Gas2 Week in Review, October 1: Questions about EV Life in the Future

EV life in the future — what will it be like one day when combustion engines are relegated to a grandfather’s distant memory? That eventuality seemed a lot closer this month, when a Chinese official told an automotive audience in Tianjin that its government is working on a timetable to end “production and sales of traditional energy vehicles.” With a nation as big as China taking the lead in a vision of all-electric transport, we started to believe that the end of gasoline and diesel cars on our own U.S. roads might truly occur in our lifetimes.

So it followed that our biggest stories this week looked at the ways that people in the U.S. and across the globe are trying to make sense of an EV life. In this edition of “The Gas2 Week in Review,” we start by turning to Ben Sullins of Teslanomics and his survey of options for possible Tesla Model 3 owners. (Spoiler Alert: $35,000 just ain’t cuttin’ it.) Then it seems that Norway, which has some of the most ambitious goals and incentives for electric car buyers, was the setting for a sneak preview of Porsche Mission E for dealers this week. Can Porsche snatch a serious percentage of Tesla’s Norwegian market share?

A look at our cities and the way we commute points us to the next story that grabbed our attentions this week about EV life: how e-bikes give you the opportunity to get around at a reasonable pace while also maintaining that trim tummy. Slow to catch on in the U.S., E-bikes are becoming much more common on international city streets. Then there’s a substantial California tease that it may join the growing list of places where vehicles powered by internal combustion engines will soon be no longer welcome— that also made the top Gas2 news. So did China’s shifting deadline to require foreign and domestic car manufacturers to sell a certain percentage of electric car sales or face significant fines.

Here are those stories and more on this edition of “The Gas2 Week in Review.”

EV life

The Tesla Model 3 Most People Want Will Cost $890 A Month

An online cost estimator that allows respondents to anticipate how they’d like their future Tesla Model 3 equipped came up with some fascinating results. Ben Sullins of Teslasnomics received about 1000,000 responses to the survey, which produced an extraordinary if probably unreliable data set. But we all know the aphorism about statistics lying, anyway, so let’s see what Ben’s data analysis looked like.

With estimated electricity costs over a month’s driving, a $5,000 down payment, a loan at 4.5%, required monthly insurance premiums, and the so-fun-to-imagine desired equipment, most drivers would pay about $890 a month for the pleasure of owning and operating a Tesla Model 3. The question that hangs out there as we contemplate an EV life of the future is, “Will consumers really pay $890 a month for a midsize electric car— even a Tesla?”

Porsche Mission E Breaks Cover In Norway — Gas2 Exclusive

A Porsche Mission E arrived in Norway this week for a private, for-eyes-only Porsche dealer showing. Gas2 received 20 photos, which had been originally posted to a closed website, from our correspondent on the ground there. Porsche is keen to excite the Norwegian EV audience, since Norway has some of the most ambitious goals and incentives for electric car buyers in the world. Norway is already a top market for Tesla products, so Porsche sees EV life and transport there to be ripe for their Mission E. Comparable to the Tesla Model S in price, the Porsche Mission E is being promoted as capable of an 80% charge in as little as 15 minutes, an 800 volt charging system, and a range of 400 miles.

E-Bike Combines Healthy Living With Low Cost Commuting

What is an E-bike like? In the simplest terms, take a regular bike and attach a battery, an electric motor, and assorted tech accessories on the handlebars. Start pedaling, and you (on most models) activate the motor. Off you go on your trek to your workplace. The difference when riding an E-bike when compared to riding a traditional pedal-it-yourself bike is that, when you feel a bit winded or when you’re climbing hills, you can harness EV power. You get to work in about the same time as you would in crawling commuter  traffic, and you get fit at the same time. Of course, there are the aesthetic benefits of an E-bike, too. “When you’re out riding with the breeze blowing in your face, it’s wonderful to know that you’re getting fitter, helping the environment, and saving money. It feels like the future has already arrived,” says avid E-biker, Phillip Dalton.

California Ponders Banning Internal Combustion Engines From Its Roads

Head of the California Air Resources Board Mary Nichols admits she is getting pressure from Governor Jerry Brown to join the growing list of places where EV life will replace transportation by internal combustion engines. With China as principle mover behind the idea but France, the U.K., and India right alongside, California seems to be poised to join the shift to banning internal combustion engines on its roads. “The governor has certainly indicated an interest in why China can do this and not California,” Nichols said. California is the largest U.S. automobile market. Ten other states join California in following the emissions regulations prescribed by CARB, which, are, actually, quite lenient compared to the emissions standards in countries like China. Maybe it’s time for U.S. car makers to stop complaining and start paying attention to EV life and transportation if they want to continue to have a viable and competitive industry.

China Pushes Back Electric Car Plan Until 2019

2019 is the new date for China’s electric car targets, which had been originally set for January 1, 2018.  The 2018 cap-and-trade plan received so many complaints from foreign and domestic car manufacturers to have a certain percentage of electric car sales or face significant fines that China acquiesced — a bit. The original 8% of sales to be qualifying electric cars for 2018 has increased to 10% with the new 2019 date. Now we’ll wait to see if slowly reduced incentives will weaken consumer interest in purchasing EVs in China. Once the mandates kick in, we’ll find who’s been right with their predictions — regulators or manufacturers.

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Carolyn Fortuna

Carolyn grew up in Stafford Springs, CT, home of the half-mile tar racetrack. She's an avid Formula One fan (this year's trip to the Monza race was memorable). With a Ph.D. from URI, she draws upon digital media literacy and learning to spread the word about sustainability issues. Please follow me on Twitter and Facebook and Google+