I believe this is a first on my blog….I will make an actual prediction! Perhaps I’ll wind up as some latter day eco-Nostrodamus? Perhaps it will be my legacy to the world? Not!
GM just announced that they are temporarily shutting down the assembly line for the Volt electric car due to poor sales. At the same time President Obama announced greater consumer incentives for the purchase of electric cars. I’m pretty convinced that electric cars will eventually “take off” (this is not today’s prediction, BTW), even though in most places they aren’t particularly environmentally friendly since it takes either oil, gas, or “clean coal” (Hahaha….heehee…..hohoho) to produce the electricity on which these cars run (not to mention the gasoline they still need in order to go more than a couple of hundred kilometers). Since nuclear power seems to be on the way out, I won’t even go there.
Electric cars are great on the other hand in places like Quebec, one of the world’s largest producers of hydroelectric power. Here, these cars make sense, even though environmentalists will tell you that hydro power is certainly not environmentally neutral.
In general though, electric cards are a good idea, especially if they reduce our dependence on foreign oil and get us the Hell out of those God-forsaken places in which our military industrial complex thrives and young men lose their limbs or lives.
What will eventually drive consumers to electric cars will be the cost savings. If the cars become competitive in comparison to conventional autos, it’ll be a done deal, especially if you factor in the cost of electricity vs. gas on a kilometer basis. In Quebec, electricity is really inexpensive, and Hydro even offers major incentives to homeowners to switch from oil in order to use up the excess capacity during non-peak times.
The idea of plugging in my car to the wall outlet every night and driving the next day for the equivalent of about $0.50 a liter (gas is now at about $1.40/l) gives me goosebumps. And that’s certainly the way the whole deal is being presented to consumers by the pro-electric car lobby and the Hydro companies.
Electric cars will become very popular. The technological barriers will be solved and their range will be extended to something comparable to gas cars. Initially consumers will be virtually orgasmic when they compare the price they’re paying for electricity to what they were paying for gas. La vita es bella, especially if you’re charging your car at home. Of course, roadside rapid-charge stations will be much more expensive, a fact that the “Electro-fuel” companies will explain as a function of the technologies and capital investment needed to produce a rapid charge. The price per kilometer will probably be somewhere around 80% of the price of gas if you charge roadside (still not bad I guess).
Now for my prediction.
Once electric cars are well entrenched among consumers, the Hydro companies will announce that they are struggling to meet the increased demand for electricity and that they are forced to seek higher prices for the car charging process in order to build more capacity. Cars will be required to charge from special home outlets wired to separate meters that will be billed at a much higher rate than regular household electricity. Cars will only come with a special charging wire featuring a unique plug that only fits the special charging outlet. Within a couple of years, “automotive” grade electricity will be running around 90% of the price of gas (if not more because it’s supposedly “clean” and our civic duty). Once you’ve demonstrated a willingness to pay a certain price for a product or service, that price becomes the new benchmark against which companies will work to either sustain or increase your spending.