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Chevy volt 2.0, more practical design?

Chevy volt 2.0, more practical design?

The new Chevy volt features 50 mile pure electric range, 400+ total range, with 41 mpg on gas at a mass market price.

While the volt 2.0 can not compete with model s on overall quality, it does address several issue that limits BEV: high cost(from a huge battery), range anxiety, slow refill.

To compare volt vs BEV:

For short daily commute, 50 mile electric range usually is sufficient for most people, which means gas is rarely required. It is identical to a BEV: energy efficient, recharge at home, clean and quiet. A big bless for cities.

For long road trips, it has the range, less but still good enough mpg(I feel the mpg can go higher as they further improve the generator and battery), more importantly a fast refill of gas.

To me, the volt design as it is improved to this 2.0 version is starting to win BEV as a practical mass market solution.

Although the style and performance of volt is still far behind model s as of today, there is no technical barrier for it to go beyond model s.

A serial hybrid is powered by pure electricity which is no different from BEV, it has all the performance potential, instant torch etc.

The battle is really in electricity storage: small battery + gas+ generator vs. large battery. Since today's battery has only few percentage of the energy density of gas. Using large battery result in less range, heavier weight and higher cost. And it does not offer the flexibility of fast gas refill.

I think tesla can consider bringing up alternative versions of model s and x with e.g. 20kw battery and on-board(or even portable if possible) generator. This should immediately reduce total cost and weight of the vehicle and solve the range and charging network issue without sacrificing the benefit of a electric car. Tesla has proven successfully that a electric car can be a good if not better car than ICE, yet there is a question to ask: whether the electricity should be stored in pure battery or in battery and gas combined solution. Looking at the energy density of today's battery, I favor the 2nd solution. If GM are able to improve volt to near model s quality before model 3, the EV war may end earlier than expected.

Correct me for any misconception.

mez13526 | 14/01/2015

You're right in terms of a short term solution. But Tesla Motors is a visionary company that is trying to rid us of our dependence on non-renewable energy sources.

The goal is to have all energy to be sourced from the sun and BEV cars are the best way to harness that energy. Making a hybrid would not suit a visionary and ideological company like Tesla Motors.

Tstolz | 15/01/2015

Your reasoning doesn't compare apples to apples. BEVs are simple, have more room, and are faster. Also, why haul around a generator when electricity is at every destination you drive? All that is needed is to wire up more plugs / chargers at these locations. Just look at the growth of the Supercharger map and Plug Share and your worries about charging will melt. It won't be long before there are more EV stations than gas stations ... and the BEV revolution just started! Road trips are infrequent and people need to stop for bio breaks anyway - so fill time is really overblown!

xuanyuchina | 15/01/2015

A volt can charge wherever there is an electric outlet, but it does not necessarily require a charging network. I think this is an advantage, most likely people would prefer to charge at home or company parking lot which does not require extra time or effort rather than a distant station.

Hauling a generator sounds like extra weight to carry. However consider the low energy density of the battery, generator actually makes the car lighter. Thus I don't think a generator compromise the performance of EV.

In terms of design, a generator is not as complicated as a engine, it does not even connect to wheels, therefore should not ruin the simplicity of the EV design that much. It is acceptable as an add-on option for the market.

Tstolz | 15/01/2015

xuany.. nevertheless ... the grid is in place. It makes way more sence to me to make better use of it as an asset than to ignore it. As many have said already, batteries improve every year. Also, the power of a PHEV won't compete with full BEV. That said I actually would agree that the next Volt will sell OK ... the next one in 5 years ... not so much. It's fun watching all of this play out though! I guess time will tell.

Brian H | 15/01/2015

It's Bolt vs Leaf vs i3 vs WiStar.

Tesla is in a class by itself.

Dramsey | 16/01/2015

"Model 3 will outsell a Volt by orders of magnitude."

Well, we shall see. Chevrolet sold about 15,000 Volts last year, so Tesla would have to sell 150,000 Mod 3s to outsell by "an order of magnitude".

They might. Heck, the Leaf outsells the Volt, and I'd much rather have a Volt than a Leaf...

grega | 16/01/2015

Batteries are expensive but they're also the best option for common daily usage. One danger we face is seeing 200kWh batteries for people that almost never use even 1/4 of that. That's not an efficient use of battery - in terms of price, weight, environmental impact, or volume of batteries the world produces (smaller packs allows more cars).

What you're talking about is a 100% EV for daily use which has a generator as an occasional long range solution (& for emergencies). I think it makes sense to have a general approach of designing a car to have
a) Daily usage 100% EV with home (or street or parking station) 8 hour recharge.
b) occasional road trips using some OTHER option (ICE? FuelCell? Supercharging? Huge battery? Car swap?)

I think if we got (a) we'd be doing brilliantly no matter what the (b) solution was. To generalise it though, you could say 90% of the time should be BEV (I'd like to see a hashtag #EV90)

But Tesla's battery strategy is great. I hope supercharging continues to get faster, but also I hope that battery swaps are the way drivers will get larger batteries for an occasional trip, rather than being standard. They shouldn't change that strategy.

BMW i3 has a very small generator. The Mazda2 prototype did the same thing (and may be released eventually). Toyota has an ICE that gets 78mpg. I think the key to an effective ICE generator is being as small and self contained as possible, reliable, quiet, avoiding radiators etc. Efficiency is actually secondary.

The problem we have now is that car makers are so familiar with regular ICEVs that they are making hybrids where the ICE is the primary, and EV is supplementary - and that approach holds back developments and makes people think of electric as insufficient. This approach needs to flip.

Larry@SoCal | 16/01/2015

Do on-board generators have pollution standards to meet?
Is this a big loophole?
~Larry

grega | 16/01/2015

Not sure if CARB or Japan's equivalent defines standards for the gasoline engine, I would assume they do. Certainly the MPG when running on gasoline is a figure the auto makers want to make as good as possible.

Mazda's Mazda2 prototype discussed the a generator at ideal revs reducing pollutants and engine wear significantly in their Wankel engine (to perform better than most modern cars), but that their other new engine designs were better in both fuel economy and emissions iirc (once the generator was running). The Wankel generator was very small and much quieter than other options (almost no vibrations), and seen as great potential for a range extender, but the biggest efficiency came from being very rarely used.

At the moment the CARB's BEVx standards seem to enforce a small gas tank size to reduce Engine use, as a means to reduce engine use etc, which is a stupid decision.

xuanyuchina | 16/01/2015

Grega, I completely agree with the great observation.

Optimization should focus on the most common use cases which is "a) Daily usage 100% EV with home (or street or parking station) 8 hour recharge"

"The regular ICEVs uses ICE as primary and needs to flip" absolutely!

The inefficient use of battery is an important issue for EV to consider. If 20-30kw is good enough for 90% of the use cases, carrying extra 60kw for occasional road trip is very wasteful. In this regard, it might be better to occasionally burn a little gas than to constantly carry extra battery which is heavy, expensive to produce and recycle.

Brian H | 16/01/2015

The battery has a longer useful second life as static storage than a first.
It is valuable for the GigaFactory as source of raw materials when recycled.
It is thus never 'expensive' to recycle.

Red Sage ca us | 19/01/2015

grega argued, "Batteries are expensive but they're also the best option for common daily usage."

Some might say the best option would be to live close enough to your workplace, school, and shopping centers that you could walk, ride a bike, or use public transportation.

grega argued, "One danger we face is seeing 200kWh batteries for people that almost never use even 1/4 of that."

That is not an issue at all. No one complains about the 20+ gallons of fuel carried in an AUDI A8. That's over 775 kWh of energy waiting to be wasted, or simply held in reserve.

grega argued, "That's not an efficient use of battery - in terms of price, weight, environmental impact, or volume of batteries the world produces (smaller packs allows more cars)."

PRICE - Assuming someone drives around 15,000 miles each year, around 1,250 miles per month, or just over 300 miles per week... That is $607.50 for electricity per year at 13.5 cents per kWh. Drive the same distance and somehow manage to average 50 MPG and at $2.00 per gallon of fuel it comes to $750.00 spent.

WEIGHT - There is certainly a sweet spot where once the energy density of battery cells increases beyond that point, their weight becomes of no particular concern. I submit that tipping point comes the instant that 170 kWh of energy can be stored in a space of the same or less volume and weight of the 85 kWh battery pack that was released in 2012. As battery technology improves the weight will come down. But you won't find a way to store 67.4 kWh of energy in a gallon of gasoline before that happens. Nor will you have a hybrid that achieves under 300 Wh per mile.

ENVIRONMENT - Lithium-Ion batteries have been determined to be ecologically neutral, are landfill safe, and can be fully recycled at the end-of-use, which is projected to be around 25 years minimum. You burn a gallon of gasoline and it is gone -- forever. Except that the pollution it leaves behind is rather lasting.

VOLUME - The Toyota Prius uses a 1.4 kWh battery pack. You could make almost 43 of them with the storage capacity of a single Tesla Model S 60. But you would still be burning gas. You could build three of the Chevrolet Volt 2.0 with 60 kWh of batteries. But you would still be burning gas. The Gigafactory will allow Tesla Model ☰ to outsell the Volt, and its actual target, the BMW 3-Series, by a wide margin. And that would be more than the Prius too.

grega argued, "What you're talking about is a 100% EV for daily use which has a generator as an occasional long range solution (& for emergencies)."

Oh, wow. Seriously? That's the basis of your argument? You are arguing against yourself. Without the expense of the 'generator' the car would cost less for installation, operation, and maintenance. Without the 'generator' and various accessories to support it the vehicle will weigh less. Without the 'generator' thousands of pounds of emissions will never pollute the air.

I think it makes sense to have a specific approach of designing a car to be 100% EV at all times. Period.

Tstolz | 20/01/2015

Why haul around something that makes electricity inefficiently (a generator) ... when everywhere you go there is electricity made rather efficiently ... potentially via the sun and wind?

xuanyuchina | 22/01/2015

Tstolz: “Why haul around something that makes electricity inefficiently (a generator” - Hauling around a generator allows EV to carry less battery and therefore is cheaper, lighter and more efficient. If 90% of the time I am more efficient(90% of the daily local commute requires perhaps only 20k electricity), I am very likely to be more efficient overall despite that 10% low efficiency usage.

xuanyuchina | 22/01/2015

Red Sage ca us "carrying a 200kWh batteries for people that almost never use even 1/4 of that is not an issue at all. No one complains about the 20+ gallons of fuel carried in an AUDI A8. That's over 775 kWh of energy waiting to be wasted, or simply held in reserve."

You are mistaking concepts seriously. A batteries IS NOT electricity which is what you should compare with fuel. I would not mind carrying 200 kwh electricity or even 1000 kwh electricity if there is a magic electricity tank that cost just as much as gas tank, and as light as gas tank, and does not deteriorate overtime. The battery is certainly not the case right now.

Since most people can enjoy convenient nightly recharge at home, it is beneficial(cheaper, lighter->more efficient) to carry a small battery rather than a big one except for long road trips.

Red Sage ca us | 22/01/2015

It is more efficient to have one car that fulfills all your needs. Generators are not absent of mass, volume, or weight. Neither are their exhaust systems, oil reservoirs, or fuel tanks.

The BMW i3 REX only has a ~150 mile range. Without the 'generator' and its accessories, the same weight of batteries could have been added, and achieved the same range -- or more. My presumption is that it would almost certainly have a greater range and better utility as a fully electric car with a ~44 kWh battery pack.

The alternative would be to take out the electric motor and batteries, and install a larger gas tank.

grega | 23/01/2015

@Red Sage The BMW i3 REX only has a ~150 mile range. Without the 'generator' and its accessories, the same weight of batteries could have been added, and achieved the same range -- or more.

Yes the i3 REX is a terrible compromise due to the CARB rules. The big advantage a gasoline car is that a 4 gallon tank or a 15 gallon tank pretty well cost the same (quite unlike a battery). CARB forces the REX to have a tiny fuel tank and loses that advantage entirely.

The alternative would be to take out the electric motor and batteries, and install a larger gas tank.

The automative industry falls into the same thinking, mostly. They have such experience with gasoline cars that a different approach is hard to imagine. Now that Tesla has shown the Model S, they can see the 100% EV and consider it seriously, which is great.

Except now they'll see that as the way, and still not have a good consideration of other options. You'll see 200-300 mile range and supercharging, along with corridors of chargers to cross the country.

That's the basis of your argument? You are arguing against yourself. Without the expense of the 'generator' the car would cost less for installation, operation, and maintenance.

Of course it would cost less without a generator, and less maintenance. I'd rather have an EV.

You do understand that I agree right?

Traditional car makers have a LOT of experience with engines, and maintenance. That's why something so complex has become so cheap and reliable, in contrast to an electric motor which is just so much simpler to start with.

Car companies are proud of their motor engineering, and it goes against the normal rules of business to abandon one of your strengths and follow the lead of a new competitor. The logic is that a new competitor needs you to give up your strength because they can't beat you unless you do.

Batteries are expensive and there won't be enough in the world for a long time. For most people a big battery is needed for security and occasional long trips. If an ICE maker can put the smallest, quietest, simplest engine possible as a range extender they enable smaller battery packs in more cars. The ICE technology is easy enough to do... the hard bit still is getting the EV and battery to work great and rarely need the ICE, and everything they learn will apply to a 100% EV too.

PBEndo | 23/01/2015

If most drivers, on most days, only use a small fraction of the battery capacity in a long-range BEV, perhaps having an extra battery module would make sense as a range extender, instead of a generator. The extra battery could be added via the Battery-swap model already planned or you could purchase one and keep it in your garage if you need it often.
This give you the simplicity of a BEV while not transporting hundreds of pounds of extra batteries that you rarely need.

buddyroe | 23/01/2015

Red Sage - I disagree with you. Having a 25 gallon gas tank is just a piece of metal. There is no shortage of metal and you don't have to completely fill the tank if you don't want to. In addition, having the larger tank allows one to stop less often and use the entire capacity of the tank. Nothing is wasted - even if the driver only drives 10 miles per day.

Batteries on the other hand ARE limited. If people that only drive 10-30 miles per day never use their cars for long trips have a 200 kWh battery pack, they are wasting about 170 kwh of battery that cannot be used in another car - tho they may never use it.

Personally, I wish battery packs were somewhat customizable. I liked it when Tesla had the 40, 60, and 85. You pay for what you need. However, changing battery packs should also be fairly easy in order to enhance resale value (ie, so your market isn't limited to local drivers only).

The customizable battery pack wouldn't make much difference in the Model S since the cost savings to go from a 40 to a 60 is not a significant portion of the cost of the car. However, when the 3 arrives, having a 25, 45, and 65 has the potential of changing the price of the car significantly. For someone who only drives 50 miles per day and never wants to take a car that small on a trip (or for whatever reason), the 25 may be fine. This may reduce the price of the car by $4-6k. Why would they want to buy excess battery that they will never use. In turn, another car can be built with the remaining battery that wasn't used in the 25 kwh car.

I just don't think Tesla should tell people that all EVs should go 200 miles or more. They should have the CAPABILITY to go 200 miles or more (really 400 or more). But ultimately, let the buyer decide what they need and what they want to PAY for.

DarrellH | 23/01/2015

xuanyuchina, you continue burning gasoline and polluting everyone's air. That is your choice.

Many of us have chosen a different path and are quite happy with it. We no longer have gasoline vehicles. We have electric cars and are VERY happy with them. We've done several long trips and found no issue with charging during a meal and potty break.

You need generators in your vehicles. We don't need generators burning non-renewal resources and polluting our air. I hope some day you will join us.

grega | 23/01/2015

@DarrelH you said xuanyuchina, you continue burning gasoline and polluting everyone's air. That is your choice.

I also disagree with a couple of things Xuanyuchina said. For instance I don't see it as a choice between energy storage methods - gasoline has to be phased out as soon as possible. I also don't think Tesla should make a car with the smallest battery it can and a generator as energy source - or a bigger battery (50/100/150 mile).

Tesla's supercharging network and range are defining a better technology, the world needs this to be clear.

But a series hybrid isn't about polluting everyone's air - the potential is to make the transition to EVs much faster. Twice as many battery packs, fitting people's expectations more closely, cheaper, still a role for gas stations and engine repairs (even if it's a stealth removal of them).

grega | 23/01/2015

@cmcnestt you said The CARB rule you site was lobbied for by BMW because they wanted a zero emission white HOV sticker on the BMW i3 Rex that is not zero emission. This is a trap of BMW's own making.

Really? Are you saying they lobbied for an EV with range extender to be classified an EV? Or that they specifically lobbied to make the petrol driving low range and lower power?

I agree with CARBs goal here. They don't want people buying a BEVx like the i3 if they'll then never charge, which some people do with plug in hybrids. So the range extender needs to be lower power as a way of ensuring this. I just wish they did it another way, like having the car report if it's using the range-extender because it isn't being charged.

The Volt though is NOT a good series hybrid IMO. It does enable a smaller battery pack, and removes range anxiety, so it fulfils my hope that many people could drive entirely on electric. But instead of the smallest engine possible it's quite big and has a direct connection to the drivetrain - it adds significant complexity rather than reduces it, with all the problems that brings. It IS a far better hybrid than regular weak-parallel hybrids though.

xuanyuchina | 23/01/2015

@ DarrellH, If 100% BEV technology is superior in every aspect to ICE, there needs no discussion and everyone joins the BEV group. We know BEV is better in many ways, yet it has issue in range, cost, weight, refuel speed, battery life etc. If an optional generator helps reduce those concerns, would it not help speed up the adoption of EV?

Iowa92x | 23/01/2015

Batteries are expensive and heavy, 80 lbs of gas will take you the same distance as a 1,200 lb battery. A hybrid is lighter than a full on EV, and full EV you haul the entire battery mass daily, even if you don't use close to a thousand pounds of battery energy.

Trouble is the hybrids that are out are not that great. The new Volt seats a whooping 4 people, Prius is fugly and Camry hybrid nope unless you a grandpa.

jimseko | 23/01/2015

"Model 3 will outsell a Volt by orders of magnitude."

I don't care who wins the EV competition as long as there IS competition. I'm rooting for all plugin cars. I'm sure Elon feels the same way. If the major auto makers compete vigorously and build better EVs than Tesla, it would be mission accomplished for Tony Stark.

Red Sage ca us | 23/01/2015

grega protested, "CARB forces the REX to have a tiny fuel tank and loses that advantage entirely."

No. CARB forces nothing at all. They created multiple different categories for vehicles to receive different levels of ZEV Credits. BMW chose to purpose build a vehicle to one of those specifications in order to maximize the amount of ZEV Credits they got for each one offered in CARB states. BMW could have built the car around a larger fuel tank, as found in the Volt, Prius, or Accord Plugin Hybrid if they wished. They simply would have had to settle for fewer ZEV Credits as a result.

I don't believe anyone else offers a GIMPmobile under that specification, which says the gasoline range must be equal to or less than the EV range. CARB was probably surprised anyone bothered to submit one for qualifying status under the provision. I'm pretty sure it was meant as a joke. But, taken in the best possible light, the idea is to cut down on pollution by ensuring that fully 50% of the vehicle operation will always be fully electric. It is the California Air Resources Board, after all.

Red Sage ca us | 24/01/2015

grega commented, "The automative industry falls into the same thinking, mostly."

That thinking typically revolves around the theme of combining the worst aspects of ICE and BEV in the least appealing package possible. Case in point: BMW i3 REX. It truly represents the worst of both worlds. Low displacement, noisy, stinky, high revving, turbocharged, lethargic ICE, paired with a wimpy, front-wheel-drive, short range, low battery capacity electric motor in such a way that the ICE cannot recharge the batteries fast enough to continue operation at highway speeds on gasoline alone, even if there were a larger fuel reserve on tap, because the slowest charging batteries known to man were bundled with a thimbleful of fuel capacity all wrapped up in the most butt ugly homage to the angry robots of 'The Black Hole' (1979) that could be managed.

See, if they wanted to do this the right way... They would have figured out how to use their turbocharged inline six cylinder as the generator. It would have been able to simultaneously supply power to the 66 kWh battery pack while also driving the electric motor attached to the rear wheels. The car would be and shaped like a BMW 5-Series or X5 and would get 200 miles pure electric, with another 200 miles while running the generator, for a 400 mile total range. Handled correctly, this may have qualified for an EPA rated 75+ MPGe, while losing nothing in performance. Oh, and it would be offered in an electric only version, without the i-6 REX, that was Supercharger compatible -- and faster.

grega | 24/01/2015

@redsage, you disagreed but then seemingly agreed with me?? When you went down the if they wanted to do this the right way...

My argument has always been that there's value in doing a series hybrid RIGHT, and that nobody has done that. Arguing against the i3 is a strawman argument (it may only be illustrative of what is possible or impossible).

Red Sage ca us | 24/01/2015

The right way is to put your best foot forward. I am no BMW fan. Even I know they can do far better than the i3 in all respects.

I have been consistent over the past year in pointing out the combination of small battery packs with wimpy motors is not the best representation of the hybrid gasoline electric vehicle concept.

I believe traditional automobile manufacturers are fully aware of that fact, and purposely gimp hybrids, especially those of a plug-in variety in order to limit their popularity among buyers.

They only want to sell just enough to satisfy CAFE and CARB.

If they were allowed to exclusively offer 400+ cid engines that produced tonloads of emissions and struggled to reach 3 MPG, without penalty, they would do so happily as long as they sold.

They don't care what it does to the environment or the public health.

Not. One. Bit.

grega | 24/01/2015

Fair enough. Totally different argument, believing the manufacturers don't want to make a good hybrid. You may be right, worth discussing that I'd say.

Red Sage ca us | 24/01/2015

buddy roe offered, "Why would they want to buy excess battery that they will never use."

We live in a world of operational standards. Because of this, as technologies have improved, we have become less aware of their prior limitations. There was a time when torquey, relatively low horsepower, V8 powered behemoths ruled the roads, streets, and highways of America. These vehicles ate gasoline like no tomorrow. High performance vehicles literally used gallons per mile. But that was OK, because gas was cheap, and gas was plentiful. People didn't realize that a full tank of perhaps 19-25 gallons would only take them 250 miles on a good day. They just got used to looking for a gas station when the needle dropped to indicate 1/4 tank remaining. They hoped like beejus they could fill up at 1/8, because if the needle touched 'E' the car stopped. Then someone would have a long walk ahead of them for fuel, or they could hope another traveler would stop to lend a hand. Either by siphoning from their own tank, or giving them a lift to the nearest highway robbery 'Last Chance GAS!' service station.

Thanks to the efforts of the hated Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), who devised Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards to be adhered to by the entire automotive industry, those dark times are largely gone. Even cars from BMW, who ignored fuel economy for decades, are all capable of consistently covering 300, 350, even 400 miles of the highway on a single tank of fuel.

So this is the standard today.

Telling someone they should spend $35,000-$50,000 on a car that can't go 100 miles on its own, much less 200 miles, is absolute heresy at best, and terminal idiocy at worst. Similarly, telling these same people to stop and change out their 'gas tank' in order to 'borrow' or 'rent' a larger one in order to make road trips is outright blasphemy. It is imperative that EVs be able to adhere to operational standards as much as possible if they are to be accepted for mass consumption.

A line has been drawn in the asphalt at 200 miles, minimum range, for all Tesla Motors vehicles going forward, and with good reason. They simply will not sell in properly representative quantities otherwise. The Chevrolet Cruze outsold the Volt 273,060 to 18,805 with good reason. The Toyota Camry outsold the Prius 428,606 to 136,040 with good reason. The Nissan Altima outsold the LEAF 335,644 to 30,200 with good reason.

carlgo2 | 24/01/2015

Wow! It is good to know the righteous path away from blasphemy, heresy and even idiocy! You know what happens to those people!

Are those stone tablets are on display?

Red Sage ca us | 24/01/2015

The Way, The Truth, and The Electrons...

My feeling is that if these 'experimental' vehicles are such a problem for traditional automobile manufacturers, who always claim to be offering them at a loss... Why don't they just do precisely that? That is, why do they attempt to make any money at all on zero emissions vehicles that they say are forced upon them by regulators and tree huggers? And if they are certain that no one wants them, that they are a waste of time, why not prove it?

Take your crappy, low mileage electric cars, and instead of leasing, or selling them for an amount that will never balance the books... Give them away. Zero dollars down. Zero dollars a month. Zero maintenance fees. Zero due at the end of a 24 month lease. First come, first served. While supplies last. Just submit a valid driver's license showing you live in a CARB state and present proof of insurance. See you in two years. Goodbye.

There. You meet CARB requirements and get to claim the full loss on your taxes to boot. What's wrong with that? Plus, if your electric cars are sufficiently crappy, people would show their preference by getting a Sentra, Rio, Civic, Corolla, Cruze, or Focus instead, while paying for the privilege.

"See? We can't even GIVE these things away! We told you they aren't worth the effort... Our customers want V8s! Can we end the madness, now?"

Yeah. Probably would have worked too... But then Tesla Motors came along. Oops.

If there is a market for short range electric cars, it does not exist within the realm of profitability. The Nissan LEAF barely cracked 30,000 in sales in 2014, its best year yet in North America. By comparison, th. Pontiac Firebird, a longstanding member of the General Motors stable, was cancelled years ago, because it only sold 35,000 units per year, but was perceived as 'stealing' sales from the Chevrolet Camaro. Have no doubt, despite the perceived success of the LEAF, it would be dropped in a heartbeat if that meant Nissan would sell more of the Sentra or Versa instead.

Almost no one offers a new car for under $15,000 as an unmodified base price, sans incentives. But that is the perceived worth of an electric car with less than 100 miles range, to be used as a runabout, a grocery getter, or commuter cell transportation device. Strange that they are offered at more-or-less precisely twice that amount instead. Those of the green, ecologist, hippie tree hugger set, with more money than common sense, have snatched them up where they could, to support the EV movement... But they aren't fooling anyone. Everyone else sees the gimped cars for what they really are and they stay away. Exactly as planned by traditional automobile manufacturers from the get-go.