These six myths are now fading into the fake news landscape. Here are the facts:
FACT 1: ELECTRIC VEHICLES ARE WELL PROVEN
They are inexpensive to operate, quieter, healthier, and better for the environment. There are more than 600,000 fully electric or hybrid cars in the USA. Sales grew 37% in 2017, 28% in 2017 and are expected to grow by about 100% in 2018. Tesla is sitting on about one half million orders for the affordable Model 3. GM just announced they are beefing up production in Michigan of the all-electric Bolt, because it’s selling faster than they thought. In Norway about 30% of all car sales are fully electric. All of the world’s biggest car makers in Detroit, Europe and Asia have spent millions developing modern electric cars and trucks, and in the past few years have made numerous launch announcements. Frito Lay has 280 fully electric trucks, DHL has 45, and New York City has 389 electric vehicles and big plans to expand. Pacific Gas & Electric also has several hundred.
FACT 2: ELECTRIC VEHICLES NOW COST LESS, NOT MORE
During the life of the car you will save about $20,000 on fuel and a few thousand on maintenance, when compared to a gas car. Fleet vans travelling 300,000 miles save about $97,000 in fuel costs. The Chevy Bolt has a starting price of about US $37k, but after the federal tax credit, this drops to about $30k. A Tesla 3 costs about the same. A Nissan Leaf costs about $23,000 after the credit. On top of that, 16 states and utilities offer a variety of cash incentives, plus parking, tolls and retail sales tax exemptions. Ontario offers grants up to C$14,000.
“We’re saving more than 80% on fuel compared to gas vehicles and 50% on maintenance. The maintenance savings even apply when we compare the all-electric vehicle to our hybrids,” says Keith Kerman, Chief Fleet Officer in New York City.
FACT 3: LONGER RANGE – YOU WON’T RUN OUT OF POWER
On average, Americans drive cars and vans about 30 miles per day. When fully charged, electric vehicles now have a lot more range than they did before, eg. Model 3 Tesla 310 miles, Chevy Bolt 238 miles, Nissan Leaf 150 miles. These go down in cold weather if you use a lot of accessories.
FACT 4: CHARGING IS EASIER THAN YOU THINK
You become accustomed to it quickly. It’s like plugging in your phone each night, or your power tools for work. A Level I charger is included with your vehicle. You can get a faster Level II charger installed at home. Level II is normal for fleet depots, and Level III for highway service stations. In the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee, the latter will give you 75 more miles and get you home. Public chargers are being added to America’s roads at about 10,000 per year. There are several web sites that show exactly where they all are, making it easy to plan longer trips.
FACT 5: THE BATTERY WILL NOT FAIL & COST A FORTUNE TO FIX
Many of the electric car batteries are now coming with 8-year warranties. Tesla reports average lost performance at just 10% after 160,000 miles. The Zenith van warranty is 100,000 miles. Other carmakers have similar offers. Used lithium ion car batteries can be recycled as part of home batteries. Panasonic, Tesla, and Toyota are working on solid-state car batteries, due out in five years. They will make everything faster and easier.
FACT 6: ELECTRICS HAVE LOTS OF SPEED, TORQUE & PAYLOAD
The Model S goes 0-60 in about 5 seconds, quicker than a Ferrari or Lamborghini off the line. Except when deliberately limited, most electric vehicles are as fast or faster than gas cars, because of instant torque. Workhorse vans can tow 5,000 pounds and carry a payload of 2200 pounds. The 80-mile Zenith van has a payload of 3800 pounds, and 530 cubic feet of cargo space. You can get a kit to make a Ford F-150 fully electric using the same mountings and holes, from Torque Trends in Surprise Arizona. Motiv makes an all-electric package for the Ford F59 truck that can carry a payload of more than 13,000 pounds, offers 1550 foot-pounds of torque, with a range of 60-85 miles after 8 hours of charging. The uniform service AmeriPride has had 10 of these in service for several years, and has just ordered 20 more. Tesla is now selling an all-electric 18-wheeler.
I hope you have enjoyed this unfake news announcement from your friendly neighborhood man with a plan. The long version journalism piece for engineering types can be found here.