Electric cars are unforgiving things. If you forgot to plug in the night before – or just didn’t have time – they’ll make you pay for it . . . in time.
My 18-year-old non-electric truck is much more forgiving of my forgetting . . . to fill it up.
I was driving down to Lowes the other day – and from there to the coffee shop where I spend a few hours each day composing the rants – when I glanced at my fuel gauge and realized I was almost running on empty.
No worries – as the Aussies say.
There’s a gas station just up the road. I’ll roll in – maybe on fumes – and roll out just a couple of minutes later with a full tank. No planning – or waiting. A minor detour and back to my day.
But what if I’d had an electric car?
The first being to try to find a “fast” charger before I ran out of charge. Because if you do run out of charge, you are out luck. You can’t hike to the nearest “fast” charger and bring back a gallon of electricity. You must get the car to the charger – which will mean towing it there, if you run out of charge.
And there may not be a “fast” charger anywhere near-by.
Many cities have installed some, but outside of most towns, “fast” chargers are kind of like Little Caesar’s – they are around, but it’s usually a drive to locate one.
But let’s say you do find one. There’s still no getting around the wait. You won’t be rolling out of there for at least half an hour or so – and when you do, you’ll only be carrying a partial charge. Which means you’ll have to plug in again . . . sooner, this time.
Having to unexpectedly stop for half an hour can completely screw up your day. What if you had something else planned – or needed to be somewhere else? Like work? Too bad.
The EV is unforgiving.
The wait might also be unpleasant in other ways. If it’s pouring – or freezing – outside, you only spend a couple of minutes outside . . . if you’re not driving an EV. Let’s hope it’s not snowing . . . if you are driving an EV. A lot of snow can accumulate in half an hour. Enough to make the difference between getting home and not.
And if you can’t find the “fast” charger? Or it’s occupied by another EV? Now an inconvenience morphs into a debacle. You have to wait for the EV ahead of you to “fast” charge for half an hour or so. Half an hour becomes an hour. Your boss – or clients – will understand.
On standard 120V household current, the EV will need several hours to leach back enough charge to let you gimp to where you were headed.
That’s a day-ruiner.
EV apologists will say that so long as you plug in every night, you’ll have no worries. Certainly. But what if you forget? This will happen for the same reason that people forget to fill up. Life happens. Distractions occur. You pull into the driveway in your EV, intending to plug in – when your wife rushes out to tell you something and you get excited and go inside with her . . . and forget.
The assumption that you’ll always remember and that planning around all this recharging -which you’ll have to remember to do every day as opposed to filling up once a week – isn’t going to add another layer of hassle to life is as silly as it is disingenuous.
Even the best-laid plans run afoul of the unexpected. You come home – and remember to plug in. But 20 minutes after you get home, your kid has an accident bad enough that you need to get him to the doctor right now.
Hopefully, you’ll have another car. . . a not-electric car.
And what if the power goes out and you can’t recharge?
Oh, but that only happens occasionally – usually because of bad weather. True. But it happens never with non-electric cars. Power outages have no effect on how much gas is in your tank. And as long as you’ve got a gallon, you’ll be able to drive to where there’s more gas.
Which you can get in minutes, not hours.
Speaking of hours. Or rather, kilowatt hours . . .
The more EVs there are in circulation, the greater the likelihood of the power being interrupted more frequently because of the increased draw on the grid – which lacks the capacity to deal with a massive increase in demand, especially during peak usage hours.
EVs are immense energy hogs, with 400 volt battery packs. Adding a 240V “fast” charger to your house is functionally not much different than adding a welder or other high-draw appliance and running it regularly.
Imagine millions of these things hooked up at night – when the draw on the grid is already highest because that’s when people are getting home from work and cooking dinner (appliances) and cranking the AC (or heat) and watching TV and doing dishes and all the other things that use power… and now add the draw of those millions EV to the mix.
Expect the power to go out – but not because of ice storms.
This would be poetic justice were it not for the fact that people who don’t have EVs will also have their power cut – or just rationed.
Which means we’ll all have to sit tight – instead of getting where we’re going.
. . .
Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!
If you like what you’ve found here please consider supporting EPautos.
PS: Get an EPautos magnet (pictured below) in return for a $20 or more one-time donation or a $10 or more monthly recurring donation. (Please be sure to tell us you want a sticker – and also, provide an address, so we know where to mail the thing!)
My latest eBook is also available for your favorite price – free! Click here.