My Car Quest

August 17, 2022

When the Bloom Comes Off the Electric Vehicle Rose

by Wallace Wyss –

In the beginning, it all sounded so wonderful. Blue skies, Green grass, Flowers blooming. Those bad old stinky ICE cars hustled off the the junkyard. So the ecologists sold us what could be a bill of goods. Several automakers say their last internal combustion engines will be offered in 2030–only eight years away.

But I am starting to see cracks in The Dream. Like materials costs, Wouldn’t cha know that the raw materials used in EV batteries come from countries that we have a hard time dealing with. Like Russia. Or small countries where the materials are scratched out by natives working below any US safety standards (and dare I mention child labor?) so we have to look the other way to use their materials.

For cars using lithium-ion battery cells the materials cost soared to an estimated $160 per kilowatt-hour in the first quarter of 2022 from about $105 last year—an increase of over 50 percent. Blame it on Covid, or on war, whatever, but since the EV revolution started there’s been supply chain disruptions, shortages of materials, sanctions on countries we disagree with and price rises due to investor speculation.

Mustang Mach-E

Ford Mustang Mach-E

Some of the automakers using a lot of rare materials are finding themselves having to increase prices several times a year to try to keep making a profit. Tesla for instance. And one company who touted what a bargain their EV was has stopped production of a good seller’- That’s Ford who once made it sound like the Mach-E was going to be a Tesla-buster, offering performance and style at a lower price. But according to a website TechCrunch,

Roadblocks like these call into question whether or not Ford, and other automakers producing EVs at a rapid clip, will be able to meet production and delivery goals over the next few years. In April, Ford already had to shut down new orders for the 2022 Mach-E due to an inability to meet demand amid semiconductor and parts shortages. The month prior, the automaker had increased its EV investment to $50 billion by 2026, and said it would run its EV unit as a separate entity from its combustion engine business.

So, with all this in mind, the hope that Tesla could solve the EV problem and build cars for the common people at $25,000 is a false promise because of the rising cost of battery materials. EVs may eventually be only for the rich–and yet the ecologists are pushing the general public to willingly cut themselves off off from new internal combustion cars by 2030 (yeah I know, shut up and take the bus). I remember I went through this “miracle cure” scenario before. A German scientist invents the miracle rotary engine. The Germans (NSU) make a handful but the Japanese buy it and produce it in quantity. Fewer parts, lighter, quieter, less vibration yadda-yadda. I buy one. and then it comes out, I find it all too easy to warp the trochoid housing. Rotaries go away. Piston engines rule.

An example of how some media bent over backwards to lie about the new, new thing is in the aborted rotary revolution. I remember when the publisher of Road Test invited me to see him do a cover story on the rotary and make the Mazda the Car of the Year. But he had to set up the photo just right so the public didn’t see the gaping hole in the block (trochoid housing).

Mustang Mach-E

Ford Mustang Mach-E

And the media neglects to mention how inadequate the nationwide EV charging network is. The first reporter I am aware of to do this is Rachel Wolfe of Fox Business who made her 2000 mile journey in her new VW ID4 sound like a trip to hell:

She wrote:”Over four days, we spent $175 on charging. We estimated the equivalent cost for gas in a Kia Forte would have been $275, based on the AAA average national gas price for May 19. That $100 savings cost us many hours in waiting time.”

Charging time was another nightmare. Says Wolfe: “New Orleans, our starting point, has exactly zero fast chargers, according to PlugShare. As we set out, one of the closest is at a Harley-Davidson dealership in Slidell, La., about 40 minutes away. So we use our Monday-morning breakfast stop to top off there on the way out of town..”

At one point she says “Our dashboard tells us a full charge, from 18% to 100%, will take 3-plus hours.” She spent more time charging on the trip than sleeping. I don’t think Ms. Wolfe will be buying another electric.

So excuse me for being a tad skeptical about all the applause being given the EV revolution, but once again I see the media working overtime to hide the flaws in changing over to EVs under the rug so to speak.

So though I hate to learn a new subject, I might have to look at hydrogen again. Hey it’s one of the most abundant products on earth. According to the website Hydrogen for CleanAir.Org “The HEV produces zero emissions, can be refueled in 5 minutes, has the same range as gas-powered vehicles, and is considered to be as safe or safer than gas vehicles by the U.S. Department of Energy.”

Right now the EV crowd is heaping scorn on hydrogen powered cars as The Ugly Stepchild, but keep them in mind, they could be the savior of us all when EVs crash against reality.

I’m just sayin’…

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss art

THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss talks about new cars and classics as co-host of Autotalk, a weekly radio show broadcast out of KUCR FM Riverside.

 
 
 
 
 

Tesla charge station

Tesla charge station

Summary
When the Bloom Comes Off the Electric Vehicle Rose
Article Name
When the Bloom Comes Off the Electric Vehicle Rose
Description
Excuse me for being skeptical about all the applause being given the EV revolution, but once again I see the media working overtime to hide the flaws in changing over to EVs.
Author

Comments

  1. Bruce Caron says

    I never hear the press talking about the disposal of all the expired toxic batteries and the ecological disaster of strip mining for rare earth materials. Also in California we’re facing electrical shortage brown outs where we can’t run our A/C so where is the extra power to charge all of these EV’s.

    Wind and solar is not nearly enough so we have to supplement with a blend of natual gas, hydroelectric, nuclear-powered, and coal/oil. “Its (California) current energy mix stands at 49.6% renewable energy generation, approximately 8% nuclear and only about 42% of energy comes from fossil fuels, such as crude oil and natural gas” source https://www.electricrate.com/data-center/electricity-sources-by-state/california/

    When the country was young and villages and towns were small, Hoof and Foot was the technology of the times. As the population moved west the new transportation technology changed to trains (Chicago). By the time we populated the west coast, cars were the hot new technology and cities like Los Angeles were designed with lots of freeways to get you from point A to point B efficiently. Then the California state government under the 1st Brown administration and continuing to this day, clamped down on building new freeways which coupled with too many people led to the traffic nightmare we have today. The State has decided not to build any new freeways and actually are starting “road diets” where they are eliminating lanes on major city streets like Venice blvd. and converting them to unused bike lanes. They want us in busses and bicycles like China. That won’t work in L.A.

    Switching to EVs is a lovely concept but to force the transition, like the government is trying to do, will end in failure. The government needs to keep its nose out of it and let the market decide like when we transitioned from horse and buggy to cars. With a slow transition, giving time for the development of the supporting power grid, resource development, and toxic waste management, EVs for everyone might become reality.

  2. Yes, this is the ultimate bait and switch. Once everyone drinks the cool aid and changes over to EVs we’ll be dependent on Russia for nickel and China for the rare earth materials as we transfer the tailpipe emissions to the utility company smokestack. No more price competition and today’s price gap will diminish quickly. This whole EV is so ill conceived, we don’t even have uniform plugs. Many like their EV bit many get range anxiety and can’t wait to get rid of it. And the price of a decent EV is off the charts. Maybe Biden will send me an EV in the mail along with my covid test kit.

  3. I agree it’s probably a good solution long term, but cutting off ICEs in the short term will be very costly to society at several levels. We need a realistic, comprehensive. long term plan, not a knee-jerk reaction by government. Yet, no country has offered a strategic, workable plan that I’m aware of, and certainly no political party in the U.S.

  4. The people that I know that own these EV’s have a term called “Range Anxiety”. OK for daily commutes, but extended trips are Hell. And here’s some facts (links) that the Environmentalist avoid discussing…….

    https://youtu.be/RqppRC37OgI

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2020-02-05/wind-turbine-blades-can-t-be-recycled-so-they-re-piling-up-in-landfills

  5. Harvey L. says

    The Lithium batteries wear out after about 6-7 years.
    Lithium is toxic. Where will the used lithium batteries be disposed?

    Have the electric companies determined who will pay to upgrade the electric grid to deal with charging all the lithium batteries?

  6. Wallace Wyss says

    If it turns out that these EV batteries are a lot more damaging to the environment than other thrown away waste, then the EV promoters will have some explainin’ to do. They worried about waste from atomic power plants but there is only a few of those, whereas electric cars are everywhere. Owners of scrapped EV batteries my be fined if they attempt to dump the old dead and non-salvagable batteries.

  7. Dr. John Baeke says

    Mike,
    Great article. Thank you.

    P.S. Next time some greenie touts zero-emissions energy, I wish someone would write an article calculating all the pollutants released by creation of the solar and wind generators; from mining the raw product to make these generators; manufacturing the factories to create these beasts; assembly; infrastructure to transport/erect/service them; and then the ecological damage to mountains, deserts and farmers’ fields. Just simpler to brainwash the public calling them “green” and telling the rest of us critical-thinkers to shut up.

  8. Bruce Caron says

    Mike, you need a “LIKE”” button. All of the responses to this post are well thought out and well said. Excellent article and responses from your intelligent readers.

    I’m posting this on Facebook. We have to spread the word about this latest snake oil being sold by greenie alarmists politicians.

  9. Dr. John Baeke says

    Agree. Be prepared for such a thread to be cancelled.

  10. Brian Winer says

    U be a dumb dumb guy…..bloom off the rose???????
    U assume that batteries will be lithium in the future, when there are hundreds of battery start ups figuring out how to make batts cheaper, more recyclable, hold more energy, not be as flammable, and charge more quickly….solid state, etc….. there are hundreds on the drawing board… kinda blows your rants about expense and China out into the trash can… You do not know, or dictate what future batteries will be…things will change with time……
    https://e-vehicleinfo.com/aluminum-air-battery-in-electric-vehicles-advantage-and-disadvantages/
    https://www.greencars.com/guides/the-future-of-ev-batteries
    https://thenextweb.com/news/ev-battery-ranking-lithium-sodium-solid-state
    https://e-vehicleinfo.com/potential-battery-technology-to-fuel-the-ev-industry/

    the dumb semiconductor shortage affects all cars production, even dino piss cars……

    There are “$25,000” electric cars now…. Leaf msrp 2022 = $27,800
    https://www.nissanusa.com/vehicles/electric-cars/leaf.html
    oops… there goes “only for the rich”

    I bought a low mile Mazda RX4… drove it cross country… never warped anything…. only problem why they don’t make ‘em now: emissions crap…….and marginal MPG….
    maybe they could have adopted the direct fuel injection technology, to improve

    Charging wait time? Get creative, I eat a snack, go to the post office, play chess on the Tesla infotainment system, or use my phone to read and delete or answer e mails…… big deal… and…… Tesla supercharger is fast… 400 volts… new system is 800 volts,… even faster…
    Tesla supercharger will get most Teslas from about 20% to 80% in about 20 minutes….enough time for a bathroom break, or a snack, or some e mails……

    I sent you this… i hope you watch it… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dfyG6FXsUU Grid

    See some light of day? Open mind to different possibilities or mindsets…??

    Trying to make a determination on something so new and different, but only using what is available right now, (old grid) and only Lithium Ion batts………………. dumb…. stuff will change…
    Remember when those new fangled “horseless carriages” came out? Horse people said bull shit! (horse puckey?) There are no gas stations! Keep those new fangled piles of junk! Well, after 10 million model Ts…. there are enough mechanics and gas stations! Stuff does not stay the same… stuff changes for the better as time goes on…

    Total unfair bull to write off something in its’ infancy…. all things will change… usually for the better.

    Public DID embrace “horseless carriages” … even when it looked a bit bleak in the beginning…

    It is now the beginning for electric cars……..

    Brian Winer

  11. Brian Winer says

    Just found out that GM is going to lower the price of the Bolt, because the incentives for GM have ended…The 2023 Bolt EV will start at $26,595 for the 1LT base trim, compared with $32,495 for the 2022 model year. So, that is one more reasonable price EV.

  12. wallace wyss says

    Re-naming a car that was recalled 100% before for catchng fire is silly, , as if they had named the successor to the Titanic the Titanic II.

  13. Brian Winer says

    Wut? If you read Automotive News, you would know that GM stopped production of the Bolt, so that the fixed new battery packs could be fitted to the recalled cars… a while ago… LG had a problem in production, so 141,000 Bolts were recalled, with only 16 cars confirmed that caught fire. Manufacturing flaws were the culprit, specifically, “a torn anode tab and a folded separator”. You can be sure LG was going to make this right, as they agreed to pay 1.9 billion of the approximate $2 billion in costs…. so, the new ones for 2023 will start at $26,595, and for sure, will have the corrected battery pack.

  14. Wallace Wyss says

    I was talking about the wisdom of using the same name,,What do you all think of loaning new pre-production cars to employees to drive by the hundreds, then maybe the flaw would have been discovered before Bolts lit buyer’s homes on fire. The automakers use the public as unwitting guinea pigs when at least their employees are paid guinea pigs.

  15. Brian Winer says

    You ARE the dumb dumb guy…. (Wally is my good friend and co author on two books) (so I razz him a lot, to keep him on his toes) Changing the name of the Bolt, which is a pretty good name for a 100% electric car is dumb…it is going to be the same car, and will fool almost no one. (Well, maybe it would fool Wally……..) The official tally was that 16 cars caught on fire… so, that is a very small percentage of a serious problem.. I guess this battery pack problem did not arise in testing, whether it was part of GM tech center testing, or pre production cars that employees drove… time could also have been a factor, in that the batteries had to have some age on them before the problem showed up. Nevertheless, changing the Bolt’s name is goofy, when just about everyone knows it would be the same car….Also that change of the cars name, while the car stays the same might even be called “attempted deception”….

  16. wallace wyss says

    Movies change names all the time, due to some last minute marketing decision. So do rock ‘n roll artists. the most conceited choosing to be known by one name, not two. (Case in point, Madonna–who remembers her last name?

    As far as that engineer’s favorite cop-out phrase ” a small percentage” I always see them running to hide behind that when something not adequately tested before introduction fails, with far reaching implications and finger pointing

    I bet the engineers in charge of the 737 Max said something like that when selling the plane to smaller airlines that couldn’t afford additional pilot training. Then two planes went down with all hands, Don’t worry,, only a small percentage ….

  17. Brian Winer says

    A car is not a movie…. and a car that you buy is not an airplane, with hundreds of people in it way up in the sky. A car is something you usually test drive, you keep and drive for years, usually, and is small enough, and close enough to you to know if the name of the car is changed in an attempt of deception, to another name, while looking pretty much the same as before, so changing the name badge on the car will create more ill will than it will change your perception of the car. (just because of a manufacturing improvement in the battery pack) If you were running GM, good thing you are not, it would be the laughing stock of the industry for changing the Chevy Bolt’s name, just because of a small manufacturing improvement in the the batteries. Save the the name change for when the car is completely redesigned, and, even then I think it would be a bad idea…. (and Madonna’s last name is Ciccone)

  18. Dr. John Baeke says

    Sitting on the sidelines reading Winer’s whining. 2 comments…

    a. It makes zero sense getting on the EV bandwagon just on the mere promise that better batteries are on the drawing board. That is about as absurd as my taking a patient to surgery and telling the family, “don’t know what I am going to do, but I’m sure I will figure out something when I get in there”. NO, first you bring a fixed battery to the market, then market the car… not just the promise.

    b. More ridiculous, is you saying that the 16 EV-Bolt fires is statistically insignificant and therefore should not be a factor in the discussion. Allow me to give you a history lesson. There were > 3,000,000 Ford Pintos produced of which only 38 caught on fire. You do the math. The Pinto was 10x less likely to catch on fire, yet that design flaw forever stopped production of one of America’s most popular cars.

  19. This EV story sparked a lot of good commentary! No pun intended 😎

  20. wallace wyss says

    Yeh, Doc, I’ll have to teach Brian the words to that old Depression era hit
    “They’ll be a pie in the sky bye and bye.”

  21. Dr. John Baeke says

    Consider any of the infinite number of life’s 2 A.M. scenarios:

    a. your wife goes into premature labor
    b. your neighbor knocks, your dog has been run over
    c. your college daughter calls, “Daddy, please come get me”.

    and you have in your garage, an EV and a gasoline-powered car. Which one get’s tapped for service tonight??? Only a fool in denial would say the EV.

  22. Brian Winer says

    Hi Doc! Buying, owning, running, a car is not the same as surgery … Remember what you have seen of horseless carriages running. Chugging, clanking, smoking, shuddering, loud, overheating and usually breaking down. 1890s, and early 1900s. These cars were far far far from perfected, yet, so many folks got on the horseless carriage bandwagon, even though there were no mechanics, and no gas stations… the horse people said keep that junk, as our country was set up for horse travel… Well, lots of folks see electrics as something new… not perfected yet, but plenty of people are getting on the electric car bandwagon, even though there may not be enough chargers, and batteries are not perfect, but there are so many battery startups doing research to make better batteries, that go further, use less rare minerals, recharge quicker, last longer, are lighter, and cost less. (Solid State batteries) Piston engines have come a long way in that 120 years, but folks saw their merit, and got one, even though they were far from perfected. 10 million Model Ts later, there were mechanics, and plenty of gas stations. New tech is not always perfect at its’ infancy. If we did not put newer technology into our cars, as we made them better, we would still be driving Model Ts…. The road to the future is not always bright. Lots of car people do see good things in electric cars and trucks, but lets not abandon electric because it is not perfect from the get go… the horseless carriage people did not abandon the idea of great running piston engine cars, even though those first cars were really really crude and unreliable. And…….. for the 2 am scenario … i’m 72… I have driven many many long distance driving trips. (Usually cross country, as my folks were East Coast folks, but I really enjoyed the car culture and great weather in the Los Angeles area…MANY cross country trips) When it is 2 am, 3 am, 4 am, I have had to pass by SO many darkened, shut down gas stations, that when the gas level dropped, I had to pull into a rest area and sleep, so that there would be a station open for gas sales..I have even had to nap or snooze when pulling into a closed station, so that I could get gas when I woke up. Better than being stranded. Well, I am on my second Tesla Model S, and I am VERY impressed with Tesla’s supercharger system. (Do a search for the Tesla Supercharger map..you will be shocked how many there are, and they are always building more.) Superchargers are 24 hours. You just pull in and plug in, the cars computer will forward charges to Tesla, and you pay for your electricity… no sleeping in the parking lot until the gas station folks come and turn on the gas pumps…My Tesla is a 2015, and I am the original owner, so us early Tesla adopters get free supercharging for lifetime. (2012 to 2017’s) That really helps on a trip, as all energy to run the car is paid for by Tesla. No having to carry a bunch of cash or a batch of credit cards, that, sometimes have security glitches that shut down the card… I have always charged up for free at Tesla superchargers with no glitches or problems. (well, once and a while, one particular charge unit wont work, so I switch to another, there are usually 10 or more at one supercharger location.) Superchargers are 400 volts, and can charge from 20% to about 80% in about 20 minutes. Time for a bathroom break, or a snack, or check some emails on my phone. Well, if the 2 am call came in, I would be tapping the Tesla for the drive…… no trying to sleep in a dark gas station parking lot……

  23. wallace wyss says

    you can knock horses all you want but I am peripherally involved with selling thoroughbreds and you can put a dam and a sire in the same corral and a few months later there’s’ a third horse. Try that with two collector cars.

  24. Brian Winer says

    Wyssie! I NEVER knocked horses at all… in any way… I only noted that the horse people in the 1890s were not ready to buy and try to pilot one of the new fangled horseless carriages…. as there were no mechanics, no gas stations, and you had to hand crank it to start it, risking a broken wrist, elbow or arm. My friend Joy LOVES horses and travels all over the country to horse events with her horses in tow in a nifty horse trailer. Any transportation that you can just let graze in a grassy field, and cut the grass, AND fills up with fuel to get you down the road for free, HAS to be great..(horses)… BUT, I do not want to hear you EVER disparage Electric Vehicles because of the wait time during recharging….. horses take longer to eat grass, or hay….they like to sleep, and rest, too…………………
    OH, I have tried with collector cars…to make new ones appear….. I paid $155,000 for my 2006 Ford GT…….it is now worth just under $500,000…. I can just see those new collector cars with the $345,000 profit… what new collector cars would you buy? I paid $35,000 for my 2000 V10 4×4 Excursion, and just recently got $76,500 for it, as I kept it in nice low mile condition. More than double MSRP… for an SUV….Some new collector cars will appear fairly soon. Mom and Dad horse will get old and die of old age, too, not so a collector car. Ask Jay Leno…..

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