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Elon Musk: 5 Reasons EVs Will Rule The Market

Yesterday Elon Musk was speaking to the Edison Electric Annual conference and as usual he made news, just like a politician with a controversial speech.

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With that said, Elon managed to give the Executives 5 reasons electric cars will succeed and be the norm in 2020. They are as follows.

1) Batteries are getting better and cheaper: (He is helping that by building the Giga Factory)

2) EV Infrastructure is growing everyday: (He is helping out Tesla owners with this and J1772 EVSEs are appearing more and more as well)

3) Charging stations are NOT needed everywhere: (His rational? 90% of the time Tesla’s are refueled at home!)

4) Utilities benefit from EV use: (He believes this because most people are still connected to the grid however his battery wall and solar city will likely change this in my view)

5) More and More People see cars as pollution sources. (He is right: More and more people are starting to see cars as pollution sources which if they are not EVs they actually are just that.)

As usual, Elon makes news and I want to add in my own reason as well.

Douglas Stansfield Reason: They are fun and a performance vehicle.

Also, once Energy Density of the battery holds as much energy as a square inch of gas, the game is over. As Elon states in reason one, the energy density of batteries is getting better and better and now that there is a market for them, this will likely only continue. Also see what Elon said about the range of the upcoming Tesla Model III.

Image source: Wikipedia

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mike w (not verified)    June 9, 2015 - 7:41PM

The 5 reasons listed are all valid points but the biggest one is fuel and maintenance costs. Many many people are price conscious. If buyers think they can save more money on fuel and maintenance than the cost of leasing the EV buyers will come just save money even if they have no concern for the environment..

Weapon (not verified)    June 9, 2015 - 9:51PM

Game over is an understatement, if a Tesla Model S batteries had the same energy density by volume as gasoline, you would be driving over 2,700 miles on 1 charge. The more efficient drivetrain allows EVs to be competitive even at lower energy densities.

Tom Castle (not verified)    June 10, 2015 - 9:40AM

I own an EV but I think this post is a bit optimistic. For one, batteries are getting better at an extremely slow pace. Every week there is news of theoretical or laboratory breakthroughs, but no major new breakthroughs have made it to market in a very long time. The energy density difference between batteries and gasoline is vast. Finally, although the maintenance benefits of EVs is tremendous, our battery packs degrade over time, often starting in the first year.

I have to remind my ICE friends that there are major practical and aesthetic benefits to EVs, but I also think EV fans need to remember the very significant downsides to EV ownership.

Parks McCants    June 11, 2015 - 12:51PM

In reply to by Tom Castle (not verified)

Why do we continue to pat this Industrialist in the back? Musk's comment as to utility is a profound one.

I agree with Tom Castle. As a 3 decade advocate for "Off the grid," Independence from mega-power-utilities, I too have experienced the 10% or greater drop per year in battery charge capacity, regardless of proper daily conditioning. While the key to exponential EV market growth is truly tied to greater efficiency and lighter battery modules, as Tom stated, that's been decades in the making, and hasn't materialized as of yesterday.

I admire Musk for his unbridled self-promoting showmanship. He's second to none in that arena, but for me, that's where the congratulatory handshake-fest ends. Yes, EVs are wonderful personal conveyance. Yet the majority of EV users depend upon a utility grid to charge them. While I truly appreciate the absence of particulate spew from the tail end of an EV, I,like the majority of folks reading this article, including Mr. Musk, know that the zero emissions hyperbole of EVs come with a price.

And that price is an environmental one wrought at the hands of a too often coal fired mega generated and delivered A.C. charge time. Walk, bike, row, air balloon, that's truly the only carbon free form of personal transportation. Every other form of personal transportation is an environmental compromise.
What happened to the gyro battery, the gel cell, etc... We're not there yet. And talk about residual pollution. Can you imagine the bi-products of battery manufacturing. great idea, lets build it out as far away from a city and major water source as possible. The Gigifactory is a biological disaster in the making. Bigger, is rarely if ever better, neither is a battery module supply monopoly. Cheers!

Douglas Stansfield    June 13, 2015 - 7:06AM

In reply to by Parks McCants

Parks, first off, thanks so much for contributing. Its makes for additional thought and consideration to hear diverse opinions. Now, lets think though this together for a second. 1) Coal is not best source of electricity generation (however it is in expensive at the moment. 2) Coal is not the only choice to power up your car. 3) At least coal is domestic and almost none of our utility grid is powered by oil.

So with that said, we are in good shape that we aren't contributing to our dependence on oil. Now are there ways to control the harmful pollutants at the power plant to mitigate the pollution of coal fired plants? Also many coal fired plants are being retrofitted to be powered by natural gas (brings up the fracking debate). My power comes from Hydro (Yards Creek Plant Blairstown, NJ) is where my power comes from. So I don't know about you but I don't necessarily have to go and get solar since hydro power is pretty environmentally neutral. Regarding the GigaFactory, that is 100% powered by solar. Its in the dessert (not that i would want to work in the dessert) so there really isn't much in the dessert to start with. Now I agree that a monopoly isn't normally good for prices, but I have admired Elon's strategy to get the prices of the batteries lower to power the model III. With this capacity increase, the economies of scale can truly lower the price since he is selling them to himself and push market prices lower to sell more which will help lower the world market for LiFePo4 batteries. I don't see a downside here. Keep on EVing and so sorry to hear about your 10% battery loss every year. I've lost some GIDs on my 2013 Nissan Leaf but really has hurt what I end up using it for. I still drive it almost anywhere I want. I charge it and its full every morning. If I only go 40 to 50 miles a day usually, what do I care if the battery GIDS don't go as high as they used to. See what I mean? Also, if there are chargers around (as more and more seem to be) supplemental charging will help reduce any range issues. I have driven over 50,000 EV miles and can honestly say, I don't ever want to go back to driving a 100% gas car ever again!

mike w (not verified)    June 13, 2015 - 8:08AM

In reply to by Douglas Stansfield

Douglas & Parks---You both bring up some good talking points. I think the first issue is electricity and I might add the cleanliness of that varies depending on where you live. Over all in the USA coal use is declining with wind and solar being the fastest growing source. good news here but it will take time to get the results that we see in California today.
The battery capacity loss "elephant" is well pretty much owned by Nissan. Most non-Nissan EV owners are reporting little to no capacity loss with their batteries while the cheaply made, under designed packs that Nissan uses suffer rapid capacity loss. My hope for Nissan is that when their second generation Leaf comes out they do something about that battery.

Douglas Stansfield    June 13, 2015 - 9:04AM

In reply to by mike w (not verified)

Thanks for contributing Mike. I have a Nissan Leaf and have driven it over 41k miles with no loss of capacity bars. I do however monitor my Leaf with the Leaf Spy Data Logger. I notice the GIDS have less than the original amount of their capacity rankings but it still has all the range I need for almost all my driving.

Tom Castle (not verified)    June 13, 2015 - 9:28AM

In reply to by Douglas Stansfield

Could you share your charging tips for maintaining Lead battery capacity? I have a 2015 Leaf and live in the Midwest US. There does not seem to be an option to stop charging at 80% on this car (is that correct or am I missing it?).

I try to leave an hour left uncharged...meaning if the car says it will take 3 hours to charge, I will charge for 1.5 or 2, usually around 5am so it's not sitting idle for long periods at a high SOC.

What I've had some trouble finding out is whether the new lizard battery has less overall capacity loss or just tolerates high heat better, and whether there is a way to activate an 80% SOC limit.

Thanks! This has been a good conversation. I did not realize other EVs have less capacity loss.

Douglas Stansfield    June 13, 2015 - 4:10PM

In reply to by Tom Castle (not verified)

Tom, I don't recommend charging the battery to 80%. Each pair of batteries in the Leaf are set to charge to the optimum charge voltage. By charging to 80% you are only limiting the range of the car. It does absolutely nothing to protect the battery. I have been driving my Leaf for over 41k miles and I love it. I monitor my Leaf's battery with the Leaf Spy App.

Guest (not verified)    June 11, 2015 - 7:49AM

Like Mr. Castle stated; I think the battery degradation issue is the biggest elephant in the room facing electronic (battery driven) vehicles....

If you consider how the batteries on phones, laptops, camcorders, hold charge less and less after each charge, then compound this to a "car sized" platform; then you could see where we could have problems.

Unless tesla has in someway solved this already?

Replacing batteries is only a temporary solution and maybe not so great for the environment either....

Parks McCants    June 14, 2015 - 8:27PM

In reply to by Guest (not verified)

Thank you Guest. Correct you are! Take care. If someone tells you that they're experience zero-charge -capacity-loss, they're blowing smoke up you ... I not sure who wrote Daniel's lengthy response to my concerns. Either he's suffered a mild stroke over the weekend, his writing program is glitchie, or... someone is ghost writing for him. The response is ?, except for the hydro-sourced- grid-power, I'll buy that, as well as the expansion of wind farms across the U.S.. Please note however that most if not all utilities mix sources. Hey, it will be what it will be. If you love driving your EV, than that's the car for you. Take care.