It’s time once again, gentle readers, to look in on, with appropriate fear and trembling, the bold, new, tranformatively transforming electric vehicle transformation. We begin with an article from Just The News from December of 2021, a matter that has gone mostly under the radar:
President Biden has signed a series of executive orders to make the federal government carbon neutral.
The Democrat president on Wednesday [12-08-21] ordered federal agencies to purchase electric vehicles, harness wind, solar, and nuclear energy to power facilities, and to use sustainable building materials. The goal is for the federal government to stop adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere by 2050.
In the next decade, Biden wants the government to cease purchasing electricity produced from sources that emit carbon dioxide. By 2035, the administration wants all new federal cars and truck purchases to be zero-emissions. Right now, only about 1.5% of the government fleet is electric vehicles. The government buys about 50,000 vehicles a year. In fiscal 2021, only 650 of those were electric.
This is, of course, wildly irrational and physically impossible. The charging infrastructure for such a fleet isn’t remotely in place, and it’s a certainty local power providers would have to significantly upgrade their hardware to accommodate the necessary chargers wherever they were installed. Ad that to the fact there isn’t enough power capacity to charge the vehicles now, and the Administration isn’t doing a thing to prevent nuclear, coal and gas plants from going off-line—precisely the opposite. D/S/Cs still have no idea from where electricity comes, and they’re doing nothing to educate themselves. They simply mandate things and expect them to magically appear, you know, like when you plug something into the wall, there’s electricity!
Let’s visit another December of 2021 Reason article on another bit of magical thinking:
As part of its recently passed infrastructure bill, the Biden administration plans to spend $7.5 billion building 500,000 chargers for electric vehicles. But will drivers actually want to use those chargers?
The two biggest impediments to the widespread adoption of electric vehicles are the vehicles’ range and their upfront cost. Right now there are only five varieties of electric vehicles with a range of more than 350 miles per charge, and none of them retail for a base price of less than $47,000. And while the Build Back Better Act passed by the House last month contains tax rebates for new electric vehicle purchases, none of the five qualify for the full amount. For comparison, a base model Ford Focus costs considerably less and can go further on a full tank of gas.
Check that: a base price of less than $47,000. Base prices for any model of vehicle are the absolute lowest that vehicle can cost, and dealers order very few, if any, of those vehicles. They exist mostly for PR, bragging right purposes. Various sources place the current EV average at $63,000 dollars, which is luxury vehicle territory. EVs are currently bought by the upper 7% in income of the population. Oh yes, that 350 mile range? That’s an optimistic, best possible situation guess. Actual range, with drivers driving as they would a conventionally fueled vehicle, is considerably less.
Conveniently placed vehicle chargers could mitigate the range issue: Ideally, a trip to a charger would simply replace a trip to the fuel pump. But the Biden plan is unlikely to fix this problem. There are two types of public vehicle chargers, Level 2 and Level 3. (Level 1 uses a standard power outlet.) Level 2 chargers produce around 25 miles of range per hour, meaning that a full charge from empty could take five hours or longer. Level 3 chargers produce considerably more power, and can charge some vehicles from empty to 80 percent in as little as 15 minutes. But while Level 2 chargers cost less than $3,000 apiece, Level 3 chargers cost as much as $140,000 each to build. There is no indication which the administration prefers, but if it plans to build 500,000 for $7.5 billion, it’s almost certainly going to have to settle for Level 2 chargers.
Time, as they say, is money. If one uses an EV only for a short daily work commute, and there are enough conveniently placed chargers available, that might work. But if one can afford only one car for every possible driving situation, it would be impossible. Imagine needing to travel say 300 miles, carefully altering—extending–your route to be near a charger, and arriving with 25 miles of range left—it will actually be less—only to find the charger is out of service, or there is already someone charging their vehicle, and you have a four hour wait until you can begin charging. And it’s the dead of winter or the heat of summer, and the entire family is along, which also considerably shortens your range, and if it’s cold, it will take longer to charge and you’ll have less range…
Think I’m being hyperbolic, unfairly pessimistic about the wonders of EVs? Let’s see what Toyota’s President has to say:
Toyota Motor Corp.’s leader criticized what he described as excessive hype over electric vehicles, saying advocates failed to consider the carbon emitted by generating electricity and the costs of an EV transition.
Toyota President Akio Toyoda said Japan would run out of electricity in the summer if all cars were running on electric power. The infrastructure needed to support a fleet consisting entirely of EVs would cost Japan between ¥14 trillion and ¥37 trillion, the equivalent of $135 billion to $358 billion, he said.
‘When politicians are out there saying, ‘Let’s get rid of all cars using gasoline,’ do they understand this?’ Mr. Toyoda said Thursday at a year-end news conference in his capacity as chairman of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association.
He said if Japan is too hasty in banning gasoline-powered cars, ‘the current business model of the car industry is going to collapse,”’ causing the loss of millions of jobs.
In a country such as Japan that gets most of its electricity from burning coal and natural gas, EVs don’t help the environment, Mr. Toyoda said. ‘The more EVs we build, the worse carbon dioxide gets,’ he said.
He said he feared government regulations would make cars a ‘flower on a high summit’—out of reach for the average person.
Ah yes: the sweet sound of reality. What Mr. Toyoda knows and is willing to say is EVs are not, in fact, better for the environment than gas powered vehicles. All of the energy and pollutants necessary to produce an EV greatly exceeds that necessary to build a conventional vehicle, and the difference is not made up by electric charging. There’s that inability or unwillingness of D/S/Cs to accept electricity is produced almost exclusively by coal, oil, natural gas or nuclear power sources. When I see coal trains a mile long rolling out of Wyoming, I think:
Let’s contrast Toyoda’s hard-earned wisdom with that of Ford’s:
Word on the mean streets of Detroit is that the Ford Motor Company is planning on axing 8,000 salaried workers in order to boost profits to help fund future electric vehicles (EV).
*The 8,000 workers represent roughly 25% of Ford’s 31,000 salaried employees
*The auto giant’s goal is to save $3 billion in costs by 2026
*Ford’s other goal is to build 2 million EVs by 2026
*They also intend to produce electric F-Series trucks
‘As part of this, we have laid out clear targets to lower our cost structure to ensure we are lean and fully competitive with the best in the industry,’ Ford’s Chief Communications Officer Mark Truby said in a statement.
Ford announced on Sept 27, 2021, that they were planning to build EV-related factories in Tennessee and Kentucky, which will supposedly create 11,000 jobs.
As if driving an electric F-150 isn’t enough to give a man Low-T, the factories themselves will be painfully green as well.
Mrs. Manor and I drive a 2016 F-150 and a 2022 Ford Escape, vehicles with which we are both well pleased. Back in June of 2021, I chronicled a summer trip in the F-150, carrying three passengers, a fully loaded bed, and hauling a U-Haul trailer loaded with a motorcycle and everything else we could jam into it across much of Wyoming and South Dakota. By all means, take the link, but the upshot is, the F-150, with 325 horsepower, performed admirably, with expected lowered mileage, against fearsome headwinds. A comparable EV would have been a disaster, as I explain.
It would also be worthwhile to visit this YouTube video of a towing contest between a new F-150 Lightning EV and a conventionally powered GMC pickup. They towed identical trailers, and the F-150 did very, very badly. Consider this:
While the GMC Sierra Denali doesn’t really need to do much to prepare apart from top off the fuel, the same does not apply to the Ford pickup. The first issue, before even beginning the top off of the battery charge, is the charging station. Unfortunately, the charging station and most charging stations are a pull-in design which means that unless the driver parks and unhitches the trailer, drives to the station, charges, then goes back to the trailer to hook up, he will be blocking either the roadway or any other charging ports.
See the video, gentle readers. It would also be worth your while to visit this Motor Trend report of Lightning towing capacity. I’ll do a stand alone article on this in the near future, but suffice it to say it was a disaster. If Ford is putting its future in the EV basket, I fear for my future ability to find parts and service for what are our excellent, carefully chosen, vehicles. Pickups of any kind just aren’t that popular on the blue coasts or in blue cities, and people living in Flyover country who buy most of Ford’s trucks and SUVs, can’t afford EVs, and know they’re incapable of meeting their needs.
But let’s visit a May 22, 2022 article at Watts Up With That to explore the wonderful world of electric public transit, this time in Paris, France:
A video recording shows the start of the fire which completely consumed an electric RATP bus on Friday 29 April. The incident caused no injuries. The bus burst into flames within seconds. This is what can be seen on the video that captured the very beginning of the fire of an electric vehicle of the RATP in Paris , this Friday, April 29. In the images, we can see a small explosion occur on the roof of the bus, where the batteries are located, followed by huge flames that spread to the entire body, at breakneck speed. This line 71 bus caught fire in the 13th arrondissement of Paris in the morning, mobilizing around thirty workers, according to the firefighters contacted by Le Parisien. It is a 100% electric vehicle, from the Bolloré brand Bluebus 5SE series, like the bus that burned down at the beginning of April.
This afternoon, the RATP decided to temporarily withdraw from circulation the 149 Bolloré electric bluebuses that circulate on its network.
About all that was left was a melted lump on the pavement. But what about the US, where electric public transit is the wave of the future? Let’s visit a local media article about another blazing bus:
One day after officials touted the passage of the Connecticut Clean Air Act, including plans for thousands of electric vehicles to hit the road, one of the state-run electric buses caught on fire over the weekend.
The blaze engulfed a CT transit bus in a Hamden parking lot Saturday morning, sending two workers and a firefighter to the hospital, officials said.
‘Lithium ion battery fires are difficult to extinguish due to the thermal chemical process that produces great heat and continually reignites,’ Hamden fire officials said.
‘The bus, last operated on July 20, on routes 243 and 265, and was not in service at the time of the incident,’ Rickman said. ‘Bus fires are rare, but can occur similar to cars. This is CT transit’s first fire incident with a battery electric bus. Bus operators, maintenance staff and others undergo extensive training and safety protocols are in place.’
As a result of the fire, the electric bus fleet was pulled from service as a precaution, Rickman said.
This fire too left a smoking pavement lump. What the article is not telling you is EV batteries contain extremely volatile substances, which must be kept separated. If allowed to mix by even a pinhole, the results are violent, explosive and immediate. Manufacturers have been reluctant to admit the danger, but some (ahem, cough: Chevy and the Chevy Bolt) have suggested their vehicles should not be recharged at home in a garage, or left unsupervised when charging–something about EVs spontaneously bursting into flames, and garages and homes too. Imagine sitting and watching an EV recharge, outdoors, for hours on end.
The bold, brilliant EV future, gentle readers, forcibly coming to you in the near future?