Study: Electric car costs to stay high

R.I.P. Volt-as always.
Study: Electric car costs to stay high
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As General Motors pushed the start button Thursday on batteries for its Chevrolet Volt to whet appetites for the Detroit auto show, a new study finds that absent a big tech breakthrough, electric vehicles such as the Volt will stay too costly to snag most consumers around the world.
"You will definitely see more hybrid cars on the road in the future," said Xavier Mosquet, senior partner in Boston Consulting Group's Detroit office.
"The Chevrolet Volt is necessary for energy independence purposes," Mosquet added. " ... But the big question is how big this market will be."
BCG estimates that the battery pack similar to what's in the Volt costs about $16,000 to build. Several automakers have set a target of cutting those costs to about $2,000, but BCG estimates the costs will only fall to $8,000-$10,000 by 2020.
Figuring out the future costs of electric cars and batteries is a huge challenge. There are many shapes, manufacturing estimates, chemical compounds and untested technology.
It's also a political issue. Last month, the National Academies of Sciences sent out its own report that is more pessimistic than BCG's, finding even-higher costs for batteries and questioning the environmental benefits of plug-in hybrids. That set off a storm of criticism from electric-vehicle advocates, who charged the panel was biased toward hydrogen fuel cells.
The essential problem is that batteries hold far less energy per pound and per dollar than liquid fuel. Plus, their capacity shrinks over time. It also can shrink with cold weather.
By 2020, BCG estimates electric vehicles will be limited to a range of 160 to 190 miles -- higher than today's versions, but still well behind gasoline models.
Even with that premium, BCG sees better batteries and better factories allowing 14 million vehicles a year worldwide by 2020 to have some kind of electric power.
And if government incentives remained near $7,500 -- or if oil prices shot far higher -- U.S. buyers could still pay back the extra cost in fuel savings over 3-5 years.
By comparison, the Electrification Coalition -- a group of battery makers, start-ups and Nissan -- forecasts that by 2015, a plug-in hybrid with a 40-mile all-electric range will pay for itself without government aid.
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Jim Higgins

Slot cars. Thats the answer. Slots to your house, apt, store, work, play, etc. All cars go the same direction. All look like eggs. Voice command. i.e.: "Supermarket at 666 Main Street". "Home".
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I want a Tata Nano. Cheap, economical, saves my green. Might be a GM battery costs more than a Tata Nano complete.
Hopefully Walmart will pick up and sell Tata Nanos.
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They do. Auto hasn't been very innovative for over 40 years. In fact the cost of autos has grown in proportion to net incomes, yet TVs and other appliances and stuff have decreased. Like housing, GM and other expensive crap producers have to show us why a GM is worth more than a Tata in an economy where people have less money.
I figure there will be a day when you do go to Walmart, buy the auto. If it needs batteries or repair, back to Walmart. All the parts being swapable, even the tires. Maybe get new electric batteries and tires while you shop. No tuneups, if the motor gives trouble, it is swapped out. Make them simple and cheap to own and repair.
GM can't do that with an expensive production and distribution. The days of producing defective cars for dealer profits are going to end or the company will be done for.
I figure in 5 or perhaps 15 years. China and India will ship them over like TVs.
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