Electric Vehicles

There’s stuff about EVs scattered in other threads, so I figured I’d start a dedicated thread.

Here’s what prompted this: I had no idea how fucked up the charging network is. To wit:

I know investment in charging infrastructure is one of the elements of Biden’s BBB plan, but it looks like we also need to issue regulations regarding charger connectors. Given that GM has already announced that it’s going all-electric, this would seem to be important.

We can’t even standardize cell phone charger connectors, fat chance they can do it with EVs.


I think the problem is overblown. I don’t own an EV but I know people that do and they almost never go to a charging station. They are all homeowners, so it’s easy to charge their cars when not in use.

How often would you buy gasoline if somehow your car’s tank was full every morning when you leave for work? I realize that cross-country is still an issue but that is the smallest use case for most people, is not a problem if you have a Tesla, and is improving for the other networks.

I agree with standardization and I think, as with all industries, one will emerge. I don’t think EV charging stations have to equal gasoline stations in number to have equivalent market service. Home charging will always be a significant, if not dominate, means for charging one’s EV.


I think the difference is that people will line up for a day for a new phone, so the demand is already baked in. No need to make charging easier because we buy that shit anyway.

With EVs, for which there is a policy preference, they will need to knock down barriers to uptake. As the above clip shows, we’re already under the crossover price point, so the next biggest thing is ease of and access to charging.

As Tex said above, cross-country driving is not an everyday thing for most people. Freeway supercharger stations are a necessity for those occasions, but we don’t need them on every street corner like we do gas stations. In addition to easy overnight charging at home, many destinations (hotels etc.) offer free charging at the other end; there should at least be an outlet to connect to.

But that only works if their male fits your female.

It would make sense for there to be a mandated universal connection for cars like there is a mandated universal connection for baby seats. Better to do it now, before the car companies have already sourced the connectors.

Also, if the government is going to install charger stations, they should pick one connector and make that the standard. It’ll save on cost.

There is another problem preventing widespread adoption of EVs…if everyone had one, we’d need a shit ton more charging stations. Imagine if every car you see on the road had to stop for 30-minutes to re-charge. Granted, not everyone would recharge at the same time, but how many vehicles does an average gas pump go through in 30 minutes? Now imagine limiting that to one…each pump out there can refuel two cars/hour. What kind of clusterfuck would that be. Offer charging at the office or at that hotel? It’s fine when you have say 10, even 20 charge ports, and you’re not competing with every other person on the road for that spot. What do you do when you need 1,000 ports at each and every location? We still think of EVs and the charging problem in terms of it being less than 1% of the cars on the road. This problem amplies at an alarming rate when it steps up to 10%, let alone getting it to 100%. We are just so far from having any sort of workable infrastructure to reach that tipping point, regardless of the cost/range of the vehicles.

This is only an issue for intercity travel. A standard wall outlet adds about 5 miles of range per hour so, even without a dedicated home charger unit, you can add 60 miles of range overnight. So, as long as your commute is less than that round trip, you will never need to visit a public charging station. You’ll start Monday morning with a full charge and just top up for your commute each night.

If it’s longer, it will make it worthwhile in adding a home charger so that you’ll wake up every morning with a full ~250 miles of range. Same result - no public charger usage.

As for actual intercity travel, the trick is not to charge on the road to 100%. Charge to 50% in about 15 minutes and then station-hop like this in 150 mile increments to your destination. I would imagine that 15 minutes isn’t much longer than the average time a car is parked by a pump at Buccee’s.

It’s the frequency, not volume of charging stations that is the problem.

Like you never need to charge your phone anywhere but overnight at your house?

Because this is how most people like to travel long distances…stopping for 15 minutes at a gas station every hour and a half? I don’t mind stopping at Buc-ee’s once on my drive to San Antonio, but I don’t want to have to do it 3 times each way.

I think you vastly underestimate the number of gasoline powered cars currently on the road and effect it would have if every one of them only had a 60-120 mile limit without needing an extended stop to recharge.

I appreciate your optimism, but your rose-colored glasses are awfully dark.

No. But while your phone may have a proprietary connector into the unit itself, the wall socket you plug it into is universal, as mandated by federal edict. Making topping up away from home easy.

It’s not as convenient as going 300 miles on a full tank, of course. But that’s for extreme long journeys that most people will do once or twice a year. Meanwhile, the average commute in the US is 16 miles each way, which means the a average American could do a week’s worth of commuting on a single charge and still have 100 miles of range left for other errands.

The trade off you seem to have a problem with is stopping fewer times on those rare extra-long trips vs. never having to go to a gas station on a week-to-week basis, the increased reliability of EVs, vastly lower maintenance, fuel cost that about 1/5th that of gasoline and, oh yeah, saving the planet.

Gasoline-powered cars are going away. Not all of them and not in the immediate future. But when GM says it’s going to stop making them, you can be pretty sure that the technology is a dead one. Commercial interests will build the infrastructure to fuel the increase of EVs on the road as demand requires; the government needs to fill in the non-commercial gaps just like it did with rural electrification.

My glasses my be rose-colored, but at least I can still see through them.

Just to throw a wet blanket out there: what percentage of cars in your neighborhood are parked out on the street rather in a garage where they might get recharged?

Most EV have a rated 300 mile range these days, some more. If one uses the battery ultra conservatively, that’s 200 miles of “usable range” with a healthy reserve. San Antonio is 200 miles from Houston. Why would you have to stop at all, let alone three times?

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To me this is one of the more important pieces of this discussion. Because the answer is Of course I don’t, not anymore. And we’re certainly on the same trajectory with evs as batteries get better, more powerful, and smaller and charging technologies get better, more powerful and faster, never mind more common.

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I’ve been seriously thinking about an electric car, either the new Ford F150 or the Volkswagen van that’s scheduled for 2023. The thing is, I do make road trips–long road trips, and I’m retiring, so I plan to make a lot more. This year we’ve driven in separate trips to Kansas, Arkansas, Minnesota, and Taos.

I was looking at the Alaska highway. There’s an 800 mile stretch without charging stations. I was looking at a road trip to Maine. That seems to be doable, at least theoretically.

I really don’t mind waiting 30 minutes in the middle of a drive. I can walk the dogs. I can get something to eat. But I have to be able to get charged, have a place to walk the dogs, have a place to pee, and have a place to get something to eat. If my range is 250 miles that means what’s now a 13 hour drive for 800 miles turns into, maybe a 14 hour drive, If all I have to do is add about 15 minutes to current gas breaks. If I have to wait in line for an hour for a charger, that’s a different thing. I just need to be assured that the infrastructure is there to make that trip.

It occurred to me that all those “free squeegee” ads were actually about stopping to pee.

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Better late than never.

I don’t have a problem with any of it. I’m saying I don’t think we’re nearly as close to the “tipping point” as you do, mainly because the infrastructure just isn’t anywhere close to where it would need to be to work on any by large scale, despite other factors no longer being prohibitive.

And we haven’t even addressed how we’re going to generate all that electricity needed to charge all of those cars. There’s only one practical long-term solution to massive, non-fossil fuel electrical generation, and we don’t ever want to talk about that.

I’m not arguing that we’ll never get there, I’m suggesting we’re still a very long way away.

Because under Limey’s scenario I’m never fully charged. I only have 50-100 miles range at any given time.

You’re presumably fully charged when you start, and maybe when you start each day. The video said that if you were driving 400 miles with a 200 mile range, assuming you start with a 200 mile charge, it would be faster to charge twice at 100 miles apiece than once to 200 miles because the batteries charge much slower the closer you get to full charge.

Understood. Because you don’t take into account the time it takes to get the initial 200 mile charge. But that’s kinda like saying I can go 400 miles on one tank of gas; therefore I can go 1,200 while having to fill up twice. Sure, you can cook that math for any individual segment, provided you ignore whatever you had to do to get the initial setup. But as a matter of practice, people are simply going to resist having to stop to charge every 50-100 miles. Not saying they won’t eventually get there, but there’s gonna be some push back.

Yeah, and I fill up my car at the 1/2 tank. It would drive me nuts to have to take the battery under 50% just so it would fill faster.

I assume you always start the drive with a full tank though, so whether I did that by going to the gas station the afternoon before or plug in my car the night before, it seems all the same to me.

Sure, if you don’t mind waiting until tomorrow to leave. But what if you want to drive in from Dallas, pick up Grandma, and leave after dinner?

The time for that initial charge is still time that your vehicle is out of service and cannot be driven. Maybe that’s just fine. Maybe it’s a pain in the ass.