Maybe you remember Disco Fever.
Mid-70s, United States. For no apparent reason, suddenly everyone seemed to be singing in a high-pitched falsetto voice and wearing skin-tight lycra with open collared shirts displaying chest hair and gold medallions.
It was fun for awhile but got old fast.
Electric Car Fever is now upon us. Laws are being passed – the Brits being the latest – mandating the production of electric cars by outlawing the production of cars powered by internal combustion.
This will get old fast, too.
King Canute could decree that the tide not come back – and politicians can decree that we’ll all be driving electric cars by “x” year, not too far from now. But wishing – and decreeing – can’t overcome reality. It can just make things really expensive and difficult for us.
One reality almost no one seems willing to talk plainly about is the fact that hundreds of thousands of electric cars queuing up to spend 30-45 minutes each at a recharging port is as ludicrous in concept as waiting that long at McDonald’s to get a burger. Especially when there is a Wendy’s across the street that’ll get a burger in your hands and you back on the road in less than 5 minutes.
Most people will never accept this. Would youaccept waiting 30-45 minutes (absolute best-case scenario, if a “fast” charger is available) to put a partial charge back into your EV? Were you aware that at the high-voltage “fast” chargers, due to the nature of the thing (and for the sake of battery life) you cannot put more than 80 percent charge back into the thing?
So, whatever the advertised best-case range of the car is, subtract 20 percent.
That puts even the longest-ranged of them in the same class as the fiercest-guzzling IC-engined SUV. Maybe 200 miles or so. But the fierce-guzzling SUV can be refueled to 100 percent in 5 minutes.
Which would you prefer to take on a road trip? One where there might not be a “fast” charger available when you run out of juice. What then?
Then, you spend overnight wherever you happen to be.
Electric car freaks peddle a Disney-esque fantasy to counter this objection. They envision everyone plugging in at home, overnight – or at work, while they work. The problem with this idea is the ant-like uniformity of use it assumes. Everyone going to work – and back home – at pretty much the same time.
A middling-bright eight-year-old would be raising his hand about now.
American driving patterns are scattershot. People are individuals and have individually variable schedules. They work odd hours. Part-time. They need to go Here – and then There.
On the spur of the moment, not planned in advance.