By on November 19, 2019

If you hop around this country on a semi-regular basis, you’ve likely noticed that California seems better equipped to endure the onslaught of electric vehicles poised to reshape our society. For all the complaints about the state’s managerial issues and a homelessness situation that’s spinning wildly out of control, it’s one of the few places you can regularly encounter EV charging stations without actively looking.

It’s also an area you see them frequently in use. Many states still harbor large distances between charge points that don’t see a lot of use in the first place. But things are different in California. There are dedicated EV stations along most major highways, increasing in frequency the closer to you get to metropolitan hubs. Once inside the city limits, there are are countless office parks, service stations, and parking structures offering ground-floor charging — many of which will actually have cars plugged into them.

You’ll also notice many are broken and some don’t let you pay via a single swipe of your credit card. Instead, the machine will ask you to make an account with whatever company is offering the service, often trying to push you into using a proprietary app. It’s unfortunate and probably the last thing you want to do after scouting out a particularly well-hidden station because the first three you came across were occupied or out of order. 

Of the 60,000+ public charging connections estimated in the U.S. by the Department of Energy, roughly 22,000 reside in California. Automotive News is concerned this won’t be sufficient to help the state embrace electrification at the frequency it’s aiming for. The brunt of those stations are said to be “a patchwork” of slower-charging ports that take several hours to juice up modern-day EVs. The outlet argues California will need newer, faster stations made available in more easily accessible areas if electrification is ever to truly take off like the state’s leadership desires.

From Automotive News:

While early EV adopters often charge at home, public options are critical to promote ownership by people who need to charge at work or add miles while on the road, advocates say. The California Energy Commission estimates about 100,000 to 150,000 public chargers are needed [in the state] to support a goal of 1.5 million zero-emissions vehicles by 2025.

“We know when we talk to EV candidate drivers that, beyond the upfront cost of the vehicle, their next questions are commonly: How far can this thing go? And, where can I refuel my car?” said Josh Boone, executive director of the nonprofit group Veloz, whose members include automakers, government agencies and EV charging companies.
“So we know that having a reliable, redundant, ubiquitous charging network up and down the state of California is really important to a successful EV market,” Boone told Automotive News. How much investment is required to reach those goals is a difficult question because EV range and charging speeds are rapidly improving. “I don’t think anyone can answer that question. I think what we know is that we need more,” he said.

However, it’s a still tale of two very separate worlds. As someone who routinely makes the 600-mile journey between New York and Michigan, your author has noticed the number of electric vehicle one sees quickly drops the further west you travel on I-80. By the time you hit Pennsylvania, EV charging points are mostly limited to Walmart shopping centers and state parks located a few miles off the main highway — giving motorists something to do while they wait for their vehicle to recoup energy. But investigating these locations often shows them to be empty.

It’s like that in a lot of places that aren’t California.

While ramping up charging points would assuredly ease the burden and assuage a few range-related fears in the Golden State, there are many issues it doesn’t address. The price of EVs remains prohibitively high for many (even with government incentives) and their maximum range will continue to remain a problem until battery-driven vehicles can charge as quickly as their gas-powered brethren — or start offering ranges on the outer limits of what a single driver can endure per day.

In truth, setting up more EV charging points seems like an expensive bandaid that tries to fix a fundamental limitation of present-day battery technology. Future EVs will continue to need new charging stations as the years roll on. But what else can we do if we’re supposed to get serious about the global electrification of cars?

Whereas automobiles that burn gasoline don’t need a new type of pump as they evolve, EVs will continue requiring new charging areas with ever-higher output and new ports. Faster charging means more current and we’ve already seen how the first generation of electric vehicles are not compatible with the latest round of DC fast-chargers. It’s not a stretch to presume this event could repeat itself several times until EVs finally surpass internal combustion vehicles in terms of range or “refueling” speed. On the upside, it ought to guarantee plenty of construction projects through the middle of this century. Still, it’s going to take a nearly unfathomable amount of money to make this happen on a global scale, and it’s doubtful automakers will want to continue picking up the check after 2025.

[Image: JL IMAGES/Shutterstock]

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96 Comments on “We’ll Have to Build a Ton of EV Charging Points If Electrification Is Going to Work...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Why so serious?

  • avatar
    Imagefont

    California doesn’t have room for those chargers. They’d be better off pursuing better/more affordable (cheap) public transportation options. They have too many cars now, converting them to much heavier EV’s that require many more charging stations due to the longer required charging times (5-10 min for gas, 20-60 minutes to obtain significant charge). Poor utilization of resources.

    • 0 avatar
      Master Baiter

      “Poor utilization of resources.”

      This is CA state government we’re discussing here. Poor utilization of resources is their middle name.

    • 0 avatar
      CKNSLS Sierra SLT

      Imagefont

      I just spent 10 days in Southern California. I grew up there-worked there and retired and moved away 7 years ago. There are more public transportation options than 50 years ago. The average price of gasoline is $4.00 a gallon. And it still takes hours to go anywhere outside of 20 miles. Saw many electric cars, even one Honda Clarity (hydrogen powered) on the roads. My point being is people are not going to leave their personal transportation vehicles at home-not in California. I did also see several electric charging systems-that were being installed, not yet operational. Bottom line-I know you don’t live in the state (by your comment) and have no ideal of the “car culture” that is pervasive there.

  • avatar
    Matt Foley

    Posky, how DARE you bring up a logical problem that stands in the way of electrification? People are suffering! People are dying! We are in the middle of a mass extinction, and all you talk about is money and fairy tales of the need to build new EV charging points that are compatible with both new and existing EVs. How DARE you! You have stolen my childish belief system with your logical words!

    (struggling to keep straight face)

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    Nobody has explained to me where the amps come from. Oh, I understand that the generation capacity exists, but how to get it to specific locations? I think a charger needs 50 amps of 240VAC, split phase. You want to put 10 chargers at a location? That’s 500amps, plus 20% safety margin, so 600 amps. What location has 600 extra amps of capacity? Not many, I’ll venture.

    I’ll bet transformer manufacturers are licking their chops right about now.

    • 0 avatar
      forward_look

      Malls. Stop and shop a while while we charge your car!

      Restaurants are the ideal place for a few chargers.

      Filling stations today are more than just a couple gas pumps. A couple chargers won’t be much of an additional load.

  • avatar
    tylanner

    “nearly unfathomable”

    Allow me to suggest an alternative for your biased skepticism: Monumental

    Doing things how we’ve always done them is our disease….

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      “ Allow me to suggest an alternative for your biased skepticism: Monumental”

      This country has already been living on the financial edge of ruin for the past 70 years, do you honestly think the solution is throwing more money at non-issues to make a couple whiny brats happy is the answer?

      Good luck powering them when California already struggles to keep the lights on.

  • avatar
    TR4

    At a gasoline station, a customer will occupy one of your spaces for 5 minutes and spend $30. At an EV charging station, a customer will occupy one of your spaces for 1/2 hour to 2 hours and spend $10. Which sounds like a better business proposition?

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      But it’s unlikely that McDonalds or Starbucks or the like would start installing gas stations, but chargers are pretty conceivable. Just because it doesn’t fit the gas station business model doesn’t mean it doesn’t fit into anyone’s business model.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Gas stations barely make money on gas anyways, the real profits are on the overpriced snacks they sell in their minimarts. Locking in a potential customer for half an hour plus seems like an opportunity, not a problem.

      As far as infrastructure costs, wasn’t too long ago just about every gas station in the country had to replace or upgrade their storage tanks to comply with EPA regs. Billions of dollars were spent, some went out of business. And we can still buy gas.

      Building out electric infrastructure won’t be cheap, but it’s hardly insurmountable.

  • avatar
    cprescott

    Oddly, California also has now adopted its turn off the juice method of controlling fires when they are the ones who prevented the brush and fire starter material from being removed as it used to be.

    So many charging places that are now quite useless to use.

    Electrification may be the next big thing in transportation, but it also faces a larger hurdle than having public charging places. You see, it is nearly impossible to seriously own an electric car if you live in an apartment complex. I would likely go for such transportation if I could charge my vehicle at home instead of having to find one of the nearby charging places where I’d have to pay per use.

    This quandry we experience now is no different than the early years of petrol vehicles that had limited fueling points but where the inertia of adoption of the vehicle made a compelling business case to expand refueling points.

    And the excuse that there is no universal payment system is a joke – once the inertia of demand compels the creation of new charging places, the vendors will quickly implement debit card readers (or apple head points) and the situation will be resolved rather quickly.

    We are right now at the point in electrification where we are still in the wooden wheel stage of the product. Once we move to lower costs, steel bodies, and steel wheels level of development that brings down the cost of purchase, we’ll have charging points worry of the debit card et al.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    Here’s an idea for some enterprising entrepreneur: A fleet of roving F150s with 250kW diesel generators in the bed. Using a phone app, you arrange for said F150 to meet you at the location of your choice to recharge your planet-saving EV.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    Who is “we?”

    I don’t intend to build any charging stations.

    End the electric car subsidy grift.

    And, no, hippies, the petroleum industry is not “subsidized.” They pay billions in net taxes and don’t need mandates and handouts.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    I mean we put a man on the Moon, sent a spacecraft to interstellar space based on 70’s technology, and landed an Electric Vehicle roughly the weight of a Miata on Mars via a hovering rocket crane but yeah…this is just too big of a task. Get real.

    Part of the thing holding back a widespread charging network however is that the standard for the connector and charge rates have yet to solidify. Why would you sink a ton of money into this without knowing that it is going to be usable in the near future.

    We need a standard, and history shows it may not need to be the best one to work…just a consistent one. Look at home Computers in the 80’s. Clearly the Mac, Atari ST and Amiga were all 3 better than MS DOS machines of the day. But DOS had the business backing so it proliferated and they got better and better because developers in turn knew it was worth investing in.

    Tesla’s superchargers are like the Amiga. They are the best thing going right now…and their earlier solid efforts ensure they have a customer base (The C64 was the best selling machine in the early days). But long term, even though it was clearly the best the rest were cheaper and “good enough”. As such more people got “good enough” which allowed it to grow and become better.

    We talk about needing 50 state pollution and fuel economy standards. I’d argue a 50 state charge solution is more important.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Part of the thing holding back a widespread charging network however is that the standard for the connector and charge rates have yet to solidify. Why would you sink a ton of money into this without knowing that it is going to be usable in the near future.

      DING DING DING DING. We have a winner!

      This is partially illustrated by the fact that when I travel I often see hotels with a Tesla charger right next to other more “universal” chargers. Although partially this is driven by some Tesla drivers wanting a “boutique” charger and access to their “free” charging.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Till there’s an “OBD” standard charger, no chance.

        • 0 avatar

          Yet another late capitalist version of rent seeking. This part is amazing and like railroad gauge a legitimate reason for a government standards with no perpetual royalty to someone. Hey it works for gas station nozzle sizes for petrol v diesel pumps …..

      • 0 avatar
        R Henry

        Tesla = Apple
        All the rest = PCs

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        There are already standards, and there are chargers out there that have more than one plug. This for example. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CHAdeMO#/media/File:Fastchargepoint3plugs.jpg I know my local Walmart has fast charge units with both CCS and Chademo as well as a stand alone with the J1772 which also works on those cars with CCS but at a slower rate than is possible with CCS.

        However at this point I don’t expect to see many new full EV models, other than maybe Nissans to have anything other than CCS. Plug-in Hybrids will likely stick with the J1772 only as fast charging isn’t needed and doesn’t make a lot of sense for a plug in hybrid.

        Tesla meanwhile sells its model 3 with the Euro CCS connector. https://cleantechnica.com/2018/11/14/tesla-model-3-in-europe-will-come-with-a-ccs-charging-port/

        So yeah CCS is the winner in North American and Europe even if the two connectors vary enough that they aren’t compatible. Even though the NA and Euro connectors are not the same the communication protocol is.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      The thing holding back any theoretical charging network is that most EVs now being sold are Teslas. Those cars have 200-300 mile range to begin with, and if you can afford one, you most likely can afford a garage to charge it up in every night, or you can get the job done at a supercharger point. It’s not like these folks have to fill up at the corner gas station every day. They don’t need all this “infrastructure.”

      The big question is what happens when you can buy a $18,000 EV with decent range. Those buyers may or may not have daily access to charging stations. Will there be enough of them around to justify this huge infrastructure change? I’m not sold that it’ll happen anytime soon.

      This is why I think the EV “revolution” will happen slowly – it’s driven by the top of the market.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        You aren’t wrong FreedMike, but a standard would at least accelerate any infrastructure that does roll out. And Tesla wouldn’t be effected per say…they can already charge at non Tesla chargers…the Tesla chargers are exclusive. If buyers see that as a big enough perk they’d keep them around.

        The lesser EVs are catching Tesla on range. The Mach E shows this and even the Leaf and Bolt are now competetive. It is mainstream cars like the model Y and Mach E that are going to drive this, not the rich toy end of the spectrum or the econobox side.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Yup the Mach-E is the vehicle that will take it to the masses if anything will.

          High end vehicles by definition will have limited volume. CUV/SUVs are what the masses want so the potential volume is huge.

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    The challenges Matt and commenters describe are real.

    What is amusing is, where will the resources come from? Who pays for charging stations? Taxpayers?

    If it costs me $1200 to $1600 for a fast charger for a Volt, I’m sure it costs $500 to $1000 for a commercial charger at least.

    That’s a lot of money for thousands of them. If businesses put them up, (last hotel had 3 FREE chargers), then they must raise their prices to pay for them.

    If, in fact, electric was a good alternative, the public would be buying more of them. At this time, it is not.

    Considering that, at every level, (Federal govt, college students, individuals, even state and local govts) we are in debt, where will the money come from for this happy fantasy?

    The only plausible explanation is that we will, COLLECTIVELY as a SOCIETY, will be poorer due to over over-indebtedness. Poorer means lower living standards. That includes reduced personal mobility. And the people who run things, who generally don’t like cars, know this (the establishment/deep state/elite whatever you wish to call it/them)

    One way to manage this diminishment is electrification, because it means less driving and more central govt/corporate control (to prevent disorder, and to allocate transportation in an efficient and politically correct manner).

    All the purported advantages of electric/autonomous are merely a construct to disguise the reality that we will be poorer and part of that means using our cars less.

    If, or when, electric is such a good idea, the marketplace will react and people will willingly adopt electrical.

    Absent that, the govt and corporate beneficiaries are working to change our expectations and to divert resources away from things people willingly spend their money to areas where the elite deem they should and must spend their money.

    Part of the full-court press is ‘traffic calming’, and doing stupid things that make congestion worse, like putting bike lanes in cold weather states, reducing traffic speeds, and so forth.

    The Matrix is here….

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      If it costs me $1200 to $1600 for a fast charger for a Volt, I’m sure it costs $500 to $1000 for a commercial charger at least…

      Perhaps someone can comment on the cost of installation and maintenance of a gas pump?

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        I don’t know how much it costs to install a gas pump, but I don’t need my own because I only use them for a few minutes a month. It makes more sense to use one that is amortized by thousands of other people using it too. Hell, I spend about as much on gas in two years as the Volt charger costs without the electricity or gas that a Volt needs. Silly.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          How much is the time worth that you spend at, and traveling to and from, gas stations?

          For me, the $500 (not $1200-$1600) I spent on my home charger got made up by the first three or so gas trips I was able to skip.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            My time isn’t worth $10/minute. I’m happy for you that you’re looking forward to dancing on the mass graves of the middle class.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            “For me, the $500 (not $1200-$1600) I spent on my home charger got made up by the first three or so gas trips I was able to skip.”

            I’ll break this down in case you’re as stupid as you have claim to be to make a case for EVs. If spending a few minutes getting gas is wasting $166 of your time, then you shouldn’t be making extra trips to the gas station. You should just stop at the first one that is on a corner when you’re down to a quarter tank and you’re going to have to wait for a light to change anyway. You sure shouldn’t be making a special trip to the Kroger to use your fuel points to save $5 a tank with your time so valuable, so why can’t you figure out how to fill up when the opportunity cost is near-zero?

          • 0 avatar
            tomLU86

            I get my gasoline en route, so the time penalty is minimal for me–5 minutes, including the time to record my purchase.

            I’m not against electric cars. But I am wary of subsidizing them to make other people feel good about themselves.

            And I am against idiotic ideas, like repurposing car lanes to bike lanes then there are no bicylists, slowing down traffic.

            I also would be OK with higher fuel taxes–IF I KNEW the proceeds would go toward fixing our existing roads and bridges first, then building new ones if needed.

            I think it’s great that your charger cost only $500, and it’s working for you. IMO, people who drive 30 miles a day or less, and can charge at home, might be good candidates for electric cars.

            I thought the Volt was brilliant because it could run on gasoline once battery ran down. GM didn’t see it that way—perhaps because they lost money on every one.

            ALso, feel free to thank me and the others here who pay Federal Income Taxes now, and who will pay even more later (due to our massive budget deficits) to fund the $7500 subsidy you got on your car.

      • 0 avatar
        tomLU86

        What ever a gas or diesel pump costs to buy and operate, it’s baked into to price of fuel. That price also include the cost of the land.

        When, or if, electric vehicles catch on and electric charging stations are economically attractive, people will figure out how to place them.

        I don’t see electric cars, be they Teslas, Leafs, Bolts, or even Volts (the best of the bunch, IMO) as economically viable alternatives to gasoline vehicles. I view them more like status symbols–a Tesla is making a statement, like driving a Mercedes did in the 1970s.

        Presently they need subsidies. And “electric parking only” is a subsidey too–inconvenience people with gas cars by taxing their time and giving the good spots to ‘chargers’

        Who will build the chargers that will enable me to make it from Michigan to New Jersey?

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          The price of the equipment is baked into the charging rates. Around here the level 2 chargers are 4x the cost of electricity at home if you have an account, even more if you charge as a guest. So yeah that 75% margin should be able to pay for the equipment and hopefully make the company some money.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “All the purported advantages of electric/autonomous are merely a construct to disguise the reality that we will be poorer and part of that means using our cars less.”

      I’m glad to see someone else was paying attention. Agenda 2030 unfolds before you, Tesla is the “cool” poster child for it for today’s youths. Why do you think it has not failed in spite of the fact it should have went bankrupt many times. TBTF.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        Do you remember when the left used to be honest about their hatred for the bourgeoisie? I guess they had to stop telling the truth after someone asked who the bourgeoisie is. Now they tell us we’ll still be middle class without our single family homes, cars, freedom, privacy, ability to defend ourselves, plentiful food options, and families. I guess you have to give them credit for knowing there would be a critical mass of people stupid enough to believe the climate hoax and then make sacrifices greater than any possible eventualities of a real ecological disaster.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          “greater than any possible eventualities of a real ecological disaster”

          …says a man who lives in a city that would be mostly underwater in the event of a 6′ sea level rise.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            “ …says a man who lives in a city that would be mostly underwater in the event of a 6′ sea level rise.”

            Are you guys still really pushing this? As Artic ice spread increases, no evidence of rising seas, the beaches that my grandfather, father, and myself have gone to as kids are still the same distance from hard landmarks. I mean does it ever get frustrating being wrong 100% of the time?
            Doesn’t half of your party buy beach houses once they’ve made themselves into millionaires on their government salary?

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            Hey smarty, have you ever had a drink overflow because you let the ice melt?

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Have you checked out the money the city of Miami is spending on flood control? https://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/editorials/article210596439.html

            Or, closer to you, the accelerating erosion of the Outer Banks? Are these guys just throwing millions of local money at a mirage? https://www.governing.com/topics/transportation-infrastructure/sl-dare-county-climate-change.html

            Most people I know, self included, are staying far away from buying any property less than about 100′ above sea level. My own house is at 150′, on a granite hill in Seattle.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            The ice isn’t all currently in the ocean. Much of it is above sea level.

            See what happens to your drink if it’s already full and you dump in three more ice cubes.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            Try not to throw any virgins into volcanoes as your grasp of reality continues to recede. Why do you think ice floats? Does cold air escape through your roof? What makes ice less dense than liquid? Why do you suppose the part of a glacier you see above the sea level is infinitesimal compared to the part you don’t see?

            Not being an insipid muppet, I have spent much of my life not being scared of water. The water level of the inlet I live on changes pretty drastically…when there is a North East wind. I’ve got real estate in the Outerbanks of NC too, have had it for about thirty years.

            Thirty years ago we knew the sand bar that is the Outerbanks is moving west. It has nothing to do with climate change and everything to do with the impermanence of sand bars and the motion of the ocean. Why are you allowing yourself to understand less about reality as time goes by? The family place in Duck is amortized. We knew it had a life span, and now we have land on other shores.

            It can’t be good for you to worry about rising sea levels to the point that you think people living less than 100 feet ASL are in danger. I am sincerely sorry that you have been so wronged by the people entrusted to educate you.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            No, dal…you’re so wrong. Greenland and Antarctica aren’t land masses – they’re floating ice islands. Breitbart said so. Get it right, man!

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Have you heard of this stuff called “land?” Much of the ice we’re worrying about is on it. Greenland and Antarctica.

            If you want to spend money on land that is a depreciating asset, that’s up to you. I wouldn’t. 100′ is the worst of worst case scenarios (20′ seems more likely), but why risk it?

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            “ If you want to spend money on land that is a depreciating asset”

            This is hilarious, congratulations on the most idiotic statement I’ve ever read on this website. Please go back to watching your Bigfoot and flat earth documentaries.

            I can’t believe I just read that without a sarcasm/ tag.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Hummer, Todd admitted exactly that in his comment:

            “The family place in Duck is amortized. We knew it had a life span…”

            In any case, we can debate over climate change, but as a lifelong Pacific Northwesterner… don’t mess with Bigfoot.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            It actually hasn’t depreciated much, although it certainly hasn’t done well when you factor inflation into it. There’s also been a fair amount of money spent repairing from winter weather damage pretty much annually. The upside is…beachfront living in the summer. Thirty years of good times and memories that almost certainly cost less than I’ve spent on other forms of good times and memories.

            Living in the mold capital of the world waiting for Paul R. Ehrlich to have told the truth is no way to live. The twelve year ecological collapse horizon had already been invented in 1968, prior to my conception. I’m not too far from 50 years old now, and I’m glad I figured out the left was lying in time to enjoy my youth. It is horrible what they’ve done to that fetal alcohol syndrome-suffering mascot and everyone who believes we need to go back to living like its 1905.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            You can count me in as one of those people who aren’t afraid of the sea level rising significantly in my life time so much so that yeah I’m looking at adding some ocean front property, someplace that is warmer and drier than Seattle in the winter, to my portfolio. Maybe it will still be there for the kids to inherit, maybe not.

            I also can not say I’ve ever heard of a client saying that they needed to live a certain amount of distance above sea level.

    • 0 avatar
      Imagefont

      It’s morning the cost of the charger, it’s the upgrade to the electric system that costs real money. You don’t upgrade the electrical service in your home when you install a charger but if you had to your costs would be a lot higher. As stated above by another commenter, transformers and power lines and going to need an upgrade so you can add zeros to the cost estimate.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Sorry I’m the guy who is who is far more worried about a nationwide network of chargers and overall charge time for that 3000 mile round trip family vacation that I much prefer to drive and experience this great country.

        Great that you guys are thinking about your home chargers. I’m waiting for Mr. Fusion. ;-)

  • avatar
    thelaine

    There is nothing inevitable about electric cars. They were invented before ICE cars and have been around ever since. They should not get subsidies and mandates, which make carnival barkers like Elon richer, at the expense of everyone else.

    The debate reminds me of solar and wind power. It just needs to “turn the corner” of market volume and then it will be cheap and efficient, so lets subsidize the sht out of it with other people’s money. Right. I’ve been hearing this for my entire life. It is false.

    There is nothing wrong with choosing an electric car. For yourself. Leave the rest of us out of your fantasy.

    • 0 avatar
      tomLU86

      Amen!

    • 0 avatar
      jack4x

      Ok, except solar and wind power are competitive at market prices now, with no subsidies.

      Whether or not you think the path we took to get there was a good one (I won’t hold my breath speculating on your answer to that), the claim is not “false”.

      R&D requires investment. When the government invests in R&D, it’s through subsidies and tax credits. I’m a pretty libertarian guy, but I prefer to live in a world where scientific research is funded, and the govt plays a part in that. No company is going to be able or willing to take on solar power by itself, so if we want it (and I do), the govt has to be involved.

      We went to the moon with other people’s money too you know.

      • 0 avatar
        thelaine

        This is not even close to being true.

        • 0 avatar
          jack4x

          Here you go, from noted left wing source Forbes:

          https://www.forbes.com/sites/dominicdudley/2019/05/29/renewable-energy-costs-tumble/

          Or those greenies at Bloomberg:

          https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2019-09-19/solar-and-wind-power-so-cheap-they-re-outgrowing-subsidies

          I know it’s hard to admit you’re wrong.

    • 0 avatar
      Carrera

      Well, if they State/Government/City can’t force us into it by force of law ( see Europe with ICE cars driving in downtown) then electrification won’t catch on on a large scale. But when you’re not going to have a choice due to punitive governmental measures…the future is easy to see.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      In the beginning, there was Electric, ICE, and Steam. EV’s offered ease of use, easy, if time consuming recharges (the gas infrastructure wasn’t as entrenched yet), easy maintenance, and reliability. You needn’t worry about breaking your fingers cranking them, mastering the non syncromesh transmissions, or doing things like adjusting the timing while driving. Nor did I need an hour to crank them or worry about starting a fire or lengthy reheating time when they ran out of water, or scorching the boiler or any of the steam headaches.

      Time went on. The electric start, improved mechanicals, and the proliferation of Gas stations eclipsed the advantages of those EV’s as well as highlighting their real disadvantage (range). Steam ironically overcame most of it’s engineering drawbacks as well (see the Doble), but not at a realistic price and it was too late in the game.

      Now however, EV’s are for the first time in 100 years seeing real innovation as the tech has finally allowed them to begin to address their drawback (range and charge time). Should that trend continue, all of the advantages those early EV’s enjoyed still exist with respect to maintenance and ease of use and they actually have potential advantages with respect to power.

      The ICE has been constantly being developed for over a century. We are unlikely to see any true performance or efficiency breakthroughs moving forward. EV development had a hiatus while the primary tech needed to drive it caught up (batteries). Furthermore it is more than automobiles driving battery development. The electronics industry is also all in.

  • avatar

    You will know electrics are truly mainstream when the electric outlets commonly on the outside of buildings are removed or locked up, and Plug Rage becomes a TV news fixture story.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    How did the gas station infrastructure get there?

    Most of the charger infrastructure will get there the same way.

    Anyway, we don’t need chargers in all the same places we need gas stations. Here is where we need chargers:

    1) L2 chargers in private garages and parking lots. Most people with private parking (both individual garages and off-street parking lots or garages) will charge at home, overnight when other electricity demand is low.
    2) L3 chargers at grocery stores. Most people without private parking will use their cars to go grocery shopping, and can pick up enough juice for a few days to a couple weeks during a typical weekly shopping trip.
    3) A limited number of public pay L3 chargers for local use by the people who don’t fit into 1) or 2). In many places we’re already close to the number of random public pay chargers we need for this purpose.
    4) A network of L3 chargers along major highways to cover road-trip driving. Tesla’s Supercharger is showing the way here, and other providers are copying it in various places. There may be a need for subsidies for chargers covering the very most remote places along minor routes, just like we have pretty extensive subsidies for rural mobility today. I think the ones along interstates will pay for themselves pretty easily, especially when they’re attached to restaurants and convenience stores.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      “How did the gas station infrastructure get there?”

      Gasoline cars surpassed the capabilities of electric cars and the demand for gas led to private capital being spent on real estate and gasoline distribution machinery. No mandates and no subsidies were required because the technology was viable and desirable.

  • avatar
    ExMichigander

    I just drove my Model 3 across the country from Michigan to California using the Supercharger network for a total cost of around $115. This is by far the killer app of owning a Tesla.

    If a cash-strapped Silicon Valley startup can finance a nationwide (and now global!) fast charging network, what’s Detroit’s excuse?

    This doesn’t seem like a lack of technology, it seems like a lack of will…

  • avatar
    JMII

    We need a standardized connector and plugs in most parking lots. The idea of building dedicated charging stations is silly. We already have ACRES of parking spots around malls, restaurants, hotels, airports, office buildings, etc. EVs aren’t for long distance trips, they are for short day-to-day drives with recharge periods overnight or while your stuck at your cubical.

    EVs are perfect for commuter duty so your home and office are where you need juice. For example my brother drives an Cayenne hybrid, his commute eats up almost all the electrons so it rarely needs gas because his office has a charger (plus a nice parking space) and his house has a charger.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      This assumes that the office offers a charging facility. Mine doesn’t. If that was true for your brother, would he be able to get back and forth to work on electricity only? Probably not, from the sound of it.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        No BEV has electric range as short as a typical plug-in hybrid. If the brother didn’t have the gas engine, he’d almost certainly have more than enough range to charge only at home.

        My office has three chargers, but they’re oversubscribed and typically all occupied before 8 a.m. I don’t know if there are any plans to install more; it doesn’t really affect me anyway, since I ebike to work, my battery weighs a couple of pounds, and my “charger” is in my office.

    • 0 avatar
      tomLU86

      Yes, Cayennes are mainstream cars.

      He may have a reserved space–he has access to an outlet at work.

      Do you see that happening for the clerks at Home Depot, CVS, and waiters–the very jobs our economy is creating?

      I agree, electric can be good for commuting if you have a place to charge at home, and you don’t need to charge after you leave home.

      In addition to the cost and challenges of ‘charging stations’ away from private residences, it’s even harder to address cross-country trips, or even 250 mile drives.

      Those will become “…back in the old days, we’d drive to Grandmas in Cleveland for THanksgiving…” because you will fly or take the bus, in an all-electric future. Or you will rent ‘relay’ style, which will be expensive for most folks.

      Or you just won’t make the trip. That reflects a drop in living standards.

      And that may be the inevitable result IN ANY CASE of our country living beyond its means so much, and for so long.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        No, when you drive to Grandma’s in Cleveland, you’ll stop for a fast charge. The only difference will be that the stop takes a little longer than a gas stop today. You’ll make up the time and then some with all the gas station stops you can skip when you’re not on a road trip.

        • 0 avatar
          tomLU86

          Wow, you sound so confident…

          ..gas stop “a little” longer. How little is little?

          You count the time you save on fill-ups today earlier as being excessive for you, yet for me, it’s only a ‘little longer’ to wait.

          Rather arrogant of you. You must either work in Silicon Valley (try riding your e-bike to work in the snow belt) or perhaps you are an attorney. Or a Tesla salesperson.

          The electric car, in it’s current form, can’t compete with the cost and convenience of gasoline.

          Perhaps when gasoline costs rival Europe’s AND electric cars go further and charge faster.

          Of course, in the interim, unlike smartphones, which proved economically viable in the market place, the EV fans want the rest of us to pay to improve their toys.

          If you all are so confident, why not go to Wall Street and raise the money you need to develop your great ideas, and then they will sell without subsidies extracted at gunpoint (that is how taxes work) from the rest of us.

          And, if EV does not work out, well just Wall St investors and EV owners will bear the costs of their novelty. Caveat emptor!

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            How long the stop is depends on how far you have to go. With a Tesla Model 3, you can get 50% battery charge in 11 minutes (about the same time as a gas stop); 80% charge in about half an hour; and 100% charge in an hour.

            Are you driving to grandma’s so often that you’ll have to do a fast-charge stop more often than you currently fill your gas car with gas? If so, your driving habits are out of the ordinary, and you’ll probably keep driving ICEs until either the price of gas or ICE bans in city centers make it impractical for you. For most people, saving 15 minutes every week is going to far outweigh a few half-hour stops a year on road trips.

            I’ll take arguments about EV subsidies seriously when we stop spending literally trillions to defend the world oil supply militarily, which oil we use almost exclusively to power cars and trucks.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            “…the EV fans want the rest of us to pay to improve their toys.”

            Or maybe I’d just prefer to redistribute a little of the taxes I pay back to myself for a change.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            But Art, its for the children.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            Hey I have kids too lol

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            “Of course, in the interim, unlike smartphones, which proved economically viable in the market place, the EV fans want the rest of us to pay to improve their toys.”

            Sow how economically viable would that smartphone be without the government funding the build out of the Internet and subsidizing others to provide bandwidth to lesser populated areas? To say nothing of the fact that the Government literally funded early computers because they were too expensive at the time for anyone else to afford. Sometimes an initial investment is needed to spur long term economic viability.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        This assumes no advances in EV tech (batteries, motors, etc). Since there’s money in it, and people buy it, I wouldn’t make that assumption if I were you. Not too long ago, a mobile device (think the original Iphone) was something of a novelty luxury purchase. As the Iphone began to sell, the technology needed to truly leverage it (think wireless networks) improved, and got cheaper, and so did the hardware. Now *everyone* has a mobile device of some kind.

        I don’t see EVs gaining that kind of market penetration, but as tech improves and gets cheaper, they’ll get less expensive, and the technology to truly leverage these cars (charging networks) will develop. Follow the money.

  • avatar
    Rick Astley

    So let me get this straight, the Federal Government is giving out $1.875 BILLION dollars of tax subsidies per manufacturer so that wealthy people can own luxury vehicles and promote the technology.

    But there are drastically too few charging stations around so people can’t drive their taxpayer-mobiles.

    What if instead of a taxpayer subsidy, there was a $7,500 earmark for every EV sold that would have gone into building a national charging network???

    I’m curious at what point the electrical grids of major metropolitan areas would fail if electrification of vehicles actually happened? 10% of cars on the road? 15%?

    Oh boy, the mind boggles at what could have been with EV’s, instead we have this crap. I’m almost to the point of putting my resources behind that “clean coal” that’s all the rage on the east coast.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Again, I own the lowest range commonly available EV out there (an 80 percent left Leaf). While it does see public chargers, it is probably no more than 20 percent of the time it charges and the current infrastructure has proven sufficient. This would work for 90 percent of the time I need a car, and it was 5 grand used.

      As to the power grid, I’d counter by asking how much of a drain things like the Home Computer Revolution, multiple 50 inch televisions, the thousands of extra square feet most homes have in comparison to 50 years ago, and Air Conditioning in every downtown building have done. Yet it adapted. What was the average home service (amps) 25 years ago compared to today?

      The grid needs upgrades and EV’s are a drop in the bucket as to why.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    Not sure which subject elicits more passion here…

    Electric cars or motor oil loyalties/change intervals?

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