I’ve been reading a lot of stuff about electric vehicles. Been seeing an increase of commercials on TV touting them and they’re becoming quite the thing and more so when there’s a lot of focus on climate change and one of the many things we’re trying to do about this.
According to an article I just read, electric vehicles are going to be one of those landmark game-changers that will have a major impact all over the world as countries are approaching governmental mandates that must be met in the next 19-20 years. It’s going to impact jobs and many other employment sectors but the thing that has me feeling a bit uptight is where is the electricity gonna come from to charge these new vehicles?
I’ve been reading books that “feature” electric vehicles and even driverless transports; in one book, the main character was hustling to get somewhere in his electric vehicle and it was mentioned that the road surface itself used a form of inductive charging and not all that different from when I put my iPhone on its charging pad… and I thought, “Hmm… that’s interesting!” Another book I read had locals looking at the main character like he was some kind of weirdo because he was driving a car with – gasp – an internal combustion engine and the general thought was that the main character was one of monetary influence since the reliance on fossil fuels had long since gone by the wayside. Not exactly illegal but as strange as it might be to see a horse and buggy on today’s interstate highways.
One commercial was touting the features of a company’s new electric vehicle and showing someone at a charging station, all smiles; another – and with the same woman, I think – was being “shady” by accepting a gas card from her parents when, apparently, her card didn’t really need it. More hybrid than all-electric but, still. An article I read the other day was talking about the cost of “fuel” for both gas-powered engines and electric ones and, wow, the numbers say that it costs more to charge an electric car than it does a gas-powered car over a specific distance as well as pointing out a lack of commercial charging stations, the fees that might be charged to use one and, of course, what charges would be involved for residential charging stations and, apparently, there are two types of residential stations and that got my attention because one of the things I think about regarding this is that I live in an apartment complex so if I were to own an electric vehicle – and they cost more than the “average” mid-sized car – um, where the hell am I gonna plug it in? The article talking about costs also mentioned that it’s recommended that some of these new cars coming out not be charged beyond 80% of its capacity and that it could, in some situations, take up to 20 hours to recharge one of these electric puppies.
Yet another article made mention that electric vehicles have a lower “miles per gallon” rating than similarly sized gas-powered cars and, again, that you can find a gas station almost anywhere… but not commercial charging stations all that much. That same article pointed out that electric vehicles cost a lot more than the gas-powered vehicles they will be replacing. Today’s article talked about the lack of parts needed in the electric powertrain versus the gas-fueled powertrain – something like 17 parts for the electric and well over 400 for gasoline engines/transmissions. That means less servicing and probably repairs which is going to have a major impact on places that service cars and the people trained to fix them. They did say that there will continue to be a need for someone to change tires and windshield wipers, though.
Yet another article talked about the current infrastructure for electricity delivery and spoke to the grid, as it stands today, being inadequate to handle residential car charging and, yep, again, how much it might cost per kilowatt hour. I thought that stuff like this explained the premise of hybrid cars when you try to put all of this information together because having an electric car is going to help the environment a lot but could be an expensive “paperweight” if you’re not able to drive them all that much and because you can’t be sure – at this point – that you can find a charging station or have one installed where you live and like everything that runs on batteries, no electricity, no power.
Driving around here, I’ve yet to see a commercial charging station although I’d suppose that the many gas stations in the area could include them but makes me wonder what that would do to the price of using one, let alone what kind of strain it would put on our local grid that hasn’t been all that reliable; that by itself isn’t “something new” given how shitty the grid’s infrastructure has been reported to be along with rising costs per kilowatt hour just to keep the lights on in your home.
Cityman works for a concern whose focus is on sustainable clean energy like solar power as well as updating the current power delivery infrastructure and utility companies to provide that clean, sustainable energy at reasonable and affordable prices. We talk about this topic at times and where electric cars and trucks are concerned and what it’s costing people to own them and what utility companies are doing to push back against these necessary changes while doing everything they can to keep their fingers in the electric pie as homes and businesses are going all solar and removing themselves from the existing grid; why buy power from the local electric company when you can, essentially, be your own power company?
He’s very knowledgeable about this but I like to ask him about stuff from a consumer’s point of view, like, what would owning an electric car do to make my electric bill bigger than it already is. I agree with him that solar and wind power generation is the way to go and I understand that he’s looking at a much bigger picture than, as a consumer, I’d be looking at; solar and wind power ain’t gonna help much if/when electric utilities are going to charge more to provide and deliver cleaner and more sustainable power and now it comes down to that thing where having electrically powered vehicles will be good for the environment… but maybe not so much for one’s bank account.
I dunno. This is one of those things where science fiction is becoming science fact. Again, I’ve read so many books where electrically powered vehicles were the preferred method of transportation. I don’t recall authors ever really mentioning having to recharge those vehicles or anyone worrying about being low on charge. Quiet, efficient, and environmentally friendly and some even with a tiny – read microscopic – nuclear power source that makes having to put a vehicle on a charger a non-issue. I remember reading a lot of those books and thinking, yeah, that ain’t gonna happen any time soon… and now it’s happening. Not even close to the stuff I’ve been reading for decades but close enough for government work where we get away from our great reliance on fossil fuel sources and because we really do need to do this to address the climate issues. But just as I tend to do when talking about this stuff with Cityman, I wonder what it’s gonna cost and, for now, the price is pretty high… but all new technology tends to be pricey and sometimes prohibitively so.
I guess we’ll see how all of this eventually shakes out…