Over the last 5 years, fuel has reached prices that was once thought unimaginable. I see video games with animated shots of soldiers guarding stations with a pricetag of $1.83/gallon. (I think that was the price, on “EndWar” on the Playstation 3) The price of 87 octane fuel was $3.83/gallon when I last filled up a week ago. Mind you, this is without overly high government taxation on each gallon like in other countries across the ocean. (that’s the reason for the higher prices in Europe & UK)
We are on the cusp of finally reaching beyond our odd obsession with gasoline, and I’ve been waiting for so many years for this. I was worried about the industry and consumer influence leaning more towards another non-renewable resource such as hydrogen, biodiesel, etc. Thankfully, the industry lean is pushing heavily towards electric. The plus side of that is electric is a multi-source energy, able to be produced in infinite ways that are both renewable, along with others toxic. Solar energy is on the distant future as technology rolls in, however wind power is peculating currently across the western United States and various parts of the east. Nuclear is used in quite a few places within the United States as well, however that will be phased out through the next 40-50 years thankfully.
This year has brought quite a few industry competitors together for the first time that I’ve seen. Toyota and Honda have been in the industry for quite a few years now, and have their footing with the Prius/Civic & the Insight. Of course there are other hybrids, but those are the most notable. I have a Prius, and I’m quite impressed. That being said, driving it I can just taste the future where the EV mode is not a mode at all but the actual transport mode of the vehicle. Chevrolet’s release of the Volt is a good introduction for the American competitors, with a 40 mile run of pure electric before kicking over to the gasoline engine for the rest of the run. Obviously, that car’s leaned towards the short-distance drivers.
The one that is catching my eye though will be released the middle of 2012. The Telsa Model S – a pure electric premium sedan capable of carrying 7 people, lots of cargo space, drive to 120 MPH, and comes standard with 160 mile battery and optional 230 & 300 mile battery. This is pure electric, no gasoline at all. There’s even a 17 inch screen for GPS/3G/streaming radio/searching for restaurants/etc. The base price with the 160 mile battery is estimated to be $57,500 (not including the federal tax credit of $7,500) The batteries are estimated to be $10,000 more for the 230 mile version, and $20,000 more for the 300 mile version.
That’s an astonishing price for a vehicle that is close to the price of a BMW 535i and comparable in design without the thought that it’s electric.
With the momentum of electric vehicles finally ramping up, the next few years should be interesting. My 2008 Prius will look like a 20 year old technology within 5 years I have a feeling, and I’m happy about that. Let’s hope we don’t have any more conservative ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it’ mentality like we’ve had from GM over the last century. The creeping malaise is a cancer to the industry.