One of the many problems with electric cars is that places to “refuel” them are neither convenient nor common. You can plug in at home, but that’s slow (it takes hours to resurrect a wilted battery this way) and it means you are at home. Not somewhere else. A car is supposed to take you to other places — not be umbilically tied to an outlet in your garage.
There are “fast” chargers (the rent-seeking King of Crony Capitalism, Elon Musk, calls them “Superchargers”) that can partially juice up a battery in just six or seven times the time it takes to fill up a normal IC-engined car’s gas tank (30-45 minutes vs. less than 5 minutes) but these are mostly hypothetical because very expensive.
If there were money in it, some entrepreneur would erect Fast Chargers all over the country. This happens routinely with gas stations, which earn their proprietors money. Hence the incentive to build the station.
But electric recharging stations? There’s no money in them.
Which is why government builds them. With your money and mine, taken not freely.
The Obama Administration in December decreed that it will funnel extorted taxpayer dollars to pay for a grid of electric vehicle charging stations on 25,000 miles of highways in 35 states.
Long before that, Obama decreed that “1 million” electric cars must be on the road by 2015.
Whoops, it’s almost 2017 and that “goal” (his word) hasn’t been reached. A fraction of it has–even with massive federal and state “incentives” amounting to billions of dollars, also not taken freely.
So now, more billions must be devoted to charging stations for electric Turduckens like the Tesla–the fire-prone/crash-prone $70,000 (to start) crony capitalist conveyance purveyed by Musk–and other such like the $36,000 Chevy Bolt (successor to the very badly failed Spark EV).
“By working together across the Federal government and with the private sector, we can ensure that electric vehicle drivers have access to charging stations at home, at work, and on the road – creating a new way of thinking about transportation that will drive America forward. Today’s announcements demonstrate a continued partnership between the Administration, states, localities, and the private sector to achieve these shared goals…”
Note the bolded words, “Working together”? Can any of us decline? Or is there a bayonet prodding our backsides? “Shared goals.” Really?
I don’t recall…Never mind.
Atlanta will install 300 EV charging stations by the end of next year. Los Angeles will add another 500 (and — hilariously — will replace 200 IC-engined cop cars with electric units; a small but nonetheless bit of good news for us as it will now be easier to get away from the armed government workers).
And of course, the car companies — which spoon with Uncle — have bought in. Literally. Like Musk, they know there is more money to be taken (as opposed to honestly earned) by “partnering” with Uncle than by offering products and services people are free to buy on the merits…but which they are also free to not buy, if they lack merit.
Thus, GM–in particular–has agreed to “work together” with the government to “jump start” the electric car thing.
BMW has also bought in. Nissan, too.
I am slightly sympathetic. Because they almost have to. The German companies especially.
In Europe, there are already internal combustion No Go zones — areas where only electric cars (or hybrids capable of running entirely on their batteries) may tread. In Germany, there is a serious plan to ban IC engines altogether by 2030 — which isn’t that far away from today.
And here in Amerika, it is clear that the same anti-car (anti-IC car) animus is likely to impose similar such hobbles on any car that is not an electric car.
Because it is the only way they can get people to buy them.
That is, by forcing them out of IC-engined cars.
Lord knows they have tried every other way. See massive “incentives.”
But these notwithstanding, electric cars still cost too much, don’t travel far enough and take too much time (and hassle) to recharge.
So not many people buy them.
Hence the new push for massive federal (and state) subsidization of EV charging stations. The idea being these will somehow remedy the functional gimps mentioned above.
This is flapdoodle of the highest kind.
Consider just one problem though:
Imagine an EV charging station that has say six “pumps” — analogous to a typical service station where gas is sold. Imagine each EV hooked up for 30-45 minutes.
Imagine the lines.
Keep in mind, too, that the 30-45 minutes does not fully recharge the EV. Which under the best case scenario has a range on a full charge of maybe 200 miles, or about half the range of almost any current IC-engined car, which car can be refueled in 5 minutes or less and once fueled can go another 400 miles (or more) under any conditions.
That 30-45 minute hook-up gives you (typically) about half to three-quarters a charge. You will need to stop again.
For another 30-45 minutes.
People accuse me of “bashing” electric cars, of being an “anti.” But these are facts, which–as John Adams noted–are stubborn things.
There is a reason why electric cars haven’t been able to compete with gas-engined cars. The hagiographic (and mechanically illiterate) automotive press either covers this up or is too addled to grok it. Perhaps because so many of them are City Boys who drive rarely and never far–circumstances for which an EV may be ideally suited. Many of them are also rather well-off and do not relate at all to the concerns the average person has about buying a $60,000 EV (or even a $30,000 EV) that is functionally inferior to a $5,000 2003 Corolla.
But the bottom line is the Emperor has no clothes.
Maybe one of these days, someone will notice this.