The Future of Electric Vehicles – Where is it going?

By Richard Marks

Today’s populations are moving to the cities and urban areas surrounding these cities.  In the US, 75% of the population lives in an urban metropolitan area.  Europe and Asia are slightly lower.

So what are the choices to interested private buyers?  That depends where you live, what you do, where you work, how much you earn and your household needs.

The average price paid for a new car today (March 2014) in US is $32,086. Median income for US is $53,043 (half above – half below; by Sentier Research).  Who can afford a new car?  Really only the wealthy buy new cars (15.6 M new cars/trucks sold 2013) and 40+M used cars.  The “average” person buys a used car.

Experian Automotive reported recently that roughly 21 percent of electric car buyers earned an average household income of at least $175,000 last year, not your typical car buyer.  However, with all the low dollar monthly lease deals on EV’s going on, the industry probably has dropped that.  The other issue is that the $7,500 tax credit on a purchase, only works if you purchase, not lease; and you need a tax liability greater than $7,500 after all of your other deductions.  So what kind of income do you need? The $100,000+ is not a bad place to start.  So EV’s are for the richer and more educated buyers plus our Government gives them a special tax break? Sound fair?

Let’s go back to the 40M used cars/trucks sold each year. National Automotive Dealers Assoc. reported the average used car price was $15,042 in March 2014.  that’s better, but you are buying an out of warranty vehicle up to 8 years old that has a lot of up and coming repair work and maintenance on the horizon plus $4/gal gas.

There is a solution to many on the horizon.  How many cars do you have in your household?  2010 Census data says that 21.5M households have 3 or more cars, 45.4M have 2 cars, 39.7M have 1 car and 10.7M have no cars.  If you are part of the 2 cars or 3 or more, than EcoVElectric is an affordable alternative.  EcoV is designed to meet the needs of people and fleet operators in city areas.  At $11,999 it is also affordable by all and it offers a 70% lower cost to operate than a new or used car.  EcoV costs less as a new vehicle than an average used car today.  Never have to buy gas; just plug into a wall socket and for 50¢ you are charged and ready to go 25 – 40 miles.  Zero emissions and almost zero cost to operate.  EcoV is safe and crash tested. EcoV is fully enclosed and very much a car.  What’s your purpose? EcoV is available in passenger, pick-up and delivery vehicle models that are all multi-functional.

How much range do you need in a vehicle for city and urban area trips? Average daily trip distance for urban based cars in USA, was 36.5 miles/day.  The average single trip distance was 5.95 miles.  The average commute distance was 13.6 miles.  In fact, we do not realize how little we really drive.  For most people a city based EV is a great solution to save money, particularly when a high speed vehicle is available for those important but less frequent trips.


Now how about government and commercial fleets in cities and urban areas?  Since many of these fleets don’t need to go fast and their missions are shorter in distance,  EcoV can save them greatly  in operating costs.  Take a city parking enforcement vehicle.  EcoV can save $43,500 over a 10 year period, payback in 9 months based on 25-35 miles per day.  100,000 EcoV’s in service over 10 years, saves you the taxpayer $4.5B.  Take an EcoV city mail delivery vehicle with a 22 year life cycle – saves Post Office $145,000 per EcoV with payback in 7 months based on 5-10 miles per day and with 40,000 in service that saves you, the tax payer, $6B.  There are lots of applications: parks & recreation, city services, security patrols, university public safety and campus service & pool vehicles, vacation resort rentals, airports, homeland security at airport, harbor and border crossings.

The future is clearly going towards smaller, smarter city based transportation solutions like EcoV.  The next question is how does an early stage company find partners, both financial and business?  Can the current trend away from investing in EV companies be reversed?  Can we create a race towards an affordable EV solution for everyone?  Can we attract investors with the strength, skill and vision to be part of the future profits EV sales will generate?  We think so.

Manufacturing is key to any low volume niche business.  Overheads in terms of staff, facilities, tools and equipment are typically large.  We are changing the paradigm on low volume niche manufacturing in the transportation business.  How we integrate the product, the suppliers, and the processes to be able to build not only a profitable low volume (10,000-30,000 units/yr) but low price product ($11,999 well equipped) has changed all the rules.  The manufacturing side is about finding the right partners to assemble the product, which we have been able to do.  The other side is using off-the-shelf proven technology rather than designing all new parts ourselves, we leverage other’s efforts including prototyping, testing, tooling, and putting into high volume manufacture to get to low costs.  They buy excess manufacturing capacity.  We need to be out of the traditional manufacturing box to make an entry level great product work and be a sustainable business.

Here is a short, entertaining video that presents a strong message about investing in electric vehicle start-ups for the future.  EcoV is just one but it is for limited number of investors who can see the future.

The owner, Richard Marks, spent 25 years with General Motors, including five on the EV1 electric vehicle.  I then worked for Tier 1 suppliers and during the past eleven years has been developing EcoV in a full-time, privately funded effort.  Today the company has invested  $10M (mostly sweat equity, prototype building & testing and market research) and is looking for $10M in funding to be in production in 9 months.  The “secret sauce” is the unique integration of product, suppliers and automotive process.  We have taken a bite out of Apple Computer’s manufacturing model playbook.

Written by: Richard W. Marks
President, EnVironmental Transportation Solutions, LLC

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