When did the electric car make its debut? You can scroll down to the bottom of this post to learn the answer, or, as a practical matter, I’d be interested in learning your guesstimate in the comments section below, before you scroll to the answer.
We all remember that the President has said he wants 1 million electric cars on the road by 2015. To accomplish this feat, the administration is spending $7,500 of your money to provide a subsidy in that amount to every electric car purchaser in this country. The subsidy is needed because the cost of these vehicles is beyond the reach of most Americans.
So, where do we stand today to accomplish the President’s goal?
Consumer Reports doesn’t have good early reviews for Chevrolet’s flagship entry into electric vehicles. A top editor from the publication said the Chevy Volt, which has both a plug-in battery and a gasoline engine isn’t particularly efficient as an electric vehicle and it’s not particularly good as a gas vehicle either in terms of fuel economy’. He concluded that it just ‘doesn’t make an awful lot of sense.’
No surprise there. The real problem is the batteries. They are very expensive (about $20,000 for the Nissan Leaf), have a range of only about 80 miles (depending on the weather conditions), require 8 to 10 hours to recharge, and, were that not enough, are expected to last only 6 to 8 years. So, at the end of the battery’s useful life, you can either throw another $20,000 at a 6 to 8 year old car, or, you pretty much have to throw the car away.
None of this bodes well for electric car sales. In fact, the federal government had to give Nissan $1.4 billion dollars in loan guarantees so that Nissan would manufacture electric cars and batteries in Smyrna, Tennessee.
To meet the President’s goal we need to sell about 15,000 electric cars per month between now and 2015. So far, Nissan has sold 87 Leaf’s in January, and 67 in February, not exactly a stellar performance.
The first electric car appeared on the scene in Scotland in 1832. No, that’s not a typo. So, what we have been unable to make either feasible or practical after 180 years of trying, this administration thinks we somehow will be able to accomplish in 4 short years…if we just throw enough money at it.