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Geoff Ralston on the electric car

Discussion in 'Future Cars' started by mwulff, Jul 15, 2015.

  1. mwulff

    mwulff Member

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    I just came across this blog post by Geoff Ralston:

    http://blog.geoffralston.com/the-electric-car

    I summary he believes that we are close to a tipping point after which the electric car will dominate the transportation sector.

    Is he rigt? Is he wrong.

    I have never thought about gas stations going out of business would have an impact on the practicality of ICE-cars. But his reasoning makes sense. What do you guys think?
     
  2. wycolo

    wycolo Active Member

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    Diesel sales will continue strong for vehicles that need to do real work. In US all new gas/convenience stores include as many diesel pumps as gas; not the case 10 years ago. The semi is on a fast rising curve due to its flexibility vs railroads and will dominate transport indefinitely. I hope Tesla is working on a battery powered Kenworth.
    --
     
  3. Model 3

    Model 3 Active Member

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    A lot of small/local gasoline stations will be going out of business. But the big stations along the main roads will transform into "energy stations" and be offering gasoline, diesel, LPG, hydrogen and slow-/fast-charging. And food/rest-room +++

    We are already seeing the start of this transformation here in Norway, where Statoil Fuel & Retail long has been in the forefront to offer LPG and hydrogen, and now has a policy to install EV charging at their stations. And they have an agreement with Tesla to co-locate superchargers. The latest is Porsgrunn Supercharger that opened at the "Telemarkporten Statoil station" last Friday.
     
  4. mwulff

    mwulff Member

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    Adapt or die. I think Statoil is being remarkably adaptive here. Especially since hydrogen cars are not really commercially available right now. But offering cheap/reasonable charging infrastructure is a great idea. In Norway in particular.
     
  5. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    #5 ItsNotAboutTheMoney, Jul 15, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2015
    But I think he's way wrong about 10%:
    1) He's forgetting that they make money on _margin_. The margin on gas is small. Knock off 10% of gas custom and you'll add, what, 1c to the price of gas? People also use gas station variety stores. Even EV drivers might continue to do that.
    2) I live in a city of 15k. Not directly by the Interstate we have 3 gas stations. Neighboring small towns each have 1 or 2, and that's _not_ directly by the Interstate, where there are more. Even if you knock out 10% of our gas stations that's _nothing_.
    3) People _use_ their vehicles. In many cases people refuel en route. As long as they can continue to do that, there's no inconvenience.

    I think we could easily tip rapidly, but that's not because of gas station numbers dwindling. It's simply that a lot of people have some key thing "blocking" purchase, so when you remove those blocks you'll suddenly have a mass of people able to buy.
    If there's any gas station influence it would be that EV growth implies cheaper electrification which would mean that hybridization could increase and significantly cut gas consumption, expanding the influence by more than EVs.
     
  6. Oil4AsphaultOnly

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    Actually, you're missing the point. If there are 10% fewer ICE's, then there is that much less foot-traffic to your convenience store - after all you're not going to stop by a gas station just to pick up a slurpee. The lower customer traffic is what will kill the small station operators.
     
  7. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    I see lots of people at gas stations who go there just to get something like lottery tickets, cigarettes or milk (I visit more for milk than gas). They go there because it's convenient. I don't think that 10% reduction in gasoline use will kill 10% of gas stations, and I don't think that 10% fewer gas stations would make ICEVs inconvenient in any substantial way.
     
  8. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    Very persuasive article, but one point that I do not agree with is his position that EV ranges will greatly increase in much less than a decade because batteries will double in capacity or energy density or whatever (he wasn't specific)and this increase in range will drive demand. I don't think batteries will improve quite that fast, but they will certainly get cheaper. Tesla has already demonstrated that an approximately 250 mile range and Superchargers is enough to overcome the dreaded "range anxiety" obstacle to EV acceptance. An EV with that much range only needs to be cheaper to make many buyers seriously consider it as an alternative to he traditional ICE. And of course the Model 3 and hopefully the GM Bolt will address the cost issue.
     
  9. tga

    tga Active Member

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    IMHO, a lot of these reasons are red herrings. I agree with #1, #2, #7.

    #3, while true, is hardly compelling. "Going to the gas station" isn't a big deal for most people.

    #4, #5, #6, and #8 are hardly Tesla or (electric car) specific. Many ICE cars are coming with internet connectivity (and wifi hot spots, which the MS lacks), apps, etc. Automakers could implement a Tesla-like interface or OTA software updates. These aren't necessarily e-car table stakes (does the Leaf have a 17" touchscreen and OTA updates?)

    #9 only applies to a limited number of owners. No carpool lane options around me. At one of my homes, a TOU/cheaper rate plan is not an option. At the other, the higher monthly flat rate offsets the (very limited) decrease per kWh. I need to use something like 3000 kWh/month to see any savings.

    Even if every new car sold is electric, gas cars will be on the road for a long time. Gas stations aren't going to dry up and blow away anytime soon.
     
  10. Oil4AsphaultOnly

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    Then I guess our difference in perspective is a result of different environments. I live in the suburbs, where the gas station and grocery store are separate stores and require a drive to reach. If I don't need to go to the gas station, then I'd just buy my milk, lottery tickets, and cigarettes from the grocery store. Of all the times I've stopped at a gas station, I've never seen anyone stop at one JUST to buy their convenience items, it was always while they were pumping gas.

    So if we 50/50 our observed data points, then 20% plug-in transition would result in 10% reduced revenue. Some gas stations will still be impacted and close and the inconvenience factor will still take effect (although at a slower rate).
     
  11. mkjayakumar

    mkjayakumar Active Member

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    IMHO that is very compelling - one of the key advantages of EV ownership. Never have to worry about stopping on the way to work for a fill-up. Remember it is always on the way to work, and never on the way back. Don't ask my why.. :)
     
  12. mibaro2

    mibaro2 Member

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    I often go through a gas station because it is convenient and on my way home. I live past the suburbs and am considered rural. I'll go through the Tim's drive through or pick up milk. The grocery store would be further away and not on my way home. I don't go to the pumps though :biggrin:
     
  13. the dude

    the dude Member

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    he drives a model S thats why he knows BEVs are the future

    most people have never been in let alone got a test drive of a model S

    the model 3 is the car that will change everything, thats the tipping point IMO
     
  14. Model 3

    Model 3 Active Member

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    Maybe, maybe not, but regularly "Paying at the gas pump" is :p
     
  15. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    I agree. I think a lot of people like to apply "Moore's Law" to things it really doesn't apply to. Batteries will improve, but I suspect we will just see incremental improvements and cost reductions with the current lithium batteries over the next while.
     
  16. tga

    tga Active Member

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    Agreed - if I need to pick up one or two items, it's an extra 10-15 min out of the way to go to the full grocery store vs the local convenience store. There's a reason it's called a "convenience" store. :wink:

    Sorry, I've heard this one before, but we'll just have to agree to disagree. Yes, it's an advantage, but hardly compelling. I live in a small-town suburb, and I can't drive 5 minutes from home without hitting a gas station. Stopping to fill up once a week just isn't that big a deal. No going out of my way or big hassle. Just a short stop for 5 minutes. It's going to be hard to convince people to switch from ICE for that one.

    I did find it interesting that the environmental, financial, and "stealership" aspects were conspicuously absent - no discussion of the lower operating (fuel and maintenance) issues with an EV.
     
  17. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    On the way back for me, very small diversion. The real benefit of not filling up here is not having to stand out in the freezing cold to fill up in winter. The number of gas stations has nothing to do with it. :p
     
  18. deonb

    deonb Active Member

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    Speak for yourself. If this was literally the only thing the Model S offered over the competition, I would still buy it. Even at a $10'000 premium.

    Yes, I am just that lazy.


    You however says this one is a big deal, and I couldn't care less about that (or more to the point, I don't think Tesla is really any better than Audi/BMW at this):


    Point is - if you think something is unimportant to you, don't assume it's not important to everybody else.
     
  19. tga

    tga Active Member

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    Damn. When I was mentally formulating the response to mkjayakumar, I thought "I might rethink this in Feb". Of course, I forgot to type that. :redface:

    Point taken. Marketing 101 - don't assume you are a representative sample set of your target population.

    Actually, I wasn't intending to say that the quietness of the Model S was important to me (or the 2 other bullets). I was just agreeing that they were correct statements.
     
  20. igotzzoom

    igotzzoom Member

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    I think the tipping point may come in 2020 or 2025. At that point, I think EVs could represent as much as 10 percent of new car sales. It's going to be a matter of convenience and cost. If the average price of an EV could drop to $30,000 or less, and the average real world range be around 200, I think you'll see a large-scale adoption by many, especially in the suburbs, where at-home charging won't be as big of an issue. I also think you'll start seeing more and more in new construction of apartments and multi-unit dwellings installation of Level 2 chargers, or at least the circuitry and capacity to support them.

    As noted, heavy trucks, commercial vehicles and locomotives will probably be among the last to adopt a pure EV powertrain. To make it feasible for that duty, you're talking about like small-scale reactor type stuff.
     

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