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Power Transportation Technology

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

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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  • Fuel cell (Score:4, Interesting)

    by chebucto ( 992517 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @02:24AM (#40682573) Homepage

    Hydrogen fuel cells will win out because you can refuel them in as much time as it takes to refuel a gas or diesel car.

    Electric will be held back by the cost, limited lifespan, weight, and recharge time of the batteries.

  • by Loki_1929 ( 550940 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @02:34AM (#40682643) Journal

    2008 - The Tesla Roadster is a $110,000 (base price) sports car with a 244 mile range.
    2012 - The Tesla Model S is a $57,000 - $77,000 (base price) sedan with 160 - 300 mile range.
    2015 (estimated) - Tesla Gen III Sedans are targeting $30,000 base price with comparable Model S ranges.

    In addition, Tesla is rolling out a "supercharge" network to support changing away from home in convenient locations in target markets. The Model S has also been promised to include a 5-minute battery quick change option. Once that is available at (for instance) gas stations, it'll take as much time to refill your electric as it does to refill your gas car, except it'll cost a whole lot less.

    This guy is actually delivering functioning, functional electric cars and building the infrastructure to support them. I wouldn't bet against him; everyone who's done that so far has been proven wrong repeatedly.

  • by erice ( 13380 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @02:59AM (#40682765) Homepage

    If gasoline powered vehicles become cost prohibitive to operate and electric vehicles are still expensive, total sales may drop as people are economically forced out the market. "Plugin" vehicles (which include plug-in hybrids) could still be 50% of the (smaller) market.

    "Second, an oil price shock would have to drive gasoline prices to $8 or $10 a gallon"

    Are these guys kidding? If the global economy wasn't in such a precarious state, gas would be over $5/gallon *now*! In 2032, $10/gallon gas will be a fond memory.

  • by Xenkar ( 580240 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @03:04AM (#40682797)

    It is called hemp. You can make all of the plastic, paper, and cloth parts for the car out of it. The only problem is that the DEA currently prevents any industrial farming with it since it is also a CLASS I drug which means "It has no medical benefits" which most people disagree with.

    Until we get our DEA problem under control, we'll need to import it from Canada which has police agents who are smart enough to tell the difference between an illicit drug growing operation and an industrial hemp field.

  • by Anne Thwacks ( 531696 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @03:27AM (#40682917)
    Battery life is the big killer. Who would buy a second hand electric car? They are only good for land-fill. They are massively less "green" than mechanically injected diesel vehicles which have a life of a million miles or more with a bit of low cost (potentially DIY) maintenance. The future is algae produced diesel, and not gas produced electricity.

    It makes more sense to pump diesel to everyone's homes and have them burn it in in a CHP system than to distribute gas or electricity/

    Hint: I am European - when I say "gas" I mean a gaseous substance, and not a petroleum based liquid.

  • by GrahamCox ( 741991 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @06:15AM (#40683755) Homepage
    Assuming that's true, it means that a gas car is using the energy twice - once to refine the fuel, then again to use the fuel. At least the EV car is only using it once.

    The problem with petrol is not this anyway, it's that a) it's a finite resource and becoming scarcer, b) it's releasing CO2 that was sequestered over million sof years in a short timeframe and that doesn't seem to be a good idea by any measure, and c) it's a very inefficient use of the energy it embodies.

    If batteries could even get to half of the energy density of petrol, EVs would be a no-brainer. IC engines are really quite unsuitable for the task they are given.
  • by CrimsonAvenger ( 580665 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @08:48AM (#40684735)

    The amount of electricity required to travel a certain distance with an EV is roughly the same as the amount of electricity used to refine the gas for a regular vehicle that travels the same distance. According to DOE: http://gatewayev.org/how-much-electricity-is-used-refine-a-gallon-of-gasoline [gatewayev.org]

    Fascinating link.

    Alas, it's carefully overlooking a few key details.

    One of which is that the energy of crude oil is in no way related to the electricity required to refine said crude oil.

    What they're actually making a guesstimate to is the amount of electricity that could have been generated INSTEAD of making the gasoline.

    And they're overestimating that by assuming that the making of electricity is 100% efficient.

    Which it's not, in case you were curious.

  • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @12:20PM (#40687257) Homepage Journal

    To some extent, yes, they do. To the best of my knowledge, all rechargeable battery technology exhibits capacity decay over time. The only question is whether they show significant loss of capacity after five years, ten years, twenty years, or some period of time that's long enough that nobody cares anymore. This, in turn, depends on not just the battery technology, but also on how you use it and how the car's charge circuitry was designed—deep discharges from long trips versus lots of very shallow discharges, continuous trickle charging versus letting the battery sag to 90% before you top it up, whether you always charge the battery or allow it to stay mostly discharged for a period of time (which promotes dendrite formation), etc. all play a role in how long a battery lasts.

    As far as I can tell, we really have no idea how LiFePO4 is going to hold up in the real world; the sample size of LiFePO4 batteries that are more than a couple of years old is too small. But for older designs that use NiMH or older lithium ion chemistries, we know approximately how long they'll last, and it isn't pretty.

Information is the inverse of entropy.