What Will It Take For Electric Cars To Make Great Family Cars? Page 2

April 4, 2011
2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

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EV pricing needs to come down. Ford had a better idea, pricing the 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid the same as the non-hybrid MKZ. In fact, company executives were surprised at the consumer acceptance of the MKZ Hybrid – which far exceeded their projections. It all goes to show that Americans want fuel-efficient hybrids – and will buy them if the price (and other considerations are right). EVs need to go the same route if they’re to gain widespread consumer acceptance. Federal and state incentives help, but electric cars are still expensive – maybe too expensive for a great number of American families.

Americans (including politicians) have to stop yin-yanging about oil. We’re really schizophrenic in this country, worrying about the cost of oil and rushing to buy more fuel-efficient cars when gasoline gets to the $4 per gallon price and then ditching those wheels in favor of bigger and more fuel-thirsty vehicles as soon as prices go down. We’re either serious about getting independent of foreign oil – including choosing EVs in much larger numbers – or we’re not. This doesn’t begin to touch the political aspects of our nation’s energy policy, and it’s certainly not meant to. All I know as a consumer is that I’m tired of the back-and-forth. Make a decision and go for it. Who’d pay more for an EV that doesn’t meet their needs if a gasoline-powered vehicle will do the job?

Battery replacement costs need to come down. EVs run on batteries, which eventually need replacement. Eight years or 100,000 miles is great for a battery warranty, but the batteries when they do need to be replaced are expensive. I’d expect advancements in battery technology to make them more efficient and to bring the cost down to come about in the next few years – hopefully long before consumers with batteries that need replacing have to go in to have that work done, though it's uncertain if the eight-year warranty is becoming a major issue in the marketplace (many Prius owners, for example, report no loss of performance even past the eight-year mark).

Are there other concerns? I’m sure there are, but I wanted to point out what the discussions have been around my own family dinner table about electric cars and how soon they’ll be widely adopted in this country. Oh, and our own thoughts on the matter? We’re seriously looking into whether a plug-in hybrid (PHV) makes sense for us now as a second vehicle. PHVs take the worry out about range anxiety, aren’t the ideal (EVs would be), but help get us to being energy-independent (and a cleaner environment) in the meantime.

FamilyCarGuide would like to know what you think about what it will take for EVs to go mainstream as family cars. Let us know in the comments section below.


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