bought a car so I wouldn't have to... hey..."

Right, and if this is the case , this car is not for you. It's ideal for families that have 2 cars. Even so, 100 miles is only the beginning but sufficient for many situations such as commuting.
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (2) Jan 09, 2011
@ormondotvos:
All this nitpicking arguments about dangers of connection are trivial and childish.

Of course the GFCI might fail. Fail safe, of course. You're more likely to be electrocuted by your toaster being too close to the kitchen sink.

GFCI receptacles are not fail safe. That is why they have a test button on them and the instructions per NEC rules recommend for them to be tested monthly. If the NEC (National Electrical Code) required for the manufacturers to use military spec electronics, then they would be far more dependable. However, if water gets on electronics, then you know what happens.
Why would anyone in their right mind prefer cords and plugs over cordless magnetic induction tech? You must have a fetish for cords and plugs?
TabulaMentis
3 / 5 (1) Jan 09, 2011
@Skepticus:
I doubt that you will take all users-disabled and elderly-into account when you designed those systems.
NASA would be sued into the gutter for discriminated designs that prevent disabled persons from going to space.

NEC requires light switches and thermostats to be a certain height to accommodate people with disabilities. Other building trades have their requirements.
The first paraplegic person in outer space sounds great. At least they will not need a wheelchair to get around!
CreepyD
1 / 5 (1) Jan 10, 2011
I think it's a misenterpretation to say 95% of cars travel less than 100 miles a day.
Sure I commute to work 15 miles away in my car Monday to Friday so I fit that stat.
However what happens if I want a holiday? I want to visit some of my family 150 miles away? I fancy a day trip somewhere else?
The true stat we need is what percentage of people NEVER travel over 100 miles in a single car journey? I would say
John_balls
5 / 5 (2) Jan 10, 2011
I think it's a misenterpretation to say 95% of cars travel less than 100 miles a day.
Sure I commute to work 15 miles away in my car Monday to Friday so I fit that stat.
However what happens if I want a holiday? I want to visit some of my family 150 miles away? I fancy a day trip somewhere else?
The true stat we need is what percentage of people NEVER travel over 100 miles in a single car journey? I would say

Not really. If most people most of the time drive less then 100 miles a day why would I car about that one day where u drive 400 miles. If you want to go on holiday go rent a car or use a second car. If this doesn't make sense for you then stop your crying and moaning and don't buy it. HOLY COW!
AkiBola
not rated yet Jan 10, 2011
I'll happily burn gasoline rather than electricity-from-coal. The car technology is just about here. The range can be improved and a plug in hybrid will be terrific, but this electric only car today can be useful for a lot of people. But, until the electricity generation and grid problems are solved, these cars are fools gold.
Lord_jag
not rated yet Jan 10, 2011
where did you get this data? I live in Northern VA and anyone who commutes to work either takes the train or commutes up to 120 miles a day. I agree this is a novel idea but you can't really use this unless your just shopping or errands. Even then, 100 miles doesn't seem far but it can add up quick, you have to account for a round trip.

So move. You stereotypical gluttonous pig of an American. You waste more gas than 95% of Americans. You must love the big rich oil companies and gridlock traffic.

Skeptic_Heretic
4 / 5 (4) Jan 10, 2011
I think it's a misenterpretation to say 95% of cars travel less than 100 miles a day.
Sure I commute to work 15 miles away in my car Monday to Friday so I fit that stat.
However what happens if I want a holiday? I want to visit some of my family 150 miles away? I fancy a day trip somewhere else?
The true stat we need is what percentage of people NEVER travel over 100 miles in a single car journey? I would say

If you build the world for the exception to the rule, you'll continually live in a state of consumer anarchy.
jjmerri
not rated yet Jan 10, 2011
When the battery cost is lowered it will be feasible to carry a spare. This will double the range of the car. I suppose battery theft may become a concern though.
Eikka
4 / 5 (1) Jan 10, 2011
If you build the world for the exception to the rule, you'll continually live in a state of consumer anarchy.


If you build the world to not tolerate exceptions, it's going to break the moment somebody makes one. Building an electric car that is not suitable for most people is just stupid, because it becomes an expensive niche product that doesn't solve the problems it was supposed to solve.

People don't adopt new technology just for the heck of it. It has to make a difference.

TabulaMentis:
Why would anyone in their right mind prefer cords and plugs over cordless magnetic induction tech? You must have a fetish for cords and plugs?


It's the 15-25% difference in energy consumption that makes or brakes the electric car. Adding all these "necessary niceties" like wireless rapid charging brings the efficiency of the system down so low that it becomes pointless to use because it does more damage to the environment than the alternatives.
alq131
5 / 5 (1) Jan 10, 2011
why all the whining about range!? so it doesn't work for YOU...don't buy it.

I could whine all day long about how pick-up trucks are useless because they only can carry 3 passengers in a standard cab...darn useless vehicles. What happens when I want to take a few friends to the restaurant with me (yes, legally seat-belted in...no bed riders). Well, it's clear to me pick-up trucks are useless.

NO! they have a feature set that doesn't cover all features. You need to haul stuff, and no friends, get a pickup. You need to haul friends, get a minivan.

You live in rural America and have to drive 70miles to the grocery store, then don't buy an electric car. Sheesh.

I don't need a crew-cab duelly with ranch pack in the city...so i didn't buy one.

alq131
5 / 5 (1) Jan 10, 2011
Car companies COULD do a lot to assuage this fear of range limits though. How about a partnership with AAA to "never be stranded". Or with car rental companies for cheap rates when you'll rent a vehicle for a weekend holiday. These packages could go a long way to helping people get over the fear or concern for those infrequent times when additional range is needed.

I own a hybrid honda AND a gas guzzling Jeep cherokee. One is for going to work, one is for packing up the family with dogs, gear and trailer in tow. No one solution will ever work for most people.
TabulaMentis
not rated yet Jan 10, 2011
It's the 15-25% difference in energy consumption that makes or brakes the electric car. Adding all these "necessary niceties" like wireless rapid charging brings the efficiency of the system down so low that it becomes pointless to use because it does more damage to the environment than the alternatives.

I checked around and have a few rough figures.

Gasoline powered cars get 29 MPG compared to 69 MPG for electric cars. The average loss for magnetic induction systems is around 20%.

Electromagnetic risks are minimal with any electrical wiring and unless a cat is sitting on the magnetic induction pad for fifty years straight, then I would not expect much risks, though I could not easily find anything on that subject.

It is all about convenience and choice! I would want all three: a 120 volt plug, 240 volt plug and magnetic induction. Plus, for me, I would want a hybrid electric vehicle, but the purchase price would be too expense.
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (1) Jan 10, 2011
@alq131:

I should also mention that electricity will be replaced with other forms of more stable energy within the next fifty years. But until then, for people who are concerned about electromagnetic pollution, electrical wiring should be routed in ways that minimize electromagnetic radiation exposure to humans, place electrical wiring in rigid metallic conduit, twist the wiring when pulling the wire through the conduit, and mount lead plates behind subpanels and service panels when necessary.
Eikka
2.5 / 5 (2) Jan 11, 2011

Gasoline powered cars get 29 MPG compared to 69 MPG for electric cars. The average loss for magnetic induction systems is around 20%.


Diesel cars easily get 50+ mpg. Diesel hybrids even more.

Though the mpg comparison is apples to oranges, because diesel and gasoline contain hydrogen, whereas electricity is still largerly being made out of coal. Joule per joule, the electric car pollutes more.
Eikka
3 / 5 (2) Jan 11, 2011
Besides, with an average loss of 20% at the charging point...

What do you do with the energy escaping the system and turning into heat? Unless you plan to recharge the car very very slowly, you will have on the order of 10 kilowatts of power leaking out of the system, turning your garage into a large oven.

Imagine a gas burner attached to the gasoline hose, that would burn 1/5th of the gas you pour into your car's tank as fast as you refuel the car.
Eikka
1 / 5 (2) Jan 11, 2011
why all the whining about range!? so it doesn't work for YOU...don't buy it.


When "YOU" includes 99.99% of the driving population, what's the point of the electric car? How does it help?

We could put huge amounts of money to R&D a car that runs on mice running in many tiny treadmills, and probably some guy could drive it to work and back, but it's not really a solution to anything - just a pointless novelty.
TabulaMentis
not rated yet Jan 11, 2011
@Eikka:
What do you do with the energy escaping the system and turning into heat? Unless you plan to recharge the car very very slowly, you will have on the order of 10 kilowatts of power leaking out of the system, turning your garage into a large oven.

I doubt the 20% loss is converted to heat, but you are more than welcomed to do the research. Furthermore, electric power generated by coal is or should be on a downward spiral in use as well as from crude oil. China is proof of that along with the US, Germany, the UK, etc., etc., etc..

I did read something about sparks coming from a magnetic induction pad for whatever reason. So that is something people should be concerned about as with any new tech.
TabulaMentis
not rated yet Jan 11, 2011
@Eikka:

Physorg.com had an article dated January 4, 2011 titled: Gasoline from water, CO2 and sunlight.

I made a comment there as well, because electric battery powered cars are not the ultimate future solution.

The ultimate future for automobiles will be H2O on demand fuel cell vehicles!
Skeptic_Heretic
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 11, 2011
Let's say you own an electric car in Kentucky, big time coal power infrastructure...

Driving that car is still less polluting per joule of energy than using a gasoline vehicle, cheaper as well. Coal needs to go away as a power staple in the US, but using coal as a scapegoat to try to defame the electric vehicle push is a fairly silly stance to take on the matter.
Dack
not rated yet Feb 10, 2011
One can find reasons to negate any new idea or technology. I am stunned to read some of the "hazards" people have come up with regarding the cord used to charge an electric vehicle. "Elderly people will have trouble with it", "Handicapped people will....", and so on. Folks, we need these electric cars. Technology simply must advance away from the internal combustion engine. The cord will eventually be replaced with something less mechanical anyway but for now, it is what is offered the consumer. The way I see it, if a person cannot plug in a power cord, they have no business operating a motor vehicle in the first place. In addition, there will always be some clown who will bypass safety when it comes to installing an electrical receptacal, whether it be for charging an automobile or an electric range. We must embrace the science of new technology in order to move into the future realm of efficient, clean transportation. One must begin at point A in order to get to point B.
Eikka
not rated yet Feb 14, 2011

I doubt the 20% loss is converted to heat, but you are more than welcomed to do the research.


If not heat, then what? The alternatives are kinda worse.

Since it's an inductive system, the energy is lost as eddy currents heating the surrounding objects that conduct electricity. That does include people, where the induced currents may interfere with nerve function.
Eikka
not rated yet Feb 14, 2011

Driving that car is still less polluting per joule of energy than using a gasoline vehicle, cheaper as well.


Not true by a long shot. Gasoline produces 25...30% less CO2 than coal, which means that you would need up to 30% of your electricity production totally carbon free if the rest was to be produced by coal, assuming the well-to-wheel efficiency is reasonably similiar. (which it is)

It is easy to see that any reduction in efficiency for the electric car tips the scales in favor of gasoline. Induction charging, 20% loss, gasoline is better. Even when electric is better, it is only a minor gain, and would be again bested by something like natural gas (LPG/Methane) by a wide margin.

As the current generation capacity has a remaining lifespan of decades, the electric car simply can't be the more ecological choise for many many years.

If so, what's the point of buing them?
Eikka
not rated yet Feb 14, 2011
As for the cost of driving, we are currently at the cheapest at $500 per kWh or approximately $125 per mile of range for the car. Lithium batteries have a limited shelf-life of 5-10 years. This makes estimating the price per mile slightly difficult. Extra capacity is needed to offset aging.

Assuming we have a battery that gets you 100 miles and forget capacity loss, it therefore costs $12k today. Assuming that a person drives on average 20 miles a day for 8 years, he will drive 58k miles. Cost per mile: 26 cents. That would equal gasoline at 40 mpg at $10.40 per gallon.

Even assuming we halve the price of batteries in the next 10 years, it would still equal driving with gasoline that costs $5.20 per gallon. And that's before you include the price of electricity.

The US is now at $3.10 per gallon on average. On this rough estimate, it would take at least a decade before driving electric would actually be cheaper than driving an ordinary good car.

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