A New Story for Electric Cars

Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA  ) made waves early in April when it began marketing its Model S luxury sedan as an affordable option -- if you factored in all the cost savings.

Some of Tesla's assumptions were dubious, but the Silicon Valley upstart may have been on to something. More and more, electric cars and plug-in hybrids are being sold on their cost benefits rather than their environmentally friendly ones. In this video, Motley Fool contributor John Rosevear takes a look at the new electric-car-marketing story -- and whether it's likely to finally resonate with reluctant consumers.

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Read/Post Comments (6) | Recommend This Article (4)

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  • Report this Comment On April 30, 2013, at 9:52 PM, cottagetrees wrote:

    I've been a member of MF for a long time, and a reader since the mid '90s. It's sad to see that virtually all the stories now have become avertorials for paid products, and cr*p like "The Death of the PC." Yahoo Finance is ticker spammed with Motley Fool stories (and the stories of other spammers too like Wall St. Cheet Sheet, or stories from Seeking Alpha written by people with no business writing financial analysis). I'd like to see MF go back to its roots. There was a time in the '90s when you provided great analysis with journalistic integrity. It's getting to the point where I avoid clicking on MF stories. I'm hungry for hard news and analysis on TSLA. Your video has some great information, but the text of this page is off-putting. Please put the ads off to the side where they belong, and make the story the story.

  • Report this Comment On May 01, 2013, at 12:23 AM, PaulScott37 wrote:

    John Rosevear makes some good points, and his idea of selling EVs on their economics is valid.

    I sell the LEAF for a downtown LA Nissan dealer and have sold close to 400 in just over two years. I also sell solar PV to those customers who have the roof for it.

    Selling the LEAF, or any EV, by touting the total money spent and the quality of the ride, is real easy.

    First are the extremely high satisfaction rates for EV drivers. It's as high as any car in history, probably higher. Many of my customers are trading up to the 2013 to get all the improvements. The used cars are selling for well under $20K now, a bargain that peopel are waking up to.

    The quality of the ride is superb. It's like driving a quiet, smooth BMW, but one that costs very little to drive.

    You have two options. You can drive the car like a bat out of hell and have a lot of fun, getting 70-90 miles of range, or you can drive efficiently and get over 100 miles of range. Keep in mind there are hundreds of charging stations all over the place in many cities, and the numbers are growing fast. Also, lots of fast chargers are being installed. Ours has been used many times daily since being turned on two weeks ago. The region over which a 100 mile EV can travel is expanding quickly.

    But it's the cost of driving that gets most people's attention.

    First, if you have the roof for it, install solar. Find a reputable company like SolarCity (I work for them and own stock), and lease the system. If you prefer to buy the PV system, for about $6,000-$8,000, you can install PV capable of generating enough kWh to drive 12,000 miles per year, and it will keep working for decades, 40-50 years at least.

    Contrast that with buying gas sufficient to drive 12,000 miles per year - for 40-50 years. Even if gas prices didn't rise for those 4 decades, you'd pay tens of thousands of dollars.

    A car company not more than eight years old built the best car in history (Don't agree? Name one better.)

    You can drive the cars on sunlight for a small fraction of what gas costs, and the differential will only grow in favor of renewable energy.

    You'll spend almost nothing on maintenance. And you're car will always work perfectly all the time.

    If you happen to be a good person and value the environmental, health and national security benefits of EVs, enormous in their own right, then it's not a hard decision to make. Well, you do have to decide which brand (hint: LEAF:~)

  • Report this Comment On May 01, 2013, at 9:26 AM, TMFMarlowe wrote:

    @cottagetrees, there's still lots of good stuff here, and I try to be part of it. I'm a full-time professional auto-industry analyst, I'm immersed in this stuff and have been for several years, and I try to bring the best insights I have to readers every day. I write at least a few articles every month that are focused on TSLA, and they're never "ticker spam". (Videos are a relatively new thing for us; we're finding our way with the medium.)

    And it's all free to readers. But of course, the bills must be paid. That said, I hope you'll stick around -- I would love to see more thoughtful commenters frequenting my TSLA articles.

    @PaulScott37, it's always great to hear from folks who are out there actually working in the business. Thanks for the comment.

    Thanks to all for reading (er, watching).

    John Rosevear

  • Report this Comment On May 01, 2013, at 11:15 AM, joenjensen wrote:

    Some people think that Tesla is to high priced, but they forget that their plan is a three tired one. The first one was a high priced low volume car when they made the Roadster.

    The second tier was the Model S which is a medium priced car at a medium volume.

    The third tier is a Model X which will be a low priced car at high volume.

    Right now Tesla is about half way through the second tier.

    I don't know when Tesla will come out with the Model X which I believe is the third tier, but if you have seen this car will please most homeowners, and business people alike.

    It looks like a crossover, but has much more room inside, will carry more people as well because the battery is in the floor, and the engines are between the front and rear axle leaving a (Fronk) trunk in the front.

    My only question will be have they fixed the range problem (if there ever was one) with the model X ? Wouldn't it be great if they come out with a 500 mile battery like the CEO suggested a few weeks ago? 500 miles would please just about any buyer and put their fears aside about running out of power before they get home, or to the next charging station.

    Putting all the problems Tesla may have had, pales in comparison to the fact that Tesla car owners can get free power at any supercharging station (the car will tell you where they are) for Tesla car owners only.

    Where can any car buyer go and get free mileage? It would be the same if you were to able to buy a Ford, Chevy, or any popular car maker and get free gas for the life of the car, or as long as you own it. Also every Tesla is transferable to any new owner....check it out...Try and get any popular auto company to do that ! It never has happened and it never will.

    Those of you who want to see Tesla fail, are only supporting old technology, and a fuel that not only became to expensive, but has and will continue to pollute the planet, and will no longer work for most cost and environment conscious car buyers. As it has been said in the past, out with the old and in with the new, that works for me and Tesla.

  • Report this Comment On May 04, 2013, at 3:46 PM, anderlan wrote:

    Nope. Jury still out on electrics versus extended range. Right now, it looks like Nissan is better able to bring down the price of an 80 mile electric than GM is able to bring down the price of their plugin hybrid. If all I need is 80 miles for 90% of mile miles driven, why am I going to pay an extra 10,000 dollars to haul around an engine, transmission, and emissions control system, and get less than half the electric range? My budget is that of a normal person, and normal people can buy a LEAF right now, not a Volt or Ford Energi.

  • Report this Comment On May 04, 2013, at 7:09 PM, cottagetrees wrote:

    @TMFMarlowe - sorry, but when the third paragraph of your story isn't part of your story at all - it's a deceptive ad for a paid service - the link from Yahoo Finance is little more than ticker spam.

    The fourth paragraph, immediately under your video, where I'd expect to find more narrative of your story about TSLA, I instead hit another ad: "Jeff Fischer and team have demystified options."

    When I click to ticker-linked stories from The New York Times, AP, or AllthingsD, I know I'll always get a pure story. When I click on an MF story, I have to wade through advertorial in the copy.

    As I mentioned in my first note, your video has great info in it, but these ads woven into editorial are off-putting, and jar me out of my mental happy place which is to learn about TSLA.

    I totally understand you need to pay the bills, but this isn't the way to do it. You'll chase away readers. Do context sensitive ticker-linked ads in the margins. That way, if I'm in the market for TSLA-related products, I'll find them there. But don't f' with the sacred space on the page that should be reserved for real editorial.

    Thanks for listening.

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