Reader Question: Is This EV Sensible?

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

Carlton asks: I enjoy your counter-cultural criticism of electric cars, but think there is a type of PEV (personal electric vehicle) I’ve bought and is awesome. Everyone is annoyed with the urban downtown city scooters, but amp one of those up and I have a FLJ electric scooter that is 3200 watt dual tire motor and mine easily accelerates to a top speed just over 40 mph. So it is faster than a moped, but only weighs about 80 lbs. and can fold and fit in a trunk. At top speed, it still has a 40 mile range, and I’ve used it for my personal 23 mile round trip to work. I’ve probably put 300 miles on mine so far with no issues. Not bad for something that costs less than $1450 delivered to my door. Here’s an example video.

These are interesting because they only take a little bit of balance, safety gear, and common sense. Compare that to self-balancing electric unicycles, where this insane rider takes one 47 mph down a mountain!
My reply: This is precisely the kind of electric car which does make sense to me.
It’s designed for short-distance/low-speed driving, which is the sort of specific duty EVs are not only suited for but better-suited for than non-electric cars – which are a waste of materials, space and energy in the situation you describe. It’s absurd to use a 3,000 pound car designed to be capable of sustaining 70-plus MPH for 300 miles as a “city” car that rarely is driven farther than 50 miles in a day or faster than 50 MPH.
But it’s equally absurd to expect an electric car to be as versatile as a non-electric car outside of the city given the limitations of battery technology as it is (I don’t deal in magical thinking, so what battery tech might be ten years from now is a non sequitur as regards what it is right now).
With current technology, the EV is much too heavy – which makes it less efficient and ridiculously expensive for general use. But this is an unavoidable consequence of insisting on highway capability – and even then, the capability of the EV is very limited vs. the non-electric car. The range is too shy, the recharge time absurd.
One can make all sorts of excuses to rationalize the EVs gimps as a general use vehicle. But at the end f the day, the gimps are still there – and not acknowledging them is like walking around a huge lump under the rug and pretending it’s not a problem.
And this problem is a function of delusional thinking – of reality abnegation. Insisting – foot stamping – that EVs as they are competitive with non-electric cars for general use is no different, fundamentally, than insisting Bruce is “she.”

The problem, of course, is that “she” isn’t. And neither are the current crop of four-wheeled EVs!

. . .

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