What We’re About to Lose

  • July 17, 2023

When you can walk, it’s easy to take for granted being able to. But when you no longer can, even walking the handful of yards down to the mailbox and back might as well be a transcontinental trek.

We have taken much for granted with regard to driving – including the ease of being able to do it again and whenever we like.

Whenever we need to. Even if we did not plan for it ahead of time.

This was brought home to me the other day when I realized I’d forgotten to gas up the ’23 Dodge Challenger Black Ghost before I parked it for the night the evening prior. There was not enough gas left in its tank to make it very far, particularly given the appetite of the 807 horsepower supercharged V8 engine under the hood.

But, no problem – as I had gas in the shed.

In a jiffy – that is, less than five minutes – I poured five gallons of liquid energy into the Challenger. Enough liquid energy to get even this car – with its very hungry supercharged V8 engine – about 100 miles down the road. If it had been just about any other car – one with say half the appetite of the Black Ghost – those five gallons of liquid energy would have been enough to impart almost as much range as the typical EV has when fully charged.

Remarkable.

Particularly when contrasted with how a similar situation would elaborate with an energy hog EV I’d run close to “empty” – and forgotten to plug in overnight. How long does it take to “pour” the electrical energy equivalent of five gallons of gasoline into an EV at home?

At least a few hours.

That’s best-case, using what is styled a “Level II” charging apparatus. All that means is you’ve had an electrician come out to your place and paid him to wire up a dedicated 240 volt circuit to “double up” the power that can be transmitted to your appliance via a standard 115-120V household outlet. This reduces the time it takes to fully recharge the typical high-voltage battery-powered appliance to 8-11 hours rather than twice as long as that on the standard household outlet.

Assuming you have a house.

If not, you will have to use a public charger. But that requires enough range to make it there – as well as the time to wait there.

What if you haven’t got either?

An interesting thing – one of them – about this EV business is the unspoken presumption of being able to recharge it at home. This assumes the EV owner is a homeowner. Probably because it is assumed that anyone who can afford to spend the $50,000-plus the typical EV sells for already owns a home. And also that he earns enough money to pay enough in taxes to be eligible for the “tax credit” that helps reduce the cost-to-buy of the $50,000-plus Elitist Vehicle.

But what about those who live in an apartment – because they’re not yet able to afford to buy a home? (And who pay full price for the EV – assuming they’re able – because they didn’t earn enough to qualify for the “tax credit” their more affluent, home-owning EV owners used the government to help them pay for?)   

They generally park on the street – or in a parking lot outside the building – where there isn’t even a “Level 1” (that is, household 115/120V) outlet to plug into overnight. There may be some “Level II” or even “Level III” so-called “fast” chargers sprinkled around. But not a sufficiency for everyone to plug in at the same time.

Or probably even a fourth of them.

The rest will have to wait their turn.

Given that each “turn” takes at least 15-30 minutes – at the “Level III” charger – that wait could take hours. As opposed to the less than five minutes it took me to pour five gallons of gas – and 100 miles of range – from a jug into the Challenger.

It’s more than just that, too.

What if the power is out at home? Then you won’t be able to charge at home – even if you do own one. Which means that if you need to get somewhere – or get away from there – you won’t be able to. But it’s no problem to get going – even when the power’s out – if you have a jug of gas out in the shed, as I did.

And don’t have an EV.

Even if the jug’s empty. Because it’s easy enough to fill it. All you need is a friend who’ll drive you down the road to the gas station.

Assuming, of course, your friend doesn’t drive an EV.

. . .

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