Electric Car Fever

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Eric Peters via EricPetersAutos.com,

Maybe you remember Disco Fever.

Mid-70s, United States. For no apparent reason, suddenly everyone seemed to be singing in a high-pitched falsetto voice and wearing skin-tight lycra with open collared shirts displaying chest hair and gold medallions.

It was fun for awhile but got old fast.

Electric Car Fever is now upon us. Laws are being passed – the Brits being the latest – mandating the production of electric cars by outlawing the production of cars powered by internal combustion.

This will get old fast, too.

King Canute could decree that the tide not come back – and politicians can decree that we’ll all be driving electric cars by “x” year, not too far from now. But wishing – and decreeing – can’t overcome reality. It can just make things really expensive and difficult for us.

One reality almost no one seems willing to talk plainly about is the fact that hundreds of thousands of electric cars queuing up to spend 30-45 minutes each at a recharging port is as ludicrous in concept as waiting that long at McDonald’s to get a burger. Especially when there is a Wendy’s across the street that’ll get a burger in your hands and you back on the road in less than 5 minutes.

Most people will never accept this. Would you accept waiting 30-45 minutes (absolute best-case scenario, if a “fast” charger is available) to put a partial charge back into your EV? Were you aware that at the high-voltage “fast” chargers, due to the nature of the thing (and for the sake of battery life) you cannot put more than 80 percent charge back into the thing?

So, whatever the advertised best-case range of the car is, subtract 20 percent.

That puts even the longest-ranged of them in the same class as the fiercest-guzzling IC-engined SUV. Maybe 200 miles or so. But the fierce-guzzling SUV can be refueled to 100 percent in 5 minutes.

Which would you prefer to take on a road trip? One where there might not be a “fast” charger available when you run out of juice. What then?

Then, you spend overnight wherever you happen to be.

Electric car freaks peddle a Disney-esque fantasy to counter this objection. They envision everyone plugging in at home, overnight – or at work, while they work. The problem with this idea is the ant-like uniformity of use it assumes. Everyone going to work – and back home – at pretty much the same time.

A middling-bright eight-year-old would be raising his hand about now.

American driving patterns are scattershot. People are individuals and have individually variable schedules. They work odd hours. Part-time. They need to go Here – and then There.

On the spur of the moment, not planned in advance.

Have a look outside and see whether you see vacant streets during the hours in between 9 and 5. Then a sudden effusion of cars and people migrating homeward.

How about . . . traffic? It’s quite true that an electric car’s battery isn’t being drained to move the car when it’s not moving, as when it is stuck in traffic. But if you are running the AC (or the heater) and the lights you are drawing volts – and running the battery down. Keep in mind the best-case 30-45 minute wait to “fill ‘er up.”

It’s so laughable it’s painful.

The reality of EV World would be conga queues that would make the gas lines of the early ’70s (the result of oil embargoes, not lack of oil) seem like a minor irritation in comparison.

The Conga Effect would multiply, too – as  (potentially) hundreds of thousands of EVs jockey for a slot at a charging port. Imagine a gas station, right now, with each EV taking a minimum of 30-45 minutes to finish its business.


Leaving aside the economic absurdity of electric cars – the least expensive of them cost in excess of $30,000 (heavily subsidized, the true cost is much higher) which renders retarded any talk of “saving money” when you could buy a more functionally competent IC-powered car for half that sum – there is one non-negotiable technical/practical hurdle that must be overcome before EVs could conceivably replace IC-powered cars on a mass scale:

They must be able to get back on the road within 5 minutes. Even a 15 minute wait is unacceptable. Five minutes. No more.


Or – as a compensatory fix – an EV must be able to travel at least 600 miles before needing to be recharged.

Absent one or the other, the whole scheme is preposterous. Either that or deliberately calculated to be ruinous.

Which may well be exactly it.

The people pushing electric cars are well aware of the realities discussed above and – their pie-in-the-sky assurances notwithstanding. By pushing cars that don’t work and which they know don’t work, they may be deliberately trying to recreate the world that existed before Henry Ford gave the world the Model T.

Which made cars affordable.

Before the T, cars were expensive extravagances, the toys of the rich.

Sound familiar?

From a certain point of view, affordable mobility is not desirable. That is to say, independent mobility. It is harder to control, encourages random and unpredictable patterns of human activity – the kind of activity loathed by the central planning, nudging technocrats who are (among other things) pushing electric cars.

The question is – will there be any push back?

And will it come in time?

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Blue Dog's picture

Nobody will buy those crappy cars without huge government subsidies. They will never be a threat to OPEC.

tmosley's picture

>hundreds of thousands of electric cars queuing up to spend 30-45 minutes each at a recharging port

What a maroon. 95+% of the charging that would happen would be either at home overnight or at work during the day. Not to mention that the slowness of battery recharging is easily fixed by simply swapping the batteries. Drive into a bay at a "filling station", and a robot makes the switch automatically. You pay a small fee for this service, and your battery deposit simply switches between the batteries.

These problems are not difficult to overcome with a little thought and a lot of exponential technological advancement.

giorgioorwell's picture

The Luddites on ZH these days are unreal. Costs for these cars, batteries, and charging infrastructure will continue to fall morons.

Vatican_cameo's picture


"– the Brits being the latest – mandating the production of electric cars by outlawing the production of cars powered by internal combustion."

I suppose the upside is that the US Government doesn't have "Exclusivity" on poorly (if at all) thought out ideas to Ram down the throats of their constituents. 

giorgioorwell's picture

Obviously mandating wouldn't work in the US....but they won't need too, the battery and electric car technology costs have halved in 5 years, and will continue too...the market will dictate it in the end, but in the meantime you'll have to listen to the gas guzzling and fossil fuel industries do their best to slow it down. 

glenlloyd's picture

Buy one if you want, but don't blame me when you're caught out in a 'deliverance' situation with no way to escape and no battery.

I remember back when people said diesel cars wouldn't catch on because fuel was allegedly too scarce to find if you were running low (a lie), well I have to say that if you need a proprietary charging station to recharge you are going to be much worse off than those supposed diesel owners who in reality never did run out of fuel.

When the subsidies go away so will the market distortions for EV's

rpboxster's picture

That's why I refer to it as the Nissan Leash, rather than Leaf.


You think people have battery anxiety with their phones?  Been in any airport terminal lately with people jockeying for outlets?  Imagine that with cars.

Mr 9x19's picture

EV tech is a scam.

the world supply of materia to pass all oil'ed vehicules energy to electric is not enough.


end of discuss.


tesla, fuck you., in fact fuck all what is below 900km autonomy, so basically, all EV.


Almost Solvent's picture

I saw a black chick at PBI (Palm Beach) last year unplug a soda machine and plug in her phone charger instead. 

Dammit Walter's picture

There are two factors that the article did not take into account:   1) EVs with Gas Range extenders,  2) Expensive energy - EROI

GM Volt has 50mile battery range, and 300miles extra with a gas generator that get 40miles to the gallon.

The efficient range extender is the "reality" that EV nay-sayers are not taking into account.  This is NOT fiction, it is real and works today.  You can operate your normal day from cheaper-than-gasoline plug-in power, and if battery runs low, you can instantly switch to gas power and continue indefinitely with no more refill wait than you always had with gasoline engines.  This is a game changer!

Several decades ago, oil was cheap and abundant and the economy built up around gasoline as the transport energy of choice.  Now oil is getting harder and harder to extract from the ground/deep-water/shale/etc and cost is going up.  This is where solar can really pay.  If you just look at the math, it really does work out.  Return on investment of solar-panel system will provide you with much cheaper than grid energy, and can also charge your EV, eliminating your gasoline bill (unless you go beyond your 50mile range).   

Worst case, if the whole electric "craze" flops, you can just filler-up with gas and take reasonably good gas mileage at 40miles/gal.

Sometimes government sponsored X-prizes bring forth paradigm shifts.  Think about how the British Government offered a hefty prize to the first person to invent a accurate clock that could be used on a ship.  This enabled more precise navigation, and allowed expansion into new territories, and many benefits as a result of this government funded invention.  

Presently, in the US, the FEDs are subsidizing EVs with a $7500 credit.  So your $30,000 EV drops to $22,500.  Assuming demand increases and production costs are trimmed (as is usually the case for mature products), the initial sticker price will drop and the subsidy will be eliminated.

All economies require energy to produce goods and services.  Economies that use the most efficient (low cost) energy sources to produce goods and services will have the highest productivity.  Ultimately the topic boils down to a cost - benefit scenario, and all you need is a calculator to see if it works for your situation.  

Another factor not mentioned is the gained independence... producing your own power for your house and your car without need for "the grid" is quite liberating.  This eliminates the need to worry about electric company constant price increases, and power outages scenarios, oil price shocks.  If you can operate your vehicle on dual power source (electricity and gas), that is also a benefit.  

Cousin of Archimedes's picture

Dammit Walter speaks (ok, writes) the truth.  I bought a Volt, for $30K on the nose (base model), got a generous tax credit of $7500 (thanks tax payers - but it is only a 1 week if tax rebate at my rate of taxation).  I've put 9000 miles on the Volt.  I filled it up with gas in January of 2017 and I still have 2 gallons left.  My driving patters make the Volt design work for me.  It won't work for everybody.

EVs do need "welfare" assistance for now, but in 2-5 more years they will be cheap enough to stand on their own.

A rule of thumb for the cost of electricity vs the cost of gasoline:  take the price of one KWH of eletricity, multiply by 10, and that is the approximate cost of gallon equivelant.  My year round average cost for electric power is 10 cents per KWH, so it's like I'm buying gasoline for $1.

BTW, gasoline (and diesel) are *heavily* subsidized by the US Military.  Gas prices would fluctuate wildly if we didn't keep a few aircraft carriers in the Perisan Gulf at all times.

glenlloyd's picture

I wouldn't take that POS Volt or it's Cadillac cousin if you gave them to me. The range even with gas extender is as waste of time.

There is literally no justification for electric vehicles at this time. When energy costs rise enough to warrant EV's the market will be there.

Dammit Walter's picture

350 mile range (with extender + a full charged battery) is waste of time?  That's almost the same as any other gas car on the market which is on average less than 400 miles on a tank.

The math of the problem proves you wrong.  It is literally cheaper to drive an EV than to operate a gas vehicle.  Is saving money not a justification?  As Cousin of Archimedes just verified, it literally costs 1$/gallon-equivalent vs 3$-per-gallon-gas to operate.  That is a 70% cost reduction.  

What more justification is needed?  It appears that your cognitive biases are preventing you from seeing the truth.

cbxer55's picture

My Dad has one of those GM idiot cars. WHile it may get 40 mpg on that gas engine, it requires the use of PREMIUM gasoline, which therefore makes pointless how far it goes onthe gas since premium gasoline costs considerably more than E10 does. More than a buck in my neck-of-the-woods. I just LOLed at my Dad when he told me that. Told him how fucking pointless his car was. 

Dammit Walter's picture

cbxer55 -- I checked your point about High-Octane requirement and you are partially correct.  GM Volt prior to 2016 model require high-octane.  Newer vehicles (2016 and newer) operate on regular octane.  Thanks for pointing that out, I did not know that.  See improvements are happening already ;-)  I do not presently own an EV but have been running the numbers for various scenarios and it looks to be very promising for my situation.


Suppose you got your electricity free (from the sun).  And it didn't matter what octane gasoline you used, because 99% of the time your were on electric mode.  Would it be pointless to drive around with free energy?  Seems like a good deal to me.  


cbxer55's picture

I will never own an electric vehicle. I enjoy performance too much to go there. One of my vehicles is a 2004 Ford Lightning. Came from the factory with a supercharged V-8. And mine isn't stock any more. I will never give that up for a damned electric vehicle. 

If you like your lectric car, you can keep your car. Please do, and stop pushing them on those of us who don't. 

Dammit Walter's picture

As for tech... battery tech continues to advance and improve.

Imagine a battery with 40-times better re-charge cycles (than lithium)... currently being developed in a lab is the nanowire battery which makes use of silicon and manganese to vastly increase the number of charge cycles.  It can be charged 200,000 times without  degrading power or capacity

Two major effects could come from this:

Either existing bartteries which last 10 years, will increase 40x ... to 400 years life.

Or you could make the battery much smaller and reduce weight, improving miles per gallon efficiency.  For example, a nanowire battrey equivalent what lasted 10 years could now be much smaller than an equivalent car-lithium-battery which has redundant cells to avoid power degredation due to recharge degeneration.  The extent to which size could be reduced could be very significant, but I have not looked up the design details on the existing EV battery tech.



Dammit Walter's picture

So somehow we have swerved from the "EV tech is impossible" canard to "stop pushing your EV on me cuz I like my gas guzzler".  

You are arguing emotions (I like my big car, and fast 0-60speed).   I am only providing facts here.  

By the way the 0-60 time for GM Volt is 7.4 seconds.  What is the 0-60 time for your Lightning?  About the same I bet.

If you want to drive V8 that's great.  So what.  I don't care.  I you want to spend all your money on Boats and Hoes, that's fine too.  

Nothing you have said changes the fact that the EV tech IS viable, and is a potential to reduce operation cost.  Money saved is as good as money earned (if not better because savings are not taxed).




cbxer55's picture

Electric cars don't make any noise. No roar of a good aftermarket muffler, no supercharger whine. Sparky cars are as exciting as watching grass grow. You can have em. I'll pass. Love the sound of a good hotrod, love the smell of racing gas exiting the tailpipe in the morning. 

DollarMenu's picture

And what about all the cars that live on the streets at night?

Cars that belong to people who live in apartments, people who have garages built before 1940 - without power or even too small for today's cars?

The whole cost of retrofitting and providing at-home charging stations is ignored when calculating expenses.

Easy for those who have sizable homes with driveways and multiple-car garages,

not so easy for those living on the 10th floor with only on-street parking.

Even municipal charging stations, at one or two per block will not serve a dense population.


Dammit Walter's picture

The avg charging station costs $600.  

A "charging station" is not a requirement to charge a plug-in vehicle.  All you need is an extension cord and an existing outlet which can be purchased for $20 or less.

It is beneficial to have a specialized charging station installed if you want to cut your charge time in half.   (8hrs vs 4hrs).

Most people sleep at night, which is good time to plug in (since you will be sleeping anyway).  In many areas there are super-chargers which can charge 80%-full in 1 hour.  Have a coffee, or lunch, and drive home and top it off the rest of the way.  Doesn't seem like a deal breaker to me.

If cost is a factor, you can wait for a while and save up some money.


True, if you live in a high-density compex, it may not provide facilities, but there is incentive for complex owners to install them if renters demand the service.   People who purchase EV will move to complexes with charing facilities.  This problem will work itself out.

East Indian's picture

Costs for these cars, batteries, and charging infrastructure will continue to fall morons



All those savings will be more than offset by patent rentiers and central banksters. 

Mr 9x19's picture

yea , sure, cost falls for energy but  i think it is your wife or your mom who buy and cook your food, you do not have a fucking clue of the raising cost of food.


i dont give a fuck of EV when i can't buy some fucking food.


go tell me who is the morron now at the beach, the man who is swimming on the sea or the bitch looking at the screen of the smartphone inside the  zipbag...

CvlDobd's picture

Futurists in NYC once calculated the cap on the human population based on how much horse manure the city streets could handle. Oops, then the car came along, the reference became invalid and the population skyrocketed past the previously "known" max.


This site used to have insightful commentary. Now it's a bunch of brain dead morons. What happened?

TuPhat's picture

People like you started posting.

Bludklot's picture

Who is going to pay to increase the grid capacity? And, did you ever wonder where the electricity for those Tesla chargers comes from in remote places? It's called a big diesel generator in the back. Right now if everyone got an EV and plugged in the grid would collapse. One gallon of gas has about 75 times the energy of an equivalent weight in lithium batteries. EVs for everyone is not even a wet dream.

Dammit Walter's picture

EVs don't make sense to use everywhere, granted.  They do make perfect sense in zones where sun shines frequently and solar panels can be used to harness free energy from the sun.  This energy can be used power your home, office, car, etc.  

A local battery bank (such as Solar City- Powerwall, or homemade rig) can be used to store solar energy locally and be totally independent of the electric grid.  This is not science fiction.  You can really purchase and install a commercially available product today.  And its not that hard to rig one yourself.

The point is : even if only 5% of the auto fleet converts to EV, that is a MASSIVE change which will have huge effects on oil prices going forward.  For people that like low gas prices and plan to continue to drive gas vehicles, you should be embracing EV tech and supporting it becuase it will keep your gas prices very low.  Isn't that a win-win?

HonoraryCarioca's picture

EV's are the wrong solution, notwithstanding improvements in battery technology. Hybrids make much better sense, reflecting the typical use pattern of a domestic vehicle (ie daily commutes on electric battery, occassional longer trips on hydrocarbons). In fact, by far the best solution is hybrid electric and natural gas. Simple, clean, low cost and domestically sourced. But, then that doesn't fit the propaganda narrative.

tmosley's picture

Yeah, I always like the plug-in hybrid model. Haven't done the calculations, but I suspect that the additional costs from the extra power plant and maintenence (more moving parts to break down) are a large part of the reason why they are losing favor.

mtl4's picture

Hybrid are the model of the future not full electric unless you have an order of magnitude improvement in battery storage technology.  That way you get the best of all worlds: plug-in, fast fueling, almost unlimited range.  

MEFOBILLS's picture

Hybrid are the model of the future


I like Koenigseggs solution (KDD).  No transmission so that weight is gone.  The battery pack is where the transmission tunnel is in most cars, a safe spot.  A KDD type hybrid optimized for fuel savings, would use the battery for acceleration, but once cruising internal combustin engine (ICE) does the work.  For deceleration, electric motors reverse, and charge batteries.  A small supercapacitor could be used to capture more braking energy.  The weight and cost of batteries goes down considerably, because you only need a small battery.

Instead of a transmission, KDD uses a hydraulic torque converter, which has lock-up capability.  There are no mechanical conversion losses on lock up.  Torque converters do not waste much energy to heat.

 On the way home, you can select a mode to use electric power, say the last 30 miles.  When you get home, and plug in, battery is topped off with 30 miles worth of power (depending on battery size).  It is conceivable that, depending on your pattern, that you would never use gas unless for long trips. 

TuPhat's picture

Automatic transmissions already use torque converters.  What planet are you from?

Bludklot's picture

You still need the grid capacity to charge that battery. Which is lacking.

HonoraryCarioca's picture

Not true. Power grids are necessarily sized for peak demand, which always occurs during the day (the actual time depending upon whether peak demand is driven by industrial load or A/C load or heating, which varies between regions). Either way, grid capacity mostly sits idle at night, which  is why some utilities discount nighttime rates.  Significant EV/hybrid  overnight demand would make more efficient use of the existing grid. 

Ace in the hole's picture

So a toyota Corola hybrid costs $4500 more than a regular corola.  The hybrid gets 51/53 and the regular corola gets 29/41.  If you average hwy and city miles, and assume you drive 12,000 miles a year, at $2/gallon, the hybrid saves you 111 gallons/year, or $223.  That $4500 investment pays off in a whopping 20 years.  Great idea!  And more moving parts/batteries to replace.  Even if gasoline prices double, a 10 year payout is still too long. You can buy a hybrid so the little badge on the side makes you feel good about yourself, but do the math.  All that extra money is just a tax on people who can't use a calculator.

Jim in MN's picture

Many Californians who acquire hybrids do so ONLY for the carpool lane access...and don't even use the electric drive features.

bloostar's picture

And end up with the battery pack the previous luddite driver dented and pierced on the way in, rendering your car a potential lithium fire hazard?  No thanks!

tmosley's picture

I guess you are unfamiliar with the concept of propane exchanges.

NurseRatched's picture

Tesla pretended they had a quick battery swap option so they could get an exra hundred million or so in tax credits.  But the claim was a 100% fraud and no Tesla customer evey had their battery pack swapped out quickly.  Ever.  And that is because battery packs are an integral part of the car design;they are not uniform in size or shape and they can't quickly be unbolted or removed.

Other than those pesky facts getting in the way, you might be on to something.  Your smug idea is typical of the elitists trying to defend electric cars.


Ben Tornilloed's picture

Did you read the fucking article you twit?

armageddon addahere's picture

If you assume everyone will drive their EVs to work and plug them in at 8:55 and then drive them home and plug them in again at 6:10 then you better assume 100 new electric power plants witll pop up out of the ground to charge them.


If the electric car charging problem was spread out uniformly over the day then you might only need 2 or 3 times as many power plants.

Now, you have your choice between fossil fuel fired or nuclear. Because there is no way wind or solar will give you that much power on demand.

If you chose fossil fuel then the conversion from fuel to electricity, transmission down the power lines, through a transformer and rectifieer and into the battery is a good deal LESS efficient than burning the fuel directly in an IC engine.

In other words electric cars will burn MORE fossil fuels LESS efficiently and produce MORE pollution. By the way did you know modern IC vehicles are 97% pollution free, and have been for 20 years?

kochevnik's picture

Own two battery packs. Life doubled. Also ultracapacitor technology will be as fast as gasoline. This article illustrates difference between libertarian and conservative. Conservative better than DNC zombie, but still has thumb up ass and often believes in sky fairy, yet same vents hatred for other equally ignorant conservative twins such as Muslim fundamentalists

earleflorida's picture

our (ussa) total foreign aid package for 2016 was ~ $47 Billion...

1 Million EV cars can easily be subsidized with $10 Thousand each,... taking the $10 Billion from Foreign (~17%) aid!

btw,...--- [which], mostly subsidizes the MIC to be with!!!

Indeed 'Swap-outs' and min. 300 mile range are not laughable statistics, to get from pt A to pt B.

planning cmte's. do just that! coal fired plants for peak hours or reservoir turbines where the water is pumped back up in the mountains reservoirs (verticle shaft) and realease through the turbines also at peak energy hours... or opening up spare floodgate on a dam to turn the turbines turning peak energy usage--- it ain't rocket science!

there are a litany of ways to provide adequate power any time of the day but like most people driving to and from work nothing in logistics really changes.

cbxer55's picture

How does a business, which could have thousands of employees, provide charging posts for all of them? I don't see any business even providing 100 of them, let alone thousands of them. What an ultra maroon! 

virgule's picture

How about swappable batteries? Shops could charge them all day long, and people could swap them in/out in 30 seconds for a few bucks. Yes, they are heavy, but a suitable swaping device can be designed.

mtl4's picture

Won't work well, think about the swapping propane cylinders how you can get full ones in good condition or crappy ones half filled or tanks ready to expire......now imagine this on something as complex as lithium batteries.

tmosley's picture

Unlike propane cylinders, the battery packs condition can be easily monitored by the vehicle. If you get a half charged battery, or a bad one, it would be instantly apparent, so they would have testing infrastructure to ensure that doesn't happen. If they let it happen, it would be bad for business.

TuPhat's picture

I've got just the trade for you, my friend.