Sixt Car Rental CEO Sees No Future For Electric Cars…”Politically Serious Mistake”…”Devours Money”

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As the pressure mounts in Europe to ditch diesel-engine-powered cars and switch over to electric vehicles, a number of experts advise some sobriety before taking the great big green leap.

“Serious mistake”

According to the online German business weekly Wirthschaftswoche (WIWO) here, the CEO of Sixt car rental company, one of the largest in Europe, recently said he doesn’t believe in electric cars and that “it is a serious mistake politically.”

One main obstacle, Erich Sixt told in an telephone interview with with WIWO, is the supply of raw materials needed to manufacture car batteries, noting that the cobalt supply is mostly in the hands of China.

“Devour money”

CEO Sixt also mentioned other obstacles, among them the needed infrastructure to recharge the vehicles, which he says “would devour a lot of money”.

Scant demand

He also told WIWO that the range for electric cars was “a catastrophe”, adding that customers rarely ask for e-cars and that those who do, do so out of curiosity. Often things go awry for the those renting the cars:

Some call the rental outlet for help because they end up getting stuck on the autobahn after Garmisch-Partenkirchen.”

Thing of the rich

Sixt also says electric vehicles are a thing for the rich, who use them as a way to make themselves feel better. Sixt does, however, say there are some practical applications, such as renting them on small islands where range is not important.

He also told WIWO he would gladly take more into his fleet if demand warranted it.

ICE cars unbeatable in terms of reliability

WIWO summarizes Germany’s largest car rental CEO’s view of electric cars by reporting that overall he “doesn’t think much” of electric cars. The car and transportation expert obviously thinks that internal combustion engine (ICE) cars are still far superior.

When in the business of renting cars and making sure customers can reliably and safely get from point A to point B, or Z, the ICE cars are the way to go.

Germany in fact doing very little

Though German political leaders often talk big about electric mobility, so far very little has happened to make it a reality. All the talk about e-mobility has been lip service.

Electric vehicles are still more a green dream than they are reality. They’re great in the fantasy world, but in reality they are still a nightmare.

 

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41 responses to “Sixt Car Rental CEO Sees No Future For Electric Cars…”Politically Serious Mistake”…”Devours Money””

  1. Mikky

    Electric vehicles are great … as mobility scooters, golf buggies and milk floats, somewhat similar to solar power being great for … powering watches and LED lights, and recharging phones.

  2. John F. Hultquist

    . . . noting that the cobalt supply is mostly in the hands of China.

    This does not sound right. There seems to be lots of Cobalt in the world for years, and likely this will never become a critical issue. If and when the price goes up, changes will compensate. Batteries will continue to be improved.
    EV acceptance have bigger issues.
    chiefo has more on his blog: https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2018/06/01/some-ev-thoughts/

    1. Moose

      “Batteries will continue to be improved.”
      That’s what they keep telling us. But current battery technologies are from the last century and they are almost at the top of what can be done physically and chemically.

      1. SebastianH

        Current battery technology improvements increase the capacity per mass (energy density) at a rate of around 5% per year. That’s an average, but it has been true for quite some time now, especially for the construction of battery packs that include more than just the cells.

        Another area of improvement is the price per kWh. It is decreasing rapidly and is the probably the most influential metric that allows electric vehicles to be a viable alternative to ICE vehicles. And ultimately this will also enable the short-term storage for the power grid, for both frequency stabilization (it is far superior to “spinning reserves”) and to smooth out the power generation from renewables.

        1. AndyG55

          Dream on, little fantasy man.

          Electric vehicles will be nothing but a niche feel-good market

          The more energy they try to pack into batteries, the more volatile they will become.

          BASIC PHYSICS, seb.

          Did you know that the other day UK wind was providing 0.2% of UK electricity ?

          1. SebastianH

            Electric vehicles will be nothing but a niche feel-good market

            Want to bet on this? I predict electric vehicles will be the dominant newly sold vehicles in the personal transportation space (and probably in short distance transport services for goods) by the year 2030. What percentage is the limit for you to still call it a niche?

            The more energy they try to pack into batteries, the more volatile they will become.

            Volatile as in they might explode/burn?

          2. AndyG55

            “Volatile as in they might explode/burn?”

            I knew basic physics was BEYOND YOU.

            And what you predict is immaterial. Fantasy land stuff.

            Ford F-series, all by themselves, sell several times as many vehicles in the US as ALL evs.

          3. SebastianH

            “Volatile as in they might explode/burn?”

            I knew basic physics was BEYOND YOU.

            Electric vehicles are no more likely to burn/explode than combustion vehicles.

            And what you predict is immaterial. Fantasy land stuff.

            No, it’s a bet that you likely know you would lose. Why else would you bring up the Ford F-series? That car/truck is just 5% of the US market (896k cars sold in 2017 vs. 17.25 total cars sold in 2017) … a niche product if you will 😉

            Will take the bet? At what point will electric vehicles not be a niche product in your mind? When they reach 5% market share for new cars sold in the US?

          4. AndyG55

            896k sales of ford f-series.

            200k ALL ev sales

            that’s only just 1% of cars sold in 2017

            seb FACEPLANTS….. YET AGAIN

            So sad… roflmao !!

          5. SebastianH

            *sigh* AndyG55, are you playing stupid on purpose now?

            One more time, at what percentage does the niche classification end? 5% like with the F-series? 10%? 20%? 50%?

            Also, I was talking about 2030 and you used future tense too, remember? “Electric vehicles will be nothing but a niche feel-good market”

          6. AndyG55

            just 1% of sales.

            ALL EVs, outsold by a factor of 4+ by a single series of trucks.

            *SIGH*

            No wonder you have nothing except your daydream fantasies to work with.

            It is built in.

        2. SebastianH

          Is that 1% figure the answer to my question? So when sales of EVs double, you become one of those “false prophets” that are so abundant in skeptic circles?

          1. AndyG55

            Poor seb

            You can’t get over the FACT that ALL EVs are only 1% of the market, are outsold by more than a factor of 4 by a single manufacturers big fossil fuel powered truck.

            So sad, so….. roflmao !!

          2. AndyG55

            sales of EV are like solar..

            only exist because of massive subsidies and anti-CO2 agenda forcing rules. (and SJW feel-good)

            You KNOW that, little shill.

            1% of sales.. roflmao !!!

      2. Yonason

        There are phisico-chemical limits to what batteries can do, and we are pushing it hose limits already. Unless the laws of nature change, I don’t anticipate anything more than fine tuning of what we already have – at least not affordably. But even then, it will be like scraping the last bit of jam out of an already empty jar.

  3. John F. Hultquist

    I haven’t bothered to follow up on the report (link below) about the possible changes being researched regarding batteries. Whether it is this technology or something else, I expect improvement in batteries and the system that supports EVs. Lots of money is being thrown at such issues.
    Not that I or most people will want one.
    Yesterday, I drove my Subaru about 500 km (300 mi.) and used 60% of the gasoline in the tank. I could go 1/2 as far again before needing fuel. Used the heater in the morning and the A/C on the way home. Played the radio, too.

    http://www.mining.com/cobalt-price-bulls-worst-fears-may-just-confirmed/

  4. Penelope

    Tesla did a speed vs range experiment on Model S:
    “at 20mph, you would get just over 450 miles range; compared to driving at 50mph, when you’d get around 325 miles of range. And if you were to drive at 80mph, you’d only get 200 mile range.”

    There’s a graph here https://www.quora.com/Can-electric-cars-get-more-range-if-driven-more-slowly

    My old Honda Accord used to do Oceanside, CA to Tucson, AZ w/o refueling. 450 mi took me 7 hours w a leisurely pitstop including a short walk & stretch. In a lovely electric car, I could avoid “refueling” by driving 22 1/2 hours– no pitstop included.

    1. SebastianH

      Comment lost or deleted?

      tl;dr: combustion engines follow the same laws of physics, only they are much less efficient at lower speeds and that’s why the difference between fast and slow driving isn’t as pronounced as when using a highly efficient electric drivetrain.

      As for long distance trips: you don’t need to drive slow, you can recharge your car every few hours in the short breaks you are taking anyway (if you are a responsible driver). Maybe that is a dealbreaker for you with the current generation EVs, but then again, you still can buy a vehicle with a combustion engine if that better fits your driving profile … so what is your problem?

      1. AndyG55

        “you can recharge your car every few hours in the short breaks”

        ROFLMAO !

        “A typical electric car (Nissan LEAF 30kWh) takes 4 hours to charge from empty with a 7kW home charging point.”

        and spent DAYS getting anywhere.

        And where will all this electricity come from, seb, when the wind isn’t blowing and its not around midday on a sunny day.??

        You truly live in a la-la fantasy land, seb. !!

        1. SebastianH

          A typical electric vehicle charges with 50+ kW, some charge with above 100 kW. 300+ kW is announced for some of the upcoming electric luxury cars.

          And where will all this electricity come from, seb, when the wind isn’t blowing and its not around midday on a sunny day.??

          Why is that important to you? I thought you didn’t care?

          On average electric vehicles will charge with whatever the power mix in the country you are driving in is. In Germany it will be around 40% renewables. If you are trying to make a point with only charging your EV when there are only coal and natural gas power plants running, then so be it. That’s not the average use case however.

          1. AndyG55

            By 2030, most of the renewables will be up for renewing.. and there won’t be a second round of massive subsidies.

            WAKE UP, seb, and stop taking whatever it is to put you into these weird fantasy daydreams of yours.

          2. SebastianH

            You have a weird fantasy yourself if you think renewables have no future without subsidies. If you can install solar panels and run them for 4.33 ct/kWh in Germany, you surely can run them for much less in sunnier locations. And we certainly haven’t reached the end of the cost reduction spiral yet.

          3. AndyG55

            “And we certainly haven’t reached the end of the cost reduction spiral yet.”

            Yep China still has plenty of over-production left… ignore the pollution. Its not in your backyard, is it seb.

            http://www.worldwatch.org/node/5650

          4. AndyG55

            “you surely can run them for much less in sunnier locations.”

            For 4-6 hours a day… WHOOPY DOO !!!

            You still don’t understand the concept of idiocy of the economics of irregular supply needing near 100% back-up available, do you seb.

          5. SebastianH

            I understand the concept of being able to replace (*) expensive peaker plants with cheap photovoltaics at those time of the day where most electricity is consumed. Do you?

            *) = they don’t need to run most of the time.

          6. AndyG55

            roflmao

            You do NOT understand the concept that building something that is capable of 24/7 CHEAPLY, is being force to operate uneconomically by IRREGULAR, UNRELIABLE highly subsidies junk power.

            They are only building those expensive “peaker” plants because of the unreliability of wind and solar.

            The economics really is TOTALLY BEYOND you, isn’t it, little shill.

            Hopefully when all fossil fuels are forced out of the market, you will get a chance to “comprehend”.

            It would be totally HILARIOUS watching an inept SJW like you cope without electricity 🙂

          7. AndyG55

            “at those time of the day where most electricity is consumed”

            Most countries have an evening peak, when solar is totally MIA.

            UK http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/44457000/gif/_44457006_sum_wint_dem416.gif

            US https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/images/2011.04.06/hourly_big.png

            Australia http://jonova.s3.amazonaws.com/guest/tonyfromoz/eastern-australia-power-consumption-winter.gif

            Germans obviously hide I their beds early, because they can’t afford the electricity.

  5. AndyG55

    Someone has their facts wrong on cobalt at least

    https://www.statista.com/statistics/264930/global-cobalt-reserves/

    Sure , the Congo reserves may mean that have to raise the living standards in the Congo to get at it, and in Australia you are fighting against two far-left political parties, with no intent on allowing development.. but plenty of cobalt if they really want to get it.

    But there is no need to ICE vehicles are so much more flexible and overall less polluting.

    1. RickWill

      Australia is full throttle on electric cars. New regulations will require all makers to comply with an average 100g/km of carbon dioxide output (at exhaust) for cars sold in Australia. To achieve that with present technology there would need to be a significant proportion of electric cars or everyone driving a prius as it is one of the few existing cars that meet the target. For every 10 Prius sold Toyota could sell 1 Hilux.

      There are a few contenders like some of the fiat 500 range. But they are right on the 100g/km limit.

      Actually 100g/km is not that demanding with some clever developments. The Mazda i-ELOOP combined with diesel ICE on Mazda 6 produce 105g/km. The Mazda 3 diesel is 99g/km. The system uses a capacitor to store energy from the alternator when slowing down to remove parasitic loads from the motor at all other times. So it is a relatively low energy dynamic braking system that uses existing alternator to charge capacitor only while braking rather than changing battery continually. Most of the normally belt driven parasitic loads are electric powered from braking energy stored in the battery – clever. This alone almost halves fuel consumption.

      1. Analitik

        @RickWill “Australia is full throttle on electric cars. New regulations will require all makers to comply with an average 100g/km of carbon dioxide output (at exhaust) for cars sold in Australia”

        Utter BS. Provide a link for this “legislation” that is not in the action manifestos of The Green and fringe lunatic groups like “GetUp!”

  6. AndyG55

    Further reading shows he may not be incorrect.

    It seems that most of the mines in the DRC are controlled by Chinese investment.

    But there are serious issues with securing long term supply contracts.

    http://www.mining.com/cobalt-price-bulls-worst-fears-may-just-confirmed/

  7. Mike Lowe

    I find it interesting that many advocates of EVs talk about the expected improvement in batteries, as if it was a certainty. Battery manufacturers have been in business a long time, and will have been seeking urgently that great breakthrough which would ensure their future. However, it has not happened, and is most unlikely to eventuate. So there are several reasons why unsubsidised EVs are unlikely to make great inroads. When the politicians, in their ignorance and stupidity, compel the wholesale adoption of EVs, they will learn that there is no possibility of power generation capability being increased as much as needed. Maybe I should start manufacturing humble pie – great demand guaranteed!

    1. AndyG55

      There is always the physical issues of storing energy.

      Unless it is converted to some sort of “safer” substance, (ie liquid or solid combustible fuel) the storage of raw energy in any sort of amount can be extremely hazardous.

      Just for fun

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6OaR58pLmlQ

      Don’t wire a big capacitor backward !!!

      1. Yonason

        In H.S. I took an enrichment summer school course in physics at the local college. They had a van der waals generator which 4 of us were operating one day. It was powered by a hand crank, and when sufficient charge difference was built up, it would discharge between the ends of two adjustable arms. We kept moving the arms so the discharge points were further and further apart. We stopped when it let loose by discharging through the group of us instead of through the air. Oh the fun we had that summer.

    2. John F. Hultquist

      Mike L., I see what you did there!
      “improvement” and “breakthrough”
      These are not the same.
      Try this interesting article:
      https://www.energy.gov/articles/history-electric-car

      1. Analitik

        What are we supposed to learn from that article, John?

        Mike is correct. The improvements being extrapolated by EV enthusiasts are just that – extrapolations. With current chemistries, the improvement increments are becoming smaller and smaller as the technology matures with tradeoffs in stability, charge/discharge rate, cost and usage cycles to achieve ever decreasing energy density improvements. Meanwhile, the requirements for EVs to supplant a significant portion of light vehicle usage would need battery storage density to improve by 2 orders of magnitude AND have superior stability, charge/discharge rate, cost and usage cycles.

        A breakthrough is indeed needed.

        Here is a question for all EV proponents – why are gas powered forklifts still being used? With the limited speed and range requirements and higher weight limits for forklifts, why haven’t battery powered electric forklifts become ubiquitous?

        This is a fairly lucrative market that should be easily conquered compared with light vehicles. And yet gas powered forklifts are still being produced and sold in large numbers

  8. E.M.Smith

    I specifically look at cobalt and lithium “running out” scares here:

    https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2018/03/02/lithium-cobalt-and-why-they-are-no-problem/

    The bottom line is that there are plenty of Cobalt suppliers, including Australia, and not all lithium battery chemistries use Cobalt at all or use less than the present choice.

    Li-titanate (LTO) may have low capacity but this chemistry outlives most other batteries in terms of life span and also has the best cold temperature performance. Moving towards the electric powertrain, safety and cycle life will gain dominance over capacity. (LCO stands for Li-cobalt, the original Li-ion.)

    For lithium, there are replacements in the sodium and potassium chemistries. Those batteries are earlier in the development cycle, but exist.

    https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acsami.6b07989

    Potassium may exhibit advantages over lithium or sodium as a charge carrier in rechargeable batteries. Analogues of Prussian blue can provide millions of cyclic voltammetric cycles in aqueous electrolyte. Potassium intercalation chemistry has recently been demonstrated compatible with both graphite and nongraphitic carbons. In addition to potassium–ion batteries, potassium–O2 (or −air) and potassium–sulfur batteries are emerging. Additionally, aqueous potassium–ion batteries also exhibit high reversibility and long cycling life. Because of potentially low cost, availability of basic materials, and intriguing electrochemical behaviors, this new class of secondary batteries is attracting much attention. This mini-review summarizes the current status, opportunities, and future challenges of potassium secondary batteries.

    All the rest of the e-Car problems remain, but battery availability won’t limit total supply as long as someone is willing to use other battery types.

  9. Yonason

    “…would devour a lot of money.”

    I thought THAT was the point of all this “renewables” nonsense.

  10. Bitter&twisted

    When I go on holiday in Austria I make a point of parking my rented diesel car in the Tesla charging points, at the local supermarket.
    After all the spaces are always empty, unlike the main car park.

  11. John Farnham

    When batteries are discussed, there is a chronic omission of the GM / Chevron patents on NiMh technology. Toyota was fined $300 million for patent infringement on its Rav 4 – like hybrid some years ago. Technology has to beat patent law – not just laws of nature.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patent_encumbrance_of_large_automotive_NiMH_batteries

  12. tom0mason

    Off Topic but of interest here —

    Out of 99 gigawatts (GW) of solar projects built in 2017, 53 GW were built in China.
    That bullish streak came to an end on Monday when China took steps to slow its solar industry. Feed-in tariffs that provide set prices for electric power sent to the grid will be cut and distributed generation (DG) projects will be capped until further notice. Early estimates are that solar installations will fall to around 35 GW in 2018, with a lot of that already installed. The impact of the policy changes will be widespread, and no company will be spared…

    China’s National Development and Reform Commission said there would be no more planned ground-mounted solar projects in 2018 and subsidies for future ground-mounted projects would be forbidden…
    Distributed solar farms were also capped at 10 GW for 2018, a level that may have already been exceeded…

    Demand is going to fall and prices could go with it. Roth Capital estimates the solar market will be oversupplied by 34 GW of panels…
    Even SunPower’s (NASDAQ:SPWR) premium-priced high-efficiency solar panels will have a little more competition as Chinese manufacturers look to dump solar panels on anyone who will buy them…
    https://www.fool.com/investing/2018/06/06/china-just-dealt-massive-blow-to-solar-industry.aspx

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    So even for the Chinese solar energy cause more problems than they solve.

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