back to article Gas-guzzling Americans continue to shun electric vehicles as sales fail to bother US car market

Sales of greener cars remain proportionately minuscule in the US – even Elon Musk's shiny Tesla brand is failing to get more gas-loving Americans to ditch their petrol monsters in favour of something electric-based. According to analyst estimates, 4.2 million passenger cars were sold in calendar Q3, equating to a year-on-year …

  1. tiggity Silver badge

    Elon may be right

    In true salesman fashion, Tesla boss Musk said during its Q3 results call with analysts that he expects the upcoming Model Y crossover – launching next summer – to "outsell the Model S, Model X and Model 3 combined".

    ... Given the report implies still huge popularity for SUV / monster sized vehicles then presumably Elon has, at face value, a decent hope that an electric monster size car will sell well. .....But does assume gas guzzler buyers actually want electric, given they already know they get low MPG & cause more CO2 emissions per mile than more fuel efficient cars then maybe they have no need to buy leccy vehicle as don't care about running costs, climate etc. (or in worst case scenario take perverse pride in running a vehicle that burns through fuel at a phenomenal rate)

    Note, I'm from Europe so my idea of a monster size car probably differs considerably from an American., as does my idea of sensible MPG

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: Elon may be right

      EM is probably spot on - when the SUV & Pickups (especially pickups) arrive with 10 second qtr. mile times I'd expect brisk sales. Followed by YT videos of eejit passengers in the load area failing to hold on properly at launch.

    2. jmch Silver badge

      Re: Elon may be right

      I'm also from Europe but been in US and driven there also. Our 'medium-size' rental car was the size of a Merc E-Class / BMW 7-series. My colleagues' pickup truck was twice that size again. In the US, gigantic cars are a cultural identity, even more so in suburban and rural areas.

      With regards to typical gas guzzlers, well if you have a pickup the size of a tank, you need a 4-litre engine to get it moving. Also, any European who hasn't been driving in US (Canada, Australia etc) simply has no conception of the sizes and distances involved.It's not unusual for USA-ians to have 50-mile+ commutes, or to drive 100 miles to get anywhere.

      Though I haven't seen the specs of the model Y, I suspect that by US standards it will be more medium than large, and even if it's larger size does make it more appealing to US customers, it needs a much-extended range to be more mass-market.

      But I'm pretty sure that Musk and Tesla know their audience, and it anyway isn't the typical US mass market.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Elon may be right

        > I'm also from Europe but been in US and driven there also. Our 'medium-size' rental car was the size of a Merc E-Class / BMW 7-series. My colleagues' pickup truck was twice that size again.

        I've had Jaguar XJ saloons as rentals in the US, you're allowed to park them in the "compact" section of parking lots.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Elon may be right

          "I've had Jaguar XJ saloons as rentals in the US, you're allowed to park them in the "compact" section of parking lots."

          Of course. Where else would you park your compact car?

          1. phuzz Silver badge

            Re: Elon may be right

            "Where else would you park your compact car?"

            Knowing America only from your media, I'd say: inside your motel room? In the drive-in closet?

      2. ab-gam
        Thumb Up

        Yup - Range

        "Only" a 4 liter engine? As an American, ROFL. ;-)

        You have it right about distances and required ranges though. I have a commute that averages 11 miles each way, and I enjoy having, by our standards, such a ridiculously short drive to and from work. Not so long ago, my commute was about 42 miles each way. Things are just spread out a lot wider here. For scale, in the small town I grew up in, the nearest grocery store was about 30 minutes by car, and where I am now, there is a ring road that goes around Atlanta that is 64 miles long.

        1. Bongwater

          Re: Yup - Range

          Isn't that why Europe's mass transit system blows ours away? I've only been to Europe once though so very limited knowledge here. People who live here have told me Europe's is way better.

      3. MiguelC Silver badge

        Re: 50-mile commute?

        Pah! that's for beginners, extreme commuting is a thing, you know!

        1. Diogenes Silver badge

          Re: 50-mile commute?

          I know of several lawyers who live in a beachside property on Queensland's Gold Coast, who fly every morning to their office in Sydney (@800km each way) or Melbadishu ornibad oring ourne (@1700km) and fly home every night.

          1. aqk
            Facepalm

            Re: 50-mile commute? Fly? Get an electric!

            Isn't it about time that some of these trendy lawyer types started to drive electric airplanes?

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Elon may be right

        The distances out west here are huge compared to Europe. My wife is from Europe, and I have been there many times.

        In my state, to get to the nearest major city in the state, you would have to drive about 380 miles. It's not even possible to make the trip in an electric without having to charge twice.

        My commute is over 40 miles each way. I drive a large SUV for a few months in the winter due to snow and ice.

        The large SUV part is about safety. The road that I drive has a lot of truck traffic. When the road is covered in several inches of packed snow, and every second vehicle is a semi with three trailers going 70-80 mile per hour regardless of the road conditions, you need to be in a large SUV. Otherwise, Ive seen first hand what happens to small cars on that road. I once saw a small Toyota SUV that was no more than two feet tall (bodies still inside!) after a semi tipped over on top of it. You couldn't even tell there was a car under the truck at first.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Elon may be right

          So instead of the small SUV, you want to be in the large SUV so that the bodies are easier to locate. Got it.

          Also, the 380 mile trip would require one charge, not two (well, two and a top-off with a 760 mile round trip), based on the wimpiest Tesla model S with a ca. 250 mile range. If you need to drive straight through with no meal stops, yes, gas/diesel is currently your only option at the moment. If you had a fast-charge station at the halfway point that could do 80% charge in 20 minutes, electric is competitive to gassing up. (Yes, you can fill a tank in 5 minutes, but typically gas stops aren't constrained by fuel fill time).

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Elon may be right

            > lso, the 380 mile trip would require one charge, not two

            Except the battery range is significantly reduced in freezing conditions. Lots of owners surveys report range drops in the order of 40%. 70 and sunny you might make it on one fast charge stop.

            1. J. Cook Silver badge
              Go

              Re: Elon may be right

              Also, the phrase "is there a charging station along the way" comes into play- There is still not enough infrastructure for charging electric vehicles in the US for... whatever reason. (politics, cost, doesn't matter.)

              And to add injury to insult, the (high) price of one of those shiny Telsas does not include a charging station installed at your residence, or installation. (that's if you own your own house- if you rent, or live in an area with controlled parking? Good Luck!)

          2. Public Citizen

            Re: Elon may be right

            There are no charge stations, of any kind in the "middle of nowhere" areas where one would need to top up "way out west".

            1. MachDiamond Silver badge

              Re: Elon may be right

              "There are no charge stations, of any kind in the "middle of nowhere" areas where one would need to top up "way out west"."

              You could be very surprised. Electrify America has been installing the fastest chargers (350kW) all across the US. The Dakotas, Wyoming and Idaho are sparsely covered because they are sparsely populated. The EA Lordsburg, NM station just went live in the last week which plugs a fast charger gap on the I-10 interstate going East/West.

              In the middle of nowhere, RV (caravan) campgrounds with full hookups are often happy to sell charging to EV drivers, You just need an adaptor from the NEMA 14-50 connector to connect up your car. Granted, it's not DC fast charging, but can often be a good bridge between DCFC's when going to those out of the way places.

              Even a 120V outlet is charging infrastructure so it's only a matter of how much range you need to replace and how fast you need to replace it. If you commute everyday to a full time job, a cheap EV can be a good buy and keep miles off of your full sized pickup/SUV that you use to haul your trailer.

          3. phuzz Silver badge

            Re: Elon may be right

            The 250 mile range is on the "extremely optimistic" end of things. With typical motorway/highway driving you'd bee looking for somewhere to recharge when you were getting near 200 miles.

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Elon may be right

            "If you had a fast-charge station at the halfway point that could do 80% charge in 20 minutes, electric is competitive to gassing up. (Yes, you can fill a tank in 5 minutes, but typically gas stops aren't constrained by fuel fill time)."

            And a full charge in something closer than an hour. Thus, depending on how close everyone wants to get to a full charge, You need something like 4 to 12 times as many chargers as gas pumps. Then you need the electrical transmission infrastructure to deliver that current. And because of the shorter range, people will have to charge more often than filling up, which means more vehicles wanting to recharge than fuel.

            So, 20 times as many chargers? 30? more? For longer trips, it may be necessary for all vehicles making the trip to recharge, while the only gas or diesel vehicles needing to fuel will be those of drivers who forgot to fill up before leaving the starting point, and those in the middle of even longer trips.

            "If you need to drive straight through with no meal stops, yes, gas/diesel is currently your only option at the moment."

            Ah yes, the recharge while you eat meme. This keeps coming up, along with the 80% charge in 20 minutes thing. Somehow there is an implicit assumption that everyone will manage to line up, order food, get served, eat it, pay, and get back to their vehicle no later than the end of charging. Even now that's optimistic. If the restaurant becomes 5 times busier than now because of all the people eating while their car charges, then a lot of people won't be that fast. All those cars parked at chargers waiting for the owners to get back will slow things down a lot... and maybe double the chargers needed above and beyond all previous numbers. Also, random variations mean that some of the time there will be no free chargers - particularly during heavy travel periods. Add that wait to your charge/eat times and a long trip becomes quite a bit longer due to the various delays.

            Longer trips means more tired drivers. Driving while tired has been shown to be equivalent to driving while impaired by alcohol. More impaired driving = more accidents = delays = even longer trips.

            The last long driving trip I took was more than 4600 km (>2800 miles) one way. We had two drivers and fueled two or three times a day, including once at the day's stopping point. We were moving 12 to 14 hours each day. That trip would have been impossible with a battery EV. (We also switched drivers every 2 or 3 hours, and the resting driver generally got a good nap, so we were all right for level of fatigue.) The trip took a little over 3 days in winter conditions. It was very cold a good deal of the time (-30 or lower overnight) which would have impacted the range of an EV, as well. We were lucky enough to end up on some closed interstates (not sure how that happened) and winds were high enough to blow away the snow (flat middle of the continent) leaving the pavement bare, so we made very good time. We never saw another vehicle in that stretch, doing about 85 mph the whole while. The faster you go, the sooner you need to recharge, and the greater the impact on trip time. Not good.....

            1. MachDiamond Silver badge

              Re: Elon may be right

              A fast charger is only needed on long trips. Anywhere there is an electrical outlet, there is charging infrastructure the rest of the time.

              On a long trip, you don't fully charge if you don't need to. You get peak charging only up to a certain point and then charging starts ramping down. Once you've hit the first or maybe second step down, that's the time to unplug and get back on the road. The charging rate really starts to crawl towards the end of a full charge.

              A 2,800 mile trip is extremely out of band. There are several YouTube videos of people doing Cannonball runs in their EVs, but it's not usual. It's far cheaper to fly unless you need to take a lot of stuff with you. It's also not a trip that's very fun in the winter.

              Longer trips do mean more fatigued drivers. One of the bonuses of an EV is it forces you to take a break every 4 hours or so. Most people find they need a restroom or want to stop for a meal at or before an EV needs to be plugged in. Since you don't have to stand there holding the plug, you can do all of your chores while the car charges.

              My last couple of long trips I logged. A fuel stop was a minimum of 20 minutes. The task of putting petrol in the car may have only been 5 minutes, but queuing to get to the pump and paying was at least another 5 minutes. 5 minutes or so for the restroom and another 5 to bin the trash, do a little navigation updating, call to let friends I was visiting know where I was or keeping a family member informed (good ideas when flying solo so if you don't check in, they know about where you might be). A stop with a meal was 45-60 minutes.

              Yes, a long trip in an EV is a bit longer, but the savings from driving one day in and day out the rest of the year pays for the trip.

        2. Public Citizen

          Re: Elon may be right

          Add in the winds that frequently make driving a smaller vehicle even more challenging and it makes for small cars getting shunted off the road just from the lack of traction combined with a sudden crosswind gust. There are areas of Interstate Highway in multiple states with gates to close the highways when the combination of winds and snow/ice get too dangerous for the average under-trained 4 wheeler driver to handle.

      5. Public Citizen

        Re: Elon may be right

        We had Brothers and Sisters from our Fraternal Orders [Odd Fellows and Rebekahs] visit from Germany and do a driving tour of the Western USA a number of years ago.

        They were basically gobsmacked by the distances between cities and points of interest.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Elon may be right

          It's not just Europeans who don't have a full sense of the scale of things over here.

          My father encountered some American tourists one morning just after they had crossed into Canada at Niagara Falls. He was chatting with them, and learned that they planned to have lunch in Winnipeg, and dinner in Vancouver.

          He didn't have the heart to tell them it was 2250 km (1400 mi) to Winnipeg and then a bit farther to get from there to Vancouver.... and that was starting from a third of the way across the country.

      6. NATTtrash

        Re: Elon may be right

        It's not unusual for USA-ians to have 50-mile+ commutes, or to drive 100 miles to get anywhere.

        Yes, I too have heard this argument continuously, when probed why US cars have to be so... sub-standard.

        So why don't you consider a European car for example? They perform much better in the efficiency department for sure...

        Nah, they don't work over here. Not with the distances and use we have over here'.

        Funny thing is however, when asked what their ideal car would be if more can be spent, it turns out be be European in 95% of cases, e.g. Merc, BMW, Audi, Jag, Volvo. You know, like their physicians, lawyers, and other successful people drive. Or films advertise as success and respectful. So it might indeed have to do with measurements, but not so much with commutes...

      7. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Elon may be right

        "In the US, gigantic cars are a cultural identity"

        There are no gigantic cars in the US.

        It is very difficult to find a full sized car for sale these years. Today's 'full size' cars are smaller than some compact cars I have owned.

        1. Jaybus

          Re: Elon may be right

          "There are no gigantic cars in the US."

          It is true. Have a look at Ford's lineup for 2020. There will be a total of 3 car models. Ford is moving to building nothing but crossovers and SUVs (and of course trucks and commercial vehicles). Ford is removing the sedans based on profitability, although it is unclear whether that is due to lack of sales or to consolidation of production lines and production costs.

      8. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Elon may be right

        "Also, any European who hasn't been driving in US (Canada, Australia etc) simply has no conception of the sizes and distances involved.It's not unusual for USA-ians to have 50-mile+ commutes, or to drive 100 miles to get anywhere."

        Isn't that all the more reason to be looking at better MPG? (and no 30mpg is NOT economical!)

      9. kathologist
        Unhappy

        Re: Elon may be right

        I bought my first new car ever last year. I dearly wanted to get a hybrid, but when it comes down to it, I went with a gas version of the Kia Soul. The added $ was just not worth it when I could only charge it at home & the added cost of installing a proper charger.(I actively avoid traveling to metro areas from where I live in the boonies).

        Distance anxiety and lack of public charging, the high cost of electricity from Pacific Gas & Electric. You know, the corporation responsible for the fires and enforced blackouts in Northern California.

        In the Bay Area, it's a different story- accessible charging, even free charging. This side of the mountains is another story.

        Outside of the metro areas, it's a LONG way between where you live, where ya want to go & where you can recharge. Unless you are traveling to a metro area as part of your itinerary & have the time needed to recharge there, you are SOL.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Elon may be right

      He'll be saying the same thing about the Tesla Pickup that will be announced before the end of the month.

      To be fair, Tesla did ship almost 100,000 vehicles last Quarter. The US Shortfall was primarily due to Tesla sending Model 3's overseas including us here in Blighty.

    4. MGJ

      Re: Elon may be right

      Trump tax law changes have effectively made new enormous SUVs free to those with significant tax bills, since they can be classified as agricultural machinery and 100% written off as a tax break. My brother got a plug-in Volvo XC90 on this basis and his neighbours are picking up similar vehicles.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: Elon may be right

        Not "free". It is a deduction, not a credit. So if your marginal tax rate is 25% then you can get it for 25% off.

        It has to be over 6000 lbs, and MUST be used for a business. If it isn't 100% used for a business you are supposed to keep records and deduct only the percentage of mileage that can be attributed to business use. This works well for e.g. a contractor or someone who owns their own sales business so they're driving a lot.

        The IRS is more likely to audit people doing this, so if someone who gets one and tries to deduct the mileage for commuting to their salaried job they'll be sorry.

  2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

    "plug-in hybrids, full electric or fuel cell cars"

    Odd that they exclude the most popular type - self-charging hybrids (like the various Toyota models using the Prius system - pretty much all their range now has a hybrid variant (in the UK anyway)).

    1. Filippo

      Re: "plug-in hybrids, full electric or fuel cell cars"

      Those are, for all intents and purposes, just gasoline cars with better MPG. All of their energy ultimately comes from gasoline.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: "plug-in hybrids, full electric or fuel cell cars"

        As a business you can only sell what you offer. As a customer you can only buy what vendors are offering.

        A few months ago I thought we might have to go down to one car. Currently hers is a small optional 4WD, mine a 2WD family estate. Living where we do I wouldn't want to rely on 2WD only nor do I want a big SUV and I certainly don't want an electric only* so I looked at the market to see what there was in 4WD family estates and in particular plug-in hybrids. It wasn't reassuring. They all fell into the How Much?!!! price bracket. And as for better MPG I looked up the Subaru non-plugin. Its road tax seemed to be twice what I pay on mine so presumably not very good on MPG either. Fortunately the situation has changed and we'll stick with what we've got for the foreseeable future.

        All electric might be OK urban runabouts for those with home parking spaces but for the rest plg-in hybrids have to be the stepping stone to establishing sufficient market to build out sufficient public charging capacity and without sufficient public charging capacity pure EVs are going to remain in their niches. So there's a real need to ensure plug-in hybrids aren't restricted to being top of range.

        *Range vs charging times vs availability of charging points.

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: "plug-in hybrids, full electric or fuel cell cars"

        "All of their energy ultimately comes from gasoline."

        You say that like it was a BAD thing... and it's *NOT*

        Electric car means:

        a) more expensive

        b) does poorly in weather extremes

        c) limited range

        d) TIME CONSUMING RECHARGES

        that kinda says it all. I want a car that is CONVENIENT, goes BLISTERINGLY FAST when I want it to, looks COOL, and lasts for a VERY long time without major maintenance (like 200k miles, current vehicle).

        Lemme know in a few DECADES when you got this down, k-thanks.

        1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

          Re: "plug-in hybrids, full electric or fuel cell cars"

          Convenient? Yep - 100% charged every morning. 240miles for under £12.00.

          Fast? Yep - 0-60 in under 5 seconds 400bhp and huge torque.

          Servicing? 22K miles before first inspection.

          Bad in adverse weather? Nope. Fording depth 20 inches. 4WD, adjustable suspension and traction control on all 4 wheels.

          That is the sort of EV you can get today and it isn't a Tesla and it carries the badge of a UK based maker.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "plug-in hybrids, full electric or fuel cell cars"

            > That is the sort of EV you can get today and it isn't a Tesla and it carries the badge of a UK based maker.

            Could you tell me, please? I'd like to buy an EV like that but I've no idea which one you're describing.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "plug-in hybrids, full electric or fuel cell cars"

            "Bad in adverse weather? Nope. Fording depth 20 inches. 4WD, adjustable suspension and traction control on all 4 wheels."

            You are missing the point that the 100 mile range you are quoting will be, in some weather conditions, more like 100 miles. There are quite a few places where that wouldn't even get you to the next gas station.

          3. usbac

            Re: "plug-in hybrids, full electric or fuel cell cars"

            And, is this wonderful SUV under $40,000? No, I thought not!!

            The $60,000 difference in price will buy enough gas to drive a non-electric for about 15 years before I break even. By then, I would have changed several battery packs. They are free to replace, right?

            No, the battery packs are about $5,000 each you say? So the break even point is... never?

          4. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: "plug-in hybrids, full electric or fuel cell cars"

            Re: "plug-in hybrids, full electric or fuel cell cars"

            Those are, for all intents and purposes, just gasoline cars with better MPG

            Not plugins necessarily.

            But they are not just gasoline cars with better MPG, they are cars that can run in slow moving, high density traffic without emissions therefore not contributing to poor local air quality.

            Slow moving traffic mean reduced tyre particulates and regenerative braking.

            1. MachDiamond Silver badge

              Re: "plug-in hybrids, full electric or fuel cell cars"

              "Those are, for all intents and purposes, just gasoline cars with better MPG"

              Depends a lot on what you buy and how you use it. A PHEV that you use in pure electric mode 80% of the time is different than a Hybrid with 5 miles of battery range that is always turning the engine on and off.

              Ford has said they'll be introducing an electric F-150. I can't think of a more perfect contractor truck. Most contractors aren't driving hundreds of miles and being able to charge from the power pole at a job site and connect power tools/battery chargers to the truck when there is no power available is a good deal. For people looking to drag a giant 5th wheel trailer loaded with motorcycles/boats/buggies, having a hybrid charging system fitted in the trailer that connects to the truck could be a awesome pairing. The trailer could be fed from the truck battery when camped so there is lots of power at night when running a gen set is rude. It also means that the truck isn't hauling around a useless lump of engine when it isn't needed. Not hauling a big trailer? Dealers could rent "hybrid trailers" that extend the range of the truck's onboard battery. The best of both worlds and a revenue stream for dealers who really don't like the lack of routine maintenance on an EV.

          5. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "plug-in hybrids, full electric or fuel cell cars"

            Convenient? Yep - 100% charged every morning. 240miles for under £12.00.

            My turbo diesel would do that same distance for £25, of which 60% is duty & tax that you don't (yet) pay on electricity for road fuel. At equal levels of taxation that would be exactly the same cost.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "plug-in hybrids, full electric or fuel cell cars"

          My 1995 Mustang GT just turned 302K miles. It's my daily driver. It gets 18 MPG. It's fast (enough). It's paid for (lol).

          I like the idea of instant torque with electrics, but the infrastructure just isn't here (where I live and commute in the Midwest USA), and I haven't seen much discussion on the frequency, cost, and environmental impact of the batteries.

          Did I mention my car is paid for? ;-)

      3. rcxb Bronze badge

        Re: "plug-in hybrids, full electric or fuel cell cars"

        All of their energy ultimately comes from gasoline.

        Not if you have yours towed to the top of a parking structure / mountain / etc.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "plug-in hybrids, full electric or fuel cell cars"

        > All of their energy ultimately comes from gasoline.

        I'm sure here on El'Reg a few months back there was an article about this. Someone had done a survey on the use of plug-in hybrids by asking the leasing companies (most seem to be leased) and the leasing companies said that the vast majority of plug-in hybrids are returned at the end of the lease period with their charging leads never having been unwrapped. You get a tax break for having one, you don't have to actually use it.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "plug-in hybrids, full electric or fuel cell cars"

        "All their energy ultimately comes from gasoline"

        As does the Tesla. How does it get made? What is it made of ? Plus the battery requirements are a problem in themselves. The more EV's the more environmental problems. They are now looking at mining the sea bed for cobalt, so as well as destroying the ocean floor with piling and concrete for wind farms, they will rip it up for battery metals.

        https://www.greencarcongress.com/2019/06/20190624-uk.html

        "...meeting UK electric car targets for 2050 would require production of just under two times the current total annual world cobalt production, nearly the entire world production of neodymium, three quarters the world’s lithium production and at least half of the world’s copper production."

    2. Spanners Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: "plug-in hybrids, full electric or fuel cell cars"

      I recently told someone that I just couldn't see the point of a self charging hybrid.

      They are just an internal combustion engine with a different type of transmission and possibly much better acceleration.

      1. cornetman Bronze badge

        Re: "plug-in hybrids, full electric or fuel cell cars"

        They are extremely popular here in Vancouver where virtually all taxis are Priuses.

        In town, they offer extremely good economy, lower emissions and they're quieter.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "plug-in hybrids, full electric or fuel cell cars"

          > virtually all taxis are Priuses.... they're quieter.

          One of our neighbours has just traded her husbands XKR in for a i-Pace. It's quieter going up the road, but makes just as much noise come back down it. Going up the road in the morning the hubby was accelerating and you could hear the engine. Coming home he was just coasting and all you'd hear was the tyre noise. The EV's tyres make just as much noise as the thirsty V8's.

          OK, a lot of taxis are rather noisier than a luxo toy in cruising around mode.

          The great advantage of self charging/plug in hybrids is that you don't need to run the IC engine while stuck in traffic. This save a lot of dirty emissions. Back when I used to commute I often thought I'd be happy to have an very limited electric capability in my car, even if the car could do 20MPH for 10 miles on battery that would make a great improvement to a lot of the worse traffic related pollution, without adding hugely to the weight of the car.

  3. Roger Kynaston
    Mushroom

    SUVs are the scary bit

    Owing to their being higher up people who are hit by them are more likely to die as they will sustain injuries to the upper body rather than legs. Apart from the amount of dead dinosaurs they consume.

    1. 0laf Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: SUVs are the scary bit

      They are also more likely to roll over in an accident due to their higher centre of gravity.

      So although people often feel safer in large SUVs they aren't necessarily safer for the occupants or the collided.

      1. mrobaer

        Feeling safe in an SUV (in the USA)

        The average mid to large size car come with as much risk as the average SUV. The compact and subcompact cars have slightly more risk. That being said, the risk SUVs impose on others is about twice as much as the mid to large size car. The pickup truck is probably the biggest concern we have on our highways. There are far more of them than there are sports cars, and the sports car is the only vehicle with more risk than the pickup.

    2. caradoc

      Re: SUVs are the scary bit

      dead dinosaurs?

      Do a search for abiogenic oil.

  4. BossHobo
    Happy

    (strokes chin)

    Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y... I see what you did there! Probably the last person to figure out Musk's Master Plan...

    1. Michael

      Re: (strokes chin)

      To be followed by the model B, model E model 4S and model T

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I doubt Americans will change as long as the pricing for electric cars are still pretty expensive, at least without any "tangible" benefits as a carrot for driving electric over ignition.

    1. vtcodger Silver badge

      I doubt Americans will change as long as the pricing for electric cars are still pretty expensive

      Exactly. Cars are a major purchase item for all but a few Americans. In most cases, they are going to buy the least expensive vehicle that meets their perceived needs That's VERY unlikely to be an EV. At most, they might spend an extra 3% or 5% for an "environment friendly" high gas mileage hybrid, but that's about it.

      The only way I can see that changes any time soon is if some outfit somewhere builds an extremely inexpensive EV that has all the EV problems (slow refueling, limited range, lack of "free" cabin heating, probably limited interior/cargo space) but is REALLY cheap and proceeds to sell tens of millions of them in Africa, Asia and Latin America. And if they can somehow get those things past US/EU/Canadian safety requirements. And if they can compete pricewise with low end ICE compact cars. Then maybe Americans will flock to them as they did in the 1960s to VW bugs and the 1970s to Japanese sedans. ... Perhaps. ... Maybe.

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        " In most cases, they are going to buy the least expensive vehicle that meets their perceived needs"

        When there is a robust used EV market, it will be an easy choice.

    2. ThePhantom

      With the recent California blackouts, those with 100% electric cars were left, er, carless. In my case, I have a plug-in Prius along with solar and Tesla batteries, so no problem. But that combination is only for the wealthy.

      As for the "300 vehicle models from 40 car brands," most of the 300 are just badge and accessory changes. For example, Most GM cars are really the same vehicles built on the same chassis. Only the labels, dealerships and parts prices differ -- for the exact same piece of hardware. And that is historical owing to the "My dad and his dad bought this brand, so why should I be any different?"

      Another issue in the USA is that I cannot order the car that I want, even if I am willing to wait for it to be built. Manufacturers offer a very limited choice of pre-configured "trim packages" so if I want the sunroof, I also have to take the leather seats and the chrome wheels. Or if I want a specific color, it may only be bundled with specific accessories.

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        "With the recent California blackouts, those with 100% electric cars were left, er, carless."

        Ahh, no. If the power is off, gas stations can't pump gas. No advantage there. The California safety power outages were announced in advance, so it would have been a good idea to top up either and EV or a petrol car if you thought that you might need all of the range. If power is going to be off at work, many people aren't going to need to go in so they can stay at home anyway. If the power is on at work, there is likely some way to charge there too. Even if it's a bog standard outlet. Bring an extension cord.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          power is off, gas stations can't pump gas.

          The ones round where my parents live could, with a crank handle on the pump.

    3. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Cost is one thing but the charging is a big problem. The infrastructure just isn't there and probably won't be for decades. Hell, there's a lot of places here where cable tv and internet are just dream.

      If you're in an apartment, parking and charging may be problem. Same for high density housing (usually older neighborhoods) where driveways and garages don't exist, only on-street parking.

  6. mrobaer

    Electricity in the USA

    Hydro, wind, and solar make up about 15% of the net electricity we produce here in the USA. Nuclear provides more, coal even more, and natural gas the leading source. That means electric vehicles are using electricity produced mostly by fossil fuels to (re)charge their batteries. On top of that, I think we're now the top oil producing country. That leaves our fuels relatively cheap compared to the rest of the world. I'm not suggesting there is no concern for the environment. What I'm surmising is that money is the primary factor behind the resistance to electric cars, and the source of the electricity may be a major contributing factor.

    1. Wibble

      Re: Electricity in the USA

      And longer distances to travel? Isn't the range of a Tesla mobile circa 300 miles with 30 min fast charge, compared with >500 miles and 5 minute fill up on diesel/petrol?

      1. mrobaer

        Re: Electricity in the USA

        There are certainly longer traveling distances here. But most people don't travel very far in vehicles. My small 25 year old pickup gets about 400 miles per tank. My 10 year old mid-sized sedan gets about 450 miles per tank. The truck has about 6 more gallons of fuel capacity. It's the go-to for hauling things or winter driving when 4x4 is required. Otherwise, I'm using the sedan.

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          I do believe that the Tesla is actually better suited to European travel distances. Here in 30km, you can actually reach another major city. In the US, you've barely exited the suburbs of the city you're in.

          I see a few Teslas going to and from work. Not saying they're popular, but there are quite a few around.

        2. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: Electricity in the USA

          In the US, the average length of all car trips combined is around 6 miles. If you just count intercity trips, this rises to about 200 miles, mostly because the bulk of this consists of things like recreational road trips (if you only count vacations, the average rises to a little over 300 miles).

          1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

            Re: Electricity in the USA

            But the perception of the cutely labelled 'range anxiety' plays a large part in people decisions - even in the UK. I certainly get asked about how worried I am of running out of power as one of the first questions (if anyone is interested enough to comment. At abiut 300miles per fulk charge it has never concerned me.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Electricity in the USA

              "At abiut 300miles per full charge it has never concerned me."

              Does that mean you never make round trips of >300 miles or that you can be absolutely sure of being able to find a vacant charging point after 300 miles? If the latter would that vacant bit still apply if EVs became more common?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Electricity in the USA

                "At abiut 300miles per full charge it has never concerned me."

                What is the range when the temperature is well below freezing point? It is -14C here today. Have seen -29C in January regularly. With the distances in my rural area, it would be a nice summer runabout only, and I cannot afford second vehicle.

          2. Marketing Hack Silver badge

            Re: Electricity in the USA

            Yes, I have been blessed with really short commutes by U.S. standards for the last dozen years. 3 miles each way, 8 miles each way. I had a long commute of 30-35 miles each way when I was at Cisco, but Cisco's commitment to telecommuting and only being in the office 1 or 2 days a week dramatically lowered the impact of the days when I did have to drive into north San Jose.

            However, "things come up". Last year I had to hop in the car with about 24 hours notice to go see a family member who we didn't want to leave alone during a major holiday. That became a 1300 mile round trip that I hadn't planned at all. There is no way you could do that or would want to do that with an EV.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Electricity in the USA

              "I had a long commute of 30-35 miles each way when"

              That's a bit longer than mine, but I have one of the shorter commutes in the office here, with some others commuting as much as 3 times as far.

              The real killer is the weekend trip when the person you are seeing is 550 miles away..... (or 280, or 490 - all real numbers from different relationships). I could do all of those trips without stopping for gas, in any weather. I wouldn't, particularly in the winter time, when the smart traveller not only has a well chosen emergency kit, but also travels 'on the top half of the tank'. The worst trip included about 12 hours of freezing rain (the rest being snow) - the overall time being almost exactly 24 hours from the ring road in her city to my driveway.

              Thus, for an EV, cut the range in half for safety margin and then multiply by maybe .3 or .4 for reduced energy available and/or higher energy needs. Melting ice off the windshield for 12 hours takes a lot of power. A 300 mile range becomes a safe 60 mile range.

              All the trips above, particularly at night, had stretches somewhere along the way where the gap between possible fueling stops that exceeded that distance. In many rural areas, away from busy major highways, many gas stations close at 2100.... and there are not that many of them to begin with.

              1. werdsmith Silver badge

                Re: Electricity in the USA

                The worst trip included about 12 hours of freezing rain (the rest being snow) - the overall time being almost exactly 24 hours from the ring road in her city to my driveway.

                Did she live in Tulsa?

              2. gnarlymarley Bronze badge

                Re: Electricity in the USA

                The real killer is the weekend trip when the person you are seeing is 550 miles away.....

                Yes. And another killer is when you get stuck in rush hour for a few hours in the heat of summer (which means you are running the AC while you might be stopped for two hours). Nobody seems to bring up the stop and go traffic. They also do not remember the spare fuel tanks for when we run out in these situations. Also, I have been stuck on the freeway with no ability to take off ramps before for a few hours.

                My commute is about 40 miles each way and the smaller electric in this situation would not cover it. Keep in mind my work will not offer the ability to charge, so what ever charge I need will be coming out of my already long work day of 12 hours. Add any delays and it begins to hamper my sleep. I can carry and extra five gallons of gasoline for such situations, but it is much harder to carry an extra "can" battery juice.

        3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Electricity in the USA

          "But most people don't travel very far in vehicles."

          I'd say it's more like some people never travel far, some people don't travel far some or even most of the time and some people regularly travel long distances. I've seen my ex SiL move from the second to the first category by selling the MPV and keeping the Leaf and become restricted as a result. The market needs to be able to move up that chain and without being able to build the charging network to support it that's not going to happen.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Electricity in the USA

            "without being able to build the charging network to support it"

            Good point.

            Given that I don't anticipate charging stations being a common feature in areas with a population density of 5 people/mi^2 (1.9 / km^2), there is a huge part of the country where such charging stations will not exist for decades, if ever.

            If life, work, or fun take you there, then a battery only EV is not for you.

            1. vtcodger Silver badge

              Re: Electricity in the USA

              Given that I don't anticipate charging stations being a common feature in areas with a population density of 5 people/mi^2 (1.9 / km^2),

              Indeed. If you're looking for something to do for an hour or so, try working out the logistics of a weekend ski trip from Los Angeles to the nearest reliable snow at Mammoth Mountain in a Tesla. That's 300+ miles. At night. High Speed driving (You'll lose some range to drag). Through high desert (i.e. temps once you leave the LA Basin will likely be sub-freezing. You WILL almost certainly want heat). It can probably be done. But the queue at the Mammoth Lakes chargers when the lifts close on Sunday afternoon is likely to be impressive if very many Tesla owners try this.

              1. MachDiamond Silver badge

                Re: Electricity in the USA

                You would leave LA and stop at the chargers in Mojave (BTW, Anthony's has awesome burritos and the Thai food place is pretty kickin'. The breakfast burritos at Primo are a good deal and they open early). You could likely make it easily to the Lone Pine chargers. If not, you can stop at the Inyo-Kern Supercharger station. If you can't get a spot at the Mammoth Supercharger, you may still have enough range to get back to Lone Pine or you can get a ChaDeMo adaptor and use one of the Electrify America sites. The best advice is to leave really early and use the Mammoth chargers right when you get there for 20 minutes while you break out all of your gear and then move the car to a regular parking spot. There are also plenty of lower rate options if you are staying overnight. Getting to and from Mammoth from LA is a dawdle.

          2. vtcodger Silver badge

            Re: Electricity in the USA

            "But most people don't travel very far in vehicles."

            That's maybe OK for a second or third car. Heck, as an ICE vehicle approaches End Of Life after 20 years or so, it's likely to be on life support and not something you want to take more than 20-40km from home as it's maybe not all that reliable. I don't see that an EV would be any worse. A vehicle with limited range is OK for local shopping, errands, and commuting to work or school. That's assuming that one has a handy facility for charging your EV.

            But in North America, most of us need, or think we need, at least one vehicle with "unlimited" range.

            BUT, current chargeable EVs are priced like first vehicles, not second cars. Hybrids get around many of the limitations of EVs of course. Personally, I think hybrids may well be the future. The only reason I don't own one is that in recent years, new cars have sprouted a vast assortment of baffling and often quite poorly designed controls that I have no interest in fighting with. And my low-mileage, 15 year old Nissan with an after market GPS and rear-view camera meets my needs.

            I suppose the combination of an EV and an older, but reliable, low-mileage ICE might work for some.

      2. ab-gam

        Re: Electricity in the USA

        I used to make the drive between two major US cities (Atlanta and Nashville, about 220-ish miles each way) and have never seen a supercharger station. To be honest, I've never seen a supercharging station anywhere. The closest I've found are a half dozen charge points in a company parking lot here & there (that _usually_ don't have a gas powered car in them) and handful in larger shopping center parking lots.

        1. midcapwarrior

          Re: Electricity in the USA

          Supercharging is definably a regional thing.

          Fairly easy to find if you drive on I95 from DC to Boston,

          Rest of the US, not so much

          1. Public Citizen

            Re: Electricity in the USA

            Indeed.

            And that's also the only corridor with long distance high speed rail travel available in the USA.

        2. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: Electricity in the USA

          "To be honest, I've never seen a supercharging station anywhere."

          If you don't have an EV and aren't interested, you probably won't spot charging stations unless they are right up front where you shop.

          On Abetterrouteplanner.com, it shows you would have one stop (in a Bolt) for about 45 minutes right about midway. With a Tesla model 3, you'd have about the same stop with less time to charge (maybe). Most of the new Electrify America chargers are located near Walmarts. Many of those have fast food on the same lot and a few are near a sit-down restaurant. It doesn't look like a hard trip at all.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Electricity in the USA

        I live in a rural area. The distances are such that with a reasonably efficient (25mpg) vehicle, I still do not let the fuel go below one quarter tank, especially in winter. It is 6degrees F today, (-14C) and I have to drive about ninety miles one way to get my husband to a hospital for treatment, and run some errands like grocery shopping (twenty miles in the other direction). Even if my house has a charging point, the ONLY other charging point I know of in my entire county is at the community college, thirty miles away in yet another direction. If extreme cold did not sap the battery so miserably, charging points were nearly as common as gas stations, and the initial cost were not 20-40% more than the vehicle I have now, I would have bought an EV instead of the compact SUV I have now. Somebody solve at least one of the problems of range, charging, costs and temperature performance, and I will reconsider when I buy my next vehicle, in nine or so years.

        1. gnarlymarley Bronze badge

          Re: Electricity in the USA

          I live in a rural area.

          I think we all forget that most of the USA is about the same as rural. This seems to be the case near a lot of the capital cities of the states. I live in a fairly high populated area, but the nearest supercharging station is still about 35 miles away. Add that to the single digit temperatures and it makes operation difficult. Atleast I am a few states south of north dakota where it might get down to around minus 40. (For those that don't know, I am leaving off the units because minus 40 Celsius is around minus 40 Fahrenheit.) When it gets far below zero, there are electric vehicles that will not work.

          1. MachDiamond Silver badge

            Re: Electricity in the USA

            " but the nearest supercharging station is still about 35 miles away"

            It's not how close a DC fast charger is to you, but if they are available along routes you travel, that's all you need.

            Some EVs have cold weather packages and most have some way to temp condition the battery to a certain extent. It can work best if you have a 240v charger at home and you set the car to begin warming up an hour or so before you plan to leave. Preferably, the car would be in a garage.

    2. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Electricity in the USA

      Fossil fuel cars not only run exclusively on fossil fuels (with some alcohol), that fuel was processed using an S-ton of electricity. The average power usage of a refinery in the UK is 23GWh/day. Argonne National Labs in the US did a study and reported that it takes 7.46kWh of leccy to refine one (US) gallon of petrol. I see that as 26 miles of range in an EV before counting the energy in the petrol.

      The US is exporting a bunch of the oil it produces as the refineries aren't configured to be able to process it and nobody is building new refineries.

  7. Big-D

    A little education is needed

    I really don't know what this article is saying. Even with the usual register cheek, I cannot figure out the message of the article. So almost 50% of Americans prefer SUV (which are a mixture of CUV and SUV, big differences, as CUV are no where as gas guzzling). So in my state, I can only purchase 4 electric cars. Nissan Leaf, and 3 Tesla cars. That is it. Thanks to California Air Reserve Board (CARB) regulations, it is forbidden that any car manufacturer can sell cars in states which do not follow the CARB rules for air quality. So that means in 39 other states in the union which do no follow CARB cannot get any other other cars. Tesla's cost so much that they are more than the average person's salalry. That leaves the leaf. Okay as a 6'5" fellow I don't fit in it.

    I am begging for a electric vehicle, but until California can get it's self important ass out of the way of the manufacturers, and the manufacturers realize they need to make CUV, which 50% of the people want, you never are going to have widespread adoption of electric cars.

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      Re: A little education is needed

      I was under the impression that CARB only related to tucks and did not restrict a Californian built vehicle from being sold out of state? Perhaps you could point me to a source of other information?

      1. Big-D

        Re: A little education is needed

        https://www.c2es.org/document/us-state-clean-vehicle-policies-and-incentives/

      2. Public Citizen

        Re: A little education is needed

        Thanks to CARB there are very few "California Built" vehicles of any sort.

        CARB drove all of the manufacturing out of California decades ago.

        CARB Legal vehicles, no matter where they are built, require a separate assembly line in most cases, which runs up the cost of vehicles for everybody, not just California.

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: A little education is needed

          " Thanks to CARB there are very few "California Built" vehicles of any sort."

          Manufacturing anything in California is expensive. Tesla's Fremont plant is right on the edge of the Silicon Valley in one of the most expensive areas of the US to live. Ever wonder why Toyota and GM shuttered that plant? The tax and regulatory climate is much better in other states even discounting CARB.

    2. fidodogbreath Silver badge

      Re: A little education is needed

      Thanks to California Air Reserve Board (CARB) regulations, it is forbidden that any car manufacturer can sell cars in states which do not follow the CARB rules for air quality.

      That statement is wildly incorrect.

      1. Raoul Miller

        Re: A little education is needed

        Reads like something heard (or misheard) on Fox News

      2. Big-D

        Re: A little education is needed

        Really? Then please provide why I cannot buy any cars in my state. Talk to any dealer in my state (or any Non-CARB state) and the dealer say "We would love to have them but until they meed the CARB quota system, we cannot sell them. I must drive over 1000 miles to the nearest state (Georgia of all places) to get a Niro EV or Ioniq, etc.

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: A little education is needed

          "but until they meed the CARB quota system, we cannot sell them."

          Somebody is handing you a story.

          Many dealers don't like EVs because they need very little after-sales dealer support. The sales people aren't going to get as big of a commission from the dealer either so they make Shtuff up.

          CARB is The California Air Resources Board. Hasn't California banned doing business with Georgia yet for not being proper Social Justice Warriors?

    3. fishman

      Re: A little education is needed

      Seems like you left off the Chevy Bolt (second largest selling EV in California) as an EV you can buy in California. And the Hyundai Ioniq, Hyundai Kona, Kia Niro, Kia Soul, BMW I3,.....

      1. Big-D

        Re: A little education is needed

        The bolt is no longer being built .. you can buy overstock but it is only stock left. The Ioniq, Kona, Niro are not available in my state, since it is not a CARB state. Soul has not been released yet but won't be available until the meet the California quota. I don't consider the I3 electric as is has a gas motor.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: A little education is needed

          There are two versions of the I3, one is electric only.

    4. LoPath
      Facepalm

      Re: A little education is needed

      Indeed... outside of California, there are 49 other states.

      1. Big-D

        Re: A little education is needed

        But there are 11 states which follow the CARB rules, thus my 39 states comment (yes I know there are 50 states).

    5. jtaylor

      Re: A little education is needed

      Thanks to California Air Reserve Board (CARB) regulations, it is forbidden that any car manufacturer can sell cars in states which do not follow the CARB rules for air quality.

      Not at all. When I moved to California from the opposite coast and registered my car, they looked for a CARB sticker under the hood (it had one.) They said without a sticker, I couldn't register it in California, and that doesn't often happen. Manufacturers have a strong incentive to build a single spec that meets CARB requirements (rather than losing that market or creating a special variant), but other states are not bound by California.

      REG 256f details the narrow exemption requirements. From there, exceptio probat regulam.

      https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/forms/reg/reg256f

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: A little education is needed

        "Not at all. When I moved to California from the opposite coast and registered my car, they looked for a CARB sticker under the hood (it had one.) They said without a sticker, I couldn't register it in California, and that doesn't often happen."

        It would have to be a fairly new car. They do that to keep people from buying much cheaper non-compliant cars elsewhere and bringing them to California. If the car is a year or more old or was purchased used, I'm pretty sure that denying registration would violate Federal interstate commerce laws.

    6. Public Citizen

      Re: A little education is needed

      The "small problem"

      >sarc/off

      you describe is being looked at at the Federal Level and for exactly the reasons you describe.

  8. JohnFen Silver badge

    This is me

    "turn to newer and more affordable solutions to get about: ride hailing and car, bike and scooter sharing rather than being saddled with the expense of "owning an under-utilised car"."

    I think it's a bit of a stretch to call bicycles "newer solutions", but that aside -- this is me.

    I don't live in a large city, but I ditched my car a few years back, and have been nothing but happy that I did. Not only do I not have the expense, but (more importantly to me) I don't have the huge amount of hassle owning a car brings with it. I'm not deeply opposed to owning a car -- should that become the better solution for me, I won't hesitate -- but I won't buy a new car no matter what.

    I've switched to using a bicycle for about 90% of all of my transportation needs. I use a car rental or a cab for the other 10%.

    1. Mark192

      Re: This is me

      Yep, that was me in the city too. I did briefly long for a car for those journeys where bike or public transport wasn't suitable but did the sums and realised that paying a bloody fortune for a taxi ride was still less expensive than a car.

      Also, my wife bought a new car when she started working. If she'd have put that as a deposit on a house she'd have made a fortune. Not that it'll be like that for buyers in the UK now.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: This is me

        "and realised that paying a bloody fortune for a taxi ride was still less expensive than a car."

        Yes. This is a weird thing about perceived economics. When I've talked with people about not owning a car and I mention that I use a taxi for those situations where a car is actually necessary, they often object with "that's expensive!". But it only takes a moment to explain that I'm saving so much money by not owning a car that I can take a lot of cab rides and still come out ahead.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: This is me

          "This is a weird thing about perceived economics. * * * I use a taxi for those situations where a car is actually necessary,* * * I'm saving so much money by not owning a car that I can take a lot of cab rides and still come out ahead.."

          But that only applies if one does not travel very far or move significant stuff very often. Not all people have the same needs.

          If your annual 'vehicle needed' travel distance is 20,000 km/year (standard average driving distance for insurance estimates), divided over an average 1000 trips/year the taxi fare would come to $44,000, with no allowance for waiting time charges.

          That's an order of magnitude more than what running a car for a year costs.

          Some years I need a car for 30,000 or 40,000 km., which would put taxi charges higher $80,000/year. It just won't work for me.

          That doesn't take into account the times when a vehicle is needed to securely transport (including secure storage at arbitrary destinations) something expensive or potentially dangerous. Nor are taxis available at all times or in all locations.

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: This is me

            "Not all people have the same needs."

            I never claimed otherwise. I was expressing what works for me. I was not asserting that it works for everybody. That said...

            "If your annual 'vehicle needed' travel distance is 20,000 km/year (standard average driving distance for insurance estimates), divided over an average 1000 trips/year the taxi fare would come to $44,000, with no allowance for waiting time charges"

            This is an erroneous way of computing things. My travel distance needs are not much different that the standard average, but I'm able to do the vast majority of that travel without a car. The "standard average" stat does not, all by itself, imply anything about the feasibility of being carless.

            If you can't go without a car, that's fine. I'm not taking some sort of "nobody should drive" stance at all. However, for most people that I've personally known in my lifetime so far, going without a car is entirely feasible, and the statistics about standard trip length strongly imply that this is true for most people in the US.

            Whether or not they'd want to actually do that is a different question, and that's one that everyone decides for themselves. I'm not going to say there's a universal right answer on this.

            1. werdsmith Silver badge

              Re: This is me

              Owning a car for me is not about the cost. It's about the amount of time returned to me by the use of a car to get around.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: This is me

                "Owning a car for me is not about the cost. It's about the amount of time returned to me by the use of a car to get around."

                Commuting by car rather than the next best alternative - public transit in a city with a very highly regarded transit system - saves me 2.5 hours each day or about 55 hours/month.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is me

      "turn to newer and more affordable solutions to get about: ride hailing and car, bike and scooter sharing rather than being saddled with the expense of "owning an under-utilised car"."

      I think it's a bit of a stretch to call bicycles "newer solutions", but that aside -- this is me.

      Well, then, it's a good thing they only called 'bike sharing' that, and not 'bicycles', isn't it?

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: This is me

        Bike sharing isn't exactly new, either, though.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why add the politics???

    "...sales of non-commercial small and medium-sized pick up trucks – Trump wagons –SUVs and crossovers..."

    "Trump wagons" - You took an article that had no political content and just HAD to throw in a political comment. And by trying to make up a new term, no less (I can't find a hit on Google referencing trucks)! Way to go. Both the Author and Editor should be embarrassed. Stick to the IT side of the story.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Trump wagons"

      The Reg being a British publication, here "Trump" is in fact nothing to do with US politics, but is in fact a humorous reference to breaking wind audibly, as typified by it's use in the Beano, an amusing publication for children: E.g. (soz for fb link, but the url is self-explanatory) [1]

      https://www.facebook.com/BeanoOfficial/photos/trump-verb-informal-to-break-wind-audibly/10155885157988554

      I believe the conceptual link is between farting ("trump") and the larger tailpipe emissions of an SUV ("wagon").

      HTH

      :-)

      [1] For those too privacy conscious to ever visit facebook, it's a picture of Gnasher, Dennis the Menace's dog. (No, not that other leftpondian "Dennis the Menace", the proper one from the Beano)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Trump wagons"

        Thank you for the explanation, but I don't see how you get back to "pickup truck" from "trump wagon" with that definition of "trump" (which would not be capitalized in that usage). The vehicles with the "fart can" mufflers here ("trump mufflers"?) tend to be base model compact cars, you rarely see them on trucks.

        Where as there is a perception that Trump supporters are a bunch of rednecks riding around in their oversized pickup trucks (with a gun rack in the back and a dead deer across the hood), as has been referenced in a number of articles here on El Reg.

        If a British reader is going to read it that way then I stand corrected. I do feel it's an odd comment to make in an article about the vehicle market in the USA, but humour is subjective. The insertion is ambiguous enough, and unnecessary to the article, so I still question why it would be included.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: "Trump wagons"

          This is the Register. You are not supposed to take it seriously. We all know that, and we understand that the description is not accurate because some of them put the dead deer in their pickup load bed.

          By the way, I have straight white teeth in my smile, like the vast majority of people in the UK. Don't tell people like Seth Myers about that though, otherwise they would run out of jokes when they have a British guest.

  10. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
    Go

    Multiple factors

    For city-dwellers, increased population with the concomitant rising housing costs have made it harder to spend money on other big-ticket items such as cars. Combined with ride-sharing services such as Uber or Lyft, taxi apps such as Flywheel which have improved the cab-hailing experience, car-sharing services such as Zipcar, alternative and public transit, and increased traffic congestion, actually owning a car has become less appealing to a lot of people. Combined with the fact that cars have become more reliable, the car market seems to be going the way of the desktop PC market--people will buy one when and if they need one, but it's no longer a must to buy new on a regular basis. When my venerable 2005 Mazda finally dies, I would be very happy not replacing it and thus not having to worry about the additional costs of gas, insurance, and maintenance, and I suspect a lot of people feel the same.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Multiple factors

      It also seems to me that there's a generational shift in play. I don't have statistics -- only my own observation of the people in my children's social circles -- but very few of them have any desire to own a car just to own a car. They do when they have a real need, otherwise they don't. A car is literally nothing more than a tool. I think this is a good shift.

      This is different from my generation, where owning a car was a rite of passage and your car was an expression and reflection of your personality.

  11. naive

    Who needs a vacuum cleaner on wheels with E 0.62 / L in the land of president Trump.

    And a Cobra Shelby GT500 with 760 HP starts at $ 70,300.

    For that money the retarded krauts will be happy to sell one a souped up BMW 5-series that sounds like a Golf with its wheezing twin-turbo crap 4-cylinder engine.

    A M5 with way less HP costs twice as much.

    1. The Original Steve

      Re: Who needs a vacuum cleaner on wheels with E 0.62 / L in the land of president Trump.

      Couldn't care less about the HP - it's the speed and handling.I'd take a BMW M2 CS over your American motor any day of the week. That's faster 0-60 than your "most powerful car made in Fords history" and can take a corner too.

      The CS model is also a bit cheaper, although I'd probably opt for the non-CS M2 Competition instead which is considerably cheaper and 0.5 seconds slower on paper.

      Amazing you can honestly write on a public forum that American cars are somehow a better choice. Build quality alone is a different level, then handling. Sure, raw HP numbers the other side of pond wins hands down. Getting from A - B or on a track however and you'll be eating those numbers whilst suffering crappier build quality, worse handling and you'll be paying more for the privllage.

      A very satisfied BMW 435D owner. (That's the bi-turbo, 6-cylinder, 4WD, diesel coupe)

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Who needs a vacuum cleaner on wheels with E 0.62 / L in the land of president Trump.

        Yes, big block motors like 409 and any large displacement number is for folk that are compensating for their tictacdic.

    2. F Seiler

      Re: Who needs a vacuum cleaner on wheels with E 0.62 / L in the land of president Trump.

      While i don't know what was the point of your post, it made me LOL and left me wondering why your car needs more horse power than a WW2 fighter plane (eg early bf.109) or battle tank (eg T-34).

  12. boltar Silver badge

    SUVs and pickups are just a lifestyle fad.

    Unless someone works on the land or uses a pickup instead of a van they don't need either. Its just showing off mixed with insecurity and - in the case of men - willy waving. Until something changes this juvenile mentality nothing will happen wrt to improved transport energy efficiency in the USA.

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: SUVs and pickups are just a lifestyle fad.

      If the lifestyle involves weighing 20+ stone and not remembering the last time you saw your willy without a mirror then it's possible the SUV/pickup is the smallest vehicle that'll pass muster.

      Attracting the opposite sex has also been a big driver in car selection by the younger crew anywhere there is available parking or less than exceptional public transport.

    2. edris90

      Re: SUVs and pickups are just a lifestyle fad.

      Most us in the usa buy used vehicles that can be worked on personally, and have been out long enough that proprietary repair nformation has been reverse-engineered and publicized, and we can offset the price of parts with time spent at U-Pull-It and other car yards.

      not because we're cheap but because otherwise we could not ever afford to buy a car. A new car cost as much as a reasonable size house. While a used car purchased directly for around 1000 , another 500 for parts, and labor donated to yourself by yourself, drive that thing to the ground over 2 years, scrap it for around 500. Comes out to a thousand bucks for 2 years personal transportation access +gas costs.

      That's why Americans don't buy electric. Most of us are poor. A proportional few have most of the money.

      When we can fix it in our driveway, and I have multiple aftermarket venders for parts as well as piles of reusable parts for cheap, then we might be able to afford to rely on electric vehicles.

      new cars are bought and leased by rich people and businesses. Normal people just can't afford them.

      1. boltar Silver badge

        Re: SUVs and pickups are just a lifestyle fad.

        "A new car cost as much as a reasonable size house"

        You must have very cheap housing but then you do tend to build your houses out of plywood rather than proper building materials. You could buy 4 BMW M3s for the price of some of the cheaper houses in the UK. In London make it 8.

        1. Dusty

          Re: SUVs and pickups are just a lifestyle fad.

          Outside of cities, houses are dead cheap in the USA, there is plenty of land and therefore it doesn't cost much.

          There is no point in building houses out of "Proper Building Materials" in Tornado alley. And in the US Lumber/timber products are far cheaper to make and transport than bricks.

          Its like the Gun thing. The USA is not Europe. Outside of cities subsistence hunting is actually a big thing and there are plenty of wild animals that will quite happily kill you and eat you (Not necessarily in that order) so going out to the woods does mean that having a Rifle/Shotgun and, for good measure, a large calibre handgun on your person is actually a very good idea (Anything much less than a 44 and all you will get is a very pissed off Bear)

          Outside of the urban areas (And even then only the urban areas that are warm all year round) full EV's don't really have a chance, at least not with the current or even near future possible battery technology.

          1. boltar Silver badge

            Re: SUVs and pickups are just a lifestyle fad.

            "There is no point in building houses out of "Proper Building Materials" in Tornado alley"

            On the contrary - there's every reason. Maybe then they wouldn't blow down. Haven't you lot noticed how the city buildings stay standing and its the plywood sheds and trailers that get blown away and very often the only thing left standing in the plywood suburbs after a tonado has gone through is the brick chimney?

            And sure, maybe out in the depths of the northern countryside in winter an SUV might makes sense (though they somehow cope without in other countries - google winter tyres). However that doesn't explain their prevalence in the big cities and suburbs, especially the southern ones that barely see snow once a decade.

        2. Public Citizen

          Re: SUVs and pickups are just a lifestyle fad.

          In earthquake prone areas that plywood is an important part of the structural engineering for stick built houses. Without it the structure has insufficient stiffness to keep from shaking to the point where the damage is no longer cosmetic but actually structural.

          And don't be surprised if some of the advanced building techniques [such as plywood sheathing] start showing up in your neighborhood [and the entirety of England is just a large neighborhood from my perspective] as a cost saving effort.

        3. edris90

          Re: SUVs and pickups are just a lifestyle fad.

          In Nebraska a reasonably sized house can be purchased for around 40 to 60 thousand dollars and adjusted to the homeowner's specific needs for maybe another ten Grand plus personally contributed labor and time.

          What is reasonable it's not luxurious.

          A house is just a personal Depot to sleep at night safely without getting kicked out or succumbing to the elements, as well as a place to store your gear.

          Most of conscious life is experienced outside the home.

          Home it's where you go for Self maintenance and sleep before heading out into the world to explore and discover, and experiment to find out what you can do versus what other people said you can do.

          Doesn't take much , but I do recognize that people in the US have a tendency to abuse possessions as a poor substitute for self-worth. I do not share the view that such mental illness should be normalized.

        4. edris90

          Re: SUVs and pickups are just a lifestyle fad.

          Some housing is cheap, however most of us can't even afford that, due to parasitic housing economics and practices by large real estate firms, will never be given the opportunity to purchase a house, and instead are forced to rent at 1 and 1/2 to twice the rate of a mortgage for the same property. and if you don't want it to be a disease ridden hole in the wall you're going to have to get two jobs and abused stimulants in order to minimize your sleep. And that still leaves you hopelessly in debt, therefore in constant danger of losing any stability you have.

          So between staying alive and maintaining employment eligibility, there's usually nothing left. The artificial expense that creates the high prophit for some companies is bankrupting most Americans but we're not even allowed to file for bankruptcy anymore. The amount of money you'd have to owe in the US to declare bankruptcy is unattainable by the average American. It's pretty f***** over here for people who weren't born well off, or have too much integrity to hurt other people discreetly inorder to climb the ladder.

          Morality and wealth have an inverse relationship in the USA.

          If you're willing to be the most inhumane parasitic abuser of other people, while maintaining discretion and the illusion of decency, you can become wealthy in the US.

          if you have any spark of humanity in you at all it will get in the way of the noxious actions required to become wealthy I the usa.

          All the honest people are desperate ly poor here.

          All the people in the middle class and up are more or less corrupt, the corruption increasing more self as you go up the scale.

          Our systems of economics don't allow for anything else.

      2. Dusty

        Re: SUVs and pickups are just a lifestyle fad.

        The other thing that Europeans do not get isn't just the distances it is the overall environment. US Winters can be brutal even quite far south, A Nissan leaf is not going to be of much use to you when it is -20 outside, there is five foot of snow and 100 miles to the next major town. There is a reason why Americans like their SUV's

        1. boltar Silver badge

          Re: SUVs and pickups are just a lifestyle fad.

          Scandinavia and russia get the exact same climate as the northern US so don't pretend you live in some kind of arctic frontier enviroment. Yet you don't find SUVs and pickups all over the place there.

          1. Public Citizen

            Re: SUVs and pickups are just a lifestyle fad.

            You can put most of Scandanavia in the ~County~ I live in.

            And I would like to take this opportunity to remind all you Europeans that there are large areas of the USA where the summertime temps. will top out at 44C and above on a daily basis for two or more months straight. Four months later the same area will be in Minus C territory.

            Air Conditioned vehicles are a must in these areas as they also require longer travel distances. When you can show me an EV that will go 300 miles between charges when the temps are at 44C in the summertime [running AC] and then at -20C in the winter [running heater/defroster], while maintaining an acceptable comfort level, with no more than a 20% price differential above the cost of the equivalent ICE engined vehicle then more of us will pay attention

    3. Nunyabiznes Silver badge

      Re: SUVs and pickups are just a lifestyle fad.

      There's a lot of things humans don't need.

    4. mrobaer

      Re: SUVs and pickups are just a lifestyle fad.

      Pickups and SUVs have certainly become novelty vehicles for many of us Americans. There are a few guys I work with who drive a pickup and have never hauled anything in the back of it! My personal favorite is the full size diesel pickup with an eight foot bed, over-sized exhaust pipes coming up through the bed, four doors, battering ram of a brush guard on the front, enough lights to distract aircraft, and dual rear wheels being driven as a daily driver.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "A new car cost as much as a reasonable size house."

    I am neither poor nor rich.

    I can buy a new car (Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra) for less than $20,000 before tax. Those are both four door compact sedans, so they are little cars, but they will carry 4 adults for moderate trips (<200 km). Europeans may consider them to be 'larger' cars.

    I could buy my smallish house for something around $800,000. Moving perhaps 80 km farther out from the city would change that to something like $300,000.

    That saves $500,000. Invested conservatively that can pay ALL automobile related costs forever.... vehicle, fuel, maintenance, winter tires, insurance, and whatever else, including the occasional replacement car.

    That may explain why many people choose to live a bit farther out, and drive as needed. Note that in many of these areas public transit is limited or non-existent, and not particularly feasible in any case.

    1. Time Waster

      The thing about housing is, an $800,000 house doesn’t really cost you $500,000 more than a $300,000 one. Assuming no huge economic shocks (this is quite an assumption these days, but bear with me), a house is an asset. The only real “cost” is the interest you pay on any loan to pay for it (or loss of interest on the capital tied up in it) which at current rates is almost zero. Then when you consider a 160km daily commute, presumably costing you a minimum of 2 hours a day, without even considering fuel costs / wear and tear, if I could afford the mortgage, I know where my money’d be going!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "The thing about housing is, an $800,000 house doesn’t really cost you $500,000 more than a $300,000 one. Assuming no huge economic shocks (this is quite an assumption these days, but bear with me), a house is an asset. The only real “cost” is the interest you pay on any loan to pay for it (or loss of interest on the capital tied up in it) which at current rates is almost zero. "

        Not so much.

        1) An $800,000 house will cost you something over $500,000 more than a $300,000 house because various fees and taxes will be a bit less than three times as much (8/3 times, actually). Your property taxes will tend to scale by a similar amount.

        2) There is a difference between investing conservatively and investing stupidly.l Fixed income investments tend to return something less than inflation (around 1.2 percent). Conservative bonds, equities, and mutual funds generally return about 3 times inflation or better, in the long run. Furthermore, there are tax breaks on dividends for specific types of companies that improve the after tax return. At normal marginal tax rates, the investment should return about $10,000/year after tax. If you have a good year, or more efficient investments, that can easily reach $15,000 a year without undue long term risk. That's enough to provide a larger, more comfortable car with better cargo space and improved characteristics in certain types of emergencies, and replace it every 5 or 6 years with a new one. If you buy relatively new used cars, that can support two cars easily, such as a sedan for commuting and intercity trips, and an SUV for really bad weather (higher clearance to avoid hanging up on the snow), hauling nontrivial amounts of stuff, and trips to low population density parts of the country where the roads may not be as good, there are few or no gas stations, and getting stuck out of cell coverage is not unlikely. Depending on where you live, you might even need to put a snow plow blade on it in the winter to clear your route to the road... in the long run the snow attachment can be both faster and cheaper than contracting for snow clearance services.

  14. martinusher Silver badge

    Appearances are deceptive

    The US is a continent sized market so the vehicles that people buy are going to vary depending on where they live. Costs vary as well. Comparing where I live in Southern California to where my daughter lives in New Mexico you see a very significant difference in fuel costs -- we're paying $4 or more a gallon (4 liters) against them paying about $2.75 so its not surprising that we tend to go for economical or electric vehicles while they tend to prefer their F150s.

    You don't see many electric cars in New Mexico but there are a lot in California. Its not uncommon to come across two or three waiting in traffic at a signal. The total number is still small compared to the total number of vehicles but there is another subtle reason for that -- unlike many parts of the US (and certainly the UK) we're not bothered by rust so we keep vehicles a lot longer than many others do. My car is (I think) 10 or 12 years old but apart from normal wear and tear it looks new. If you're not piling on the miles then there's no need to replace it (and it gets 24/31mpg so its not exactly a gas guzzler). When it is eventually replaced it will probably be replaced by a plug-in hybrid like the new Honda that a friend has which is giving him 60 or so ("better than a motorcycle"). So, yes, there are still lots of 'merkans that like their huge truck (and like to roll coal) but times are changing.

  15. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Rural charging

    What keeps me from buying electric is that the US has large uninhabited areas. Having less than a 300 mile gasoline range means adding long detours for gas stations on some trips. There's barely any electricity so there's no EV charging at all. EV sales are going to plateau until the big empty areas have charging too.

    I bicycle to work so my gas car isn't giving me any guilt.

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Rural charging

      Given that the vast majority of the population live in cities and politicians cater to them to the exclusion of those that live in rural areas, EV sales aren't going to plateau due to your reasoning. What may happen is infrastructure will have to be installed either privately or by subsidizing commercial companies when the cost of fuel is raised beyond the atmosphere through taxes and ICEVs (at least new ones) are produced on such a small scale they are prohibitively expensive and luxury only.

      The low hanging fruit for politicians is to bang on about how they are very green. It doesn't matter that they live in a compound with a $30k/month leccy bill. They have to be seen "doing something" about the environment so Greta will anoint their forehead and take a photo with them. What's going to be easier than restricting and then banning personal internal combustion cars?

  16. Milo Tsukroff
    Pint

    Love that picture!

    Great picture! "Black stallion monster truck jumps cars at the Goshen Fair in Goshen Connecticut, Litchfield County. " I haven't been to the Goshen Fair in years (always on Labor Day Weekend) ... gotta go back, they're realing upping their game! Used to be the highlight of the fair was the ax-throwing contest, trying to hit the can of beer in the center of the target. Shake the beer can well & it explodes nicely when hit by the axe.

  17. whitepines Silver badge
    WTF?

    So let me get this straight:

    To "purchase" (I use that term very loosely) an electric vehicle in the United States of China America (coming soon to Blighty too, post-Brexit -- who needs that pesky GDPR?), one has to:

    * Sign an agreement not to modify the car in any meaningful way

    * Accept the fact that you will always need to take the vehicle to a manufacturer-approved (read: extortionist) service center when anything goes wrong

    * Sign an agreement to be tracked anywhere you go for any purpose including marketing and law enforcement

    * Sign an agreement that the manufacturer can spy on you at any time for any reason including marketing and law enforcement

    * Accept the fact that the manufacturer and law enforcement (or your average script kiddie) can remotely brick your car for any reason

    * Accept the fact that you may or may not even be able to resell the vehicle if you choose to do so (the manufacturer effectively has to approve the sale, given all the electronics and tracking, or you get to continue to control their vehicle...)

    * Pay through the nose up front for this leased vehicle (calling it what it is, given the above)

    And they then wonder why people are using actual rental (car hire, etc.) instead.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Surveillance, tracking, and remote control, not to mention mandatory charges for GPS updates, are the reasons that when I am forced to buy a vehicle sold as 'connected' there will be work for my mechanic or me, with wire cutters or a soldering iron to permanently and reliably disable the cellular radio.

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        "there will be work for my mechanic or me, with wire cutters or a soldering iron to permanently and reliably disable the cellular radio."

        I'll just put in a switch so I can let the car receive updates while parked at home. I keep the data and wifi off on the phone unless I'm using them (rarely) and just sit an old fashioned SatNav on the dash that I regularly purge of trip data.

        I also don't shop at centers with Automatic License Plate Readers and let them know why I don't patronize any of their shops. I'm nice and don't put any suspicious white powder in with the letter.

    2. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Don't buy a Tesla if you don't want to sign that form.

  18. Dropper

    Cost prohibitive

    I can get the car I need - a 1-2 yr old AWD vehicle - for about $20-22K. To get an equivalent hybrid would add a minimum of $10K or 30,000 miles. If you're lucky.

    And even if I was able to spend the extra money, buying a used hybrid is too risky. The cost of replacing hybrid batteries is extortionate.

    If I didn't live somewhere where it snows for 7 months of the year, with temperatures that regularly fall well below 0F, maybe I'd consider a used hybrid FWD car.

    I'll do my part to try to be as carbon neutral as I can in other ways. Transportation just isn't something I can gamble with.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Cost prohibitive

      There are ancient Prius' around here being used daily as taxicabs. They have astronomical mileages and some are over a decade old. They are on original battery packs. Cab drivers know what they are doing because it is their livelihood.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Alternate headline

    USA 2018 new car sales: 17.5M[1]

    Europe 2018 new car sales: 15M[2]

    USA 2018 electric car sales: 360K[3]

    Europe 2018 electric car sales: 225K[4]

    But we're the ones shunning EVs?

    [1] https://www.marklines.com/en/statistics/flash_sales/salesfig_usa_2018

    [2] https://www.best-selling-cars.com/europe/2018-full-year-europe-car-sales-per-eu-and-efta-country/

    [3] https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/us-electric-vehicle-sales-increase-by-81-in-2018

    [4] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plug-in_electric_vehicles_in_Europe

    1. Public Citizen

      Re: Alternate headline

      To put into language our British counterparts can understand:

      They have their knickers in a knot because they just don't understand that for large areas of the USA, that is most of the area West Of The Mississippi River, Evs are just logistically unfeasible outside of clearly defined urban and suburban areas.

      Those areas comprise a very small percentage of that WOTMR land and the distances between these centers are greater than most Europeans can actually grasp.

      1. Blake St. Claire

        Re: Alternate headline

        Oh, I'm sure EVs are just fine for folks commuting in from the suburbs of Kansas City, Denver, Albuquerque, Phoenix, and Dallas into their respective downtowns.

        Never mind all the major metro areas of California, Oregon, and Washington.

        You don't need to make up excuses for them (them == the limeys.)

        In terms of percentages, I don't believe that there are large numbers of people making cross country trips in general, let alone in a Tesla or a Leaf. So AFAIC it's irrelevant that it's slightly harder to do in an EV.

        Oh, and AFAIK the expression is "Knickers in a twist."

      2. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

        Re: Alternate headline

        This exactly. There's that Sierra Mountain Range that's absolutely beautiful but a PITA to drive over. Snow or fallen rocks can mean detouring hundreds of miles through towns that don't have a high power outlet to offer. Hell, I've almost run out of gas at night because the gas stations literally don't have lights. Hwys 80 and 178 are pretty easy. Hwy 120 probably has charging by now. The others require some planning even in a gasoline car. And then there's Nevada. It's sand. Mind blowing expanses of sand. You've seen those movies where a person is dying walking through the desert for eternity? That's you foolishly thinking it would have been fun to drive across Nevada.

        But if you're in Silicon Valley, pretty much every big parking lot has chargers. EVs are great if you have one commuter car and one travel car. They're not so great if you have one car.

  20. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Massive introduction on for 2020

    The economy is not that great no matter what the politicians are saying so auto sales are down. It's also not realistic to think that every household is going to buy a new vehicle every 3 years.

    There are supposed to be a large number of new EV models being released for sale in 2020 and there aren't all that many out in the US right now to choose from so people might be waiting to see what's going to be shipping in their price bracket.

    The Tesla Model Y isn't something that I bet on shipping in 2020. At least not in quantity. Since it shares many parts with the Model 3, it makes sense to build it at the Fremont plant. Two problems. There isn't room to shoe horn another model in there even if they put up a couple of more tents and bussed in all of the employees. California is a cast iron B--tch when it comes to air pollution laws and Tesla would have to double their paint line just to be able to apply the wafer thing layer of paint they are famous for on the Y. Either the Y will need a new factory or the fading S and X will need to be moved someplace else. The Gigafactory has been commented on for Y production (with no word from Tesla even rumored). The issue there is housing and civil infrastructure to be able to support several thousand new residents. Housing costs have already gone way up making long time residents unhappy with having that plant around.

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