The Electric Cars Which Might Have Been

Mandates and subsidies have not only distorted the market for electric cars, they’ve distorted the design of electric cars.

Instead of being designed to emphasize their natural strengths vs. IC-engined cars – which we’ll get into shortly – they’ve been offered up as cost-no-object economic and functional absurdities whose limitations and failings everyone is supposed to pretend don’t exist or accept for reasons of political/environmental correctness.

They cost too much, don’t go far enough and take too long to get going again. They tout quickness, sexiness, style and tech – all of which makes them expensive and impractical for most people, who are just looking to get from A to B with as little hassle and expense as possible.

Teslas being the worst example but the criticism applies pretty much across the board. The electric cars currently on the market make about as much sense for most people as a 4×4 truck you can’t take out in the snow.

But what if the mandates and subsidies didn’t exist? What kinds of electric cars might the market have called forth?

For one thing, electric car design would probably cease its focus on trying to do the same things as non-electric cars, because electric cars can’t compete with non-electric cars on those grounds.

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For example, being highway/road trip cars.

Even though the range of electric cars has improved, it’s still far less than the range of the average non-electric car. The longest-legged EVs have less range on a full charge than the gas-hungriest V8 muscle car – and the gas-hungry muscle car has the enormous advantage of being able to refill its gas tank in about five minutes while the electric car might be able to recharge to about 80 percent of its range in about 45 minutes – if it can be plugged in to a high-voltage (240V-plus) “fast” charger.

If only household 120V outlets are available, then it’ll take several hours – but at least you can charge to 100 percent this way. (Battery chemistry limits how much charge a battery pack can take from a 240V “fast” charger; to avoid damaging the battery pack, the limit on a “fast” charger – effectively reducing the vehicle’s range even more . . . unless you stop for hours to slow charge.)

So, it’s fundamentally stupid for electric cars to try to be highway/sustained high speed driving/ road trip cars. They are too limited – and it’s too much hassle.

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