Even 900 Miles of Range is not Enough

  • December 31, 2023

If an EV could go say 900 miles on a charge, as is supposedly in the works and just around the next corner, that would supposedly allay what is styled by those pushing EVs as “range anxiety” – the soft slur used to mock people who aren’t anxious about how not-very-far EVs can go; they just don’t want any part of such a car.

A very different thing.

The slurring is interesting in itself because it’s a variation on the argument ad hominem – the personal attack – which is the first (and last) resort of the person who has no facts or wishes to avoid dealing with them. You are “phobic” – that is, fearful – of men who dress and act like women and insist you pretend to believe they are women – as opposed to your objecting to the insisted upon malleability of objective reality.

“Range anxiety” is a softer version of the same; it is similar to “vaccine hesitancy” – both slurs implying the slurred person is timorous rather than prudent.

Anyhow, this “range anxiety” business may be ameliorated by the supposed long-range EV batteries that are (here we go, again) just around the corner. And maybe this time, they are. It will make no difference because it will not solve the problem.

The problems – plural.

Range isn’t the current problem, fundamentally. It is how long it takes to recharge an EV battery, even partially.

Range has never been a problem in the past – for vehicles powered by gas-burning engines, that is – because it takes almost no time at get more gas. Americans used to commonly drive enormous sedans and station wagons with V8 engines three times the size of the small fours in common service today. These land yachts of the ’70s often averaged less than 15 miles per gallon and on account of that – and even with a 25 gallon tankful of gas – they didn’t go appreciably farther than a typical brand-new EV does with a fully charged battery.

But you could refuel a V8 land yacht of the ’70s in five minutes or less, so its functional range was in fact much greater than the modern EV’s.

Even one with a putative 900 mile-range battery – because inevitably, that battery will need to be recharged – and it is going to take the same long time to do it that it does now.

Or longer, even.

It is true the owner of such a vehicle would not need to wait as often. But does that make a material difference? The putative 900 miles of range – and we’ll assume this is somehow not the usual, so-far case of the actual real-world driving range being 10-20 percent less than touted – would allow the owner to avoid having to stop more than once a week or even once every two weeks for a 30-minutes-or-so “fast” charge. But that’s still 30 minutes-or-so once every couple of weeks of sitting and waiting at a Sheetz or Wal Mart parking lot, something no one who owns a “gas guzzler” never has to do in the normal course of events.

The apologists will retort that you can plan around this. Precisely the problem. Well, another one of them.

It is a kind of psychosis, this apologizing for (and rationalization of) problems that we never used to have to deal with but are being pressured to accept because . . . why, again?

Oh, yes – that’s right. The “climate” is “changing.” How, precisely, is never specified. Only that is “changing” in some alarming way and on account of that, something must be done. That something not being conservation.

Rather, diminishment – a subject for another time.

So, half-an-hour or so once or twice a month or so, depending on how you plan things. Assuming you can afford one of these things. Assuming there is a sufficiency of electricity – and places to plug these things into – to recharge these things when there are a lot of these things in need of a charge.

What will it take to recharge a 900 mile battery? Probably 2-3 times as much power as it takes to recharge a current EV battery. That kind of power will not be available at home, certainly. It is doubtful it will be available anywhere else, either. Perhaps at a handful of industrial-grade facilities that have the power on tap to light up a small town. But that kind of power probably won’t be available in small towns or the ‘burbs either. That leaves the cities, where there is perhaps infrastructure to support the charging up of a 900 mile EV battery in 30 minutes or so.

But how about thousands of them, at the same time?

If you have the infrastructure – the heavy cabling, the power substations, etc. – you have the ability to convey the necessary power. But it must be produced before it can be conveyed. If there is not enough power to meet demand for it – and there isn’t –  it does not matter whether the EV can be recharged in 30 minutes, because it will not be charged at all if there is no power to charge it.

Then how long will you wait?

Maybe until the next “breakthrough,” which is surely right around the corner. . .

. . .

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