Reader Question: Million-Mile Teslas?

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

Bill asks: Have you seen this story about Teslas supposedly racking up very high mileage and incurring very little cost, including for new battery packs?

My reply: Yes –  and it was good for a chuckle. Tesla has some of the finest propaganda meisters on the payroll. Some also shill for free. The article’s headline is truthful, though. Electric cars are “changing the cost of driving.”

It is going up.

I’ve explained this many times already so won’t repeat the rant here. I’ll focus instead on the article’s main (and new) dishonesty. The EVs described in the story are captive critters used in controlled/short-hop driving as “shuttles.”

Even if the claims about battery service are accurate it’s not real-world driving. LA is warm; the speeds driven are low. The way the cars are driven and operated is strictly controlled as they are fleet cars.

I’ve driven several EVs, so I know you can gimp more range out of them… if you drive gimpy. But what if you want – what if you  need – to drive not-gimpy? How about in the bitter cold? It is 18 degrees here in SW Va right now. That puts a great deal more strain on any battery than sunny and warm LA does.

There is also the time element.

GM, Ford, the rest all try to simulate real-world driving conditions as well as the passage of time during the testing phase of developing a new car. But there is no way to know how any car will actually perform in the real world (as opposed to the test loop) or over the course of the next 10-15 years. These things can’t be simulated. Only actual experience will tell.

The article also touts the maintenance “savings” of the EV. Not mentioning the cost of the EV, which obviates these “savings.”  This includes the cost of the “fast” charge apparatus these EVs require – which is analogous to having to pay Exxon to install a fuel pump in your garage.

Almost like an alarm clock going off each morning, there’s a predictable promisy piece about miraculous EVs and the latest – supposed – “breakthrough.” Keep focused on the facts and you’ll know the truth about EVs.

. . .

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  1. Every time some Elon shill writes some screed alleging the greatness of Tesla, it triggers me to outline this challenge…

    Take a fully charged Tesla, and drive it from Clear Lake in the SE of Houston, in the direction of Cypress, in the NW of Houston, at 1700 CT, in August. You’re not allowed to turn the A/C off to hypermile your range anxiety away. What’s your range now? How far did you get before the guy in the ’72 ‘Cuda (who started at the same time from the same plance) passed you as the wrecker hooked up for your tow to a charging station? How many hours did he get to spend in Cypress before you even showed up there? How much did the tow cost, and how did it affect your “eFuel Economy? Care to compare his fuel bill with your recharge+tow bill?

    • Well-said, Crusty!

      My 18-year-old truck outperforms any EV on cost, cost-per-mile, cost-per-year as well as cost-per-time.

      Even after 18 years, its range is still the same as it was 18 years ago. Its range is only slightly affected by the use of AC (and not affected at all by the use of the heater).

      It can be refueled in 5 minutes, in any weather (EVs can only be recharged if the air temp is above freezing or if they have an internal heating system).

      My truck stickered for $12,799 brand-new; equivalent to $18,598 today. This is $12k less than the base price of the least expensive new EV, the Nissan Leaf – which goes 150 miles (maybe).

      My truck is still worth about $4,000 today – so it has retained a fourth of of its original value over 20 years. Most Leafs are worth less than half their original MSRP after five years.

      The only thing the Leaf – or Tesla – does better than my truck is accelerate more rapidly. But if that’s the criteria, then why not mandate Porsches for all?

      • I don’t know about that new fangled 18 year old stuff … I think I will stick with my 30 year old Chevy. The AC doesn’t affect it at all since it doesn’t have any, but the windows do still roll down.


        • Well, A Nony Mous, A/C is almost mandatory in SE Texas…however, I will one up you and Eric, I’ll put my 52 year old British Pressed Steel (tinworms included for free) MGB with a full tank up against a Tesla in the range anxiety Derby ANY day! Of course, I will be sweating with no A/C in it, too, however, I can keep the hood (convertible top to you) down and maybe not die of heatstroke…ah, the joys of summer in SE Texas!

          • Crusty, I used to make the pilgrimage to the SE Texas grain harvest back when big rigs rarely had an a/c. The wife and I had been working 3 days straight(day and night) when we finally got unloaded at Cargill and got a room for the night, one of the best showers I ever had cause there was a/c afterward. I took my clothes off with so much sweat and grain chaff and dirt embedded into them(I was half-assed cooled off at that time), took a shower and laid around with my faithful Lone Star. The next day those clothes were still standing in the corner and had taken a hard “set”. Thought I was going to have to soak them down to get them into a garbage bag. 100 degrees and nearly 100 or sometimes every bit of 100 % humidity every day. We weren’t getting fat. When we got home my parents asked if we’d eaten while we were gone. To be truthful, not much at all. It was too damned hot.

            There were some guys who had done it right and had a 5hp gas engine hooked up to a compressor and a generator and had a nice cold truck to sleep in. We slept on the load tarp. You could hear(and feel) the skeeters fighting over the next bite. You could count on being right beside the tracks 2-4 wide full of molasses tankers…….breathtaking.

            • Yep, skeeters so big they pull up to the helipad and demand 100 pounds of JP-4, that’s Houston!

              That “set” of the clothing you refer to was called a “Fort Polk Starch” by those in the Army.

              Ah, real Lone Star, before they got sold off. Good cheap brew.

              • Fort Polk Starch, makes a lot of sense but I’d never heard it. I’m telling you man, Lone Star Long Necks were without equal down there. Pabst Blue Ribbon on tap in Waco was the best in that city.

                But it weren’t all bad. There was a joint in El Campo called Buck’s that had fresh local veggies every day and the field beside it was full of future lunch specials. Everything they had was great, wholesome food. No additives, just fresh grub I’d give $100 for a plate of right now. Well, maybe not right now. Gotta get this kink outta my back. Should I listen to some Kinks?

          • My first seven years were in Austin and we didn’t have a/c in the car or anything else, but we did get one of those add-on under the dash units when we moved to Phoenix.

  2. And how do you charge your car when the power is out? I recently had a thirty hour power outage. I would have had to cancel work the second day because I wouldn’t have enough range left to get there.

  3. Reaching through the porch steps for a tool this morning, I thought about having a dead EV since this is the time of year rattlesnakes really get on a bend. We had 18 degrees Monday morning but it’s 70 today, nice weather since we went from 110 nearly every day to 18 in just two days. If you don’t like the weather in west Texas, just wait a little while.


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