What to Drive: Would you pick an EV or ICE?

The newsletter for people "woke" on carbon and climate

(source: Car and Driver)

Issue No. 48

Welcome to the latest issue of Carbon Creed - a curated newsletter for people “woke” on carbon and climate. 

IN THIS ISSUE we feature several posts on the pros and cons of electric vehicles (EVs) vs internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. First we cover a new Consumer Reports study comparing the costs of both vehicle types. Our next post takes a deep dive into EV’s with the longest battery range and why it matters. Finally, we profile a new player in the EV space - Foxconn the iPhone manufacturer - go figure!


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NOW, LET’S GO DEEP!


Consumer Reports delivers the verdict on electric vs gasoline vehicles

The verdict is in.

Owning a plug-in electric vehicle (EV) today will save consumers thousands of dollars compared to owning a gas-powered, internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle, according to a new analysis by Consumer Reports comparing electrics to CR’s top-rated vehicles, as well as the best-selling, most efficient, and best-performing gas-powered vehicles on the market.

The analysis found lifetime ownership costs for the most popular EVs on the market under $50,000 are typically $6,000 to $10,000 less than the best gas-powered vehicles in their class*. Tesla’s Model 3, the best selling EV on the market, delivered the biggest savings: at least $15,000 compared to both the BMW 330i (best selling) and Audi A4 (top rated). 

(source: Consumer Reports)

(source: Consumer Reports)


The overall out-of-pocket-costs for many consumers who finance will be lower in their very first year of ownership, despite the fact that the upfront cost of electric vehicles remains higher today than their gas-powered counterparts. 

Where the savings come from:

Go deeper here LINK.

Creed Comments: This is probably the final confirmation that the age of the ICE vehicle is over. Consumer Reports, considered the “holy grail” among mainstream Americans, has delivered its verdict that the lifetime costs of owning an EV of the same class is cheaper than owning an ICE vehicle. If ever there was a sign that the tipping point has passed, this is it. Great news for Tesla, VW and all the utilities that will benefit from the transition to 100% electric transportation.


Which electric vehicles have the longest range?

(source: CleanTechnica)

[This post is excerpted from a story by Johnna Crider on CleanTechnica.]

Today there are around 50 models of EVs available on the US market. This includes both battery-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles. Plug In America provided a list of the vehicles with the longest range. I think you know which vehicles top the list in the all-electric category — or which brand.

Tesla leads the range game, with its 2020 Model S reaching 402 miles of range.

  • 2020 Model S Long Range — 402 miles

  • 2021 Model X Long Range — 371 miles

  • Tesla Model 3 Long Range — 322 miles

  • Tesla Model Y AWD — 316 miles

  • Tesla Model 3 Performance — 299 miles

  • Tesla Model Y Performance — 291 miles

  • Chevy Bolt — 259 miles

  • Hyundai Kona Electric — 258 miles

  • Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus — 250 miles

  • Kia Niro EV — 239 miles

  • Nissan LEAF PLUS — 229 miles

It should be noted that battery technology has been advancing tremendously in recent years. Take a look at how Nissan LEAF range changed from 2011 to 2020 while its price remained approximately the same.

Battery range is the name of the game in the electric vehicles business. In 2019, Industry Week published an article highlighting range anxiety as the largest challenge to large-scale adoption of EVs.

In that same article, global tech market advisory firm ABI Research forecasted that improvements in battery technology will create a path for an installed EV base of 100 million by 2028. At the current pace, we likely will see that million mile battery Elon Musk proposed at the Tesla Battery Day event in September 2020.

Carbon Creed: What these data shows is how far ahead of the other auto manufacturers Tesla is. Why would someone choose a similar class vehicle, all things being equal - cost, amenities, comfort - when Tesla gets you more battery range for your money. At this moment, I don’t see how the other OEMs can catch up with Tesla.


iPhone builder wants to become the Android for electric vehicles

(source: Foxconn)

The electric vehicle wars, begun they have.

Taiwan-based Foxconn—best known for building the iPhone—has unveiled the “MIH Open Platform,” a set of tools that would allow a company to design almost an entire electric car that would be manufactured by Foxconn.

MIH comes complete with a solid-state battery pack and in-vehicle internet services. During a presentation, Foxconn chairman Young-Way Liu said that MIH is a software-defined open platform. Liu said that a software-defined car is one with "functions and characteristics [that] can be changed and improved through software upgrades after the car is delivered." Tesla uses this approach to deliver software upgrades for its vehicles remotely.

The first EV using the MIH platform is expected to arrive in two years

The hardware will be modular and flexible to meet the needs of automakers. Wheelbase, width, and height are all adjustable, according to Foxconn. The modules have front-, rear-, and all-wheel-drive variants with a variety of motors ranging from 95 kW up to 340 kW, with additional specs available based on customer demand. 

The most impressive piece of news is that Foxconn will have a solid-state battery available in 2024. Solid-state batteries can charge quicker and have a larger storage capacity than the lithium-ion batteries found in current vehicles. Building a stable solid-state battery that has a long life is still a challenge. The company has been working with battery supplier CATL and solid-state battery company SES. 

The software platform would be connected to Foxconn’s cloud and have an "EV kit" SDK that automakers could plug into their vehicles to control and use the battery pack and platform. The system could be updated with additional functions such as remote key access or ndriver-assistance systems. The system will support fleet management and robotaxis as well.

Creed Comments: Foxconn isn't just any technology company, as demonstrated by their stellar performance building our beloved iPhones. Success in the EV white-label space will depend on securing the right partnerships. The battery, however, is the real game changer. If Foxconn can produce a cost-effective solid-state battery first, they will capture significant EV market share. Your future EV could feature, “Foxconn Inside.” I’m sure, Tesla is watching closely.


QUESTION FOR READERS:

Is your next vehicle likely to be electric or gas-powered?

What 3 factors influenced your decision the most (eg, cost, climate, technology, friends)?

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