There was more Internet traffic this week discussing the short comings of the electric vehicle at this stage in its development.  Here are some of the posts.

Daily Tech focuses on the slow purchases of EVs in EV Industry Faces Hard Times, Slowed Adoption. “Cost, charging infrastructure and battery concerns are all reasons for the slowed adoption.” This leads the Detroit News to suggest the electric car market is badly in need of a charge. “Electrics remain far more expensive than gasoline-powered vehicles, despite hefty government tax credits. Recharging stations remain limited.”

The Australian picks up on this theme with Battery cars are running out of power. “The electric vehicle rollout isn’t going to script after a run of setbacks….Soon, there will no longer be the excuse that there’s a shortage of product. There are plenty more EVs on the way. It’s the buyers, stupid; their reluctance to buy expensive, inconvenient products is causing early players to stumble and get cold feet.”

Newsday follows up with Electric cars still don’t meet ‘society’s needs‘.  “…the larger problem is the inability for them to travel much more than 70 or 80 miles between charges.” The article quotes a vice president of Toyota who recently said: “The current capabilities of electric vehicles do not meet society’s needs, whether it may be the distance the cars can run, or the costs, or how it takes a long time to charge.” Meanwhile The Energy Collective tells us why we don’t want an electric car…yet and the BBC says Cost overtakes green concerns in electric car debate.

Taxes And Credits Will Never Make Electric Vehicles Profitable, But Something Else Might says Business Insider. The author notes that generous subsidies to auto manufacturers, infrastructure builders and consumers has not increased the expected demand for EVs. Meanwhile, imposing carbon taxes has not had any effect either.  Hence, neither Neo-Keynsian demand side policies nor neo-conservative supply side policies have moved the yardstick for EV purchases. So here we learn about another approach: spurring innovation to overcome the problem of short battery life and range anxiety. This is the approach recommended by Shifting Gears: Transcending Conventional Economic Doctrines to Develop Better Electric Vehicle Batteries. Instead of subsidizing manufacturers and consumers, that money could be better used subsiding basic research to generate a more reliable battery life.  In effect, a Manhattan Project for EVs.  (You can download this paper at the website.)

The UK is rethinking its EV incentives according to autobloggreen. “The government was expecting to see tens of thousands of EVs on British roads by 2015, and independent forecasts think it could hit six figures by 2020. So far, the numbers haven’t been good – 1,052 eligible cars were registered last year.” Now like other countries facing severe budgetary deficits, the UK is rethinking whether subsidizing EVs and charging stations is a good use of the public’s money.

Ireland faces the same dilemma as the UK reports the Irish Times. In Time to pull the plug on electric cars? we learn there are fewer than 200 EVs on Irish roads, far short of the expected 2,000. See also EV World Time for Irish Gov’t to Rethink Its Support of Electric Cars?

Bloomberg reports China’s EV sales are falling short of the government’s target“because the vehicles are costly and lack charging infrastructure.” The government wants to have 500,000 cumulative sales by 2015 and 5 million by 2020 but the total had only reached 13,000 by the end of 2011. See also China Daily China’s electric cars lag behind in global race.

Seeking Alpha adds a new twist with Peak Lithium: Death Blow For Electric Cars?  The post challenges the notion there may not be enough lithium on the planet to produce the quantity of batteries required for EVs.

environmentalresearchweb says electric vehicles may not be able to aid power grid in summer. Researchers at the University of Texas think claims about vehicle-to-grid (V2G) back-up power might have been too optimistic. While prior research typically assumed either that vehicle use was constant throughout the day or that it varies according to a single pattern year-round, this new research looked at weekday and weekend driving patterns on a seasonal basis to see if vehicles are actually available to the grid when they are needed most, In the case of the state of Texas they found this not to be the case. In summer EVs would not have the capacity to power the gird.  What the research also suggest is that vehicle use varies by geographic region and hence the ability for EVs to provide V2G back-up power will vary by geographic region globally.




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