Usefulness

Detroit plans on a big move into battery-operated cars and pickups, with Chrysler committing to go all battery all the time by 1928.

Aside from the enormous pollution, environmental damage, and carbon footprint of so-called electric cars, there are practical, driving-oriented considerations.

GM says its Silverado EV pickup will be able to go 400 miles on a charge, Rivian is claiming 314 miles for its R1T pickup, and Ford is claiming 300 miles for its F-150 Lightning pickup. Chrysler claims that one of its automobile models will have a range of some 400 miles before needing a recharge.

Those ranges are (finally) compatible with my Fusion’s 300+ mile range on a tankful of gasoline. But I can fill my gasoline tank from nearly empty to full—and those 300+ miles—in about five minutes.

What’s the time to go from nearly discharged to fully charged—and those 300-400 miles—for the battery cars and trucks? So far, that time is measured in hours.

Also, there’s a gasoline station every time I turn around in the populated parts of the US, and they’re easily common and accessible in the wide open spaces of the Midwest and the arid west and southwest. Where are all the recharging stations, even the time-consuming ones?

And this: when the weather turns hot or cold, my gasoline burns just fine. Those batteries, though—well, good luck. They lose power in hot weather, and they lose it even faster in cold weather, even just sitting at the curb with the motor turned off.

Finally, this: when I’m on the road, I have more important things to do than sitting around in a roadside convenience store sucking coffee while my batteries (slowly) charge up. I’m driving to get from here to there, or to sightsee something more interesting than those roadside charging stations.

Oh, yeah: my gasoline tank doesn’t wear out. Those batteries can only be cycled (again, so far) for one or two hundred thousand miles—and then they have to be disposed of, expensively, as hazardous waste.

Update: 2028, not 1928. [sigh]

2 thoughts on “Usefulness

  1. I am sitting in the Chicago area where the temperature has been in the single digits and teens for a week or so. I’d love to see the testing data on a) vehicle range and b) vehicle recharging rates under such conditions.

    I’m also curious as to what estimates have been made to determine how much extra load is going to be put on the electrical grid in various places (especially California) if sales of these vehicles meet their projections and how well the grid can accommodate it. I wonder if those estimates have even been researched; after all, no one likes bad news, and only an actual leader ever seeks it out.

    • I’d also like to see some research, or even just some looking into, the question of where all that added energy will come from, even could the distribution network handle the load. Coal? That’s being outlawed. Oil? That’s being heavily taxed, and drilling and fracking barred (so far, limited to Federal lands, but only so far). Natural gas? See oil. And all of those are being capped by carbon “taxes.” Nuclear power? Too many environmentalists are in the way, even though even the nuclear power plant accidents there’ve been demonstrate how absolutely safe a properly engineered and operated plant is, and how easy it is to engineer and operate a plant.
      Ultimately, the “green” energy sources–solar and wind, primarily–will supply all of that power. However, that build-out is decades, if not a couple centuries away, and in the mean time, getting the metals and other raw materials out of the ground, just for those energy sources, will be heavily damaging to the environment, and their conversion into solar panels and windmills will be hugely carbon and nuclear energy dependent.
      Eric Hines

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