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frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
5/26/22 11:39 a.m.

Henry Ford became the richest person in America by getting people off the horse and in his Model T's. 
  He did it by selling cars cheaper than others.  At one point ( 1923 ) you could buy the basic car for $265. ( or upgrade it with an Electric starter and demountable rims for $350). 
     Electric motors can be real cheap. They don't need valves or camshafts, pistons going up stopping changing direction and then going down.  Stopping, repeat••••••  connecting rods or flywheels EFI / carbs, .   Transmissions etc.  

     The  average American travels 31 miles a day  so 100 mile range is plenty for 90% of the trips.   Much over that and people tend to fly anyway.   
    2 seats is plenty for commuting while 4 will again fill 90% of requirements. 
        
     Eliminate most of the non required features and how cheap could a EV be produced?  $10-15,000?  

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/26/22 11:59 a.m.

As we've seen over and over again, 100 mile range is just fine except that everyone in the US has to tow a boat or do the Cannonball Run at least once a year so it wouldn't work. So everyone thinks they need an F150 Lightning with the big battery pack. Changing that mindset is what it would take for a legitimate $15k EV to get to market, the willingness to accept the low cost of a small capacity battery. Manufacturers keep trying, but the market wants 250-300 miles of range. In fact, it wasn't until a company said "okay, cheap little penalty boxes aren't working, what if we made them fast, long-legged and luxurious" that EVs got any sort of foothold in the market.

The big thing here is that there's only a small difference between an ICE and an EV, where there is a massive difference between a horse and a Model T. 

The least expensive ICE in the US is the Chevy Spark at just over $15k, FYI. 

Snowdoggie (Forum Supporter)
Snowdoggie (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
5/26/22 12:03 p.m.

Nobody wants to build cheap cars anymore for the American market. The MBAs run the numbers and like crossovers and SUVs more. Even Kia and Hyundai are canceling their sedans in favor of crossovers and SUVs. They want you to lease if you can't afford to buy and poor people can just buy used. 


Housing is the same way. Builders aren't interested in small homes that aren't as profitable. 

 

 

rob_lewis
rob_lewis UberDork
5/26/22 12:04 p.m.

Couple of things (totally my opinion).  I think battery tech is not quite cheap enough, yet, to get to that price point.  I've been watching the electric crate motor options coming out and the EV conversions that people have been doing and batteries are the most expensive components.  For fun, I thought about a vintage Econoline with the crate Mach-E motor (like under $6k iirc), but the batteries to power it would be $20k+ for used batteries. 

Second, you're correct in the average American scenario, but I would guess that digging through that data, it wouldn't be quite as normalized.  Kinda like the public transport discussions.  Great when the locations you want to travel to are close (NY, LA, Chicago, et. al), but not so efficient when you get to the flyover states.  Like here in Austin.  I live in the 'burbs on the edge of the Austin city limits and back when I had an office to go to, there wasn't a good way for me to get to work without a car.  I would have been a two hour trip and still drop me about 5 miles from work.  My point is, the average includes the huge populations of those big cities, which I assume (again, assume) will skew the numbers.

Third, the infrastructure isn't quite there yet.  There are a few charging around, but not like fuel stations.  Yes, you can plug in at home, but at assumes you have a home to plug into as opposed to an apartment.

All of the above, however, could have applied to the Model T, which helped overcome those obstacles.  They were cheap by sheer volume and batteries will get there.  They were sold to the average American, which congregated around cities.  Gas was bought in cans from your local pharmacy, not from a fueling station.  All of those came after more people bought cars.

So, why couldn't Ford do the same today?  Perhaps it's because EV's aren't as life changing as the T was?  The Model T's competition was the horse and buggy.  The T offered a family to travel much farther than before, not have to worry about the health of an animal and travel distances much quicker.  I would guess that it was one of the main factors of Americans branching out from the cities and expanding their base.

Today, the EV is competing with the car.  Which is still readily available, with a good infrastructure.  It doesn't provide the life altering change of moving from a horse to a car.  An EV doesn't provide anything more than an ICE does other than the cost of running.  In some ways, it's a step back for long distance travel. 

-Rob

 

fidelity101
fidelity101 UberDork
5/26/22 12:07 p.m.

everyone is drunk on tech these days and government safety/emission requirements. 

 

if you came out with a barebones car nobody would want it because it doesn't have power windows (for example) the cost of government mandated tech has grown as well which doesn't help. 

 

oh and inflation.  

Snowdoggie (Forum Supporter)
Snowdoggie (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
5/26/22 12:13 p.m.

I checked the Chevrolet website for new Chevy Sparks. There are none available in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. The closest stripped model for 15K is in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

There is a used 2018 model at a dealer in Irving that they actually want 15K for.

 

rob_lewis
rob_lewis UberDork
5/26/22 12:15 p.m.

Something else I just thought of.  An EV would be perfect for a densely populate city.  The commute would be small, it would reduce pollution and would be MUCH cheaper to maintain.  But, where would you charge it?  Densely populate cities are that way because of apartments.  Apartments don't give an owner the ability to charge at home.  Granted, some newer or upgraded units might have a handful of charging spaces, but if we're talking large scale conversion.......

-Rob

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/26/22 12:20 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

As we've seen over and over again, 100 mile range is just fine except that everyone in the US has to tow a boat or do the Cannonball Run at least once a year so it wouldn't work. So everyone thinks they need an F150 Lightning with the big battery pack. 

Which is especially bad because manufacturing a very-long-ranged EV with current battery technologies can emit more CO2 than an average ICE car would release over an average car's lifespan:

 

STM317
STM317 PowerDork
5/26/22 12:25 p.m.
rob_lewis said:

Something else I just thought of.  An EV would be perfect for a densely populate city.  The commute would be small, it would reduce pollution and would be MUCH cheaper to maintain.  But, where would you charge it?  Densely populate cities are that way because of apartments.  Apartments don't give an owner the ability to charge at home.  Granted, some newer or upgraded units might have a handful of charging spaces, but if we're talking large scale conversion.......

-Rob

People in dense cities aren't all that likely to own a car in the first place as they're an expensive hassle compared to public transit or just walking/riding a bike.

Lots of people in that situation are finding that E bikes are a much more viable solution for their needs. They're far cheaper, can be carried into any building, and don't cost a fortune to park.

For the moment, EV owners are largely homeowners that commute. They've got a dedicated place to park where they can charge, and they drive enough for the EVs to make sense. EV's benefit owners with a lower cost per mile driven. But that means you have to put miles on them to see the benefits. If you're putting very few miles on a vehicle, then an EV might not make financial sense.

rob_lewis
rob_lewis UberDork
5/26/22 12:41 p.m.
STM317 said:
rob_lewis said:

Something else I just thought of.  An EV would be perfect for a densely populate city.  The commute would be small, it would reduce pollution and would be MUCH cheaper to maintain.  But, where would you charge it?  Densely populate cities are that way because of apartments.  Apartments don't give an owner the ability to charge at home.  Granted, some newer or upgraded units might have a handful of charging spaces, but if we're talking large scale conversion.......

-Rob

People in dense cities aren't all that likely to own a car in the first place as they're an expensive hassle compared to public transit or just walking/riding a bike.

Lots of people in that situation are finding that E bikes are a much more viable solution for their needs. They're far cheaper, can be carried into any building, and don't cost a fortune to park.

For the moment, EV owners are largely homeowners that commute. They've got a dedicated place to park where they can charge, and they drive enough for the EVs to make sense. EV's benefit owners with a lower cost per mile driven. But that means you have to put miles on them to see the benefits. If you're putting very few miles on a vehicle, then an EV might not make financial sense.

I guess when I say "densely populated" I wasn't really thinking of cities where e-bikes are more common or where they don't own cars, so my apologies on not thinking that through.  I'm thinking more of "regular" cities.  Austin, Dallas, LA, Atlanta, Phoenix, etc.  Where the city is big enough that apartments are a huge part, but the city is still spread out enough that you need to own a car because public transport isn't a viable option. 

-Rob

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/26/22 12:43 p.m.

You'll never have the same density of charging stations that you do for liquid fuel stations because ICE vehicles can only refuel at a specialized station, wheras EVs can refuel at home and do the vast majority of the time. Just FYI. Also, chargers aren't as visible as gas stations so you might find they're more common than you think, even now. I know that a bunch of the new apartment construction near me has publicly accessible EV chargers, but I only know that because I saw them on Plugshare even though I drive past all the time. The chargers are invisible.

Battery prices are falling and have been continuously for years. There's no big step change coming, no magic battery being tested in a lab. But the price per kWh has dropped roughly 90% (!!!) since 2010. So while batteries are still the most expensive part of an EV, they're a lot less expensive than they used to be and of course you can dial that cost up and down by playing with the capacity. Willing to accept a 100 mile range in something like a Model 3? That would take a significant chunk of cost out of the car - probably somewhere between $5-10k. But would anyone buy it?

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/26/22 12:45 p.m.

In reply to frenchyd :

What makes you think that the cheap EV's are not the absolute cheapest they can be?  They are more expensive than ICE's for a reason (right now).  It's not as if a Leaf is littered with features like a Tesla is.

BTW, the magical two seat commuter car has been proposed many times over the hundred+ years cars have been on the road.  Not once did they take over the market.  But WRT EV's, that's exaclty what a Leaf is.

dculberson
dculberson MegaDork
5/26/22 1:00 p.m.

Yeah, I think they already make it, it's a Nissan Leaf. They're $27k new which is really cheap in today's market. They have 150 miles range in that config. It's just, nobody wants cheap barebones cars. When you're shopping payment and it's just as easy for you to get into a loaded up car with all the options for not that much more per month, why not?

Snowdoggie (Forum Supporter)
Snowdoggie (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
5/26/22 1:04 p.m.

Somebody needs to build a $10,000 car for the upcoming recession. I don't see anybody really interested in doing that right now if anybody even can build something that cheap.

Give them a few years and things may change.

Snowdoggie (Forum Supporter)
Snowdoggie (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
5/26/22 1:06 p.m.
dculberson said:

Yeah, I think they already make it, it's a Nissan Leaf. They're $27k new which is really cheap in today's market. They have 150 miles range in that config. It's just, nobody wants cheap barebones cars. When you're shopping payment and it's just as easy for you to get into a loaded up car with all the options for not that much more per month, why not?

30K for a bare bones car is too much. There are many cheaper options, most used, and bigger cars aren't really that much more.

There might be another Henry Ford out there who can build a 10K car. They may have to do it in a country where labor is cheaper.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/26/22 1:29 p.m.
fidelity101 said:

everyone is drunk on tech these days and government safety/emission requirements. 

 

if you came out with a barebones car nobody would want it because it doesn't have power windows (for example) the cost of government mandated tech has grown as well which doesn't help. 

 

oh and inflation.  

A lot of the tech is cheaper.  Power windows are cheaper than manual crank (you can put the motor anywhere, you don't have to arrange the door and interior to position a manual crank where a human can reach it), touchscreens are cheaper than buttons, electronic HVAC is cheaper than routing cables and levers and adjusting them on the assembly line, etc.

As a bonus, they can charge more for it!

 

The Model T was revolutionary because it was made rapidly, en masse, on an assembly line by unskilled labor.  Prior to that all cars were built slowly by craftsmen.  It was not a revolution in design but a revolution in manufacturing.

RevRico
RevRico UltimaDork
5/26/22 1:39 p.m.

There were EVs long before the Model T, I suspect they're in barns and museums by now. 

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/26/22 2:02 p.m.
Snowdoggie (Forum Supporter) said:

Somebody needs to build a $10,000 car for the upcoming recession. I don't see anybody really interested in doing that right now if anybody even can build something that cheap.

Give them a few years and things may change.

No, they don't.  Just need to build cars.  If you want a $10k car, you can get a used one once the new market is filled up.  Cheap cars like that is the fast way to bankruptcy.  Or at least sustained losses.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/26/22 2:09 p.m.
Snowdoggie (Forum Supporter) said:
dculberson said:

Yeah, I think they already make it, it's a Nissan Leaf. They're $27k new which is really cheap in today's market. They have 150 miles range in that config. It's just, nobody wants cheap barebones cars. When you're shopping payment and it's just as easy for you to get into a loaded up car with all the options for not that much more per month, why not?

30K for a bare bones car is too much. There are many cheaper options, most used, and bigger cars aren't really that much more.

Part of the problem with selling a cheap EV is that people don't take total cost of ownership into account. A $30k ICE and a $30K EV will have very different ownership costs, so really the $30k EV is equivalent to something more like a $25k ICE in terms of monthly costs (numbers are rectally obtained and will depend on miles driven anyhow but are enough to prove the point).

But consumers have a hard time getting past the initial number, which is why you can buy a color printer for $99 and then pay through the nose for ink for the lifetime of the device :) 

Snowdoggie (Forum Supporter)
Snowdoggie (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
5/26/22 2:20 p.m.
alfadriver said:
Snowdoggie (Forum Supporter) said:

Somebody needs to build a $10,000 car for the upcoming recession. I don't see anybody really interested in doing that right now if anybody even can build something that cheap.

Give them a few years and things may change.

No, they don't.  Just need to build cars.  If you want a $10k car, you can get a used one once the new market is filled up.  Cheap cars like that is the fast way to bankruptcy.  Or at least sustained losses.

With $5 a gallon gasoline and a recession, having a lot full of unsold $60,000 pickups and SUVs might be an even faster way to bankruptcy, or at least a reason for the companies to run off to Washington begging for subsidies again. It has happened before.

RevRico
RevRico UltimaDork
5/26/22 2:23 p.m.

In reply to Snowdoggie (Forum Supporter) :

Maybe it has in the past, but right now most dealers are still struggling to get inventory period, with a lot of vehicles still being sold before they even hit the lot. 

If you're in a position where the extra $15-35 to fill the tank is a struggle, you're not shopping for a new vehicle anyway. 

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
5/26/22 2:30 p.m.

I fully believe a decent $10k-$15k  basic EV could be mass produced with a suitable range for daily use.  I also believe that 1) nobody would be interested except for like 6 people on this forum and 2) manufacturers wouldn't be interested even if they did sell because the profit margins are much better on higher end/more optioned vehicles so it makes more sense to send their manufacturing capacity/design resources/etc. in that direction.

 

I fully believe Apple could build a very respectable $300 iPhone.  But it doesn't make sense for them to do that.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/26/22 2:32 p.m.

In reply to RevRico :

Good/bad/indifferent, this was a lot of the rationale for cash for clunkers... remove a lot of poor economy vehicles from the used car pool, to bring the national fleet's economy up.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
5/26/22 2:34 p.m.
RevRico said:

In reply to Snowdoggie (Forum Supporter) :

If you're in a position where the extra $15-35 to fill the tank is a struggle, you're not shopping for a new vehicle anyway. 

If you are paying an extra $35/month in gas over previous gas prices, your fill up price is probably in the $80 range.  If you fill up a 3-4x times a month, looking at EVs doesn't have to be the result of a struggle, its just pure logic.  That gas bill is enough to cover a car payment.

fidelity101
fidelity101 UberDork
5/26/22 2:41 p.m.

In reply to ProDarwin :

thats all fun and dandy except areas with incredibly high insurance rates (Colorado/Michigan) if I spend 400 dollars a month on gas in my 3/4 ton that could be a 200 dollar car payment plus 200 dollar in fuel a month (maybe even 125-150; 12mpg to 30)  makes sense until I got to spend 300 dollars a month to insure that car. 

Flipside would be to buy an older 5-10k car and just drive it so no car payment but still a pretty high insurance rate and extra headache I'll just eat the extra gas money. I barely commute into the office as it is anymore anyways. however old cars are really good and none are really available. 

 

I see the future of car ownership a mix of things; people are going to get EVs (and EV truck makes a lot of sense for errands type of thing) for day to day, every day driving and commuting but you will still see truck/SUV ownership grow as people tend to commute less and have more lifestyle vehicles that can take them places or match their hobbies. Sometimes that spot is a sports car though (or both), depends on the family so I see this "norm" of what the family garage looks like will change. it used to be a sedan and a wagon, then it was 2 sedans, then it became a sedan and an SUV, now it may be an SUV and an EV. 

 

and what about e-bikes?? that can handle a lot of your basic commute in all honesty 

 

 

just my inner ramblings.... thats all. 

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