Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Electric Vehicle Revolution?

When we were out in the California Bay area I never saw so many electric vehicles. They are rare in the frozen mountains of northern NH. It wasn’t until I was in California did I see my first Tesla dealership. Those electric cars were everywhere.

Tesla just shook things up with their electric truck. It doesn’t look like what we’ve come to think of as a truck -more like a six grader’s doodles on what at future truck should look like. Then there was the whole fiasco about the broken windows. That controversy aside, the numbers on the vehicle look pretty good. Acceleration, speed, handling, and towing look excellent. The fact that it’s giant rolling battery with a built in air compressor could actually make it handy as a contractor’s vehicle.

Of course, it will be years, until the thing makes it to market. Tesla’s previous launch dates and pricing have proved to be wildly optimistic. It really doesn’t affect me personally as my budget allowed for a used 2004 Chevy Blazer.

Tesla’s making a big splash, but that won’t affect most people. The company that’s going to really change things, best I can tell, is Ford. They are coming out with their Mustang Crossover Vehicle. The only thing it borrows from the Mustang is the name and a few stylistic details.

The big thing about Ford is that it’s committed to electric vehicles. They are putting their vast resources into the project. Ford has a massive dealership network and are committed to building a huge charging network. That’s the sort of effort that will jump start the whole EV market. You can be sure that other car companies are jumping in on the electric bandwagon. China is heavily committed to electric so that will bring prices down even lower.

Maybe some years down the road I’ll get one. One of the big advantages of electric, which often gets overlooked, is their reliability and lack of needed maintenance. Electric vehicles are robust and at their heart, mechanically simple. Now that companies are making EV trucks with decent towing capacity, they are even more attractive.

There are some hurdles to wider adoption, but with major companies putting vast resources into it, expect to see a lot more electrics on the road. It could happen so fast that it will appear to happen overnight. That will an overnight sensation about a hundred years in the making.



  1. That Edison bloke was onto something...

    1. That Tesla fellow laid out all the basics of our modern electrical systems -and was robbed blind.

    2. True that. And now his name is on sale. Bring on the EV revolution across all brands, countries etc. The writing is on the wall...

  2. EVs are fine and dandy in warmer climes, as long as the climes are not too warm.

    They suck in cold and very cold weather, and hot climates make them toast, literally.

    And now that Cali has rolling blackouts and other power failures, I see a coming lack of interest in EVs.

    Like in Florida, where in the last couple years during 'mandatory' evacuations, people in EVs have become dead on arrival, so to speak. The lack of long range and rapid (10 minutes or less) charging are what have kept the EVs as a novelty.

    Especially since Florida, though called "the Sunshine State" is really not the greatest for heavy-duty solar power. Fine for small scale, like charging a car battery (as long as you have sunlight, that is.)

    1. Florida's solar issues are more political than technical. I see more solar in cloudy cold NH and that makes no sense from a technical standpoint, but the political climate is such that companies can make money with it.

      I think EVs are going to hit the "good enough" stage soon to become popular. While you can't charge them in 10 minutes, I'm hearing of them hitting the 18 minute mark. Throw in a hot coffee and I'll wait 18 minuted. :)

      For me, right now, it would make a good summer car, but winter would kill it.

    2. EVs sound really neat. Until a hurricane, blizzard, wildfire, power failure, power shutdown, power off...

      The classic picture, of course, is an EV being charged by either a portable generator or a big-old diesel.

      Maybe in 10 to 50 years, as the technology matures.

      As long as you live some place where the grid is stable.

      Else... shanks mares look to be coming into fashion.

      Maybe H2 powered vehicles, but H2 is a super slippery molecule and there's some serious issues with it.

      It's almost like... gas, diesel and propane are almost ideal energy sources... portable, containable, useable in a variety of appilications...

    3. I did a long stint with waste veggie in diesel engines, but that's run its course for me. Still, the energy density of liquid fuels is hard to beat.

  3. maybe if there are a lot more electric using autos out there, we will finally see some much needed upgrades to our out dated power grid.
    if ya can't charge em, why have em??

    1. If I had one, I'd throw up another 10 solar panels on solar electric system.

    2. Well, California, which is at the forefront of pushing EVs on us, is also on the hindend of upgrading their power plants and their grid.

      I mean, when you are in the running with Puerto Rico for the worst US State and Territory power system...

    3. . . . which makes no sense on a technical level. Their politics on the other hand made doing something logical impossible sometimes.

  4. I own a Chevy Volt, which is a "gasoline/electric." It'll go around 43 miles on battery in hilly terrain. When the battery is exhausted a really small engine will start; not to propel the car, but to provide electricity for the electric motors to propel the car. You r range is limited only by the availability of gas, just like any other vehicle. If you don't drive too much, you'll hardly ever hear the engine start.

    The plus-side of electric: It's cheaper to drive an electric car 43 miles than it is to drive a gas-powered vehicle. As far as being "green" though, unless you're charging your car with the output of solar panels or wind generators, you're charging your car via fossil fuel generators and the lossy lines between them and the car.

    A couple of downsides; electric cars are CRAPPY in cold weather. The only way I get even close to warm weather range from the battery is to not run the heater. Turn that thing on, and all bets are off. Believe it or not, the A/C is much kinder to the battery, but only if you set it to "ECO" mode. Also, the car keeps the battery at optimum temperature. This means it will heat the battery when it's cold, and cool the battery when it's warm. Both will ding the range of the battery. My "winter" battery range drops by almost ten miles when the temperature drops below around 50*F.

    The other downside; 'Remember when that hurricane was headed for Florida and Tesla did an over-the-air software change to allow its cars to go an additional fifty miles? What's to keep the powers that be from disabling your Tesla... or any other electric... the same way, or perhaps limiting where it can go? Absolutely NOTHING! Call me a conspiracy theorist all you want. It's just too easy!

    Yeah; I have an electric car. If you do decide to get one, just don't let it be your ONLY car...

    Oh yeah; a couple of you have hit on it. California has been busy jamming electric cars down our throats "for our own good," while at the same time giving the power companies free reign to shut power off whenever they want. What happens when you drive home from work to find the power shut off, and then get an evacuation order due to an approaching fire? The battery is depleted in the car from the drive home... Now what?...

    The California legislature; you can't fix STUPID...

    1. At some point I might find myself with a sailboat and a bicycle.

      You make some darn good points. The remote upgrade thing really creeps me out. What if your upgrade fails and the whole car turns into a brick?

      The future is weird.