A lot of talks, a lot of coverage these days about electric cars and trucks. Electric vehicles are something that has been talked about for some time now. A person has to question the feasibility of electric cars and electric trucks. More and more car companies and individuals are getting involved in the business of electric vehicle production. The number one question most people are going to want to know is – What is the price of an electric car? I also question why the government is encouraging these new concepts? I also wonder why several large corporations have started to buy into the idea of electric trucks? It is something we hear a lot about, but we have to wonder about the reality of it.
According to the people at CleanTech news and reviews, California had the most significant amount of electric cars registered, 257,937. Georgia was a distant second with 25,502 on record. The lowest number was Connecticut, with 5,138 on the road. Texas had 17,031 registered, Florida had 20,228 on paper. California has almost 50% of the electric vehicles in the United States. California also offers an EV rebate of about $2,500, the EV’s are allowed to coast along in the HOV lanes, and the state has also promoted the installation of EV infrastructure. As we all know, it is just a matter of time that other areas will follow along.
The average electric rates in California are the most expensive in the Nation. The average costs per kWh are 17.4 cents per kWh and 14.8 cents per kWh for residential and commercial customers respectively. California’s is the most populous state in the nation, but its total energy demand is second only to Texas. In the U.S. residential consumers generally pay a higher price for electricity, about 13 cents/kWh and commercial consumers, around 10 cents/kWh. The average electric consumption in the U. S, for residential customers, overall is about 10,812 kWh, an average of 901 kWh per month, per person.
From Eaton’s blackout tracker, in 2015 there were 3,500 blackouts creating problems, spanning all 50 states, some numbers:
- 2012 – 2,808 outages affecting 25.0 million people
- 2013 – 3,326 outages affecting 14.0 million people
- 2014 – 3,364 outages, 14.2 million people involved
- 2015 – 3,571 outages, 13.2 million people involved
Electrical power outages cost the United States approximately $150 billion annual damage to the economy. Actual cost varies, depending on the business involved, for instance, a global financial service could lose millions of dollars for every hour of downtime, whereas a small business would fail on a margin of productivity. According to Dunn & Bradstreet, 59% of Fortune 500 companies experience a minimum of 1.6 hours downtime per week, which can add up to $46 million annually, assuming $56 per hour (including benefits) wage.
Most of us know the government does not get involved unless there is a lot of agitation produced by a group of people, or a lot of money involved. In this case, I think it is a lot of both! The environmentalist, tree huggers, or whatever they choose to call themselves at the time, spend a lot of money and have a lot of time to petition the government for their causes. I believe that nature, climate change, or global warming are controlled by our Creator. We have periods of warming and periods of cooling, usually about twenty to twenty-five-year cycles. In the 60s people were trying to figure out how to warm the earth. Time magazine published a few articles about the coming ice age. For whatever reason, a bunch of people have gotten together, worried about our climate, and have a lot of money to spend on the powerful lobbyist in Washington.
Elon Musk, an American business magnate, and inventor have received a substantial about of money from the American Taxpayer. He and his brother did create Zip2 and made a couple of million dollars. He also founded PayPal, and after a few disagreements with the company leadership, it was sold to eBay for $1.5 billion. He later founded Tesla, SpaceX, and a handful of other companies. SpaceX has spent about $4 million lobbying Congress, and he has donated several million dollars to different political candidates on both sides of the aisle. Altogether he has received approximately $4.9 billion in government subsidies. It is reasonable to conclude that with all the money the environmentalist and Mr. Musk have sent to various politicians that the government would be advocating the production of Electric Cars and Trucks.
Affordable Electric Car
The challenges facing the electric car maker are many:
- How many batteries are needed – how far will it travel
- Are we going to be able to mine enough lithium to produce the necessary cells
- Will a regular outlet at home charge these cars
- The price of electric vehicles
- Refueling stations and how long will it take to recharge
- Are companies going to install charging terminals for employees to charge their vehicles while they are at work
- Are they safe when you compare them to the vehicles on the road today
- Can a family of four travel a long distance and still be comfortable in the smaller electric vehicles
There are several questions a person needs to ask when you consider purchasing an electric car. Right now it is only a fraction of the population that has EVs. What is going to happen when say 50% of us are driving an EV.? Our electric grid is stressed as it is. When you consider there were 3571 power outages in America in 2015, how many more interruptions will we have when 50% of the population is plugging in their electric car, at work during the day, then at night when they get home from work? What is the cost to the consumer and the companies going to be when we are plugging in our cars all over the U.S?
New Electric Trucks
Already several major corporations have committed to purchasing Elon Musk’s Electric Truck. Mr. Musk unveiled his electric truck, last month. They plan to start production in 2019 with a price of $150,000 to $200,000. Several players are moving into the electric truck market, but none have the star power of Tesla. The truck looks to be well-designed, with a lot of conveniences. The Tesla Semi cost $1.26 per mile to operate on 100-mile routes. What about someone who wants to go cross-country in three days?
The problems facing the electric truck industry are much the same as the electric car maker, only they are multiplied, probably 1000%! One of the top questions is how many batteries is it going to take to go 500 miles and how much is all this going to weigh? Are truck stops going to install charging stations at all their truck stops? Are shippers and receivers going to install charging stations so truckers can charge up while they are loading or unloading? How much are they going to charge for all this?
Most of all, how many power outages are we going to create when everyone plugs in their electric truck and car? When everyone arrives home from work, they like the comfort of their home. People want to be cool in the summer and warm in the winter. They want to be able to come home, relax, watch TV, take care of business on the computer, cook a good meal, or maybe run some power tools in the garage, for whatever hobby they may have. You all have lost power at home, so you know how inconvenient and how much grief this can cause, especially if you have just gotten off from a rough day
In the End
My biggest problem with all this is, Why is the American Taxpayer donating to all these new concepts? We already have gas stations, truck stops, and truck terminals scattered all over the U.S. Although our power grid is outdated it still produces most of the electricity we need at present. It would cost a lot less to improve on what we already have, then to invest in a costly, new project that has yet to be proven.
Why do we want to put wind generators all over the landscape, so all the birds can fly into them? Why do we want to install solar panels everywhere covering up valuable farmland? We already don’t produce enough food to keep up with consumption. I also question, where do we dispose of these batteries, when they wear out? More windmills and solar panels are going to have to be installed to keep up with the added electricity that is going to be used by electric cars and electric trucks.
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