Offsetting

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We keep hearing about the always-just-around-the-corner “$25,000” EV. It is probably just behind the always-just-around-the-corner “breakthrough” in “battery technology” that’s been just-around-the-corner since the mid-1990s, when the first generation of modern EVs (such as the GM EV1) came out.

Not much has changed since then – and probably won’t anytime soon.

But what if there were a $25k EV? It’d be an improvement – just the same as EVs today go about twice as far as they did back in the ’90s, when their range on a full charge was about 100 miles.

Today’s EVs typically go about 250 or so miles on a full charge, but that’s mainly due to their having batteries twice the size of those in ’90s-era EVs like the GM EV1, which was a much smaller EV that didn’t have space for a much larger battery. Today’s 800-1,000 pound EV batteries store the energy equivalent of about 6-7 gallons of gasoline (that weighs about 50 pounds or so) which does give them more range than ’90s-era EVs that had smaller batteries that weighed a lot less.

But it’s hardly a “breakthrough.”

A real breakthrough would be a battery that does not add 800-1,000 pounds of weight in order to store the energy equivalent of about 6-7 gallons of gas that must always be carried around – even when the battery is nearly “empty” – that can store the energy equivalent of 15-20 gallons of gas and that could be “refilled” (to full) in about the same time it takes to pump 15-20 gallons into a gas tank. Don’t expect such a breakthrough anytime soon, because it’s not just the battery tech that’s at issue but also the charging tech. And the generating tech.

You begin to see the magnitude of the problems.

That brings us back to the problem of the $25k EV. Such a device would still not be inexpensive enough to offset the time costs it imposes. Back to those problems with the battery tech and charging tech and generating tech.

You’d still be stuck having to plan your life around how far you can’t go – and how long it’s going to take to be able to get going again. Time is money – and it is also a currency you can’t recover once spent. So, the question is: How much time are you willing – and able – to spend for the sake of owning an EV? The latter in italics because most of us who aren’t retired have schedules we’re expected to keep, such as being at work when we’re expected and not making excuses for why we weren’t able to make it there on time. And even those of us who are retired generally don’t have time to waste – particularly given that people who are retired tend to have less of it remaining to spend than those who are much younger and so have all the time in the world.

Or so the young often think.

Retired or not, spending even half an hour once a week at a Sheetz waiting on a device is a cost most people aren’t interested in paying. Never mind an hour.

Nor having to spend a lot of time planning for it – or around it. Not to mention the consequences that arrive when something that couldn’t be planned around crops up, such as the “fast” charger at Sheetz being on the fritz and the next-closest place to get a charge is now too far away. Or the power went out at home because there was a thunderstorm that knocked down the power line and it’s going to take the power company a day or two to get the power back on.

Meanwhile, you had planned to drive your device to work the morning after the power went out, while you were sleeping. How are you planning on getting to work now?

It’s hard to put a price on what all of this costs but for sure it’s no bargain when you’re still paying about the same for the device as you would to buy a $25k car that doesn’t require you to plan your life around how far it doesn’t go – and how long it takes before it’s able to get going again.

At least when you spend $25k on a car (that isn’t a device) you know what it’s going to cost you.

In order to offset the costs you buy into when you purchase an EV, the EV’s cost ought to offset what you’ll be paying for it. Perhaps something like the $15k EV Honda is offering everywhere except here (if you’re interested in the reasons why, see here). Such a device costs about $10k less than a current-year small car or crossover that doesn’t require you to plan your life around it.

But even that’s probably not enough to offset what the EV will cost – when you factor in how much the depreciation’s going to cost you.

EVs lose value almost as fast as they lose charge – and there’s no way to recover it. Even if you pay for a new battery to replace the one that’s losing its capacity to hold charge, the device still won’t be worth much – for pretty much the same reason that a five-year-old iPhone with a new battery isn’t worth much, either.

It’d probably take a $10,000 EV to offset the cost of owning one – and that’s a “breakthrough” that’s as likely to happen as gold coins being emitted by the rear-end of my donkey.

. . .

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44 COMMENTS

  1. Eric, have you seen this? Toddler locked in a Tesla in Arizona after battery dies without warning.

    https://www.alaskasnewssource.com/2024/06/24/toddler-trapped-car-after-tesla-battery-dies/?tbref=hp

    Quote…
    “Sanchez immediately called 911 and firefighters responded to the scene.

    “And when they got here, the first thing they said was, ‘Ugh, it’s a Tesla. We can’t get in these cars,’” she said. “And I said, ‘I don’t care if you have to cut my car in half. Just get her out.’”

  2. Eric,

    Is the comparison between modern EVs and the GM EV1 inaccurate though? The EV1 initially used lead-acid batteries, followed by NiMH. OTOH, modern EVs use Li-Ion batteries or LFP. Also, what about the power densities of the various battery types?

  3. When EVs DON’T “Stop climate change”, are the most zealous EV pushers going to blame that on people who DIDN’T buy an EV (and continued driving a “dirty gas vehicle”)? A similar narrative was concocted to explain away why there were COVID outbreaks in areas that, ironically, had HIGH VACCINATION RATES. Instead of blaming it on the vaxx, people tried blaming it on those who REFUSED to be guinea pigs for Big Pharma.

  4. This is why EVs have been so “successful” in Norway, to the point where 90 % of all new cars sold these days are now EVs there. The Norwegian government is offsetting the costs of purchasing an EV (raiding tax payer money to do so, but nobody seems to connect the dots). Some details are available e.g. here.

    Of course, these offsets are an implicit admission that EVs are not competitive, and by creating an artificial market for EV automakers, Norway is actually contributing to slowing the (potential) technological development of EVs, since automakers won’t have any incentives to improve their EVs when they can get away with selling their current crop of crap.

  5. Bypassing all of the idiots who bought EV’s for their alleged cost cutting convenience or their desire to “save the planet” by not driving a car powered by “big oil” and who now want to drive an internal combustion powered car again, I have often wondered what Sheetz is. By their website, you wouldn’t know they sell frigging gasoline.

    https://www.sheetz.com/

    And then there is buccees. Buccees is an obnoxisous chain of Mammal themed filling stations with over 115 gas pumps. Their locations are scattered on busy interstate highways throughout Texas and the Deep South.

    People are attracted to the food, their snacks their souvenirs and the choice of coffees, teas, and other beverages available. One thing I will say good about Buccees is that their staff is pretty well paid. All that and they sell gasoline for about 10 to 50 cents cheaper than their competitors. Their competitors are “local” filling stations with nasty bathrooms owned mostly by Indians and Pakistanis, and marginally better places like QT. QT only has one men’s and one women’s bathroom, is much smaller and has fewer food and snack choices. The advantage is that their fuel price is similar to Buccees.

    The state of the American gas station has always been dubious. In the 50s through the 80s, the bathrooms have always been awful. back then there were few convenient places to get snacks, etc.

    Of course, I miss those days because that’s not what a gas station was for.

    Thanks to government “clean water” rules, gas stations had to replace their underground storage tanks. Only corporate owned gas stations and Indians with their $50000 business giveaways courtesy of the US taxpayer could afford to open up.

    So, for years, we have had to follow the model of substandard service, nasty bathrooms, crappy overpriced convenience items and sometimes poorly working fuel pumps. Until Buccees, (which is not a good player either).

    I guess, gas is here to stay for a while. Buccees has Evee chargers, but they are relegated to the outer fringes of the store.

    • These gas stations don’t make any money selling gasoline, so they have to entice customers to come in and spend. I think that’s why the larger stores stay in better condition, while the small mom and pop stores fall into a state of disrepair because they don’t have the capacity to sell much inside the store.

      • I stopped to fuel the gaping maw of my vehicle, the gas tank, down in Boulder in Colorado. There were two attendants accepting pre-payment for your gas. Both of the gas station workers were obviously of Middle Eastern descent.

        Up in Longmont, one gas station attendant was of a religious sect probably from India, across the street, that gas station was owned by a Coloradan, I think.

        Boulderites say Longtucky, not Longmont.

        A good cheese emporium in Longmont.

        Rifle, Colorado?

        There is Gunbarrel, Colorado, too. Colorado allows such names for towns? Holy cow!

        Gotta have a place named Fort Collins, a beer drinkers paradise. Odell is there and, of course, New Belgium. Budweiser even has a brewery plant there. There is beer in Colorado, has to be the water, the weather is good too.

        They have the beer!

        Then make your way to Gunbarrel to drink some Avery brews, then over to Longmont for some Lefthand.

        Have valid identification, an up-to-date driver’s license, otherwise, no beer for you.

        Buy gas from Valero and buy beer at the Odell brewery.

        • Rifle is former home and birthplace of open carrying representative Lauren Boebert, running for the republicans in the CO District 4 after making a serious mess of CO District 3. Town itself is a good mix of old Colorado and immigrant workers who run up valley to Aspen and Glenwood Springs. Nice place but growing quickly, so who knows how long it will stay that way.

    • Swamprat wrote, “In the 50s through the 80s, the bathrooms have always been awful.”

      Reminds me of a trip my brother and I took in the 70’s. He came out of the restroom at a local gas station and said, “I think the cleanest thing in there was my dick.”

    • The “vibrant” owners/staff at the local Chevron and the independent closest to me run absolute s***hole stations. The Chevron has several pumps chronically out of order, the window wash stations literally are water no detergent in the mix plus the worn out cleaner/squeege that’s useless. The independent station is worse, the pavement at the pumps is filthy due to diesel and gas at the same pump islands. Cletus invariably spills about a half gallon of diesel that the owners or staff never clean up.

      The best is the farm co-op station in town, worth the six mile drive plus they have ethanol free 92 for the Harley. All grades of fuel are Top Tier. Clean, all pumps work, window wash with actual sudsy cleaning solution and nice new scrubber/squeeges. Pay at the pump always works. Their diesel pumps are at a separate island area no diesel puddles to step in for the gas customers.

  6. No matter how much they manage to increase the charging rate the electric grid remains the limiting factor. No way can the present or future grid handle the load or have the generation behind it, especially with the greenies determined to shut down reliable base load power plants and replace them with windmills and solar panels. The USSA is on a slow path to economic suicide, it’s beyond time to tell these wackos to pound sand.

    • The schizo government here in WA is a head spinner. EV only mandates coming, banning natural gas / electric only for new construction, heat pump mania. So, only higher demand for electricity.

      However gotta save the $@#* salmon so let’s tear out the Snake River dams and thus destroy 10% of our electricity supply and the ability to barge the Palouse wheat harvests down river via gravity. You’ll need hundreds of trucks to replace the barges, all running in diesel of course.

  7. ‘that’s a “breakthrough” that’s as likely to happen as gold coins being emitted by the rear-end of my donkey.’ — eric

    Hell, Pfizer did that with covid ‘vaccine,’ making that ‘Biden’ donkey er hat Gold geschissen to the tune of billions.

    Jim Breuer in “If Covid Were A Musical” shows how it was done, with the help of brightly feathered ‘news cockatoos’:

    https://youtu.be/_6dqy2JjowU

  8. The way the establishment and their media lapdogs use the word BREAKTHROUGH is oily. We keep hearing that a BREAKTHROUGH in EV batteries is just around the corner (which never happens), but I remember them using that word in a different way 3 years ago. When COVID jab mania seemed to be everywhere, establishment media and the government was using the term “Breakthrough COVID cases” to describe people who got the dreaded ‘Rona despite having been vaxxed. Watch these charlatans in the media & government try to LIE their way out of that. It’s like those politicians who try to say they never forced anyone to take those (then experimental) vaxxes despite being ALL IN on MANDATES in 2021.

  9. The Sonic drive-in up in Rifle installed Tesla Superchargers, taking up an entire row of parking spaces. I guess they figure you’ll enjoy some fast food at the “fast” charger. But unfortunately there’s a big flaw.

    For those of you back east, Sonic has menus and an intercom setup at their parking slots. You push the big red button and someone takes your order. Then the carhop delivers it and takes your cash (card reader is on the menu board), and usually keeps the change, because that’s the kind of guy I am when I get to eat lunch in my car. They’re even covered so you don’t get wet rolling down the window in the rain.

    Except for the Supercharger slots. They’re just like any other, no menu board, no awning. Just the Tesla pylons. And to make matters worse, it’s in the glidepath for runway 26 and next to a hospital with a heliport, so no cell tower, and no cell service either. That’s OK when choking down your Sonic Double with tots on the run, but not when you’re waiting… waiting… waiting…

  10. I’m not inclined to buy an EV at any price point. It simply doesn’t fit my locale & lifestyle.

    Posted this to another EP forum yesterday but it bears repeating…this guy’s (educated) opinion on the 8 new trucks only dumb people buy. 3/8 are electric. And he points out the obvious issues of weight, battery life/replacement costs, and availability of charging stations.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPj5Qckuth0

  11. In 25 + years from now there will be no EV car shows and cruse-ins and reminiscing of the good old EV cars back in the day. Only reminiscing will be the regret for the end of an era of freedom, fun and excitement that muscle cars, antique cars and sportscars were to people that was ended by these hideous devices.

    • When ever I go to a cruise-in I’ll look at the less popular cars. Think Datsun 510 over a Camaro with a 454 in it. Cars that are redone and not worth what was spent on them are more interesting because they loved the car and not a big future payout at Barret Jackson.

      I agree that there wont be cruise-ins for EVs unless it’s across from the fire station.

  12. There is a battery in my ICE vehicle, the cost is about 100 dollars, doesn’t need to be charged every day, will provide electrical power to engage the starter to turn the ring gear so the engine can crank to a start. The engine needs some fuel to let it loose and rev and stuff.

    Add some of those hydrocarbons, ready to go.

    Purdy much good enough.

  13. The $25,000 EV isn’t happening, but neither is the robo taxi.

    Both are part of the deception behind the grift. However, it looks like the decision makers on Wall Street have lost interest in keeping Musk in the club. His usefulness may be at an end.

  14. https://solar.lowtechmagazine.com/2010/05/the-status-quo-of-electric-cars-better-batteries-same-range/
    quote:
    The 2010 Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i-MiEV have exactly the same range as the 1908 Fritchle Model A Victoria: 100 miles (160 kilometres) on a single charge.
    If you were to put the lithium-ion battery of the Nissan Leaf in the 1908 Fritchle, the vehicle would have a range of about 644 km (400 miles). If you put a lithium-ion battery with the same weight of the Fritchle-battery inside, you get about 700 miles (1,127 km) range. Add to this the fact that we now also have lighter and more efficient motors (and other vehicle parts) and the range will become even greater.

    • That doesn’t solve the charging problem, and the Nissan Versa, the non-EV equivalent of the Leaf, can already get 400 miles out of a tank of gas and “recharge” in five minutes.

      Also, the Versa’s gas tank and range don’t shrink over time like the Leaf’s will.

      Solving the charging problem would probably affect the lifetime of the battery. Ford already cautions F150 Lightning owners not to supercharge, and Ford has been nitpicking battery replacement warranty claims for the issue from what I’ve heard annectdotally.

    • The theoretical range doesn’t seem to compensate for the additional weight and size of said LiOn battery.

      Small, slow electric vehicles like the Chinese make, make sense on a certain level. Who knows, maybe we’ll have these available in a few years…after the NeoCons use Taiwan to start a war in which the U.S. of A ceases to exist…

      • Hi Mark,
        It actually does. Batteries are way more efficient per kg than 1908. The vehicle had range of 160km with 1908 battery. If you put a lithium-ion battery with the SAME WEIGHT of the Fritchle-battery inside, you get about 700 miles (1,127 km) range. Thats roughly 7 times more energy per kg in battery. The figure seems realistic to me in 100 years to have 7 X more dense battery.
        But I agree this shouldnt be everyones car. Although Il take that over tesla.

        • Heres the rub. You may be able to get 700 miles out of a charge, but the charge time will still be unacceptably high. Plus a 700 mile battery will require twice as much time to charge as the 350 mile battery. You are limited by charge rate at the charger.

          Hopefully you can charge while you are asleep. Otherwise the average person driving one of these is SOL.

          • Of course infrastructure simply isnt there. To support fully charging it every night. You dont have enough amps in your house to do it. But I dont drive long distances. I maybe drove 700 miles at one go twice in my life. Plus goverment wouldnt let me do this because of “safety”. But for city driving and repeatability. This car would be great for me and would find its crowd among students etc.

      • Well, I wouldn’t waste money on a crappy Chinese vehicle. Quality is probably so poor that you have to be careful not to use too much force when you close the glove box, or the car will suffer structural damage…

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