Can we spot the logical fallacy in this article?
Via GCR: https://www.greencarreports.com/news/1115010_what-if-car-buyers-arent-ready-for-electric-cars-even-in-california
But what it that assumption simply isn't backed up by data on buyer attitudes and expectations?
But, they write, "There are no paths to meet the plug-in electric vehicle commitments and promises being made by automakers and politicians unless consumers are engaged in the transition to electric drive."
They conclude, bluntly: "Evidence from California says consumers are not" engaged in that transition.
While policymakers, advocates, environmentalists, and others are increasingly excited about electric cars, they write, such enthusiasm "is utterly lost on the vast majority of the car-buying public—even in California, touted as being among the global PEV market leaders."
Here is the fallacious logic that was applied in the article:
If consumers are not engaged in the transition to electric drive...
the plug-in electric vehicle commitments will not be met because there are no paths without their support.
That argument commits a non sequitur fallacy. Here's why:
First, I will say that I completely agree with the initial assertion that "consumers are not engaged". They are not. And I will lay part of the blame for this squarely at the feet of CARB. They have misled the public by telling them that hydrogen-powered fuel-cell vehicles are the endgame and demonstrating that this is the case by taking subsidies which could go toward BEVs and charging infrastructure and wasting it on H2 infrastructure and subsidies. Simply put, CARB is wrong: BEVs are the endgame. I will say it again: there is NO CROSSOVER POINT at which H2 FCVs will be better for the environment than BEVs, at least not for the vast majority of transportation applications.
Reg, if you think the public in California isn't interested in BEVs because they've been anxiously awaiting FCEVs, you are mistaken. If the public has little knowledge or interest in PEVs, they have virtually none in FCEVs. BTW, a fair amount of the VW settlement in California is being spent to educate the public about BEVs, PHEVs, and maybe even FCEVs.
But that is not the point. The point is that you ONLY need enough consumers engaged at any given moment to maintain an exponential growth rate of about 20%/year or more to achieve a very rapid transition. I can tell you that MANY people that I know are watching the developments in this area very closely and are waiting until the products meet their expectations and budgets. There are enough of these people to fuel growth for some time to come as BEV products continue to mature.
What about all the people who are completely disengaged or who are anti-EV? That's most of the population, right? That's correct. And that is EXACTLY what is to be expected at this point in the technology adoption life cycle of BEVs as detailed in the famous book Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore
. Here is an image which describes shows that life cycle
(sorry for the large size!):
For those who haven't read the book, here is a summary of the book to help get you started
So, where are we today and how would we roughly categorize the marketplace? My take:We are currently IN THE CHASM.
The big, scary one. I see the second-generation BEVs which are hitting the market today as a main driver which will begin to bring BEVs out of the chasm.
That is our hope, especially regarding the Model 3. We don't know yet if it will happen. See below.
RegGuheert wrote:The market breaks down VERY roughly as follows (and please don't feel offended if I have mischaracterized you or left out your ride):
- Innovators: People who built BEV conversions or those who bought the original Tesla Roadster, the MY2011 and 2012 Nissan LEAF, the MY2011-2013 Chevy Volt, and others like the Miev.
- Early Adopters: Basically everyone who has purchased a BEV since about the beginning of 2013. Cars like the second-gen Chevy Volt, the MY2013-2017 Nissan LEAF, the Tesla Models S and X fit here.
- Early Majority: These are the people who will purchase the Tesla Model S, the Chevy Bolt or the 60-kWh Nissan LEAF or similar vehicles. (Who knows, GRA may fit in here somewhere, but he talks more like a late majority member.)
- Late Majority: These are the people who will wait and watch the early majority and will not purchase until a BEV is available precisely for THEIR needs. A perfect example product for this group would be a Ford F-Series BEV or a Chevy Silverado BEV. Another example might be something for soccer moms like a Chevy Suburban BEV.
I could go early or late majority depending on how things break out. I did my time as an early adopter with off-grid (PV/Wind/Hydro) back in the early '80s/late '90s, and while I enjoyed it, I'm not willing to jump through all the hoops and spend the extra money to do so again. While I'd like to be early majority, given that the typical places I go will be among the very last to get the needed infrastructure, whether QC or H2 fuel stations, I'll probably be pushed to late majority. There's no advantage for me to get a PHEV instead of an HEV, given my typical trip profile and lack of charging opportunities; if the HEV gets significantly better Hwy mpg, it would burn less gas. My living and working situation would have to change radically to justify a PHEV.
: These are the people who will not purchase a BEV until they have no other real option. These are likely people who have been very vocal opponents of BEVs who are not willing to give up their convictions. (I would be a perfect example of a laggard in the H2 FCV market should that technology ever "cross the chasm". Doubtful!)
While Crossing the Chasm
is focused on marketing and sales techniques for selling innovative products through the chasm to widespread adoption, I think there are parallels for the disruption in a broader market. So what is needed for BEVs to "cross the chasm"? My guesses:
- BEV products must continue to expand their capabilities to include more and more automotive applications.
- BEV infrastructure must continue to mature and improve to eventually allow BEVs to fulfill all existing roles the ICEVs currently fill.
- BEVs must continue to come down in price, even while providing increasing capabilities.
- BEVs must continue to differentiate amongst themselves in order to feed the specific needs of a very wide range of consumers. Many people do NOT want to own the same BEV that everyone else has.
- As ikkms2 says: BEV owners need to educate and advocate. Frankly, I have been very forthcoming with education, but I have been very limited in my advocacy amongst my friends because most current BEVs do not meet their needs. That is changing rapidly and I will become more of an advocate as products come on the market which are better-suted to people's specific needs
- I also see photovoltaics as a companion technology that will be important to help fuel BEV growth among homeowners. Why? Because BEVs are going to start putting massive UPWARD pressure on electricity prices. Once homeowners learn that they can reduce BOTH their electricity bill AND their vehicle fuel bill and lock in prices for decades to come by installing PV and purchasing a BEV or two, I think many will come around to both. I model this here, but I have to say the Zythryn with the amazing home which he and his wife have created in MN
is nearly the perfect example for this approach. His blog
does an excellent job of demonstrating what is possible with today's technology. Along these same lines, I find that I also try to educate people about the horrible things being done to the mountains of West Virginia to extract the coal that is burned to power our homes.
Yes, as DNAinaGoodWay says, low gas prices do not help with BEV adoption. But I don't see an increase in gasoline prices as a key to success of BEV technology. BEVs will win the market regardless of what happens with the gasoline supply.
There we disagree. I think fuel prices have always been the main driver of interest in AFVs generally, as the general public are in the main satisfied with the capabilities and requirements of fossil fueled ICEs. Between California's $0.12/gal. gas tax hike ($0.20 for diesel) effective last Nov. 1st, and the $0.20/gal jump in fuel prices in the past ten days or so, things look more favorable for AFVs here (up $0.52/gal compared to last year at this time), so we should be seeing more interest. I think they have to hit at least $3.50/gal ($3.34 avg. for the state as of 2/5) before we see a significant increase of interest, and probably have to return to $4.00/gal. or more before most people will consider options to ICEs.
RegGuheert wrote:Ultimately, I must conclude that the authors of that study are fully ignorant of the normal adoption cycle for modern technology products.
ITS has been around a long time (IIRR, the former head was one of the people who developed and popularized PHEVs in the late '90s/early 2000s), and it's highly unlikely that they are unfamiliar with the adoption cycle for high tech products, "Crossing the Chasm" being pretty much required reading in the business (while not in
Silicon Valley, UC Davis is close enough, being at the junction of the S.F. Bay Area and Sacramento metro areas that there's a lot of cross-pollination). Have a look at their home page: https://its.ucdavis.edu/
RegGuheert wrote:Finally, it would be a HUGE problem if everyone wanted to purchase a BEV today since manufacturers have not yet ramped up their production capabilities nearly enough to meet such a need. Steady, exponential growth is what is needed for this transition. Not some imaginary step-change in behavior.
OTOH, high demand would undoubtedly lead to more rapid deployment of the needed infrastructure, so it's a mixed bag. We should have such problems (Tesla does in a few places).