Thursday, July 10, 2008

Electric Explorations

Even though it is not on our immediate program horizon, today we spent the day at one of the leading Electric Vehicle Battery manufacturers in the country.

It was fascinating, but I was left with some burning questions.....primarily about future product positioning.

Cars are all about the following criteria:
1 - Range
2 - Performance
3 - Style
4 - Purchase Price
5 - Fuel Cost
6 - Service Complexity

After running the numbers on EVs up and down, it really seems that a new company can profitably deliver #5, but usually at the expense of all of the other criteria.

So what do you think? Here is a brain teaser to put you in the mind:

You just bought an Electric Vehicle and spent $100K, you cannot drive from NY to Philly reliably and when you get there you will have to wait to recharge. But you have consumed less than an gallon. Are you pleased with your purchase?

3 comments:

Yoav said...

I would push back on the "range" factor being so important. I drive my car about 5 miles each way per day. On some days, we have additional trips downtown or going out somewhere, which may add 10-20 miles.

That 5-40 mile daily range covers 99% of our days. I don't even like to drive long distances that much, so usually when going somewhere like NYC (from Boston), I take the train, bus, or plane.

I know there are some people, especially in other parts of the US, who drive hundreds of miles daily. But I'm not sure if they're the target customer for electric vehicles, or for Local Motors.

winddog said...

An average American drives 40 miles a day, which is easy to achieve with modern Li-ion batteries. The trick is to find the right niche/combination of style, cost, and performance. Tesla is a good example.

Gas price will go up and batteries - down with the time.

There is a lot of competition out there though as quite a few manufacturers wow to deliver plug-in or pure EV in nearest future.

I'm studying this fascinating subject for a little while and I'd be glad to discuss investment opportunities if you decided to go there.

wikid said...

Most families have more than one vehicle. Just because an EV may not satisfy all of the needs doesn't mean something else in the garage can't be a substitute on longer trips.