Sunday, December 23, 2012

Plug-In Electric Cars The New York Times Is Seeing Double

The New York Times has got it wrong again.  They claim that plug in electric cars will account for two thirds of one percent of the US new vehicle market in 2012. 

Note after I published this blog I did receive an email from Bradley Berman who wrote the NYT article that he has revised his online article.  Here is what Mr. Berman emailed me
"Mr. Leveen,
Thanks for your email.  You are correct.  The article misstated the share of the new-car market in the United States that plug-in models are expected to reach for 2012. It is about one-third of 1 percent, not two-thirds of one percent.  

In November, the most recent full month in which sales numbers have been reported, the share of the new-car market was about two-thirds of 1 percent. 

The web version of the article has been corrected.

Bradley Berman"
This was claimed in the article titled Make way for kilowatts, A growing Up year for Plug-ins.  Unfortunately  the New York Times is seeing double.  The sales of all plug in vehicles in the USA in 2012 will be around 54,000 units while the whole new vehicle market for the US in 2012 will be approximately  14.5 million units.  By dividing the 54,000 by 14.5 million yields a fraction that is closest to one third of one percent rather than two thirds of one percent.  That is why the NYT is seeing double to put a green spin on what has basically been a flop in the market.

The US is actually the largest market in the world for plug-in vehicles.  The Chinese market for vehicles of all types is a larger market than the US but the sales of plug-in vehicles in China this year will only equal approximately 10,000 vehicles.  Pike Research who is often over optimistic about the market potential of plug-in vehicles now forecasts the Chinese market for plug-ins will only reach 50,000 units in 2015.  Note the total market of plug-ins is the sum of fully electric and plug-in hybrids. 

I performed a bunch of tedious math to extract the following data.  The Federal Government will dole out approximately one third of a billion dollars in tax credits for the 54,000 plug in cars.  I guess the fiscal cliff could be made steeper by 100 billion dollars if all car owners got the same treatment as plug in car owners.  The cumulative quantity of lithium ion batteries in these 54,000 vehicles will approximately equal 960,000 kilowatt hours.   This is the amount of chemical energy in about 30,000 gallons of gasoline.  Of course the batteries will be recharged perhaps some 1,000 times during their lifetime.  Therefore all the recharges of all the batteries over all of their lifetime will equal the chemical energy in 30 million gallons of gasoline or about the amount of gasoline we use in 2 hours. 

I guess two hours of gasoline usage over the lifetime of all of the plug-ins sold in 2012 according to the New York Times is making way for Kilowatts.  Unfortunately for us the New York Times is widely read but poorly written.  The headline should have read “One Third of A Billion Dollars Of Federal Tax Credits to Richer Americans Bought One Third of One Percent of All New Personal Vehicles in 2012.”  The Other 99.67% got screwed.   

Merry Christmas to the 99.67% who are simply too naïve to understand that the government of, for, and by the one third of one percent of the people has an energy policy Abe Lincoln would now make this remark about “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him electric power.”

Yes the photo is of Bush and Chaney inspecting a plug-in being charged. The photo is from September 2008 when Rick Wagoner (next to President Bush in the photo) was still leading GM and the Volt had high hopes.  Immediately after the photo was taken the economy dived.  Yes the wire charging the plug-in car looks mighty thin but that was the whole hype of the Volt.