Electric cars - How quick will mainstream adopt?


#1

Thought I’d start a thread to discuss the impending mainstreaming of battery powered cars. What was a novelty / status symbol from Tesla, Chevy and Nissan, is going to go mainstream in the next 3-5 years, starting in earnest in 2020 with the mass production release of models from VW, Hyundai/Kia, and likely several more being announced in the next 12 most.

Figured the thread could be ongoing to discuss the adoption of the tech, nee model announcements, and general discussion and complaining / hate posts.


#2

First I’ll cover the VW ID line, which currently us slated for 3 models, with initial release dates of 2020.

VW ID Hatchback (name unfinalized - some suggest it’ll be called the Neo):

VW ID CROSS (crossover / SUV)

VW ID BUZZ

Some basic overview since the specs are not finalized (though they are really close):

Despite development of the vehicle still in its preliminary stages, it was immediately apparent to the reviewer that the ID will be an excellent car when it hits the market. Even as a prototype, they found it “absolutely, annoyingly amazing.”

The base model is expected to arrive with a battery pack offering around 206 miles (331 km) of range and a price roughly the same as a current-generation Golf diesel. High-end models will enjoy larger battery packs, including one with a very impressive range of 342 miles (550 km) according to the new, stricter WLTP standards.

The ID hatchback, which might be named the Neo, will also offer support for 125 kW fast charging, which will enable it to charge its battery to 80 per cent in just 30 minutes.

Some youtube test drive videos:


#3

What additional capacity does our power grid have for charging these cars? If limited, is upgrading it the critical path item rather than consumer acceptance or manufacturing capacity?


#4

I think it comes down to appearance and costs more than anything. If they could build an electric Jeep Wrangler or any of the popular truck lines, that still look and drive like their gas powered counterparts without a dramatic increase in costs, I think we will see electric vehicles take off. I look forward to that day .


#5

I worked designing systems for autonomous electric fork lifts since college and I love the electric cars. They are much simpler than gasoline engines with less moving parts. The work that has been done in the battery and charging markets have grown by leaps and bounds in the last decade. In our industry we went from lead-acid to Ni-Cad to Hydrogen Fuel Cells to now Lithium Ion. Lithium Ion is strong for cars because of the fast charging properties and relative light weight. They are developing better methods to keep them stable in an impact situation where the casing is damaged and even exposed. The charger market is also developing with the main issue is how to control the heat when doing rapid charging at high current. If they can keep the heat down then the charging times will improve. I think some sort of liquid cooling could be the answer. Tesla has that in their wall storage units.


#6

Most charging could occur overnight. You could set your charger up to charge at 1 am when utility rates are lowest. It could be a problem if everyone came home and started charging at 6 pm though. I think the invention of the LED bulb has reduced the grid demand some.


#7

The power grid will continue to be updated with renewable energy sources to reduce the drain on nonrenewables. There wont be an easy one step solution, barring major break throughs. Instead it will be a lot of smaller scale tech combining, such as recharge stations being built with solar cells or adjacent to larger grids.

This points out that there are a lot of topics to cover so this thread will be a work in progress. For instance, in addition to Tesla’s supercharger network, VW and other companies are building out there own fast charge national networks, as well as public charging stations. VW even announced a mobile fast charger station yesterday that sounds pretty cool. I will post about it later, unless someone else wants to.


#8

There is a company building an electric Wrangler style vehicle, but it’s being marketed as a niche vehicle with no economies of scale, so $$$$$$.

That VW Cross and the Bus will appeal to a lot of crossover and people mover buyers (which is a huge portion of the buying populace).

I don’t have time to do it right now, but the Hyundai / Kia SUV (the Kona) looks a whole lot like the SUV most soccer moms are during these days, it has a nearly identical interior to the gas powered version, and IIRC, it has been rated at 258 mile range with fast charge capability.

Honestly, I think these cars are going to go through the same fandom and upgrade anticipation as the first several generations of iPhones. This might turn a lot of people off, but they will have a lot in common with cell phone development and marketing.


#9

Ability of mines to keep up with increasing demand of battery materials and the environmental damage from that are concerns.


#10

Here is a truck starting at $61,500. It has 750 HP and tows over 11,000 pounds. It also goes 0-60 in 3 seconds :slight_smile: . With motors at each wheel you get true all wheel drive. Also with a lower center of gravity it is less of a roll-over risk. From a storage capability it outperforms other trucks because the normal engine compartment is now a storage compartment. The only think I don’t like is the light configuration on the front. They are trying to be to space aged there.


#11

Those are killer, and not as expensive as I thought they would be. I like the SUV too. Kind of has a modern Bronco look to it.


#12

This is how I look at it; Once I can drive my vehicle of choice to say Cape Canaveral and the stops are not any more inconvenient than getting gas, and I have the ability to conveniently charge it at a beach house or somewhere near by for less than 10 minutes, they will move into mainstream.

That will be the beginning of mass adoption IMO.


#13

I think one key component will be a standard for charging stations. Will I be able to charge a Tesla at a VW port and vice versa?


#14

The price point will also be important. If they can’t get the prices down to gasoline-powered equivalent vehicles it will also be difficult to supplant them in the market. You could see electric cars being strictly luxury vehicles otherwise.


#15

Right now how that works is that the supercharging techs are proprietary. With the exception of Telsa, you can hook up any car to a public charger, but the recharge speed may be slower.

I think that will change in the “2.0” stage of the market development, the same way all new cell phones now finally use USB C and just about all support some version of fast charging. It’ll be a little limited at first though - I’m guessing for the first 5-10 years


#16

clt is going to buy an electric lawnmower


#17

I’m your prime audience here for the purposes of this discussion… the 45-55 age group still has more cars to buy… the 30 and under demographic, this technology is a slam dunk…

If there is reliability and some bigger options I’m all in… as silly as it sounds, I want to see GM, Ford, the Japanese all neck deep in it… as much as Tesla impresses me, I would have this fear that you wake up one day and the company has closed up shop and as an owner you are shit out of luck. Very unlikely, but musk is bat shit… to get that older demo on board I’d think you have to have the old school manufacturers and their service model available (bitching about dealer service is legit, but the knowledge that no matter where you are, there is a certified shop would help allay fears of much of the mass market buyer you need over the next 25 years)… once the 45-55 demo is dead, no issues… but there is a reason that’s the group retailers slobber over…


#18

I’m with you S9er - ideally, I can buy a Toyota electric car with the same level of reliability and support form a top flight company. That’ll be the tipping point.

I also agree with the fact that VWs track record is going to hamper their initial sales. People are wary of them, no matter how cool the cars look.


#19

clt is concerned about the reliability of the grid, tho


#20

Most families are a two car family. I drive all over eastern NC and as long as the range is in the 400 mile area I am good. My wife could easily convert because of the distances that she drives. I don’t think that you will see most families switch completely to electric for some time. However, I would like to add an electric to my lineup of cars. It just has to fit the purpose that I need it. When I look for a new work car I may invest in a Model 3. I like those and it is in the mid 30’s range. Writing off 54.5 cents per mile with that car would pay big dividends versus gas.

From a service point of view what are the biggest service items of a gasoline engine. Oil changes and air filter changes right. Then you have spark plugs, coolant, serpentine belt, and transmission fluids. All of these are eliminated with EV’s. The battery is a bigger issue potentially with an EV. The electronics are probably not all that different as far as controlling most electric functions. I am not for sure, but I will almost guarantee that they are using AC drive motors instead of DC. With an AC drive there is no maintenance. It runs until it doesn’t. Then you replace.