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GasBuddy News Article

How Improved Batteries Will Make Electric Vehicles Competitive

MIT Press, technology review -- There are plenty of reasons why electric cars aren’t catching on, but one problem is certain: the batteries cost far too much.

For electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids to compete with gas-powered cars, battery prices need to drop by between 50 and 80 percent, according to recent estimates by the U.S. Department of Energy. Getting there might require inventing entirely new kinds of batteries, but there’s also a strong case that improvements to the lithium-ion batteries that power the current generation of electric vehicles may be enough.
The United States could have the capacity by 2015 to produce enough battery packs for 500,000 cars. But this year, due to high prices, plug-in vehicle sales won’t even reach a tenth of that in the United States. As a result, advanced battery makers

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Submitted Nov 11, 2012 By: NHLiveFree
Category: Daily News Article Discussions > Topics Add to favorite topics  
Author Topic: How Improved Batteries Will Make Electric Vehicles Competitive Back to Topics
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Champion Author Tallahassee

Joined:Nov 2008
Message Posted: Nov 14, 2012 3:40:34 AM

could work nicely in highly polluted metropolitan areas.
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Champion Author Oakland

Joined:Oct 2009
Message Posted: Nov 12, 2012 4:04:02 PM

They will still be a niche product, which I suppose is fine.
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Champion Author Maryland

Joined:Aug 2010
Message Posted: Nov 12, 2012 3:02:31 PM

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Champion Author Dallas

Joined:Dec 2006
Message Posted: Nov 12, 2012 1:47:13 PM

While this article points out possible improvements on the horizon to battery technology that will improve the overall cost of electric vehicles, the author ignores the other transportation requirements that are equal to if not more important than the purchase price that will keep EVs in the very narrow niche that they occupy in todays automotive market.

When EVs can get 450 plus miles on one charge and recharge the batteries in 25/30 minutes or less without any degradation in future battery performance and carry six adults comfortably and there are as many recharging stations as there are gas stations today and the cost of an electric vehicle is the same as a comparable internal combustion engine powered vehicle and can tow a 30 foot travel trailer and can haul 1,500 to 2,000 lbs of people/bags/pets/etcetara and electric vehicles are available in the size vehicle that meets all family transportation needs, then EVs will have a fighting chance to significantly increase market share.

Until all of these capability requirements are met, we have absolutely no use for an electric vehicle and neither will 85% of the US population. Very few one or two vehicle families are going to put 50% to 100% of their entire annual transportation budget into a vehicle that fails so miserably to meet ALL of their real world transportation needs.
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Champion Author Riverside

Joined:May 2008
Message Posted: Nov 12, 2012 11:49:57 AM

Great points Wolfman_TJack! EV's are the way of the future.
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Champion Author Maryland

Joined:Dec 2006
Message Posted: Nov 12, 2012 9:09:11 AM

More R&D is needed.
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Champion Author Ottawa

Joined:Dec 2010
Message Posted: Nov 12, 2012 7:47:10 AM

Battery prices are on their way down, even with only incremental technology upgrades, while oil prices are creeping up even during the second worst economic disaster the world has seen in modern age. Unless the US and China go through another major economic downturn, I see battery costs becoming competitive with oil in a few years from now.
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Champion Author Pensacola

Joined:Apr 2009
Message Posted: Nov 12, 2012 4:58:55 AM

Still too much $$$ a long ways to go before I buy one. Not about to stop every 40 miles and sit and rechage. Good for city driving and that's about all unless no one is in a hurry to get to a far away location.
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Champion Author Hawaii

Joined:Jun 2008
Message Posted: Nov 12, 2012 4:32:55 AM

If the price comes down!!
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Champion Author Oklahoma City

Joined:Dec 2005
Message Posted: Nov 12, 2012 4:02:09 AM

Too much $$$$$
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Champion Author Oakland

Joined:Dec 2007
Message Posted: Nov 11, 2012 11:08:32 PM

The problems with batteries is the last hurdle that keeps EV from going Mainstream.
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Champion Author Twin Cities

Joined:Feb 2012
Message Posted: Nov 11, 2012 10:31:52 PM

The following tips may be helpful to consumers when considering an electric vehicle:

Drivers with predictable, unwavering daily driving requirements are the best candidates for all-electric vehicles.

If your driving requirements are variable, consider a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle that provides pure electric driving for shorter distances, but can handle a longer trip without recharging, if necessary, by utilizing the gasoline-powered back-up engine.

Be sure to investigate potential federal or state tax incentives associated with an electric vehicle purchase. These incentives may vary, depending on the make and model selected. Also, ask your local utility company about special EV battery-charging programs and special rate programs that may be available.

The U.S. Department of Energy offers maps that show the locations of charging stations through the country. There are 10,309 alternative fuel stations in the United States.

Click on this link for Alternative Fueling Station Locator

Click on the above link that offers a zoom-able map.

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Champion Author Twin Cities

Joined:Feb 2012
Message Posted: Nov 11, 2012 10:27:35 PM

The batteries in electric drive vehicles are designed to last for the expected lifetime of the vehicle. The Toyota Prius HEV, which has been sold in the United States since 2001, has had less than 0.003% battery failures (source: Several manufacturers offer 8-year/100,000 mile warranties for their EV and PHEV batteries.

Maintenance costs for electric drive vehicles are as much as 50% lower than traditional gasoline vehicles, thanks to fewer fluids to change, significantly reduced brake wear due to regenerative braking, and far fewer moving parts. (Source: Center for Automotive Research, and US Department of Energy,
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Champion Author Twin Cities

Joined:Feb 2012
Message Posted: Nov 11, 2012 10:25:17 PM

EVs are safe.

According to the National Fire Protection Agency, there were an estimated 184,500 conventional highway vehicle fires in 2010, and 31,000 other non-highway vehicle (equipment) fires. In the extremely rare incidents where a fire has involved an EV, no findings of any relationship to the electric drive components have been found. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration thoroughly examined the safety of EVs in accidents and found no real-world electric vehicle crashes that resulted in battery-related fires. (Source: National Fire Protection Agency,; National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,

Safety Requirements

Electric drive vehicles undergo the same rigorous safety testing as conventional vehicles sold in the United States and must meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. The exception is neighborhood electric vehicles, which are subject to less-stringent standards because they are typically limited to roadways specified by state and local regulations.

HEVs, PHEVs, and EVs have high-voltage electrical systems that range from 100 to 600 volts. Their battery packs are encased in sealed shells and meet testing standards that subject batteries to conditions such as overcharge, vibration, extreme temperatures, short circuit, humidity, fire, collision, and water immersion. Manufacturers design these vehicles with insulated high-voltage lines and safety features that deactivate the electrical system when they detect a collision or short circuit. EVs tend to have a lower center of gravity than conventional vehicles, making them less likely to roll over.

Emergency Response and Training

Emergency response for electric drive vehicles is not significantly different from conventional vehicles. Electric drive vehicles are designed with cutoff switches to isolate the battery and disable the electric system, and all high-voltage power lines are colored orange.

Manufacturers publish emergency response guides for their vehicles and offer training for emergency responders. The National Fire Protection Association has training and information resources available at Find a list of education and training programs with contact information in Electric Vehicle Workforce Education & First-Responder Training Programs.

[Edited by: Wolfman_TJack at 11/12/2012 12:26:34 AM EST]
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Champion Author Twin Cities

Joined:Feb 2012
Message Posted: Nov 11, 2012 10:24:01 PM

unplug. uncar.

Introducing the all-new smart electric drive. Agile. Safe. An incredibly fun-to-drive electric car. And, it’s exceptionally environmentally friendly. MSRP is $25,000 before any tax credits.*

drive for miles.
The smart electric drive can fit perfectly into your lifestyle. A single battery charge gives you enough energy for spontaneous trips.

In addition, during braking the electric motor works as a generator that converts part of the surplus kinetic energy into electrical energy. It then flows back into the battery, ultimately increasing the range of this electric car for longer jaunts.

it's in our genes.
The electric drive shares smart’s entire innovative safety concept designed by the forward-thinking safety pioneers at Mercedes-Benz. Active and passive safety systems offer maximum protection. And, the positioning of the battery in the vehicle underbody offers the best possible protection in the event of a collision.

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Champion Author Twin Cities

Joined:Feb 2012
Message Posted: Nov 11, 2012 10:23:19 PM

Jul 24th 2012 5:24PM

Ford C-Max Energi pricing: $29,995 after a federal tax credit, available this fall.

Ford already spilled the beans on its $25,995 C-Max Hybrid (shown in the vid just after the break), but those anxiously awaiting more surrounding the C-Max Energi can finally start saving a precise amount of pennies. The automaker's first production plug-in hybrid will go on sale this autumn for $29,995 after a federal tax credit, and according to Ford, that's "more affordable than the Prius plug-in hybrid." For those in need of a memory jar, the Energi is expected to deliver 550 miles of total range, representing a 95 mpg equivalent (MPGe) and an electric-only top speed higher than the Prius plug-in. As the Prius bashing continues, Ford is also quick to point out that its Energi will boast 60 more horsepower than Toyota's rival. Those intrigued can visit the source links to see the newly launched "build-and-price" website for the car, and those who reside in the state of California will likely qualify for an extra $1,500 in tax credits.
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Champion Author Lansing

Joined:Jan 2011
Message Posted: Nov 11, 2012 10:22:38 PM

Good batteries are absolutely key.
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Champion Author Twin Cities

Joined:Feb 2012
Message Posted: Nov 11, 2012 10:22:33 PM

Fox News' Bill O'Reilly claimed on Friday that electric cars cost "300,000 bucks," adding that while he is "for" electric cars "they've got to get it down for the regular folks." But O'Reilly is clearly working with outdated information.

Check out the prices for these 100% electric vehicles (including the federal tax credit):

2012 Mitsubishi i: $21,625
2012 Nissan Leaf: $27,700
2012 Ford Focus Electric: $31,700
2013 Honda Fit EV: $29,125
There are also plug-in hybrids like the Chevy Volt ($31,645) and the Toyota Prius Plugin Hybrid ($32,000).

These price tags are a far cry from the hundreds of thousands of dollars O'Reilly thinks you need to have to get behind the wheel of an electric car, not to mention the benefit to households of being significantly less vulnerable to inevitable oil price shocks.

This is not the first time O'Reilly has misinformed his audience about the accessibility of clean tech. In November, O'Reilly claimed that there is "no one" on Long Island who installs residential wind or solar systems. But as we pointed out and O'Reilly later conceded, there is a long list of companies in the area that do just that.

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Champion Author Twin Cities

Joined:Feb 2012
Message Posted: Nov 11, 2012 10:18:41 PM

There are eight models of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles that retail for under $32,000. (Source: Media Matters,,,

By comparison, the average price of a car purchased in the United States in April 2012 was approximately $30,000. (Source: True Car, )
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Champion Author Twin Cities

Joined:Feb 2012
Message Posted: Nov 11, 2012 10:17:49 PM

Average price of new car sales transaction hits $30,748, an all-time record.

If you've looked into purchasing a new car recently, we likely don't need to tell you prices are plenty lofty. According to's data, the average selling price of a new car sold here in the U.S. last month was $30,748, marking an all-time record (last year's figure was just $28,771). While buyers are currently looking toward smaller, less expensive and more fuel-efficient models, overall vehicle sales have jumped ahead of the rest of the slowly recovering economy. In addition, manufacturers are keeping production more in line with demand, resulting in significantly scaled-back incentives.

As a result, the average transaction price has inched skyward even in the face of an uncertain economy and escalating fuel prices. In addition, small cars now carry significantly more content than before and prices to match, and crossovers just keep getting more and more popular. Buyers have proven none too wary of optioning B and C-segment vehicles well above MSRPs typically seen on mid-sized fare, and used car fleets are thin, raising prices and pushing buyers toward new cars instead. According to CNW Marketing, consumers now routinely option a vehicle to within 86 percent of the fully loaded cost.

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Champion Author Ohio

Joined:May 2006
Message Posted: Nov 11, 2012 10:17:20 PM

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Champion Author Twin Cities

Joined:Feb 2012
Message Posted: Nov 11, 2012 10:13:27 PM

Idling Facts

Drivers idle for a variety of reasons, such as to keep vehicles warm, operate radios, or power equipment. Each year, U.S. passenger cars, light trucks, medium-duty trucks, and heavy-duty vehicles consume more than 6 billion gallons of diesel fuel and gasoline—without even moving. Roughly half of that fuel is wasted by passenger vehicles.

Medium-duty trucks use about 2.5 billion gallons of fuel to idle each year, or 6.7% of the total fuel they consume.

More than 650,000 long-haul heavy-duty trucks idle overnight for required rest stops at least some fraction of the time, using more than 685 million gallons of fuel per year.
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Veteran Author Las Vegas

Joined:Aug 2003
Message Posted: Nov 11, 2012 10:12:05 PM

Yeah....maybe I'll get the EV1 back! Can't wait.
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Champion Author Ohio

Joined:Aug 2004
Message Posted: Nov 11, 2012 10:11:53 PM

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Champion Author West Virginia

Joined:May 2005
Message Posted: Nov 11, 2012 10:10:44 PM

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Champion Author Columbus

Joined:Dec 2009
Message Posted: Nov 11, 2012 10:10:19 PM

You can't Improved Electric Vehicles.
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Champion Author Ontario

Joined:Jul 2005
Message Posted: Nov 11, 2012 10:09:21 PM

Git 'er done!
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Champion Author Twin Cities

Joined:Feb 2012
Message Posted: Nov 11, 2012 10:09:14 PM

Energy efficient. Electric vehicles convert about 59–62% of the electrical energy from the grid to power at the wheels—conventional gasoline vehicles only convert about 17–21% of the energy stored in gasoline to power at the wheels.
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Champion Author Austin

Joined:Jul 2004
Message Posted: Nov 11, 2012 10:08:20 PM

Lotsa room for improvement. They might be good for routine commuting, back and forth to work with a charge in between the back and the forth.
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Champion Author Michigan

Joined:Oct 2005
Message Posted: Nov 11, 2012 10:07:50 PM

Nothing electric in my future.
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Champion Author California

Joined:Mar 2011
Message Posted: Nov 11, 2012 10:06:27 PM

It did seem that they needed improvement.
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Champion Author Jacksonville

Joined:Mar 2012
Message Posted: Nov 11, 2012 10:05:07 PM

I wish they would improve the batteries sooner then later.
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Champion Author Twin Cities

Joined:Feb 2012
Message Posted: Nov 11, 2012 10:03:38 PM

A nation of innovation.
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Champion Author Milwaukee

Joined:Apr 2007
Message Posted: Nov 11, 2012 10:03:24 PM

Top balanced batteries are expensive and complex. Bottom balancing is quite cheap and simple. You need a bit more weight, 2-5%, but save thousands of dollars and have a lot more reliability.
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Champion Author Grand Rapids

Joined:Jan 2010
Message Posted: Nov 11, 2012 10:02:39 PM

Don't want one.
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Champion Author Jacksonville

Joined:Jan 2007
Message Posted: Nov 11, 2012 10:02:04 PM

Just makes it harder to get rid of the old battery.
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Champion Author Illinois

Joined:Aug 2008
Message Posted: Nov 11, 2012 9:58:06 PM

That is at least 20 years away.
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Champion Author Nashville

Joined:May 2011
Message Posted: Nov 11, 2012 9:57:08 PM

This is years away, folks.
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Champion Author Utah

Joined:Mar 2012
Message Posted: Nov 11, 2012 9:55:14 PM

It has already been proven that ev's are worse on the enviroment.
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Champion Author Atlanta

Joined:Mar 2006
Message Posted: Nov 11, 2012 9:55:08 PM

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Champion Author Tallahassee

Joined:Jun 2008
Message Posted: Nov 11, 2012 9:54:59 PM

Hydrogen power
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Champion Author Philadelphia

Joined:Jun 2006
Message Posted: Nov 11, 2012 9:51:21 PM

The only way that EVs will sell to the public.
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Champion Author New York

Joined:Feb 2011
Message Posted: Nov 11, 2012 9:49:55 PM

Slow but steady progress.
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Champion Author Oregon

Joined:Dec 2011
Message Posted: Nov 11, 2012 9:48:23 PM

go for it
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Champion Author Michigan

Joined:Jun 2004
Message Posted: Nov 11, 2012 9:46:34 PM

Range is one issue that hold me and many potential owners of EV's away from the market place. We drive to much in single runs for an EV to be an option. Hybrids are a little better... but lack much of the comfort and power we are used to under normal gasoline options.
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Champion Author Ohio

Joined:Aug 2005
Message Posted: Nov 11, 2012 9:43:51 PM

Bring on hydrogen power.
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Champion Author Texas

Joined:Jun 2006
Message Posted: Nov 11, 2012 9:43:44 PM

Blah, Blah, Blah, electric vehicles are not competitive and won't be for the foreseeable future. A study will come out that they are worse for the environment than traditional vehicles.
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Champion Author Milwaukee

Joined:Aug 2005
Message Posted: Nov 11, 2012 9:42:46 PM

Batteries for my flash light are to expensive
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Champion Author Nashville

Joined:Dec 2009
Message Posted: Nov 11, 2012 9:42:41 PM

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Champion Author Virginia

Joined:Jan 2006
Message Posted: Nov 11, 2012 9:39:33 PM

“. . . electric cars will become a viable alternative when batteries become obsolete.”

That’s an interesting observation; care to elaborate PDQ?
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