Are we really going to be a nation of electric vehicles?
Dr. Jay Lehr & Tom Harris
The utility companies have thus far had little to say about the alarming cost projections to operate electric vehicles (EVs) or the increased rates that they will be required to charge their customers. It is not just the total amount of electricity required, but the transmission lines and fast charging capacity that must be built at existing filling stations. Neither wind nor solar can support any of it.
Electric vehicles will never become the mainstream of transportation!
In part 1 of our exposé on the problems with electric vehicles (EVs), we showed that they were too expensive, too unreliable, rely on materials mined in China and other unfriendly countries, and require more electricity than the nation can afford.
In this second part, we address other factors that will make any sensible reader avoid EVs like the plague.
EV Charging Insanity
In order to match the 2,000 cars that a typical filling station can service in a busy 12 hours, an EV charging station would require 600, 50-watt chargers at an estimated cost of $24 million and a supply of 30 megawatts of power from the grid. That is enough to power 20,000 homes. No one likely thinks about the fact that it can take 30 minutes to 8 hours to recharge a vehicle between empty or just topping off. What are the drivers doing during that time?
ICSC-Canada board member New Zealand-based consulting engineer Bryan Leyland describes why installing electric car charging stations in a city are impractical:
“If you’ve got cars coming into a petrol station, they would stay for an average of five minutes. If you’ve got cars coming into an electric charging station, they would be at least 30 minutes, possibly an hour, but let’s say it’s 30 minutes. So that’s six times the surface area to park the cars while they’re being charged. So, multiply every petrol station in a city by six. Where are you going to find the place to put them?”
The government of the United Kingdom is already starting to plan for power shortages caused by the charging of thousands of EVs. Starting in June 2022, the government will restrict the time of day you can charge your EV battery. To do this, they will employ smart meters that are programmed to automatically switch off EV charging in peak times to avoid potential blackouts.
In particular, the latest UK chargers will be pre-set to not function during 9-hours of peak loads, from 8 am to 11 am (3-hours), and 4 pm to 10 pm (6-hours). Unbelievably, the UK technology decides when and if an EV can be charged, and even allows EV batteries to be drained into the UK grid if required. Imagine charging your car all night only to discover in the morning that your battery is flat since the state took the power back. Better keep your gas-powered car as a reliable and immediately available backup! While EV charging will be an attractive source of revenue generation for the government, American citizens will be up in arms.
Used Car Market
The average used EV will need a new battery before an owner can sell it, pricing them well above used internal combustion cars.
The average age of an American car on the road is 12 years. A 12-year-old EV will be on its third battery. A Tesla battery typically costs $10,000 so there will not be many 12-year-old EVs on the road. Good luck trying to sell your used green fairy tale electric car!
Tuomas Katainen, an enterprising Finish Tesla owner, had an imaginative solution to the battery replacement problem—he blew up his car! New York City-based Insider magazine reported (December 27, 2021):
“The shop told him the faulty battery needed to be replaced, at a cost of about $22,000. In addition to the hefty fee, the work would need to be authorized by Tesla…Rather than shell out half the cost of a new Tesla to fix an old one, Katainen decided to do something different… The demolition experts from the YouTube channel Pommijätkät (Bomb Dudes) strapped 66 pounds of high explosives to the car and surrounded the area with slow-motion cameras…the 14 hotdog-shaped charges erupt into a blinding ball of fire, sending a massive shockwave rippling out from the car…The videos of the explosion have a combined 5 million views.”
We understand that the standard Tesla warranty does not cover “damage resulting from intentional actions,” like blowing the car up for a YouTube video.
EVs Per Block In Your Neighborhood
A home charging system for a Tesla requires a 75-amp service. The average house is equipped with 100-amp service. On most suburban streets the electrical infrastructure would be unable to carry more than three houses with a single Tesla. For half the homes on your block to have electric vehicles, the system would be wildly overloaded.
Although the modern lithium-ion battery is four times better than the old lead-acid battery, gasoline holds 80 times the energy density. The great lithium battery in your cell phone weighs less than an ounce while the Tesla battery weighs 1,000 pounds.
And what do we get for this huge cost and weight? We get a car that is far less convenient and less useful than cars powered by internal combustion engines. Bryan Leyland explained why:
“When the Model T came out, it was a dramatic improvement on the horse and cart. The electric car is a step backward into the equivalence of an ordinary car with a tiny petrol tank that takes half an hour to fill. It offers nothing in the way of convenience or extra facilities.”
The electric automobile will always be around in a niche market likely never exceeding 10% of the cars on the road. All automobile manufacturers are investing in their output and all will be disappointed in their sales. Perhaps they know this and will manufacture just what they know they can sell.
Dr. Jay Lehr is a Senior Policy Analyst with the International Climate Science Coalition and former Science Director of The Heartland Institute. He is an internationally renowned scientist, author, and speaker who has testified before Congress on dozens of occasions on environmental issues and consulted with nearly every agency of the national government and many foreign countries. After graduating from Princeton University at the age of 20 with a degree in Geological Engineering, he received the nation’s first Ph.D. in Groundwater Hydrology from the University of Arizona. He later became executive director of the National Association of Groundwater Scientists and Engineers.
Tom Harris is Executive Director of the Ottawa, Canada-based International Climate Science Coalition, and a policy advisor to The Heartland Institute. He has 40 years of experience as a mechanical engineer/project manager, science and technology communications professional, technical trainer, and S&T advisor to a former Opposition Senior Environment Critic in Canada’s Parliament.