In recent months it has become abundantly clear that electric vehicles are no more than rich men’s toys. Sometimes I think I must be having a dream, but I do not seem to be able to awake from this nightmare.
These vehicles are so expensive that only the very rich can afford them. In fact, these are often secondary vehicles. As a vehicle to drive from home to office and back home again, they are reasonably practical.
However, nothing beats a vehicle with an internal combustion engine. You do not have to plug it in, just get in and drive it. Five minutes is enough time to fill the gas tank and check the water and oil. With an electric vehicle you may have to spend two hours every 200 miles charging the battery.
Electric vehicles were tried in the early part of the Twentieth Century but were abandoned after gasoline driven cars became available. Here is the timeline of the development of electric vehicles. Here is a picture of a woman charging her vehicle about 1912.
One of the reasons these cars did not catch on at the time is that there were many places in America that still had no residential electricity. Another is that these vehicles were fairly low speed, with maximum speed only about 14 Miles Per Hour. Even a horse could beat that (almost). Some of the cars that were actually built were luxury cars with ornate interiors and designs.
Today, electric cars are being built and sold to fight carbon dioxide. This basic goal is simply madness. Carbon dioxide is plant food. You can read more about this in my previous post on carbon dioxide.
One has to wonder if electric vehicles are actually reducing carbon dioxide. In one demonstration when a reporter asked about the power source, he was informed that they just plugged it into a socket on the side of the building.
At the same time there was an official there from the utility company and he pointed out that the local electricity was provided by a coal-fired power plant. So you can see that absolutely nothing was accomplished as the coal-fired power plant was still producing carbon dioxide. (The above cartoon explains the truth of the matter.)
That does not even consider that many of the components of an electric vehicle are produced in places like China, which have few pollution control requirements. Consider that the machinery used to mine the ore is producing carbon dioxide, and then the trucks that haul the ore to the refinery, and then the carbon dioxide produced by the refinery, and finally the factory to build the batteries and such, each stage using electricity. And in China, much of their electricity is produced by coal-fired power plants. And they are building many more coal-fired power plants every week. No CO2 here, but much produced in China.
Some states have stated that they want to be net zero by 2035. They have no idea what they are talking about. To do so would require blanketing much of the country with wind and solar. And what about us? We each produce about two pounds of carbon dioxide every day just by breathing.
One of the reasons that many people do not want electric vehicles is that they are very impractical for longer trips. With a range of about 200 miles on a fully charged battery, (not in winter, not in summer) few want to wait two hours while the battery is charged. Some are finding that there is no charge station when they need one, or there are not enough units at an installation to provide charge for all that may want it.
If you live in North Idaho, where we live, it gets to over 100 in summer, and minus 20 in winter. Thus, air conditioning must be used in summer, and heater in winter. This reduces trip miles drastically.
These vehicles are really impractical in winter. One family got caught in a blizzard. After a couple of hours, the battery was dead and they would have been dead also if someone had not rescued them. A gasoline driven engine could last several days and keep the heater going, if they were careful not to run it all the time. Electric vehicles are just not practical in winter, or summer.
But supposing that everyone bought one of these vehicles, how much power would that take? Some states have already asked owners not to plug in their vehicles during certain times as there was not enough power on the electrical grid to provide for them.
However, people are beginning to wake up. Some who have bought electric vehicles traded them for gasoline vehicles. And sales are not keeping up. As a result, many dealers find unsold cars stacking up on their car lots. Slow sales has led some factories to cut back production of electric vehicles.
Now there is a push to get electric vehicles all over the world, even in Africa, the poorest continent in the world. Few people in Africa even have the luxury of electricity, and the prime need is clean drinking water.
In an effort to fight carbon dioxide “pollution”, New York bought some electric snow plows. But they just could not stand up to the power needed to push the snow and had to be recharged after only two hours.
Some places have even installed battery powered buses, but found them very impractical, some even taken out of service.
They have suggested that these electric vehicles could be powered by wind and solar, because they do not produce any carbon dioxide. The truth is that when the total project is considered they are not very practical and do generate a lot of carbon dioxide. Wind, especially has serious problems, especially offshore wind.
People are beginning to realize how impractical are electric vehicles such that many dealers have indicated that their inventory is beyond bounds. Another practicality is that electric vehicles are just not driven as much as are gasoline rigs.
One of the problems with electric vehicles is that they are a disaster whenever there is a regional power outage, from a storm, a fire or a flood. To get away from a hurricane they are often helpless. Whenever the electrical grid goes down, as in a natural disaster, the electric vehicle is simply useless, like a large rock beside the road. The gasoline car can keep going unless it runs out of fuel or enters a flood.
People say that electric vehicles produce no carbon dioxide and thus fight carbon dioxide “pollution”. The truth is that in much of the country most of the electricity is produced from coal, which produces a lot of carbon dioxide. Natural gas (methane) produces some carbon dioxide, and is in some ways more practical than coal, but still even natural gas produces some carbon dioxide. So, the electric vehicles are often being powered by coal-fired power plants.
Electric vehicles are obviously better than horses, but probably not the wave of the future. Outside of being very expensive they have many problems.