Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Would You Buy an Electric Car Now?

The argument for electric cars goes like this. Most Americans have two cars, and most driving is within 20 miles or so of home. Therefore, the usual shortcomings of electric cars (small, short range) would not matter if the electric car were used as a commuter car.

According to some, like the makers of the documentary, “Who Killed the Electric Car?”, electric cars might be plentiful on the highways today but for the conspiracies of Big Oil and Big Auto.

I’m doubtful about this, because of a simple, simplistic metric: I, who am tempted to buy many techy things, have never been tempted, have never even been curious about buying an electric car. And if I am outside of the target market, my reasoning goes, it’s not that big a market.


Anonymous said...

My brother has a friend that works for a company that is developing electric car technology. The interesting thing is that they are not working on electric cars per se, but on a possible way of making them more practical(at least in a small country such as there target test market in Israel) Their idea, using technology that has made batteries cheaper, is to create battery stations. Instead of plugging your car in to recharge, you would pull into the refill station, and have a newly charged battery placed in your car. They would keep the old battery, recharge it and put it in another car. Once the batteries auto ready life was over, they would sell them to people/companies that need larger batteries, but not ones with enough kick to run a whole automobile. They would also have a service that would bring you a new battery where and whenever(again in a small market) you had battery trouble.

Anyway, I had never heard of this approach to electric car recharging and thought it sounded interesting.


Mike Stajduhar said...

Swapping out the batteries is a great idea...and one that's new to me. I'm not sure how practical it is, my understanding has always been that the likely car batteries would be be quite large and heavy... are they linking several small ones or have they devised cool miniaturization process?

In any case it would get around the probably insurmountable problem of long recharge times.

Does the company have a link? This kind of stuff fascinates me.

Greg said...

It was my understanding from our conversation that experimental car batteries are getting down in size(say 3 times the size of a regular car battery.) Still heavy but manageable.

As for the company, I pretty much told you all that I know. My brother said the guy was a employee that worked with him at Qualcomm, but had left for this new venture.

George said...

Yes I would buy an electric car now... The best one right now is the TRIAC from green vehicles (see an article at

It's only $19.995, it has 100+ mile range, and uses modern electronics (AC motor, Lithium batts and regenerative breaking!)

But the real breakthrough (I think) will be from Zenn... They are working with EEstor (the secretive ultracapacitor company). I believe they will surprise everyone when they show their batteryless electric car! The ultracapacitor system they've developed can be recharged in about 5 minutes and can go 250 miles! - And the technology has just been third-party certified!

There is an article on them also at