Reader Question: The EV Problem Solved?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Peter asks: Writing on the South China Morning Post, Neil Newman writes: “Toyota Motor is poised to reveal a monumental transition in energy storage for personal mobility by being the first company sell a car to powered by solid-state batteries with a prototype to be unveiled in 2021.” He goes on to say: “Now that solid-state batteries allow for a 500km trip on a single charge, can recharge in 10 minutes, and have none of the safety concerns that plagued BYD and Tesla in their early years, the global development and adoption of EVs is likely to accelerate as rapidly as Tesla’s curvy new roadster.” Are solid state Lithium batteries that capable? I have my doubts. And are they technologically feasible?

My reply: I think the better question is, are they economically feasible?

Lots of things can be done in the sense that they work. But whether a thing works is irrelevant – as a mass consumer product – if the masses cannot afford it. This being one of the biggest problems with electric cars as a class. The “cheapest” ones on the market cost as much as entry-level luxury cars – about $32,000-$35,000  – and that makes them moot except as entry-luxury cars, for which there is an inherently limit market.

Toyota already has a car on the market, by the way, that largely addresses these EV’s other problem – range/recharge time. It is the Mirai, a fuel-cell EV. “It works.”

It also costs $70,000 …

. . . .

Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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  1. It’s always “just around the corner”- next year…. And then when it arrives, it either doesn’t work (Wears out in a year; bursts into flames after a few months, yada yada…) or like Eric says, they’re ludicrously expensive.


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