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Why is the EV market so weird?

Discussion in 'TSLA Investor Discussions' started by PonoBill, May 30, 2014.

  1. PonoBill

    PonoBill Member

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    Interest in the Chevy Volt is declining steadily, I actually see fewer of them than Teslas. Interest in Teslas steadily increases, even though the cars are out of reach for most people. What's that about? My wife and I have both cars. A new P85+ and a eight month old Volt. The Tesla is an amazing car, built by an amazing company. My wife loves it, I love the performance and aesthetics. But it really is not as practical for transportation as the Volt. To drive to Portland from Hood River (67 miles) and back we have to carefully manage consumption, driving this high performance car at a rate that has Prius' and semis passing us.

    The Volt is comparably equipped and comparably sophisticated. Has nothing like the Tesla performance, but certainly doesn't disappoint. In six months of driving in Maui my wife averaged 250+ MPG. The only indication you have switched from battery is the change in the fuel gauge. You can drive it anywhere, at whatever speed you choose, and never worry about charge or fuel.

    This isn't a complaint. If I was making the choice again today I'd buy the Tesla again. It's simply a reflection on the relative practicality of the two cars--and the lack of interest I find in the more practical vehicle. We paid about $36K for the Volt. And more than three times that for the P85+. Prowling around the web looking at comments on review sites I find real animosity towards the Volt, and lust for the Tesla. Other than the obvious conclusion that commenters on the internet should not be allowed to reproduce, I'm even more deeply puzzled.

    I'm very impressed by the sagacity and analysis I've read in this section of the forum. I look forward to your insights.
     
  2. stevezzzz

    stevezzzz R;SigS;P85D;SigX

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    The Volt is a good car, a practical car. But it is not an object of desire, the way Model S is.

    But what's up with your having to 'nurse' the P85 to do a 135 mile round trip? I doubt if I could manage to deplete an 85kWh pack in 135 miles unless I tried really hard on a cold day with 30 knot headwinds, with my driver's license in jeopardy the whole time...
     
  3. PRJIM

    PRJIM Member

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    It depends on if you like driving or not. As basic transportation the Volt is pretty good, if you want something that handles well, accelerates quickly and drives like a supercar then there is no comparison. With regards to your 67 x 2 scenario the Model S should have no problem driving that distance, at any speed. I think you perhaps are having self-imposed range anxiety with the Model S. I have driven a Volt and after having Tesla's for the past 5 years or so there is no way I would consider a Volt to be even in the same class as any Tesla. They are just different cars that appeal to different buyers. If you had a 250-300 mile commute then it may not make sense to get a volt instead of a S.
     
  4. dhrivnak

    dhrivnak Active Member

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    I think many people are wary of new technology. I figure it will be 50 years before EV'S are mainstream. Look at initials cars, or telephones or even cell phones it can easily be 50 years for new technology to become mainstream.

    And as far as the Volt and the Model S the Volt is outselling the Model S. Monthly Plug-In Sales Scorecard
     
  5. ElSupreme

    ElSupreme Model S 03182

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    Do you have a 40kWh pack? Otherwise you should be able to do 130 miles in even a 60kWh pack without a care for range, except it terrible, cold weather where you probably don't want to be driving faster than a Prius anyway. If you do have a 40kWh then it wasn't much more than the Volt, seats 5, and has so much more room.


    The real problem the Volt has is range. I would be using gasoline every single day on my commute. And a lot of appeal of EVs is the drastic (10x or more in my case) reduction in 'fuel' costs. And the more someone drives the more their reduction becomes. I could make my commute in a LEAF, or FFE. But in a Volt it wouldn't happen.

    Personally I think the Volt is the best done gas/electric car out there, by a long shot. But it is a niche car, where as my 85kWh Model S can basically do whatever I feel like (except park in the narrow spots), and I don't really even have to think about it.
     
  6. Duckjybe

    Duckjybe S P232

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    I think a couple reasons you are not seeing as many Volts as expected on the road are twofold. First is the Chevy badge given the price point and second is that it is sold at gas car dealerships. The Volt does not get a fair push from the sales people as it takes too much effort. This has been Elon's prediction all along and he is right. I also have a Volt and a Tesla and the Volt is a great car.
     
  7. ckessel

    ckessel Active Member

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    Huh? I live in Portland and regularly go to Eugene or Salem and have no issues in my P85. I drive 75 on the freeway. Even in winter when 70 miles takes 100 range, you should have tons of cushion (~260 range, you'd need ~200).

    You'd certainly be in the lower double digits on range when you're done, but there's no way you should have to "manage" the Hood River trip. Unless you're there for the full weekend, driving around, and you have zero access to charging.

    - - - Updated - - -

    He noted he has a P85+ in his post.
     
  8. freds

    freds Member

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    That the limited number of states you can take a test drive in one. I was trying to be fair and give them all a test drive and couldn't in the Seattle area.
     
  9. rcc

    rcc Model S 85KW, VIN #2236

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    #9 rcc, May 30, 2014
    Last edited: May 30, 2014
    You're asking the wrong question.

    The "EV market" is very small. By that I mean, the # of people who will make significant compromises to own an EV is pretty darn small.

    For an EV to be a successful car, it has to appeal to normal car buyers who up until now have only bought gas-powered cars in addition to EV buyers.

    Compared to a BMW 3 or 5-series and other equivalent cars, the Volt, Prius and Fusion are all very compromised cars: handling, style, interior, power. And size if you need to ferry four people in comfort.

    The Tesla is a great car whose sole compromise is ~200 miles of real-world range between charges. That's the equivalent of about 1/2 a tank of gas. That's a compromise that a lot people can live with. Especially if enough superchargers and destination charging are around to make your favorite long trips workable. In my case, I recently did Bay Area to San Diego with a few days in LA. About 1200 miles of driving. Superchargers got me there and back and the annoyance factor of having to manage charging in San Diego and LA was worth being able to drive the S.

    Don't get me wrong. The S isn't perfect. But if you're looking for a big European (or equivalent quality) sports sedan, the S is absolutely that type of car. Those cars are usually expensive too so the price tag of the S isn't a turn-off for those buyers.
     
  10. David99

    David99 Active Member

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    Of course the Volt can be driven like you want it without having to worry about battery charge because it uses a gas engine. It's apples and oranges vs the Tesla. The Volt is a partial EV. If you drive it hard and long distance you are mostly using gasoline and there are actually more efficient normal gasoline cars that offer the same interior space. If you drive mostly short distance and can plug it in in between you are going mostly electric in the Volt. But in those cases you are charring around a big gasoline engine that isn't doing anything.

    It is successful as it gives buyers an EV but without any worry about range. The BMW i3 uses the same concept by giving you the range extender, a small gasoline motor that will power the car enough to keep driving. Just like the Volt you can stop at any gas station and fill up and keep driving if you really have to. I think having that option and be safe from being stranded with an empty battery is what makes the Volt and will make the i3 successful.

    I considered it but for me the Volt didn't work as I need more room for my equipment and I wanted to be done with oil/gasoline. The Tesla is the best EV, period. When it comes to driving pure electric, the Tesla wins in every category.
     
  11. PonoBill

    PonoBill Member

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    No question that the HR/PDX travel is mostly Newb anxiety. We have the car set up to charge to 80%, which theoretically gives 240 miles on the 85KW pack, but real world it's more like 200. My wife arrived in Hood River after her round trip with 40 miles of reserve--which for her is tantamount to driving on fumes. She'll figure it out though. She's having a 240/50amp outlet installed in her Dad's garage, which will partially eliminate the problem. But it's probably mostly perception and experience.

    EISupreme's comment is similar to what I hear from people driving ICE cars--the Volt doesn't have enough (battery-only) range. We found the volt to give about 60 miles of battery-only driving at Maui speeds (low everywhere) with it's dinky 15KW battery pack. After that the gasoine generator delivers about 50 MPG at Maui's low speed. So a 110 mile trip is about 110MPG (computing actual gasoline only). In actuality Diane's recorded MPG was 250+, mixing sub-60 mile trips with longer ones.

    I find it very strange that people seem so resistant to logical arguments. Most seem to develop a viewpoint and stick to it regardless of the quality of counter arguments. I actually studied this issue a bit when I was doing public and media relations for a nuclear power plant. The more you study this, the gloomier you get. It makes it highly unlikely that the general population will contribute usefully to rational decisions with global effect. Surprising that CFCs were banned in the USA.
     
  12. ckessel

    ckessel Active Member

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    Yea, there's a mindset that shifts over time. I know folks that start to panic when a gas car gets under 1/2 tank when that usually still means ~150 miles and we have gas stations every 6 blocks :) My wife still gets anxiety when the battery display turns yellow.

    You learn to do a full charge when needed and trust/understand the estimates (not range, but the estimate on the center console). Having decent charging at your destination really helps too, but even just a 110V can do quite well. I visited my father-in-law in Sonoma for a week and charged at 110V any time we were home and never ran into an issue with range, though most of the driving was relatively short while there.
     
  13. ElSupreme

    ElSupreme Model S 03182

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    I drive 60 miles (commute only) with 2/3rd at 65+ interstate speeds. Add in lunch, an errand on the way home, and going out to dinner (my car is the family car) and I am all the sudden using a good amount of fuel. I would get good gas mileage in a Volt. But I still would go to the gas station twice a month. It truly doesn't have enough battery for many people.

    And in Maui I am sure it is easy to get high milage, but put in cold (even Atlanta's mild cold) and interstate speeds (especially Atlanta's extreme speeds) you are going to struggle to get 30 miles.
     
  14. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    I would just charge to 90% and not worry if you are finding you don't have enough range to be comfortable.
     
  15. DaveT

    DaveT Searcher of green pastures

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    +1. Charge it to 90%.
     
  16. Peter_M

    Peter_M Member

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    I experienced this in a big way at a local Chevy dealer. Despite calling ahead to arrange a Volt test drive, when I got there the one and only Volt on their lot had a dead battery. We took it for a drive anyway, but couldn't really experience the EV aspect. And the salesman spent the whole time trying to talk us out of buying it. He was steering us towards the Cruze instead, saying it was a similar car for $15K less, said electric cars would never go anywhere, the government EV rebate would take a long time to arrive and he told us they had only sold about 5 in the last year (no big surprise here!!) We were replacing two cars and ended up with the Model S and a Prius V. In retrospect, the Volt might have been a better choice than the Prius V for a second car (for when we need two cars, for long trips without good charging options and for back-country canoeing/camping). I wasn't thrilled with the build quality of the Volt compared to the Prius, but it does act like an EV for short trips, and since then I've met some very happy Volt owners. But that experience sure didn't help me consider the Volt. So yes, Elon's right that gas car dealers don't know how to sell EVs and they aren't interested in learning how.
     
  17. Hogfighter

    Hogfighter Professional Lurker

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    1) It's a $37,000 Chevy.

    2) Hybrids are complicated. People don't understand simple, much less complicated.

    3) The Model S is the best car in the world that just happens to be electric.
     
  18. GSP

    GSP Member

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    There are plenty of Chevrolets that sell for over $37k. I had no problem paying $45k for my 2011 Volt or $36k for my loaded 2014.

    Both were less expensive than our Corvette, and worth every penny.

    GSP
     
  19. techmaven

    techmaven Active Member

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    You must be set to ideal miles. Switch to rated miles, at least that is closer to accurate. Learn to use the projections on the energy graph. Don't freak out using the 5 mile instant calculation though... for a road trip, use the longer mile calculations. The range calculation is obviously also less accurate at the beginning of the trip.

    If you know that you are going to go in any situation where you might have range anxiety, don't fear charging to a higher level. It is better to range charge than to feel range anxiety. Just don't charge over 90% if you aren't going to be in a situation where you might possible experience range anxiety. Again, don't worry about charging above 90% if you are going into any situation where you might even think about range.
     
  20. Jackl1956

    Jackl1956 Member

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    The Model S has Cool Factor.
     

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