Every year since 2000, notable pundits and real companies have claimed that next year is the Hydrogen’s year. It certainly looks good on television. Real car companies like Honda, Toyota and GM produce a few thousand hydrogen test vehicles (so called FCV’s or Fuel Cell Vehicles) and make slick commercials Read more…
Unless you live under a rock, you have heard of Self Driving Autonomous Vehicles (Uber, Waymo, GM Cruise…) and Governments around the world are scrambling to:
- Modify existing legislation to allow self driving vehicles
- Be the first in their region to allow self driving cars, because of the amount of R&D money / jobs involved
- Consider new legislation to curb some the top level autonomy (level 5), where the vehicle is 100% responsible for the driving and it does not even offer a steering wheel or break peddle
Those are all important things to do, but Level 5 full autonomy is much further away than the public and many pendants think. Many people have already figured out that the algorithms used to drive on:
- Snow covered roads
- Poorly painted roads
- Temporary construction zones
If you are interested in fully electric cars or plug-in hybrids there is a myriad of misleading information to wade through. One of the big questions is, ‘Is it is cheaper to run own and operate an electric car vs a gasoline powered car?’.
Before we get into the numbers, you need to be aware of two things:
- Most electric vehicles are plugged in at work during the day at no additional cost to the employee
- The price of electricity varies from city to city, so it is difficult to say definitively one way or the other
The most accurate, generalized, answer is to say electrified and gasoline vehicles are very competitive with each other and one does not (yet) have a major cost advantage over the other.
I drive a Cadillac ELR with a 60KM+ range (average of 55KM in winter and 65KM range in summer) before my gasoline engine generator kicks in. Because I used to track my expenses and my kilometers, I can say with certainty that the ELR save me:
- about $1700/year in fuel costs. Like many, I seldom plug it in at home and on the rare occasion that I do my solar panels provide about 50% of electricity. I do 95% of my car charging at work, at no extra cost.
- Nearly all electric vehicles have ‘regenerative braking’ which uses the electric motor to slow the car. The physical brakes are seldom used and I expect that the factory set of brakes will last the life of the car. That saves a few hundred dollars.
- Because the gasoline engine generator in my plug-in hybrid Cadillac ELR is seldom used I will only get an oil change every 18 months or so. If the car was fully electric, I would never get an oil change. This saves both money and time… which to me is more money.
- For the reasons above, I expect the exhaust system and other consumables (spark plugs, air filters…) will last dramatically longer than a regular car. All of this saving money.
We have two interesting sets of numbers for you to review. From the new for 2018 book ThePriceOfCarbon.com comes an interesting info-graphic:
Autonomous cars and trucks are steaming at us at a surprisingly rapid pace. Fully autonomous vehicles are not the stuff of 2025, they are the stuff of late 2018. Seven US States already allow GM, Tesla, Uber and other autonomous car makers to drive limited numbers of vehicles with no driver. In Canada, Ontario allows autonomous vehicles in approved cities and towns.
GM executives told investors in 2016 that by 2025, autonomous vehicle cost reductions and increased consumer adoption would combine to drive the price down to less than $1 per mile, or about a third of current ride-hailing prices.
In 2017 GM had more autonomous vehicles on the road that any other company in the world. In California 20 of the autonomous cars were involved in accidents but not a single one of them was found to have the autonomous car at fault.