Thursday, August 21, 2014

What's Missing Here?

Robb sent this in, thinking (rightly) that I'd be interested.

Renovo Motors

Now, I'll give them credit for a few things here. They've capitalized on one of the big strengths of the electric motor, that power is available instantly. It's no surprise that a reasonably light car with a powerful electric motor is fast off the line. Bully on them for using that as a selling point. Also, they've obviously modeled the Renovo Coupe after the Shelby Daytona (and the second generation Dodge Viper...). Well done in the design department.

But what's missing from that glossy spec sheet? There's two things that jump out at me. First is price. Not even an estimate. Given that the Tesla's sedan runs about $90+ or so, I'm guessing the Roadster is at least the same ballpark. Six figures - or close to it, at least - puts the electric sports car firmly in the realm of "toy for the rich and/or famous."

The other missing spec, and this is a big one, is range. All that power doesn't mean squat if the car's got a 30 mile range between charges. They're quick to point out the 30 minute fast charge, yet curiously omit how far you can travel before needing that quick charge. I suspect if the car had a 200+ mile range, that'd be a big selling point.

Again, I want to clear up a misconception. I have nothing against electric cars, not even silly boutique ones like this. I would love a reasonably priced electric sedan/coupe/hatchback that could travel 250 - 300 miles on a charge and be recharged in 15 minutes or less. Unfortunately, what we're seeing is that the only way companies can recoup the very large investment in electric cars is by marketing them to the "more environmental than thou" crowd who don't have to worry about mundane things like running out of power on the way home from work.

Unless and until electric cars start rolling 250+ miles on a single charge - including in the winter with the heater on full blast and in the summer with A/C cranked - they're going to be little more than playthings for the idle rich. That's not necessarily a bad thing, except it's unlikely to advance the concept of an all-electric car to the greater majority of people.

Really, though, I love electric cars - I love seeing the cognitive dissonance on a hippie's face when I remind him his "green" car runs on nuclear power...

That is all.


Miguel said...

and they have to be "refueled" in about 3 times what it takes a normal car... That would be the limit your regular consumer would put up with it

libertyman said...

I think you are looking at the total production right there.
They won't be around.

Anonymous said...

You are wrong about the Nuclear thing once you get away from the East Coast.

Out here in the midwest, it's coal fired plants. West coast has nuclear and bird killing green energy. (Natural gas fired plants as well.)

If they wanna be green, have em recharge them only using a personal windmill.

Will cut down on the arguing as they will have to wait a few days for it to fully charge.

Joseph in IL

Dave H said...

Any invention for sale to consumers had to start as a toy for the idle rich, not just because prices were high due to limited production but also to build envy (and demand) among the lower classes.

Remember when computers only belonged to banks and the government?

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

I really like pointing at the big smokestack downtown and reminding them that their "zero emissions" car is powered by coal.

And then I ask about the carbon and waste footprint from manufacturing the batteries. Oh, and did they also consider the environmental impact of disposing of and replacing those batteries when they reach the end of their life-cycle in 8 or 10 years? What about the additional power plants and high-tension lines that will have to be built to meet the massive increase in power demand if electric cars really take off the way they want them to?

Yeah, messing with the hippie enviro-weenies inability to see the larger picture can be pretty fun!

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ted said...

The torque curve for an electric motor is the reverse of gasoline motor yes great acceleration and ripping 0 to 60 times 50 - 80 times ??? Not so much.

Will Brown said...

It's designed and marketed as a "super car" so the target market competitors are these guys; of course the price is in the six-figure range.

Also, I know they claim a Shelby-design heritage, but I think the car looks more like an early-60's Jaguar XKE myself.

Old NFO said...

$500K and 100ish miles... According to some reports.

danno said...

Concur... $529k per the LATimes:

Also, our resident gearhead laments its 120mph top end, though sure that is just a limitation written into the software ;-)

'nother link:

Ed said...

That vehicle looks like a hybrid cross between a Shelby Cobra and a 1964 Jaguar XKE. Put a Mopar V-12 in it. Oh yeah, that would be a Viper. Never mind.

Robert said...

Kinda looks like an old Jag a little bit.

And electric cars won't really make it until they all have swappable battery packs. Drive into a station, a machine aligns your car, checks to make sure your current pack is OK and not damaged, takes out the old pack and pops in the charged one, and you drive off. Your old pack is then plugged into a recharging station and rotated into the charged pile when done.

I think we'll have fusion powered cars before THAT happens though.