Off-Road Hybrids and the Shape of Future Off-Road Electric Cars [Autowerkz.TV Interview]

Recently, Autowerkz.TV had an opportunity to interview an industry insider who follows hybrids and electric cars. While he asked for his name to be omitted, (his publication rarely allows him to ‘officially’ post outside interviews) his professional credentials are impeccable.

Autowerkz.TV: Thanks for meeting with us, we know you’re busy.

Insider: No problem. I like what Autowerkz (Autowerkz.TV) is trying to do.

Autowerkz.TV: Can you share with our viewers what you told me about off-road hybrid and electric vehicles?

Insider: Will do. Many of my cohorts in the automotive and high tech industries have seen a shift in research regarding near-future electric and hybrid vehicles.

Autowerkz.TV: Can you elaborate?

Insider: Automakers realise that, in North America, a disproportionate amount of consumers buy trucks. The Ford F-150 is still one of the most popular vehicles in the USA. A majority of those trucks (including trucks from GM, Ram, Toyota and Nissan) are 4x4s. Automakers know that, if they hope to make inroads into the truck market, they need to build hybrid and all-electric trucks.

Autowerkz.TV: Didn’t we get a Chevrolet Silverado 1500 hybrid?

Insider: That’s a poor example. It’s a half-step at best. Automakers need to make a compelling argument for (plug-in) hybrid and electric trucks.

Autowerkz.TV: Can’t they already point to the torque and capability of electric motors?

Insider: Soon you’ll see vehicles like the Bollinger SUV destroy off-road trails. It should be very impressive, but it’s just a drop in the bucket. Until we see a Silverado, Ram or F-150 out-perform its gas counterparts using electricity, it’s just a novelty.

Autowerkz.TV: What about Tesla?

Insider: Tesla should have built an electric pickup truck a year ago. As it stands. Tesla charges too much for its vehicles as it is. No practical truck lover is going to spend $100,000 on a pickup truck. Sure, trucks are already expensive, my neighbor bought a F-250 for almost $70,000. But that truck can go almost 600 miles on a tank of diesel and it can haul his trailer and toys reliably – for many years.

Autowerkz.TV: This leads us up to the purpose of this interview, what can you tell us about the future of plug-in hybrid and electric trucks?

Insider: It looks like just about every automaker that sells or WILL sell trucks in America is looking at the possibility of using plug-in hybrid systems and all-electric power. Out of all of these automakers, I think Nissan will be one of the first to introduce an all-electric truck or van. We’ve already sampled a Nissan NV200 Electric, which is basically an NV200 with a Leaf power module. It worked well. Nissan is a pioneer in mass-marketing electric vehicles and I think they will be the first large automaker to introduce an electric or, possibly, a plug-in hybrid pickup truck to this market.

Autowerkz.TV: We’ll keep an eye out and we appreciate the information.

Driver’s Talk Blog – ACCELERATED CHANGE: WINCE

By: Driver’s Talk Radio

You can access their website (here)

Experts are…you know…supposed to know their stuff. So here I stand before a pile of experts assembled on stage at the new Automobility LA (formerly the L.A. Auto Show).

Any questions?
The microphone is hot and five guys on stage are about to squirm in their seats. But first, let me tell you what is going on.

Future is kinda my thing. Mix substance and reality from the past, throw in a dash of human nature, now let’s compare ideas about how life is gonna be.

Example?
It’s easy to describe spot-less transportation pods that I summon with my cell phone. That’s nice, but I’m going to remind every one of the fact that someone will still have to clean those pods after the drunks and the dogs. That’s life.

During the Automobility Show there were numerous seminars on artificial intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, navigation overlays, electric vehicle recharging, and the modern cityscape. Oh, and one more subject…chat bots.
(I did not make this up…auto dealership CHAT BOTS).

Usually, a panel contains three or four very smart people. Most are very confident and interested in sharing what they know. Slide shows and little films and promoting ideas now under development. Many of the ideas are well known in the world of tech. So there are not many surprises.

We already know you can make a 3D car with a computer. We understand our navigation units (or phones) will soon tell us there is a tree in the road around the next corner. The blending of a Fitbit and the infotainment system can warn if the driver is sleepy. These are all good, but not really new ideas. So I waited. Thinking. And here comes the next panel.

picture12

“Realizing the EV Dream”
Four experts on stage joined by a clean-energy specialist…a guy from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. This is how electric powered BEV’s will be taking over our cityscapes with the new EV Ecosystems.

Yes, yes…sounds great! Clean cars…here they come!

Hot Mic. Any questions?
Sure, why not. I can’t control myself. I mean, these people are experts.

Ready. Aim. Fire.
“40 cents of every gallon of gas sold in California goes to road tax. How and when will EV’s be participating in road tax?”

OOOOH. Quiet room.
Five guys on stage all WINCED at once. Everyone shifted in their chair. Every face said don’t ask that question. It’s like I just took away their ball from the playground.

Reason?
EVs are using the roads and not paying to maintain them. This would also be true if you used agricultural fuel in your personal truck, driven off the farm. Or, if you made your own fuel from old French fry cooking oil. If you make your own fuel, you owe the State of California $600 every year as your share of road tax. If you recharge an EV and use it in California, right now, you pay no road taxes. Zippo. A very quiet tax loophole. Same with compressed Natural Gas or Hydrogen used as a road fuel.

Today we have companies designing battery, and/or hydrogen, powered class 8 semi-tractor trucks. One of them is TOYOTA. Another is NIKOLA, the young startup from Salt Lake City. Highly likely that taxation is going to come up when big cargo trucks side step road taxes.

picture1

Regardless of how the road tax is collected, it will soon be coming due, and this expense will be factored into the cost of ownership because electric-powered cars and trucks are the future. Right? Right?