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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Debunking Some Mistruths About Electric Cars

With the $35,000 Tesla Model 3 now in production and GM ramping up its sales of the equally affordable Chevy Bolt, buyers are demonstrating a keener interest in electric vehicles (EVs) — and naysayers, primarily from the fossil fuels industry, are spreading mistruths about EVs in a vain attempt to slow their adoption. As an early adopter of EVs myself, having already driven 150,000 or more miles on electricity alone, I can debunk the numerous mistruths contained in a currently circulating email.

Mistruth: Electricity costs $1.16 per kWH, so it costs $18 to charge a Chevy Volt for just 25 miles of range. Truth: Xcel charges 11 cents per kWH, and it costs $1.25 to fully charge a Volt for 30 to 40 miles of range. (The newest Volt has a range of 50-60 miles.) United Power charges 5 cents per kWH overnight, so it costs 50 to 75 cents to fully charge a Volt.  The fuel cost per mile for all EVs is 3 to 5 cents — and there are no maintenance costs.  No oil change, no engine/transmission repairs.
Mistruth: A Tesla requires 75 amps for charging and if every third home had a Tesla, it would overload our electric grid. Truth: A Tesla requires the same 220-volt outlet as an electric clothes dryer and would typically draw power for only 4 to 5 hours. You leave your garage every morning with 200 to 300 miles of range, costing at most $6-7 per night.
Mistruth: It would take three times as long to drive long distances because of charging time.  Truth: In a Volt, you could drive non-stop and just burn gasoline at 30 mpg or more. For a Tesla, it takes 15 to 40 minutes at a Supercharger to be on your way again — enough time to pee, eat, check and return emails, etc.  The only way to go faster in a gas car is to use drive-thrus and eat while driving.
Mistruth: Cars with lithium batteries can catch fire and explode.  Truth: Every gas tank is a bomb waiting to be ignited. The picture of a head-on collision at right is a good example of this.  Would you rather have been in the red Tesla or the black Mercedes?

Mistruth: For electric cars to go mainstream, we need to create an infrastructure of EV charging stations, which would be prohibitively expensive.  Truth:  All that's needed is home charging (a 110V or 220V outlet in your garage) and workplace charging if you have an EV with limited electric range, but those cars will be replaced in coming years by cars like the Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3, with 200 or more miles of range, so charging away from home with be rare -- needed only on long distance driving.  The 500-plus Tesla Superchargers and growing network of DC Fast Chargers for non-Teslas make that as easy as gassing up along the interstates.  

Mistruth: Electric vehicles are not affordable yet.  Truth: That's debunked by the Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3, but if you consider the lifetime cost of operating a gas-powered vs. electric vehicle, you quickly conclude that EV's are already affordable.  My 2012 Chevy Volt (which is comparable to the Toyota Camry in size and price) has 72,000 miles on it, and has a lifetime MPG of over 225.  I'm getting 2,000 to 3,000 miles on each 8-gallon tank of gas!  I'll never have an engine problem because the gas engine (which is not connected to the wheels -- it's merely an electrical generator which runs at constant RPM when the battery gets low) has less than 5,000 miles on it!  And it may never need a brake job since the electric motor is designed to slow down the car and generate electricity when you let your foot off the accelerator.  I hardly ever use the brakes to slow the car. 

If you want to learn move about EV's, watch a 35-minute video of my presentation entitled "Gas-Powered Cars Are Obselete -- And Here's Why" at


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