These Cars Get 114 Miles Per Gallon

These Cars Get 114 Miles Per Gallon

by | published August 2nd, 2014

Decades before gasoline-powered cars ruled the market, motorists had another four-wheeled alternative to the horse.

It didn’t putt, pop, roar or backfire. Powered by watts, it simply hummed.

And for a time, those early electric vehicles outsold their gasoline powered counterparts by 10:1.

Now with manufacturers introducing plug-in hybrids and all-electric cars at a furious pace, electric vehicles, once again, have the potential to change the world. (And the investment landscape.)

In fact, with mileage this high, they may be poised to overtake their gasoline-powered competitors …

Thirty Years before the Model T, Electric Vehicles Ruled the Road

At the dawn of the automobile age, electric vehicles were No. 1 by a wide margin.

Thanks to the invention of the rechargeable, lead acid battery by French physicist Gaston Planté in 1859, these electric-powered horseless carriages had a three-decade head start on the internal combustion engine.

Since most trips were short, vehicles such as the Columbia Runabout, which could go 40 miles on a single charge and run at speeds up to 15 m.p.h., were practical, as well as clean and quiet.

Even Clara Ford, Henry’s wife, drove one: a 1914 Detroit Electric, which could last 80 miles before recharging.

But Henry’s Model T, along with other early horseless carriages, soon eclipsed their battery-powered brethren. The Model T, in particular, was so affordable it turned the automobile from a toy for the rich to a necessity for the working class, and 15 million Model Ts later the electric vehicle was no more.

Outside of electric delivery trucks, dubbed “milk floats,” in England, necessary due to fuel shortages, electric vehicles would only be produced by small manufacturers in low quantities for the next few decades.

The Long and Winding Road Back to the Top

It was only when environmental concerns surfaced that the electric cars began to roll again. Kicked off by General Motors’ EV1 in the 1990s, manufacturers began rushing all-electric vehicles, hybrids (which use both electric and gas motors), and plug-in hybrids to market. Big-name manufacturers such as Honda, Toyota, and others replaced gas tanks with batteries as demand began to rise.

But it would be a real-world Tony Stark, billionaire Elon Musk, who would dazzle the world with the polished, luxurious Tesla, an advanced electric vehicle with a range of up to 300 miles on a single charge, who added sizzle and sex appeal to the industry.

Musk’s vision is the one leading the parade. His vehicles are praised by everyone from consumer and auto publications to politicians and automotive executives. The company’s stock, up a whopping 1,048% in the last four years, is one of the darlings of Wall Street.

And the world is, once again, starting to embrace vehicles that run on electricity.

The appeal is obvious. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, electricity to power electric vehicles is less than one-fourth of the cost of gasoline. The Nissan Leaf, for example, is rated at the equivalent of 114 miles per gallon by the EPA.

Currently, according to Plug-In 2014, the premiere electric vehicle conference in the nation, there are 225,000 plug-in cars on American roads. In Santa Clara County (California), over 10% of new vehicle sales are plug-ins.

In Europe, plug-in sales doubled from 2011 to 2012, then doubled again to almost 50,000 sales in 2013. In Norway and the Netherlands, electric vehicles account for five percent of all sales.

Banking on a 31.5% Compound Annual Growth Rate

And those numbers are expected to skyrocket.

Navigant Research estimates that global electric vehicle sales will reach 6.6 million annually by 2020, about five percent of global vehicle sales. The U.S. is expected to be the biggest market, accounting for 1.1 million vehicles alone. The International Energy Agency (IEA) expects that 20 million electric vehicles will be on the road by then.

By even the most conservative forecasts, sales of electric vehicles are expected to far outpace the general market. Navigant Research forecasts global compound annual growth rates of 31.5% for battery powered vehicles from now until 2020, far outpacing the automotive industry’s predicted 2.4% CAGR over the same time period.

And that doesn’t include sales of electric two wheelers, such as bicycles, scooters and motorcycles. Currently, the industry sells two million two-wheeled electric vehicles every year. Even Harley Davidson, the symbol of American motorcycle iron, recently introduced an electric motorcycle.

By any measure, this is a huge and growing market. Research firm MarketsandMarkets pegs it at $103.13 billion by 2017. IDTechEx forecasts $178.9 billion in electric vehicle sales alone in 10 years, plus tens of billions more in infrastructure costs.

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  1. Malcolm Rawlingson
    August 2nd, 2014 at 11:08 | #1

    Great article Kent but one big problem I see. The major selling point is that the fuel price is low. But if you take out the taxes on gasoline and all the money that governments make out of oil the real fuel price difference is not so great. So, the minute electric cars become main stream the Government will tax the fuel – electricity – just as they do gasoline. They are not about to give up all that lovely revenue from squeezing motorists now are they?? In Canada at least 50% of the price of fuel is taxation. Do you really think that Governments are going to give that up…..not a chance.
    There will be taxes on charging stations, taxes on household electricity, taxes on the batteries etc so the consumer will be no better off. The Governments of the world will see to it that the politicians gravy train lifestyle is not affected one iota. But making transportation cheaper for the consumer – you can forget that idea.

  2. Dale left coast
    August 2nd, 2014 at 12:28 | #2

    “The Model T, in particular, was so affordable it turned the automobile from a toy for the rich to a necessity for the working class, and 15 million Model Ts later the electric vehicle was no more.”
    Not exactly . . . women preferred the electric car because they did not have to crank them . . . but then Cadillac invented the Self Starter, which became the norm for all cars and the electric car was no more.

    “Big-name manufacturers such as Honda, Toyota, and others replaced gas tanks with batteries as demand began to rise.”
    Really? When did they do that?

    If you are really concerned about the environment . . . not the CO2 myth . . . hybrids and electrics require large quantities of “rare earths” costly rare minerals that come largely from China and are causing massive environmental degradation. There is nothing environmentally friendly about a Prius.
    Many electric cars have caused fires, burned down garages and homes. They have a very limited range, so they appeal to a small segment of the market. When you factor in the cost of replacing the battery usually many thousands of dollars . . . the mileage drops considerably.

    Reality is we have enough gas and oil for many generations . . .

  3. Robert in Canada
    August 2nd, 2014 at 13:18 | #3

    @Malcolm Rawlingson
    I agree with Malcolm 100%. There is no way gov’t can forgo the tax revenues that they currently get from gasoline.

    There are tens of millions of gov’t workers, active and retired. Gov’t has to get increasing amounts of tax revenues to pay the wages and benefits unionized gov’t workers get, which are gold plated compared to any non-gov’t workers.

    Native Indians get hand-outs of about $1 billion per month. T have-not basket case province of Quebec gets about $700 million per month, and Ontario gets about $200 million per month.

    And you have people blocking almost all industrial development such as pipelines and mines which are the biggest tax generators in Canada.

    So a huge tax on electricity used for powering cars is an absolute 100% certainty.

  4. Gabs
    August 6th, 2014 at 17:15 | #4

    @Malcolm Rawlingson
    I think you’re absolutely right.
    However if you dont get in now, you dont cash in on the growth either.
    And anyway, when has fuel tax stopped consumers from buying cars???

  5. TRex
    August 7th, 2014 at 22:21 | #5

    Those who have e-vehicles need to FOCUS of generating their own power through: 1) self-charging flexible paint (MMM & PPG & Nene are working on this now) such that e-cars charge in the open parking lots; 2)house roofs w/ 100% charging roofing “shingles,” providing 50% of household power and 100% recharge power for 2 x e-cars. No government will tax generating one’s own power. Road use taxes will come from license and periodic inspection and re-registrations fees.


  6. Pal
    August 12th, 2014 at 16:40 | #6

    You are not correct though you may not agree with my deductions. You state “No government will tax generating one’s own power.” I don’t see how you an make that statement in consideration of intent of leaders like Angela Merkel of Germany how asked for normally paid electricity taxes to be paid by those who installed solar and wind power green alternatives regardless of the fact they did not consume the electricity. So you see she demands that the public pay the taxes even if they produce their own electricity in real effect taxing people as you say governments can’t. In California they now have now have so many ‘green’ vehicles that they want to eliminate tax breaks for these those who buy them because it is hurting government revenues. The public is always so gullible thinking that government is there to make things better..jajajaja. government is there to create and maintain more government, period.

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