What to Know Before You Decide on Buying an Electric Vehicle

Can You Say “Range Anxiety?”

That is anxiety that comes from not knowing whether or not you will be able to make it to a charging station before the battery is depleted.

I talked with several Electric Vehicle (EV) owners and a mechanic to ask about the ins-and-outs of these cars and trucks.

“The first hard lesson I learned about owning an electric vehicle was the inconvenient charging,” Steve, who sold his 2018 model after just two years said.

Steve had to talk his employer into installing a charging unit at his place of work near downtown San Antonio, Texas to ensure he had enough power to make it home, 40 miles away in the Hill Country foothills near Boerne.

“Stop and start traffic on the highways made me nervous,” he explained. “I didn’t get home until close to midnight so I was constantly worried about power at night.”

“If I had it to do over again, I would have spent more time studying, but in retrospect, I can tell you as I experienced constant mechanical and electric maintenance and warranty issues, I changed my mind,” he continued. “When I began to read and hear about Biden’s Green Build Back Better policies, with impending demands imposed by the EPA and other governmental regulating bodies, I had enough. I took a $11,000 loss, but lessons learned, and now I’m relieved.”

“Charging ain’t free,” Ronald, another San Antonio EV owner announced. “I spent about $2,800 turnkey to install a high output (Level 2) charger in my garage. Before that, I had started by running an extension cord and trading the electrical socket back in forth for my kitchen stove and car battery. I couldn’t chance the possibility of needing to drive at night not knowing if I had enough charge in an emergency.”

“For long trips I had issues with ‘range anxiety for sure,” he said. “I’d plan to find a Wal-Mart or someplace to hangout while my car was charging.”

“I have a Mercedes-Benz EQS and get a bit over 400 miles on one charge,” Ronald added. “If I’m driving long distances it, of course, takes me quite a bit longer to get a full charge than those who just fill up with gas and move on.”

To get a real life estimate, using average KWh charging rates from Texas to California, CleverJourneys checked Tesla’s website calculator to compare cost and time between gas and electric charging.

It’s easy to understand why Joe Biden needed to get gasoline prices higher and availability more difficult. Two of his major campaign donors (over $200 million in contributions) profit considerably:

🔹George Soros bought heavily in Rivian EVs stock in Nov. 2021.

🔹Warren Buffet’s trains carry the oil that would have run through Keystone Pipeline that Biden cancelled on Day 1 of his White House term.

390 minutes (6.5 hrs.) charge time. $12 in charging fees + $128 in charge time = $140. At 34 mpg in our Honda Civic, it takes us 48 gallons of gas. At $2 per gallon (before Biden) = $96. At $3 per gallon = $144; 4 per gallon = $192; $5 per gallon = $240 (during Biden)
Charging stations availability. July 2022

Current prices for charging an electric car at Walmart range anywhere from 12 cents to 99 cents per kW across the U.S. Most charge somewhere close to 30 cents.

“It just really depends on which Walmart or place you go to and what type of electric car you have,” Gary, a newly certified service EV repairman, explained. “They usually charge a buck ($1 fee) per charging session.”

Although Walmart and other places have installed superchargers, “it is not good to use them every day or too often,” Gary warned. “Supercharging your car daily can damage your battery health, and wear out its lifespan.”

“There’s a fee if you stay parked after your car is charged. ChargePoint gives you a 5-minute grace period to move your car after it’s finished,” said Gary.. “After that, it charges you 14 cents per minute up to a maximum of $5 per session.”

🔹According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average U.S. household pays nearly 14 cents per kWh.

“An electric car gets 3 to 4 miles per kWh,” Gary stated. “So divide the total miles you drive each month by 3 to get the kWh you would use monthly. Multiply that number by your cost per kWh. The dollar amount you get could be less than what you pay each month to buy gasoline. I think this is why Biden is causing gas prices to go up.”

🔹If someone drives about 1,183 miles per month (Americans drive an average of about 14,200 miles annually), an EV, will use about 394 kWh in that timeframe.

🔹Using the U.S. household average from June 2022 of nearly 14 cents per kWh, it would cost about $55 per month to charge an electric car.

🔹Figure an extra $38.50 per month to charge an electric car at home if you pay the average 14 cents. This is a 33% increase on the average electric bill, according to stats from the Energy Information Administration. 

Prepare to wait.
Truck stop & EV station food.

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🔹Fully recharging the battery pack with a Level 1 or Level 2 charger can take up to 8 hours, and even fast charging stations take 30 minutes to charge to just 80 percent capacity.

LEVELS OF CHARGE

LEVEL 1 is the slowest and requires a regular 120-volt outlet, which you probably already have. Most EVs acquire roughly five miles per hour of charge when using Level 1 charging.

LEVEL 2 is a 240-volt electric circuit required for charging. This is commonly used for major appliances such as electric dryers, water heaters, and ovens. Installing one of these in a suitable location greatly increases charging capacity. With Level 2, most EVs can charge at a rate of about 35 miles per hour.

LEVEL 3 is the quickest charging station on the market, delivering massive amounts of power in a short amount of time. Modern EVs can charge up to 80% of their capacity in about 30 minutes. These should not be used often as it shortens battery life.

Not all DC fast chargers are created equal, as charger speed can vary from 24 kW to 350 kW, and not all cars are compatible with the fastest speeds or come close to their marketed capability in practice. 

CURRENT SAMPLE CHARGING COST (June 2022)

Georgia: EVgo network charges rates by state, and it varies for Level 2 charging. On its website, the pay-as-you-go approach costs 30 cents per minute in Georgia. However, if you’re an EVgo Plus member, the rate drops to 24 cents per minute.

Illinois: Electrify America bills 43 cents per kWh for guests and 31 cents per kWh for paid members; EVGo bills between 22 and 30 cents depending on membership status; those billing rates can change based on location.

Some studies show that you can save around $14,000 on fuel costs if you drive an electric car for about 15 years but sometimes this may not be enough to cover all the hidden costs that electric cars have. Some of these hidden costs that you may encounter could cost thousands of dollars, with a few costing over $10,000.

THE NOTORIOUS BATTERIES

At the heart of all-electric automobiles are batteries — literally, the entire car is designed around them, and they’re the most expensive part of the car.

🔹Currently, all EVs sold in the U.S. come with an eight-year/100k mile warranty. Keep in mind that the average age for a vehicle on the road in the U.S. is 12.1 years. EVs average age is unknown.

🔹At some point the cost to replace the battery is more than your vehicle might be worth — estimates range between $6,000 and $20,000 depending on the model.

“The most expensive repair made on an EV is most likely going to be the high-voltage battery,” Gary commented. “Not anyone can do this type of work and it’s something that should only be done by a trained specialist at a proper repair facility.”

“This is due to the very high-voltage danger as well as maintaining proper repair procedures,” he added. “These replacement parts will come directly from the dealer. There’s just not much competition among parts manufacturers to drive prices down.”

🔹These lithium batteries are benign when compared to Nickel-Cadmium cells or even other automotive compounds like brake fluid. This means it’s considered toxic in our waste stream, and no one is prepared for the volume of used batteries headed to scrap yards.

🔹The EPA reported in 2021 that at least 65 landfill fires were caused by lithium-ion battery waste.

🔹These batteries are extremely heavy with some weighing up to 1,400 lbs.

🔹EVs have a shorter range than gas-powered cars. Most models only range between 60 and 120 miles per charge and some luxury models might make it to 300 miles per charge.

For comparison, gas powered vehicles will average around 300 miles on a full tank of gas, and more fuel efficient vehicles getting much higher driving ranges. This can be an issue when looking at EVs if you take long trips. Availability of charging stations can make AEVs less suitable for activities like road trips.

HIGHER INSURANCE PREMIUMS

🔹According to bankrate.com, the average annual premium in the U.S. for a gas car is $1,655. The much higher EV premiums are mostly due to the high purchase price and the high cost of repairs. 

🔹Steve said he shopped around a paid $2,300 a year for insurance his last year of ownership before he sold his EV.

🔹Electric vehicles will generally cost 25%-40% more than a gas car in terms of the insurance. 

CHILD LABOR & ENVIRONMENT CONTROVERSIES

🔹Modern batteries require lithium, which can only be mined in a handful of countries.

🔹There is much controversy about young children being used to hand dig cobalt out of mines for long hours, 7 days each week.

🔹Once mined, this cobalt is used to produce thousands of small cylindrical cells, each of which must be carefully monitored—no trivial matter.

🔹You must add the cost of environmental and crash protection to prevent battery fires.

VEHICLE REGISTRATION

🔹Finding a vehicle inspection could be a challenge.

🔹A quick search across 12 states from California to Texas to Georgia to Michigan revealed EV registration fees to be between $50 to $250.

🔹This is primarily due to there being a tax on gas that is used to pay for new infrastructure. Many states want electric car owners to contribute to providing the services needed.

Random Notes

🔹Electric cars have a low center of gravity due to the placement of the battery pack, so tires can wear down more quickly than on gas-powered cars.

🔹Some EVs have a powertrain that needs to have its fluid replaced at periodic intervals, such as the Tesla Model S.

🔹EVs are especially at risk of battery issues in high and low temperatures. Cold weather can reduce your range in the short-term, while hot weather can reduce the overall battery life of your vehicle.

🔹Because the battery pack is located in the underbody of the vehicle, corrosion can be more damaging to EVs than to conventional cars. Wash off any road salt and other corrosive materials as soon as possible, and keep an eye out for corrosion on the charging port and other electrical components.

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3 thoughts on “What to Know Before You Decide on Buying an Electric Vehicle

  1. Not advocating it, but Diesel Engines on Trains are Electric, actually Diesel Electric. The Trucks (the assembly that contains the wheels) on the Engine have Electric Motors. They were all DC Motors for the longest time, but with Inverters, they can make AC from DC and they use AC Motors on modern trains (I don’t know if all modern designs use them). The Electric Motor allows acceleration to be smoothly accomplished. Despite having Batteries to supply the Electric Motors, the Batteries need Charged. Thus, the Diesel engine heard as the Train Engine/s pass by are running generators to charge the batteries and power the Electric Motors to move the train.

    At work, in an Industrial Electrical Field, we had Station Batteries to operate the Circuit Breakers (the size of refrigerators) in case the power failed. These were banks of Car Batteries that added to the desired voltage. They did not open the breakers, or close them, per se, but operated Coils that permitted the Springs that are part of the Breaker to Open or Close the Breaker.

    The UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supplies) had Massive Wet Cell Batteries. Each unit was 1 Cell, 2.5 Feet Tall or more, nearly 1 ft square, and put out 2 Volts. The ones shone below are smaller than the ones we used in the Chemical Plant.

    Getting to Know Your UPS Batteries II- Wet Cell Batterieshttps://www.qpsolutions.net/2018/01/getting-to-know-your-ups-batteries-ii-wet-cell-batteries/

    The link, I am retired, I worked in a Chemical Plant, I had nothing to do with this company. But shown are 55 Batteries of the type I am speaking of. They are 2 Volts each, so if only 55 of them are used, that will deliver 110 Volts and plenty of current.

    They use these batteries to power an Inverter (DC to AC) and the AC thus supplied is the power used for the instrumentation in the Control Rooms. The Power is Normally Supplied by the Batteries, so that, if a Power Outage Occurs, no change in the Control Room Instrumentation and Control will occur. But they are charged while in use, and they had Alternate Feeds so that the Batteries can be removed from the Feed for Maintenance.

    I think these batteries are more stable than Lithium, but these are Lead Acid Batteries with their own issues. Certainly they are not suitable for vehicles, but the Maintenance of them is one point I wanted to stress, as has your Blog, that Lithium Batteries (and other types) can be a Fire Hazard, they are something that requires frequent maintenance, and this entire Electric Vehicle issue is a nightmare. Great Blog, thanks much.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg are both heavily invested in green energy. Big surprise there! And, in California, people are being asked to avoid charging their EVs because of the strain on the power grid.

    Liked by 2 people

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