Electric Vehicles, Yes or No?

Electric vehicles, a huge topic world wide in society, have created so much discussion. Some people think electric videos are not sustainable, but some believe they are the future of cars and traveling. I love cars, and I love the sounds of engines, and seeing most of the car manufacturers starting to move towards electric vehicles, this made me wonder why we are truly going towards electric. I am not against electric vehicles, but I think there are a couple of problems that we need to solve before it can truly be the megatrend, and to be widely accepted.
First problem is accessibility, meaning how electric cars can be as accessible as cars using gasoline or diesel. I do think electric vehicles are cheaper to maintain than normal vehicles, since the price of electricity is cheaper and more sustainable. But the issue is simple for me, I do not think electric vehicles are capable of going on long ranged trips. Normal cars can stop for gas when out of fuel and keep on going, but charging takes time and its fast charge generates a huge amount of heat that may be a safety concern. According to Kelly Blue Book, the fastest charging EV is the Lucid Air, which could have 20 miles per minute of charging. But compared to normal cars, 10 minutes in the gas station could generate around 400 miles in range, which in comparison, EVs can’t even do half of this. Charging pulls are also not widespread in the United States. People have no issue with electric vehicles in the city, but the number of charging stations in rural areas in the United States is simply not enough. Some may say that instant battery replacements could solve the problem. Yes this could, but this would only be applicable in larger cities because it would require labors, charging hubs, and car lifts. A car brand called NIO in China already introduced such a way of charging their EVs, and they have an average changing time of 15 mins, but the average wait time for the battery change is 3 hours, because of the popularity and the lack of implemented locations.
Second is the functionality of electric vehicles. Including the amount of heat batteries would generate, the functionality in the winter weather, and how electric vehicles function on bad road conditions. Fast charging is a very important development in the industry, but we all know from charging at a fast pace that it will generate a lot of heat. Electric vehicles with a hot battery could be a safety concern, and there have been multiple news of electric vehicles that caught on fire due to battery issues. During Christmas this year, I went on a trip to Colorado, and I encountered some severe winter weather in the mountains. Along with traffic, I saw a lot of Teslas being left at the side of the road either because of low battery or no traction on their tires. One other issue is the compatibility with severe weather, especially in the winter. Unlike engine powered cars, electric vehicles do not have a stable heat source on the car. This means that it will need another form of heat generation, which in winter could take longer and be less user friendly.
The third problem is the amount of power and torque that EVs can obtain sustainably. Electric vehicles are capable of generating a huge amount of power and speed, but cars and vehicles are also widely used in work. For example, agriculture is a huge part of the United States economy, the use of tractors and utility vehicles are widespread. If all vehicles are replaced by electrical power, how long and how sustainable could those electric tractors be?
Coming from a different background, growing up in China, I have seen electric vehicles appearing around me as early as in the early 2000s. During the time of the 2010 world expo, in order to have a clearer environment, the chinese government decided to introduce and enforce a lot of eco friendly decisions, including electrical vehicles and electrical public transportations. And I remember seeing electric buses that have a connector on the roof to provide electricity for them on the streets in Shanghai when I was little. I do not think electric vehicles are ready to be the main way of our daily transportation. But I do think it has a bright future and we should work towards implementing such ideas. I think the existence of engine powered vehicles are also important to have. I think as of right now, hybrid cars could be a great way to transition, and banning gas powered vehicles is not a good idea and is not something that would be accepted by the general public smoothly.

Tucker, S. (2022, March 10). 5 fastest-charging electric cars - kelley blue book. 5 Fastest-Charging Electric Cars. Retrieved January 23, 2023, from 5 Fastest-Charging Electric Cars - Kelley Blue Book
The US doesn’t have enough EV charging stations. BRINK. (2022, July 4). Retrieved January 22, 2023, from The US Doesn’t Have Enough EV Charging Stations – BRINK – Conversations and Insights on Global Business

welcome @probablyandy. Electric vehicle propaganda, both pro and con, has already been discussed ad-nauseam. Please use the search function.

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Welcome @probablyandy to the site.
As PvtPublic noted, there have been lots of good discussions on this topic.

However, EV development and use is a field where the issues and opportunities are changing almost daily. We’ll never move forward unless we learn from each other.

When I read your opening post, it’s clear you’ve given this a lot of thought, and your upbringing in China sheds some thoughts that I hadn’t considered. Thanks for providing them.

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I brought this possibility up many years ago. I see it like the Blue Rhino model for propane tanks. The car and battery needs to be designed for this purpose. However, the biggest issue is the necessary size of the pack with current battery technology. This causes it to be more integrated into the mechanical packaging of the car and harder to swap out. I expect battery technology will soon eliminate this potential solution as charging times are reduced or other innovative ways of charging on the fly become available.

We are heading toward it. I’m not ready to buy one yet. Battery technology is changing almost daily. As I’ve said in this forum before, I personally know of at least 4 startups in the Boston area that’s working on new types of batteries for cars. And that’s just Boston. I’m sure there are dozens more throughout the US. And probably hundreds more worldwide.

Maybe my kids will eventually own one.

I’m not adverse to it. Charge at home would be a nice feature so I don’t have to get out of car when temps are -10 or 95 to fill up. Less maintenance (oil changes, engine repairs). Brakes should last longer due to regenerative braking.

I could not make it through that wall of text . Maybe some one will make a Cliff’s Note version.

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You described the situation well!

EVs are good for low speed city traffic. The pollution issue matters most in cities. The low speed stop and go traffic provides the greatest efficiency advantage compared to gasoline and diesel powered vehicles. Charging stations are available everywhere, and they are usable since the driver can be in a store doing something while charging.

City: Potentially yes.
There are still issues with US EVs not making replacement battery packs available, many cars not being available with longer lasting LiFePO4 batteries, and cheaper lead acid not being available. I mean, if you hardly drive, do you want to have a $10,000 lithium battery pack degrade in summer heat over the years? If you only want to drive 40 miles in a day (I think it’s 1/3 or 1/4 the range of lithium), then get the cheap lead acid battery option. Lead acid can be recycled, but lithium currently can not be.

On highway trips full EVs just don’t make any sense. Especially in the winter. You can get delayed due to weather and run out of heat. Battery powered heat is wasteful compared to a fuel burning alternative. Even a 10 HP gasoline engine generator with a 5 gallon fuel tank would make a world of difference. It would be less than 250 pounds added weight. It should be available as an option that bolts in to the frunk or trunk on EVs. Just start the engine and all the winter driving issues go away. You just got 250 miles more range. If you get stuck in traffic you can recharge. A pure EV doesn’t even make much sense economically when compared to a car that uses 1/35th of a gallon of gasoline per mile, or a hybrid that uses 1/45th. At $3.50 per gallon, That’s only 10 cents and 7.7 cents per mile respectively. An EV is roughly 0.3kW-hr per mile. With electricty at 15 cents that comes to 4.5 cents per mile. With the cost of the battery this doubles to 9 cents per mile. Now it actually costs MORE to drive than a gasoline hybrid. Actually it is probably a little more than double, so it likely isn’t even cheaper to drive an EV on the highway compared to the car that uses 1/35th of a gallon per mile.

Highway trips in a pure EV: No! It is actually more expensive that a good hybrid car that burns gasoline. In the winter it’s even worse!

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No. I don’t want an ev. But, I don’t speak for others.

That’s a totally understandable view for “today”.

Would your position change if EV ranges doubled or tripled? And charging times plummeted?

With so many companies investing heavily in advancing EV technology, things are only going to get better.

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I don’t care for Chinese batteries

Huh???

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How do you think we understand global warming? Remote sensing from space shows extraordinary melting of ice and snow over several decades. We get images of the same spots on Earth every day and get not just visible images but temperature images. These images cover the entire globe, not just populated areas but extremely remote areas that we wouldn’t know about withou satellite imaging. EVs are just coming to market. Look at the differences in vehicles from the early 1900s to today, huge improvements in every area of ICE vehicles. We can expect to see huge improvements in EVs in the coming decades too. Gotta start somewhere.

I have a question? What percentage of fires in today’s vehicles with internal combustion engines is caused by an electrical problem as opposed to a fuel problem?
I haven’t heard of electrical fires in the Toyota hybrids, but one Chevrolet EV seemed to have had its share of electrical fires.
I am not opposed to EVs. In fact, I would like to have one to see what it would be like.

That is an excellent example of the value of continued investment in space-oriented scientific studies, but you and I are both assuming that there aren’t deniers of the reality of global climate change.

That is another excellent point, but there are those who seem to oppose any advancements in technology, on the basis of their… theory… that everything that new is actually a step backwards in terms of reliability, or safety, or… whatever.

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Here is an article that–IMHO–is quite objective and even-handed in the way that it discusses the advantages of EVs, as well as some of their current disadvantages:

Our next vehicle will probably be electric, 7 to 10 years from now. Electric Taxi in 1943! WHAT? - YouTube

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That doesn’t make any sense to me. Electric heat is the most efficient heat there is, 100% of the power applied is turned into heat. It may not be the cheapest but is definitely the most efficient. A gasoline engine is very wasteful by comparison. A lot of wasted heat just goes into the atmosphere and only a fraction of total heat generated goes into the passenger cabin via the heat exchanger. Perhaps you can clarify?

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Then why to very few homes use electric resistive heating? Natural gas, propane, and even diesel (fuel oil) is cheaper! That’s not even considering the cost to store the energy in batteries, which at least doubles the cost of the electricity.

With a gasoline engine you have a lot of waste heat to use for free. Sure electric heating is 100% efficient, but the electricity cost is expensive. A fuel burning furnace may be only 80% efficient, but the cost of the fuel is a small fraction of what the electricity costs.

I have the opportunity to generate my own electricity for my home and our vehicles. I don’t have any way of creating my own gas or propane or fuel oil to heat my home and charge the batteries in an EV.

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I think that is the case for EVs too in that discharging releases heat. Some EVs have cooling systems to overcome the release of heat.