Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The biggest risk to pure electric vehicles

Almost all electric cars apparently suffer from a severe limitation that can largely destroy the value of the vehicle. If the battery is ever totally discharged, the owner is left with what is described as a "brick": a completely immobile vehicle that cannot be started or even pushed down the street. The only know remedy is to replace the battery pack.

Currently it would cost Tesla owners approximately $40,000 to replace the entire battery. Since this is generally the owner's doing, this wouldn't be covered under the normal vehicle warranty or your insurance policy. With the understanding that a big chunk of the overall value of the vehicle is in the cost of the battery, this is a hard fee to swallow for a honest mistake.

I think the most realistic solution on our pathway to oil independence isn't a purely electric vehicle, but a vehicle more similar to the Fisker Karma. The overall philosophy is identical to the design of modern locomotives. Gas or diesel engine that generates power solely for the electric drive motors. This way, no driver is stranded on the side of the road with a "brick". In fact, if the Fisker Karma has a lithium ion battery pack similar to those in the Tesla, it could create an amazing car that you can plug in for several hundred miles of driving, and with the ability to fuel up on longer trips.

The key is if anyone is listening out there...


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