Over at the old gray lady, Joe Nocera has cast a jaundiced eye upon the phenomenon that is Tesla Motors and comes away with the conclusion that the Chevy Volt will come away as the winner. In fact Nocera seems very skeptical that pure battery electric cars will be a viable mainstream prospect anytime soon. Certainly based solely on the example of Tesla, it does not seem likely that a start-up will succeed in producing an EV for the masses profitably anytime soon. As I've said here many times building an affordable mass market car is actually a lot harder than building a high-dollar sports car, and Tesla has clearly shown that even that is no easy feat. Tesla hopes to build the Model S sedan in about two years at a cost starting at $60,000. The model S is unlikely to match the nominal range of the Roadster at the base price, especially when you consider that it will be a much larger heavier car made of aluminum rather than carbon fiber (over an aluminum structure). Even the Roadster only achieves a little more than half its nominal range of 227 miles when driven hard. Contrary to Elon Musk who thinks hybrids and ER-EVs are a red herring, Nocera feels that the Volt is a far more viable candidate for success.

What Nocera doesn't touch on is the small Japanese EVs that are coming from the likes of Mitsubishi, Subaru and Nissan. Mitsubishi in particular seems extremely confident about the iMiEV. Only time will tell.

[Source: New York Times]


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