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Electric Vehicle Bashing WaPo

Discussion in 'Electric Vehicles' started by vfx, May 4, 2009.

  1. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    #1 vfx, May 4, 2009
    Last edited: May 4, 2009
    Electric Vehicle Bashing from the Washington Post
    It's about the Volt, but the muckraking on EV goes on and on.

    Go read the article, I might as well quote the whole thing here it's that bad.

    By the way, he cites this study from the Boston Consulting Group. Anyone know of it or them?
     
  2. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    #2 AnOutsider, May 4, 2009
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    eh, when those quotes are read in context it's understandable. I don't see this article so much as bashing as pointing out the downside. I think most of us here are in financial positions to entertain the idea of a 50 (or 100)k electric vehicle -- this article seems more pointed at the average consumer.

    Even if Tesla gets a 30k model out, it's still on the luxury-end for most consumers that I personally know.

    If I were able to respond to the article though, I would only point out that yes, electric vehicles cost more (currently), but there's also the responsibility of ACTIVELY doing the right thing instead of just idly musing about how bad cars are for the environment.

    Not to mention, once the ball gets rolling, it'll be all downhill as far as pricing is concerned. Technical breakthroughs, optimizations and streamlined manufacturing will pretty much ensure that.

    So yeah, we'll be the first round guinea pigs, and in 10 years when electric is becoming more common, we'll be the ones to thank.
     
  3. efusco

    efusco Moderator - Model S & X forums

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    Just another display of utter ignorance and lack of real research. He takes a little bit of recent factual data and mixes it with rumors he's heard and believes, but never bothered to research and we end up with a mixed bag of drivel that sounds like it might be true, but really isn't.

    Look at the idiotic Li battery disposal line alone. Clearly the guy has no idea how expensive lithium is and that each and every battery will be recycled. Likewise his emissions comment--completely vague. He didn't bother to check to see how gasoline emissions compare to coal emissions...the data's out there and readily accessible...but why post facts, it's easier to post scary sounding guesses.
     
  4. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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  5. Arnold Panz

    Arnold Panz Model Sig 304, VIN 542

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    OK, but they didn't do this "study" for no money -- someone hired them to do this and essentially try to bash (or at least discredit) the EV market. Who would have incentive to do that? Any ICE car company, or maybe even an industry association or oil company (or oil industry association). Then they put it out as a "neutral" report that can be quoted by journalist hacks like this guy from WaPo who, as already noted, is too lazy to see if the use of electricity from coal plants is better or worse for the environment to power a car than gasoline, information that is readily available after a 30 second Google search.

    Not to rant off-topic, but this is at least partially why newspapers are dying. We can now get better and more accurate information ourselves from the internet, and if traditional journalists are going to do a worse job researching what they write about, what's the point of paying to read what they are writing?
     
  6. AndrewBissell

    AndrewBissell Member

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    The Boston Consulting Group is a very illustrious and well respected management consulting group. Which is a pity, since their report ("The Comeback of The Electric Car? How Real, How Soon, and What Must Happen Next") seems to be based on a seriously flawed premise: namely that Lithium Ion batteries cost (as at January 2009) $2,000/kWh, with a projected drop to $700/kWh (or in their most optimistic scenario) $500/kWh by 2020.

    Given this baseline of assumption they cost a metric of $/% CO2 reduction (quite a nice metric, if you ask me, and the kind of reason people pay groups like BCG high $ to consult for them).

    They then use this metric based on the above battery costs to show that:

    - improvements to ICE technology yield $70-$140/% CO2 reduction
    - various levels of hybrid from mild (stop/start) to full hybrid yield around $140/percentage point
    - PHEV comes in around $200/% in 2020 (but around $500/% today)
    - BEV and EREV both around $280/% in 2020

    Based on that they then argue that the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) over five years always favours an ICE even in 2020 (based on oil in a $60-130 range).

    However, if I look here I see that James was able to buy LiFFePO4 for $340/kWh in small volume, this year. So that $2,000/kWh baseline premise seems a little exagerated! (I note also that if you were building a car the way Tesla does, going for energy dense not power dense cells, the cost per kWh is likely lower. It will also be better in volume.)

    If you plug $350/kWh into the graph on page 5 of the BCG report, you find that the story reverses. At that $/kWh, there is no price of oil in the $60 - $130 range for which Electric doesn't beat ICE.

    Unfortunately BCG offers no way that I can find to comment on ior amend ts reports. So I guess this will likely stick and get repeated as "truth".

    Andrew
     
  7. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    #7 TEG, May 4, 2009
    Last edited: May 4, 2009
    From the study (page 10):
    BCG Energy Group
    Most of their experts are in Europe, but the listed US energy group experts are in Houston and Dallas...
     
  8. AndrewBissell

    AndrewBissell Member

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    Email just sent to media contact at BCG

    I decided to see if I could get them to correct their report by writing to the media contact quoted in the press release TEG linked to:

    Dear Alexandra,

    I note from http://www.bcg.com/impact_expertise/publications/publication_view.jsp?pubID=2819&language=English that you are the press contact for the above report.

    I want to draw your attention to the fact that the report is based on a seriously flawed premise, and in my view should be withdrawn, amended significantly, and re-published with a similar level of promotion given to the revised report as has been given to its original publication.

    My commentary on the factual inaccuracy at the heart of the report is, as posted at Electric Vehicle Bashing WaPo - Tesla Motors Club Forum

    "The Boston Consulting Group is a very illustrious and well respected management consulting group. Which is a pity, since their report ("The Comeback of The Electric Car? How Real, How Soon, and What Must Happen Next") seems to be based on a seriously flawed premise: namely that Lithium Ion batteries cost (as at January 2009) $2,000/kWh, with a projected drop to $700/kWh (or in their most optimistic scenario) $500/kWh by 2020.

    Given this baseline of assumption they cost a metric of $/% CO2 reduction (quite a nice metric, if you ask me, and the kind of reason people pay groups like BCG high $ to consult for them).

    They then use this metric based on the above battery costs to show that:

    - improvements to ICE technology yield $70-$140/% CO2 reduction
    - various levels of hybrid from mild (stop/start) to full hybrid yield around $140/percentage point
    - PHEV comes in around $200/% in 2020 (but around $500/% today)
    - BEV and EREV both around $280/% in 2020

    Based on that they then argue that the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) over five years always favours an ICE even in 2020 (based on oil in a $60-130 range).

    However, if I look here I see that James was able to buy LiFFePO4 for $340/kWh in small volume, this year. So that $2,000/kWh baseline premise seems a little exaggerated! (I note also that if you were building a car the way Tesla does, going for energy dense not power dense cells, the cost per kWh is likely lower. It will also be better in volume.)

    If you plug $350/kWh into the graph on page 5 of the BCG report, you find that the story reverses. At that $/kWh, there is no price of oil in the $60 - $130 range for which Electric doesn't beat ICE.

    Unfortunately BCG offers no way that I can find to comment on or amend its reports. So I guess this will likely stick and get repeated as "truth"."

    I am trusting that you will forward my comments for review to the report's authors, and that if they on analysis they agree (NB I am happy to enter into a dialogue with them as part of the review if they wish), you will proceed to amend the report and republish with full PR as I suggested above. Thereby you will demonstrate that there is a way to comment on and have amended a BCG report, and I will happily retract my last para above!

    I remain sincerely impressed by BCG in general, if underwhelmed by this specific report.

    With best regards,

    Andrew Bissell
     
  9. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    #9 TEG, May 4, 2009
    Last edited: May 4, 2009
  10. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    #10 TEG, May 4, 2009
    Last edited: May 4, 2009
    BCGs EV study is mentioned a whole lot of places already.

    Automotive Task Force Consultants Are Plug-In Skeptics

    Consulting Group: Beware of Electric Car Costs | Hybrid Cars

    "Auto Task Force Advisors Respond to Criticism of Advice on Plug-Is" Green Car Advisor

    Electric cars will need lots of financial support - report - Jan. 15, 2009

    Controversy Dogs Task Force Evaluation of Chevrolet Volt

    Competing Views on the Future of Electric and Plug-In Vehicles - Auto Industry Tracker - WSJ

    GM's Volt mistake | AnnistonStar.com

    washingtonpost.com

    etc...
     
  11. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    #11 TEG, May 4, 2009
    Last edited: May 4, 2009
    Electric cars will need lots of financial support - report

    [​IMG][​IMG]
    :confused:
     
  12. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    #12 vfx, May 4, 2009
    Last edited: May 4, 2009
  13. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    Please don't refer to him/her/it as "our friend" even when kidding.
    He/she/it has been tirelessly "raining on our parade" and making a mockery/mess of what should otherwise be healthy conversations.
     
  14. Cobos

    Cobos S60 owner since 2013

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    I can actually tell them right away that the $2000/kWh has to be wrong.
    Tesla Roadster has a 53kWh battery. Using their data that works out to the battery cost for the Roadster is 53 * $2000 = $106 000. Considering that Tesla claims the 2010 Roadster at $109 000 without federal credit makes a profit, their battery claims can't be right.
    Actual data says the cost of the Roadster today is in the $80 000 area for battery AND car. That probably means the battery costs around $1000/kWh or less.

    Cobos
     
  15. DaveD

    DaveD EVs Kick Gas!

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    Some people get this; hopefully, more will later.

    I was at a Starbucks yesterday morning, and it was sunny weather, so the place was hopping. I happened to get the parking spot right outside of the door to the place, so everyone was checking out my Roadster as they stopped by for their drinks. I was quietly sitting there at a counter looking outside, enjoying my chai tea latte, and watching the scene happen. One guy came in and struck up a conversation with the baristas about the Tesla. The baristas had no idea what it was (one of them called it a "Barbie Car"! :rolleyes:), but the guy knew all about it, and explained to the girls behind the counter why it was such a rare and interesting vehicle. He asked them where the owner was, but they didn't know for sure. Somehow, he figured out that it might be me (was I smiling too much when I was listening in on their conversation?), and came over and asked me if I was.

    I acknowledged that it was mine, and he basically thanked me, insisted on shaking my hand, and went on a bit about how what I've done, by taking the risk and making the "investment" in Tesla, has helped to significantly impact the automotive industry and hopefully resulted in having lower-cost EVs in the near future for the rest of us. I, of course, agreed with him on his assessment of Tesla's effect on the industry and society, but I stayed humble about my own role in the effort.
     
  16. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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  17. AndrewBissell

    AndrewBissell Member

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    Hi Cobos. I couldnt agree more! The part of my post that you quoted wasn't there because I agree with them - it was just there to characterize the (IMO flawed) assumptions they made.

    The part you didn't quote gives my view (evidence based) that automotive Li-Ion batteries can be had for under $350/kWh today.

    All the best

    Andrew.
     
  18. Palpatine

    Palpatine Banned

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    Dave was trying out one of the tips posted on the owners forum. The topic on the owners forum was "strategies for using a Tesla Roadster to meet women..."
     
  19. Palpatine

    Palpatine Banned

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    The cost for LIFEPO4 (lithium iron phosphate) large format cells (designed for EV conversions and providing 3,000 cycles) is approximately $340 per KWH right now.

    It larger volume bulk orders it is less than $300 per KWH right now.

    This consultant is clueless.
     
  20. dpeilow

    dpeilow Moderator

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    Unfortunately they probably know exactly what they are doing.

    These "rent-a-report" types that service special interest groups will start with a straw man and go from there. All too often the politicians and journos swallow it hook, line and sinker.

    Remember there was a similar one in the UK press a couple of weeks ago. We could be seeing a subtle but concerted effort to put the boot in. Their faux statement of support is a nice touch.

    Does the EV industry have a trade association? If not, we/they need to start one and perhaps hire some consultancy to produce material that can be used to push back hard, before too much ground is lost.
     

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