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Turfscape (41.00)

Oh, those well intentioned electric cars...

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December 03, 2011 – Comments (2) | RELATED TICKERS: TSLA , GM

Electric car maker Aptera is folding. Not selling...not merging...just dissolving and going away. Aptera wasn't able to attract enough private investment to secure a matching Federal grant in order to finance full production of a four-door electric sedan. They also couldn't attract enough interest to put their egg-shaped concept vehicle into any form of production for sale.

Add to that the issues facing the Chevy Volt: GM considering a wide scale recall due to a vehicle fire seemingly caused by a crash; Offering to buy the cars back from spooked owners; Power cords that potentially overheat; and missing first year sales expectations.

And, for Nissan...well, the Chevy Volt has been outselling it in recent months. So that should tell you pretty much everything you need to know there.

And, the base facts still stand: the economics of electrics cars don't sustain without government assistance in the form of tax credits, grants and other tax-supported rebates and incentives.

I LOVE the idea of mass-market vehicles that don't utilize gasoline or oil-based fuels. I really, really do. And I hope that these vehicles serve as a launching point for greater innovations that produce a truly "green", effective and economically sustainable vehicle.

But, as it stands, this is a poor investment for mass-market production. Too many risks: vehicle safety, public perception and fear, government support that could/should disappear at any time, lack of private capital support...

Ford and Toyota have enough other sources of revenue that have solid economics and public demand to carry them through successfully without having to try to outdo rivals in the all-electric space for now. GM is walking a risky line if they continue to put too many resources into the existing electric lineup. But, the real loser here will be Tesla. While Tesla has not been the subject of as much negative press as other all-electrics, they will suffer the effects of that negative press nonetheless. And those same base facts of unsustainable economics still apply.

For me, Tesla shall be a red-thumb for the foreseeabe future.

2 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On December 03, 2011 at 11:51 PM, G8BigBoom (70.76) wrote:

Ford next year will begin selling the Focus Electric and it looks very well designed.

Anything new will have bugs and they will be solved. Electric cars are not for everyone and only useful to people with set driving length of 100 miles or less.

Whoever thought of the Chevy Volt is an idiot. The selected customers for the volt are also the largest climate skeptics around. Either way electric cars have great potential for growth if they target more of everyday general working class. The yearly cost to operate an electric car is anywhere between $350 a year to $650. The RPM’s blow past gasoline engines and with that comes crazy torque and speed. Electric could be massive if, IF we had someone with half or even a quarter of a brain running the show. Ford is my bet for the best electric working production car.

Note: I own a Saturn that gets 30MPG and a F250 that gets anywhere from 7-12MPG. I use the Saturn for everyday travel and distance driving and the truck for hauling and pulling. If I could have an electric vehicle for driving to work everyday and use my Saturn for trips to the cabin it seems like a good idea. The money saving aspect alone should make a person consider it. I have been looking into it deeply and may consider buying the Focus Electric next year.

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#2) On December 08, 2011 at 1:15 PM, Turfscape (41.00) wrote:

Following on the heels of continued weak news out of the electric vehicle sector and battery development sector, Tesla is seeing a current drop of nearly 10% today.

As admirable as this company's successes have been, as an investment, this sector is still a few years from maturity.

Continuing my red thumb on TSLA. 

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