Shocking: Driving Around In An EV Is Not That Convenient

Even in a much smaller nation like the U.K. things are tough. This reminds me of one of the reviews of the Chevy Volt, where it was very cold and the driver didn’t want to turn on the heat in order to save charge, with her toes freezing

I drove an electric van cross-country for a month. It was cheaper than a normal car, but the challenges showed how far EV travel has to go.

Electric vehicleI want to get an electric vehicle one day. The reduced environmental impact and lower cost are appealing — but their range and the process of charging make me anxious to take the plunge, even as EVs go farther and charging points become more common. AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson said in February that most EV drivers were still not taking overnight trips away from their home-charging setup.

If people are afraid to take their average $54,000 vehicles on an over night trip, we, that’s rather a problem, eh? In fairness, people probably didn’t drive their Model T’s and such too far over a hundred years ago

By chance, I got the opportunity to have a monthlong test drive and experience what relying on an EV to travel long distances is really like.

In my day job as a TV and events presenter, I had to drive with a colleague around Britain working at food events. When my client offered me an electric Volkswagen ABT Transporter, I jumped at it.

The ABT had a range of only 80 miles, so my trip required numerous charges during the day and constant planning. Each morning, rather than setting a location in a GPS and simply setting off, we’d have to map the route via fast-charge points, individually checking each point against recent Google reviews to ensure they were in service.

Also, in fairness, that’s rather short for range. It also, get this, costs around $51,000 U.S. Yikes! It’s also a van.

Apps like PlugShare and Zap Map allowed for route planning. User-sourced data theoretically allows drivers to see which charge points are out of service or in use, but even using this information I found issues with one in four of the 36 charge points I visited over the month.

At some charge stations, these apps showed there was a free charging point because there were several. But at one, it turned out to be only possible to charge one vehicle at a time.

This wasn’t an isolated incident. We had to wait at times for a charge point for up to 45 minutes. Repeatedly doing this could add hours onto a longer journey.

You could fill your tank in under 10 minutes and be back on the road. You could also get a hybrid. I was seriously considering the Honda Accord Hybrid Sport, but, the leasing isn’t that good yet, and, a Civic Hatchback EXL is about $4k less.

Anyhow, there were lots of problems, and, really, do you want to plan every darned trip that much? When I drive north to see the parents, my only plan is to get gas before or after Baltimore, because I don’t want to stop anywhere near that dangerous city. That’s all I need to worry about. If I want to get off 95 to get food or use the bathroom, no worries.

Elsewhere in EVs

Chevy unveiled its cheapest electric model yet, a $30,000 crossover SUV

The automaker took the wraps off of its upcoming Chevrolet Equinox EV, a small electric SUV that will cost around $30,000 in its base configuration. The Equinox EV will bring another low-cost, electric option to the country’s most popular vehicle segment: compact SUVs. (snip)

GM didn’t offer many details about the Equinox EV. The SUV will be available in both fleet and retail versions, have RS and LT trims, and use GM’s new Ultium battery platform. Judging by the photos GM shared, we can see that the Equinox EV will have a large touchscreen and a second driver-facing display. A slim light bar stretches across the SUV’s front end.

The big one is the range. How much will you get for $30,000? A Civic hatch EXL (I ordered mine in Meteorite Gray) gets 31/29/35. With a 12.39 gallon tank, that’s an average range of 433 miles. My Accord Sport does about that with an average of 32 and a bigger gas tank. I don’t have to worry about finding a gas station. The Civic is $28460, with leather, sunroof (don’t care), remote start, seat heaters (don’t car), blind spot monitor, power seat, and more. And will hold a heck of a lot more value than a Chevy, regular or EV.

But, everyone is trying to get in on this trend, including Sony, regardless of whether there is consumer demand, which there really isn’t. And, lots of outlets are now saying how bad EVs will be in the cold and snow, like when everyone was stuck in northern Virginia. And this is all to deal with an imaginary, made up problem.

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6 Responses to “Shocking: Driving Around In An EV Is Not That Convenient”

  1. My Wife demanded a Hybrid says:

    My wife demanded a hybrid as her next vehicle, so I broke down and got her one. It is a Chrysler Pacifica. Nice car. Lots of bells and whistles. Drives 30 miles on a charge before needing gas but since she rarely drives 30 miles a day she fills the tank about every 2 months.

    Or was. Suddenly the charge said 100 percent but it ran on gasoline. The electronics in the car failed to work properly. The sound system had one channel. The tablets on the back of the seats would play games but not movies.

    Oh you need a software update. So she takes it in. After repeatedly attempting to download and install the updates they give her the car back saying we cant get it to work. She then has to make an appointment with an out of town dealer all the while driving on Gasoline.

    She goes to the out of town dealer who was affiliated with this dealer and he says yeah theres only like one guy trained for this. The rest of these guys are MECHANICS not software engineers.

    One of the allures of Apple computers and phones was that they just worked. Until they make software driven cars that just work and people that can fix them, they are going to struggle. Even Tesla had to recall 100’s of thousands of their cars because of software issues.

  2. Hairy says:

    Because if high demand Tesla has a 3 to 5 month waiting list
    Ford just recently reopened its waiting list because it had been overwhelmed(200000+!) with pre-orders for its EVs
    When comparing performance to Honda don’t forget the huge difference in power(Honda has poor acceleration) and Teslas super safe in crashes.
    Tesla sold over 300000 cars in the usa,USA, 1 million worldwide. On the Tesla Mod X I drove Seattle to Montauk NY the 14″ screen showed all the free chargers.
    Teach just doesn’t get it that the 25% of pre-orders for the Ford Lightning pickup come from fleet owners whose main criteria for buying is (not climate change!) But the overall cost of ownership over 5 years. Most Tesla owners charge their cars overnight at their homes when rates are low. Teach how often do you drive more than the 300 mile range Tesla gets? 6 years ago Tesla sold 18000 cars a year they now sell over 300000. Tesla again expects a 50% increase in both USA and worldwide sales in 2022.this year will also begin deliveries of its cyber truck. Tesla sales are ahead of Volvo Mercedes BMW Jaguar all of whom offer cars in the luxury compact class.expensive? Early innovators are willing to pay more. Remember when an Apple Macintodh cost 4500 dollars?

  3. Unkle C says:

    Back last year, my spouse decided we needed to replace our 2015. Discussed with engineer son and did some research and then some shopping, and then some more research. The top 3 were an Audi 5 or 7, a Tesla S or X, and a DX replacement of the mid level ‘luxury’ sport utility we had. Really liked the Tesla, but in the end quality issues, ‘subscription’ costs, and charging knocked it out. Cost of ownership took out the Audi.
    That exercise gave me a new viewpoint on EV’s, primarily the charging issue. Since then, I have been looking for EV chargers as we travel, to be fair, I’m not trying to map them with a locater, just spotting as we drive. Just like we do with gas stations. Not counting the Tesla shop, I’ve spotted 3 in our area of Houston. We just drove from Houston to Daytona, mostly on interstate and saw exactly 0 signs advertising EV charging, Gas, Diesel, LP, but no EV. Anecdotal I know, but there should be some if the infrastructure is in place to support EV’s. Actually, I was aware that there were some because the Tesla rep had demonstrated how the car would plot charge points on this route, however, I don’t know if every EV is so equiped. In Daytona, so far I’ve spotted 3 stations within 4 days of arrival.
    I suspect that charging and range are going to remain the gorillas in the room until they significantly improve. On a different note, when should we look for EV tractors and heavy equipment to be coming out?

    • Dana says:

      Uncle C wrote:

      That exercise gave me a new viewpoint on EV’s, primarily the charging issue. Since then, I have been looking for EV chargers as we travel, to be fair, I’m not trying to map them with a locater, just spotting as we drive. Just like we do with gas stations. Not counting the Tesla shop, I’ve spotted 3 in our area of Houston. We just drove from Houston to Daytona, mostly on interstate and saw exactly 0 signs advertising EV charging, Gas, Diesel, LP, but no EV.

      On my December 23rd trip back to Kentucky from Pennsylvania, I stopped at the WaWa where PA 61 meets up with I-78, because, of course, you have to get a WaWa coffee. Once there, I saw six Tesla chargers, which I hadn’t seen on the sign. And while the twelve fuel pump queues, two pumps each, were not only full but had gasoline powered cars waiting in line for next, there wasn’t a single Tesla charging. There was an older, 1990s clunker, using one of the Tesla spots as a place to park.

      That isn’t exactly the wealthiest area of the Keystone State, so I suspect that the chargers didn’t get that much use. The store was new, and I suspect that it was simply a add-them-now-while-we’re-building-the-place kind of decision rather than something which has current customer demand.

      Alas! While WaWa coffee is praised far and wide in its service area, the K-Cups of WaWa coffee just aren’t as good.

  4. Libertarian Republican congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY 4) has been driving his Tesla back and forth between his district and the District, and he has to plan out his trip for two charging stops, about 40 minutes each, or one big stop, roughly 1½ hours. His trip, which would otherwise be seven hours, has become nine. But, I can just imagine: what if all the Tesla chargers were full? He’d have to sit in line for another forty or so minutes, waiting for a charger to open up.

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