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EVs Are Not Ready For Prime Time

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I recently had a few discussions about EVs. I adore my electric vehicle, but the infrastructure and technology are hardly primetime ready. I’ll use my current circumstance as an example. My house charger decided to stop working. Due to this, I was left last night with a car that was unable to transport me to and from work.

Six employee chargers are available at my place of employment, but four of them are broken and have been since we returned to the office in February 2022, making it nearly impossible to use one. So I had to go find a public charger last night at 8:00. Three locations with public chargers are within a mile of my house, according to the PlugIn app. When I went to use one, this is what I discovered.

The two chargers at the grocery store are rusting away because Blink went out of business. The chargers from a different company that were located in a different grocery store are also defunct and rusting away. One is listed as being public at the Nissan dealership, but it is actually hidden behind the service gate. There are two ChargePoint ones at the AAA Service Center, which is less than a mile from my house. The other was on but displayed “Station is Disabled,” while the first was completely unplugged and broken.

Then I recalled that a Fry’s grocery store about two miles away was currently constructing a brand-new bank of chargers. I went there and discovered four brand-new, open 50kW CHAdeMO super chargers. Theoretically, it should only take you 20 to 30 minutes to go from 0% to 80%. One issue I’ve encountered everywhere I’ve gone is the fact that none of that shit is true. You are fortunate if you receive 10-15 kW, which takes the super from supercharger. I typically pull 19kW, but I was able to peak at 22kW. I would have needed two hours to charge my battery from 40% to 80%.

Therefore, please tell those who don’t own EVs to STFU when they attempt to describe what it’s like to own one in reality. Nissan wanted $2,500 for a new home charging station, too, oh yeah.

So, when I hear Biden say that he wants 60% of all cars to be EVs in the next 8-10 years, I laugh. According to the US Department of Transportation, there were approximately 287.3 million registered vehicles on American roads as of 2021. This includes motorcycles, trucks, buses, and other kinds of vehicles, such as passenger cars. Only 1.8 million of these were electric cars, with the vast majority running on gasoline, diesel, or other fuels. So approximately 0.6% of cars today are electric. Increasing that to 60% means having 172 million by 2030.

Let’s do math. Today, there are approximately 125,000 public EV chargers across the US. I debate those numbers because many listed as public are anything but. Case in point was the Nissan dealership from last night and my officer chargers, which are also listed as public but in a very secured, employee only, parking structure. But, let’s use that number. With 1.8 million EVs on the road, there is about 1 public charger for every 14 cars. According to the US Department of Transportation, after Biden’s infrastructure bill that dedicated about $7.5 billion to EVs and building out the grid. USDOT says that in the next 10 years, there will be approximately 500,000 charging stations in the US. If Biden gets his 60%, there will be only 500,000 public chargers for 172 million EVs, or 1 public charger for every 344 cars! Shit, I had to drive around for an hour last night to find one I could use and I’m currently only competing with 14 other EV owners in theory.

S&P Global, a company that attempts to predict future trends in economics and society, reports that the US needs at least 2.5 million chargers, most super chargers, by 2030 to even keep up with the increases in EV purchases if their popularity continues trending like it is currently. According to S&P, they expect an 8-fold increase by 2030, or about 15 million EVs on the road, which is a far, far cry from Biden wanting 172 million.

I love my EV. I will always own one, but they come with an additional layer of need. You have to plan your day. You have to plan your trips. You have to be disciplined enough to keep it charged. They are definitely not for everyone. Especially because they are expensive.

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