Study Gives Electric Cars Red Light, Not Green

Battery costs won't match fuel costs for 15 years

By Jackson West
|  Friday, Jan 8, 2010  |  Updated 2:45 PM PDT
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Study Gives Electric Cars Red Light, Not Green

General Motors

General Motors showed off the plant that will produce the heavy, expensive batteries for the Chevy Volt electric vehicle.

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Analysts at the Boston Consulting Group project that all-electric vehicles will only account for six percent of cars on the road, worldwide, in 2020.

What's to blame? Batteries, which are the most expensive part of electric vehicle. According to BCG the cost of owning an electric vehicle won't match a fossil-fuel powered vehicle for another 15 years.

Elon Musk, CEO of San Carlos-based Tesla Motors, has argued that his company's Model S sedan will actually be cheaper over the life of the car than a cheaper gasoline powered vehicle.

General Motors recently held a press conference to show off the plant where the company plans to produce 400-pound batteries for its Chevy Volt mostly electric vehicle.

Because Americans are oddly obsessed with range, even though they very rarely drive more than 50 miles in a day, the Volt will actually have an internal combustion engine it.

That's how we roll in the good old USA!

"We’re going to show those foreigners how you make cars, and we’re going to have success," said Michigan Congressman John Dingell at the GM event.

Which means that the electric car is still a niche product, with BCG finding that only nine percent of Americans would buy one even if price weren't an issue.

So don't hold your breath waiting for electric cars to replace gas guzzlers, which account for nearly half of greenhouse gas emissions in the state of California.

Jackson West prefers to ride electric buses and trains.

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