I last contributed to the SMM Electric Vehicle archive in June of 2021 with A Summer Trip To EV Paradise. Issues relating to EVs have been pretty much overshadowed by the Harris/Biden/Whoever Administration’s—Joe Biden, Temporary President—successful attempts to destroy the economy, America’s energy independence, and of course, to completely screw up our withdrawal from Afghanistan. In that article, I noted gas across Wyoming and South Dakota ranged from $288.9 to $302.9 per gallon. Ah, for those lovely days of cheap gas again! So it’s about time for an EV update.
First, let’s visit PJ Media where we learn not only has Joe Biden destroyed our energy independence, but fearing a 2022 electoral wipeout, has begged OPEC to increase production. That’s right. Biden begged essentially hostile governments to sell us oil at any price they’d prefer. They told him where to get off. In my neck of the woods, gas is running around $3.50 a gallon, up from less than two dollars a gallon only seven months ago. That’s going to hurt D/S/Cs in 2022, because prices will be even higher by then. Let’s do a little basic math. At $1.88 a gallon, filling a 10 gallon tank cost $18.80. At $3.50 a gallon, which is where gas is in my area at the moment, it’s $35.00. Americans can’t afford, and don’t appreciate, that kind of thing.
At Electrek.co, Fred Lambert cheerleads for our inevitable EV future:
I appreciate the new commitment to electrification from Ford, but I am underwhelmed by the target of 40% all-electric by the end of the decade.
Understandably, Ford makes a lot of vehicles, and it’s probably impossible for them to foresee switching entirely to battery-electric within the next 10 years without slowing its growth or even reducing its current capacity.
However, I don’t think it’s going to be up to them.
I think we are on the verge of a massive shift in consumer perception toward electric vehicles.
In order for Ford to even achieve 40%, it would have to deliver some impressive electric vehicles, and with battery costs falling and charging time improving, those electric vehicles will be far better than any gas-powered vehicles they can produce.
This will happen for virtually all automakers serious about electrification.
This shift in the vehicle market will create a shift in consumer demand for electric vehicles as gas-powered cars will be broadly regarded as old technology, much like what the smartphone did to the flip-phone over a relatively short period of time.
The resale value of gas-powered cars will plummet, and everyone will want their next car to be electric.
Personally, I expect this shift to happen between 2024-2026.
Wow. Talk about a bold, new future on the horizon! Just how likely is that to happen? John Hinderaker at Powerline provides perspective:
* EVs are cool. They are not new. The history of EVs is a century of failure tailgating failure. In 1911, the New York Times said that the electric car “has long been recognized as the ideal solution.” In 1990, the California Air Resources Board mandated 10% of car sales be zero-emission vehicles by 2003. Today, 31 years later, only about 6% of the cars in California have an electric plug.
* The average household income for EV buyers is about $140,000. That’s roughly two times the U.S. average. And yet, federal EV tax credits force low- and middle-income taxpayers to subsidize the Benz and Beemer crowd.
I’ve written in the past primarily the top 7% of households in income purchase EVs. These are the people who can afford one as a toy and/or greenie street cred. Most Americans need much more affordable, flexible and useful vehicles.
* Lower-income Americans are facing huge electric rate increases for grid upgrades to accommodate EVs even though they will probably never own one.
* This month, the California Energy Commission estimated the state will need 1.3 million new public EV chargers by 2030. The likely cost to ratepayers: about $13 billion.
* Meanwhile, blackouts are almost certain this summer and electricity prices are ‘absolutely exploding.’ California’s electricity prices went up by 7.5% last year and they will likely rise another 40% by 2030. This, in a state with the highest poverty rate and largest Latino population in America. How is racial justice or social equity being served by such regressive policies?
Even if California gets a new, Republican governor in a few weeks, the legislature is still D/S/C dominated. They’re going to cause even more damage. Any significant increase in EVs is going to wipe out CA’s already inadequate power grid. EV pipe dreams aren’t likely to materialize because we just don’t have the materials we would need to manufacture them:
I also highlighted the myriad supply-chain problems with EVs. Citing work done by the Natural History Museum in London, I said that electrifying half of the U.S. motor vehicle fleet would require in rough terms:
* 9 times the world’s current cobalt production
* 4 times global neodymium output
* 3 times global lithium production
* 2 times world copper production
Keep in mind China is producing much of the world’s Lithium and they’ve just seized control of the valuable mineral deposits in Afghanistan. Thanks, Joe. Also keep in mind American greenies won’t allow us to mine those sorts of materials in America. Bad for the environment, don’t you know. How bad is California’s electric problem? Consider this Newsmax article from June of this year:
California’s power grid operators have asked the state’s residents to conserve electricity in order to put less strain on the power grid amid a major heat wave.
The Epoch Times reported that the California Independent System Operator (ISO) told residents numerous times in the past week to voluntarily conserve energy, even asking them on social media to avoid charging electric vehicles during peak usage times.
The ISO also said residents should avoid ‘use of large appliances and turning off extra lights,’ and wrote that ‘[T]his usually happens in the evening hours when solar generation is going offline and consumers are returning home and switching on air conditioners, lights, and appliances.’
This is happening as the federal government and certain state governments, including California’s, are looking to change their respective fleets to electric vehicles. California’s Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom announced last fall that 2035 would be a target date for ending the sale of petroleum-powered vehicles in the state, saying that in 15 years, ‘zero-emission vehicles will almost certainly be cheaper and better than the traditional fossil fuel powered car.’
Yeah. That’s going to work when they can’t even reliably power large appliances, AC and lights.
In ignorance of this reality—the reality of physics—the Administration is pushing public transportation—with electric busses. John Hinderaker at Powline explains how well that’s going:
Moreover, governments’ politically-motivated reliance on electric vehicles like buses has been a disaster. This is a typical “green” fiasco:
‘More than two dozen electric Proterra buses first unveiled by the city of Philadelphia in 2016 are already out of operation, according to a WHYY investigation.
The entire fleet of Proterra buses was removed from the roads by SEPTA, the city’s transit authority, in February 2020 due to both structural and logistical problems—the weight of the powerful battery was cracking the vehicles’ chassis, and the battery life was insufficient for the city’s bus routes.
The city paid $24 million for the 25 new Proterra buses, subsidized in part by a $2.6 million federal grant.’
Why would Philadelphia buy these busses? Why, because Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm is on Protera’s board! OK, so it’s the usual crony corruption, but how have the busses worked out?
Philadelphia placed the Proterra buses in areas where it thought they could succeed but quickly learned it was mistaken. Two pilot routes selected in South Philadelphia that were relatively short and flat compared with others in the city were too much for the electric buses.
‘Even those routes needed buses to pull around 100 miles each day, while the Proterras were averaging just 30 to 50 miles per charge,’ WHYY reporter Ryan Briggs wrote.
Protera claims a 329 mile range for its 40 foot bus model. Keep in mind an electric bus fleet would require many times the number of conventionally powered vehicles just to keep the same number of busses on the street 24/7/365. Where’s that cost savings again? Protera’s performance is no better elsewhere:
Similar problems have been found in other cities that partnered with Proterra. Duluth, Minn., which, like Philadelphia, waited three years for its Proterra buses to be delivered, ultimately pulled its seven buses from service ‘because their braking systems were struggling on Duluth’s hills, and a software problem was causing them to roll back when accelerating uphill from a standstill,’ according to the Duluth Monitor.
EVs in cold climates like Duluth are particularly inappropriate. Cold weather dramatically reduces battery range and lengthens charging times, as does running heaters powerful enough to adequately heat a bus cabin. And if that wasn’t bad enough, there’s this:
An electric bus made by Proterra went up in flames while charging in a California city that is reportedly thinking about removing the electric buses from the road.
The Washington Free Beacon reported Friday:
The Foothill Transit agency, which serves the valleys surrounding Los Angeles, will decide on Friday whether costly Proterra buses purchased in the last decade are still operable. Problems cited by the agency include not only the bus that caught fire in what’s described as a “thermal event,” but also buses that melt in the California heat and have transmission failures. Roland Cordero, the agency’s director of maintenance and vehicle technology, says the problems with the buses are exacerbated by Proterra’s inability to help with repairs.
‘With the number of failures we are experiencing and the inability of Proterra to provide parts, these [Battery Electric Buses] BEBs will only get worse as we continue to operate them whenever the BEBs are available for service,’ Cordero wrote prior to Friday’s executive board meeting.
“Thermal event.” Cute. Proterra’s busses aren’t the only EVs that tend to go up in flames. It’s an issue I’ve been reporting on for years. The Truth About Cars reports on Chevy’s longest running–not a pun–EV offering, the Chevy Bolt:
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued an alert pertaining to Chevrolet Bolt owners, as the vehicles’ LG Chem battery packs could have a propensity to catch fire. On Wednesday, the safety organization recommended that the cars be left outdoors (ideally a healthy distance from anything flammable) and never left unattended while charging.
This defeats one of the largest perks of owning an electric vehicle (at-home charging), as customers will be required to buy extra-long cables and monitor their car outdoors for hours as it takes on energy. Owning a horse would be less work.
Sadly, it’s not the first time we’ve seen reports of spontaneously combusting EVs. There was a stint where China was releasing weekly reports where electrics caught fire whilst charging and we’ve seen incidents in the West where owners lost their garage to charging or battery-related mishaps. While only some of these incorporated the Chevrolet Bolt, LG Chem’s batteries have been a reoccurring theme and encouraged a round of lawsuits — though the supplier typically faults the manufacturer’s installation and/or charging programs.
General Motors launched a recall on 2017-19 model year Bolts back in November but the NHTSA warning is new and follows the burning of one model owned by a member of the Vermont House of Representatives. Democrat Timothy Briglin chairs the state’s House Committee on Energy and Technology and was a major advocate for electric vehicles. Last week, Vermont State Police confirmed that his Chevy Bolt caught fire in the driveway. Damage was believed to have originated from the rear seating area where the battery is located, mimicking the other fires.
The article notes EV fires aren’t precisely common, but common enough to be genuinely alarming. By all means, take the link and see for yourself. But won’t EVs save the planet? Not quite. Bjorn Lomborg, a rare, honest climate scientist, explains:
Bjorn Lomborg makes several killer points on this in an op-ed for the Daily Telegraph. Bottom line: no one wants electric:
As technology makes batteries cheaper, electric cars will become more economical, but the concerns over range and the slowness of recharging will be hard to rectify. That is why most scientific prognoses show that electric cars are not anywhere close to taking over the world. One study has suggested that, even by 2050, they will make up just 20 per cent of global car travel.
Oh, and they ain’t going to save the planet, either:
But, surely, electric cars will save the world? Well, no. The IEA estimates that even if the whole world achieved all of its ambitious electric vehicle targets, the annual CO2 emission reduction will be an additional 53 million tons, reducing global emissions by about 0.1 per cent. According to the UN Climate Panel’s models, if this reduction is continued throughout the rest of the century, it will reduce global temperatures by 0.002°C by 2100.
And remember, we don’t have the raw materials to build all the EVs their cheerleaders say we’re all going to be demanding in as few as nine years lest we all face certain, irreversible doom. The batteries can’t be recycled and cost about 1/3 the price of a new EV to replace. We have yet to sufficiently overcome the laws of physics to make EVs as flexible as conventionally powered vehicles. Yet an other area where D/S/C creation of alternate realities catastrophically fails.
I do know this: if EVs become mandated, or even twice as popular as they are now, I’m going to get a 4WD pickup, mount a diesel generator with a big fuel tank in the bed, and start an EV charging business. I’ll be busy rescuing folks stuck between towns in Wyoming with no way to recharge. Hey! Maybe Joe is right. His Green New Deal might create at least a few new jobs.