Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach
People keep talking about how as electric cars become cheaper, more people will use them. But what they keep ignoring is that they are totally useless for long trips.
The Climate Spokeswoman for the UK PM Boris Johnson, Allegra Stratton, recently let the cat out of the bag when she revealed why even she doesn’t use an EV (electric vehicle):
“Net-zero is the glide path. What we have to be doing more quickly – the science is clear – we have to be changing our carbon emissions output right now so that we can stop temperature increase by 2030.
She explained that she doesn’t want to stop to charge her car when she visits elderly relatives “200,250 miles away”.
She claimed that she visits family around the UK, including Scotland, north Wales, the Lake District and Gloucester.
Because of this, she said: “They’re all journeys that I think would be at least one quite long stop to charge.”
(Gotta admit, I have to admire the otherworldly idiocy of anyone who seriously claims that we can “stop temperature increase by 2030”. Here’s why that is ungrounded madness … but I digress.)
Now, here in Nowherica, 250 miles is considered an easy morning’s commute … a map of Texas versus Europe shows why.
So I got to thinking … just how long a charging stop would that be to go another 250 miles? Me, I drive a 2016 Ram Ecodiesel pickup truck with about a 500 mile range, although the new ones have about a 1,000 mile range. And I can “recharge” it for another 500 miles in about five minutes at the pump.
Looking for information on this question, I see that the figure in question is called “RPH”, which stands for “Range Per Hour”. This is how many miles of range you get per hour of charging. I find a site called How Long Does It Take To Charge An Electric Car that says:
Range per hour varies depending on how efficient your car is. Small full battery electric cars (e.g. Renault Zoe) are the most efficient and get 30 miles of range per hour charging at 7kW. The biggest full battery electric cars (e.g. Audi e-tron Quattro) are heavier and get ~20 miles of range per hour at 7kW.
YIKES! That’s the charge rate for the standard commercial chargers. I can see why the UK Climate Spokesbabe doesn’t want to drive an EV. If you’re stopping to recharge your Audi e-tron for another 250 miles, instead of the five minutes it takes me to recharge my diesel pickup, it will take you twelve and a half hours to recharge.
But heck, don’t worry. Here’s Edmund King, the head of the UK Automobile Association. He says that drivers should take a break after 200 miles of driving.
“Drivers covering long distances should take regular breaks to maintain safety, so this is the ideal time to charge the car. Range anxiety will continue to decrease with more chargers and improved range on new models.”
Well, that makes perfect sense. Just stop for a quick ten-hour lunch, and you’re ready for your next 200 miles. And Elon Musk, winner of the Olympic Gold Medal For Getting The Most US Taxpayer Subsidies, makes much the same point regarding the new “long-range” Tesla Model S:
Musk said that he doesn’t see a need for an electric vehicle with a range of more than 400 miles:
“What we are seeing is that once you have a range above 400 miles, more range doesn’t really matter. There are essentially zero trips above 400 miles where the driver doesn’t need to stop for restroom, food, coffee, etc. anyway.”
The comment was criticized for not accounting for the fact that a 400-mile range is closer to 250-300 miles in colder climates and depending on the conditions.
Heck, yes, I often need to stop for ten hours for restroom, food, and coffee …
Call me crazy, but with the Tesla Model S going for a cool $74,490 including ten-hour restroom breaks, I reckon I’m gonna stick with my Ram Ecodiesel.
… h/t to the irrepressible James Delingpole for a couple of quotes …
[UPDATE] Several commenters have pointed out that there are faster chargers out there, that can charge at 100 or even 200 miles or range per hour. This would cut the charge time in the middle of a 600-mile trip down to thre or even one and a half hours … in theory, of course. In practice, the numbers somehow never seem to match up to theory.
But heck, yes, I often need to stop for a couple hours for restroom, food, and coffee …