Time to buy that electric car?
Have we reached the tipping point where an electric car will be cheaper? Watch this video.
Earlier this week, the Chicago Tribune ran a discussion about electric cars. If you recall the last time gas was this expensive a couple of years back, electric cars were on the drawing board, but that was about it. Now they’re available, at least sort of. (You may still have to wait to get an electric Rolls Royce.)
The article was considering whether that technology is now economically viable and practical, and the answer is: sort of. As for the economic side, here’s a point it made:
“At $5 a gallon, consumers who drive 12,000 miles a year could save on average $2,257 at Commonwealth Edison's off-peak electric rates by switching to a pure electric vehicle, according to an analysis released Wednesday by the Environmental Law and Policy Center.”
That’s great, but when you factor in the price of the car, the article goes on to suggest that it would take about 10 years to break even at current price levels.
The practicality question is another matter. If you buy a Volt, with its ability to recharge itself if necessary, you’re probably OK. If you buy a Leaf, you have to know where you’re going to charge it. You can do that at home, but let’s say you want to go on a road trip that will take you farther than a single charge. Where do you juice up?
The video clip helps answer that question. Among the things displayed at ABB’s Automation & Power World last week was an electric car charging station and a Nissan Leaf. ABB is keen on deploying this infrastructure, and hopes you will be interested in buying an electric car. In the video, Murray Jones explains what the company is doing, and where the first “electric highways” are being built. If car prices come down a little, this kind of thing could be here sooner than you think.
Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.