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Power Toys Technology

Small Electric Car May Usher In Big Changes 575

Posted by kdawson
from the clean-and-green dept.
An anonymous reader sends us to a profile in CNNMoney.com on a Norwegian car company that is building a compact, plug-in electric car, the Think City, that will go on sale in Europe early next year. It could hit US markets in 2009. The CEO is working with Silicon Valley VCs and with Google, Tesla Motors, PG&E, and Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway. Plans are to sell the car only on the Web. No dealers, cheap manufacturing plants, and a battery pack that you lease, not buy — there's potential here for shaking up the auto industry the way Dell did PCs.
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Small Electric Car May Usher In Big Changes

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  • Big Changes, huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ExploHD (888637) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @05:07AM (#20054583)
    Are those "big changes" similar to Segway's "Big Changes"?
  • ummm, no. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Cutie Pi (588366) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @05:12AM (#20054607)
    Dell succeeded because they simplified and streamlined the computer buying process, and had good prices for PCs with reasonable features, compared to the rest of the market.

    Other than possibly streamlining the car buying process, how does electric car company compare to Dell? It's not like people in the US are jumping to replace their SUVs and trucks with little electric cars.
  • Re:ummm, no. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by evilviper (135110) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @05:48AM (#20054769) Journal

    It's not like people in the US are jumping to replace their SUVs and trucks with little electric cars.

    Almost...

    Several years ago, when gasoline prices doubled, I noticed a hell of a lot more old and small cars on the road... Cars that you could barely sell months before, seemed to be at every stop light. Their only possible positive attribute being their 35MPG fuel economy.

    Hybrids have been a huge hit over the past couple years. So, given the lack of any fully electric cars, that's about as close an equivalent as you can get. I'd say people are at least clamoring for SOMETHING different. The rich aren't going to toss their leather-clad Hummers, and those that need trucks will continue to buy them, but I expect there's a whole lot of demand in the market for some, ANYTHING that doesn't use up lots of gasoline.
  • by More_Cowbell (957742) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @05:51AM (#20054791) Journal
    I fill my tank for ~ $70 a month (currently $3.45/gal), and I commute 30 miles round trip on workdays. True, there are plenty of people that can afford this (remember, the fee does not include electricity to charge), but this seems to be an elitist car at the moment.

    Please wake me when I can help save the environment without declaring bankruptcy.

  • Re:"Not a car" (Score:2, Insightful)

    by clonmult (586283) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @05:58AM (#20054817)
    The car in question (G-Wiz) will reach a top speed of around 40mph. They say that "you will rarely hit such speeds around town". Sure, you're doing 30mph, car coming towards you is doing 30mph, closing speed of 60? You're almost guaranteed to die in a G-Wiz accident, but the other vehicle will hardly notice the bump.

    Would you prefer to be in a vehicle that, in the event of an accident (head on at least) will keep you trapped, with crushed legs and chest, that can take an eternity to get out of, or a moped? Its a tough choice, but I'd go for the moped. Wouldn't look like so much of an idiot either.
  • Nuclear + Wind (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nicolas MONNET (4727) <nicoaltiva@NOsPaM.gmail.com> on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @06:41AM (#20055031) Journal
    Current technologies exist to generate electricity carbon free.

    Nuclear (70%+ of all electricity around here)

    Wind is already competitive price-wise with coal. Its main problems are that they require massive initial investment, and that it takes A LOT of time to get over all the Nimbys. Wind also happens to be unpredictable, but that's a non issue as far as battery charging is concerned. All that's required is a broadcast flag to tell the charger to stop sucking current when not enough power is available.
  • by Jhon (241832) * on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @06:41AM (#20055033) Homepage Journal

    There are plenty of good economic reasons for a car like this, especially these days, and once someone Does It Right(TM) they'll be raking in the cash.


    Yeah. Because people have 'economic reasons' to spend $13000+ for a very small 2-person car with a very limited range. And oh yeah! Did I mention this doesn't include the $35000 battery (which you wont own, but will pay a "fee" to use)?

    Get the price point down below $5k, include the battery -- keep battery replacement costs below $1000 and then maybe... JUST maybe you'll see these for "neighborhood" going to the market type cars...

    There's a reason they call these "green" -- because to use one, you need to get rid of all your money.
  • Re:Refill? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew@noSPam.gmail.com> on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @07:12AM (#20055213) Homepage Journal
    They only have parking meters downtown. And the company I work for just did some massive construction downtown and it was a nightmare getting approval to do anything underground, so getting all the wiring done underground for an entire city is no small feat. And there is a different between plugging a quarter or two into the meter to park and paying to refuel my car. I imagine it will take a sizable amount of electricity and I can't simply pay for it with pocket change.
  • Clueless (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SoupIsGood Food (1179) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @07:18AM (#20055249)
    Tiny cars don't sell well. They're difficult to schlep kids to school and a dozen bags of mulch home from Lowe's. Small cars are seen as unitakers, and most americans need their cars to fill a number of roles.

    Plus, without a way to recharge the battery in roughly the time it takes to fill up a gas tank, what the hell are these things good for? Short distance commuting? Corbin already tried it, with a better looking mini-car, and failed. Miserably. Americans generally have no use for automotive unitaskers - most of them have long highway commutes and the occasional road-trip, and they want to do both in the same car.

    Ugly cars also don't sell well. I don't mean "Quirky styling" like the Scion xB or Suzuki Aero, or bland styling, like a Chrysler Sebring or Toyota Corolla. I mean, East German levels of "Couldn't Be Bothered With It" styling: truly and deeply misguided design choices no-one paused to give a second thought to, complete with panel gaps you can see with the naked eye from low earth orbit and colors chosen for their complete inability to catch the eye.

    Efficient and cheap isn't going to get you anywhere near public acceptance. It's got to offer a lot more... the Honda Insight and Toyota Prius look goood, they're slick productions with a lot more to offer than 50mpg. The Prius in particular has been successful because it offers near-luxury comfort and conveniences with econobox mileage and futuristic styling. (The other hybrid makers are also having a hard time grokking this, so we get Hybrid Civics and Mariners no-one is particularly enthusiastic over.)

    The Smart FourTwo is a tiny, inexpensive car with great styling and sybaritic creature comforts, and Daimler =still= won't bring it to the US because there's no real market for it here. The Think, an ugly plug-in doo-dad, is doomed before it even starts. Dell? Try Osbourne.

    SoupIsGood Food

       
  • by frisket (149522) <peter AT silmaril DOT ie> on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @07:31AM (#20055327) Homepage
    Lease or buy isn't important. What's important is that batteries become standardized. Recharge at home by all means, but when your car is running out of juice on a trip, you pull into a juice station, slide out the battery, slide in a recharged one, and slide your discharged one into a rack for recharging. You pay for your "refill" like you pay for a tank of gas, and drive out.

    OK, so maybe we need small, medium, and large batteries, plus a couple of bigger sizes for trucks, buses, RVs, and those 4x4s needed for all that rugged terrain around the suburban malls :-) but the last thing we need is some dipshit marketing droid inventing new and proprietary batteries that you have to get from the manufacturer. Suppose you bought a Toyota but you had to go to a Toyota garage to get your gas...

  • Re:Clueless (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SoupIsGood Food (1179) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @07:44AM (#20055411)
    You're European, so you can be forgiven if you've never seen 1) a real American SUV and 2) a real American Home Depot. Jetta wagons generally don't cut it when there are sheets of plywood to be hauled around.

    The typical American family is a two car family. One of these cars will be a sensible sedan. One of them will be a truck - Pickup, SUV or minivan. This is because big trucks are practical for moving people, carrying stuff anf towing things. Otherwise, they'd be spending like no tomorrow on muscle cars like the Mustang, which are much more bad-ass and look-at-me-cool than a bland-as-stale-bread Chevy Tahoe or Ford F150.

    Also, the "Estate Wagons" the SUV's replaced were in some cases considerably larger than the SUV's now. Do a GIS for "Caprice Station Wagon" sometime.

    So, the cars just won't be getting smaller due to cultural influences I don't expect you to understand... it's just so. The trick is then not to sell smaller cars, but to make larger cars more efficient and lighter. The whole deal about "the mountain coming to Muhommed" and King Canute with the waves thing. The Prius makes a mid-size car subcompact efficient. This is the right way to go.

    SoupIsGood Food
  • The notion of not having a showroom sort of makes sense, but the savings will be limited. After all, they're going to have to set up that car-sharing franchise instead, and that franchise will have to employ someone who can talk to prospective owners, and they'll have to vehicle available, which may mean investing in a demo car.

    Also, where will these vehicles be maintained? Independent garages aren't usually the first to invest in new equipment and training to service unusual cars (e.g. handling high-voltage equipment and large batteries that can discharge at 1000 A).

    I expect these cars will need less maintenance than internal combustion vehicles, though. I just had my car in for its 15 Mm checkup, and of the E 370 bill, maybe E 40 was for items unrelated to the engine (an interior filter and balancing two tires IIRC). This means routine stuff could be handled by any garage (or tire fitter, for that matter). It's just the high-voltage electric stuff that needs a specialist.
  • by ajs318 (655362) <sd_resp2.earthshod@co@uk> on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @07:55AM (#20055499)
    Yes, but the power points could be on a coin-meter which would pay for your parking and your electricity in one go. You just put in enough coins to pay for the juice it's going to use while charging, and plug in your car.

    There are a few details to work out, for sure; but first look to the campsite industry, where they probably already use something similar.
  • Re:"Not a car" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tony Hoyle (11698) <tmh@nodomain.org> on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @07:59AM (#20055517) Homepage
    Cyclist blindness won't go away.. they'll just run into you/cut you up in electric flimsy cars rather than petrol cars.

    Not that cyclists help themselves sometimes.. driving in the dark with dark clothing and no hi-vis (I'd say the same about pedestrians too.. crossing the road in the dark with a dark jacket on and not near any street lights.. aargh!). I'd mention running red lights but car drivers to that just as much as cyclists (probably more, if round here is anything to go by).

  • Better Idea (Score:2, Insightful)

    by JamesRose (1062530) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @08:08AM (#20055595)
    Rather than all these crappy mileages, what they should do, is get a distribution with the big petrol stations, make the power cells easily removable, you pull into the traditional petrol station, and instead of sitting there for the next few hours charging the battery, just slip the used one out and slide in a new one stored at the petrol station, of course the petrol station recharges your old one and charges a fee for the fully charged new one, it would be cheap, greatly increase the range and all the recharging worries that are currently around would be gone.
  • Re:ummm, no. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Yfrwlf (998822) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @08:44AM (#20055949)
    Exactly, if more people bought smaller cars, this painful gas-guzzling excuse wouldn't exist. (except for semis unfortunately, but god damnit what ever happened to the rail systems here in the U.S.. Not to start a whole other debate or anything...
  • by Blakey Rat (99501) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @08:45AM (#20055957)
    The reason a lot of American families own SUVs isn't because they just want to arbitrarily waste gas, but because they have things to tow. Maybe a horse trailer, or some jet skis, or a fishing boat. The reason people buy gas economy cars and not electric ones is that even the cheapest gas economy car has 4 seats (small ones, given) and a trunk, and people need to take their groceries and gymbag home.

    Yet Another Electric Car that doesn't meet either of these needs is not going to succeed, period. An electric car that seats two people, costs a $34k, and has no trunk? Might as well buy a couple scooters for thousands less.
  • Re:Clueless (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AlXtreme (223728) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @08:50AM (#20055995) Homepage Journal
    I'll bite!

    The interesting thing is that many Americans think the same way (I _need_ a big car), however compare an American suburb to a European one. There isn't much of a difference. So why on earth would you need a SUV to drive to the mall while us euros do fine with our Peugeot or BMW?

    You need to haul plywood around. So do we. But we tend to rent a trailer, which is always possible at our Home Depot-lookalikes. And honestly, it's not like you need to haul plywood around every fracking day. The same if we to move: you can always rent a van. Hell o' a lot cheaper, and works better.

    The bottom line is that the big American car manufacturers hit upon the SUV-goldmine ten years ago (before that, it's not like everyone in the 'burbs had a pickup). Despite all the disadvantages (awful fuel consumption, a higher center-of-gravity causing an increased risk of tipping over, lack of close-proximity sight due to increased elevation) the SUV was successful because Americans thought they needed one. Afterwards they try to validate their purchase with (IMHO unsound) arguments.

    Feel free to mod me down for this, but us euros frown upon these huge vehicles near our schools and children (think of the children!). They might make you feel safer, but the little ones aren't. If you live in the middle of nowhere, drive through the mud all day, sure you have plenty of reason to buy a big truck. But not if you live in a suburb and hit Home Depot twice a year. Get real.

    (For the record: I know two people who have a Commander and a Grand Cherokee. I've driven in them, and those SUVs scare the shit out of me)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @09:06AM (#20056153)
    I think that leasing the battery is a good idea. With battery technology the way it is now, the battery is going to fail well before the car will, and it will degrade fairly quickly so that your miles per charge takes a nosedive. If the battery is leased, it is very easy to just get a replacement. In this instance, leasing actually does make sense.
  • by hey! (33014) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @09:07AM (#20056167) Homepage Journal
    You don't want to own the battery. Why in the world would you?

    I suppose you own the gasoline that goes into your car, but your relationship to it is transitory. It is consumable.

    Your relationship with your car battery is somewhat more enduring, but it still is a consumable, what's more it is a consumable that presents you with a disposal problem at the end. Leasing the battery saves you this trouble, and makes it much easier and more efficient for the manufacturer to recycle it -- into more batteries.

    I think the magic number here isn't $5000, it's more like $20,000. You would not want such a small car with a 112 mile range to be your only car, but most households have two, and increasingly often three or even more cars. If you could buy it at the same price as your next ICE car, it'd be more than viable, and help alleviate the parking problem in many households. There are four people in the house next to me, and there are four SUVs and a motorcycle. One or two of these could easily be a car like this, especially if the Stirling engine was an option that could be bought for, say $5000.

    Come to think of it, one of the cool things about the Stirling engine is that you could share it, or you could keep it when you traded in your old car. It'd be much more like a one time investment.

    The main obstacle to this car in this country is that Americans have become such friggen stick in the muds. We've been top dog for so many years we've gotten allergic to change. I don't know if many people noticed, but the most significant thing in this article for me was how close this thing was to production, then was dropped by Ford when the CA regulations were dropped. Our big companies, it seems, only innovate when there's a regulatory gun to their head.

    If a significant number of second household cars, and most if not all third household cars were like this, we'd take a pretty big bite out of our foreign oil dependency problem for no real practical inconvenience.
  • by Paulrothrock (685079) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @09:21AM (#20056323) Homepage Journal

    I don't drive up mountains with deer in the back. I do, however, drive about six miles each way for work, and short grocery runs during the week. I bought a scooter that gets 80mpg, but I'm definitely interested in something that can get the same or better mileage but keep me out of the elements.

    Just because you don't think something is useful doesn't mean other people don't.

  • by jellomizer (103300) * on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @09:27AM (#20056391)
    This is the main cause why this will most likely fail. Because of the size of the United States. People in Europe, Asia and New York City, Don't really apreate the size of the United States. Geographically The United States is a little smaller then all of Europe. There is a far amount of distance people needs to cover from residentual areas to comerical areas. For me it is about Ten Miles (I am considered to be living close to the cities) For other people they will need to drive Twenty Miles to get to the closest store that sells anything of value. Granted we don't need SUVs to get from here and there but we do need some type of car with a long range and can relialibly maintain a top speed of about 70-80 miles per hour (I know the speed limit is 65 but if everyone else is going 80 you better be too or you will get rear ended) for 200-300 miles minimum. Living in Cities are generally not desirable living conditions when there is plenty of space out there where you can buy a bigger house with more land outside the city for less and also deal with less Crime and Noise from the City.

    For these electric cars to succeede they will need to be very cheap (no more then 2k) Roomy enough to cary children and cargo, and safe enough for people to use. Any thing less then these specs would probably make it a huge deal breaker making americans still stuck to gasoline cars for all their driving. If they can meet these requirements then there is a chance that many americans will have a car for short distance driving and a long distance car.
  • by BigDogCH (760290) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @10:40AM (#20057377) Journal
    Yes, plus then the old batteries do not end up in piles out in the country..........maybe lower capacity batteries could have a lower lease price (for those of us who don't drive much).
  • by avi33 (116048) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @10:48AM (#20057465) Homepage
    It's funny, every time details about some "cutting edge" idea or business model surface, this forum (which used to be populated with physicists, engineers, and geeks of all stripes) piles on with their own particular angle on why it won't work.

    Good thing slashdot isn't a frickin' VC company...I can just imagine the comments:

    • Are you kidding, no one will pay half a billion dollars for a site that just has free web-based email. I could knock that out in a weekend with perl...
    • No way anyone will pay two billion dollars for a video sharing site...I could knock that out in perl in a week
    • What? *Another* search company? Who needs that? We already have Lycos and yahoo, and their results are pretty good...besides, I could knock one out in perl if I really needed to...
    • An overpriced mp3 player with 5 buttons and a scroll dial? L4m3.


    No, instead, we have the run of the mill peanut gallery, with their particularly ignorant insights. Don't get me wrong, a strong dose of skepticism is a healthy thing to have, but do you really think that Sergey and his band of PhD.s are not quite as clever as you when it comes to spotting and growing ideas? I'm no fan of the Segway, but you have to admit, much of the pesky unwanted energy in our machines shows its face in the form of heat, and if you can find a *relatively* cheap way to convert it to some other form, well, that seems like a pretty handy little model...

    But slashdot has all the answers...it's too small, too expensive, the batteries should be $free, it's failed x times before, it's a toy, it's not safe, Joe sixpack wants a hummer, ponzi!, l4m3, FUD, w00t...whereas a couple of commenters actually get it: this could work in x conditions, but not in y, for z reasons...at least there are still a couple people left around here that haven't grown up thinking a forum is a place to pile on, the snarkier, the better.

    I'm not saying it will succeed just because some heavy duty investors are behind it; plenty of ideas that fit that bill haven't made it. The point is, it could, and maybe one day something will happen that might cause people to think about energy differently, and this model will be ahead of its time, or at least some lessons will have been learned. Like a HOWTO on overclocking your chip with a stirling engine that charges your iPod...

    Instead of analysis, we have negative comments modded as insightful. I suppose it's true what The Onion says, it turns out that a majority of Americans are actually NOT entitled to have their own opinions...
  • by fm6 (162816) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @10:51AM (#20057491) Homepage Journal
    Sure, a lot of people buy SUVs because they need a truck. But most don't. The vast majority of SUV sales go to urban drivers who think all that extra metal makes them safer. Which is an illusion [google.com], but hey, illusions sell cars.
  • by An Onerous Coward (222037) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @11:20AM (#20057941) Homepage
    The Top Gear test [topgear.com] was performed on a G-Wiz [wikipedia.org], and has nothing to do with the Norwegian cars being discussed. The G-Wiz basically an electric scooter with a metal enclosure, has a top speed of 40MPH, and isn't intended for highway use.

    According to the article, the Think cars have a top speed of 62MPH (which their agreement with Tesla hopes to raise to 85-90MPH. It will very much be a highway car, and therefore subject to American and European safety standards. Lumping the Think and the G-Wiz together as "these cars" is like lumping your pet rabbit and your sister-in-law together under "these animals". Did that analogy make sense? No? That's my point: it's nonsensical. If Chewbacca lives on Krykkit, you must acquit.
  • by Rogue Pat (749565) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @01:05PM (#20059565)
    Please please don't calculate US car prices by converting them from the price in Norway.
    I just configured a basic car on the Norwegian volkswagen homepage [volkswagen.no], a Jetta, with a 140hp engine and basic color and no extras for NOK 308 710 (which according to Google is USD 52 597)....

    A Volvo XC90 with some extras quickly reaches USD 125k here...
  • L.A. traffic (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mal-2 (675116) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @03:50PM (#20062057) Homepage Journal
    My drive home -- about 32 miles -- fluctuates wildly between a dead stop and 50-55 mph. If I am lucky enough to hit a relatively open freeway, I may hit 70-75 mph, but that is by far the minority of the trip. Acceleration is crucial. I know electric vehicles have plenty of acceleration when required, but just how much does this reduce the operating radius?

    For an electric car -- or fuel cell, or anything else -- to be practical for me, these are the requirements:

    * 0 to 60 mph in 11 seconds, max. This would put it on a par with most economy cars in decent condition.
    * A range of 100 miles per charge or refueling, minimum, regardless of traffic conditions. Not 100 miles on a good day, but 100 miles, every day, including those days it takes 3 hours to go 3 miles. OR, the ability to recharge in 3 to 5 minutes, and half that range, perhaps by swappable fuel cells or batteries.
    * A top speed of 70-75 mph, minimum. 80 would be better, but 70-75 would suffice. The catch is that it has to be able to do this up moderate hills, not just level surfaces. It will not do to drop to 50 mph every time I have to go uphill. This means that the car only has to be designed to handle 75, but the powertrain probably has to be capable of considerably more to account for uphill slogs.
    * Air conditioning. This is a considerable power draw, and it has to be designed for, not just bolted on.

    That is what it takes to get the average L.A. commuter to and from work every day, with a trip to the store on the way home. A car that does less will find itself roundly ignored.

    Mal-2
  • by CodeBuster (516420) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @04:20PM (#20062493)
    And for Europe the price isn't bad, particularly as many countries have lower taxes for electric cars.

    This may be true, but using taxes to artificially distort markets into what some people in Europe would call socially egalitarian outcomes is generally very bad economic policy since it masks the inefficiencies of particular economic choices from the consumers actually making them resulting in a dead weight loss to the economy. If these technologies are better then let them compete on the merits, but it should not be the policy of governments to interfere in the market through taxes to "promote" a certain social agenda. This goes for subsidies for existing technologies as well, they should be slashed and ultimately eliminated. It is only through allowing the marketplace to determine the outcomes in fair and open competition that we will achieve the best results most quickly. This may require some regulation and enforcement on the part of the government to ensure that the competition is really open and fair, but the market will deliver the optimal solution if we allow the invisible hand do its work.
  • by Shadowlore (10860) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @04:58PM (#20062961) Journal
    It depends on the article. If the article makes grand claims, it deserves a nitpick or two. Grand claims require grand evidence.

    In this submission it was questioned whether this would "Usher in Big Changes" in the automotive world. The veracity of that is entirely up for discussion and if you've evert tried to get funding for company, you'd want to post the idea here. That way you'll know all the possible failure modes.

    Will this make a big change in the automotive world? No. It is not cost effective nor space effective for most people.

    For single persons having two cars that carry the same amount of people is wasteful, and takes up more parking spaces in their apartment complexes - spaces they may not have available. Most families of >2 members already have two vehicles, so this would make a third one. Again most families have at most a two-car garage (and many of those are actually wide opening single-car garages). Thus the space issue hits home, no pun intended, for them.

    Further, the cost of this car versus their current car makes it cost more to buy and use than to continue driving their existing car, for most people that it is alleged would be the target.

    All that boils down to who the real market, targeted or not, is. People who only need this car and are OK with it's limitations (all cars have them). That market is demonstrably small. I
    d even suggest that teenage drivers make the most logical target market. These markets are a small, small measure of the overall market. From this standpoint the answer to "big changes" is a flat "no".

    On the standpoint of whether the method of selling will usher big changes, again, no. The reasons are different here. The existing model consists of manufacturers selling their product to dealers, who then sell it again. The automaker is already selling direct in this model. Selling directly to the customer would represent a breach of contract with their dealers. It would also put them in competition with their largest block of customers. So no, that won't change either.

    It isn't a matter of opinion as to whether or not the questions asked represent a likely future, it is an analysis. Just as with the hype of the Segway. Does the Segway work as a means of transportation? Yes, it is functional. Is it cool? arguably, yes. Did it represent a fundamental shift of how we the people would get around? No. Did it cause a "rethinking" of how we get around? No.

    See, that is the problem. Every "new idea" is touted as a funadmental shift, a paradigm change, a "world changing idea", or some such notion. So of course, we the thinkers, analyze that. And due to the nature of the frequency of truly world changing ideas, more often than not the answer is "no it is not a world changing idea". An idea can be a good one without being a world changing one.

    Then again, if you believe that the majority of people are not entitled to their opinions, you probably believe they are entitled to your opinion.
  • by toddestan (632714) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @09:36PM (#20065613)
    For a little while, I used to drive 20 miles one way to work, which would take slightly less than an hour during rush hour (average speed ~ 25MPH). I doubt that the batteries would hold out for 40 miles, but the top speed isn't that unreasonable for a commuter.

    Of course, same drive during the non-peak hours was 20-25 minutes at an average speed of 50-60MPH, which only goes to highlight how incredibly inefficient and wasteful our 9-5 culture is.

My idea of roughing it turning the air conditioner too low.

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