Via The Globe and Mail:
There’s just one problem. The fantasy that electric cars are right around the corner doesn’t survive even the most cursory reality check. As Dennis DesRosiers, a leading auto consultant, points out, consumers simply won’t pay a $20,000 premium for a vehicle that doesn’t go very far, isn’t very convenient, and runs out of juice as soon as you turn on the air conditioner.
Consider hybrids. After a decade on the market, they’ve captured only 3 per cent of sales. To get to Mr. McGuinty’s 2020 target, green-minded Ontarians would have to buy at least 100,000 electric cars a year every year, starting right now. Total U.S. sales of electric vehicles are about 10,000 a year.
Of course, electric cars aren’t in mass production yet. And the technology is bound to get better and cheaper. Right?
Not so fast, says the University of Manitoba’s Vaclav Smil, who’s among the world’s foremost scholars of energy economics. Electric cars, he says, aren’t microchips, and Moore’s law doesn’t apply. “The myth that the future belongs to electric vehicles is one of the original misconceptions,” he writes in his book Energy Myths and Realities. In an interview, he notes that recent history is filled with energy breakthroughs that turned out be duds. Electric car crazes have come and gone before. Perhaps some people may remember a Canadian company called Ballard, which claimed to have developed a breakthrough fuel-cell technology. Many brainy people swore that Ballard was the future. It wasn’t.
The interesting thing is if the issue truly is conservation and being efficient the real teleological winner is direct injection diesel engines. For example look at the 62 mpg Ford Fiesta (that crushes the 51 mpg Prius):
If I were a Ford dealer, I would jump at the chance to park a diesel-powered Fiesta in front of my dealership. I’d light it up with spotlights all night long. No rebates. No zero percent. I’d give every salesperson a pocket-sized job aid with a single sentence on it to counter every conceivable customer objection: “But (insert customer name here) this car gets – 62.5 miles per gallon.” And I’d have my waiting list right out front so customers could sign up.
I guess if the US government started push diesel engines, it would be even more difficult to justify handing millions of our dollars to multinational corporations to construct lithium ion battery factories.