Market Mad House

In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche

Long Ideas

Tesla, Audi Prove That Electric Car Is Viable

It is now official. Electric cars now exceed traditional vehicles in performance. The latest version of Tesla’s Model S—the P85D—was so impressive that it “broke” Consumer Reports’ rating system.

The P85D earned a score of 103 in Consumer Reports’ road testing because its performance exceeded the standards the organization uses. The ratings numbers normally do not go past 100, but the testers had to raise them for the Tesla. Presumably, that means its performance exceeded that of all the gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles on the market.

The P85D’s performance is so great that Consumer Reports did not know how to evaluate it. That seems to validate the electric car and Elon Musk’s gamble on it at Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA). Some of the highlights of the testing show just how vulnerable the oil industry is to this disruptive technology:


  • The P85D gets an equivalent of 87 miles per gallon. That makes it incredibly energy efficient and extremely cheap to operate.


  • The P85D has better handling and braking than any other vehicle on the road today. Its performance in that category exceeded the next best vehicle, the Tesla Model S.



  • The P85D can go from zero to 60 miles per hour (96.5 kilometers per hour) in three seconds.


The performance of electric vehicles now exceeds that of gasoline cars. The only real barrier to their widespread adoption seems to be the price; the P85D costs $127,820, meaning only the 1% can afford it. If Musk can get the costs down through the Giga Factory’s mass production of batteries, his vehicles would be more than competitive.

Electric Cars with a 300-mile Range Will Soon Be Here

The other big problem facing electric cars—range—has apparently been solved in Germany. Audi, a division of Volkswagen (OTC: VLKAY), is planning to bring out an SUV with a range of around 310 miles (roughly 500 kilometers) on a charge of electricity, The Los Angeles Times reported. That is comparable to a gasoline-powered vehicle or Toyota’s fuel cell vehicles. Daimler AG’s (XETRA: DAI) Mercedes is also developing an electric vehicle with a 300-mile range.

Basically, electric cars are not only competitive with fossil fuel-powered vehicles, they exceed them, which means electricity could be the fuel of choice for the auto industry within a few years. The only thing keeping electric vehicles from being widely adopted is cost, which should fall as production increases.

That means now is a good time to sell your oil stocks because one of that industry’s major sources of income, the vehicle market, could dry up. We could soon be living in a world where gas stations are a thing of the past and oil is a bad memory.