Reader Question: Tesla Killer?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Daniel asks: I’ve known about your rants towards electric vehicles and their failure. I’m with you on that. Just now I hear about this new electric car company headed by an MIT doctorate CEO that has the chance to crush Tesla and its crony business practices. Rivian Trucks and SUVs have a range of 400 miles (one of your gripes) and can charge in 15 minutes (only three times what it takes to pump gas). Rivian has investment backing from Amazon and Ford. I’m a cynic and like to hear your take on this.

My reply: Rivan makes exotic trucks that happen to be electrically powered. The projected base price is almost $70,000 – making it by definition another toy for the affluent. Put another way: The Rivian’s base price is equivalent to two Honda Ridgelines.

So it has the same economic problem which afflicts all EVs. It is much too expensive. It also has the same functional problem – which isn’t its range but rather its recharge time, which is a function of battery chemistry.

Even hooked up to a so-called “fast” charger, the Rivian – like all EVs – needs at least 30-45 minutes or so to recover a partial (80 percent) charge. This amounts to a time tax for the EV owner and – unless I am completely off my rocker – is not going to be acceptable to most people who are used to being able to refuel a car to 100 percent in less than 5 minutes.

I just don’t get the upside. EVs cost much more than IC cars, are more limited than IC cars and involve more hassles than IC cars. They are also inherently more disposable than IC cars, due to their batteries – which will not last the 15-20 years that a typical IC car’s engine/transmission will usually last.

So, the only “killing” I see is of common sense!

Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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  1. Aren’t ICEV pickups expensive too? What about modern, full size SUVs? When looking at cars a few years ago, I saw a Toyota Seqoia with a $80k sticker-$80k for a full size SUV! Sorry, but all pickups and full size SUVs are expensive these days.


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