Electric Vehicle Sales Plummet

Hey Cool Car Fans,

I’ve been writing about the problems with the electric vehicle for years now and I have been criticized by many of the faithful followers of the Tesla and EV’s in general. It appears though that what I’ve said for years is finally starting to be taken seriously by consumers and manufacturers.

Unfortunately, the decision by key leaders in the automotive industry to try to follow and catch Elon Musk and Tesla in the EV market has had serious ramifications in the automotive industry as a whole. Instead of focusing on vehicles that people actually want to purchase, they have been creating vehicles that are not in demand.

For example, I recently tried to get a new Toyota Landcruiser for a client in Steamboat Springs, CO and I was told that it will take three years based on current production, dealership allocation, people on waiting lists, etc. from one dealership. Another dealer told me that would be “nearly impossible, but good luck”. It was the same for the new 2024 Lexus GX Overtrail. In other words, if you want a 2024 Land Cruiser or Lexus GX Overtrail be prepared to take delivery in 2027? That’s quite idiotic and Toyota isn’t alone. You have people who are wanting to buy your product, but you can’t deliver. We used to call this back in the early 1990’s “vaporware”, which are products a company would advertise, but nobody could actually get. Of course, you can get a good deal on an electric vehicle that are sitting on the car lots right now.

I did a quick search this morning on the Manheim dealer auction site for Teslas. There were 3,556 Tesla’s for sale right now at this one dealer auction. To put this in perspective, there was one 2017 BMW M6 in a manual transmission at the same auction. They are both specialty vehicles when you get down to it with a limited market, but there are a ton of used Tesla’s on the market right now.

I started writing a book called, “Electric Vehicles Unplugged: Debunking the Hype”, but I wasn’t sure it would have been worth it to share my opinion on the matter beyond The Cool Car Guy’s Blog here. I figure that the market will figure out the pitfalls of the EV landscape. This is a chapter that I wrote in the book, that I decided to post here for people to consider.

In the quest for a greener and more sustainable future, electric vehicles (EVs) have emerged as a shining beacon of hope. They promise cleaner air, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and a departure from our reliance on fossil fuels. However, as we delve deeper into the world of EVs, it becomes evident that not everything is as pristine as it seems. This chapter explores some of the inherent problems with electric vehicles and why they may not be the ideal solution for everyone.

1. Limited Range: The Anxiety of Running Out of Juice

One of the most glaring issues with EVs is their limited range. Unlike traditional gasoline-powered vehicles that can travel hundreds of miles on a single tank, EVs often require recharging after just a fraction of that distance. This range anxiety can be a significant concern for those who rely on their vehicles for long commutes or frequent road trips. Until EVs can match the convenience and range of gasoline cars, they may remain a less practical option for most people.

The reality is that temperature fluctuations can affect battery performance. If you have ever left your phone sitting in the Sun and suddenly it shuts down due to getting too hot you know that temperature has an impact on electronics and battery life. Lithium-ion batteries are affected by temperature fluctuations that in turn are going to affect vehicle range. This was recently witnessed in parts of the country this Winter where charging stations were not working and people were stranded with dead batteries. The media didn’t do a very good job of covering this though since driving a car has somehow become political with the involvement of special interest groups making money off of government business incentives for electric infrastructure.

2. Charging Infrastructure: A Long Road Ahead

While EV charging infrastructure is steadily improving, it remains a work in progress. Gasoline stations are ubiquitous, offering quick and convenient refueling. In contrast, charging stations are still relatively sparse, and the charging process itself is time-consuming. Until the charging network becomes as widespread and fast as refueling at a gas station, EVs may be an impractical choice for those with busy lives and tight schedules. If you’re charging at home and driving a short distance to work that’s a different story all together.

I delivered an older Nissan Leaf to a manager at a Starbucks who lives in New Mexico and he drives it back and forth to work daily without having a gas bill. The low price of the vehicle that he paid, the short range and charging at night at home before going to work isn’t an issue for him. This is a great example of how an EV can work for someone depending on the use, but most people are going beyond a short commute. It’s simply his daily driver to work, like someone riding a bus with added mobility. This is a great use for an older EV and something people should consider if they are wanting a second or third vehicle.

3. Upfront Costs: Paying the Electric Premium

Another formidable barrier to EV adoption is the upfront cost. Electric vehicles typically come with a higher sticker price than their gasoline counterparts. This cost difference can be a hard pill to swallow, even when considering potential long-term savings on fuel and maintenance. Until EVs become more affordable and accessible to a broader range of consumers, they will remain a luxury item for many.

However, this is definitely changing since the used car market is what is actually important and EV prices are dropping on the used market. The media again doesn’t understand this fact, but they cater to Wall Street investors and companies in their market assessment. What they fail to realize is that over twice the number of used vehicles are sold in the US every year than new vehicles. I recently texted back and forth with a friend of mine who owns a dealership in Colorado and he said he had just sold a 2017 Model S 90d that he had for 16 months. He had lost over $12,000 selling that vehicle. This is a real world example of “supply and demand” and how if the demand isn’t there and the supply is the prices are going to drop substantially.

4. Environmental Costs of Battery Production

The production of lithium-ion batteries, a key component of EVs, is not without its environmental costs. The mining of materials such as lithium, cobalt, and nickel can have adverse ecological impacts, including habitat destruction and water pollution. Moreover, the carbon footprint of manufacturing these batteries can be significant. The industry continues to talk about recycling and sustainable sourcing being on the horizon, but this is a joke. All you have to do is look at what “recycling” has looked like the environmental concerns surrounding battery production remain a critical issue to address.

5. Energy Source Matters: The Dirty Side of Clean Transportation

The environmental benefits of EVs are closely tied to the source of the electricity used to charge them. In regions where electricity primarily comes from coal or other fossil fuels, the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from driving an EV may be less substantial. This begs the question: Are we truly reducing our carbon footprint, or are we merely shifting it from the tailpipe to the power plant? The transition to cleaner energy sources is essential for EVs to live up to their green promise.

The media doesn’t really want to cover these facts because driving a vehicle has somehow become political, due to Climate Change. Forget the fact that gas powered vehicles in the United States are equipped with a catalytic convertor to reduce emissions. There are also fuel additives and other technology to reduce emissions that are not pushed as a solution because it doesn’t fit the narrative. Forget that there are 283 million vehicles registered in the United States alone. Is the plan to just scrap all of these vehicles and put them into a landfill?

The majority of greenhouse gases come from producing electricity, flying airplanes in the upper atmosphere, diesel trucks, trains, ships, factories and other sources beyond a consumer driving an automobile. Also, don’t forget that a major polluter can buy “carbon credits” from a company like Tesla to continue polluting, but “magically” be considered to be polluting less. It’s a bit like getting a hall pass in elementary school to go to the bathroom. The carbon credit does nothing. It’s just a hall pass to pollute.

6. Resource Scarcity: The Hidden Costs of Going Green

As the demand for EVs grows, so does the demand for critical resources like lithium and rare earth metals. This heightened competition can lead to supply chain vulnerabilities and price fluctuations. The scarcity of these materials could pose challenges in scaling up EV production and might even result in geopolitical tensions over access to these resources.

There are also computers, phones and other battery powered devices that rely on these resources, so be prepared to pay more for these other products. Ultimately, all of these products that are supposed to be “recycled” end up being scrapped, along with the batteries. Try getting a replacement battery for your old phone? The companies like the car companies are not in the business of making obsolete technology run longer, but they are in the business of selling a new product.

7. Job Displacement: The Price of Progress

The shift from internal combustion engines to EVs could spell job displacement in traditional automotive sectors. Manufacturing, maintenance, and support industries may face workforce reductions, potentially harming local economies and communities. Balancing the promise of environmental benefits with the socio-economic impacts of this transition is a complex challenge.

As I mentioned, we are already witnessing this as supply of new vehicles diminishes and people keep their older cars longer, the price of older vehicles is staying higher than normal. Typically, a vehicle that is leased will depreciate 40% to 50% over a three year period based on having about 45,000 miles on the odometer. We’re seeing older used vehicles that are seven and ten years old that are selling 30% or 50% of what they sold for new! This has the consumer trying to figure out how they can get a car for their new driver, but having to pay way more than planned. It’s causing people to keep their vehicles longer and repair them simply because it’s costing more to buy a used vehicle than they expected.

8. Technological Limitations: The Battery Conundrum

While battery technology has improved, it still faces limitations in terms of energy density, charging speed, and lifespan. Breakthroughs in battery technology are crucial to address these challenges fully. Until we overcome these limitations, EVs may remain an imperfect solution.

Other fuel sources like hydrogen are discounted by many because of a lack of infrastructure, that also exists for the EV market. It’s much easier though to add a hydrogen filling station to existing gasoline, diesel station than it is to build an entirely new EV charging station. The government seems to have no problem to invest billions into creating a new EV infrastructure instead of spending money to update an existing infrastructure for additional consumer options. The charging of a battery is time consuming, so you can’t just retool an existing gas station like you can for hydrogen. A person filling up with hydrogen or gasoline is in and out of the fueling station in a short period of time. They are not sitting at a spot for 30 minutes or more waiting for one vehicle to charge. It’s rather comical that common sense issues like this are not even addressed from a purely practical standpoint.

Conclusion: A Complex Journey Ahead

As we navigate the road to a sustainable future, electric vehicles are a part of the solution, but they are not without their problems. Limited range, charging infrastructure, upfront costs, and environmental concerns are legitimate hurdles that must be addressed. EVs are not a one-size-fits-all solution, and their suitability depends on individual circumstances, priorities, and geographic locations. In the chapters that follow, we will explore potential solutions and innovations that could help overcome these obstacles, making EVs a more viable option for a wider range of consumers.

(If I had decided to finish the book that is – lol).


The Cool Car Guy – John Boyd
John is the owner of CoolCarGuy.com, a licensed car dealership in Lone Tree, CO. He can help you save time and money on any make or model, new or used, lease or purchase – nationwide! Call or email John about your next vehicle!
jboyd@coolcarguy.com or Twitter @coolcarguy

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