Sorry I had not seen where you addressed that, reportingsjr.
Bert, refueling times won't really matter when range is a few hundred miles. If you drive more than that in a day, pure EVs might never be for you.
Except it's not mainly coal-fired. It was ~50% coal a few years ago and it's less now, closer to 40% thanks to the EPA, the wind boom, and fracking for nat gas (that you probably love). Even if powered by pure coal, an EV would emit about the same CO2 as an ICE that gets over 30MPG, or better than the average ICE sold. And things only get better as the grid gets cleaner.
Finally, many of the negative stories in the media that scare people away have appeared in UBM's own pubs. How many times has UBM emailed out headlines that essentially say "CHEVY VOLT FIRES!!!!" when there was really only one I know of, and when the circumstances are learned (who bothers with this?), that incident had virtually nothing to do with battery safety? You can't keep screaming "fire!" in crowded theaters (or "EV car fires!" in car showrooms) and then wonder why people are staying away. I wonder how Chevy feels now about its UBM involvement to promote UBM's and Avnet's products with your cross country drive event. I don't recall a lot of EV bashing during that.
I don't have a lot of problems with your post, Brian, but you could make similar conclusions about a lot of things that the world's crystal ball is foggy on (ie, almost everything). Many 20-somethings don't even care about owning any cars or houses anymore, for reasons outside this scope, and that demographic is the one on which the "gotta have it" business model is dependent. If you look at a lot of technologies that did hockey-stick, many if not most were unforeseen.
As soon as there are noticeable improvements in battery range and commensurate cost cuts, EV and PHEV sales will grow even if the price of gasoline doesn't stop externalizing its real costs onto society and future generations. If I'm wrong I'd rather err on the side of optimism than grossly underestimate the potential of EVs and plug-in hybrids, which will be required if we are to meet the 54.5MPG mandate.
Lastly, much of the bad news I read about EVs has nothing or little to do with EV technology. Some examples: Fisker problems go in every direction except pointing to real problems with the battery itself; battery company bankruptcies are no different than consolidations the car companies went through 100 yrs ago or the computer companies have gone through for the last 30 yrs; and a recent prominent article bashing EVs focused on things like the LEAF's styling!
(to be continued)
I know someone with a hyrdrogen powered fuel cell car, and that (sort of) solves the refueling issues ---- except that currently, there are all of like 4 refueling stations in the US. So range anxiety is actually a lot worse with that car. Presumably, that could be solved, but at the moment, a battery powered car can be recharged nearly anywhere provided you have 5 hours to kill.
" The way to make it cheaper is to make it simpler and lighter. "
No--it is expensive (and heavy) because of the batteries. The way to make it cheaper is to have less expensive batteries.
Economics pretty much solves the issue. When gas prices quadruple or battery prices plummet, an electric car becomes economical and more people will buy them. Solar power also becomes a lot more attractive. If gas prices don't quadruple, then that means there's enough oil to keep driving gasoline cars.
For now, the innovators with enough money to buy these expensive and limited range cars are helping develop the technology. If there's ever some catastrophic event like another oil embargo, they'll be laughing at us while they drive past when we're stuck in long lines at the gas station.
That's a great point I hadn't considered: The replacement for the Chevy Volt battery is around $10,000 at the moment. A lot of ICE cars today offer virtually free or low cost service for 100,000 miles and the battery-replacement throws a big wrench in that selling point as consumers have become used to those types of incentives.