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Thursday, 17 March 2022


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I've had 5 Hondas. No. 4 was yet another Accord. However, we moved to a big house on a big suburban lot and were buying a number of "big" things for the property. After the third time I went to a store and couldn't get my purchase into the car, I traded the Accord for a Ridgeline. I drove that "truck" for 10 years, until it got traded for (ta da) a Subaru!

Totally ready for EVs, particularly timely for the western world to reduce its reliance on Russian petroleum.

Particularly ready for one of these, good for photography equipment or camping gear: https://www.greencarreports.com/news/1135270_vw-id-buzz-electric-microbus-revealed-us-version-due-2024

Best Regards,


Another advantage to centrally generated electricity vs individual internal combustion engines: the likelihood of a power plant being poorly maintained because the owner can't afford or can't be bothered to maintain it is...about zero, vs the number of emissions nightmares I encounter on the roads around here (we have no emissions testing).

Electric vehicles: in my view, there are a couple of flies in the ointment.

First: can we build that many batteries? I have this quote: "Benchmark Mineral Intelligence estimates a 26,000-tonne shortfall [of lithium carbonate] in 2022 and a 300,000 tonne by 2030, as miners cannot keep up with demand." The price of lithium carbonate is up 75% so far this year - and we're less than 25% through the year - and over 5-fold in the last few years. There simply may not be enough lithium available to meet demand. (and just how green is battery production anyway, including the mining of the ingredients?)

Secondly: there's going to be a huge ongoing maintenance task to ensure that the public charging infrastructure remains functioning. There are going to have to be charging points everywhere - far more than there are currently petrol (gas) stations. After all, even with fast charging (which, as I understand it, shortens battery life), charging an electric car is not going to be like filling up a petrol/diesel vehicle. So I'm not convinced that it's going to work. I fully accept the need, but the currently-proposed technology is not, in my view, the answer for society at large. And I don't know what is.

In addition to installing a pedal assist motor on my bicycle,
, I got a Hyundai Ionic plug-in hybrid auto last July. We haven't bought any gasoline since then.


Not only is electricity dirty, the mining of the needed elements makes (coal) strip mining companies look like honorary Sierra Club members.

I'm not against electric cars -- other than the minimal range -- but some of the cheerleaders seem to have their heads in the sand regarding the total harm done just to produce an electric car, or at least the battery pack.

Unless we can find sources in our country for the needed battery ingredients, we'll be at China and Russia's mercy for those items. (Just what we need.)

I took a quick search for automobiles with solar panels. There are a few, but the solar panels add barely any range over the course of the day. Areas with less than half-sunny days probably won't notice any difference.

The thing that would sell a great number of electric vehicles is a power source with as much energy potential as 18 gallons of gasoline in a reasonable space.

Oh, and a sticker price that regular folks can afford. ($50K for an electric car isn't realistic.)

Too bad the fuel cell idea seems to be dead. That seemed to hold promise.

Bring on the electric cars! I have wanted an EV for decades, but only in very recent times has technology improved to the point that they are practical enough to be one's only vehicle. My next vehicle will be electric, although I'm not in the market to buy one for another few years.

As for reliability, my Toyota RAV4 was the best vehicle I've ever owned. In 12 years of ownership, it required basic maintenance and nothing else, and looked and drove almost like new after well over 200,000 miles. The Hondas I have owned have come pretty close, although they tend to look very tired and worn even if they are mechanically sound. My Subaru Legacy was both a great car and a terrible car at the same time. It was unstoppable in the snow, and was still running strong when sold 22 years later. But you could see through it due to rust, and many of its power features had long ago stopped working and would have cost multiples of the car's value to repair. Worst car goes to the 1973 Lotus Europa I owned for many years, which needed about 12 hours of maintenance per month to stay in drivable condition (even if not actually driven). It was loads of fun, but too much work to keep up with once I was married and considering children.

Hi, Mike. And what a timely essay. I just got a Volkswagen ID4, and, after all of three days driving around town, there's just no way in the world I would ever go back to a gas-powered car. Driving it is nothing but fun, and charging (I have to use public charging) is a breeze. To anyone thinking about a new car I'd say, "Try it. You'll like it." (Which is an old ad slogan for a product I can't remember.)

[Alka-Seltzer. Recently reprised by Kathy Griffin. Here's the original:



Difference is that electricity can be low carbon (can in fact be zero carbon). ICE burning gasoline can not be.

Not to mention the sort of man who profit from oil companies tend to be the sort of man who likes invading Ukraine.

While it's not utterly necessary, off-street parking with access to electricity for charging makes EVs a lot more pleasant to own. You don't necessarily need heavy enough wiring for quick charging; overnight will mostly do (depending on driving pattern).

It's early days—the 23 makers certainly shows that! Early adopters end up paying a premium, often consisting of shorter life-span as the fast-moving marketplace improves things so much they can't resist upgrading (for the same reasons they were early adopters in the first place!).

And, while the electric power train should last a lot longer than the vastly more complex internal combustion power train...I've never gotten rid of a car because the power train wore out. It's body rust and interior degradation, usually. Those will probably go just the same on EVs, or worse, they may go faster because all those new manufacturers don't have it quite right yet. (Yes, you'll have to replace the battery pack once or twice in the life of the rest of the vehicle; that's a chunk of change, but it's reasonably predictable and can be planned for.)

While vans might be generally more practical, just make sure, like my Town and Country actually specified, that you can fit a 4x8 sheet of plywood lying flat in the back.

Off the top... I've been a car guy since the 50's, and my interest hasn't waned.

In the 90's I got to test a GM EV1 for a couple of weeks. On the one hand, it was an extremely crappy car; on the other, I was really, really sorry that they abandoned it and didn't see it through to develop it properly. But then, that was GM. Abandoning almost successful cars was their modus operandi.

When the BMW i8 showed up at a car show about 2012, my wife loved the look and I loved the technology, which was plug-in hybrid. Although rather a stretch for us, we ordered one and got it summer of 2015. It was my wife's car and she drove it for 3 years. The driving experience was, for her, 'like driving a parade float' although I'm not sure that she has the proper reference for that. In any case, she was always unsure about where the corners were, and she had one (very minor) accident to prove that.

I drove it occasionally, and was disappointed. Acceleration was OK, although not up to the looks, but integration of the electric motor, gas motor, transmission etc was a bit lumpy and the handling was meh. My personal reference was a 2006 Porsche Boxster bought as a 4 yr. old used car for $32,000Cdn, which I sold 8 years later for $28,000Cdn, which wasn't as quick as the BMW, but was much more responsive in every way and handled like a dream.

In 3 years we had filled the (small) tank on the BMW 5 times. That was the best part. Looking for useable, accessible charge points was one of the worst. We lived in an apartment and running a charging cord to the car in the garage was frowned upon.

Fully electric cars just don't work unless you have a private garage, or maybe live in a house with street parking where you can trust the locals not to mess with your charging cable crossing the sidewalk. So, we are still looking for a plug-in hybrid that has decent electric range, is about the size of VW Golf or only slightly larger, weighs about the same, has at least decent handling and doesn't have looks that induce vomiting when approaching (that excludes the RAV4 Prime according to my wife. In fact, that pretty much excludes all current Toyota and Lexus products). Also, I'm not putting up with a vehicle that forces me to do everything through a touch screen. We shouldn't drive while using our phones, but we should drive while looking at a large screen where our radio used to be and navigate menus on a touchscreen???

Full electric will work when charging infrastructure is sufficient, which is now generally only the case for people with private spaces for their vehicles. Most public charging stations are not for fast charging, and sitting around for an hour for a 75mile charge isn't realistic for most people.

CR ratings require an understanding of their proclivities and biases, as with any other reviews. Seating for 5 will trump seating for 4; seating for 7 will trump seating for 5. Larger is better. Smoother ride will trump handling. See the Toyota Avalon. It is the ultimate expression of the 60's/70's American land yacht. Large, roomy, easily mistaken for a living room sofa with a variable scenery mode. If you like a Miata, you will not like this. It is not for driving; it is for moving through the landscape, preferably forgetting that driving is involved.

Once in a while CR will toss most of its criteria and award a car an extremely high score mostly based on enthusiasm. See the Tesla S. Highest score ever, by a long shot at the time of testing! It was definitely a significant and groundbreaking car, but by far the best 4 wheeled vehicle ever? Over the last 8 or so years they've tried to backpedal, but since that doesn't look good and would hurt their image, they've just occasionally made some comments around the edges that it might not be as great as initially stated.

Consumer Reports reviews are based on reliability data and their perceived ergonomics and quality. Alfa Romeo, one of my all-time faves even though I presently drive a BMW X5, is probably the most fun car to drive on the planet. It is very Italian and its reliability is what you put up with to have that fun - perhaps a state of mind comparable to the Tesla loyalists. When I (used to) read the CR camera ratings I found they totally missed the point on what I thought was important. Now I only pay attention to the reliability but only for products that have at least a 3-4 year data history. Lots of politically-motivated misinformation out there on EV's. A dual-axle-motored EV will leave any gas-powered supercar in the dust from 0-60. Now That's Fun!

There are a few downsides to EV's.

1 You must get a charger installed at your home. That cost runs $1000-$4000 and up. If you need buried cable run to your garage it will cost $20-$40 per foot.

2 What would do if live in a rental that does not have a charger?

3 Batteries lose a lot of capacity in cold weather.

4 If you ever need to replace the battery it will cost you $3000 - $24000.

Did the phrase, "Fun to drive ... " appear anywhere in the article?

[Yes, they talk about that factor in the individual reviews. Seems like they more often say "not much fun to drive," though. --Mike]

I'm convinced that, at least for me, the hybrid version of the Ford Maverick pickup is the ideal photography vehicle. It gets 40 mpg city and 35+ on the highway. There's in cabin storage for photography gear and the bed is large enough to work as an elevated photo platform. It would be relative easy to build a platform in the bed that would get you even higher. Unfortunately they are almost impossible to get right now.

There is a cultural/political problem buried in all of this -- in many states (we'll call them Trump states for short) full EV in its current state is a non-starter for people who form the winning margin in US Senate elections. They simply drive too much on a daily basis (for you farmers and ranchers, I'm looking at you.) Hence, the lackadaisical attitude toward full EV from potential political patrons. However, there is one possibility that I think most folks would buy, already here (and I have one) -- electric/gas hybrids. My Cayenne switches seamlessly from electric to gas when I run out of electric power. That means I could drive it from LA to NYC without delay, using gas, but around town, for all those little pollution-generating trips to the grocery store, the pharmacy, etc., I rarely run out of electric power. During the big pandemic year, from about March 2020 to March 2021, I bought four tanks of gas. Also, the cost of putting a charger in your garage is vastly overblown by some folks. The charger is essentially a sophisticated plug, and after-market models can be bought via the net for a couple hundred dollars. You get an initial charger plug and cable as part of the cost of the car, of course. The rest of the charging equipment is inside the car, and also comes as part of the initial price. Most garages already have power. I paid an electrician $200 to put in a 220 plug, and can go from zero to full electric charge in four hours. The main thing is, though, that plug-in hybrids could be mandated right now, and built right now, with almost no mileage restrictions when driving, and very large savings in gasoline or diesel use. And the people in the Trump states wouldn't feel a thing

Also when my Cayenne is in a particular mode (I don't know the name, but sends both electric and gas power to the tires on demand) it would leave a 5-liter Mustang in the dust, stoplight-to-stoplight. And it's an SUV.

I'm not only ready, I'm actively shopping (my wife too) for our next cars, which will be EVs. They're hard to actually find at dealers right now, as are most vehicles these days, but EV's even more so, if that tells you anything. Some are months or years on wait lists. And yes, we're ahead of the national EV infrastructure, and that will be a bit of a pain, but 98.99999 of the time, we'll charge overnight at home, which is really cool when you think about it. Also, The newest EV's can charge to 80% (about 200 miles worth) in 18 minutes on a rapid charger, so that works if I need to road trip and can enjoy lunch or a cuppa while charging. I'll never miss paying at the pump, or giving my money to the oil companies (and, yes, I know electric has it's issues too, even hydro out here in the PNW). But I'm really very excited about the next step in technology that EV's represent, and I'm of the belief, truly, that global warming is an existential crisis, so we do what we can. My wife is looking seriously at the Hyundai Ioniq 5, and what a fun car that is... I may wait until 2025 when the VW ID BUZZ (California Camper) Van comes out. An all electric version of the classic, are you kidding? My retirement jam...I can't wait.

I recently decided to try out the EV experience by renting a Model 3 short range single motor and driving it from London to the northwest highlands of Scotland (Torridon) to do some landscape photography. This was in February in the middle of a snow storm.

Things I learned:

The car thought it could drive 238 miles on a full charge. Under those conditions and loaded up with 4 people and gear and luggage and driving at 70 on motorways mostly, we averaged about 170 miles per charge.

The Tesla supercharging network is amazing. The satnav plots your route to the chargers automatically, there is no messing about, you drive in, plug in and wait half an hour for a charge. Even with the short range model, we were fine because we would have to stop at those intervals for comfort breaks.

The public network in the UK is more hit and miss. We only needed to use it at Falkirk (a town) and at Gairloch (a village) and it was ok but fussier and slower than the super charger.

It's not a problem to drive from London to Scotland and pootle around the highlands even with a moderate range EV in the middle of winter. In summer the range would likely be 220 miles, even more if you are driving around town.

We did one overnight charge using just the 3 pin house socket which we limited to 9amps max in the charging software to avoid blowing a fuse in a rented house. It fully charged the car from evening to morning the next day (which surprised us).

If you are used to driving a 1.4 litre 89BHP VW Polo, the driving experience of the model 3 is incredible. It would easily outpace a racy hot hatchback. Simply the most powerful car I've ever driven. Not only that, the power delivery is seamless from a standing start to high speed. Put your foot down and it just goes and keeps on going.

The regen braking is amazing. Hardly ever need to touch the brake. Press the pedal to go fast, ease off the pedal to slow down and stop.

Things I didn't like include the low coupe style body (hard to get in and out of, kept bumping my head on the sun visor!). The scifi ergonomics - what's wrong with knobs and buttons? I can see the value of the touch screen for programming stuff while stopped, but when driving it is ludicrous you have to take your eyes off the road and use a touch screen to control your windscreen wipers.

Overall, anyone who has actually driven an EV will tell you the driving experience just makes ICE cars obsolete.

Busy trying to decide whether my next car will be a ID3, a e-Niro or a Tesla. Shame Tesla don't yet make a european style small hatchback.

Re: EVs. They are not for everyone. Yet.

I once had a daily 90 mile commute to work and back except for Thursday -- 150 miles. Home every night which would have made an EV with a home charger perfect. 30,000 miles a year and zero dollars for gasoline.

What about vacations and other long trips? A second car that runs on gasoline. Owning an EV is not necessarily an all-or-none thing. Yet.

And they sure are fun to drive -- instant star-wars level acceleration.

Ready or not, where I live battery electric vehicles are the only relevant new cars. When I stare out of my office window, approximately one in five cars is an EV. Almost all new cars are battery EV's. At least, that's my impression. The statistics say that there is still live in combustion engines, but that market looks very very bleak. Plugin hybrids even look like last year's news. The grid is just about coping and we're in search of more local power balancing solutions.

The car industry change to EV makes Kodak's demise look so much better.

My ten year old Honda CR-Z hybrid is ancient technology. Honda's E model is really sweet, but barely advanced enough for regular use for most people. Most likely Honda won't exist in Europe in five years time. Oddly, Toyota has completely failed to produce a battery EV up until now. The new Toyota SUV with a name I can't remember will probably fail to sell against Hyundai, Peugeot, Tesla, VW and Volvo SUV competition. Some pundits even think that BMW's fragmented electric strategy means that they're dead in the water and a target for a company takeover. Ford's Mach-e is a common sight around here, but that was an easy copy-paste from the very successful Jaguar i-pace: Ford needs to come up with something more accessible really fast.

I don't think you need a charger. My buddy recently got an EV. He uses the plug in his garage. He has barely noticed a difference in his electric bill. His car before was a truck (I'm in Texas) so he has noticed a big difference in his gasoline bill. I have a Subaru but I will get a hybrid or an EV for my next car a year or so from now. My current vehicle is 8 years old so it's getting to be about that time. Anyway, being in Texas where virtually very car is an enormous truck, you should see people wincing at the gas stations right now when filling up the behemoths. One nice thing with the current gas prices is there are far fewer jerks in jacked up trucks assuaging some machismo deficiency on the roads right now. And...if they are driving they are driving really slow...go figure......

I find EVs to be soulless. My enthusiasm for cars will track the downward slope of the percentage of new Internal Combustion engine cars sold. EVs are appliances.

'Green'? You wrote: "The inflection point on electric vehicles might not be too far away. 'Bout time, says Earth." But to manufacture EV batteries requires vast amounts of mining, and electricity to charge them is supplied largely from burning fossil fuels, so what's the point? Wind and solar are intermittent, so destabilize the electric grid, making electricity unreliable and expensive when used to excess, and manufacturing windmills and solar panels (mostly in coal burning China) also requires immense amounts of fossil fuels and mining. It is hard to see a workable way of large scale "green" transitioning to electric vehicles without powering them with newly built nuclear reactors. Is there some workable realistic plan that could actually be feasible, anytime soon?

Three years ago we leased a Chevy Bolt for my wife to drive. We leased because of the pace of change in the electric car market and didn't want to be caught owning an outdated electric model as ranges increased and competing models came on line. I want to gently correct some of the misinformation in the comments above, although I won't fight about it if it comes to it.

1. Cost to install a charger at home: $600. In many states, such as Vermont, your utility will give you the charging unit for for free because they want you to change over. The $600 was the time of two electricians for the 2-3 hours it cost to install the thing and wire it to our main panel with a 240 circuit. BTW, you can run an extension cord out your window and charge the car just fine, but at 120V a full charge may take a full night. Or two. But you can still drive the thing.

2. How "clean" your EV is depends on . . surprise! . . . how clean the electricity in your wall is. In Vermont, my energy mix looks like this: https://greenmountainpower.com/energy-mix/

How "carbon free" Vermont's mix is depends on what you think of Canadian hydro. They flooded many square miles of forest to create the catchment ares for those dams, and that vegetation has been slowly decomposing for several decades (methane) so not "carbon free." Still, it ain't coal. Also nuclear may be low carbon, but it isn't renewable. Still. Our family generates our own solar and we feed it back to the grid so you could say every electron in our particular car's battery can be accounted for by solar (and yes, we keep the RECs). You wake up every morning with a full tank of "energy."

3. Cost to drive: $.03 per mile. Cost to maintain: tires and windshield washer fluid, and we'd have to buy those anyway with a gas powered car. No oil changes, no transmission fluid, no spark plugs, no gas. What many analyses seem determined to ignore is that most e-vehicle charging takes place at home. So yeah, your electric bill goes up. But you are saving tons on gas -- and this was true before the current gas price hikes.

4. Cold weather range. On our model Bolt, Summer: 170 miles. Winter 140 miles, each on a full charge. Part of the winter "degradation" is that the car uses some of its own power to heat the battery. Still, in either case a full charge is enough for several days' driving, given my wife's commute. This is one case where YMMV is a little one-the-nose. We drove up to Burlington the other nights (90 miles round trip) and cost was basically equal to the wear on the wheel bearings.

5. The little Bolt is fun to drive, but horrible to look at IMHO. Still, a lot of the sting recedes when you drive past a gas station. Nothing in there for me but a candy bar and a bathroom. Wouldn't want to be in the gas station business now. It'll be "buggy whips" before long.

6. This fellow here has some interesting ideas about the speed with which we are likely to see change coming on this front:


I find Tony Seba's analysis pretty persuasive. I think it is likely that there won't be any gas powered cars on the road in 15 years from today. Time will tell, of course, but just the fleet maintenance savings on the simpler electric motors over more complicated gas engines are going to present inescapable economic logic to fleet owners as soon as production meets demand.

Obviously, I'm a convert here, with all the appropriate zeal. But I will also say that we will never buy another gas powered vehicle. No way, no how, and it ain't a close call.

/rant off

The gasoline prices of late are a grim reminder that we need to choose our cars carefully.

First off, congratulations on the soon-to-be New Yorker piece. I cannot wait to read it, and future articles as well.

Second, I agree on the minivan being THE most versatile and useful vehicle. We got a 2008 Sienna in 2008, just after our first son was born. That van lasted through 13+ years, and well over 225,000 miles, nearly worry free. It carried 7 people and luggage up and down the West Coast, as well as full sheets of plywood, and everything in between (though, obviously, not all at once). One time I had a 12’ handrail, in the van, along with other supplies - with the tailgate closed. Show me a pickup truck that can do that! Ha!

Sadly, the van suffered a catastrophic cooling system failure while a friend was driving it, which is why we went looking for a replacement. I looked at ICE, hybrids, and EVs. ICE obviously no. Hybrid, too complicated with two separate systems to achieve one simple goal, so EVs.

Third, I have a 2021 Tesla that is almost exactly one year old. 11,300 miles on it so far. I’ve got a big trip from CA-KY planned a few weeks hence. Mind you, I have the base trim (Model 3 SR+), which, when I got it, was just under $40k. I did get a charger added in my covered car port, so that added a bit ($300 for the wiring). But… I can say this: this car is a blast to drive, and thus far, has been totally reliable. (In addition to the canned rant you mentioned, there are many others. Let me just say this: whatever. People believe what they want. Virtually all of the naysayers are not EV owners. Flat earth, anyone?) I’m lucky that there’s a service center a mile from my home, if I need it. And my wife, who had a lot of doubts about getting an EV, went and got her own after she went on some long road trips with the boys and me in the Tesla. All her doubts got left behind. She got a VW ID.4, as she likes the more traditional driver interface. She loves it!

Just saying. YMMV. (BTW, it has cost me $16 for the last 31 days of home charging for “fuel.”)

Can't speak for other countries but here in Oz the vast majority of the greenhouse gases produced by ICE vehicles is in the delivery of the fuel to petrol stations. Even if the electricity for EV vehicles were produced by burning brown coal (as bad as it gets), the savings in greenhouse gas production from the efficiency in the delivery of the power to the vehicle still results in approx. 50% or more reduction in production of greenhouse gases. So it's a no brainer. Range is less of an issue than most people think as very few drivers use a car for outside EV range on anything more than a very rare basis - and on those occasions the uptake on high speed charging is making a huge difference - yes it is slower than filling a tank with petrol and yes it takes 30-40 minutes rather than 5 minutes. But it is more than viable for occasional use. Of course, US and Oz are different than Europe or UK where the distances are larger - I expect hydrogen-electric power will be the solution to that. Toyota (amongst others) has at least one fully produced test fleet of hydrogen powered cars (with the hydrogen generated by solar power) that I am aware of - the technology is straightforward; it is the cost of implementing the support infrastructure that is the issue. Hydrogen-electric also makes sense for heavy vehicles, including long-distance trucks and railway- especially (and unlike Oz) where there is already nuclear power to produce emission free hydrogen...

Here in Santa Monica, 2 or 3 Teslas are parked on every block it seems and we've seen many other EVs including some prototypes (a Mercedes today on the Pacific Coast Highway, a PoleStar SUV last week). Several years ago I had a BMW i3 for a week to test and it was neat.

My problem with EVs is that like many other things, humans are only able to see what they want to see. EVs are full of contradictions.


Electric cars are not “zero emission” vehicles by any means. They may be “zero emissions right here,” but in reality they are “remote emission vehicles,” dependent on power plants supplying electricity through the grid. In California, we have a good contribution from solar, wind, hydroelectric, even some geothermal and one aging nuclear plant, but the biggest source of electricity is still fossil fuel power plants. In the US that includes lots of coal-fired ones.

While my wife and I were driving up the Pacific Coast Highway through Malibu, California last week, we got stuck in traffic next to a Tesla Model 3 which had license plates from Ohio. I laughed and told my wife, “When that guy’s at home, that’s a “coal-fired Tesla.”

And the power plants and electric grid are nowhere near 100% efficient.

What About Batteries?

Batteries and electric motors require mining rare minerals, lithium and cobalt being the worst. Remember "blood diamonds?"

A Tesla Model 3 is hauling around 1054 pounds (480 kg) of batteries everywhere it goes, including about 12 pounds of lithium and 40 pounds of cobalt, elements obtained by less than environmentally-friendly mining. A Rivian or Ford F150 Lightning has about 2000 pounds (nearly 1000kg) of batteries.

That's why EVs are so heavy. A gas powertrain weighs 300-500 pounds and carries ~100 pounds of fuel. An EV has a powertrain that weighs 150-300 pounds but carries around ~1000 pounds of fuel all the time.

The Teslas sold last year - around 930,000 - used about 4 billion lithium-ion batteries. The battery units they used, if stacked up would form a pyramid about half the size of the Great Pyramid at Giza and weigh almost 1 billion pounds - half a million tons. Does anybody have a plan to dispose of these or recycle the toxic waste they represent in a decade or so? And what happens when 10 million EVs are sold? Who wants a battery factory or recycling plant in their neighborhood?

Apartment Dwellers:

We have 2 EV owners in our building with a Tesla Model 3 and a BMW i3. They inquired about getting a charger so we helped research it. We got estimates of around $30,000 to either do the upgrades to the building electricals necessary or to bring in a separate circuit with sufficient capacity for charging an electric car. Needless to say, the owner declined to pursue it. 110V charging is a joke - with a Tesla, you get about 1-2 miles of range for an hour of charging at full load for a typical 110VAC circuit.

Power Reliability?

In California, the electrical utilities decided it was cheaper to turn of the electricity rather than trim trees which could short out power lines in high winds. Hurricanes, tornadoes, snowstorms and ice often disrupt electrical power. Just what do you do with an EV then? At least one EV promoter tells people to keep one gas-powered vehicle in their fleet.

Alas humans want simple solutions.

We seem unable to stop people from driving around alone in a vehicle that weighs 3 tons.

Or simply driving less.

"Too bad the fuel cell idea seems to be dead. That seemed to hold promise.
Posted by: Dave "

"I expect hydrogen-electric power will be the solution to that. Toyota (amongst others) has at least one fully produced test fleet of hydrogen powered cars (with the hydrogen generated by solar power) that I am aware of - the technology is straightforward; it is the cost of implementing the support infrastructure that is the issue.
Posted by: Bear. "

Toyota is still making the Mirai, and Honda has an entry.

Anecdotal data point. I was able to test drive a Mirai. Lovely sedan. Quiet, very powerful; went straight up a long, v. steep hill here that would never have a road straight up where it snows and ices. Handling like a good sedan, excellent ride, interior finish like a blend of Toyota and Lexus.

Distribution is necessarily limited to places where there is fueling infrastructure. I haven't kept up. Fueling wasn't bad here and they had a station half way between SF and LA.

I got a used electric car in July of this year and I am incredibly happy with it. It was easy to get a charger for my home, and I enjoy figuring out where to charge it away from home. I hope renewable/sensible green energy sources continue to become more plentiful here where I live, and that my car can rely on these sources. I'd like to add solar to my house, hope to.

These changes will hopefully be good, and I'm curious about the challenges and concerns that some express here. But our dependence on driving and our taste and preference for huge vehicles, here in the US, worries me.

In my camp, I can't fix a combustion engine on my own and I got tired of dealing with them. I just wish for a market that provided *simple* electric vehicles. All cars rely on computers too much, both electric and ICE kinds, and I don't look forward to hearing everyone complaining about their cars the way they might've complained about their Windows, etc. updates in the recent past. EVs don't have to continue down this path of complexity, but they certainly will.

Well at least I'll never have to change the oil again.

My favorite EV!

Lenses and cars:
I have pre-ordered and paid for the Z 100-400mm S lens at Looking Glass (my great camera store in Berkeley). Since I saw the attached review, however, I am rethinking this choice. Not that the review knocked the lens. On the contrary, it is presented as a fine optic. The thing is, it is big and complicated and may be more than I need. For an analogy, Sue and I just returned from a road trip in her new RAV 4 hybrid. I have a touchy relationship with the car. It does many things well, no question, including being stingy on gas. My issue is that Toyota has complexified the car and made so many things "automatic" that god help you if you try to use manual controls. The rear wiper will come on and I can't get it to turn off without studying the owner's manual. Sue loves figuring out new technology whereas I believe the best things new technology can do are to get out of my way and not bother me. The Z 100-400mm lens looks to be the Nikon equivalent of the RAV 4 hybrid: big, and more than I, personally, need to use.
Nikon Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S Review: Stellar Optics and Speed

I'm in the UK. It's 90 feet from the nearest spot I'm likely (but not guaranteed) to be able to park the car, to the nearest place I could have a charging point. I'm disabled, and the last thing I need when I come home, hurting after a long day, is to have to pay out a long lead and plug it into the car.

Even then, there's talk of suppliers remotely controlling when the car might be charged, as the demand will be high from the time when most people get home in the evenings. Need to go out again? Car not charged? Tough luck.

What are all the people who can only afford a £500 car today going to do? An electric car worth that much isn't going to have much life left in the battery; they'll not be able to afford a new battery pack when it fails, so they'll be without transport.

They will not be able to get to work, so a failed battery pack means unemployment; good lucking finding employment if you have to rely on public transport to get to a job! A huge proportion of the less well off will be affected. How can this be viable?

So no, I'm not ready for an electric vehicle. They are an evolutionary dead end.

Here in Ireland pick up trucks are regarded as 'Chav' vehicles. Nothing macho about them.
I drove a BMW i3 Rex (with the small engine for recharging the battery when it got low) for 3 years and only put petrol in it twice. A 30 min fast charge point would give me about 70 miles. Apart from that my garage 220v socket would fully charge me overnight.
I switched to a BMW x5 hybrid but regret it every time I have to visit a petol station

["Chav," a word unfamiliar to Americans, comes from the Romani "chavi," for child, and is defined by the Cambridge English Dictionary (presumably a UK English dictionary) thusly: "an insulting word for someone, usually a young person, whose way of dressing, speaking, and behaving is thought to show their lack of education and low social class." --Ed.]

We got a Kia niro hev a few years ago. It’s been our most enjoyable car to drive, although at times not the most practical (that would go to the old dual range Subaru we had 25 yrs ago). The Niro is about 5c/ mile cheaper to run than our Subaru Forester, getting over 50 mpg, except in the winter when it can range from mid 30s to low 40smpg. Needless to say we rarely drive the Subaru now - except when we both need to drive, or there is more than a few inches of snow on the roads (and madison can be bad at plowing residential streets)

I have been driving a Honda Odyssey for many years. I love it, but the Ridgeline is tempting for reasons other than looks. First, to my knowledge, there is no possibility of installing a roof rack with a ladder on the Odyssey strong enough to use a s a platform to stand on for photography. And furthermore, the ground clearance of the Odyssey is a real hindrance even when you just want to pull off the side of the road. On top of that, you could get the Ridgeline with AWD. All very practical advantages for photographers.

I drive a 4 year old Subaru Crosstrek. It has indeed been reliable. I bought it mainly because my wife wanted a crossover, and I wanted a manual transmission. With the Crosstrek, I could actually get a decent level of trim with the manual. I love driving a stick, and I was thinking this would probably be my last opportunity. Hybrids and EVs don't have manual transmissions, unfortunately.

No, it's not an exciting car, but it gives me a remarkable amount of freedom. My wife no longer freaks out when I travel on gravel roads. In fact, she has become an outdoor enthusiast. That's fine with me! Spending more time in the woods has always been my goal. It's strange what a Subaru can do to your family.

While I'm not quite with Roger on this (an evolutionary dead end), I understand where he's coming from. Electric cars need their "model T" for regular people to be adapted on mass. And, as others have suggested, they need to have regulated, universal power supplies that are easily switched out when they wear out. The cars could be much simpler, but where's the profit in that? Nowhere, so they are complex, computer addled beasts that start at $50,000 or so once you fit one with usable range. We also need a redone electrical grid, public, not private, in order to make sure cars can even be charged. Finally, most cities just need better, more frequent, free public transportation, good bike lanes, and good sidewalks so that we can move from three car families to two or one car families and maybe even no car families.

We live in a hydrocarbon economy. Our reliance on fossil fuels is what empowered Putin and his oligarchs to invade Ukraine. It's also what keeps human rights violators like Saudi Arbia's MBS in power. Without stretching the imagination too far, one of an draw a direct line from the car industry's billion dollar marketing budget to the shelling of Kyiv. Car of the year 2022 should've been a contest between bikes, lightrail, trains, and busses.

I love the annual CR Car issue. My perspective on what makes the ideal vehicle is very different from CR’s but I still find these issues to be a valuable resource. I’m usually looking for a body on frame vehicle with a bulletproof V6 that’s been in production for at least 5 years and CR will almost never recommend such a vehicle…but I appreciate their predicted reliability charts. I tend to keep my vehicles for a long time and these charts let me know which systems I may need to repair down the road and if I can do the repair myself.

I recently inherited a 2WD Jeep Patriot (2007-2017) and after a little research I decided to keep it even though it does not fit any of my usual criteria. I’ve never wanted front wheel drive, a four cylinder engine, or an SUV but here I am and once again I find myself in a vehicle that CR has never recommended and for a while listed as a vehicle to avoid. That’s just the way it goes with Jeeps and big trucks. Owners love their Wranglers and Suburban’s because they meet a specific need and if they are at least 3% less reliable than the class average, so be it.

It turns out that most of my Patriots reliability issues were resolved in the last few years of its ten year run which is typical. Most vehicles that are produced for many years with few changes will eventually work out the bugs. When Jeep finally replaced the horrible Chrysler CVT with a Hyundai 6 speed auto with autostick it really made a difference. Hyundai also did much of the base engine design on the 2.4 L GEMA (Global Engine Alliance – Chrysler/Mitsubishi/Hyundai) World I4.

I’ve come to appreciate the Patriots bare bones simplicity which is something CR is not focused on and I get that. Computer controlled, radar based safety systems are important for a family vehicle but I would rather have something I can easily repair myself if necessary. One final aspect of the Patriot that sold me is that it’s a stylistic knockoff (similar dimensions, ground clearance, HP, etc.) of the classic Jeep Cherokee XJ (1983-2001). I came within a hair of buying a 2001 XJ Sport back in the day so I like the old school look.

As much as I like old school cars and trucks, I’m sure my next vehicle will be a soulless robot car with few moving parts and an unblinking eye that watches me at all times. It can’t be avoided because we really do need to eliminate tailpipe emissions as soon as possible…but I will always have something in reserve that rumbles and can’t be hacked by a teenager with a laptop. :-)

Honda Ridgeline pickup - the best 'car' I ever owned. But the MPG could be better. 18 mpg average. Ford Lightning looks great, but the price is beyond most folk's income level. I know I am from an earlier generation, but $60,000* plus for a pickup truck? If Ford wants to 'save the planet' they need to build a smaller, less luxurious mid-size EV pickup for around $30,000. Something many people could afford to buy. Of course we know why Ford is in business, just like almost all corporations, to make as much money as possible for their executives and share holders. Saving the one planet we have to live on is a goal much farther down their priority list.

* I know suggested retail is $55,000, but try to find one to buy at that price.

Have pre-ordered the upcoming Subaru EV. Why? Happiness with my current and previous Forsters and the wife's Impreza. All three trouble free and nice to drive. I want the same practicality but in an electric.

EVs are the fast growing car trend in Austin, Texas.


An interesting analysis of the cost of EV's. Add in the long term cost of pollution in producing electricity, batteries and dispoasl problems and it is still a problem.

They have advantages as well as a downside.

Buying for fuel cost savings? How many thousands of miles to pay for the cost difference? How is battery performance in 110 and 30 below zero temperatures? How long to recharge when on the road?

Drive what you want because you like it and/or it fills a need.

I think if you look at the adoption of digital cameras over film, you'll be able to make a fair prediction for how the adoption of electric vehicles will go. It won't be overnight, and we certainly haven't reached the tipping point yet, but it will happen whether you like it or not.

Once that point is reached, the economies of producing fuel for piston engine cars will make it more and more expensive - I don't know how it is in the US, but in the UK fuel has rocketed in price in recent weeks.

It will vary between regions of the world (and even within countries) as to how clean electricity is, and how quickly the adoption happens, but consumer pressure will drive it on.

There's no magic bullet and no perfect solution, but this is the way the wind is blowing and no amount of grousing about the drawbacks will change that.

I've got a halfway house - a plug in hybrid which will do between 35-45 miles on a charge depending on the time of year, and that does for most of my driving. Longer runs obviously need petrol but I'm still getting just shy of 60MPG on those, and I don't worry about range or needing to recharge. I much prefer driving the car in full electric mode but our charging infrastructure in the UK needs to improve a lot before full EV makes sense for my use. And I know my electricity at home is from renewables - you've no idea what generated the power at public charge points.

…this is the Avalon's last year. Guess it was so good Toyota had to kill it?

In defense of the Avalon; it was quite good but has been selling poorly in the coveted pre-octogenarian market because it lacks any kind of cool-factor. Not even attempting this was able to help it.

As for EV, I hope the Electric Crate Motor catches on, but I'm realistic enough to acknowledge that conversion kits aren't cool either.

I bought an EV last summer and it’s been an unmitigated joy. But we do have a second car for longer trips and it’s rare that I drive more than 70 miles in a day. So I may be an ideal candidate. I’ve never enjoyed driving a car this much. To answer one of the people above, I am able to purchase renewable energy. So while he’s right that there isn’t sufficient capacity yet, at least for now it’s possible to be a carbon free driver depending on where you live.

My personal policy is to not buy new cars. Let someone else pay for the depreciation.

Early last year, before car prices started going up, we bought a 2019 e-Golf with 8000 miles, for about $20k, for my wife. Shortly after, I liked that car so much that I got another one just like it, for myself. Paid about $22k because prices had already started going up.

It drives just like a Golf, which is a very good thing.

We have solar, charge mostly at home, and the ~120 miles of mixed range are plenty even for weekend trips to Napa or Sonoma from the Bay Area. People who “need” 300 miles of range are the same kind of people who buy the latest Canon pro body to take photos of their cats.

Having had a couple of Teslas in the family, it’s nice to have an electric car made by a company with experience designing and making cars…. I look forward to all those used id4s and Mach-es in the next several years.

Dear folks,

What Alan and Jim H say is mostly wrong (as in factually disprovable with a bit of google-fu).

What Benjamin says is mostly right (more google-fu).

There are some serious systemic social inequality issues associated with electrification, whether it's cars or green energy. If you're at the low end of the socioeconomic scale, currently you're going to get screwed. E.g., if you need a reliable car for under $20K, forget electric. Heck, $5K will get you a decent gas-guzzler, but it's gonna be quite a while before you'll find a (drivable) used electron-guzzler at that price.

That said... Google being our friend...

The *average* price of a new electric car sold in the US is only about 10% more than the price of a new gasoline car. When tax incentives are included, it's a wash (depends on where you live, the make and model of the car, as always your mileage will vary [snerk]).

The average driver in the US drives about 40 miles a day. Total miles driven: 3.5 trillion per year.

Average consumption for an electric car, currently, is 3-4 miles per kilowatt hour.

What can we learn from this? First, plugging your electric into your 110 V wall socket every night is going to be sufficient for the average driver's needs (the typical charger puts a kilowatt into the battery). (I don't know who told Jim that 1-2 mph charge rate, but it's utter nonsense.) If you don't EVER want to use a commercial charger, lay out the couple of hundred for 240 volt, which will fully charge a car overnight. But on average, people will be happy with what they've got in the way of wiring.

75% of the US population lives in single-family dwellings with driveways. Charging locations are not a primary issue for the majority of the population.

How badly does this strain the electrical infrastructure, public and personal? Well, unless your wiring would be unhappy having your toaster oven running all night, it's not going to care about your electric. And even if every car on your block were electric and plugged in, it's not going to put a strain on your local transformer.

What about the total, though? If EVERYBODY were driving an electric car, that would consume a trillion kilowatt hours per year. Mind you, that isn't going to be happening any time soon. Very optimistic timetable would have the majority of cars electric in 10 years, pessimistic is 20 years. There is no "onslaught" of electric vehicles, it's a gradual turnover.

A trillion kilowatt hours per year sounds like a lot. The US currently uses about 4 trillion kWh total. Do we have 25% spare electrons right now? Oh hell no. Can we expect to be adding 1-2% a year? Oh hell yeah. Projections are for more than that. No we are not in imminent danger of brownouts or overloading the grid.

For reasons way too complicated to go into here, the actual additional peak demand will be half that or less. It could even go negative the middle of the next decade. Electric cars are GREAT for load leveling. But that's currently pie-in-the-sky. Pie that utility companies are actively pursuing, true — because then they aren't paying for installing distributed storage! — but let's not count our electrified chickens before they hatch.

Well, what about the away-from-home charging? Currently there are only about 1/5 as many charging stations as there are gas pumps and people spend an average of five times longer at a charging station than they do a gassing station. We are a long way from parity! Within five years, based on current projections, there will be as many chargers as gas pumps and they will be pretty evenly distributed. Which still leaves a 5:1 disparity in terms of time-availability, but most people will not be doing most of their charging at commercial charging stations. And in five years we will still be a LONG ways from most of cars on the road being electrics.

You don't want to buy electric now? That's your business! You want to argue that it's an overall bad idea or that the system can't handle it or similar FUD? Nope, wrong.

- pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. Dragon Dictate in training! ]
-- Ctein's Online Gallery. http://ctein.com 
-- Digital Restorations. http://photo-repair.com 

As a former 30+ year subscriber to CR, believe me when I tell you their rankings are so out of touch as to be less than worthless.

Want an EV? Want to be able to reliably charge it while on the road? Tesla is the only choice in most places. Every social media influencer on YouTube has shown, from Europe to Canada to the US the Electrify America, etc, are a mess and more times than not out of service, and when they do work? Twenty bucks a half hour.

One day EVs will be prime time, but that’s no time soon.

I'm concerned that we're charging towards EVs too rapidly, and concentrating on the wrong vehicles. Meanwhile, we're ignoring the easier efficiency gains possible from hybrid vehicles. There are two hybrids in my family driveway, both modestly-priced Fords. Oover five years' use, the regular hybrid has a lifetime 38 mpg, while the plug-in hybrid has recorded a more impressive 65 mpg, both. Incidentally, 65 mpg gives an equivalent CO2 impact as an EV in my coal-heavy electrical grid, reports the Union of Concerned Scientists, so switching to an all-electric car would give no environmental benefit. Unlike an EV, driving a hybrid presents no operational compromises except for a gas station visit every 600 miles or so. It's very easy to get used to.

If I owned two EVs instead, both capable of the 250-mile ranges I often drive, they'd be equipped with about two tons of batteries made of rare and precious materials, batteries that deteriorate in heat and cold even when they're not used. On the six days a week I drive 50 miles or less, those big batteries would be completely wasted. I think the priority should be to electrify trucks and service and delivery vehicles that are driven hard every day, usually in urban areas here charging stations are more plentiful. These are usually the least efficient and most polluting vehicles, too.

As a long-time environmentalist, I put solar hot water panels on my home in 1981. In 2007, I put photovoltaic panels on my second house. That was a much better idea, because once my hot water tank was full, by noon some days, the old system couldn't store any more solar energy. Today's PV systems are tied to the grid, so they can produce beneficial power all day long. For me, an EV would be like that old hot water system. When I wasn't driving, it would do nothing for me or the planet.

Ctein says "that the system can't handle it or similar FUD? Nope, wrong." But by only explaining that having 25% more electrical generation capacity is not insurmountable, he's not addressing two unsolved limitations: 1) mining enough minerals to manufacture all those batteries; and 2) that going fully "green" by insisting on intermittent solar and wind, but not continuous fossil fuel or nuclear yields unreliable intermittent electrical power creating an unstable grid with blackouts. Electric motors have so few moving parts compared to internal combustion engines, that eventually switching to EV's is a no brainer. But the mining requirements for transitioning to all electric vehicles seem unobtainable, and merely imagining reliable 100% renewable energy without explaining how is harmful magical thinking that doesn't seem remotely possible to achieve using currently available technology.

I forgot Ctien was a Tesla owner Fanboy!

Having made a couple of recent trips to the NYC galleries, I can tell you that in the fancy parts of Manhattan, there seem to be only two models of cars: Tesla and large Wranglers.

My wife and I have had a shared EV for 7.5 years now (no second car). We're retired low-mileage drivers living in a densely populated small island (700 miles x 400 max) off North-east Europe with a high quality electric grid and 230V electric outlets as standard.

We can refill using a normal socket outlet providing 10 Amps, 2.3 kW, which yields 9 summer driving miles per charging hour, 6 in the winter. And when the sun shines, they're free miles from our PV; when it doesn't, our provider buys in 100% renewable power. There are about 11,000 wind turbines on the island and offshore and numerous international grid connections, too. But at times our national supply can be mainly from fossil fuels, as the country is far from having enough energy storage.

But people who live in rural parts of large countries or who don't have off-road parking have a very different set of needs and constraints. I hope the pleasures of electric driving and the changing economics soon persuade them to make the change.

The battery-changing idea may be so obvious that it’s painful, but it is certinaly something the car makers have thought of, and it is certainly not practical - the battery is by FAR the most expensive part of the car and there’s no way you could take on the risk of bad or damage batteries when you drive in to exhange a $30,000 part of your car.

We got a Tesla Model 3 just before the tax rebates expired and the first thing we did with it was take a road trip through the desert, forgetting to bring the charding cable with us. That left us completely dependent on the Tesla charging stations. Learning experience in that it was just not a problem at all.

I wouldn’t even think about buying an ICE car if I were looking now. Vastly, vastly better experience with the Tesla

Oh my gosh, where to start and I'm already days behind.

As to exchangeable battery packs, as a business idea it already cratered, https://www.fastcompany.com/3028159/a-broken-place-better-place?msclkid=9e850d20a84811eca1de4622247e465a

As a tech idea on its own BTW, it's a dead end because every car works with its own battery pack, some have higher storage and charging capabilities than others.

Mother earth will frown not thank you in any event. All you're doing now and for the foreseeable future in EVs is shifting the emissions to the power plant creating the electricity for your car. It's not windmills or solar panels that create the vast majority of the country's, not to mention world's, power, it's fossil fuels. No one talks about transmission loss either. EVs are a political construct, not a technical one.

Some of the comments a bit odd. No experience of doing a ev. But you know what, even the first generation ev (Nissan Leaf) still run fine. It is generally has much less mechanical parts. And for electricity, one poser answered it well, for most driving (not long distance) as on average people drive, the solar at home reallly helped. Also future average out the electricity by using car as a storage meant the peak can be levelled out a bit help the green cause.

Dear Daniel.

No one seems to have answered your questions, so I'm gonna chime in again. The following is all the result of some pretty straightforward Google-fu so people can check numbers themselves if they want to.

"Buying for fuel cost savings? How many thousands of miles to pay for the cost difference?"

As noted in my previous email, there's not a lot of cost difference... on AVERAGE. All of this is about averages — any individual's results can vary wildly from this. Really gotta emphasize that.

If you assume no incentives, it's about a $5,000 difference. It might be zero with incentives. Let's assume not.

Looking up the AVERAGE efficiencies of modern ICE and electric cars, cost of gas, cost of electricity, blahblahblah... On AVERAGE electrics will save 12-15 cents per mile. That can vary wildly depending on your specific situation, from half that to double that. But let's go with the average, in which case the AVERAGE driver will save around $2,000 a year, which pays off that AVERAGE $5,000 difference in 2 - 1/2 years (less if there are incentives, of course).

Despite what EV drivers believe, maintenance costs don't change that a lot. For newish cars, EV's average only about three cents a mile less than ICE's.

"How is battery performance in 110 and 30 below zero temperatures?"

It's fine in hot weather. These beasts have MASSIVE thermal control systems, mostly to deal with the heat generated when you're charging them — way, way more kilowatts than pass through the system during driving, even at high speed. I've driven and charged up at 108°. No problems, although the charging rate dropped because of thermal regulation in the charging stations! You can find YouTube videos of people visiting Death Valley in their EVs when it was approaching 130°. Heat doesn't much bother electrics.

Now cold... they lose efficiency about twice as fast as an ICE. At -30 you're going to lose 50% of the mileage you did at room temperature, whereas a gas-guzzler will only drop about 25%.

"How long to recharge when on the road?"

Typical stop is half an hour. Far more relevant is how it affects your overall travel time. I used to do LOTS of cross-country road runs. Not so much anymore (I have fewer friends who are interested) but I have put 4,000 miles of serious long-distance driving on my Tesla. This is yet another case where your mileage (ahem) will differ, but I'm finding trips take me about 15% longer than they used to. That is, in the old gas-guzzling days we'd end up averaging 60-65 mph on the long-haul open road, what with all the stopping for gas, peeing, eating, etc. With the Tesla it's more 50-55 mph.

This is going to REALLY depend on how you drive. I have a friend who used to cannonball it everywhere, and he would regularly drive from Denver to the San Francisco Bay Area in one day. He thought that was normal. I think that's insane. An electric would have slowed him WAY down. At the other extreme, if you follow the advice of road travel experts, who recommended breaks every couple of hours for 10-20 minutes to stretch your legs (and who among us actually did that?!) driving my Tesla doesn't take any longer — it just kind of enforces that.

There are cases where the time differential can make a difference. If you're already at your daily limit. I'd be okay driving San Francisco to Minneapolis in three days in a gas-guzzler. The Tesla would add enough hours to that that it would push beyond my pain threshold and I'd have to make it a four day trip. That extra 15% would cross the line for me.

Final word: I'm suspicious of the Anderson study. It doesn't match up well with ANY of the academic cradle-grave studies that I've read, which all agree that an EV is a net savings, when including all costs and externalities, even with coal-fired electricity. (I don't trust any of the industry-sponsored studies on either side for obvious reasons.) Cradle-grave studies are very complicated to do, I'm not faulting anyone. But the Anderson study just doesn't seem to match up. And a few of the numbers in there that I could check are a little, well... odd.

Proceed with caution.

- pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. Dragon Dictate in training! ]
-- Ctein's Online Gallery. http://ctein.com
-- Digital Restorations. http://photo-repair.com

Ctein, you responded to my comment by telling me I am wrong and said information on the Google supports your view. I think your counterpoint is very selective. In reality, infrastructure usage and dynamics of grid from production, transmission, and distribution will when the time comes, stress all of the above. One can say that if people plug in at certain optimal times, etc. but human nature will be that the cars will get plugged in once they come home, 5 PM, and in many areas of our country, electrical grids are already sensitive to overload, and over/under balanced. We have not invested in the grid systems overly much. Look what happened in Texas.

There are counter points out there.



What you did not touch upon is the issue of emissions.
The whole emissions advantage, is not a panacea as most believe it is. Given that vast majority of electricity is from coal and gas, and many of the emerging countries shifting to EV, have very low standards of emissions controls if any while burning these fossil fuels for power.
It's not just about America and Western Europe where there is a more progressive reform for cleaner electricity. Majority of the world is not close.

Then you get into the substantial carbon footprint on battery production lifecycle

There are advantages to changing the paradigm to mix and match energy sources and density distribution across the full energy spectrum.
ICE has come a long way in efficiency and lowered emissions and will continue to do so.
My hybrid gets to 60MPG and sips gas compared to the vehemoth trucks and large SUVs.
The whole ICE vs EV is such a small differentiator compared to the change we could make if vast majority of people don't drive everywhere in trucks and SUVs that some only get 12-15MPG with overall high emissions. This alone could shift us from the greenhouse gas cliff we are facing.

I do see the short and mid term strategy to distribute ICE and EV to uniformly balance the issues make sense.
The long term plan should be to rapidly deploy other reliable and dense energy sources like Thorium reactors as one example to replace carbon reliance.

Like you said, you can believe what you want, but it's not all honey and roses it's depicted to be.

As I noted to Ctein a few years ago after he picked up his Tesla. My neighbor owned an S for several years but got rid of it after a few situations where his battery died during the middle of the night- "there isn't an extension cord long enough for me to purchase another electric vehicle."

I am a little late into this discussion...I should be more regular here. To add my two cents on EV, I have lately jumped into EV. I see several points raised above in the comments which also bothered me until I made the jump. Here are a few of these after I got used to the EV: (1) Range: the range of my EV on a full charge is about 355 miles. That's nearly, though not quite, the distance from Los Angeles to San Francisco. So you can't do that distance on one charge, but it is worth waiting three times on the way to get the battery charged for about 7, 9, and 15 min, respectively, as ABRP recommends on its route planner. I used to drive this distance without stopping in one tank of gas, about once or twice a month; but I was 15 years younger. I think it is safer and more relaxing to stop three times on the way. (2) Modular battery that can be replaced at every charge: it is an imaginative idea, but unless the battery size, safety and reliability go way up it is unlikely this will ever happen. Moreover, it will add significantly to pollution, because every charging station must have a significant number of fully charged batteries on reserve such that every customer driving in can get a fully charged battery replacement. The math is not simple, but it would increase the number of batteries used per unit time by at least 50%. But is this wating to get a charge a serious problem? I thought it was...after all, which American wants to subject oneself to enforced idleness while driving long distances? But after driving my EV for a few weeks and taking it to a 500 miles roundtrip destination, I think this is a non-issue. One just has to change the cultural expectation. It took me a few hours. (3) Weight of the car: Who wants to lift the car? I don't. On the plus side, my EV runs like a charm, I can leave a BMW 335i to the dust, and I can charge the car through a 220V outlet at home for a $150 set up cost and about $30 a month of electric bill. With gas prices hovering around $6.10 near my home in SoCal this week, it was a timely move to an EV.

I took delivery of two ev's this week. Polestar 2's. One for me and one for my partner. Combined with a household upgrade of a Tesla battery and more solar on the roof we should be paying almost nothing to run the cars and the house. Based on our driving habits (we both need to drive as part of our work) it'll be less than 5 years to break even. My current electricity providor is 100% renewable. I will be using them less. The cars cost me about the same as a regular car that I'd be likely to buy.

Because of the vast travel distances in Oz and the fact that I tow a small caravan I have kept my Landrover. I expect my fuel usage to frop 90% though. I still have a foot in both camps.

I accept that EV ownership isn't "green", really. There's still a high enviromental and climate cost in mining the resources to make a new car, especially an EV. But airborne pollution stopped at the point I collected the cars so I'm OK with that.

As an aside, one of those car based YouTube channels did a test where they drove a Hyundai electric and it's closest fuel cousin from Sydney to Melbourne. Even here, where the distances are large and EV infrastructure is small, the difference over 800kms was 40 minutes. Hardly an earth shattering difference.


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