Why not Electric Cars?
The difficulty with electric cars is energy density of the battery:

   Material      Energy content    Conversion Efficiency  Energy available to
                       ( watt-hrs/lb)                                          move vehicle (wh/lb)

Gasoline       6,000                 20%-                     1,200-

Ethanol         4,000                 30%+                    1,200+

Li ion batt        100                  80%+                        80+

Ethanol is a powerful motor fuel  in its own right and, if used in an engine optimized for ethanol, has slightly better available energy than gasoline.

Lithium ion batteries provide at the most 100 watt-hours/lb of  available energy to move the car which is why the Volt goes 53 miles  and the Leaf only 107 miles before having to recharge them. By adding more batteries, the Chevy Bolt can go  238 miles on a single charge, but at the cost of weight (3600 lb vehicle) and cost ($43,500). 

If you add even more batteries to get more more power and mileage, the weight of the vehicle increases and efficiency drops even  more. Costs also increase dramatically which is why the Tesla Roadster S costs so much, >$100,000 -- $160,00 for the Model S P100D which has the longest range.

Gasoline electric hybrids such  as the Volt have a longer  range, but they still burn the problem - gasoline.

For batteries to be competitive with gasoline or ethanol the energy density will have to jump from 100 to 1500 watt-hrs/lb. There is nothing on the horizon to indicate this is going to be possible on any sort of near term time scale.

Even with recent price decreases, the Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Volt and Bolt are more expensive compared to their gasoline counterparts of the same size, the Versa and the Cruze.


Number of  light  duty (LD) vehicles in U.S.    ~250,000,000

Number of Chevrolet Volts sold thru December 2017                20,297
Number of Nissan Leafs sold thru December 2017                    11,230

Number of Chevrolet Bolts sold thru December 2017               23,297

Number of LD vehicles sold thru December 2017        

Potential E100 vehicles per year
(50% of total market of ~17,000,000/yr)                              8,500,000

In summary, thru August 2017, the market share of the Volt, Bolt and Leaf was only 0.3% (54,824/17,230,436), where it has been for several years.

These sales volumes are horrible especially considering  massive government subsidies, rebates, HOV lane stickers and free recharging stations. The fact that market share is so low for these vehicles indicates that these vehicles simply do not provide value to the consumer. 

To make a difference in the amount of  gasoline used,  we  have to replace millions of vehicles per year, not just thousands, tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands.

If a decision were made to go to 50% E100 flex/fuel vehicles, we could easily make 8 million vehicles by 2020 followed by 8 million more each year after that. This would truly make a significant dent in the amount of CO2 emitted and reduce global warming. Consumers would flock to E100 vehicles if the mileage was  the same as gasoline engines because E100 would sell for at least $.20 - .30/gallon less than  gasoline.

Electric cars are great technology, exciting to work on, and fun to drive, but, as the numbers and costs show, are simply  not a viable strategy for significantly reducing CO2 emissions or for making us independent of imported oil on any sort of reasonable time schedule.