Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Ray asks: I recently traveled from Sacramento to Iowa. On my trip east, I-80 was closed for most of one day starting at Evanston, Wyoming. In spite of the push for electric vehicles, I did not see any on I-80. While charging station are being installed at local Walmart (Tracy, CA), I saw nothing of the kind on I-80. Because of road conditions signs cautioned drivers not to use cruise control. My question: When do you expect to see the electric powered self-driving semis on I-80? My opinion is that I may see the failure of the companies trying create such semis first.
My reply: The media has created the false impression that EVs are everywhere – in order to further the narrative that they are The Future – but in fact, EVs constitute a tiny sliver of the nation’s vehicle fleet – about 1 percent – and most of that 1 percent concentrated in places like CA and AZ, where conditions are more suited to EVs.
This includes the affluence to afford EVs.
Unless two things happen, this whole EV thing is going to hit the wall – soon. Those two things are:
Number two: Someone figures out a way to make an EV battery that can be recharged to full capacity in the same amount of time it takes to refuel an IC car.
Until those two “breakthroughs” occur, EVs will remain what they are – expensive and functionally compromised indulgences for the few who can afford to spend 30-50 percent more for a car.
But two-thirds (probably more) of the public cannot afford to spend 30-50 percent more for a car – whether EV or IC – and no matter how much they may want one. It doesn’t matter how speedy or silent – or even “clean,” if you buy that line – an EV is if people can’t handle the tab.
I don’t expect to see electric semis on the highway anytime soon – unless they carry diesel generators along for the ride (ad diesel-electric locomotives do). The same problems that beset electric cars beset electric trucks even more so. Having to stop for a lengthy recharge session after just 200 miles or so of driving is a hassle when you are driving a car. It is time and money down the drain when you are driving a big rig. EV big rigs would also cost 2-3 times as much as a conventional big rig, so that even if automated – not “autonomous” – the investment in the truck will obliterate any savings realized by getting rid of the trucker.
. . .
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