It’s even worse than those fast-talking radio ads for whatever-it-is they’re selling in terms of what they’re not telling you about living with an electric vehicle.
At least those ads do tell you; you just have to listen very carefully.
With electric cars, no one’s telling you – about several critically important caveats that truth-in-advertising laws ought to require people considering buying one be told about. The fact that people aren’t being told about them strongly suggest they – the people pushing electric vehicles – do not want people to know about them.
Until after they’ve bought one.
The first thing has to do with what is styled “fast” charging – which is a thing you cannot do at home (another thing they do not tell you) and without being able to do it, greatly restricts the amount of driving you can do – because it takes what amounts to forever, in everyday terms, to recover even a partial charge at home, using a standard 120V household outlet. At least overnight. And that may not be long enough to get you charge enough to get to work – or back.
The solution? “Fast” charge the car at a commercial “fast” charger, where there is very high DC (as opposed to household AC) current available. It can be – but isn’t always, another thing they do not tell you – sufficient power to recover a partial charge in about half-an-hour or so. That is not exactly “fast” relative to the few minutes it takes to fully refuel a non-electric car, but it is “fast” enough to make more than every-other-day driving of an electric car feasible, at least. One could, for example, budget in an extra 30 minutes on the way to work to stop for a cup of coffee and drink it while the EeeeeeVeeee “fast” charges. Or stop to shop for the same 30 minutes or so on the way home from work (most “fast” chargers are located at shopping centers and other such places because these places have the very high voltage DC current infrastructure already in ground, so as to make it somewhat cost-feasible to install the “fast” chargers).
It’s still a wait, of course. But not a crippling one, which charging at home is – assuming you need to be able to use the car again anytime soon. I dealt wit this at length during test drives of the Ford Lightning pick-up (see here) and am in the midst of dealing with it as I type – and wait for the Mustang Mach e to recover enough charge (at my home) to be feasibly drivable again.
When it was dropped off, it only had about 158 miles of indicated range remaining (of a potential maximum of 270 miles, that latter being optimistic by about 15-20 percent, as I have found to be the case for every EeeeeeVeeeee I have driven so far). After a short drive, it only had about 94 miles of indicated range remaining. Given 15-20 percent optimistic, that meant not enough range to risk going farther than very close to home.
Remember: With electric vehicles, if you run out of charge, you are out luck. There’s no running down the road and back with a couple gallons of electricity.
Well, why not go to a “fast” charger and get on the road . . . faster? I could – and probably will – because it’s not my EeeeeeVeeee. I won’t be the person paying for a new battery for it, when the one it left the factory with can no longer hold charge – or enough charge to maintain the touted 270 miles of potential range
Which brings us to what they aren’t telling you.
Well, they are – if you look for it.
In the manual that came with the EeeeeVeeee, Ford advises avoiding too much “fast” charging, in order to preserve the health of the battery. What Ford is saying there is that “fast” charging is hard on the battery. Anyone who has charged up a simple lead acid battery will know about this, already. You pour the acid in and hook the battery up to a trickle-charger. The battery’s manufacturer tells you that fast-charging it will greatly reduce the service life of the battery.
Think about what this means – as regards living with an EeeeeeeVeeee. If you want to be able to drive it often, you will likely have to “fast” charge it often – because it takes so long (otherwise) to charge one at home. And because EeeeeeVeees do not go as far as advertised before they need to be recharged, again.
And because they don’t go very far to begin with, even as advertised.
For example: Ford says the Lightning – with its optional (much more expensive) battery has a potential range of about 320 miles. The Mach e (also with its much more expensive optional battery) goes maybe 270.
Even leaving aside how far it actually goes – which isn’t nearly that far, especially when loaded, if we’re talking about the Lightning – it is not very far. It is about half as far as you can actually do in a gas-engined version of the same thing. It practically forces you to “fast” charge the thing, unless you have the overnight to wait it otherwise takes to do so. But if you “fast” charge the thing, you are risking the health of the battery – which just happens to be the single most expensive part of the EeeeeVeeee, aside from the EeeeeeVeee, itself.
So, the choice for many people will be to either use the EeeeeeeVeeeee less – or “fast” charge it more – and risk accelerating the demise of the most vehicle’s most expensive component.
You may have heard about what is styled “Level 2” charging, which you can do at home. This involves charging using 240V AC current (on a 50 amp breaker). As this is double the voltage available on a standard 120V outlet, the charging time is reduced by about half – to just a few hours (sarc) rather than overnight. This makes driving the EeeeeVeeee every day somewhat more feasible.
But – here it comes – you may not be able to “Level 2” charge at home, either. Not without paying for it, that is. At the least, you will have to spend a few hundred bucks to have an electrician come to your home and run a dedicated 240V circuit on a 50 amp breaker from your panel to wherever you want the outlet to plug into to be located. You will also need to buy a “Level 2” charging apparatus (as here) from the manufacturer of your EeeeeeVeeee. The Ford apparatus – Charge Station Pro – costs $1,300. Plus whatever you have to spend on the electrician.
And you may need to spend considerably more than that – on top of that.
If your home does not already have a panel (200 amps) capable of handling the addition of a dedicated 240V “Level Two” branch circuit, you will have to pay the electrician to upgrade your panel to 200 amps before he can add the “Level Two” circuit.
This can total $1,800-$2,500 or more – depending on the electrician. Plus the cost of the “Level 2” apparatus. It could end up being $3,000 or more when all is said and done. You could almost buy a decent used gas-engined beater for that sum. And you could absolutely buy about 900 gallons of gas for that sum – enough gas to fill up a gas-engined car with a 15 gallon tank 60 times or once a week for a year.
And never have to wait more than five minutes for each one.
. . .
If you like what you’ve found here please consider supporting EPautos.
PS: Get an EPautos magnet or sticker or coaster 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 magnet or sticker or coaster – and also, provide an address, so we know where to mail the thing!)
My eBook about car buying (new and used) is also available for your favorite price – free! Click here. If that fails, email me at EPeters952@yahoo.com and I will send you a copy directly!