Compliance car and Honda execs don’t believe in plugs.

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by Wayne Wilson, Jan 13, 2020.

  1. RickSE

    RickSE Active Member

    I’m in Massachusetts. The only water cooler conversation today is whether we were better off keeping Brady over Garoppolo!
  2. Withh ALL the Car adds in the Superbowl last night being about ELECTRIC cars, electric Audis, Electric Mustangs, electric Hummer trucks,. etc./ it's funny that Honda hasn't caught on yet. Christ it's the Superbowl and I didn;t see one Chevy truck add??? Is that right?
  3. The trucks are already selling like hot cakes. CNN Business reviewed 29 of the commercials. The only car commercial mentioned was the self parking Hyundai.
    CyberDyneSystems likes this.
  4. I am in the same position. Never thought I'd want an all electric, but with the "free gas" provided by my in home solar,. we just might reconsider. My wife's commute is only about 30 miles round trip. Currently she does it in a Honda Fit. that little Honda "E" that isn't coming to America would be just about perfect.
  5. Agzand

    Agzand Active Member

    I think even if fuel cells become common for passenger cars, they will be a range extender, not the engine. So they should have a clarity size battery for daily commute and the fuel cell for longer trips.
  6. The hydrogen tank is part of what gave the Clarity its strange trunk to rear seat floor geometry. Packaging both the fuel cell equipment and a battery sounds impractical.
    insightman likes this.
  7. Agzand

    Agzand Active Member

    Well if the hydrogen infrastructure becomes more widespread, combined with a 17 kWh battery, they can reduce the tank size by half. You don't really need 360 miles range if you can refuel in 4 minutes, only when doing a road trip. But there is a lot of engineering improvements needed to make fuel cells viable.
  8. By that logic, the car companies could cut the current gas tank sizes in half. Good luck selling 200 mile range cars (even if filling up is quick).
  9. Agzand

    Agzand Active Member

    They could if you would refuel only for longer trips (e.g. once a month). Remember with Clarity PHEV you just need to refuel about once a month or so, and it already has less range than the fuel cell version.
  10. DucRider

    DucRider Well-Known Member

    Except hydrogen isn't widely available. The stations that do exist are near where people that are allowed to lease/own these cars live. On a longer trip, you wouldn't be able to refuel with hydrogen o_O.
  11. Agzand

    Agzand Active Member

    Yes that is what I said in the beginning.
  12. Ray B

    Ray B Active Member

    Just a few thoughts on the Honda direction wrt to plug-in vehicles.

    It doesn't make a ton of difference to me personally, but just as with critiquing the play calling in the Super Bowl, us armchair quarterbacks can't help ourselves to weigh-in on topics we are not qualified to partake in. So here's my $0.02... :)

    • The market for vehicles in the US and worldwide is now declining. For passenger cars it is -10% per year in the US. Larger vehicles are growing slightly but the overall count is declining. In some aspects it is steady or just barely growing, but the industry overall is not growing and is showing signs that it is contracting as a trend. Besides the economy, I think there are many reasons for the decline in the auto sector:
      • The worldwide urbanization trend, (80% and growing in most industrialized countries) which requires fewer cars per person than rural living.
      • The population is also aging, and the number of young people in developed countries is declining, which may also require less cars.
      • As well, the self-driving aspect may also mature at some point (10-15 years from now) and make ride-sharing even more common in urban centers, which will also drag down the need for car ownership.
      • Not to mention the high costs of parking and storing a car when you live or work in a city. A car is only typically used 5-10% of the time, and it is expensive to have one occupying a lot of space unused.
      • Another big factor is that cars now last for eons. Roughly every 5 years the average age of cars on the road increases by a year. It is currently at 12 years and it is going up steadily.

    • HEV sales seem to be historically up and down, but the trend over the past 4-5 years has been steadily declining.
    • The sales of plug in vehicles was down last year, but that was influenced to some extent by the heavy mark left by Model 3 the previous year and the loss of the tax incentives for Tesla. But the trend over the past 8 years has been an average of 25% growth.
    • So those of us rooting for Honda to make good (long-term) decisions, and avoid the fate of the Kodak's, the BlockBusters, and the Nortel's of the business world, want to see Honda with more than a token (compliance) effort to forge a path to be ahead of the curve. They certainly have developed some great EV technology but the recent statement by the CEO makes it sound more like the Kodak story of the early 80's.
    • But the disruptive technology that plug-in vehicles represents is not typical in the orthodoxy of 'Disruptive Innovation' as put forward by Clayton Christensen, which is characterized by low cost versions of high-end technology which make it available to the masses, thus sinking the established companies. For plug-in vehicles (for the most part) the models start at the high-end and are slowly trickling down to the lower cost segments. It is understandable since the costs are based on the traction battery which are still coming down, and the overall buzz about EVs which is their limited range which forces the auto companies to oversize the expensive batteries. So it is hard to picture a mid-range EV with low cost that can truly disrupt the auto sector. Lower cost Li-ion batteries will make that possible at some point but - from my point of view at least - the Honda e was a good effort in that direction. If they made it a little more austere and another $5K cheaper (smaller battery?), I think it may really be a disruptive force; especially when tax incentives are factored in. I think a truly low-cost BEV will be hard to beat in the market, but the incumbent companies are conservative by nature, and the new contenders have high start-up costs that would make a low-cost BEV impossible. If we do see one appear, even with a limited range, it will push the 2% EV market into higher and higher shares. My belief is it will probably come from China or India, and be re-badged via an established automaker for the US and Europe. The Volkswagen Beetle of the EV age.
    Perhaps if I had any sway with Honda, I would recommend they spin off an EV-only company, the way that IBM broke off their PC mfg to Lenovo.
  13. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member

    If gas prices were not subsidized and ICE vehicles were much more expensive to operate, the cost savings of plug-in vehicles would qualify them as an orthodox disruptive technology. I believe the Clarity PHEV would be an undeniable success (in all 50 states) but for the artificially low gas prices in the US.
    Ray B likes this.
  14. Ray B

    Ray B Active Member

    Yes, I think you're right.

    Keep in mind that the cost of gasoline in Germany is >$5/gallon I think and in spite of the high electricity cost (~$0.30/kWh), it is much cheaper to use EV than fuel, but EV adoption is still quite slow there. I found a good (and recent) documentary on the German car industry as it struggles with their proud auto history of Diesel and gas cars, and VW who is committed to an EV future due to their Diesel cheating scandal. You have to take the interviewer's EV bias into account as he total ignores all negative aspects of EVs but I think the overall perspective of the German car makers was interesting to hear.

    As well, I found this new paper on EV adoption by the Norway populace, which gives insight into the thought process for EV adoption over there (not much different than us pro-EV people over here).

    Let me know what you think of these...
  15. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member

    That paper suggests people will cling to old technologies for unexpected reasons, and one single element will not result in a major transition.
    However, as noted by sustainability transitions scholars, transitions are long-term processes which are not caused by changes in one single element such as high oil prices, a transport innovation or a government intervention. Many technologies have failed due to lack of support or because car drivers and consumers developed alternative, unexpected behavior. Transport is a profoundly complex socio-technical system and a reduction of its fossil-fuel dependence goes beyond that of technological change to encompass changes in social and cultural practices as well.

    I agree no single element will result in a transition, but a combination of elements: high oil prices, reduced battery prices, and increased battery storage capacity could do the trick. However, high oil prices could provide a significant incentive even if the other two elements lag.
  16. RickSE

    RickSE Active Member

    Don’t discount advertising as a driver for change. A lot of car (ok - SUV & pickup truck) manufacturers are going in heavy on electric vehicles. They wouldn’t have spent $3 million on a 30 second Super Bowl ad if they weren’t.

    A lot more clarity’s would have sold if Honda had bothered to spend a little coin last year when the clarity was sweeping every car award for economic categories.
  17. What are your beliefs on the artificially low prices of subsidized EV’s?
  18. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member

    Based on the discounts Chevy is having to offer on the Bolt now that their eligibility for Federal EV tax credits is going away, I believe that while gas prices remain artificially low (non-Tesla) EVs won't sell unless their prices are also artificially low. I am troubled by the idea that eliminating gas subsidies would impose regressive expenses on the less-affluent and that the Federal EV tax credits benefit the more affluent. I appreciate state tax subsidies that are available regardless of income.
  19. Don't forget that CAFE requirements have always resulted in a de facto subsidy of smaller, more fuel efficient cars.

    The main reason GM was flogging Cavaliers, Cruzes, G5's, Grand Ams, etc. for last few decades was to facilitate the sale of more Tahoes, Yukons and Suburbans at dramatically higher profit margins.
  20. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member

    How many additional electric cars will MINI sell after they start airing their first commercial for the MINI Cooper SE? That's a trick question because the car is not yet on sale and MINI will be bringing only 200 BEVs/month to the US. After watching the ad, it's clear I'm at least 50 years older than their target audience. That must be why I'm confused that the ad barely indicates the car is battery powered and does nothing to tout the benefits of a BEV. However, the ad does promote tasty electrical cable (even though the insulation may be a little tough).


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