EVs don’t need to ‘Vroom’
We are enthusiastic proponents of electric cars and are writing to contradict several statements made by Dr. Glenn Mollette in his article last week (“Does an electric car go ‘Vroom’” — Sept. 14, 2022).
First, I have been driving electric since 2014 and my husband bought his EV in 2018. After driving my Tesla Model S for more than 8 years, I can affirm that it’s just a better vehicle than any ICE (internal combustion engine) car I had previously owned. From my perspective, these cars are not “being crammed down our throats”; there is so much demand for them that they can’t be manufactured fast enough.
Even though our first EV was bought more than 8 years ago, we have never had a problem with charging the vehicle. We almost always charge in our own garage, so it doesn’t really matter how long it takes and we always leave the house with a full “tank.” In 2016, we traveled to Massachusetts for a wedding and then to Colonial Williamsburg in our Model S and were able to charge everywhere along the way. Often, we ate a meal while charging the car. In 2019, we traveled about 8,000 miles out West in the newer Tesla Model 3. It charges much faster than the older car and has a 300-mile range. There was only one stretch in Oklahoma where we had to change our route because no charging station was available. They now have Tesla fast chargers at the Grand Canyon!
Dr. Mollette estimates that you will spend “from $2,000 to $6,000 to install a charging station at your home.” That certainly was not true for us. We simply installed a 220-volt plug in our garage; this is the same plug that is used for clothes dryers. So that cost will vary depending on where you live. Also, both our cars came with charging cords so we had no added expense for that.
Will your “electric bill double” if you charge at home? We don’t know how Dr. Mollette came up with this claim. However, we did some quick calculations about expenses that seem more illustrative. We calculated driving 7 days/week at 50 miles/day. We assumed gas costs $3.10/gallon and electricity costs $0.14/kwh and the ICE car gets 25 mpg. Our older EV would add $63-69/month to our electric bill; the newer EV would add $50-55/month. However, gas for the ICE car would cost $186/month. You still save money monthly with the EV.
Several other assertions from Dr. Mollette are a little more complicated to discuss. He asserts that “America’s power grids aren’t ready to accommodate millions of EVs plugging in.” Actually, America’s power grids aren’t ready to handle the climate change extremes that we already face. Some areas now fear blackouts and brownouts.
We need to use that old American ingenuity to create smart grids that would allow EVs to actually be an advantage in power emergencies. The grid could draw power from the cars’ batteries during peak demand to help stabilize supply. Then the EVs could re-charge when demand is lower.
One assertion by Dr. Mollette is definitely true. EVs currently cost a lot more than the average car. We know from experience that costs will come down as production of these vehicles increases. Battery technology is improving rapidly: since they were introduced in 1991; the price of lithium-ion batteries has dropped by about 97-percent.
Finally, we see this transition as comparable to another one: Americans moved very quickly from horse-and-buggy transportation to automobiles. Similarly, we will go from the ICE car to the EV because this new technology has advantages that will improve our quality of life.