Ryan Cornell, a writer for Slate, and an enthusiastic electric car owner, recently wrote an article extolling the virtues of owning an EV:
Electric vehicles save a significant amount of time in daily driving; one second to plug in at home is significantly faster than spending 10 minutes to stop and fill up with gasoline. It’s possible that long road trips can take more time in an EV, but the difference disappears quickly if you are driving with kids or like to partake in such extravagances as eating or going to the bathroom. What rarely gets discussed is the significant advantage that EVs have on short road trips.
When we hear “road trip” we think about long days of driving and multiple stops to fill up with gas. In reality, 78 percent of road trips are 50 to 249 miles one way. If you hop in a gasoline-powered car and drive 150 miles one way, it is likely that you will still need to stop for gas on the way home. But most new electric vehicles thrive at this distance, and as long as you can charge at your destination, you won’t have to stop at all. I am not speaking about this in a hypothetical sense. I am speaking from experience.
Our family has made the 140-mile trek from Scottsdale to Oro Valley, Arizona, countless times over the past 15 years. For most of those years we drove in a gas car, and we stopped at a gas station on every single one of those trips. Now, you might be thinking: Didn’t your car have more than 280 miles of range? Of course. But it was unlikely that we started with close to a full tank of gas, which means that our range was always less than the maximum.
The process is much simpler in our electric vehicle: We start the trip with a full battery. Plug in when we get there. Spend the day or night. Then drive home. No unnecessary stops along the way. No wasted time.
Cornell says it takes one second to charge an EV at home and ten minutes to fuel a gas-powered vehicle. Really? Does it really take six-hundred times longer to gas up your vehicle? Of course not. You have to pull your EV into the driveway and into your garage. Then you have to get out of your car, open the charging port, and plug it in. You then must repeat this process when you leave the next day.
We drive a 2020 Ford Edge, which cost us almost $40,000. A similar EV would cost $60,000.
The average transaction price for an electric vehicle (EV) is $56,437, according to Kelley Blue Book — roughly $10,000 higher than the overall industry average of $46,329 that includes gas and EVs. In terms of pricing, an EV is equivalent to an entry-level luxury car.
To save time charging EVs and extend battery life, many drivers also install what’s known as “Level 2” chargers in their home, for a total cost of around $2,000, including installation. With a Level 2 charger, it will take less than eight hours to charge your vehicle, according to JD Power.
Most EVs come with a Level 1 charging cable that can be plugged into a common 120-volt household electric outlet, but it can take up to 40 hours to fully charge your vehicle. It’s cheaper, but less convenient.
We fill our SUV, which gets twenty-seven miles per gallon, once a week. It takes all of five minutes to fill up our car. I suspect there is very little difference time-wise between charging an EV and filling our SUV. Besides, we saved $20,000 buying our environmentalist-offending vehicle. If it takes a minute or two longer to fuel, that’s okay.
The most absurd part of Cornell’s article is his assertion that EVs can go farther between fill-ups than gas-powered vehicles. Really? Cornell extols the virtues of how far an EV can go on a charge. He neglects to tell readers that travel distance before charging is affected by the number and weight of the passengers, terrain, and ambient outdoor temperature. I have read real-world reports that suggest that cold weather substantially affects battery capacity in EVs.
My SUV can go 410 miles between fill-ups. So we can easily take Cornell’s 300-mile trip without refueling. Cornell skews his numbers by suggesting you start the trip with your EV fully charged, but if you drive a gas-powered vehicle you likely don’t fill your car up before you leave on your trip. Really? As a family who takes dozens of road trips every year, we ALWAYS fill up before embarking on our journey. I suspect most drivers do the same. Cornell should have compared apples to apples. I easily dispatched his argument about charging vs. gas station time difference. The same goes for his trip scenario. A fully fueled automobile can make a 300 miles trip without refueling. A fully charged EV will require one 8-12 hour recharge before making the trip home. This is not an insignificant difference.
I am not anti-EV. In fact, once the price of EVs is comparable to gas vehicles and battery capacity is improved, we will buy one. What irritates the hell out of me is when reporters play loose with facts to advance their agenda or to justify their own economic choices.
And as far as the point of Cornell’s article: should we allow guests we are entertaining to charge their vehicles at our home? I say sure, as long as Cornell keeps a 100-gallon fuel tank on his property so I can gas up my car when I stop over to play cards and drink a few beers. Absurd? Yes, and so is trying to suggest that it is the “polite” thing to do to allow guests to charge their vehicles at your home, with you paying for the privilege.
Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.
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