By on November 12, 2021

Despite being presented as the ideal vehicle for “urbanites and city dwellers who don’t drive long distances,” it’s actually rural drivers who stand to benefit the most from making the switch to an electric vehicle (EV). And that’s often true regardless of what state they live in or what type of vehicle they currently drive. And, while it’s true that rural communities across the country have their own cultures and characteristics, common themes like longer driving distances, larger vehicles, and a number of shared socio-economic factors all contribute to a potential benefit from vehicle electrification.

So, without further ado, here are five reasons why rural drivers stand to benefit the most from switching to an electric car.

1 – LONGER DISTANCES = BIGGER SAVINGS THAN SHORT DISTANCES

Electric vehicles cost less to “fuel up” than their gas or diesel-powered counterparts, which means that the longer distances traveled by drivers in rural communities equal bigger savings in fuel and maintenance costs for them than for their city-dwelling counterparts.

Most modern EVs offer considerably more range than people think. The Volkswagen ID.4 Pro, for example, offers SUV-style grocery-hauling capacity and more than 260 miles of range – and can charge from nearly “empty” to “full” in under 45 minutes at a level 6 charger …

… that means that every time a rural driver needs to make a six- or seven-hour drive, they’ll need to stop for lunch. Which they were probably going to do, anyway. What’s more, in a Mustang Mach-E or Tesla, which can charge at Level 7, they’ll only need to stop for about 20 minutes.

2 – BIGGER, OLDER VEHICLES = BIGGER SAVINGS THAN SMALLER, NEWER VEHICLES

Rural communities tend to own bigger vehicles like pickups, SUVs, and minivans in greater proportions than urban communities, and they tend to buy used and/or keep their cars longer, as well. In Maryland, for example, one study showed that 49 percent of vehicles in rural areas are more than 10 years old. Larger, older vehicles are more likely to need repairs than newer ones, and they’re less fuel-efficient even than when they were new, so fuel savings from switching to a comparably-sized EV are likely to be even greater for drivers of these vehicles.

How much could drivers save in just fuel? Using DOE and utility data from PGE, a typical five-passenger SUV takes about $35 worth of gas to go 300 miles. An electric car can go those same 300 miles on just $7 of “electric fuel”.

What’s more, with all the available electric vehicle incentives that are already here – with more soon to come – the cost to choose an electric truck is comparable, or even less than the cost to buy a new V8 pickup truck while offering better performance and more “on the job” capability.

3 – RURAL DRIVERS ARE MORE LIKELY TO BE ABLE TO CHARGE IN A GARAGE

It’s a simple truth that most EV charging occurs at home, in the garage – and it’s also a simple truth that rural drivers are much more likely to live in single-family homes than their urban counterparts who live in multi-unit apartment buildings or townhomes with street parking.

In Maine, Virginia, and Vermont, for example, more than 85 percent of rural and suburban households live in single- or two-family homes with garages or driveways can charge at home from their driveways or garages using standard, commonly accessible 110V or 220V wall outlets.

4 – EVS ARE BECOMING MORE AFFORDABLE FOR EVERYONE

The car market is hot right now, with used cars commanding higher prices than ever and new cars often selling for thousands of dollars above their sticker price. That’s not necessarily true with EVs, which many dealers – especially in rural America – still seem willing to offer discounts on. With the price of certain models being driven down, too, by external factors and up to $12,500 in federal tax credits (not to mention state or local utility incentives) aimed at making EVs more accessible to low and middle-income families, electric cars may be some of the only cars you can get a great deal on today.

5 – RURAL DRIVERS RELY ON THEIR VEHICLES MORE THAN URBAN DRIVERS

It’s been nearly 25 years since the first Toyota Prius hybrids first came to market (yes, it was 1997), and in that time the electronics and batteries in these electrified vehicles have proven themselves again and again to be more reliable, and cheaper to own, than anyone predicted. At least one Tesla driver in Canada, for example, has put more than 700,000 miles on their Tesla Model S …

… which is impressive, but hardly the whole story. In 2019, a shuttle service in Southern California called Tesloop maintained a fleet of Teslas that racked up over 300,000 miles each, with no signs of slowing down.

“The company’s fleet of seven vehicles — a mix of Model Xs, Model 3s and a Model S — are now among the highest-mileage Teslas in the world,” writes Michael Coren, in Quartz Magazine. “They zip almost daily between Los Angeles, San Diego, and destinations in between. Each of Tesloop’s cars are regularly racking up about 17,000 miles per month (roughly eight times the average for corporate fleet mileage). Many need to fully recharge at least twice each day.”

That’s the kind of reliability that people who don’t have the option of casually hailing a cab, hopping a train, or riding a bike to work can – and should – be able to depend on.

In conclusion, it’s not really clear why rural communities and middle America are so often overlooked by EV proponents. Even journalists get this wrong more often than not – frequently overlooking the fact that access to garages means rural drivers don’t need the same level of public infrastructure support to make the switch to EVs viable that city drivers do. At the end of the day, the lower cost to buy, incredible fuel savings, reduced cost of ownership, and better than expected dependability make EVs a no-brainer for your country cousins … if only someone would tell them!

[Images: Provided by the author, guteksk7/Shutterstock.com]

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102 Comments on “Opinion: 5 Ways Rural Drivers Benefit From EVs...”


  • avatar
    notapreppie

    > Opinion: 5 Was Rural Drivers Benefit From EVs

    Fact: 5 was the reason people have trouble reading this headline.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    6 was 1 less than 7

  • avatar
    geee

    Well, if 5 turned out to be 8, I wouldn’t mind. There are many ways this could happen.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Was a good premise.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “if only someone would tell them!”

    You should go tell them. You can be the EV Johnny Appleseed.

  • avatar
    Syke

    Some of us do. I’m moderately active in a local EV advocacy group in the Richmond, VA area, and a couple of times a month we’ll head out to a local farmer’s market or like gathering to set up a parking line and talk to anyone curious about our cars. I’ve usually found the afternoons well spent, as there’s quite a few people at least curious if not in the early stages of researching a possible EV as their next car purchase.

    I’ll usually suggest that they download the Plug Share app just to get a look at what the charging potential is for their area, talk to them about the capabilities they’d have even if they only ever did a Level 2 charger at home (effective radius is usually quite a bit larger than they expected), and bring up the possibilities of free Level 2 charging in public places. That latter point really gets the eyes opening wide. Well, when was the last time you saw a gas or diesel pump with ‘free’ on it?

    I’ve been finding out that, assuming the questioning individual has any preconceptions as to the usefulness of an EV, it’s probably way more conservative than what’s really available. I’m discovering the anti-EV types tend to be a lot louder, because a lot of the people I talk to have gotten a lot of the same garbage I see posted here anytime an EV article comes up: You’ll barely make it to work and back, then the car’s down for days while it recharges, etc., etc., etc. (Yes, I exaggerate. Not by a lot, from the preconception these people have picked up.)

    Man, that ‘free Level 2 charging’ really gets them thinking, though.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Just last week, an acquaintance mentioned that he heard the Chevy Volt battery costs $10,000 and you have to replace it every 5 years. I didn’t challenge him because his mind was made up.

      While we’re at it, I heard that the chip shortage is due to them being injected into the Covid vaccines. Without Covid, we’d have chips in the cars and not in our brains! /s

      • 0 avatar
        Syke

        I’m really beginning to wonder if the populous of this country can get any more stupid. The things that are being believed nowadays borders on unreal.

        At least nobody has come at us screaming we’re some kind of commies for driving those things. Of course, now that I’ve made that statement, I look forward to tomorrow’s farmer’s market . . . . .

        • 0 avatar
          Average Simp

          Oh they will. Around here if you drive out 45 minutes into the rural areas you draw the rage of pickup truck drivers. EVs, prius, and even regular cars enrage them.

          They are simpletons

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Driving in rural central Washington, dude in a Cummins Ram decided my Bolt and I would make a good coal-rolling target as he passed. Too bad for him that I saw him coming and floored it; he couldn’t keep up.

      • 0 avatar

        “chip shortage is due to them being injected into the Covid vaccines”

        Interesting theory. Now everything makes sense. What kind of ships they use? ARM based SoC? In news: “Arm and CSNE from the University of Washington partner to develop brain-implantable chips”

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          “chip shortage is due to them being injected into the Covid vaccines”

          I want to know if I can mine crypto on them? Extra cash and they’d heat up my blood to keep me warm in the winter. Probably another disappointment. I was bummed out the magnetization thing wasn’t true. That would have been pretty handy. Working on something and just being able to stick tools to myself when not using them. It would have been the greatest invention ever. You could probably even get on a bicycle and get pulled along by cars.

          • 0 avatar

            Where do you get energy source? Mitochondria? Oxidative phosphorylation? You will have to consume lot of glucose. This is not gonna end well.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            “Where do you get energy source?”
            Hmmm ATP? No, not enough power. Well, you could do it with radioactive isotopes derived from nuclear waste I suppose. That’s perfectly safe, right? Just inject them along with the nanoscale GPU chips whatever they are.

            If they could ever get these batteries to scale…:

            https://www.energylivenews.com/2021/08/25/eternally-charged-smartwatches-to-become-real-with-nuclear-waste-powered-battery/

      • 0 avatar
        theflyersfan

        @SCE to AUX: Was that the same kind of chip I had implanted in me against my wishes and the only way it was going to be deactivated was if I rescued the President from The Duke in a destroyed NYC? I barely made it with only seconds to spare, but it could have ended badly.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    With range still an ongoing EV topic, it’s worth saying that not all ‘rural’ is the same in terms of miles. I live in the suburbs – two miles to my west are shopping plazas; two miles to my east are farms. Then there is the type of rural where you’re an hour from anything.

    Also, ‘rural’ (to me) usually equates to pickup drivers, which until recently was not an EV niche. That’s about to change.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      There is a range within the definition of “rural”. It also varies from region to region. My “rural” will most likely be different than @SCE to AUX’s “rural”.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    This is a good write-up.

    My dad keeps bringing up EV’s and I keep telling him to wait.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      Yet another reason why you have always been a Major Disappointment to your mother and I.

      Signed,
      ToolGuy’s Dad

      P.S. If you Drive The Right Vehicle you might be able to compensate for all those negative feels I just sent your direction. (Keep trying, Son.)

      P.P.S. Google “Hedonic Treadmill” – if you are capable of using a computer and exercising independent thought – like your sister. (We are so proud of her. She drives a Lexus now – have you seen it? Such a lovely shade of blue.)

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “In Maryland, for example, one study showed that 49 percent of vehicles in rural areas are more than 10 years old.”

    Part of that is, um, being poor – or at least poor enough to not replace base pickups every three years at eye watering prices. You think they will swap that very expensive truck for a very expensive EV (even an EV truck)? I don’t.

    “That’s not necessarily true with EVs, which many dealers – especially in rural America – still seem willing to offer discounts on. With the price of certain models being driven down, too, by external factors and up to $12,500 in federal tax credits (not to mention state or local utility incentives) aimed at making EVs more accessible to low and middle-income families, electric cars may be some of the only cars you can get a great deal on today.”

    So let’s break that down:

    “which many dealers – especially in rural America – still seem willing to offer discounts on”

    Because no one wants to buy them.

    “With the price of certain models being driven down, too, by external factors”

    Waht? Yeah nothing’s being driven down, everything is going up with Bideninflation. In fact Tesla has slowly been increasing their prices (which is easy to do without a dealer distribution network which might object).

    “up to $12,500 in federal tax credits (not to mention state or local utility incentives)”

    Let’s not forget your stolen dollars used for corporate welfare to subsidize products you don’t want!

    “local utility incentives”

    Maybe this is true, somewhere, but one thing that is NEVER explained is how the electric companies are going to be feasting on us all in the mid term which may be why they offer “incentives”. Just like “chip shortage” is the universal excuse for everything now, soon it will be “those damn EVs” when the electric concerns double the rates even though market share will be maybe 5%. I can’t wait.

    “aimed at making EVs more accessible to low and middle-income families”

    Have you met low and middle income families? They aren’t buying new cars and “middle income” have not been buying new probably since the 90s/early 00s. “Middle income” when they did buy new ran a car ten years or handed it down, but probably in the late 00s many transitioned to the lease model because new cars *then* were becoming kinda pricey for unemployed/semi-employed people. Even so, I think with the corporate welfare the Chevrolet Bolt is around the 20K mark and still these people weren’t shopping it so when are they coming for one if pricing isn’t the issue?

    “electric cars may be some of the only cars you can get a great deal on today”

    Dealers tend to be more flexible on lot poison for good reason.

    One more thing:

    “At least one Tesla driver in Canada, for example, has put more than 700,000 miles on their Tesla Model S”

    That is impressive but the Model S was introduced in June 2012 presumably as an MY13. So the oldest example is not quiet ten years old and we don’t know the age of the example which broke 700K. Also I seem to recall prior to a certain point Tesla was guaranteeing the batteries for life, so did this example do 700K on its original 2013-15 (?) battery or had they been serviced? What if I seldom drive, how much more or less is my battery going to degrade?

    EV has good commercial/fleet applications but not much else in the real world short of significant geopolitical events.

    • 0 avatar
      Oberkanone

      “At least one Tesla driver in Canada, for example, has put more than 700,000 miles on their Tesla Model S”

      I’m interested in knowing more. What type of driving? How many hours a day in the vehicle?

    • 0 avatar

      It’s interesting to note that the first Tesla Model S was available in 2012, so we do not yet have any major electric vehicles that are over 10 years old yet. I suppose there is the Leaf, but its very short range won’t do rural customers any favors.

      So I would say this article is a year or so ahead of its time.

  • avatar
    Pianoboy57

    I’m a rural resident and we recently had some electrical work done to our house. I had them run a line out to the garage for an EV charger. We don’t have an EV yet but someday we will. I hope they’ll be able to make an electric zero turn mower. I’m tired of the noise.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      How much was it to get the line installed?

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Smart move. I did the same when I had my garage rebuilt two years ago (electrical fire, burned to the ground), doing 240v 30A both inside and on the outside garage wall. Once that was done, my long term plans of going EV finally took off.

    • 0 avatar
      probert

      Their are electric zero turn mowers – I think Ego makes a l-ion one now, and pretty sure ryobi has a lead acid version.

    • 0 avatar
      Oberkanone

      There are more than 7 different brands of electric zero turn mowers available. Pricing begins at $4200.
      Someday is today.

      • 0 avatar
        ToolGuy

        Special Buy for the RYOBI 42 in. 75 Ah Battery Electric Riding Zero Turn Mower puts it at $3,599 (~2.5 acres on a charge). Free shipping (leave your truck at home). What a country!

        (100AH model available for $4,399.)

        The highly experimental and unproven sealed lead acid batteries (4 of them) can currently be replaced for $129.99 each. (So that’s probably a deal breaker, no maybe not.)

        https://images.thdstatic.com/catalog/pdfImages/14/14f9a61f-8071-45a7-a95c-f3b3081d9b8e.pdf

        • 0 avatar
          ToolGuy

          Dear ToolGuy, if I have a 4 acre lot, is it possible for me to mow 2 acres on Monday and then mow the remaining 2 acres on Tuesday? Will the neighbors gossip? Thanks in advance.

          Signed,
          Range Anxiety in Texas

        • 0 avatar
          ToolGuy

          Dear TTAC,

          Accounting for charging losses, that Ryobi mower uses something like $0.20 of electricity per acre. Won’t this wreck my budget and bring down the U.S. electrical grid?

          Signed,
          Chicken Little – Minneapolis, Canada

    • 0 avatar

      There actually is one – actually from my quick search it looks like there are a few. Unfortunately it’s about $35,000.

      Here’s a link: https://meangreenproducts.com/?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=MG-General&gclid=CjwKCAiAs92MBhAXEiwAXTi250pemA79iCj64n2o7jiLNGAbQtnmOXbc86zswjtnyEgF-tkMDi8o8RoCIgAQAvD_BwE

  • avatar
    Add Lightness

    I could never figure out why rural people tend to drive gas guzzlers. Often its rationalized by ‘needing a truck’ but I rarely see trucks getting used as trucks, especially the $70,000 fashion statements.
    If I was a rural person, I’d have a significant solar array and fuel for free. The payback on PV is 8 years or so but pumping lots of $ into the tank is a great way to never being able to afford going electric.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Last time I checked on solar, the payback for me was about 25 years if I went 100% off the grid. Suburban house, 2000 sq ft, gas heat, ~1000 kWH/month including the EV. My electricity runs about $140/month which includes the car.

      Going solar also requires a large investment in storage batteries and switchgear.

      I’ve never priced it seriously, but at my age (58), I’m not going to make investments with a payback much past my home ownership. I’d consider it if I was building new, and 30 years younger – but the younger me had no money.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @Add Lightness – I see a lot of rural folks with diesel pickups. That’s often because farm, mining, and logging equipment run on diesel. They don’t tend to heat with electric. Firewood is the main sort of heat. That needs a big vehicle to haul. Solar and wind makes sense but that’s capital intensive to set up.

  • avatar
    NigelShiftright

    EV’s clearly make so much sense, and are such an obvious improvement over ICE’s for so many drivers in so many ways, that what’s needed now is more legislation mandating their adoption.

    • 0 avatar
      chrissr

      Here is the problem with mandates. People don’t like being told what to do. People like freedom of choice. People will be defiant.
      On another note affordability. I bought my last new car in 2017. Paid under $20 thousand for it. Only bought it because I knew I would never have that opportunity again in this life time. I still own the car and will for many years to come. The problem for me with the idea of replacing my car with an EV is up front cost. A
      Model 3 cost 250% more than my last new car. Why I choose that for an example is the size is comparable to what I own. I can’t justify spending that kind of money. I’m sure many people fell the same.

      • 0 avatar
        Oberkanone

        I recently had body/paint work on my vehicle. Out of curiousity I asked three different body shops if they worked on TESLA. All three said no. They said they had capability though they were not TESLA certified and could not obtain parts support.
        Closest TESLA certified shop is 143 miles away. And my address is not 40th and Plum. Population of my county is 500,000.

        If I purchased an EV it would be a Bolt or Mustang to have access to dealer support.

        Point number 2 is noteworthy to me. I have family in rural Iowa. Median household income is $42K annual in the town they live in. There are many similar towns in the midwest. Residents own older vehicles due to affordability. EV is not affordable. There are zero public chargers in town. 25 mile drive to nearest public charger. Installation of home charger is a must. How does this work for renters of homes and apartments?

        I’m not supportive of a EV mandate. I fully support a build out of EV infrastructure.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Don’t forget to build few tens of nuclear power plants first. Otherwise you will be able to charge your EV only Tuesday and Saturday.

  • avatar
    haze3

    The value of #1 (more miles, more savings) is strongly dependent on #3 (at home charging) and the specific distances and areas involved. If >95% of your days are <200miles and you can charge at home, then EV's make a ton of sense. This probably does describe MOST rural drivers.

    In the end, #3 is the best reasoning, but it says more about the challenges of urban adoption than it does about rural advantage.

    As for #2 and #4, you buy a car when you need/want/are able to buy a car and you replace it with whatever meets your requirements. The new car/truck is ALWAYS way better than the old one (#2), including mileage. Now, an EV may max the benefit of change but ONLY if you are getting the car you need to do what you need to do… and we're not quite there for many rural drivers b/c there is no reasonable EV pickup truck available in 2021 and, likely, there will not be one in 2022 either (Lightning is going to be sold out/delayed b/c global supply chain). Also, some good EV's are not even available in rural states (e.g. Kia/Hyundai) due to limited battery supplies and lower incentives (non-CARB), so specifics matter.

    #5 is going to be true, in the end. Electric motors and batteries will outperform for reliability and maintenance, if the engineering is half-right. Teething pains will happen but it's not going to be close.

  • avatar
    Greg Hamilton

    Shocking fact: Batteries degrade over time. Thanks to Tesla’s over the air updates, Tesla can change the charging curve of your battery without you even knowing:
    “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkbuktuPWvE”

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      “Shocking fact: Batteries degrade over time.”

      That’s changing though. LFP batteries have crazy good durability and the new silicon anodes in the 4680 should be durable as well. A 4680 or LFP should easily outlast the car or any automotive ICE drivetrain.

      • 0 avatar
        Greg Hamilton

        MCS,

        You may be correct.
        You may know this already, but a good documentary on LFP batteries is this “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_GtSA4Ig9s”
        I find it strange that the Canadian power company that let the Chinese companies produce the LFP batteries domestically and thereby letting them acquire key manufacturing expertise while other countries were prohibited.
        It reminds me of the British selling the Soviets the Rolls Royce jet engine for MIG-15 or the U.S. selling the Soviets the Chistie tank as farm equipment.
        As Ian Fleming wrote:
        Once is happenstance. Twice is a coincidence, Three times is ….

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          I’m excited about the progress with sodium-ion batteries. They’re talking about getting the sodium-ion cell prices down to $33 per kWh. $2310 for 70 kWh worth of cells. With sodium-ion, you don’t need battery management so pack price would be close. The first uses we’ll see in EVs will probably be CATLs hydrid lithium-ion/sodium-ion packs.

          • 0 avatar
            Greg Hamilton

            MCS,
            Thanks for the tip. It appears graphene will help. Here’s an article you’ve probably already read:
            https://spectrum.ieee.org/graphene-sodium-ion-battery
            It seems you’re one of the intelligent ones on this site. Always appreciate useful info.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          @Greg Hamilton

          How well is that “oopsie” known in your county?

          @MCS

          How many kWh worth of cells are in small EV?

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            Currently, a small EV like the Bolt has 65kWh. That’s going to change soon. Next generation batteries are lighter including Teslas 4680 cells. As cells get lighter, fewer are needed for a given range. Having less cells lowers the cost, and because you need less cells for a given range, the charging times go down because the miles per minute rate goes up.

            Cells have been steadily getting lighter. THe original leaf I think was about 130 to 140 Watt hours per kilogram. The Model 3 I think is 260 Wh/kg. I think the 4680 cells will be 380 Wh/kg. That’s about a 175 lb weight reduction for a 65 kWh pack going from the Model 3’s cells to the 4680. It’s about a 646 lb weight reduction from the generation of cells that were in the Leaf.

            Pack weight reduction on Tesla will be greater because of the structural battery packs. Those numbers I don’t have.

            Cells are going to keep getting lighter. The EVs that we’ll see in the late 2020s are going to be entirely different animals that what we’re seeing today.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Thanks mcs.

            “The EVs that we’ll see in the late 2020s are going to be entirely different animals that what we’re seeing today.”

            Aluminum or carbon fiber bodies could be used long before then to reduce total curb weight (unless they already are in use and I was unaware).

  • avatar
    pmirp1

    If you are indeed rural, you do a lot of towing. I am yet to see towing with electric vehicles, and then with weight in them to see what the range is. Before then, electrics for rural are a fantasy of some city dude’s creation. Not to mention lack of charging stations. Not to mention price of entry for a so called real truck. Rivian price of entry is around 70,000 for a midsize truck.

    As I have said before, I drive every couple weeks between Atlanta and Savannah Georgia. That is a 260 mile drive each way. In all the years I do that, between beach house and Atlanta, I have only seen three Teslas on I-16/I-75/I-285. Three. In Atlanta you see a bunch of Teslas. In Savannah you see a few too. Nothing in between.

    And remember gang, that is the south, where weather is normally good. Right now on beach condo it is above 70 degrees. In the north range is even worse because of cold.

    Electrics are not ready for rural areas at all. Until you show me about hauling and towing. And lack of infrastructure for charging in equal time to doing a gas fill-up. Till then it is wishful thinking.

    And I haven’t even talked about price of entry for electric vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      Average Simp

      Oh get off it, people tow just fine with teslas! I’m 45 minutes from a rural area and most of what I see being towed around there are lawnmowers on trailers by superduty pickups. Something a car could easily tow.

      The entry price of the vehicle shouldn’t be a problem, people here that drive pickups tend to have 60k, 70k, hell even 80k pickups.

  • avatar
    Dan

    I don’t see the value angle, yeah rural drivers put the miles on and yeah China Joe made gas cost something again but there are several elephants in this room. Cheap EVs are little tiny chit boxes, they still aren’t that cheap, and the 10,000 dollar plus delta to just buying a Civic buys an awful lot of gas.

  • avatar
    bullnuke

    I live in a rural area surrounded by ethanol fields or plastics fields (crop rotation year to year) and experience, from time to time, power outages due to ice/thunderstorms/wind events. Though this may be “anecdotal” we experienced a three-day power outage a few years ago. No electrical power was pretty serious – it was a late winter ice storm and we have electric ceiling cable heating. We had to heat the house with a propane heater (yeah, dangerous but kept the temp above 40deg F) and used my wife’s old ’98 Yukon for power via an inverter to power necessities, rotating loads from time to time. We filled the bathtub with water until the pressure tank stopped pushing as the well pump was off. I’m not a fan of all electric homes and this incident strengthened the dislike of dependency upon electricity – my wife and I just again had a discussion about installing a standby generator as we had an outage the other day due to an auto accident 15 miles away taking out an electrical pole. I couldn’t imagine being out here depending upon a vehicle that could not be refueled/recharged during an extended period of time in such a situation as I spelled out above if it were needed to allow travel for some serious reason. Some of the commentary I see here on TTAC seems to indicate that several folks believe that electricity is “made in the wall somewhere” or “comes out of those big gray things hanging on the pole by the street” and never fails beyond a quick blip/blink that just requires resetting all the clocks, resetting the desktop, and restarting Netflix on the tube. Loss of electricity in rural areas is quite a serious thing for many of us living out here. As @28 said above, “EV has good commercial/fleet applications but not much else in the real world short of significant geopolitical events.”, and I believe this also.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      @bullnuke Sir, you are preaching to the choir. I had an electrician redo the wiring on my old farmhouse so it would take a load from a Honda generator. Small generator? Pump, kitchen, select which room gets electrons. Big generator? Add HVAC to the original list. I can’t see someone going “honey no water pump because I gotta charge up the EV”. Full house generator? It’s not THAT bad. After hours or days of power being out and seeing numerous REMC truck, the lights miraculously flick on.

      It’s not much better in the big city. I lived in Alexandria VA and we caught the edges of a hurricane. Power was out to my little condo for three days. I could thankfully shower and shave at work. Oh, I was forced to drink those beers before hey went bad. In my neighborhood, the more your (town)house cost, the quicker your electricity was turned on. The apartment building next to me was out for four days.

      • 0 avatar
        haze3

        This stuff is valid but it’s actually a good case for the right EV as a 2nd/3rd vehicle.

        I live in hurricane country with the requisite generator and house hook-up. The Generac is fine but a charged F150 Lightning will run your house for 2-3 days all by itself. Significantly, it will run your house SILENTLY at night and safely in the rain, so you can run the not-quiet or not-rain proofed generator during the day. It is an even better solution for the short, accident driven outages.

        This does NOT mean EV’s are perfect, nor should one be your only vehicle or power source at this time, esp. for rural owners. In fact, currently, the F150 Power-Boost Hybrid will do everything that the Lightning will do, just burning gasoline. It’s just about as quiet and every bit as rain proof and less limiting as a single vehicle (towing, distance, etc.).

  • avatar
    el scotto

    I’ll make it real simple. If you live somewhere where you can’t get your groceries delivered, you are not a candidate for an EV. If you plugin in a small town, the closest public charger will be in a big town -crediting John Mellencamp there.

    Jimmy Cool Ray, the local part bar owner, part trucking company owner, landlord of sketchy houses, and the town’s biggest trailerlord might buy a Tesla. See, he’d take who two best buds who only go by their first two initials (JD, WW, LR, the list is truly endless) on high-speed ludicrous runs.

    Liquor laws are odd in the Midwest. Jimmy CR’s bar can legally open at 6 A.M. Third shift guys stopping for just a couple before they go home or other guys chowing down on a breakfast of grease, carbs, pig protein, and black coffee. Jimmy Cool Ray often partakes of breakfast, brings in the paper, and his laptop. He worked some sort of deal with two licensed electricians that involved cash, takeaway beer, some free breakfast coupons, and two free baseball hats with the bar’s name on them. That is how the Tesla charger with the “Reserved for Tesla’s Only” sign got installed in front of the bar. Jimmy Cool Ray always plays the angles.

    That is how EV chargers will be installed in locales where seed company hats are worn with pride.

  • avatar
    Tele Vision

    I asked my work about plugging an EV into the wall while I’m out and about in Caterpillar stuff. They said, “Don’t ask; don’t tell.” My issue is that, while I live in a smaller city and work out of a hamlet a few miles away, I often have to punch through 3′ or 4′ snowdrifts just to get to work – so others don’t have to later in the day.

    My 2010 F-150 does this admirably and, with just 145,000 Kms on it, will continue to do so for many more years. It’s paid for and barely costs me anything to run it for half of the year.

    A new AWD/4WD EV that can tow my boat through The Rocky Mountains as well as get me to work through the drifts AND do dump runs and tow cool old cars home might be a bit of a wallet shock compared to what I already have.

    tl;dr I’m not going to blow CDN$90,000 to replace something that doesn’t need replacing. Were that the case I’d sell my 2007 CTS-V and buy a 2017 CTS-V. The ole’ Ford stays.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      @Tele Vision Sir, the wise-acre in me wants to ask if you tow your boat through snowdrifts./s

      • 0 avatar
        Tele Vision

        @el scotto

        I have – though just to park it on my land. No room in town for it and I’m buggered if I’m paying indoor storage fees for something made entirely of fibreglass and aluminium.

        Cows ate my boat cover – no one has ever written that before.

        • 0 avatar
          el scotto

          @Tele Vision Sir, I almost spit out my ice tea reading that. You have the chorus of a future country music hit right there.

          • 0 avatar
            Tele Vision

            @el scotto

            I wish we could upload pictures on this site. They left the hull alone but apparently pulled the cover off so hard that part of the frame broke. No evidence of the cover anywhere. Simmentals will gnaw anything!

  • avatar
    mor2bz

    Writer Jo, please go to aintgonnahappen.com

  • avatar
    JD-Shifty

    I’m rural and don’t do a lot of towing. almost none, and what little I do, I could do in a Civic

  • avatar
    JaySeis

    I live in rural USA and commute 90 miles a day. Charge at home. Save $$. Traded in the 9 year old ICE SUV for a BEV SUV on the dealer lot surrounded by truck that’ll haul asses and nothing else. I’m fine with screwing the frackers, Saudis, and you ICE drivers are going to be drug kicking and screaming in to the 21st century. I sure don’t miss gas pumps.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Lunacy. Where your electricity comes from? What if the grid collapses and your outlet has no juice for a couple of days? Or for 3 days per week?
      Do you understand that all the ICE bashing from the government is nothing but political stunt that serves current trend. Some people right now believe that they can get rid of all the comfort and life will go on. Give it 5 years of cold winters and hungry springs, and number of idiots will decrease. And they will say, “ok, I am cold. I need gas to heat my home”

      You should visit Israel in Summer. And see how people don’t run A/Cs too much. Because KWT there costs x3 vs US. Be careful what you wish for.

      • 0 avatar
        bullnuke

        The same as the meat being made in the backroom of the grocery store, electricity is made in the wall just behind the outlet cover plate. Nothing to worry about. It’s always there…

  • avatar
    slavuta

    4 – EVS ARE BECOMING MORE AFFORDABLE FOR EVERYONE

    Really??

    • 0 avatar
      285exp

      He did say more affordable, not affordable.

      The point of this article seems to be that them countryfolk are too dumb to figure out what’s good for them. I think many of them look at vehicles as tools, not toys. Back when I bought my F250, I needed a vehicle that could pull a horse trailer hundreds of miles to horse shows some weekends and a heavy center console fishing boat to the coast on others, and no currently available EV truck at any price, not the mention at an affordable price, can do what my Stone Age technology V10 gas truck can. The impressive looking range of those $60k pickups will plummet when pulling those kinds of loads, and hours would be added to already long trips having to recharge multiple times, assuming you can find a place to do it. I could pull my truck/trailer combo into any of dozens of truck stops and gas stations along the way, recharge my 30 gallon gas tank in 10 minutes, and be on my way. 20 or 30 minutes later an EV would still not be fully recharged, so you’d be leaving with only 80% or so of an already limited range, making it necessary to stop even more often since you dare not push the limits on the range due to the scarcity of recharging stations, especially in rural areas. Sitting at a recharging station for a half hour or more in the summer with a trailer full of animals might even kill them, and you can’t even use some charging stations without dropping the trailer. No, not everyone does that, but many do, and current state of price, range, and charging infrastructure make EVs ill suited for a lot of people.

      On the Gulf coast, we also have these things called hurricanes, with the resulting power failures that can last for weeks in rural areas, since the first priority will for restoring power to urban areas. Evacuations will be fun too.

      One day, these price, range, and charging problems will be solved, these are not those days.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    I live in a rural subdivision. Nearly everyone has a garage. Virtually nobody uses theirs, but parks the car near the road entrance, so that after the snow plow goes by there’s less to shovel or blow.Had an ice-storm? Use that remote to start the car, warm it through and melt the crap off the windows. By the time you’ve salted the area to make traction, the car she is toasty and ready to roll.

    There’s a reason EVs and autonomous driving nerds tend to live in places where the snow doesn’t fly. If they did, they wouldn’t have had the idea of pushing on a string to see what happens. They would already know.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      “There’s a reason EVs and autonomous driving nerds tend to live in places where the snow doesn’t fly.”

      That’s untrue. In the tropical paradise of Norway, sales of BEVs have reached 62.5% of the market. Here in Massachusetts, Teslas are everywhere. You see them constantly.

      While a few park at the end of the driveway, most people do use their garages or park near the house. Everyone has a plow guy or a big snow blower, so the driveway isn’t an issue.

      We have remote start on EVs as well, but since we aren’t limited to heat from the engine (which can be less in extreme cold), we can get full heat no matter how cold it is outside. I used to have a dedicated charging station at my remote workplace and could stay plugged in all day. I had a timer set that would max out the heat and defrosters an hour or so before I left and I’d be the cleanest car in the parking lot.

      • 0 avatar
        285exp

        If we wish to come close to the EV take rate of the tropical paradise of Norway, our elected representatives are going to have to step up and impose the same kind of rules that the Norwegians have.

        First, a 25% sales tax on ICE vehicles and none on EVs. That will pretty much close the price gap between the two classes.

        Second, impose a high import tax on ICE vehicle and none on EVs. Of course pretty much all vehicles in Norway are imported, and our evil car manufacturers could just build them here, so we need to just change that to a destination charge. Fixed!

        Third. Impose surcharges for weight, emissions, and horsepower for ICE vehicles. All of the above would double or more the price of ICE vehicles, but we’re not done!

        Let’s double fuel prices too, exempt EVs from road and ferry tolls, and set up thousands of publicly funded charging stations where they can park and charge for free.

        Of course the Norwegians already have around 90% green power due to the plentiful amount of hydroelectric generation, and we might have a bit of a problem there, but I’m sure we can build enough windmills and solar power farms to supply all these vehicles.

        Then comes the matter of how to pay for all this. It won’t come from the increased taxes and fees, because there simply won’t be any significant sales of ICE vehicles. We can just keep on printing money I guess, or maybe we can just do like the morally superior Norwegians. They are one of the worlds largest exporters of oil and gas, so we can just drill, baby, drill, and sell the oil and gas to China, where they don’t give a crap about emissions, and they’re on the other side of the world anyway, so it won’t affect us.

        Finally, we can recruit an army of angry, scowling, mentally ill pigtailed teenage girls to harangue us about destroying the world until we submit.

        So, let’s go Brandon! You’re making great headway on increasing fuel prices already.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          @285exp: I was responding to an individual saying that EVs weren’t sold in cold climates and pointing out that Norway is a cold climate and EVs are still popular. If they weren’t capable of making runs to the arctic circle (those are my favorite benchmarks/reviews) no amount of government magic would help. Let’s go cofefe!

          • 0 avatar
            285exp

            No, he didn’t say that EVs weren’t sold in places it got cold, he said they tended to sell better in places where it didn’t, which is clearly not the same thing. Then you jump in with the high EV adoption rate in Norway, which is due primarily because Norway has made the purchase of ICE vehicles prohibitively expensive, not because cold climates don’t affect EVs more negatively than ICE vehicles. Norway tested the effects of cold on EV range, and found they lost an average of nearly 20% in their test, with the model 3 losing a whopping 28%.

            https://www.autoblog.com/2020/03/21/electric-cars-cold-weather-testing/?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly9kdWNrZHVja2dvLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAHcrxUKwLi_LGA6MezYlY8Tm3qgE9FGdqO1CYL6mzZHfyJ6w02Kn4occU9TwrOU88JyyrM3gtrrVq8YNjj6bHgTbx8Gs_OUMcfIydaFwlE8q_D-J6svoZ-sN_2ReTxrMqKubU_gh9A0X6WFa7R6AW1RFIm8h7Q1ttFiiBuQnAYgq

            You are clearly very knowledgeable about EVs, and also very Enthusiastic, and like other True Believers you tend to attack the heretics who dare to question the True Religion, regardless of whether the things they say are true or not. Maybe you could try to be a bit more objective and admit when people make valid observations and criticisms and not automatically say “nuh uh!”.

            Or not.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Since even the cleanest gas cars are extremely dirty on cold start, remote start with gas cars just results in the car and everything within about 100 feet of it sitting in a cloud of stinky, toxic exhaust. Yuck.

      Remote start with EVs that are plugged in, on the other hand, is a miracle. Full cabin heat without using up any range (and, since the heat has to do less work once you’re underway, even a positive effect on range).

  • avatar
    mcs

    There is another factor in farm country that wasn’t mentioned (although I did only skim the article). Farmers are discovering they can combine power generation with farming. Both wind generation and something called agrivoltaics where solar farms are used to grow crops and for animal grazing. There are some rules with it, like you can’t graze goats because they’ll eat the wires, but sheep leave them alone. But, if farmers have their own power station on the premises, they’re going to want to use electric equipment rather than spending money on diesel.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agrivoltaic

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/02/16/wind-energy-can-help-american-farmers-earn-money-avoid-bankruptcy/4695670002/

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      @mcs Sir, you really have to investigate what each rural electric provider allows and how much they charge. Back home in Indiana, Duke energy provides the electricity to most of the small towns. Your local REMC (Rural Electric Membership Cooperation) will charge two or three times as much for electricity. It just gets worse from there. Most of the time their management’s attitudes are stuck in a black & white sitcom mind frame. Install solar panels? a wind turbine and sell electricity back to us? No, no, and no. They’re much more concerned if Mrs. Cleaver is helping Beaver out of a jam or what kind of pie Aunt Bea is fixing for dessert. I try to stay out of politics, while this site goes out of its way to involve them, but most of the REMC directors are MAGA Republicans. https://www.wabe.org/how-biden-won-ramping-up-the-base-and-expanding-margins-in-the-suburbs/

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        @el scotto: Yeah, I read about a farmer that wanted to go to agrivoltaics, but there were land use restrictions. He was able to get them to change the laws. He said it was the only way he was going to make money.

        I think a lot of farmers are decent businessmen and regardless of politics, if they can make more money from their land, they’ll go for it. I read it even helps reduce the costs of crop irrigation.

        Right now, in Massachusetts, our local municipal electric companies do pay for generated electricity and will be working with me on my system. I checked on rural power companies for my Texas and New Mexico locations and they both have the forms in place to do it. And Vermont, I don’t even need to check. Solar everywhere there. Lots of the big sun-following panels.

  • avatar
    tedward

    I still see evs as a great third family (or 2nd solo) car, but that’s it. Someone mentioned 3 days with power down last year. I had 6 days in a row and I’m only an hour or so from nyc, hardly upstate. Thats a non trivial wrinkle in the transport plans but acceptable as an interuption of my lawn mowing. When i lived in a truly rural area the current 250ish range would have been fine for cars though, but that’s completely useless for loads and tows in a truck application. So yeah, all of them are miata alternatives as it sits. This is fine, but people are sooooo excited by all of this that they are grossly overselling their applicability.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      “Someone mentioned 3 days with power down last year. I had 6 days in a row and I’m only an hour or so from NYC, ”

      Then you just go to a public charger. If you were out driving around, then you would have passed a public charger. There is a massive amount of public charging within 60 miles of NYC. If you weren’t driving during those six days, then you weren’t consuming power in the car. You also could have driven to a public charger, loaded up on electricity, then “hauled” it back home and run off of an inverter. With solar and grid storage, you wouldn’t even notice if power was down.

      “I still see evs as a great third family (or 2nd solo) car, but that’s it.”

      You didn’t give a reason? Why couldn’t it be first? A 300, 400, or 500 mile range car isn’t enough? Do you think the average family has a 1,000 mile commute every day? Third car? What’s up with that? I was doing a 100-mile round trip commute for years with a 100-mile range EV and workplace charging. I even took the thing on vacations. 200 or 300 miles of range would be a luxury. Now, with an occasionally 40-mile round trip commute, it’s a piece of cake. With a 280-mile range car I could do that 40 mile range commute for a week without charging.

  • avatar
    Average Simp

    Says rural people- MUH TRUCK MUH TRUCK IM COUNTRY CAUSE MUH TRUCK,

    You can’t behave as ignorantly in a EV as a gas or diesel pickup, no loud exhaust or blowing raw diesel out of the exhaust to roll coal.

    Rural dwellers on average are a fairly ignorant and uneducated segment of the population. Just look at vaccination rates in rural areas.

    There is one goober I seen on Facebook who is in an ICU with covid 5 hours from home out in the country. The family has started a go fund me to fund fuel expenses to travel the 5 hours in thier gas swilling pickup truck to go to the hospital or be near it. Not sure why, can you visit a covid patient in the hospital?

    ‘Murica

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      I’m not sure whether this comment is serious or intended to be humorous. The name “Average Simp” is not accurate – “Exceptionally Simp” might be more appropriate.

  • avatar
    Average Simp

    Oh get off it, people tow just fine with teslas! I’m 45 minutes from a rural area and most of what I see being towed around there are lawnmowers on trailers by superduty pickups. Something a car could easily tow.

    The entry price of the vehicle shouldn’t be a problem, people here that drive pickups tend to have 60k, 70k, hell even 80k pickups.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Those worried about the grid going down are actually making a case for EVs. I have lived through 3 major power outages in my lifetime. And each time all of the gas stations also stopped operating. You could not purchase fuel when the stations did not have electricity.

    But if you have a home generator or wind or solar power, then in theory you could recharge your EV at home.

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      I don’t know about anyone else but we keep several gallons of gasoline and #2 fuel oil as a hedge on an outage or severe storm. To not do this makes no sense.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Most modern furnaces require electricity to operate the blower fan. The ‘ignition’ also requires electricity.

        • 0 avatar
          bullnuke

          We got my mother-in-laws furnace to fire in town using a Honda generator through a UPS block to clean the voltage for the electronic burner controls. Worked great, needed nothing but fossil fuel to operate after that. Our house was out of luck – all electric home. Propane spot heater kept us from freezing.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      A-ha! So we get EVs to fight climate change, then when we are out of juice we start running home generators to pollute right back. Nice.

  • avatar
    probert

    Walmart is installing DC fast chargers at their super stores, and Loves is putting in chargers, Ford will have truck that is recognizable as such etc. Rural distrusts change and new things (generally) – but as these charging stations and EVs that look like normal cars, become more prevalent, rural will buy in. Don’t think flyover will ever be a big market for Aptera though.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    I don’t know about the august B&B. I’m down to a quarter tank of gas. I’m sure the EV drivers on here know how much charge they have. No one gets up and says geez, I sure hope I have enough gas to get to work. Well, in my younger days there were times I hoped I had enough gas to get to work; blame that on Milwaukee and Lynchburg.

    No one has explained how long it will take to charge up if I forgot to plug in the night before. We’ve all forgotten to buy gas. Will AAA offer a charge-up service?

    Either way; if you’re out of petrol or electrons, you don’t need to top off; you just need enough to get you to a gas station or a charger.

    I intend to top off tomorrow morning at Wawa. Love me some Cafe Con Leches. If an EV doesn’t come with a locate charger app it should. I’m sure most EV drivers have charger apps on their phones.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      “Will AAA offer a charge-up service?”

      Yeah, they’ve got that covered already. This article is 5 years old and they’ve expanded.

      https://www.caranddriver.com/news/a15346575/placebo-on-wheels-aaa-charging-trucks-seek-to-remedy-ev-range-anxiety-prove-mostly-unneeded/

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Dear TTAC, it’s about time for a new television for this family of possibly inbred most likely rural simpletons. Should we stick with rear projection, or should we try out one of those new plasma sets?

    https://www.cnet.com/tech/home-entertainment/remember-when-tvs-weighed-200-pounds-a-look-back-at-tv-trends-over-the-years/

    Oh, and how much electricity will the new TV use? (Since the third job mostly pays for gasoline and that will never change)

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    We have a minivan out in the country. We do live 15 miles from major enough towns to have chargers and we have a place to charge at home. One thing we do NOT have is a choice in BEV minivans.

  • avatar
    F6Dave

    It’s easy to see the appeal of EVs. They’re mechanically simpler and perform great. But I can’t understand why so few people ask this basic, critical question: where will we get the electricity to charge all these things?

    Our grid is barely adequate. Remember the Texas freeze last February? People lost power and hundreds died, with many literally freezing to death. And in other places like California, blackouts that were rare just a decade ago are increasing in frequency. How can we possibly add millions of electric cars, trucks, heat pumps, kitchen appliances, water heaters, and countless other gadgets to this fragile grid?

    Wind and solar can’t make up the difference. Governments have spent hundreds of billions of dollars subsidizing wind and solar, yet fossil fuels still provide over 80% of the world’s energy. And here’s an interesting fact: the fossil fuel contribution to our energy mix has dropped by less than one percent in the last 40 years.

    So why haven’t wind and solar made a dent in fossil fuel consumption? The biggest reason is global energy demand, which is growing so fast that all those new wind and solar farms can’t even keep up with the increase. And since environmental activists also oppose nuclear, fossil fuels have to handle the growth. Global oil consumption is now at a record 100 million barrels per day. Except for a brief drop in 2020, consumption has been steadily increasing for decades by about a million barrels per day every year.

    So to answer to the initial question, where will we get all the additional electricity if politicians succeed in forcing the mass adoption of EVs? The answer is there probably won’t be enough electricity. We’ll have rationing, and the freedom of mobility we now enjoy will be restricted. It’s already happening in the UK. Starting in May of 2022, recent legislation will mandate EV charging ports in new residential and commercial construction. These will be ‘smart’ chargers, which means they’ll automatically shut off between 8 and 11 AM, between 4 and 10 PM, and at random 30 minute periods when demand is high. That’s effectively rationing, and it’s probably already under consideration in a large city near you.

    We should never forget that energy is the most important commodity on the planet. Without energy we couldn’t cultivate food, nor could we process it, refrigerate it, or transport it to market. Without energy clean drinking water would be a luxury, and life saving pharmaceuticals and medical devices couldn’t exist. If reliable energy (coal/nat gas/nuclear/hydro) were to disappear, civilization would collapse into chaos in a matter of days. We’d be living in a Mad Max scenario.

  • avatar
    ravenuer

    Lots of differing views here. Mostly intelligent and quite interesting!

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