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Another Elon Musk Bet: Half of All Cars Built In 2032 Will Be Electric 359

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-will-they-fly dept.
New submitter cartechboy writes "Ears perked up when Elon Musk made another bold statement he'd be 'willing to bet on.' This time he says that in 20 years, half of all new cars sold would be plug-in electric cars. Believe him? The math looks a little fuzzy, and one research analyst is willing to take Musk up on the bet. 'It expects the U.S. plug-in market to grow at a 32-percent average rate from now through 2020. That takes sales to roughly 200,000 units in 2020. Even if that rate continued for another 12 years, which Hurst considers unlikely, that would only take plug-in cars to roughly one-third of the market in 2032, or about 5 million sales. But Hurst thinks 8 or 10 percent annual growth in plug-in sales is more reasonable, taking the total to 480,000 or 574,000 plug-ins sold in 2032 in the U.S.'"
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Another Elon Musk Bet: Half of All Cars Built In 2032 Will Be Electric

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @01:13AM (#40682499)

    1977 Mercedes-Benz, 300,000+ miles and still going strong.

    I expect I will STILL be driving it in 2032 when I has 600,000+ miles on it.

  • by rahvin112 (446269) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @01:15AM (#40682517)

    The first electric car with 200+ mile range and a less than $25,000 price will be the biggest seller in the market overnight.

    Just those two items alone would probably cause Musk to be right. And that's what he's betting, that the battery range and price will come down to the point that everyone can afford an electric car and that it will have a range similar to that of a gasoline engine. If the market delivers those specs I think he'll be right, you can drive an electric car for about $0.10 cents a mile, the gas savings alone would so massive everyone and their dog would want one.

    What could you do if you didn't have to buy gas anymore?

  • by hairyfeet (841228) <.bassbeast1968. .at. .gmail.com.> on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @01:50AM (#40682725) Journal

    That's not the big problem the problem is the batteries. we just haven't had any true battery breakthough in years and lithium batteries just don't take extremes in heat and cold like a lead acid does. The average temp in the south has been over 100F, ever leave a lithium battery in a car in this kind of heat? Say goodbye to more than half your capacity.

    Until battery tech can take temp shifts like gas can its gonna be a hard sell, the vast majority that own vehicles don't own temp controlled garages and with the batteries for the things running a minimum of $7500 a piece unless the government wants to eat billions in costs for giving away batteries there simply won't be a used market, nor will those that buy one want to keep the vehicle once the batteries die out of warranty, they'll end up scrapped.

  • by Noughmad (1044096) <miha.cancula@gmail.com> on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @02:01AM (#40682767) Homepage

    Simple, just use electricity we currently waste on drilling, refining and transportation of oil.

    Where is the plastic used to make the bits for the cars going to come from?

    I don't know, maybe from all the oil we won't be burning?

  • by Namarrgon (105036) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @03:28AM (#40683245) Homepage

    Who would buy a second hand electric car? They are only good for land-fill.

    [Citation needed]. I can see that the battery pack will eventually need replacing, and that can be a significant chunk of change (and will be factored into the value of the car), but I see nothing that suggests the rest of the car will be any less robust.

    If anything, the EV drive-train is (or can be) far simpler than any liquid-fuel car, since a battery pack, some wiring and four electric motor/generators (one at each wheel) can replace:

    - the engine block
    - the fuel system
    - the gearbox, drive shaft and differential(s)
    - most of the axles
    - much of the cooling system
    - the air intake
    - the alternator and starter motor
    - the exhaust system
    - etc

    That's a lot of saved wear & tear.

  • the slow change (Score:2, Insightful)

    by amoeba1911 (978485) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @07:02AM (#40684375) Homepage

    There is actually a good reason for the slow change. The energy industry gets massive subsidies (mostly in form of tax breaks) and hides the true cost of energy. We pay just 10 cents for kWh, and $3 for a gallon of gas, but the actual cost is much higher than that. The subsidies make it look cheap to drive a giant Chevy Suburban. I drive a small car that gets about 50 MPG, and I hardly ever pay anything for gas, while Douchebag Bob with Chevy Suburban gets 10 MPG and fills up a hundred dollars worth every week.... YET, I am paying a lot for gas because thanks to the subsidies, I am paying for Douchebag Bob's gas too, we're all paying for Douchebag Bob's gas. The energy industry does not need subsidies, they're already making record profits, and the subsidies hide the true cost of things.

    With all the TEA party uproar about having smaller government, you would think they would be mentioning cutting billion dollar subsidies to industries that don't need them? Subsidy is corporate welfare, and the energy companies abuse the corporate welfare system. No, instead the TEA baggers just want to cut the Planned Parenthood funding, which is less than 0.1% of energy+farm subsidies.

    When I say subsidy, I also include tax breaks. It's the same thing in my book. A subsidy takes money from people who have paid tax, a tax break takes money from everyone who hasn't received that tax break.

  • by GrahamCox (741991) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @07:24AM (#40684543) Homepage
    That's odd, people seem to do quite a bit of traveling while being dragged around behind those ICs. I'm pretty sure they're capable for the task they are given. If you want to argue that the task they are given is stupid, you might have a point.

    They work, because they have had trillions of dollars thrown at them for over a century. Nevertheless, they only seem suitable, but they're not.

    Think how many components in the average car are dedicated to working around the IC engine's basic unsuitability. A car has to start at zero speed. No IC engine can run at zero speed, so you need a clutch of some sort. Then they have no power until they are revolving quite quickly, so you need to gear down the output. Then as soon as you're going at a few mph, they've run out of revs and you need a different gear. They are so inefficient that they get very hot indeed, so you need a large cooling system. The fuel/air mixture has to be just so, so you need a pretty complicated system to deliver that with any sort of control and frugality. The internal forces generated are enormous - really, think about how many g a piston pulls reversing direction - so they are big and heavy to contain those forces. And they are a one-way process, so there is no way to recover excess energy of the vehicle in any usable form - you have to throw it all away as waste heat. And when all is said and done, they turn in a measly 25% or so efficiency, which is crap.

    An electric motor is perfect by comparison - efficiencies in the 90%+ range, reversible (i.e. it can recover energy back into electrical form), generates torque from zero speed and capable of delivering that torque over a usable range of speeds with no gearing. Sounds like a winner to me.

    An IC car has been successful because of the convenience and density of its energy storage, not because of the Victorian engineering hack-job that converts that into motion. And it's only the lack of a suitable energy storage solution that holds back EVs, not motors.

    The modern IC engine is a miracle of engineering, but that doesn't mean it's not a bunch of band-aids on top of hacks on top of an essentially unsuitable method for converting chemical energy into motion.
  • by JWSmythe (446288) <.jwsmythe. .at. .jwsmythe.com.> on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @10:27AM (#40686501) Homepage Journal

    Yes, but they're upgraded piecemeal. If people suddenly started buying EVs en masse then they wouldn't be able to find enough labor (or budget) to upgrade all the neighborhoods.

    I may be getting old, but I always hear about some catastrophic effect that new technology will have. As CPUs approached 50Mhz, people were telling warnings about if their frequencies got faster, there would be widespread FM interference.

    With the public availability of wifi, people made relations to the 2.4Ghz signal being so close to microwave ovens, that the world population would be sterile, we'd all die of cancer within a few years, and other false claims.

    Ages ago, it was suggested if the population started (oh my gosh) having their own vehicles, the road infrastructure would fail. There simply wouldn't be room on the roads for all the cars, and if there were, there would simply be no usable area for anything but highways.

    And lets not forget about oil shortages. The 1950's, 1960's, 1970's, 1980's, (I think we forget about it in the 1990s), were all going to be the end of the world, because there would be no more oil, or at least not enough to provide for consumer use. I doubt many people here remember WWII war rationing.

    As for your assertion that there will be a conflict with electric vehicles and power grids, is irrational. Sure, if everyone bought an electric car today, and plugged them all in at 6pm, it would most likely cripple some areas.

    We'll use the Chevy Volt as an example, since it is a newer plugin hybrid that is available to consumers.
    http://gm-volt.com/2009/08/20/charging-the-chevy-volt/ [gm-volt.com]

    There will be a portable 120 V unit (R) that can be plugged into any standard receptacle. It will be able to recharge the car fully in 6 hours at 12 amps or 8 hours at 8 amps.

    The other device option (L) is a 240 V stationary wall-mounted unit that has to be installed in the owners garage per code. This unit running at 16 amps can recharge the Volt in 3 hours.

    For comparison, a 3 ton residential air conditioner draws about 14A@240VAC. A 4 ton draws about 17A @240VAC.

    It could be equally claimed that building newer homes in excess of 3000 sq/ft with vaulted ceilings would have crippled the power grid. I may not have received the memo, but it looks like we all still have power for our computers, so I'm guessing the power grid survived. That gives a good impression of what the peak current is. For those who turn on their air conditioner (or heater, depending on location and climate) when they get home, make dinner, watch their big screen TVs, etc, etc, the peak power consumption is higher.

    The only real problem would be if everyone bought new plug in electric cars within a *very* short time span. If I were to step outside, and look at my neighbors cars, I would see cars made from the 1970's through maybe 2010. I don't need to look right now, I did last night. I've also noticed similar trends just about everywhere I've been (which is an awful lot of places).

    Just like the telephone and cable companies upgraded areas to support faster Internet speeds, the power companies will upgrade areas as needed to support higher demands.

    The article makes a 20 year prediction that half of new cars sold will be plug-in electric. That doesn't mean half of homes will have them. That would indicate for half of homes to have them, you'd still be looking more like 50 years in the future. Now think, what was the spot you're sitting in now, 50 years ago? Where I am was a partially wooded rural area, a few miles off a 2-lane highway that was probably farm land of some sort. Now it's a residential neighborhood, surrounded by residential neighborhoods, off of a 6 lane highway, and a 4 lane bypass.

    If you think back (or imagine, if you aren't old enough), households have grown, power needs have grown. A typical 1940s

Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.

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