Originally Posted by son_of_siggy
Why not? We don't know where the next innovation is. And frankly the "having to remember to charge" is a cop-out. You have to remember to fill your tank with gas. You have to remember to change the oil, spark plugs, air filter, etc in your car. All things you don't have to do with electric.
The only separation at this point is that charging can take 2-3 hours, whereas filling up takes 5-20 minutes depending on travel time, waiting in line, etc. With adjustments to how you operate it's a non issue. And frankly, for the 15 bucks a month I pay in electricity, versus the 200 a month I was paying in gas, I'm happy to make the adjustments. And when gas hits 6 a gallon, or wherever it will be in 3-4 years, I'll be even more okay with adjusting my schedule to charge.
Technology WILL get there. Look at how far things have come in the last 5 years.
It's not in battery technology if you are looking for a fuel source that matches the energy density of gasoline. It's just not physically possible. Battery technology is a different chemical process than petrochemical fuel. A battery is an energy storage device, not an energy storage fuel. You have to add energy to the battery for it to re-dispense it at a later date and there are losses associated with that process. With fuel oils the energy has been stored in it over eons of time. The losses come with using it. I'd much rather see R&D dollars spent on increasing the efficiency of the internal combustion engine rather that make very small and expensive incremental advances in battery technology that will never reach the same level of energy density as fuel oils. If R&D was spent on increasing the ICE efficiency to say 90% rather than the current 60% now, the electric car would be more moot than it is now. IN the last five years not much has progressed. Yes, engineers have learned a great deal about battery management and developed support systems to maximize the balance of battery life vs. storage and energy delivery, but the actual energy density of storage batteries has not made a quantum leap, which is what you are really talking about. We'll not even address the cost per BTU of battery vs. fuel oils; it's not even close.
The only reason the Tesla is deemed successful is because it has a huge heavy battery. The real range of the 85KvW battery is 230 miles, which for most commutes probably is just fine, but the difficulty lies in extended range driving. It's great that Elon Musk will build charging stations along major traffic corridors (with huge tax breaks), but what about the people who drive off-grid? The car (assuming a single car family) does not work in that situation. Your response will be, "okay, then just rent a car in those few times a year you need a long-range automobile." Well that car will be ICE driven, so what then, is the point? And driving from DC to New York and stopping somewhere along the NJ Turnpike for an hour's charge (while I eat lunch?), well that's just not realistic. I'm going to want to gas up in 5 minutes, wash my hands, grab a sandwich, and be on my way. You compare $15/month electrical cost vs. $200 gasoline cost, but that not nearly the entire equation. You have to look at lifecycle cost, and the ICE-powered automobile wins hands down.
I've looked into the Tesla as a replacement for my E90 and my 160 mile round trip commute. I have other cars for long-range distances, so my off-grid travel is not an issue. The Tesla would fit great in my commute scenario because I basically run my E90 five days a week to work and don't drive it on the weekends any long distance. But running the cost numbers on it, the cost model is not beneficial; the Tesla is just too expensive to operate even with gas at near $4 a gallon. To operate my E90 vs. a Tesla S to 194,000 miles the Tesla costs about $15K - $20K more in lifecycle cost. It's just no comparison, and that assume no battery replacement for the Tesla.
You say wait until gas goes to $6 a gallon. Well when will that be? And will Tesla even be in business when that time comes? You want me to buy a $70,000 electric car now that costs at least 25% more to run as compared to an ICE auto just in the hopes Tesla will be in business 4 years from now when gas is maybe $6 a gallon. Sorry, not willing to take that gamble.
I'll go with the Chevy Volt. It fits the average American commute of 40 miles daily miles driven (in electric mode) far better as an extended-range electric car than does the pure-electric Tesla S.