My Car Quest

September 23, 2021

Editorial: One Truth About Electric Cars

by Wallace Wyss –

I have a radio show where I talk about cars, begrudgingly, (because my favorite cars are internal combustion) in recent years I tried hybrid cars and had two exciting ones to drive, a Lexus LC500h and a Mercedes E53 cabriolet. Both could cruise at 150 mph, and had regenerative braking and you didn’t have to plug in at night.

Then I borrowed a full electric (review coming soon). Mistake. The only thing I liked about it was, when I drove up a mountain it used up electric miles but on the way down it restored the miles used up by using the kinetic energy and a generator to restore the miles.

But then came the problem of plugging it in. I live in an apartment. No chargers there. Why not ask the car that will tell me where the chargers are? What good will that do, I thought, if they only gave me a 110-volt cord. I checked Google. It said “Charging the car using a regular wall plug will take around 39 hours 30 minutes. Rapid charging is possible through a CCS connection. The maximum rapid charge power is 126 kW. The battery can’t be charged continuously at this power”.

They could have given me the means and location to charge it at Level 2, 240 volts. I never used a charger before but I presume the chargers in a nearby village can supply that. But do I need a 240-volt cord to plug it in or does the charger supply it? At any rate, what am I supposed to do while waiting for just 80 minutes range? Twiddle my thumbs?

I think the whole push to go electric ignores the fact that there are not chargers at every apartment house and every gas station. Even my colleague at the radio station, who owns a house, didn’t have 19 spare hours to charge it. I returned it early while it still had enough miles of range to get home.

So welcome to the real world. Electric cars are a fine idea on paper. But electric cars in the US will stay below 4% market penetration until they make faster chargers available to all who don’t have easy access to chargers, or own their own home.

Like a lot of idyllic ideas this one’s not ready for prime time.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss is the co-host of Autotalk, a program broadcast on KUCR-FM Riverside, California each week.

 
 
 

 

 

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Editorial: One Truth About Electric Cars
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Editorial: One Truth About Electric Cars
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I think the whole push to go to electric cars ignores the fact that there are not chargers at every apartment house and every gas station.
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Comments

  1. Wes Stewart says

    “The only thing I liked about it was, when I drove up a mountain it used up electric miles but on the way down it restored the miles used up by using the kinetic energy and a generator to restore the miles.”

    Some of the miles.

  2. Your point goes to the very heart of the role that the automobile (e.g. the Model T) played in opening up the States of mainland USA, where so many distances are so vast. I live in the UK, but a few years ago we visited, picking a hire car up at JFK and a few weeks later handing it back at LAX. Fueled with you say gas I say petrol, it was a fantastic trip. But I can’t begin to imagine the same trip in an electric car!

  3. Chris Lackner says

    How do electric cars get on when you have flooding, like in Germany recently? Do they work at all, or maybe you get electrocuted? In our street in London, UK, there are virtually no garages, and very little off-street parking – everyone parks in the street. It’s quite usual not to be able to park in front of your own house, and if and when you could, would yo be able to run a charging cable across the pavement? I can foresee litigation ahead from people tripping over it… There are maybe 3 charging points on lamp posts in our street, and more often than not, cars are parked (legally) in those spaces. The infrastructure is just not there.

  4. On top of the recharging issues are (1) much (most?) of the U.S. power grid could not handle the additional load if there was a big changeover to electric cars; and (2) can all those batteries be properly recycled? I think not. This will be a long term changeover, despite government wishes.

  5. Try stopping progress, I dare you. Electric cars are coming and the power grid will not be a problem. Burning oil into our atmosphere will stop, it has to.

    • Andre Rocha says

      Well we can’t call progress something that was available at the beginning of the past century, can we?
      To the point of “burning oil”, please refer to an end-to-end lifecycle of an EV. The problem is not concentrated on burning oil, but the whole ghg emissions during its production, the source of the energy you will use to recharge the batteries and (when It I’ll exist) recycling process.

      • But electric cars then had issues that were never fixed when everyone went to internal combustion. As for creating and ending the ev’s life, I am not worried, problem solving and adapting is what we do

  6. Rob Krantz says

    Recently, Gavin Newsom, California’s governor, told people NOT to charge their electric cars due to power grid impacts. California was experiencing very hot weather recently and the State’s power grid can barely keep up with existing electrical demand from consumers (homes) and business. So, how would people who only have electric cars be able to get anywhere? What if they had an emergency but a car with a dead battery? Add a tremendous increase to taxing the power grid with the electric cars that California and the rest of the world are pushing for, then the power grid will crash, especially as I am not seeing any talk anywhere of expanding power generation and power plants. Windmills are not the answer (not enough of them) and new power plants are not supported in California. Ecologists want to get rid of the O’Shaughnessy Dam in Yosemite (which provides water to millions in the Bay Area and generates power). With this mindset, how will California function when there is a push to tear down dams that provide hydroelectric power and there are millions of electric cars on the road in the future? Unless those in government realize that to support all of the electric cars they want people to purchase they need to expand electric generating capacity, the push to electric cars will be a failure. This does not even cover the ecological nightmare of disposal of millions of toxic lithium ion batteries in landfills and the stripping the earth of rare earth minerals needed for electric car batteries through strip mining (which generates significant greenhouse gases in of itself in the mining and transport process) and the use of child labor in the impoverished countries that have these minerals. Also, as Chris Lackner mentions, how are electric cars going to be able to help rescue people in flooded waters like what happened in Germany recently? Mass use of electric cars is not the answer.

  7. Edwin LeFevre says

    Take a look at the film out by one of the most famous far progressive left activists, Michael Moore. It’s been buried by the media so it can be a bit hard to find. Unlike everyone else, Moore made the effort to take a deep dive study into the “renewable energy” harnessing phenomenon. In the end, the documentary shows that the entire concept is a fraud. And why is big tech, big industry and the billionaire clan on board with concepts that actually cause more pollution that they prevent? Money. They are all making tons of money, at the expense of taxpayers and consumers all around the world. It’s a new frontier, and the average citizen easily buys into the concept without any bona-fide study. Sorry folks, those Teslas you’re driving leave a far bigger(and permanent) carbon footprint than ICU vehicle that will one day rust back into the earth’s mineral makeup or be efficiently recycled into something new. And those solar panels on your roof are actually just sleek and shiny lumps of coal, which will require loads more of coal to reproduce them in 20 years.

    I encourage you all to take a look. The incredible irony that this fraud is being exposed by perhaps the most verbose and visible celebrity progressive socialist in America makes his study’s findings very powerful indeed.

    Here’s a synopsis and some clips:
    https://youtu.be/c4NvDaMQs6g

  8. wallace wyss says

    Hoe can Rick say “the power grid will not be a problem.” The problem with eco-nuts is that they always want to see the sunny side when I happen to know him and he does

    1.)not have an electric or even a hybrid

    2)lives in a neighborhood with frequent power outages

    so here we have eco-nuts pushing this panacea on the rest of us when it’s obvious they are trying to cut down hydroelectric plants and restrict pipelines that would lower the cost of Regular in California below its present $4.00/gal..

    • Wally, I would drive an electric if I could afford it. I do not have many power outages and neither do you. I hate to say it but every republican favors MORE pollution on EVERY ISSUE. I know you too and maybe if you were younger you wouldn’t be so afraid of the future and afraid of reading an owners manual.

  9. Glenn Krasner says

    Fascinating that the most allegedly most enviro-friendly state in the Union, California, has no adequate infrastructure to recharge electric cars. In Manhattan, I always stop the Tesla owners when they are parking/parked and ask them how they like their Tesla. Unequivocally, they all love them – one guy was on his second already, and HIS apartment building actually has the high-speed chargers in his building’s apartment garage. One other woman from Long Island visiting her daughter in Manhattan, has the high-speed charger in her house’s garage. The governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, has included millions of dollars in the new NYS budget allotted to improve the electric car charging infrastructure throughout the state, part of his plan to make NYS “green” and reduce emissions. Of course, the questions the greenies never look at is the source of electricity for all these vehicles (most electric plants in the US burn either natural gas or oil which do emit carbon waste). In addition, the nuclear power plant that allegedly produced “clean” energy for NYC (Indian Point 3) was way past its 40-year life and was shut down this past April (not to mention the very unclean nuclear waste it generated). So, what we have here are electric cars that nobody really wants, including the “enlightened” European countries, a pretty much non-existent charging infrastructure, and clean cars whose source of energy is primarily carbon-based anyway. What can go wrong?!?!?! Glenn in Brooklyn, NY

  10. I’m with everyone except Rick (nothing personal) as this is an issue that can not be solved by electric cars needing to be charged by the open grid. Actually, I don’t know anyone who favors more pollution (even Republicans!) – educated people strive for a clean environment. But going all electric will not be the answer unless we find different methods to generate that electricity. I didn’t even consider the parking issue in cities like London – we have to retrofit cities too?

    In my study years (around 1985) I worked in a physics lab developing first generation hydrogen fuel cells. We had major problems getting them gas tight and consistent effective so that went nowhere (with that company). This is what BMW has picked up and is developing further – something I think will be (part of) the solution to stop using fossil fuels. Of course there is (again) the issue of how to generate the needed hydrogen but in my opinion THAT is something we need to invest in and not more charging stations as they WILL demand a greater (fossil fuel) power need. Can anyone see the lines of cars because every traveler in the “electric era” has to charge their EV for at least an hour?

    And because you mentioned Europe; there are several very advanced systems out there. First of course what BMW is doing now:https://www.bmw.com/en/innovation/how-hydrogen-fuel-cell-cars-work.html

    and then another, private invention (sorry for the German language but some might still get the point: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3iKJ4IMick

    If enough people get behind this it will show as viable AND costs will go down.

    • Actually every republican that I know personally and hear of does in fact support the side of any issue that results in more pollution. Leaky pipelines, etc Republicans even wanted the gulf spill to continue because they thought it hurt President Obama.

      • Must be a lot of RINO’s in your circle of acquaintances! 😎

        Leaky pipelines and continuing the gulf oil spill? – sure.

        Don’t make this political, it’s about sane thinking humans and obviously those people you know are not that.

  11. I didn’t miss any point. You are funny.

    • Rob Krantz says

      Rick, in reading your posts, you are quite defensive and close minded. I know of NO Republicans/conservatives in favor of more pollution! It’s a joke that you think this is so. In fact, in my 50 years of living in the Bay Area, I’ve found that most folks of the liberal persuasion (most of the Bay Area) to be argumentative and close minded to any opinions other than their progressive ones. I now live in Arizona and it’s a breath of fresh air here. Many like minded people who are quite nice, open minded, compassionate and conservative. The liberal position that conservatives are “Nazis” and hate those of different ethnicities and backgrounds is bunk. I know no one like that. But I digress. Regarding electric cars, I’ve driven both Model 3 and Model S Tesla’s. They are terrific cars full of incredible technology and are sporty and fast. However, they nor any other electric car will solve the world’s pollution problems for the many reasons I posted above. I wish that they could solve problems with pollution, etc., but unfortunately, this is not meant to be, no matter what neat cars they are. What needs to happen is that all of the third world countries producing everything we all consume, need to start taking serious measures to stop polluting our air and water ways. The U.S. took these steps many, many years ago and is a much better steward of the environment than the countries that churn out our consumables.

  12. I couldn’t care less that you don’t agree with me about gops and pollution, I know what I know. Also ask yourself if any other American leader ever said pro nazi marchers are very fine people. Before you say spanky never said that know that i heard and saw him, you only lose cred denying it.
    Electric cars are coming for more than one reason and I will not miss stinky polluters, not sorry.

    • Rob Krantz says

      As I said, I love the Tesla’s and think the Chevy Volt is pretty neat too. A number of my “gas in the vein” Cobra friends own Model S’s. I still think that the push to go all electric will be a tough one overall the chickens will come home to roost down the road when we find ourselves in an environmental nightmare.

  13. wallace wyss says

    I heard the other day that the chinook salmon had to have water diverted to foster their growth but guess what–less water for the farmers of California’s central valley, which produces half the nation’s food. This is how crazy the greenies are–they want us normal people to die while they protect a few fish (which are probably illegal to catch anyway)

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