Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Andrew Gilbertson who is a 2008 graduate of Vermont Law School.
A senior economist at the Argonne National Laboratory has come to an interesting conclusion: vehicles that rely on internal combustion engines are superior to electric vehicles in terms of what consumers would buy and what would save significant fuel.
Even though Tesla is delivering their cars to consumers several years before the Volt hits the show rooms, from the perspective of Dan Santini, you and I are more likely to get our hands on Volt-style vehicles first.
Some of the main obstacles that stand between us and pure EVs were identified at the 1st International Conference on Advanced Lithium Batteries for Automotive Applications, sponsored by the Argonne National Laboratory (where Dan Santini works).
First and foremost, the cost of the batteries boost vehicle prices too high for the average consumer. Recharging time, coupled with the lack of a national system of quick-charge stations, would make the vehicle unattractive to most consumers who want the freedom to travel across the country without long stops for recharging.
The Volt, with its series hybrid design, reduces the importance of these two concerns. By relying less on batteries, the cost of the batteries becomes less of a factor, while having a combustion engine that uses an established distribution system as a backup gives the owner the freedom to drive wherever they want.
It seems to me that more car makers should read the writing on the wall and go the series hybrid route (apparently, some are).
Even though series hybrids might not get better mileage right now, it should be obvious that at some point an energy storage technology will be developed that will be cheaper, denser, and cleaner than gas or diesel. When that time comes, the car makers that can simply replace the combustion generators with the new storage technology will be way ahead of the ones who haven’t yet developed a electric drive system.
Posts Related to EVs, Plug-in Hybrids, and Hybrid Electrics:
- GM (Officially) Unveils the Chevy Volt
- Chrysler to Sell Electric Cars in U.S. as Early as 2010
- San Jose Wins Bid For Tesla Electric Car Facility
- “Producible” Chrysler Plug-In Hybrid: 0-60 in 4 Seconds
- Report Claims Every New Car Will Be a Hybrid By 2020
- Chrysler’s “Gated Community” Pea-Pod Electric Car