Since the government is determined to force you to buy an electric car, it might be good to know what you’re in for.
What they’re not telling you.
Everyone has heard about the range/recharge problems. They’re significant – assuming you don’t consider having to curtail your driving according to where – and when – you can wait to recharge insignificant problems.
Given that most of us don’t want to wait more than five minutes in a drive-thru line (and few of us would tolerate waiting 30-45 minutes to get our food at a drive-thru) it is certain most of us will not be happy about having to wait like that while our government-mandated EV recovers its capacity to move.
But it’s actually much worse than that.
That 30-45 minutes you have heard bandied about – the time you’ll wait for a “fast” charge – is only available where there are “fast” chargers.
And where is that?
Private homes have residential electric service panels – and wiring. They are not wired to “fast” charge the 400-800 volt loads required for “fast” charging one electric car in 30-45 minutes. How about two?
The house would have to be re-wired to make even one possible.
And not just the house.
The wiring from the street to the house. Probably also the wiring down the street – from the source of the electricity, which has to be “pumped” continuously from the generating source, which is probably very far away. That takes heavy-gauge cabling and other “infrastructure” – as the Biden Thing styles it. Especially if we’re talking about transmitting that kind of current to every house on the street – to entire neighborhoods – so that dozens (hundreds, thousands) of people can each “fast” charge an electric car at home.
That would be the place where the “fast” charger is located. Which will be someplace down the road a piece. Probably at least five minutes away from wherever you live, which means adding at least that to your 30-45 minute “fast” charge. If it’s ten or fifteen minutes away, add that much more to your wait, which is now close to an hour’s wait . . . assuming you don’t have to wait in line for someone else to finish “fast” charging their electric car, ahead of you.
It could be hours before you’re done “fast” charging.
Then you can go home, again.
Which will take another however-long-it-takes to get back there.
But even if it’s only the 30-45 minutes (plus however long it took you to drive to the ‘fast” charger) you’ll still be waiting to charge at not home. What will you do while you wait? Read the magazines? Listen to the radio? Instead of being home, you’ll be at the plug – which is at a place you probably don’t want to be when you’d rather be home.
When was the last time you spent half an hour at a gas station?
Some people will be able to “fast” charge while at work, of course – commercial buildings and commercial areas being more likely to have the necessary infrastructure to “fast” charge – and in that case, you’ll be able to get home without having to wait, first.
But it does tether you to work in a way you never were, before.
You could recharge – not “fast” – at home. Assuming you have even more time. It will be several hours at the least to recover a partial charge using 240 volts (a dryer-stove type three-prong plug, which most residential home panels can handle) or overnight on standard 120 volt outlets of the type you use to plug in other electrically powered things.
And you’ll have to add this plugging in (and unplugging) ritual to your daily list of things to do, too. These small chores eat up a lot of time when added up.
Watch out for that cord.
Wouldn’t want anyone to trip over it.
There’s something else they haven’t told you that might be worth knowing about what you’re in for. It’s that the range touted by an EV is less than advertised. But not for the solely reasons you may have heard – such as use of electrically-powered accessories, such as the AC and heater. Its true that using them will cut down how far you can travel vs. how far they say you’ll be able to travel.
You have also probably heard – and it’s true, too – that the faster you drive an EV, the less far the EV will go. Which is equally true, of course, for a non-electric car but with the difference being the gas-hoggiest car be hammered full-throttle from stoplight to stoplight and still only takes five minutes to refuel vs. the 30-45 minutes it takes an EV to “fast” charge . . . assuming you can find one.
And that brings us to what they’re not telling you.
Or rather, explaining to you.
An EV’s real-world range is less than its advertised range – because it takes so long to recover its charge.
A car with a gas engine can be driven to the last drop of its range without sweating the time – or the place.
If it has a range on a full tank of say 400 miles – as is common and about twice the range of most EVs – you can drive right up to 400 miles, roll into any gas station on fumes – and be back rolling again, five minutes later.
If you have an electric car that advertises a 200 mile range on a full charge, it’s actually less than that because you can’t drive it the full 200 miles without incurring the time (and inconvenience) penalty. Realistically, you need to keep the electric equivalent of at least an eighth of a “tank” in reserve at all times, to avoid the wait. That means an eighth-less real-world range than whatever’s advertised.
So 200 is really more like 190. And 190 is more like 140, if it’s cold out – and you turn the heater on . . .
One last thing, related to all of the above . . .
If you use most of the EV battery pack’s range regularly it is likely the service life of the battery will be shorter. All batteries suffer from heavy discharge/charge cycling; it’s a function of battery chemistry. The more often you “fast” charge a heavily discharged battery, the sooner you’ll be replacing that battery – which will suffer a reduction in its capacity to receive and retain a charge, which will gradually reduce your EV’s range, again.
The farther you drive you EV, the less far you’ll be driving your EV.
As the Church Lady on Saturday Night Live used to say: Isn’t that special?
. . .
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