Search the Site

Electric Cars Moving in the Wrong Direction?

A small (?) bad-news item about electric cars:

Electric cars face new scrutiny after a fire in a Chevrolet Volt prompted a federal investigation into lithium ion batteries, even after U.S. regulators said their own crash test likely led to the blaze.

And a big bad-news item about electric cars:

Accounting for more than half of the about 216,000 new cars sold sales in Israel by leasing to corporations, rental agencies are balking [at buying electric vehicles] because of uncertainty regarding the cars’ resale value. Mr. Bar said that he fears vehicles with switchable batteries might lose as much as 70% of their original value in four years instead of the typical 40% loss by gasoline-powered vehicles over the same period.

“It’s going to be a nice niche, a gimmick, for people who are environmentalists, and corporations who want to show they are saving the environment, but I don’t see a savings in costs,” Mr. Bar said.

This is about Shai Agassi‘s well-received Better Place startup in startup-centric Israel. Even more worrying:

It wasn’t supposed to be that way. The country’s lack of integration with its Middle Eastern neighbors renders it a traffic island, limiting driving ranges and lowering the investment necessary to construct the about 40 battery-changing stations and charging spots needed to cover the entire country.

Or do I perhaps have it backward, and is the small item the big one?

And who’s got a good-news story to share about electric vehicles?

Also: Levitt weighed in a while back on “the unappealing economics of electric vehicles” and the rare-earth conundrum.