A Bad Idea Made Worse . . .

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Electric cars are a bad idea – for numerous economic and practical (as well as environmental) reasons which readers of this column are already very familiar with. 

Electric trucks are a much worse idea. So – of course – it’s being lemming-rushed by practically every major automaker, most lately Volkswagen, whose CEO Herbert Diess just said he thinks they are . . .  “a good idea.”   

And in one sense, he’s right. It is. Trucks are where the money is. Cars – electric or not – hardly generate any net profit for the companies that make them. Trucks, on the other hand, are hugely profitable. In part because people love them – which they do because trucks are what cars used to be.

Big, roomy for people and stuff; i.e., practical.

And in part because trucks are versatile . . .  from a manufacturing standpoint.

The best-selling trucks – models like the Ford F-150 and Chevy Silverado 1500 – serve as the basis for SUVs. Sometimes, several – as in the case of the Silverado, which serves as the basic platform for the Chevy Tahoe and the GMC Yukon and the Cadillac Escalade, too.

It also makes sense because there is much more space in a truck for battery packs that are almost as big as a small car – and weigh almost as much as some cars once did. These huge battery packs can store a lot of power – and that can be used to power tools, which is a draw for people who buy trucks – many of whom work at jobs sites where there is no power and so would otherwise have to rely upon a generator. 

But has anyone thought this through? 

Sure, a truck has plenty of room to house a huge battery pack. But – Kodak Moment – it requires a huge battery pack to power a truck. A huger one than is required to power a car, which is smaller and so, lighter. More weight equals more battery – equals more weight, again.

The smaller electric car battery uses fewer raw materials to make it and requires less power to charge it. Better for the “environment.”

The bigger, more powerful battery needed to power an electric truck eats up more raw materials to make it – not so good for the “environment.” Or at least, worse than it needs to be. It also costs more to make it (and to replace it, when the time inevitably comes ) and it will require more power to charge it.

Does this not contradict the supposed EV brief of “efficiency”? Of increasing consumption and wastage – as well as cost?

Does it not make all of the problems that beset electric cars even worse?

And it gets worse than that.

Consider what trucks are used for. Such as hauling things. Adding a trailer adds several thousand more pounds of weight to a vehicle already very heavy. Pulling such a load requires more energy. Some of the public relations agit-prop for electrically-powered trucks talks up how much an electric truck can pull.

What is left unmentioned is for how long? 

It is impressive to be able to be able to pull say 18,000 pounds. Just as it is impressive to be able to get to 60 MPH in less than 3 seconds (per the Tesla Plaid).

But what good is it if all that weight can’t be pulled very far? Every road test of every electric vehicle confirms that weight – and load – significantly reduces an electric vehicle’s range. Which of course it does. There is no free lunch when it comes to energy used to power (or pull) anything.

And trucks are expected to pull – are touted as being capable of pulling – enormous loads.

Just as the Tesla Plaid is touted as being capable of “ludicrous speed.”

Which is great – unless if by using these touted attributes you end up with a short-leash radius of action. What’s the point of capability that you dare not use?

An electric truck that touts 300 miles of range when it is not pulling a trailer weighing several thousand pounds (or carrying 3-4 people) now only goes 150 miles.

Possibly less.

It does the same thing in a V8-powered truck pulling an 18,000 pound trailer. But it’s not a problem in the V8-powered truck because the range isn’t reduced to the same “compounding interest” degree and – ultimately – is an irrelevance. Because refueling isn’t inconvenient.

And – most of all – it is fast.

Also, not-electric trucks can easily carry vastly more energy than their electric brethren. Twenty-five gallons of gas takes up less space than 1,200 pounds of battery pack. And those twenty five gallons only weigh about 160 pounds (a gallon of gasoline weighs just a bit more than six pounds) and can power the truck for close to 400 miles.

The same at-cross-purposes problems plagues the touted electric truck perk of being able to use it to power tools at a job site where there is no power. But (drumroll, please) this will use power – potentially a great deal, if we’re talking heavy-duty construction-type equipment used all day long.

What happens at the end of the day?

You may have made it to the job site. But can you make it back home on the charge remaining in the battery pack? Do you have time to wait at a “fast” charger? If you are a contractor, will you be paying your workers to wait at the “fast” charger?

Good ideas are often rejected. Probably because they make too much sense. Bad ideas, on the other hand, seem to propagate like weeds in between the pavement.

Probably because they are almost always prompted by – or pushed by – the government. The free market would punish an idea as terrible as an electric truck – by assuring they’d never be made in the first place.

. . .

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47 COMMENTS

  1. They are going to sell tons of these electric trucks to maintenance departments at municipal agencies, universities and school districts where they are not diven great distances, are always going to be near a charging station, and are not used and can be plugged in nights and weekends. If the batteries run low they will always have another truck to jump into and drive. And they are going to be paid for with your tax dollars.

    And the administrators and politicians will practically jack themselves off virtue-signaling on how they’re “saving the planet.”

    I predict that the fleet market for electric trucks will be much bigger than the private market.

  2. Mileage isn’t everything, or even the most important thing in a truck. I recently sold my 3/4 ton dodge cummins and downsized to a Dakota with a small gas V8. The Cummins would get 30mpg running on level ground at 50mpg, all 7000 lbs of 4×4 of it with aggressive tires.

    The trouble was I only used it 6-10 times a year to pull a trailer, and with the trailer that mpg dropped to 14-15mpg. The little Dakota is easier and more convenient than the Cummins in cold temps and generally more pleasant to live with. It gets 19 on the highway on 20% cheaper fuel, and gets about 13 towing a trailer.

    With the cheaper fuel, it works out for me. I can’t imagine having a 80k vehicle with limited range and capacity especially to haul stuff half a dozen times a year. The real world mitigates against pure EV’s.

    • The diesel engine is also much better for the environment and non-pilots will not be able to criticize you for wasting fuel given that you will be using less than they burn on a road trip.

      The Raptor Diesel GT

      38 mpg, with 150 gallon tank, range 5000 miles in 20 hours, at 250 mph.

      Lear jet has only 2300 mile range and gets 13 mpg. That means these billionaires are wasting resources.

      • These bastards say our gas powered cars have to get 50 mpg soon (they will be banned soon) then they force you into a lithium fire bomb ev vehicle while these morons fly around at 13 mpg (The other private jets use way more fuel then the Lear jet).

  3. I saw a partial list of cars from the vehicle carrier ship on fire. “More than 100 of those cars were headed for the Port of Houston in Texas, with GTI, Golf R, and ID.4s”. I wonder which model spontaneously combusted.

    • there is going to be a huge issue shipping these lithium fire bombs, no wonder the crew abandoned ship………

      When you drive down the road in your EV don’t think about this……..don’t hit anything, don’t run over debris and don’t get hit, good luck with that, you will be hit by these moron drivers eventually, make sure you aren’t in an EV when you get hit.

      The biggest problem with EV’s is the batteries in EV’s are very dangerous, a fire hazard, how they ever got passed for safety standards is a huge mystery.

      Lithium-ion batteries have a tendency to overheat and can be damaged at high voltages leading to thermal runaway and combustion. like driving around sitting on top of a huge bomb, make sure you don’t hit anything or get hit while driving one of these abortions.

      EV fires are very hard to put out the only way is with the application of huge amounts of water.

      Tactically, this may mean using a master stream, 2½-inch or multiple 1¾-inch fire lines, to suppress and cool the fire. Vehicle fires don’t typically call for surround-and-drown tactics, but these are not typical vehicle fires. so you need multiple fire trucks to put out the fire, this is insanity, they should ban these things.

      One example: the flames on the Tesla were extinguished, it reignited again. Firefighters began hosing it down with copious amounts of water, up to 200 gallons per minute, but “that did not extinguish the flames,” according to the NTSB. At approximately 9:13 p.m., nearly three hours after the first alarm was received, firefighters had to pour out more than 600 gallons of water per minute. In the end the agency used 20,000 gallons of water. these should be banned from the road…..

      Then the fire still isn’t put out……..Batteries can be expected to reignite after being put out because they still have stored energy. 15 hours later it catches fire again…
      “Battery fires can take up to 24 hours to extinguish”….. the vehicle must be parked under “quarantine” for 48 hours, so that no new fire can break out.
      Batteries are difficult to extinguish, and they can burst into flames again several hours later –ATTENTION: in some cases, right up to a week later
      ……… and they allow people to buy these abortions.

      – these things are so dangerous they shouldn’t be sold…..remember the leftist government says 24/7 safe and effective, all lies.

      The greater the amount of energy the electric vehicle may contain, the greater the fire risk of electric vehicle fires.
      So they want to increase the range but that means bigger batteries which are far more dangerous, tesla is the worst they have up to 1800 lb of batteries, a huge fire on wheels going somewhere to happen.

      The big hidden problem:
      they can’t increase the range because the huge batteries are too dangerous, and get more dangerous with increased size, capacity, so EV’s will never have ice vehicle range, so they are too dangerous and useless.

      Tiny little electric vehicles with tiny batteries would have been safer, cheaper would have made more sense, these huge EV’s are exactly the wrong solution, but the government is stupid, corrupt, insane.

      Here is the biggest problem nobody talks about……
      31% of fire departments don’t train for electric vehicle fires. 50% of fire departments say they don’t have special protocols in place to handle electric vehicles after an accident. These EV’s shouldn’t be sold the fire departments can’t even put out the fires, these things endanger everyone.

      Remember this while driving your EV:
      Drive down the road in your EV, hit some debris, a high bump, a huge pothole (the cities don’t fix the roads anymore, so don’t buy an EV), a raised manhole cover or drive into the ditch, puncture the battery and the battery catches fire.
      In addition to crashes, some of the earlier fires involving Teslas were reportedly caused by debris in the roadway puncturing and gouging the undercarriage of the lithium-ion battery pack.

      The damaged battery pack exposed the lithium, causing an exothermal reaction and subsequent fire. This hazard was thought to have been solved with the installation of a titanium cover encasing the battery pack, giving the undercarriage more resistance to severe damage. looks like they don’t work too well, remember this while driving your EV.

      Most electric vehicle fires are caused by the thermal runaway of a damaged battery. Thermal runaway is the rapid and extreme rise in temperature and when it initiates the same reaction in adjacent cells it is known as ‘thermal runaway propagation. When thermal runaway happens, it can produce smoke, fire and even explosions.

      Fires while the electric vehicle is stationary (an EV can catch fire even while parked, don’t sleep in it), this can happen from:
      Extreme temperatures, both extreme heat and cold
      High humidity
      Flooding
      Internal cell failure
      ATTENTION: Overcharging or problems with the charging station (the EV can catch fire), don’t charge it in your garage, what if something goes wrong while charging?
      Is that why so many charging stations are out of order? the software shuts them down over any little issue because they can cause fires.

      why do they even allow these on the road? the leftist government is pushing these because they are morons and insane,

      Fires in gas powered vehicles is far easier to put out compared to an EV and doesn’t take 24 hours to put out. (it is very very difficult for a diesel powered vehicle to catch fire, they are by far the safest)
      they soon will ban far safer gas powered vehicles and the best and the safest by far diesel powered vehicles, throw a match in diesel, it won’t even catch fire……..

      After 10 years the battery in your EV is near dead, useless, the car is scrap now, no residual value: Lithium-ion batteries are subject to aging, losing capacity and fail frequently after a number of years.
      A bigger worry is being cremated in the thing.

      Electric car batteries are catching fire and that could be a big turnoff to buyers.

      BMW initiated a recall in the United States of 10 different BMW and Mini plug-in hybrid models because of a risk of fire caused by debris that may have gotten into battery cells during manufacturing.
      Then, in early October, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation into reports of apparently spontaneous battery fires in Chevrolet Bolt EVs.
      A few days later, Hyundai announced that it was recalling 6,700 Kona Electric SUVs in the United States, among about 75,000 of that model to be recalled worldwide, after it had received numerous reports of vehicles catching fire while parked.
      Tesla faced problems this last year after multiple highly publicized battery fires.

      The leftist government is pushing these EV’s like crazy, all they say is safe and effective 24/7 like their mrna vaccine, same thing, pure lies. You are not allowed to know about the safety of vaccines or EV’s.

      Container puts out inextinguishable fires in electric cars

      https://cfpa-e.eu/container-puts-out-inextinguishable-fires-in-electric-cars/

  4. Rivan who has sold virtually nothing has a market cap of 57 billion dollars vs Ford and BMW at 70 billion eaxh. So around 80% of companies that have sold millions of cars over decades.. clown world.

    • Hi Mark,

      The “value” of these electric vehicle peddlers depends on the mandates – the forcing-into-production (by regulations) of electric vehicles. The assumption is there will be no alternative to EVs within about eight years from now. It’s nice when the government can force people to buy your products (and services).

  5. The market will shake out how many e-trucks are bought, unless of course internal combustion engines cease to be produced. I would have never thought the major American carmakers would quit making cars so…The trucks for play or to drive back and forth to work could well be electric, trucks that do work will need to be fossil fueled until a breakthrough of batteries or some other method of power is championed, say Hydrogen. Judging from the comments, folks that use trucks for work have already thought this through and the math just doesn’t work. For that I am encouraged.

  6. I have a Cayenne Diesel. 2014, 188l miles so far. 32 might at 90mph, 29 gallon tank. Do the math.

    My favorite story is the day I found myself at the Cape for a SpaceX launch. I parked in the VIP lot at the end of a line to white Tesla S’s

    As I was leaving one of the SpaceX guys was leaving, having parked next to me. He looked at my car, said “Nice Porsche, care to race?”

    I looked at his car, then mine. Smiled and said “Sure, I’ll race you to Miami.”

    Tesla guys have no sense of humor whatsoever.

  7. The ‘Free Market’ would kill of the idea of electric trucks and while it was at it, the ‘ethanol mafia’ as well. No such critter as the ‘free market’ though, the feds killed it.

    • It really can’t be killed, but it is certainly imprisoned and shackled, a la Count of Monte Cristo. It will get out eventually, human nature never changes.

  8. All this electric talk not withstanding, there may be a good business in retrofitting gasoline powerplants to dead electric battery truck paperweights.

    • Aftermarket generators disguised as tool boxes in the bed will be a big item.

      Ford will sell one as an option, but the mythical $40,000 F150 Lightning won’t have that available.

      If there ever is a $40,000 F150 Lightning. Even if Ford managed to pull off the number, the dealers will never let one out the door at that price.

      Try pricing a RAV4 Prime at a dealer.

  9. Great! A ET may claim a 300 mile range on a 70 degree day on level surface with no trailer. What about trying to take that truck over the Bitter Root mountains towing a 12,000 lb trailer, in January, at night?

  10. These trucks may be just fine for some rich people who can afford them, so fine, build them, however, forcing everyone into a vehicle which isn’t fit for the duty cycle that they require is bonkers. It is simply impossible to build electric vehicles with today’s technology to tow, or to drive far from charging networks. You can easily throw 50 gallons of gas cans in the back of a truck and go really far from gas stations.

    This 55mpg mandate which is killing gasoline cars is delusional, the technology doesn’t exist to deliver on it. We’re going to see people keeping old cars running as long as possible, like in Cuba, that is until Uncle decides that old cars must be taken off the road.

    • >We’re going to see people keeping old cars running as long as possible
      Already happening where I live (inland SoCal).
      ’60s Mustangs are popular, but many other makes & models as well.
      Good thing is that parts availability is better than one might expect, although there can be challenges in that regard.

  11. The concept of the electric truck isn’t nearly as terrible as the fantasy being sold un by Tesla and Ford that they can deliver the base vehicles, capable of going ~ 150 miles free of additional weight, for $40,000.

    Right now, a clever F&I room weasel can spin $40,000 into $500/month car payments with some clever manipulation of the numbers and a bank willing to take 90 month 2% paper, something not uncommon around here (Texas) to move F150 and Silverado trucks to buyers who truly couldn’t afford them pre-pandemic.

    By the time the masses figure out that they have been scammed, sometime around the start of the 2025 model year, when Ford and Tesla admit defeat on the price point, it will be too late. Either pay the $80-100k cost of the EV or gas guzzler taxes on what’s left of the conventional truck models.

  12. I have an older Toyota Tundra that I frequently tow a camper trailer or a flat bed trailer that I use to take my Supra to shows and track days. I usually get about 11 mpg on level terrain, but even with that, I still get nearly 300 miles of range (that can be extended any time with a five-minute fill-up). Imagine doing that with an EV “truck” towing with a 60- or 70-mile range and having to stop every hour for 30 minutes or more to recharge. That’s if you can find a charger and that’s if you don’t have to wait.

    A three-hour trip in a truck towing a trailer might require three recharges along the way, adding 90 minutes minimum to your journey. Imagine doing that during a hurricane evacuation when everyone will be utilizing charging infrastructure. Gas stations frequent run out of gasoline because so many people are filling up their cars and trucks.

    The morons in charge haven’t thought of any of these drawbacks. Or maybe they have and they don’t care. Maybe the point is for us to not be so independent. I think our ruling class wants us to live as technological serfs, tied to a general vicinity for all of our lives while supplying the things they need to keep living their lifestyle. We’ll eat bugs and drink soy milk while they dine on grass-fed Kobe beef and fly around in their private jets. Vacations will become only for the wealthiest people.

    It’s insidious.

    • Hi dr_mantis,
      Your last paragraph sums it up exactly – they have thought of those drawbacks and that’s why the overlords are pushing this onto the sefs, i.e. most of us.

    • ‘Imagine doing that during a hurricane evacuation when everyone will be utilizing charging infrastructure.’ — dr mantis

      Surely somewhere within Joe Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill are a few tens of billions for FEMA mobile charging stations, to be sited along hurricane evacuation routes.

      Out of charge with a bad ‘cane bearin’ down on ya?

      Dial 1-800-FED-JOLT. Help is on its way, citizen! /sarc

      • That pretty much sums up the .gov Jim. They create an artificial problem and become an indispensable solution to said problem. The sheep eat it up. It creates an endless feedback loop that justifies a deep web of intervention until nothing works and we’re all dirt poor.

        • Hi Driveshaft,

          This goes back to Hamilton – and his idea of tying “the elites” (at the time, Northern manufacturing and financial interests) to the federal government via rent-seeking, for their mutual benefit (government getting control in exchange). It has expanded ever since such that there is now no meaningful distinction between public (i.e., government) and private enterprise (or property, for that matter).

  13. Spotted a Rivan truck in the wild last week on CO hwy 82, just down valley from Aspen. It is about the size of a Nissan Frontier, but with no ground clearance. Very narrow. This isn’t a truck for work, it is a truck for play. Not playing with the truck, but playing with driving to the ski slopes, the campground (as long as it’s not too far into the back country), the beach, the National Park (with charging station). That faux-forest that young tourists flock to, where you need a reservation 6 months in advance, and have to tough it out with only a 3G cellular connection.

    In other words, yet another electric second vehicle.

  14. Re: ‘The free market would punish an idea as terrible as an electric truck’

    Yes it will. But EV trucks will be made for sure. IF it ever gets to the ‘by force’ part, I will be installing a diesel generator in the bed on it’s first day.

    I believe someone towed a car with a Rivian in Colorado and it went 60-70 miles.
    My 25-30 gal of gas consumption on a typical weekend towing 5Klbs, would currently require 4-5 stops to charge the current EV trucks as proposed. No F-n way am I doing that. My weekend would become a very long weekend, like 3-4 days long.

  15. “More weight equals more battery – equals more weight, again”

    In rocket science it’s called “the tyranny of the rocket equation” –the more stuff you want to put into orbit, the more propellent = more weight = less payload.

    So, we can christen what Eric describes as “the tyranny of reality for electric vehicles forced upon citizens by tyrants”.

  16. Having worked in construction for 25 years of my adult life, the primary value of a truck is flexibility. It can be used as simple transportation, or used to transport heavy loads, and operate on less than ideal terrain. Regardless how poor its gas mileage, frequent stops to refuel may be expensive for an ICE truck, but not especially time consuming, though I recall being pissed off because of the time required. Things no electric truck can offer. Regarding using them as a power source, though I’ve been out of the business for near 25 years, a job site without line power was a rare thing. Very rare. General contractors recognized the job doesn’t really start until that power was available, and so endeavored to acquire it quickly. Not to mention that an ICE truck can also provide that power, given the proper equipment.

    • And you can’t throw a couple of five gallon cans of electricity in the back of an electric truck to get you by in an area electricity isn’t readily available.

    • Hi John,
      Being in the construction industry, generators are common, available and rented up to the time of getting your local power company off their behinds to provide power to the site via temp service. Usually, i need a constant power source about the time I start my concrete work which requires not only power for tools, but quite often power for a Tower or Self Erecting Crane. Tower Crane requires a minimum of 460vac and 50amps. No fricken way an electric truck is going to be powering a jobsite ever unless it is a cabin project in the woods and good luck driving home from the wilderness after using your battery all day.

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