Another week older another week wiser? I am not so sure about that but I have had a good week and I do aim to learn how to replicate it for the future!
The beginning of last month saw me start on a monthly series of opinion pieces that might not always be the popular view point of things. This post is going to continue that and it might well say a few things I have mentioned before , but I aim to be a little more detailed about why I hold my opinion.
Electric vehicles are just not practical. Now don’t get me wrong, this is not about pollution, saving the planet, global warming etc, those are topics for another day, this is just about the practicality of an electric vehicle and I am going to use me as an example, because as always this is all about me!
I was expecting something different when they said come play with my Kalashnikov
I need a car to get me to work and back, take the kids to various things during the week, maybe go out at the weekends and then about 5 times a year travel to see family and go on holiday. This means that the car I own has to carry 4 people in comfort, have a big boot to carry luggage and anything else we need to take with us and have a range that will allow me to drive on average 70 miles a day, 5 days a week, handle weekend trips and 500 miles at motorway speeds for those five times a year visits.
Immediately we hit a problem, four people, in comfort with a large carrying capacity? Most electric cars are tiny little things. They are advertised as four adult seats with luggage carrying capacity but have you seen a Nissan Leaf? OK four adults if they are dwarves with a small rucksack each and for god sake take it in turns breathing! If you want a proper family sized car that is electric there are a few options, The Tesla S, a new Jaguar I Pace, a VW golf and if you want to have a truly family vehicle the Nissan NV200E and that’s ….well most of them actually! The choice is limited to say the least, and although that will increase over time I am here, now, and so that is what I am working with.
Now the real problem, the range; the 70 mile average commute, they will all handle that it is do able, as long as you don’t forget to charge them up, or get home late or go too far over the 70 miles. However when you get into the realms of the weekend things get a lot more complicated. All apart from the Jaguar and the Tesla have a range of around 130 miles. I play rugby, and when I am not playing my son is and some of our matches are more than 65 miles away from home…so immediately one of regular activities becomes complicated…we would need to charge the car when we arrived at our destination to make sure we could get home. Of course that is not going to be so easy, after all a muddy field in the middle of rural France is not really going to be a place where you can charge it. I can here you say that you would only need to top it up, and that is true, but it would probably still take at least 50 minutes ( unless you have a Tesla) and if you have to go out again when you get back home, then that is a lot more charging time.
Yes, it is a power unit you can tow around to increase the range of your E Car, and it runs on an internal combustion engine !!!!
So what about 500 miles? None of them will do it; the Tesla will do about 250 if you are very lucky so that means a minimum charging time of one hour, if you can find a Tesla Supercharger post, if not it will be a lot longer. Of course in reality it will be a lot longer anyway …when you stop at a service station on a motorway how many people are filling up at the pumps? Let’s be nice and say 100 every hour but truth is it is a lot more, and on average they take about 4 minutes to do what is needed. Now to get the same thru put you would need a 100 Tesla superchargers at every service station but that is not the whole story because you would probably find them all occupied and have to wait, let’s say 30 minutes…so a recharge would be 1.5 hours if you have a Tesla, if you don’t you might as well book a hotel. Of course the fact is that the amount of people needing to refill with petrol is a lot more than that and most petrol cars have a range of more than 500 miles so there are going to be even more people stopping with E cars.
Long distances in an E car with the tech we have now, forget it…and living in the countryside with a longish commute and kids who do things at the weekend, forget it unless you buy the Tesla and of course to buy one you need about $70,000. Nope for practicality I prefer my 7 seat Renault; it will do 64 mpg and that gives it a range of well over 700 miles and you can get one new for about $25,000 although I got mine for $6000 second hand and I can fit the dog and a tent in it!