Thoughts on EVs? Love em or hate em?

EVs are a bit of a controversial topic. Their environmental benefits post-assembly and manufacturing are tremendous. But, how about the manufacturing price? 

Are they worth the cost? It's a great first step to moving to an "electrified" everything household.

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  • Questions to ask such that reasonable answers can be made:

    1) Where do you live,  urban or rural areas?  Distance from town?

    2) How much do you drive each day?  Each week?

    3) Are there lots of suitable charging stations available in your area along your route?

    4) Do you need to travel long distances (>300 miles) on trips frequently?   Trips over 700 miles?

    5) Is your house electric service sized and capable of an electric vehicle charger?

    6) How will the money necessary for road improvements and highways that are now collected via gas taxes be collected for the  EVs?  Will the process require GPS tracking of your car?

    7) Climate zone?  Very hot?   Very cold?  Both extremes will pretty much reduce the range of the battery BECAUSE some of the battery energy will be used to keep the battery in the acceptable range for its operation.

    8) How long can you wait for charges between uses?  15 minutes?  2 hours?  8 hours?  Overnight?  Next day?

    9) Can you walk or take public transportation instead?  If so the EV is often looked at as an accessory not necessity and it changes the priority on the vehicle.

  • Gasoline and diesel, which are refined from crude oil, drive the world’s transportation system, including most cars and trucks. The price of crude oil does not operate in accordance with free market supply and demand. Supply is directly controlled, and demand is manipulated. The top three crude oil producing countries are ( The U.S. first, under Donald Trump, with Saudi Arabia, under the ruthless Mohammed bin Salman, in 2nd place followed closely by Russia, under dictator Vladimir Putin. As a group these three countries control the availability and price of crude oil. Like it or not, your ability to economically get around in your gasoline or diesel-powered vehicles is in the hands of these three guys.

    In addition to being controlled by a handful of countries and men, the flow of oil is centralized and easily disrupted by war. A major new war in the Middle East will send the price of oil 2 or 3 times higher than it is today. Oil is not a stable foundation for the world’s economy. The US is not crude oil independent, despite President Trump’s claims ( We remain an importer of crude oil and refined products, and as such are exposed to extreme price swings and supply interruptions caused by geopolitical events.

    There is an alternative to crude oil that has none of these vulnerabilities. Electricity. Unlike crude oil, the price of electricity cannot be controlled by a handful of countries and is immune to war in the Middle East. Right now, today, you can generate all the power you need on your roof for both your house and your electric car or truck. Even the big power plants, like the ones operated by Xcel and other utility companies, are fueled by locally produced fuels, are operated by local people, and have no exposure to events in far off lands.

    The conversion to electric transportation will dramatically and permanently alter the geopolitical power structure by taking economic power and control out of the hands of tyrants in the Middle East and Russia whose economies are highly dependent on exports of oil and gas. As long as we fuel our cars and trucks with the ancient remains of dead dinosaurs, we will continue to defend the flow of oil in far off lands at the expense of our national blood, treasure and better moral values. Would we be on the verge of a new war in the Middle East if Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia had no crude oil? Absolutely not! We would have zero troops there.

    The post-apocalyptic Mad Max vehicles won’t be big gasoline and diesel machines, they will be electric machines (think Tesla Cybertruck). You can make electricity at home. You can’t make gasoline. Diesel maybe, but not gasoline. The technology to make your own electric ‘fuel’ is here now.

    Electric transportation returns economic power to you, strengthens democracy and reduces American adventurism abroad. Coincidentally, it also reduces air pollution at nose level in cities where EVs are used and thus increases health and life expectancy. The future is electric.

    What countries are the top producers and consumers of oil? - FAQ - U.S. Energy Information Administ…
    Energy Information Administration - EIA - Official Energy Statistics from the U.S. Government
  • I'm on EV's #3 and 4. (Bolt and Tesla)

    Never going back. They are simply better. 

    Off brand EV's not great for long distance, or even regional just yet, but that should sort itself in a year or two. 

    If you get an ICE vehicle, lease. There is going to be a residual issue when you go to sell or trade in if you buy. Soon people simply won't want gasoline cars. 

  • Love my Bolt. I can do 99.9% of my driving with it. This includes Vermont's winter. Range is no longer an issue - exception travelling/vacations.

    The winter kills the overall efficiency. On the coldest of days I don't do better than a 30mpg gasser in terms of $/mi. So in the winter I might as well have a hybrid.

    On a 40k mile average its equivalent to $/mi of 55mpg ($2.65/gal and $.178/kwh)… so I might as well have a hybrid … except when it comes to climate impact. On a cleanish grid it comes out ahead. In any climate remotely warmer than Vermont it will fair much, much better.

    My next car will be a plug-in hybrid, hopefully with a good 60mi electric range and possibly all electric drive with gas generator (like the Volt)… and hopefully big enough for the growing kids and vacations!

    • Interesting. Has anyone heard of the reverse? In extremely hot weather, how does an EV fare. I'm in Phoenix and know that our solar panels lose some efficacy over 105 degrees; so what about EV's and constant AC usage and the heat?  

      • Before we purchased our 2015 Leaf, I did a lot of free research on sites like which is largely an owners' forum and other sites.  You'll enjoy a large volume of helpful feedback from drivers in many different climates.  Short story is that high temperatures can lower battery performance.  There may be sites dedicated to the brand of EV you are considering, but there are a lot of Leaf owners.  The national EERE site might be helpful as well:

        Our experience is that running the AC continuously does not reduce mileage more than 10-15% of maximum range.

  • We have a '19 Leaf and a '13 Prius v. When the Prius is laid to rest we will replace both with Tesla products. These will be our last car purchases before retirement. The House will have PV installed this summer and will be 'off-grid capable' but, grid tied with a battery bank (net-positive energy is the goal). Being independent/responsible for our own energy production is very important to us. (We'll also do the same for water & waste)

    So, is it worth the cost? I'd say for us it is! 

  • Love mine. 

    Admittedly, I'm a climate nerd. I love the fact I can power mine on 100% renewable electricity and get around nearly emission-free (I drive a Volt so there are still instances where I consume some gas). 

    But I also like the fact I'm not contributing to local pollution. I take my kid to the bus stop, and as the bus pulls away and the diesel exhaust billows out I nearly choke on the smell. I don't like to think of how much of that exhaust kids breathe in, and how it might affect their health. Considering that transport pollution affects kids' cognitive development and they've even found black carbon in utero, reducing pollution should be a significant focus to improve kids' health. 

    Plus, they're tons of fun to drive. Even my Volt has a really fun 'sport' mode, and it doesn't even compare to Tesla's 0-60. If you love driving, you've got to try an EV. 

    Association of traffic-related air pollution with cognitive development in children. - PubMed - NC…
    J Epidemiol Community Health. 2010 Mar;64(3):223-8. doi: 10.1136/jech.2008.084574. Epub 2009 Aug 13. Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • EVs appear to be part of the "electrify everything" future we need, but they are not the panacea that many boosters claim.

    We bought a lightly-used Nissan Leaf in January, 2018 when it came off its 3-year lease.  Apparently, purchasing a Leaf at the end of the lease doesn't give the lessee a great deal.  I'm assuming that Nissan wants Leaf-lovers to purchase a new Leaf instead of keeping their old one.   In Portland, it is easy to find used Leafs at decent prices.

    Here in Portland, Oregon, that makes an affordable used market.  Our Leaf had only 14,000 miles.  We thought it was a great deal for $13,500 since the warranty (including the battery) went for another 3 years.  We even have Platt Auto Group that sells only EVs:

    After two years, we love the low maintenance, nimble handling, and awesome acceleration.  We charge at home with the slow AC charger that comes free with the car.  We elected 100% renewably-generated electricity (additional 2 cents per kWh), but even so, at our average of 5 miles per kWh, power is lower cost than oil.

    And we've enjoyed a few longer trips (e.g., 80 miles to the Coast) using public chargers and the few free chargers still available if you look hard.  It's a leisurely way to travel.  Fortunately, a lot of fast chargers are near restaurants, so we eat while the car eats.

    We don't mind a bit of range anxiety since it brings us down to earth.  Americans take cheap, long-distance travel almost for granted.  Just over 100 years ago, many people didn't travel more than 8-10 miles to a local town or city once per week or so.  This is still true in much of the world.  So, we don't mind being reminded that traveling in this car is quite a gift compared to walking, donkey or pony cart, or bike.

    I expect the tremendous energy and emissions embodied in an EV may shrink in time with greener grids and supply chains, but that is probably offset by larger battery packs and vehicles.  Most people are not going to be content with the 24 kWh battery in our Leaf.  And I suspect we might not as the charging capacity declines with age.  We still have 100-mile range in summer and 80-mile range in cool, wet weather.  However, if we get only 70-80% of that with a degraded (old) battery, our travels are constrained.

    And Jevon's Paradox also eats part of our emission reduction.  Now that we are just burning Watts, we drive more often than in our pre-Leaf days.  

    With huge embodied energy and emissions in manufacture, EVs are not the "Zero Emission Vehicle" that Nissan claims on the doors and back panel of our Leaf.  

    Still, in our market, a small EV seems a slight improvement.  It is the best we can do until we can ditch our car.  

    I doubt it is a global solution.  Cars for even half of the 7B people on earth take too much resources including parking and road space.  However, EVs are likely more suitable candidates for car sharing programs since there is a lot less to damage on these cars with less lubricated needed and only two gears.

    HOME - Platt Auto Group Inc
  • I attended a seminar this past week by Dr Paul Hirt, ASU.  He is a wealth of information on energy, and added his own experiences with his Tesla.  The new Tesla's coming soon will drive up to 500 miles; battery will last a million miles; charging is super cheap with Tesla chargers around town and soon to be a lot more of them; you can use the apps to find charging stations that will charge up to 80% in 30 minutes.  He says that if you charge at night, your cost is a LOT less, depending on your rate plan.  He charges at night at 5 cents, vs. 12-16 during the day. Costs are coming down and cars are driving farther.  What's not to love.  

    Of course not every vehicle is a Tesla, but within 5 years every car maker will offer an EV ;) 

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