EV Opinions

This sort of not-quite misinformation, not quite telling the whole story pervade media opinion pages, and ultimately leak over to consumer-grade news reporting since reporters rarely have the time or deep understanding of an issue they report on.

Example 1: Heavy Duty Trucking

Electric Mandates Have California Truckers Charging Overtime

appeared as an op-ed in the WSJ a couple of weeks ago. The synopsis is that there’s some heavy-truck, short-haul deliveries in/out of Port of Los Angeles. These runs can’t carry as much weight as diesel powered tractors, and they (lack of existing) charging infrastructure means the process is less efficient from a cost/time basis. The conclusion the author wants the reader to draw is that EV is bad for everybody concerned: the drivers, and the general public. Just bad. No redeeming qualities.

Revealing is what’s not mentioned — that heavy diesel trucking is particularly polluting; that the Los Angeles basin has a particularly bad air quality problem; the Port of Los Angeles area has an even worse air quality problem; and that the amount of toxic air pollutants emitted from even a “dirty” power plant is a much better deal for air quality.

A more balanced reading is that EV in this instance (short-haul, heavy-diesel replacing, in a a particularly bad air quality location) is particularly well-suited, and that the better revelation is suitable charging infrastructure needs to be built-out.

Example 2

The author of this piece, Bryce Chinault of the Yankee Institute, a right/libertarian think tank.

Connecticut Hits a ‘Speed Bump’ on the Race to Mandate EVs

“Electric vehicles are heavier than regular cars and trucks… Heavier cars are more dangerous—they increase accident fatality rates”

The irony here is the right wing think tank guys were 20 or 30 years ago telling us that CAFE standards were killing us for exactly the opposite reason [1] — that in order to meet CAFE (fuel efficiency), automakers were forced to make cars lighter and thus were obviously less safe. If Chinault was really concerned about heavy/heavier vehicles & safety, he would be concerned about the 10’s of millions of “full sized” Pickups and SUVs that have been churned out over the past 30 or 40 years; and whose design (front end design and height) is particularly bad in pedestrian crashes.

What one suspects in all of this is the petroleum industry is supporting these ideas EV is bad, burning fossil fuels is good — that heavy-diesel (or any ICE) is good and not to even think about the inevitable toxic emissions. Just burn more petroleum.

Example 3: Range Anxiety & EV prices

Although range anxiety (like any anxiety) is real, is more about expectations than reality. Pricing scares are a similar issue… quoting (I assume accurate) average selling prices of ~ $60,000 for EV vs. ~ 40,000 for other. But then we have this story appearing in the moderately right-wing Washington Examiner:

‘It was very difficult’: Electric vehicle owner took 15 hours to drive 178 miles

It revolves around an anecdote where some guy took 15 hours to drive the 178 miles from Cheyenne and Casper, WY in his EV, a Nissan Leaf. I found the specifics hard to follow, but also being an owner of a Nissan Leaf I can tell you a couple of things: they cost about $30K new, they lack “fast charging” (sometimes called Level 3) infra due to Nissan’s chosen technology back in ~ 2010 (“Chademo”, vs. tesla’s NACS or the CCS). To give an example, ANY Tesla, including a base Model 3 (price something like $40K) can make that trip on a charge.. and if not, Tesla has a built-out network of fast charging infrastructure in place.

Short answer about “range anxiety”; yes, if you’re planning on road-tripping in an EV you’re going to have to do some planning compared to ICE.


[1] this is just an example, there are many: Auto Cafe Standards: Unsafe and Unwise at Any Level. Heritage Foundation. “… the 500-pound decrease in vehicle weight caused by the current CAFE standard of 27.5 mpg already has increased the number of occupant fatalities”

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