Mar 042010
 

There’s an excellent article in Business Spectator today, extolling the virtues and inevitable rise of the electric vehicle for consumers.


The author paints a marvellous picture of just how wonderful life will be when we all drive electric cars. Yeh? I’ll believe it when I see it, and trust me, no-one alive today will be around to see it. Why?
It’s a concept called vested interest. What’s-In-It-For-Me, or WIIFM to use the acronym. Let’s look at a few WIIFM’s which will impact on the mass acceptance of the electric vehicle.
Fuel Levies – a major income earner for governments and a major component in the cost of living for consumers. I think it extremely naive to believe that with a proposed sharp drop-off in fossil fuel consumption by consumers, as they migrate across to electric cars, that governments won’t find way to off-set that revenue drop with something equally appropriate, and probably even more expensive, on the electric car & it’s ‘fuel’.0
Manufacturer incentive – there isn’t any. Consider, The motor vehicle manufacturers in the US provide vehicles for export to Brazil, that are purpose designed to run on 100% ethanol. Brazil, an emerging economic giant, and her citizens don’t need electric cars, so where’s the incentive for manufacturers to drop a 100% ethanol production line in favour of a product that a major market niche has no use for?
Consumer incentive – there isn’t any. Other than that warm feeling one might likely get from knowing their car isn’t polluting the air they’re breathing. Frankly, I’d rather just keep driving my 16 year old Camry and pee myself. Same feeling of satisfaction when you get right down to it. Take, as an example, the Tesla Roadster mentioned in the article. At a recommended purchase price of US$111,005 they ain’t a cheap item, and Tesla don’t want to sell it to you. They want to lease it to you. Easy monthly payments of US$1,658/m over 36 months or 30,000 miles (48,000 kilometers, whichever comes first), plus duties and at the end, you can ‘pay a fee’ and simply walk away. Or, you can pay the residual and own the car. The residual would equate to some US$55,000 if I’ve worked the lease yield right. Now, in this country, a car travels an average of 15,000 klicks per annum, so you might or might not get three years. And you’re US$57,000 out of pocket if you take the operating lease option. But wait…..the fuel cost savings. Hey, if everyone thinks they’re going to charge their vehicles in off-peak times, off-peak won’t be off-peak any more, will it. The cost of electricity is slated to increase by at least 30% in the next couple of years and there’s no data available right now to tell you just how heavily charging an electric car willweigh on your power bill. To my mind, estimates of cost savings are just bollocks without that data. I’d warrant that if you have an electric vehicle, you’ll be required to have your power supplier install a separate circuit in your home so you can be monitored as to how much power you’re drawing and be charged accordingly. What’s the bet an excise get’s lumped onto such usage????
Yes indeed, it’s a fond dream right now, the electric vehicle, and doubtless will become a reality one day in the future, but to claim it’s all going to come about before the end of my time is optomism at it’s most fervent.

  2 Responses to “WIIFM”

  1. There is much to said for an electric vehicle owner having their own PhV array to charge a spare battery, exchange being the point where industry compliance standard comes in. The company currently planning to have battery exchanges at strategic distances along highways is relying on just such standardisation. A brave decision, as Sir humphrey would say.

  2. There is much to said for an electric vehicle owner having their own PhV array to charge a spare battery, exchange being the point where industry compliance standard comes in. The company currently planning to have battery exchanges at strategic distances along highways is relying on just such standardisation. A brave decision, as Sir humphrey would say.