Electric cars will eventually get us nowhere
By Dr. Jay Lehr
One of the most hyped innovations of our life time is today’s electric vehicle. While our federal government and the state of California think the internal combustion engine will soon end in the dustbin of history, it just ain’t so. It will never happen for many obvious reasons that governments are blind to.
The most obvious one is that their expense will not allow the average American to own one. The alternative will always be significantly cheaper and will transport you much farther.
EVs can never be produced in the numbers the government wants because of a lack of necessary rare earth minerals held hostage in China.
Availability of charging stations will not ever be adequate. The time required to recharge on a long trip will make you cancel the long trip.
The cost of a battery replacement will be a turn off. Okay maybe these are not so obvious to the general consumer. But here are the even less obvious deterrents. If on completion of these reasons for electric misery you remain a big fan write me and explain why. I will then write another article explaining your point of view.
Let’s first get Elon Musk and Tesla out of the way. While in the past year he did make many cars in the $40k range and hopes to keep expanding those numbers, Tesla will likely remain a car for the affluent. Their eye catching models still check in around $100k. He will always be successful because he really is the smartest person in the room. He is now vastly rich because so many people know that and buy Tesla stock at nonsensical values.
BIDEN AND NEWSOME
The President of the US and the Governor of California are demanding only electric cars in the nation and their state. For all the reasons you will soon read, that can not happen, but fear not they will be long gone and replaced by more reasonable folks long before the years of their directives come to pass.
The Laurence Livermore Laboratory of the US Department of Energy states that the current electrical generation capacity of America is 11.4 trillion kilowatt-hours. The energy used for transportation today is equivalent to 8.5 trillion kilowatt-hours of which only an infinitesimal amount is already electric. Where would the additional power come from were all cars to be electric. The same governments in charge plan for no more energy from oil, natural gas, coal or nuclear. Where will the cars get their energy. The obvious answer for all liberals is wind and solar which currently produce a mere .7 trillion kilowatt hours of electricity. Where and how will we build enough solar and wind installations to keep us all driving EVs. We have neither the economic resources nor land area to even consider this.
Just as golf carts may be fun and legal to run around your neighborhood if you are inclined, so are electric cars. However, few want to plan a long trip in one, but let’s try. We will go first class in a Tesla on a trip of 270 miles which only a Tesla can now do on a single charge. It will take us 4.5 hours to drive 270 miles and about 6.5 hours to recharge the battery unless you can find the rare supercharging station. If you can not, you have brought your average trip speed. including charging time, down to under 25mph.
Unless you have planned adequately you can be driving with what is called range anxiety. But still they are great in the neighborhood, but definitely cost more than a golf cart.
MILES PER GALLON
The term mph is disappearing as an advantage when buying an EV. The reason is that in order to increase the range of the EVs a great deal of extra weight in batteries has had to be added. That has canceled the claim of yielding less Carbon Dioxide. Less carbon emissions remain the primary selling point for them. The production of these batteries generates great amounts of CO2. (But don’t tell anyone that CO2 is actually wonderful as it is greening our world).
On top of that every one assumes the energy that flows from the wall or recharging station is free. In fact, back at the power station someone is burning a lot of coal or natural gas to create it. Perhaps your electric car should more accurately be called a coal or natural gas car. Oh yes, the tax on your gasoline to keep our roads maintained will soon be replaced by a special tax on your electric vehicle registration, and well it should be.
The nature of batteries is that they yield less energy in cold climates. EV owners will all learn this soon enough. Advertised ranges on a fully charged battery will not be achieved. The shortfall will be significant.
THE CALIFORNIA JOKE
California plans to have 25 million EVs in the not too distant future. It already has 50% of the nation’s EVs. The utility companies have thus far had little to say about the alarming cost projections or the certain increased rates that 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.
In order to match the 2000 cars that a typical filling station can service in a busy 12 hours, the 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.
The 49 states not named California have the other 50% of EVs, an average of one per cent each. It would appear that those states understand the problems California faces.
USED CAR MARKET
The average used EV will need a new battery 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 cost $10,000 so there will not be many 12 year old EVs on the road. Out side of Paris there is huge vacant lot filled with hundreds of electric cars previously used by the city government of Paris. At this point a replacement battery is worth more than the used car. No landfill or disposal site will allow the batteries to be disposed of there. So these green fairy tale electric cars are all just sitting in vacant lots while their batteries drain toxins into the ground.
EVs PER BLOCK IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD
A home charging system for a Tesla requires 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 a ounce while the Tesla battery weighs 1000 pounds.
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. Surely not what President Biden or Governor Newsome are planning for.
CFACT Senior Science Analyst Jay Lehr has authored more than 1,000 magazine and journal articles and 36 books. Jay’s new book A Hitchhikers Journey Through Climate Change written with Teri Ciccone is now available on Kindle and Amazon.