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BMW's New Electric Car Just Became a Major Problem [a problem for its competitors]
fool.com ^ | July 23, 2013 | Katie Spence

Posted on 07/24/2013 1:27:04 AM PDT by grundle

On Monday, BMW announced that the U.S. base price for its all-electric i3 will be $41,350, not including any federal or state incentives. For General Motors' Chevy Volt, and possibly Tesla Motor's Model S, BMW's move spells major trouble. Here's why.

Bad news, GM

With a starting MSRP of $39,145 in 2012, the Volt was the best-selling EV, and it's not hard to see why. Really more of an electric hybrid than a straight EV, the Volt combines a 9.3-gallon fuel tank with a lithium-ion battery. This combination allows the Volt can go an estimated 38 miles on pure battery before switching to regular fuel, which extends the range to an estimated 380 miles. Because of this combination, the Volt cuts down on range anxiety, which is still a huge deterrent to getting consumers into EVs.

Now, compare the above to BMW's all-electric i3: According to BMW, the i3 has a pure-electric range of 80-100 miles, thanks to its lithium-ion battery, and has an optional range extender that lengthens that initial range by 80 miles. Plus, thanks to BMW's eDrive technology, a driver can extend the initial range up to 124 miles by putting the vehicle in one of the "EcoPro" modes.

Right away you can see the problem. Not only does BMW's i3 go farther on pure battery power, but with the purchase of the optional range extender, range anxiety goes way down. More pointedly, the base MSRP for the BMW is only $2,000 more than the Volt. I don't know about you, but if I had to decide between spending $39,000 for a Volt, or $2,000 more for a BMW, I'm going with the BMW, hands down.

Tesla, this is bad for you, too

Right now, Tesla is the crème-de-la-crème of EVs. But it's competing against all-electric EVs like Nissan Motors' Leaf, and Ford's Focus Electric. To put it simply, Tesla's Model S can drive circles around these cars. Yes, it's more expensive, but the technology, range, and precision of the Model S makes anything else seem almost silly in comparison. BMW, however, is a luxury brand with renowned German engineering, and its new i3, and the future i8 model, presents a new challenge for Tesla.

Consider this: The i3, designed from the ground up as an EV, has received praise from some of the industry's harshest EV critics. As BBC's "Top Gear" drivers put it:

At first sampling, then, this is a compelling electric car. It's not the first on the market, but BMW has put some original thinking into almost every part of its design and engineering. It drives sweetly, is distinctively designed, and has the reassuring range-extender option if you are anxious about running flat.

These are the same critics that gave Tesla's Roadster a less than glowing report -- in fact, Tesla sued the show for "libel and malicious falsehood" because of the review.

What to watch for

The i3 isn't set to hit showrooms until the second quarter of 2014, and right now it's too soon to predict exactly how this will affect GM and Tesla's sales. However, given BMW's reputation, the i3's reviews, and the just released base price, this is something investors would do well to monitor.

Electric cars are gaining in popularity, but they're still a niche market. Ford, however, has its hand in EVs and is starting to make its presence known in China. China is already the world's largest auto market -- and it's set to grow even bigger in coming years. A recent Motley Fool report, "2 Automakers to Buy for a Surging Chinese Market", names Ford and one other global giant, poised to reap big gains that could drive big rewards for investors. You can read this report right now for free -- just click here for instant access.


TOPICS: Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: automakers; bmw; efv; electriccars; energy
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1 posted on 07/24/2013 1:27:04 AM PDT by grundle
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To: grundle

Out of 10,000 possible owners...when you tell them it’s only got 80-100 miles of range....that takes out 9,999 potential buyers. I wouldn’t get too excited here. I admit...if you live in NYC or Washington DC...there might be a logical reason to buy it. Otherwise? It’s worthless, if you ask me.


2 posted on 07/24/2013 1:30:11 AM PDT by pepsionice
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To: pepsionice

I agree with you that it’s only for people in cities with short commutes. But I think there are a lot more of those people than what you claim in your numbers.


3 posted on 07/24/2013 1:33:34 AM PDT by grundle
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To: pepsionice

It is an expensive Nissan Leaf without the gas powered generator. With the generator is a much better Volt.

I agree, I would rather have the BMW than the Volt.

I would still rather have the Tesla Model S.

BMWs start at $31k

Teslas start at $70.

Tesla has world renowned Silicon Valley engineering.

Plus the expanding Tesla supercharging network.


4 posted on 07/24/2013 1:39:14 AM PDT by Reaganez
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To: Reaganez

What is the expanding Tesla supercharging network?


5 posted on 07/24/2013 1:43:08 AM PDT by RedHeeler
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To: RedHeeler

http://www.teslamotors.com/supercharger


6 posted on 07/24/2013 1:45:32 AM PDT by Reaganez
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To: grundle

Why don’t we refit the highways to be like slot car tracks. Unlimited range and other than some serious electrocution hazards a real alternative to gasoline. Of course with the EPA shutting down power plants we may have trouble getting a sufficient electrical supply. No big deal I’m only in this for the Green Energy stimulus money. I don’t even like electric golf carts.


7 posted on 07/24/2013 1:51:30 AM PDT by Conspiracy Guy (To stay calm during these tumultuous times, I take Damitol. Ask your Doctor if it's right for you.)
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To: Reaganez

Thank You.


8 posted on 07/24/2013 1:54:31 AM PDT by RedHeeler
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To: grundle

Obama will likely raid BMW’s factories and ban the sale in America because their batteries endanger some such endangered creature.

Remember Gibson guitar?


9 posted on 07/24/2013 1:56:41 AM PDT by RandallFlagg (IRS = Internal Revenge Service)
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To: grundle
When I was working, my commute was 25 miles round trip. That puts me in the sweet spot to buy an electric or hybrid. That said, when I looked at them I rejected them out of hand. Why?

1) Never buy new tech because it's new and you have to give these guys a while to work out the bugs. A rule to live by, in my book.

2) I would still need a 'normal' car for longer trips.

3)They cost too darn much.

4)Battery life is 6-8 years and replacement is $6000-8000. That's double or more the cost of a new engine in my present car. A car I wouldn't consider if I had a guess that I would have to replace the engine in 6-8 years.

5) Has there been an honest positive review of any electric car? One that didn't make a bunch of excuses for high cost/ low overall performance. I haven't seen one yet.

6) Once I was driving home from work and instead of going right to home, just decided to go left and spend the long weekend in Florida. That's 1000 miles out of the way. Any electric/ hybrids out there that will allow me to do that? I didn't think so.

I guess that internal combustion will be in a lot of garages for a while yet. It's a good thing because coal is so dirty.

10 posted on 07/24/2013 1:58:32 AM PDT by Wingy
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To: Wingy

>>>I guess that internal combustion will be in a lot of garages for a while yet. It’s a good thing because coal is so dirty.<<<

There is a little drity secret that a European turbocharged diesel engines outperforms both hybrid and electric cars in terms or enviromental footprint for 10 years and counting. It also outperformes gas engines in terms of torque and horsepower in similiar displacement. They aren’t noisy or smoky anymore.

What about a 3 liter diesel BMW 7-er?
Full-size sports sedan, inline 6, 330 horsepower, accelerates in 6 seconds 0-60, cruising at 170 mp/h on Autobahn.
Twice better fuel/mileage than Prius.

All these “green” madness on the road is simply unbelievable in green Europe.
There is no Prius, Volt etc on their markets.

Why won’t bring hi-end diesels here?


11 posted on 07/24/2013 2:15:09 AM PDT by cunning_fish
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To: grundle

My round trip to work is 96 miles. I also like to drive with air conditioning (fully functional)and a better than average sound system which includes satellite radio, cd player and ipod options. Sometimes, there are traffic foul ups and delays. Not much margin for error.


12 posted on 07/24/2013 2:18:01 AM PDT by Artie (We are surrounded by MORONS)
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To: Wingy

1) Choosing not to be an early adopter is a fair philosophy. Hybrids have been on the road for 15 years.

2)Not if you buy a hybrid or an electric vehicle with a gas powered range extender.

3) Right now hybrids can be had for a price below the average price of a new car. A real functional electric will be within reach of the average new car buyer within 5-10 years.

4)Tesla is offering an 8 year unlimited mile warranty. We shall see how long they last, what the salvage value of used batteries are(they will be perfect for home solar systems)and how much the new batteries cost.

5) If you define every positive review as dishonest then there can’t be one. Consumer Reports gave the Model S a 99 out of 100 rating. The highest rating ever. It is a direct replacement for the BMW 7 Series, Audi A8, Mercedes S class, and Lexus LS. The way the vast majority of those owners use them. They don’t drive from Texas to North Dakota.

6) Every hybrid and extended range electric vehicle can do a 1000 mile journey. Like a convectional ICE car you just need to add gas. By the end of 2014 you will be able to do that in a Model S.


13 posted on 07/24/2013 2:22:26 AM PDT by Reaganez
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To: pepsionice

I agree. Even with the range extender... 160 miles? I couldn’t even get to the next major city without a recharge. Don’t know who thinks that wouldn’t have range anxiety.


14 posted on 07/24/2013 2:23:55 AM PDT by DannyTN
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To: Wingy
The really big problem at least for me is where I live Western PA. We have cold winters and hot summers. Can the HVAC in an electric car handle that? I don't think so. That's why almost all of them come with heated seats. So except for my butt I'm going to be cold in winter and using them or a heater will cut range.

In summer the A/C is going to cut range.

Now let's also have mrs p6 in the car and at least one other passenger. Range takes another hit.

The terrain here is very hilly... another range hit.

Finally mrs p6 and I were just tonight seeing if an electric car could take us to Volant PA from south of Pittsburgh. We often make that trip because there is a specialty/antiques & crafts shopping area.

The trip is around 50 miles one way. Making it in an electric is very borderline, probably immpossible. We looked into charging stations but there are none reasonably close to that route. Plus what do you do if you get to a charging station and someone else is there ahead of you?

And what if we wanted to make a spur of the moment side trip to a restaurant we like to visit?

Add in the expense of the car and replacement battery...it just doesn't make sense.

15 posted on 07/24/2013 2:26:47 AM PDT by prisoner6 ( FREEDOM!)
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To: pepsionice; grundle

The extender takes it closer to 200 miles, and BMW is also introducing a hybrid. Yeah, it’s for a second-car, urban/suburban market. But I can see the wanna-be-eco-chic wife being able to talk the indifferent husband into it because it’s a beemer.


16 posted on 07/24/2013 2:29:43 AM PDT by 9YearLurker
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To: Artie

They have an optional convertible electrical trailer. Simply tow it behind the car.
It has a solar panel array for sunny days. And for cloudy and night driving you remove the panels and installs the wind turbine. g


17 posted on 07/24/2013 2:33:15 AM PDT by Vinnie
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To: All


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18 posted on 07/24/2013 2:34:07 AM PDT by musicman (Until I see the REAL Long Form Vault BC, he's just "PRES__ENT" Obama = Without "ID")
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To: prisoner6

“In summer the A/C is going to cut range. “

It is going to cut the range by the same percentage as in an ICE car, 12-16%.

Same for adding weight or hilly terrain.

A Tesla Model S has about 250-265 mile range under normal conditions, up to 420 if driven at a constant 20 mph without AC or Heat. 200 miles if driven like a bat out of hell. Plenty to go antiquing.


19 posted on 07/24/2013 2:37:54 AM PDT by Reaganez
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20 posted on 07/24/2013 2:42:15 AM PDT by mcmuffin (Freedom's On The March - Wave Goodbye!)
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To: cunning_fish
Why won’t they bring hi-end diesels here?

Because the government won't let them.

21 posted on 07/24/2013 2:43:14 AM PDT by meyer (What would John Hancock do?)
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To: Reaganez

Thannks. Very interesting. Clearly they are committed to the concept.


22 posted on 07/24/2013 3:06:25 AM PDT by Portcall24
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To: pepsionice

People in Hawaii don’t have these longer commutes. An all electric car would do them fine, especially with a solar blanket charger on top when they are at their destination.


23 posted on 07/24/2013 3:08:36 AM PDT by BipolarBob (Democrats will give you the shirt off somebody elses back for a vote.)
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To: Reaganez
1) Choosing not to be an early adopter is a fair philosophy. Hybrids have been on the road for 15 years.

By this I take it you mean that the bugs have been worked out, but with overnight charge times for full charge I beg to differ. Also was it 15 years ago that the Volt quit burning up garages?

2)Not if you buy a hybrid or an electric vehicle with a gas powered range extender.

But why buy an electric/hybrid with all the added cost and complexity when I'll be using gas in the end?

3) Right now hybrids can be had for a price below the average price of a new car. A real functional electric will be within reach of the average new car buyer within 5-10 years.

Call me in 5-10 years.

4)Tesla is offering an 8 year unlimited mile warranty. We shall see how long they last, what the salvage value of used batteries are(they will be perfect for home solar systems)and how much the new batteries cost.

Tesla's start at $71,000. How does that square with point #3?

5) If you define every positive review as dishonest then there can’t be one. Consumer Reports gave the Model S a 99 out of 100 rating. The highest rating ever. It is a direct replacement for the BMW 7 Series, Audi A8, Mercedes S class, and Lexus LS. The way the vast majority of those owners use them. They don’t drive from Texas to North Dakota.

I'm looking for an apples to apples review that doesn't have a bunch of qualifiers like "As long as your not driving from Texas to North Dakota." While I don't do it every day, I don't want my vehicle to be the deciding factor in that decision. That hasn't happened since I owned a 1964 VW in high school.

6) Every hybrid and extended range electric vehicle can do a 1000 mile journey. Like a convectional ICE car you just need to add gas. By the end of 2014 you will be able to do that in a Model S.

See answers for #2 & #4.

24 posted on 07/24/2013 3:09:12 AM PDT by Wingy
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To: grundle
"I don't know about you, but if I had to decide between spending $39,000 for a Volt, or $2,000 more for a BMW, I'm going with the BMW, hands down."

I don't know about you, but if I was handed a free $39,000 to spend on a car, I'd spend it on a $22k Honda Civic Si 6-speed manual sedan and keep the change, or spend all of it on a "classic" older air-cooled Porsche 911.

25 posted on 07/24/2013 3:09:42 AM PDT by Sooth2222 ("Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of congress. But I repeat myself." M.Twain)
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To: grundle
With BMW's max range of only 124 miles, that pretty much guarantees you can't take an extended trip while with the Volt's gas option, you're free to go wherever you want.

I play softball with a retiree who has a volt and he loves it. Most of his driving is within the battery limit but if he exceeds it, no problem, it automatically switches to the gas.

He's going to install a charging station in his garage that's going to cost $2,700.....BUT, the electric company will pay the first $2,400...

26 posted on 07/24/2013 3:10:44 AM PDT by Hot Tabasco (')
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To: cunning_fish
Why won’t bring hi-end diesels here?

Excellent question.

BTW, why not hybridize a hi-tech diesel car?

27 posted on 07/24/2013 3:15:59 AM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: meyer
"Why won’t they bring hi-end diesels here?"

"Because the government won't let them."

BMW sells/has sold diesels here. The X5 35d is a diesel they sell at the moment. They did sell the E90 sedan with a diesel -- but the sales were much less than expected. The problem with diesels here is that they aren't big sellers. (In that sense, diesels are much like electric cars.)

Porsche, Audi, VW and Mercedes offer at least one diesel model in the US in addition to BMW.

28 posted on 07/24/2013 3:19:35 AM PDT by Sooth2222 ("Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of congress. But I repeat myself." M.Twain)
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To: Reaganez
“In summer the A/C is going to cut range. “

That's just the additional energy used. Battery performance itself is directly affected by extreme temperatures.

How would an electric vehicle perform in MN in the winter, or Phoenix in the summer?

29 posted on 07/24/2013 3:22:11 AM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: grundle

Is the lithium ion battery the same one that has caused fires in Boeing airplanes in two separate applications? And don’t Volts have a tendency to spontaneously combust? And don’t they use that battery?

I don’t think that battery is ready for large applications, regardless of their being approved by some government rubber stamp agency.


30 posted on 07/24/2013 3:23:03 AM PDT by cuban leaf (Were doomed! Details at eleven.)
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To: Reaganez

Tesla has world renowned Silicon Valley engineering.


What does that mean, exactly?

I thought silicon valley was famous for software engineering, not hardware.


31 posted on 07/24/2013 3:25:15 AM PDT by cuban leaf (Were doomed! Details at eleven.)
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To: RandallFlagg

Electric is still a novelty. Until they can get descent range in a battery that doesn’t catch on fire, they will be nothing more. 100 miles is nice, but I see 200 miles as the holy grail. And that is Minnesota in the dead of winter. And they need a safer battery.


32 posted on 07/24/2013 3:27:28 AM PDT by cuban leaf (Were doomed! Details at eleven.)
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To: grundle

Electric cars are still liberal lunacy causing more damage to the environment than today’s gasoline engines and with per mile life costs through the roof.

Everyone who buys one is doing so all because of left-wing liberal religious/self-righteous pride....”I’m better than you.....” arrogantly thinking they are helping the planet.

Sorry, it’s all a lie. They are still ridiculously expensive, harmful to the environment in their whole life cycle and still not practical.

Typical liberal lie, bought into by our deceived masses......


33 posted on 07/24/2013 3:30:46 AM PDT by Arlis (.)
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To: RedHeeler
What is the expanding Tesla supercharging network?


34 posted on 07/24/2013 3:34:57 AM PDT by USS Alaska (Nuke the terrorist savages, start today.)
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To: pepsionice

“It’s worthless, if you ask me.”

I think so too. Between the hazardous waste created in manufacturing and disposing of the batteries, lack of range and restriction in speed I just don’t get it. Not to mention ya gotta use a fossile fuel to charge em up. I’m not against alternative fuel and power sources but I refuse to go backwards and loose speed, power and range. For my $$ this is the future.
http://automobiles.honda.com/fcx-clarity/


35 posted on 07/24/2013 3:43:03 AM PDT by V_TWIN
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To: Sherman Logan

“Why not hybridize a diesel”

Volkswagen is already doing this with its new SUV. Can’t remember the name of it though


36 posted on 07/24/2013 3:50:08 AM PDT by AdamBomb
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To: cunning_fish

Anyone purchasing and driving a diesel vehicle should have to sit behind and idling one in traffic for thirty minutes a day.

I am so over all these farm punks and their chipped up, fartpiped Rams, F350s, and Silverados with stock turbos blowing a cloud of lingering particulates every time they leave an intersection.

Diesels are for heavy duty lawn mowers, construction equipment, tractors and semi trucks. Come out with your high end oil burners and try on my DOHC, turbocharged, intercoooled, direct injected GASOLINE powered ride sometime. Just please let me have the lane opposite your exhaust outlet.


37 posted on 07/24/2013 3:58:55 AM PDT by noprogs (Borders, Language, Culture)
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To: grundle

Main reasons I will never buy a hybrid:

I don’t want to look like an idiot.

If I’m in a crash, I’d like a little bit of protection.

A hybrid will never be able to pull my 14’ enclosed duck/goose hunting trailer.

I have not been convinced that the worst gas guzzling, smoke spewing, oil leaking vehicle on the road impacts the environment one bit.

I also have not been convinced that electric cars are “good for the environment” (I want to puke every time I hear that stupid phrase!)

— and —

ELECTRIC CARS ARE PART OF A LIBERAL, PROGRESSIVE, DESTRUCTIVE AGENDA.


38 posted on 07/24/2013 4:06:12 AM PDT by mn-bush-man
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To: grundle

Main reasons I will never buy a hybrid:

I don’t want to look like an idiot.

If I’m in a crash, I’d like a little bit of protection.

A hybrid will never be able to pull my 14’ enclosed duck/goose hunting trailer.

I have not been convinced that the worst gas guzzling, smoke spewing, oil leaking vehicle on the road impacts the environment one bit.

I also have not been convinced that electric cars are “good for the environment” (I want to puke every time I hear that stupid phrase!)

— and —

ELECTRIC CARS ARE PART OF A LIBERAL, PROGRESSIVE, DESTRUCTIVE AGENDA.


39 posted on 07/24/2013 4:06:13 AM PDT by mn-bush-man
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To: grundle

Fred Flintstone had a much better idea.


40 posted on 07/24/2013 4:11:38 AM PDT by Jay Redhawk (Go OSU Cowboys! Of course most of you are from Texas, but go anyway!)
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To: Arlis
"Everyone who buys one is doing so all because of left-wing liberal religious/self-righteous pride....”I’m better than you.....” arrogantly thinking they are helping the planet."
41 posted on 07/24/2013 4:19:47 AM PDT by EEGator
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To: Reaganez
Right now hybrids can be had for a price below the average price of a new car.

What hybrid can be purchased below average price of a comparable non-hybrid car?

42 posted on 07/24/2013 4:29:30 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: Sherman Logan; cunning_fish; meyer
Why won’t bring hi-end diesels here?
why not hybridize a hi-tech diesel car?
I’ve always said (on the basis of mechanical engineering lab work in college) that anyone who claims to be going all out for fuel economy - and what else is a hybrid supposed to be? - isn’t really trying if they’re using a spark-ignition engine instead of a diesel.
But then, what actually is the point of going full-bore for fuel economy when we have shale oil and gas? Speaking of natural gas, how much better is an electric car than a CNG-fueled car for anything? Incidentally, it’s possible to use (a lean mixture of) NG in a diesel engine, using the fuel oil injectors only to initiate combustion. Highly efficient.

The historic limitation of the diesel, besides initial cost, weight, and the fuel-oil smell, has been flexibility - the power curve vs RPM is pretty much linear up to the (low, due to high piston mass) RPM red line. Which tends to require a lot of gear shifting. But a hybrid shouldn’t have the same problem with that . . .

My conclusion is that they don’t use diesels in hybrid designs because of weight and initial cost. The high gas mileage you already get from the hybrid feature reduces the payoff in fuel economy of changing to diesel prime mover, and the high cost and weight of the hybrid makes the high cost and weight of the diesel that much more painful. I guess putting a diesel in a hybrid is “a bridge too far . . ."


43 posted on 07/24/2013 4:29:53 AM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion (“Liberalism” is a conspiracy against the public by wire-service journalism.)
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To: EEGator

Unfortunately gasoline will be “Atlas Shrugged” high when this becomes a smart purchase. I hope that never, ever happens.

As a current BMW owner (Mine is 10 years old) I found that the free market drove my purchase cost below that of an equal year Honda Civic. I average 30mpg.

We will need to be well into $20/gallon fuel prices for this to make sense. Not to mention all other forms of energy will increase at the same time (the owner of an EV WILL see $1000+ monthly increases in their utility bills)

The whole EV car thing won’t make anyone’s life any easier.


44 posted on 07/24/2013 4:30:16 AM PDT by Celerity
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To: Wingy

Here’s another thought. Your city is about to be in a big storm for a week. Me, I go buy three jerry cans of gas. EV owner, out of luck if power goes out, can’t evacuate the city.


45 posted on 07/24/2013 4:32:01 AM PDT by DaxtonBrown (http://www.futurnamics.com/reid.php)
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To: pepsionice

I would like one. I have a hybrid which gets astounding mileage, but most of the driving I do would fall well within the i3’s electric-only range. Not everyone drives 50 miles each way to work.


46 posted on 07/24/2013 4:34:00 AM PDT by dinodino
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To: Hot Tabasco
BUT, the electric company his neighbors will pay the first $2,400...

The electric company isn't cutting their profits to do this. The cost is either rolled into the rate or provided by the tax payers.

47 posted on 07/24/2013 4:34:59 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: USS Alaska

Now, well portrayed diagrams, I can understand. Looks like a finite system.


48 posted on 07/24/2013 4:40:54 AM PDT by RedHeeler
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To: mn-bush-man
A hybrid will never be able to pull my 14’ enclosed duck/goose hunting trailer.

Never say never...

Ford to develop hybrid trucks solo after Toyota tie-up ends
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/23/autos-ford-truck-idUSL1N0FT1AN20130723

Ford, maker of the top-selling F-150 pickup truck, will develop its own rear-wheel drive hybrid system for trucks and SUVs, which will be available by the end of the decade.

49 posted on 07/24/2013 4:41:52 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: Celerity

“The whole EV car thing won’t make anyone’s life any easier.”

Agreed. They shouldn’t receive any perks either.(tax breaks, etc)

“Not to mention all other forms of energy will increase at the same time (the owner of an EV WILL see $1000+ monthly increases in their utility bills)”

I’m hoping we start to develop Thorium reactors, as well as using all types of domestic energy types.(LNG, shale, drilling, etc)


50 posted on 07/24/2013 4:44:03 AM PDT by EEGator
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