Considering the Inconvenient Truth About Electric Vehicles

There are two good articles to be read here. Most is drawn from The Atlantic article and the other from The Detroit News. Some of the information is pulled from other articles to which the links are in the article. EVs may be the wave of the future. I think we will need better technology to power the electric vehicles and also lessen the energy pollution needed to make them.

“Electric Vehicles Are a Status Symbol Now,” The Atlantic, Andrew Moseman

During one of the high-dollar ad spots in last night’s Super Bowl, Will Ferrell plowed an electric GMC Sierra truck through Zack Snyder’s army of the dead. He then drove an electric Chevy Blazer into Squid Game and staged a getaway in a hulking EV Hummer. General Motors’ ad, the latest in a string of EV-touting, celebrity-laden Super Bowl commercials, hopes to paint the company’s battery-powered offerings as being just as rugged, capable, macho, and desirable as the big, petrol-powered trucks it has sold for decades. Here’s something the ad doesn’t tell you: How far those electric vehicles will go depends a lot on how much you can spend.

It is going to be a while before electric vehicles replace gasoline vehicles. Ford Motors announced in 2022, it was splitting its business between traditional Ford Blue (badge) division business and the newer business designating it as the new technology Ford Model e division business. Unless the latter fails miserably the former is destined to die out in a decade. As is usual, the business owner may be getting nervous about costs, the costs of running two different businesses.

Costing approximately, $2.7 billion in 2022, Ford recently dropped the 100% self-driving car project with Argo AI. It could be the knowledge may surface again in a few years. Ford also found battery defect(s) in the F150 vehicle project. They raised the price of the F150 again (3rd time). William Clay Ford Jr. (exec. chair) has to be watching this closely. The family owns 40% of the Ford stock.

The new Ford F-150 Lightning is the electrified version of America’s long-time best-selling vehicle. It is one of the most important vehicles for persuading the majority of the country to ditch gasoline. The basic model starts at $55,000. (EVs are expensive. Also, consider the average price of any vehicle snuck up to $47,000 by the end of last year. Americans are already paying luxury prices on formerly utilitarian pickup trucks).

Choosing the F-150’s extended-range battery stretches the distance on a charge from 230 miles to 320 and raises the cost to at least $80,000. This cost trend holds true with all-electric brands such as Tesla, Rivian, and Lucid, and for many electric offerings from legacy automakers. The bigger battery option can add a four- or five-figure bump to an already accelerating sticker price.

So far, Ford has legacy costs for gasoline vehicles, failed R&D projects, and EV new product development. Is there anything else to throw on the pile of costs? Well, maybe.

Anyone living or has lived up north knows old batteries may fail in Winter or even in Summer. They get old and capacity decreases. Weather puts an additional strain on car batteries when starting especially. When you are traveling in your car with 4 or more people, the additional weight in the passenger section and luggage in the trunk reduces engine efficiency. Toss in a headwind and you experience even more of a drop in mileage gained. Similar occurs in EVs.

Not all miles are created equal, either. A Chevy Bolt flying down the interstate or F-150 Lightning towing a boat to the lake, will not go as far as the stated remaining miles would suggest. Or if the back of the F150 is empty.

Load up the F150 box with 1000 pounds and the mileage range will decrease.

For this reason, popular EVs are beginning to list their range statistics for both city and highway driving. Gasoline or diesel cars and trucks have traditionally done this for their fuel mileage. It gives potential owners a realistic idea of how far the various trim levels of the vehicles will truly go.

Over time, the aging battery’s capacity will decrease just like the old battery in your gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles. Can we go to Sears (now almost extinct) and get a Sears Diehard for our EV? Not likely.

Charging will also be an issue in the short term. Cities have taken notice with EV manufacturing is building nearby. Since Lucid is building a plant nearby, the City Council is asking apartment builders how many charging stations will be available in parking spots. Money talks and developers play a backseat role to manufacturing developers.

In an electrified America, charging access may become a status symbol. Because the first wave of new EVs are expensive. America’s affluent tax brackets made up the bulk of early adopters. The same people are also those most likely to be able to afford their own homes and install a charger that can power up their car overnight. EV adoption is reaching mainstream levels which is happening at rates outpacing even the expert predictions. Lots of new electric drivers will be the same urban dwellers that have been priced out of their local housing market, creating two classes of EV owners.

I am not seeing charging station at the Walmarts, Sams, Costcos, Kroeger’s, etc. yet. Charging in public other than at home may be problematic. That may be an issue till utilities catch up and have credit card stations too. The there is safety . . .

The chair of the National Transportation Safety Board has concerns about the safety risks of heavy electric vehicles. Jennifer Homendy;

A GMC Hummer EV weighs more than 9,000 pounds. With a battery that weighs more than 2,900 pounds, it alone is around the weight of a Honda Civic (or slightly less that my VW Passat).

A Ford F-150 Lightning is up to 3,000 pounds heavier than the non-electric version, and the Mustang Mach-E, Volvo XC40 EV and the Toyota RAV4 EV are all around one-third heavier than their gas-powered counterparts.

With the public being enamored with going way faster than the limit and drafting the vehicle in front of them, there will be increased injuries and deaths on highway. We have not even touched upon pedestrian injuries who are difficult to see from jacked up vehicles or squats. Then there are bicyclists. Heavier vehicles increase the risk of fatal injuries in accidents.

Jennifer Homendy; “We do have a climate crisis that needs to be addressed. We have to be careful that we aren’t also creating unintended consequences. Safety, especially when it comes to new policies and new technologies, cannot be overlooked ever.”

Mass and velocity are two of the biggest risk factors when it comes to crashes, having “a significant impact” whether it’s a crash with another vehicle or a pedestrian or cyclist.

“Federal safety watchdog concerned about EV weight, size in crashes,” detroitnews.com, Riley Beggin