I just had this article on Mitsubishi MIEV pricing pointed out to me by Carmel, an fellow EV blogger. Sixty thousand for a factory EV and at least three years before we get them in Australia? That is very disappointing. Reading the article further there is some hope that the price will come down in volume. We shall see.
Here is what bothers me about the commercial EVs that have been announced:
- Too late. Why do we need to wait (at least) three more years? Will they really get here?
- Too expensive. An EV is much less complicated than a petrol car and especially less complex than a hybrid. An ICE has maybe 1000 moving parts, but an electric motor has just 1. An electric car should cost around two thirds that of an equivalent ICE car, for example around AUD$10,000 compared to $AUD15,000 for a new small petrol car today. A home constructor can convert a small car to electric with similar specs to the MIEV for just $20k in Quantity 1. A reasonable small business operation converting in Qty 100 could halve that price.
- Too much like ICE. The big companies seem to think that EVs have to be close to ICE cars in range, performance, charging time etc. My wife and I drive an EV every day and it’s just not like that. They are different, you adapt in a few little painless ways, and unlearn some nasty habits from ICE driving. Once you’ve driven electric, you no longer want to drive ICE.
For a lower spec EV the conversion costs are less than $10k today, and as low as $5k in Qty 10 for a small business. Hell, we just converted a car for less than $8,000. Now it’s not quite up to the commercial EV specs (lower range and top speed), but at $8,000 the choice is easy.
Could it be that large car companies have lost the ability to meaningfully innovate and bring new products to market? Or are they afraid of the effect of EVs on their ICE business? It reminds me of the way Microsoft has stumbled with their recent offerings like Vista and IE. Software has just gotten too complex for the large company development model to work. A different approach – open source and community – has now taken over as the best way to write software. Perhaps large car companies are also reaching their limit, and a new approach to car development is also required.
So my prediction is that small EV operations will eat the lunch of the big companies with their bloated, overpriced, and late EVs. It’s Ubuntu versus Vista.