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It is moves like this which show the tremendous impact of Tesla. The old automakers were never going to be the ones to push the switch to greener tech themselves. Even the companies that we may have thought were forward looking a decade ago like Toyota are now showing that they had no plans to embrace cleaner vehicles as an overall company strategy. The industry needed an outsider to threaten the incumbents into actually changing.

Toyota was still going on about how EVs were not viable and hydrogen fuel cells were the future while anyone who looked outside their window would see EVs all over the place. Elon's early responses to this remain true (grid already exists, people can charge at home, easier to build EV infrastructure, etc.) - there's been nearly zero progress in hydrogen fuel cells.

Hybrids were a mediocre half-measure and hydrogen was a worse solution to the problem. Tesla proved this model despite constant criticism even after wild success.

It's not a huge surprise Toyota is throwing their weight around to try to cheat out some legislative relevance rather than compete on product. Many companies being disrupted do that (see recent viasat story, US car dealerships, etc.)

I hope they lose, imo they deserve it.

Toyota is still trying to sell their hydrogen-powered Mirai.[1] After six years, they're selling a few hundred a month, all in California because that's where there are some hydrogen stations.

The hydrogen station situation is a joke.[2] Not only are there few of them, most of them are offline.[2] Right now, not one hydrogen station in the South Bay is working.

[1] https://www.toyota.com/mirai/

[2] https://cafcp.org/stationmap

You can’t buy a Mirai, you can only lease them. And they’re only sold in CA because they’re a so called “compliance car” designed to appease regulators.

Personal story, when I tried to lease one they wanted me to share my social media info because they only wanted to lease them to “influencers.” Seemed like a bizarre way to run a business, and since I’m not an influencer I looked elsewhere.

Maybe it was true at some point, but not anymore - you absolutely can buy a Mirai.


The key difference between Toyota's approach and Tesla's was simple: Tesla built out their own charging infrastructure.

Just like with battery-electric-vehicles, there's a chicken and egg problem: no one will buy a car if there's nowhere to charge/fuel it, but no one will build fueling/charging stations if no one has that type of car. If Toyota was serious about hydrogen, they should have done what Tesla did, and built a countrywide network of hydrogen stations.

Part of the difficulty was that when starting off early EV adopters already had charging infrastructure in their homes the same isn't true for hydrogen. Tesla later was able to build and expand superchargers, but initially people just charged at home (and still mostly do except for longer trips).

There isn't a path for hydrogen to build out like that - you need the entire infrastructure at once, there isn't a real path to success there. Failure was obvious imo based on this alone (there are other issues too).

I'm not even sure Toyota really expected anything other than failure? Based on the attention they gave it, it mostly seemed like something they could point to for marketing and then ignore with some justification that their own failure is evidence people don't want non-gasoline alternatives.

Toyota has a lot of money. If they wanted to make a thousand hydrogen stations they could have done it, even without the option of slow home charging. If hydrogen was a good fuel it would have been a reasonable option.

Has there ever been an example of that working in history?

Even with lots of money, I think that’s a story of how to go bankrupt.

The Tesla Supercharger network is part of the calculation on buying a Tesla vs any other electric car, and was, and is, a huge investment by Tesla. As to bankruptcy, ask the shorts how Tesla is doing.

The supercharger is a counter example.

It was built out over time while early adopters had the ability to charge at home. It explicitly didn’t require being built up all at once because people could charge at home.

Has there ever been an example of that failing in history? I'm not sure you can find any historical situation that's close enough to this one to make a good analogy, especially because hydrogen isn't even a good fuel to start with.

> Even with lots of money, I think that’s a story of how to go bankrupt.

Well on a pure product/market basis they probably never should have made these hydrogen cars at all.

> Has there ever been an example of that failing in history? I'm not sure you can find any historical situation that's close enough to this one to make a good analogy, especially because hydrogen isn't even a good fuel to start with.

I'd think Iridium satellite phone is a great example of this. Motorola spent $5B to setup a constellation of satellites to sell $3k phones. It failed. turns out spending a ton of money to create a market is a huge gamble and the market can move in unexpected ways.


> Has there ever been an example of that failing in history?

Zune, Windows Phone, Betamax, HD-DVD - maybe not perfect analogies, but there are lots of examples of people throwing lots of money at something to try to force widespread adoption and failing because the market doesn’t want it.

If betamax and HD-DVD count as failures, then surely VHS and bluray count as successes?

The other two don't work as well as infrastructure analogies.

Arguably Bluray and VHS were already winning in those instances? They'd be the EV to Hydrogen's example, though it's a bit of a strained metaphor.

I think it's rare for something without adoption to get taken up just because a larger player tries to use funds to force it to against the way the market is already going. I think Windows Phone is a pretty good example.

Hydrogen adoption had a lot of issues of which infrastructure was just (a big) one.

Betamax was not a failure, it just took second place to VHS in the consumer market where rental tapes was the dominant use case. Betamax still had moderate market share and found success in various professional niches.

Listing it alongside actual failures like HD-DVD is disingenuous.

> Has there ever been an example of that working in history?

Gas stations.

After reading your post, I was curious how the chicken/egg problem was solved at that time. Searching for "first cars gas stations" on Google, I found https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filling_station which states

"The first drive-in filling station [...] opened to the motoring public [...] on December 1, 1913 [...]. Prior to this, automobile drivers pulled into almost any general or hardware store, or even blacksmith shops in order to fill up their tanks."

So gas stations have actually not been built in a large upfront effort, but existing infrastructure was used to distribute gas.

I wonder when the last gas station will close.

I don't think that was all at once - and it was replacing horses?

The problem with hydrogen fuel is mainly one of supply. Even if they built hydrogen stations every 4 blocks across the whole world, the technology necessary to generate enough hydrogen to run even 5% of all the cars simply doesn't exist yet. We've had advance in the field of splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen, but it still takes more electricity to do than you get from using the resulting fuel can generate.

Other sources of Hydrogen simply can't keep up with power generation or transportation needs.

> We've had advance in the field of splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen, but it still takes more electricity to do than you get from using the resulting fuel can generate.

That's not necessarily true. Several years ago I have read somewhere that industrially water is not split by electricity (at least directly) but by heating metal plates to >1500 degrees Celsius and spraying water on them, or something like that. That's tremendous heat, but nowadays it's possible to reach so high temperatures by just using solar energy [1].

The technology is not yet feasible, but who knows, where it will be in 10 years... It also took some time for solar panel manufacturing to reach today's efficiency numbers [2].

[1] https://www.energy.gov/eere/fuelcells/hydrogen-production-th...

[2] https://www.smithsonianmag.com/sponsored/brief-history-solar...

> There isn't a path for hydrogen to build out like that

It's easy enough to produce hydrogen at home. Compressing it to 70 MPa and then storing it would be expensive though.

> The key difference between Toyota's approach and Tesla's was simple: Tesla built out their own charging infrastructure.

No it isn't. The key difference is that Telsa picked the right technology and Toyota didn't.

Tesla could build its own infrastructure because the grid exists already and building chargers is not that hard.

Toyota couldn't because building hydrogen infrastructure is insanely incredibly stupidly expensive. Even had they tried, it would have been a gigantic money shredder.

Building fuel-cell cars is really expensive, in addition the the infrastructure they are also losing money on each car.

So basically, your asking Toyota to spend billions to build infrastructure that loses money, and more billions to build cars that lose money.

The right technology choice matters!

If someone's choices don't make sense, you're not understanding their motivations. Toyota didn't mistakenly think that hydrogen was the way of the future, they chose it as a trendy "future tech" to make them look green and keep CARB at bay while they continued to sell exclusively ICE-powered vehicles. It was never intended to be a mainstream technology.

(Their hybrid cars are cool but for many years after introducing them, Toyota was actively hostile to any attempts to charge the batteries independently of the onboard ICE generator.)

> The key difference between Toyota's approach and Tesla's was simple: Tesla built out their own charging infrastructure.

No. The vast majority of Tesla charging sessions are done at home (and it cost little to charge at night, for most people). Toyota cannot compete with that if they continue to sell hydrogen (which they promote it as being green while 99% is produced from natural gas). They just don't competition and one of the two is dead on arrival. Hydrogen may have a future, but certainly not on the road.

> (which they promote it as being green while 99% is produced from natural gas)

If the carbon-containing part of the production was sequestered, it could reduce the carbon intensity of the fuel greatly, couldn't it? Still has to be extracted and stuff of course.

Remember that Tesla is still a small company in terms of sales, business units, number of models, certainly only recently are they making a big numbers splash.

And they have a charging infrastructure.

Big Auto has:

- locations to put chargers (dealerships that are often in busy commercial areas close to highways)

- lobbying power (to get buildout incentives)

- a lot of money, at least right now

- lawyers and negotiating power

Remember, the grid already exists. A "charging infrastructure" is some last mile wiring and plopping down charger ports, ok, and maybe some review/planning/negotiation with the local power companies.

As soon as major companies are all-in (GM, VW currently), then Electrify America won't be able to get away with their crappy service, will build out, and the dealerships will provide a lot of expansion.

I believe GM could make a usable near-worldwide charging network in less than a year with their dealerships. I know the dealerships have been a massive foot dragging barrier for EV adoption outside of Tesla, but GM does have some power with them, and the writing should be on the wall.

You move to EV, or you are a shady used car lot.

Dealerships suck and they dislike EVs (for political reasons, and for low maintenance cost service reasons) - I'm bearish on their ability to roll out charging via dealerships.

They might try, but I wouldn't be surprised if dealers parked cars in the spots for charging, had them in locked off areas, had them turned off or otherwise inaccessible, etc. I may be misremembering, but I think this was the case with existing infra at Nissan dealers and the leaf? Might have been GM and the volt? I remember seeing complaints online.

I suspect they'll fail to adapt the same way most large companies fail to adapt when a startup disrupts their existing customer base.

In this case, there's the added element that car manufacturers are also harmed by their legacy dealership relationships.

> dealers parked cars in the spots for charging, had them in locked off areas, had them turned off or otherwise inaccessible, etc

That has caused me a few anxious drives in my Spark EV, finding charging at dealers that was available on the way there but blocked on the return trip. Also, sitting in a car dealer lot for half an hour is not anyone's idea of a good time.

Also they’ve had a few explosions.

Usually hydrogen delivery trucks, but they list them as explosions “at the plant” in what I guess is a trick to hide the fact that these trucks that are driving around city streets can explode. Then also some at retail filling stations.

There are a few hydrogen power stations up here in Vancouver, but still not enough to make a Mirai practical for many people. I've seen a few driving around but I suspect they're all demo cars...

Hydrogen fuel cells make way more sense for semi-trucks and I'd love to see the whole Trans-Canada Highway done up with regularly spaced stations, but whether it makes sense in the city is a harder sell. It's a matter of infrastructure being required before users - "if you build it, they will come". I'd drive a Mirai no problem, but not if I'm worried about running out of H.

I was reading the math on semi-trucks and charging times line up so well with union mandated breaks (at least one stop every so many hours of at least 30 minutes), I've got a feeling pure electric is going to work out well with semi-trucks (and maybe even something the unions will think a great overall win because it adds vehicular enforcement of union rules).

I still think hydrogen makes way more sense for ships at sea, maybe for planes (maybe not for dirigibles, though, hah), and probably as one of many "grid shifting" tools in the tool bag (converting excess wind/solar to hydrogen when it is cheap, and then reusing it at times of scarcity/grid outages/off-grid-festivals).

Though something was pointed out to me that while far down on the list of immediate greenhouse gas concerns, vastly expanding our production of Hydrogen and the amount that leaks into the atmosphere (and Hydrogen is so small we have no real good way to make a truly leak-proof container; long term storage of "hydrogen fuel" is a problem), it will have a lot of indirect impacts on greenhouse gases (including interrupting the chain process that converts most atmospheric methane to less harsh chemicals) and it's easy to forget that there are other greenhouse gas problems to worry about with respect to climate change beyond just "carbon footprint" and I know some scientists are increasingly of the angry opinion that Hydrogen was always a dangerous red herring distraction especially because while it reduces overall carbon output has enough secondary effects to worry about if it was a more common "fuel".

Car and Driver had a very interesting recent article about why hydrogen didn't take off and the lack of infrastructure problem.


There are people making monthly payments that literally struggle to get fuel.

It was a glorious day when I could finally delete my home page link to the H₂ stations, because I upgraded to EV.

why not. electricity in the USA is not green. it is powered by coal. harvesting rare earth mineral is a tragedy too.

Maybe toyota is right. maybe hydrogen is the future.

>Hybrids were a mediocre half-measure

That is not true. Hybrids can be greener than an full EV. To make EVs palatable, automakers realized they need to use huge batteries with 400+ miles of range. But the average daily commute is much much less than that.

The result of which is that you waste a lot of money and CO2 emissions to produce a battery that is 3x too big.

A hybrid with a range extender and 1/3 of the battery, can better accommodate the needs of daily commuters while actually being cleaner than an EV since the CO2 emissions from EV manufacturing is almost entirely due to the battery and it takes years (two to three depending on your commute) to offset those emission even against a new ICE car.

This assumes the engine, fuel infrastructure, and weight of the ICE engine is free. It also assumes that the electric infrastructure cannot be fully converted to carbon neutral sources. Lastly it assumes that battery technology will improve at a comparable rate to ICE technology which has been extremely wrong in the last 10 years.

Well, the fuel infrastructure already exists, and the weight of the ICE engine is at least partially offset by the smaller battery.

I'm extremely skeptical of any claim that hybrids are better for the environment than EVs in aggregate, but for specific use cases over certain timeframes the difference may be small.

This assumes that a hybrid has to have a smaller battery to fit the ICE engine and/or that the ICE engine has equivalent weight/density.

On the one hand, volume versus weight an ICE engine is generally "lighter" than if that equivalent space were tightly packed with battery cells.

But on the other hand a car is not going to tightly pack the equivalent volume, most modern EV designs are a "skateboard" layout with all the batteries on the floor of the car. The front hood of the car is typically at that point unused space and many modern electrics place there now a "frunk" ("front trunk" or "froot"/"front boot" if you prefer Britishisms) for "bonus" cargo space.

From that perspective, a hybrid has "free" space for a gas generator by taking "back" the frunk space, but they have to shrink the battery because of the added weight of the gas generator. (The skateboard has the physical space either way, it shrinks to keep the overall car weight below an aerodynamic threshold, not to yield space for the gas generator.)

Yes. I have a lot of problems with the assertion ab ove you. It takes carbon to produce a ICE car too

It takes carbon to produce a BEV as well. And somehow BEVs are a lot more expensive (up to 40% more, when there are no subsidies) to produce than HEVs, which suggests more resources and energy is spent on producing a BEV.

For many people that initial price difference is high enough that buying a BEV instead of HEV makes totally no economical sense - so likely the lower emissions from usage are not going to offset higher emissions on production, for the whole lifetime of a car.

The BEV economics work only if you drive really a lot on long distances, but that's unfortunately the area where BEVs lose to HEVs on convenience.

Not one that's already on the road.

I think that you’re assuming that the hybrid in mind has plug in, otherwise you’re not really making the case for using gas to inevitably charge the battery (regenerative braking still requires having had some speed generated by gas). As far as I know, the vast majority of hybrids that Toyota makes are not plug in.

regenerative braking doesn't care what mechanism you used to get to a speed. If I want to charge the battery, I can press a button and the gas engine comes on and charges the battery directly. Regen is just to reduce loss due to wasted kintec energy.

The non-plugin hybrids are just as environmentally friendly as full electric cars, because they have 10x-20x smaller battery and that makes a huge difference in initial emissions. The OP likely wrote about PHEVs which indeed have batteries 3x-5x smaller than BEVs.

If you count in all the related emissions, hybrids seems to be the greenest cars you can get now:


Huh? That link suggests the top two greenest vehicles are EVs, and 7 of the top 12 are EVs, with 3 of the rest being PHEV, and the bottom two are standard hybrids.

What am I missing?

Fair point - but they are very close. The fact that at least some hybrids are more green than some full electric cars tells something.

But this ranking doesn't include the other factors like price tag or convenience (range, time to refuel). If you additionally count these factors in, it turns out hybrids are the fastest way to get emissions down by bringing environmental friendly cars to the masses. They are a solution that exists today, and they are a plug-in replacement for ICEs. I can see hybrid cars very frequently on the streets, but fully electric cars not so much - so the effects on lowering emissions is bigger for HEVs than for BEVs. And you don't need to donate them to convince people to buy.

Also a lot depends on where you get electricity to charge the BEV from. In theory you can charge only from renewable energy sources, but in many areas you still burn fossil fuels, and in these areas hybrids are way more ecofriendly:


> In theory you can charge only from renewable energy sources, but in many areas you still burn fossil fuels, and in these areas hybrids are way more ecofriendly

Now, maybe (though nowhere on your site does it even remotely suggest "way more") -- but one difference is that as the grid greens, EVs become more and more ecofriendly every year. As ICE engine age, they become less and less ecofriendly every year. The site you cite mentions this too, and probably underestimates how quickly the grid will green, and how quickly batteries will require less energy to create, and how much of that initial input energy can be recovered in recycling.

> I can see hybrid cars very frequently on the streets, but fully electric cars not so much

I see more Teslas than Priuses in the SF Bay these days. I expect other areas will catch up.

> I think that you’re assuming that the hybrid in mind has plug in, otherwise you’re not really making the case for using gas to inevitably charge the battery (regenerative braking still requires having had some speed generated by gas).

This logic is plain silly. You're not simultaneously on the gas and the brakes at the same time. The weight of the batteries and electric motors pales in comparison to the whole vehicle.

Average age of a car as of 2016 was 11.6 years and climbing, so it seems like the vast majority of those in operation would easily hit the offset threshold.

The more important number would be "average age of a car when it goes out of operation," but yeah, I highly doubt it's that much lower, if any. It should be similarly climbing.

Wouldn't it have to be higher?

Yeah, I have one car that is 21 years old and the other is 17 years old. They still drive great and have no issues. I truly don't understand people that get new cars every 2-3 years. Not having a car payment for decades is great. Plus our insurance is super cheap.

2-3 years is leasing territory (which some people do because they enjoy changing vehicles often.)

Car safety is much much better now than they were 5+ years ago however so it is not unreasonable for someone to change cars that often. I'd certainly not want to be in a 10yr old car in a highway accident if I could help it.

(Also, some newer cars are just nicer to drive with creature comforts people care about)

if you grow up with old unreliable cars, you dont want to repeat that experience.

That sounds like a maintenance problem rather than an old problem. If you stay on top of maintenance old cars can be just as reliable as a new car (and potentially even more reliable since new doesn't necessarily mean bug free).

But old and unreliable are not necessarily dependent metrics.

> Hybrids can be greener than an full EV

Any cite for this? It's not totally implausible to me, at least given current power generation.

My entire commute is covered by a 22 mile battery. I've put 600 miles on the battery this current tank of gas. I've not used gas yet.

While perhaps not typical, the compromise can be a massive improvement.

Same here. Got a Volvo XC60 T8, last time I filled up with fuel was in March. Almost all my local journeys are covered in EV mode entirely and I drive pretty much daily. And last year I was able to do a cross-continent journey without worrying where to charge on the way.

Having said all of the above - even according to Volvo's own stats, something absolutely stupid like 60% of all buyers never ever plug these in, it's just a tax dodge scam for a lot of people. But if you are one of the people who do, it works fantastically well.

Or they hope to have a garage someday but don’t today. My next car might be a hybrid, but I can’t really consider a BEV until I see that a large majority of apartment parking spaces have chargers.

>>Or they hope to have a garage someday but don’t today.

Well, I'd love to believe this, but the matter of fact is that the tax structure around hybrids is completely messed up here in UK.

When I got my Volvo, basically as a company car you could either get the highest non-hybrid model, the T6, with about 300bhp and pay like 30% tax on it every year, or get the T8 hybrid, with 400bhp, and pay zero tax on it every year. And of course the government never checks whether you actually ever plug your hybrid in or not, so if you never do it's actually much worse for economy and emissions than the T6 which is much more to tax. It's insanity.

Thankfully, it does seem like the EU at least is moving towards trying to quantify real-world emissions with the clear goal of wanting to ensure the homologation measurement reflects reality.

I wouldn't be surprised if the rated fuel efficiency decreased and emissions rose for plug-in hybrids in light of data showing relatively little usage of the battery.

Call me crazy, but I think you should be taxed on your actual usage. Just like your annual inspection reads your odometer, it should just read the petrol vs EV distance from the built-in computer and you should get a tax bill in the post. Got a plug in hybrid and drive it nearly always in EV mode? Great, zero tax for you. Got a plugin hybrid but drive it exclusively on petrol? You'll be taxed the same(or more) as a regular petrol car.

The issue with standardised tests for this stuff is that it really depends on individual usage. We should be punishing polutting usage of the car, not what the "average" it can do, since it's meaningless.

Note that to some degree we already have this through fuel duty. It's only the VED which is changed. There's an argument that VED should be based on factors _not_ linked to exhaust emissions, and that fuel duty should be used to that effect.

+1 I have a plug-in Prius and I haven't put gas in the tank since January, when I drove 10 hours to visit family.

> A hybrid with a range extender and 1/3 of the battery, can better accommodate the needs of daily commuters

You are describing the Chevy Volt (hybrid).

And GM quit making them because the Bolt (all electric) is so much cheaper to produce. Consumer convenience or emissions is irrelevant.

Hybrids are, unfortunately, a dead end because everybody is assuming that they are going to get swept away by all-electric once the infrastructure is in place. They're right--but everybody is assuming that will take 10 years when in reality it will take more like 25.

> And GM quit making them because

...they couldn't compete with the offerings, including plug-ins, from firms with established track records in the hybrid space; especially Toyota.

Only when you take for granted the whole infrastructure of mining millions of years old ferns, shipping them around world in pipelines and ships and trucks to burn them in tiny explosions many times a second to get wheels to turn.

Which, taking a step back, if franky ridiculous.

Why not use a battery and the planet-wide instant power delivery system we built and are using for most of everything else?

I think people get blinded by status quo bias.

Imagine we were operating with 100% EVs today, would people be advocating for adding in gasoline tech as hybrids?

That's why I like this (10 years old, wow!) Nissan Leaf ad: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nn__9hLJKAk

It is obviously ridiculously over the top, but I think it paints interesting analogy.

You don't think lots of people would love range extenders? Giving up half a frunk for an extra 200 miles of range can come in handy.

How much more would people be willing to spend on avoiding a 30 minute charging break? I mean you have to pay for quite a bit of extra complexity in the car. That can't be cheap.

I feel like the population that both drives very long distances regularly and is willing to spend a large chunk of money of make the trip a little faster is pretty small. Plus it would be pretty hard to find gas stations if most people drove EVs.

In my mind the main use case is someone that doesn't have all that much battery range. They could buy a long range battery, but it would cost a lot more than the range extender.

If you don't have a long range battery, you might have to stop every 60-80 minutes of driving to charge. That will get annoying pretty quickly, especially since it's not like a smaller battery takes all that much less time to charge.

So I would expect the long range battery market to be quite big, and a range extender would have a good chance at grabbing many of those users.

Even if gas stations are somewhat uncommon, you'd only need to find one every 200-300 miles, and the worst case scenario is just that you go back to pure electric mode. You could also fill up a 5 gallon can for another huge chunk of extender range.

A single tank could save you an hour of waiting to charge.

This of the externalities.

To get "gas ranger extender" you still need oil drills, tankers, pipelines, refineries, tanker trucks, gas stations.

Without gas cars, we can retire all that infrastructure.

> Without gas cars, we can retire all that infrastructure.

Well, we can obviously reduce it if we reduce gasoline consumption from the status quo (true with moving to hybrids, especially plugins using gas mostly for range extension), but since its not used exclusively for autos, we can't retire it even if we replace all autos and do nothing else.

I don't think that many people really want them (well, are willing to pay for them), given that they are so rare.

BMW charged $4,000 for the Range Extender option in the i3, at that price, the manufacturer may as well just put in a bigger battery.

If I compare the battery pack for an i3, $4k of battery only gets you 25 miles of range. That range extender with a couple more gallons of tank could give you 200.

The battery pack costs $16K list price, but that price includes engineering, structural and support costs, so putting an extra $4K of batteries into it would give more than a 25% increase in range.

The range extender only adds around 70 miles of range:

current 2018 EPA estimates ding the more powerful i3s from 114 to 107 miles. BMW hasn’t cited an estimate for the REX model, which currently stands at 180 miles with the help of a 647-cc twin-cylinder engine.

The range extender adds 70 miles because it has a two gallon tank. Changing that to a six gallon tank won't change the price or meaningfully impact the convenience.

I don't think that small 38hp range extender could power the car for much farther, it's not powerful enough to run the car indefinitely at highway speeds (there's a lawsuit against BMW for the car slowing to 45mph while using the range extender), it needs some battery capacity to fully power the car.

They could put in a more powerful motor than that small scooter motor, but then that costs and weighs more, and then the car becomes a plug-in hybrid rather than a battery electric car with range extender.

And there seems to be low demand for plug-in hybrids as there aren't many options.

When I bought my Honda Accord Hybrid, I looked at the Clarity plug-in hybrid but decided against it. It didn't drive as nice as the Accord, cost nearly $5000 more, plus I was doing some regular long distance travel at the time, the accord has a ~500 mile range, the clarity has a ~340 gas+electric range, though the plug-in range would cover my commute.

And the Clarity was rated 40mpg highway, while I get around 50mpg @ 60-65mph with the Accord Hybrid (drops down to 44mpg at 70-75mph)

From what I read looking into the situation, it is barely enough to run the car at highway speeds in general. The lawsuit is mostly because the US version of the software won't turn the range extender on until the battery is almost completely empty. If you could turn it on at 50% battery you'd have almost no problems.

Why not can you imagine having the freedom to change your car nearly instantly and go wherever you want. No range anxiety

In a sane world, it would take less time to recharge an EV, not more. Good industrial and government leadership, working together, would have given us a swappable battery standard by now.

The new 800V EVs only take 15 minutes from ~20% to 80%.

Which is 10 minutes longer than it takes me to refuel my IC vehicles from 5% to 100%, and 14 minutes longer than it should take.

It's funny how HN'ers will fight to the death arguing for swappable batteries in cell phones, where they offer vanishingly few benefits, and against swappable batteries in motor vehicles, where they could potentially make all the difference in the world.

Swappable batteries aren't viable without a new business model. If you buy an EV today, it comes with a battery with a ~10 year warranty, and replacing that battery after the warranty ends is a pretty expensive affair.

Nobody with a new battery is going to want to swap it out for a old, potentially degraded battery. But everyone with an old battery would be happy to try to swap their way into a new battery.

Instead, I think you'd need a model where the battery isn't included in the price of the car, and you have a monthly subscription to rent a battery from either the dealer or a third-party. That way you aren't attached to the specific battery you're using, and the subscription fees go towards replacing old batteries as needed. The subscription would either be a base fee + price per replacement, or a base fee for rental + unlimited replacements.

Nobody with a new battery is going to want to swap it out for a old, potentially degraded battery. But everyone with an old battery would be happy to try to swap their way into a new battery.

Great, this old schtick again. News flash: nobody cares whether or not they own their car battery. With modern BMS systems, you would basically pay by the coulomb.

But yeah, I think this particular ship has sailed, at least for the near-term future. Huge missed opportunity. Refueling an EV should be as quick and easy as swapping out a BBQ propane cylinder -- which is also something you don't care if you own or not -- at your local convenience store.

Electric vehicle batteries are quite different from phone batteries and propane tanks. They are heavy, large, expensive and far from being self-serviceable. To build and operate a large network of conveniently located swap stations would require a huge financial risk because the swaps would be necessarily more expensive per unit of energy restored than the charge stations, meaning the swap stations would only capture a portion of charge business.

Perhaps in the future, total swap automation and inexpensive battery restoration or transport will reduce the risk of building the network and EV sales will finally become viable for the small minority who don’t want to take periodic breaks during the occasional long trip.

10 extra min after 4-6 hrs of driving isn’t significant unless you’re doing a Cannonball Run. And they can go even higher voltage in future.

Imagine how cheap gas would be if no one wanted it.

I’d guess it’d be obscenely expensive without economies of scale based on current demand and distribution.

As far as “no range anxiety” people in that world would just be making similar arguments, “what if there’s no nearby gas station”, “what if it’s out of gas”, “I can’t just plug-in anywhere” etc.

That argument about gas was a major argument against gasoline cars back in the day. It took major infrastructure investment to build out the gas network.

At the time there was no good alternative with existing infrastructure in place.

Today with EVs and modern battery tech that isn’t true.

> I’d guess it’d be obscenely expensive without economies of scale based on current demand and distribution.

Then swap out gasoline for diesel. If nothing else, I can get vegetable oil at the grocery store at a price that isn't too bad.

> As far as “no range anxiety” people in that world would just be making similar arguments, “what if there’s no nearby gas station”, “what if it’s out of gas”, “I can’t just plug-in anywhere” etc.

That's not how (plug-in, and surely these would be plug-in) hybrids work...

Fractional distillation. You are going to get what you are going to get. Unless you find suitable alternatives for all oil products, gasoline will still be produced in the same quantities.

Somebody will find something to do with the unused byproduct gasoline. I consider filling up my car to be a noble use instead of just burning it.

Yep, burning bio batteries and funding Putin/MbS. Why not download power from your roof, free?

This doesn’t make sense. The battery is 100% recyclable, and if you never use it’s full range the battery literally lasts longer. This sounds like ICE shilling devoid of the actual facts

Charging still takes a long time and has relatively low mileage. Hydrogen doesn't have that problem and in the end accounting for lithium mining destroying the environment I still don't think it's that clear cut. EV just has more adoption because it's easier at this point and perks don't want to fall behind against Tesla.

I also don't see how Toyota "deserves" to lose. When you take into consideration their longevity and fairly good track record on gas mileage...they are better than a lot of manufacturers that are now pushing hard for electric. People tend to forget that manufacturing a car and replacing a car wears on the environment just as much as driving it.

> "lithium mining destroying the environment"

1. Any environmental impact from lithium mining needs to be weighed against the impact of continued extraction and burning of fossil fuels

2. Lithium is recyclable (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1682-5) and there is room for a lot of process improvement in lithium extraction (https://arstechnica.com/cars/2021/07/general-motors-looks-to...)

3. Studies of the lifecycle emissions (emissions including manufacturing) of electric cars consistently find that EVs beat ICE vehicles, and future lifecycle emissions must be considered as a curve, as the percentage of renewables on the electric grid increases and industrial process eventually move away from fossil fuels (https://www.carbonbrief.org/factcheck-how-electric-vehicles-...)

In fact, an ICCT study shows that hydrogen tank manufacture is as CO2 intensive as batteries… if that is true, my mind is blown



> Any environmental impact from lithium mining needs to be weighed against the impact of continued extraction and burning of fossil fuels

There's also the costs and externalities of shipping fuel to fueling stations all over the country in perpetuity, there's no additional cost to "ship" electricity to homes or charging stations.

Some (5%) electricity is lost during the transfer.


>1. Any environmental impact from lithium mining needs to be weighed against the impact of continued extraction and burning of fossil fuels

Why? If we're comparing EVs and hydrogen powered cars then we shouldn't. We should compare lithium usage to what hydrogen powered cars need.

>2. Lithium is recyclable

But do we actually recycle lithium in enough quantities?

>Currently, globally, it's very hard to get detailed figures for what percentage of lithium-ion batteries are recycled, but the value everyone quotes is about 5%," says Dr Anderson. "In some parts of the world it's considerably less."


Lithium-ion batteries can be the most recyclable thing in the world, but if we don't actually recycle them then it makes no difference.

Except hydrogen fuel cell vehicles lost already. There's no point comparing to them because we don't live in a reality where they're going to become a thing. If you want to play the "what if" game, that has its merits, but it has nothing to do with the world we presently live in or the proximate future.

If you want to consider lithium against hydrogen, that's fine: What's the environmental impact of hydrogen electrolysis, transportation, and construction of infrastructure to support it at a scale large enough to replace the ICE vehicle fleet? What kinds of materials need to be extracted to produce hydrogen fuel cells, and at what scale? How do those compare to the inputs for lithium ion batteries?

The sobering answer is that fuel cells also need a lot of problematic minerals too for catalysts. The most widely used H2 fuel cell catalyst is PtCo - so you still have the same cobalt problem there too.

We're not even recycling "recyclables" at very impressive rates. Our local waste management program here in Maryland has a Facebook page that talks about how there are a very very limited number and types of plastics that are even accepted at recycling facilities - and the market for recyclables is starting to dry up. Largely because a lot of the foreign countries that were taking it in by the container ship load have stopped doing so.

The market for industrial metal and chemical recycling is completely different than consumer plastics. Metals are often recycled because there is significant money in it. Recycling plastic is not profitable and frequently not even possible.

There are quite a few stories about companies and research groups gunning for increasingly high lithium extraction from spent batteries. We're not there yet, but leave it to an open market to extract something of value as efficiently as possible from an effectively free resource.

> We're not there yet, but leave it to an open market to extract something of value as efficiently as possible from an effectively free resource.

Recycling can never be free or even close. There's a lot of processing that goes from dismantling a battery, to segregating the lithium, to putting it back in a new battery. Recycle is last of the 3 Rs for a reason.

Hydrogen absolutely does have this problem. A fast hydrogen fill requires the hydrogen to be at super high pressure, a typical hydrogen station can only do three fast fills per hour. Not to mention the time you take driving way out of your road to get to the very limited number of stations, if there are any.

You can swap out hydrogen tanks a lot more easily than you can swap out batteries. Something to consider.

Lol. All the downvotes. It's like I said something bad about Apple 10 years ago. All hail Elon, dear leader.

No, you really can't. In order to make high-pressure hydrogen tanks in passenger vehicles safe in crashes they are embedded deeply inside the chassis and are much bigger and more difficult to access than you seem to be thinking. There is absolutely no way to swap the tank on a Toyota Mirai, for example, without taking the car mostly apart. Take a look at [1] to see where the tanks are actually placed.

[1] https://www.thedrive.com/news/37872/now-with-three-hydrogen-...

Why couldn't you put an access panel right next to them, or even a slide out tray? They both seem to be near the outside of the car in that diagram.

Hydrogen is already terrible enough as it is to contain. So now you want to add a bunch of connect/disconnect cycles to a high pressure tank?!

I mean we've known how to store flammable gas for quite a while now. Welding tanks, oxygen tanks, propane tanks. Why would it be different from swapping out a propane tank in my gas grill?

I mean don't EV's have issues? Lithium is expensive to mine, electricity is usually produced by burning coal, and can our current grid even handle 100% electric vehicles? I mean it's better than gas, but it's not the end of the road of vehicle power is it?

> Why would it be different from swapping out a propane tank in my gas grill?

Because we are not talking about propane. We are talking about a tank storing highly pressurized hydrogen, which is way more difficult to handle than propane. In a moving vehicle, not a grill.

> Lithium is expensive to mine

Yes. It can be mined once and then reuse countless times, however. Hydrogen is expensive to manufacture too, and it's "burned" so you always need more.

Expect prices to go down as more infrastructure to mine and refine is put into place. This is even ignoring technological advancements in extraction - which tend to happen once there's demand.

> electricity is usually produced by burning coal

This is highly location-dependent. True for some places, not true at all for others. That's also becoming less true by the day.

_Even_ in the case where 100% of the grid power worldwide came from coal, EVs would still be a win. The generator on a huge power plant is far more efficient than any car engine. And the pollution is concentrated on a few places - places we can improve. Additionally, there are no emissions on population centers, meaning an enormous improvement on quality of life and a decrease on deaths due to respiratory illnesses.

Then, once you upgrade the power plants, the entire vehicle fleet gets an instant upgrade.

If it's in your means (essentially, if you own your property) you can generate power from renewables on site and power your vehicle that way. Try doing that with hydrogen.

> and can our current grid even handle 100% electric vehicles

Yes according to the US Department of Energy.

> I mean it's better than gas, but it's not the end of the road of vehicle power is it

Just until we find something better, then we'll _easily_ change our vehicles to store electric energy using the new storage device. That's the good thing about electric motors, they don't care where the power comes from.

>> electricity is usually produced by burning coal

> This is highly location-dependent.

It really isn’t. Electricity moves through a network: for example using more electricity in France might cause a coal power station to be started in Poland. The same occurs for any network.

Additionally, when you add an EXTRA kWh of load, what really matters is where that extra kWh is generated. Think of it that all the electricity on the network is already being used (all the green electricity is virtually guaranteed to be used).

When you add one marginal kWh of usage, that kWh is often genersted 100% from gas or coal.

Obviously there are a lot of different situations where the above points are not relevant, and where an efficient coal station might be better than an ICE. I am just saying that many people are ignorant of how the electricity networks work.

> Electricity moves through a network

I know. We haven't interconnected the entire planet. So it still depends on what region we are talking about. Even inside a country some regions might be barely connected (see the Texas power grid).

> might cause a coal power station to be started in Poland

It also might cause a natural gas station to be started up. Again, that depends on the location. Usually it would cause a natural gas power plant to start up. It could also be pumped storage hydro, or even batteries.

Since you are talking about lack of knowledge, it's useful to point out that coal is very unlikely to be used as a peaker plant, just like we don't start nuclear power stations for the same purpose. Generally they are used for baseline power.

We aren't going to be starting coal plants because France is using more power. Some countries might decide to build more though, to account for the predicted energy usage growth.

Here's a video of someone breaching a full hydrogen fuel cell with a bullet. No explosion because it comes out too fast.


Fuel cell is very different from a gas tank at high pressure.

Storing pressurized hydrogen safely & efficiently is much harder to do than storing propane.

Pressure for propane tanks, 100-200 psi.

Pressure for hydrogen tanks, 5000-10000 psi.

It's not the same.

Also, hydrogen has the funny habit of being much smaller molecule and diffusing through solids.

The answer is also because hydrogen is insanely light. A propane molecule is much bigger in size than a H2 molecule - which makes hydrogen storage and handling uniquely difficult

Propane is a vastly different substance with different properties. I'm not sure why you are so insistent that they should be similar.

Sure, EVs and hydrogen each have their pros and cons. But that is meaningless without numbers. So far, it seems like the numbers work out a lot better for EVs.

Maybe someone comes up with a great idea and hydrogen becomes the future of cars. But there is zero evidence of that today.

>I'm not sure why you are so insistent that they should be similar.

I'm not insistent, I'm just asking why it's not possible or practical to swap out a hydrogen tank in a vehicle. I guess that's heretical.

Here's a company that sells tanks. You can use it for welding among other things. There's one in just about every city.


Fork lifts currently use them too.


Pressurized explosive gases are dangerous. Your propane task isn't part of a multi-ton vehicle traveling at high speeds that may be subject to a high speed crash at any random point in time.

A hydrogen tank that is part of your car, however, may be subject to a high speed crash coming in at a random angle.

BBQ grill propane tanks can explode, but they are typically stored on porches, an environment where they are not often hit by SUVs.

>Pressurized explosive gases are dangerous.

So are lithium ion batteries. Here's an article on a recent Tesla burn:


I wasn't arguing that hydrogen wasn't dangerous, I was arguing that a hydrogen tank was easier to swap than a 1200 lb. battery.

It helps to fully understand the drawbacks of what you're advocating in order to have a coherent argument.

That's why people have issue with your statement on "easily" swapping hydrogen tanks, as it's anything but "easy".


Video from this week on battery swapping tech / companies


Not what you were going for, but the people talking negatively about Apple's strategy ten years ago were similarly extremely wrong.

Or extremely right, considering we now live in a world of walled gardens and user choice and repair-ability has diminished in large part because of Apple.

I think he/she means that Tesla, like Apple, has a cult following in which people can't see the company doing any wrong or facing any criticism when it comes to its products or repercussions for what it will do to the industry down the line.

Apple's value went up over 10x from ten years ago. You may not like the result, but many others did and do. The people ten years ago talking about why Apple would fail or why what they made wasn't what people wanted were wrong.

Similarly pushing hydrogen as a better option is wrong today.

I mean if stock price is all you judge a company by, Amazon and Activision are angels that can do no wrong.

I was referring more to the rabid fanboy-ism. People committing suicide in their plants? Well people commit suicide everywhere. Nets? Great idea!

One of the reasons companies do horrid shit is that we let them.

I'm an Apple fanboy, but they certainly aren't beyond reproach.

Theoretically you can swap anything easily.

I wouldn't want my container on high pressure explosive gas be swapped from some DIY dudes car.

Like a gas grill I would suspect. The issue with swapping out batteries is they are friggin' heavy when they are that big.

> Charging still takes a long time and has relatively low mileage. Hydrogen doesn't have that problem

Hydrogen has SO MANY other problems though it's not even funny.

It's incredibly hard to store. We literally have devised no containers that can hold it long term, as the molecules are so small they seep through. As they do so, they embrittle said containers, which need to be then replaced.

It's not energy dense. So we either have to compress it (wasting energy) or liquefy it(not viable for cars, without even accounting for boil off).

Then you need the whole 'manufacturing' (as there's no free hydrogen on Earth) - probably from fossil fuels. You need to transport it to where it's going to be used. And you need to create and entire new fuel infrastructure. The current fossil fuel industry likes this for obvious reasons.

For all the talk on the lack of EV charging infrastructure, up to level 2 all we need are glorified relays. Electricity is available even in places we have no gas infrastructure.

And then, what are we doing with hydrogen? Using it on fuel cells... to produce electricity.

Just skip the middle man and charge batteries directly.

Even liquid hydrogen with all its added problems due to the ultra low temperatures needed has very low density - that's why all hydrogen powered rockets are so massive. Even in liquid form the hydrogen tank is massive with a tiny liquid oxygen tank next to it (Delta IV, Ariane V, H II, Shuttle external tank). The extra tankage weight and added aerodynamic drag remove quite some of the adventages of the otherwise good specific impulse hydrolox has.

>Hydrogen doesn't have that problem and in the end accounting for lithium mining destroying the environment I still don't think it's that clear cut.

99% of the hydrogen currently produced come from natural gas. Of course, it could be made from water but lithium can also be extracted cleanly from clay with with table salt.

Besides, making hydrogen from water uses over 3 times the energy required to make and charging a battery (the well-to-wheel efficiency of hydrogen vehicles is that low).

So for now and the foreseeable future, hydrogen is far worst for the environment than Li-Ion batteries.

Moreover, room-temperature fuel cells require platinum-group metal catalysts and this is the main reason that has prevented the introduction of vehicles with fuel cells.

High-temperature fuel cells do not need expensive catalysts, but it seems that nobody succeeded to reach acceptable lifetimes for them.

On the other hand, if the fuel cells contain expensive materials then we're more likely to actually recycle them.

> relatively low mileage

You can get a base model 3 today with 263 to 353 miles of range. That's upwards of 3-4 hours of driving with no breaks. Stop to take a break at a super charger for 30 minutes and you can do another 3-4 hours.

How is this still no practical especially combined with all the time and money they save not having to do most routine maintenance.

Model 3 owner here. In practice, I stop every 1.5 to 2 hours on road trips for a 10-20 minute charge. You're never going to realistically charge to 100% and drive to 0%. Staying in the 20% to 80% range is ideal for fast charging purposes and some breathing room in case of emergency.

Standard or long range? To me, this seems pretty close to being practical. Driving for 2 hours and then stopping for 10-20 minutes is about where I'd prefer to be on long trips.

Mine's long range and I find it to be pretty practical. I definitely stop more often than I did in my ICE cars but it doesn't bother me to be forced to stretch my legs, use the restroom, and watch a bit of Netflix in the car or play on my phone.

Edit: On the plus side, charging at home at night every evening is really nice compared to a weekly gas station visit.

My TM3 SR+ (USA made in 2019) latest supercharge was 10 minutes to add 17 kWh going from just under 20% to 54%.

Charge started a 143 kW (on a 150 kW unshared charger) and I ended it 10 minutes later while it was at 80 kW. This was enough to drive 130km to home (non highway) with about 20% battery left so 130 Wh/km.

When I travel on highway I stop at all superchargers, they're usually 1h to 2h of highway driving apart in my country (France), so similar experience.

2 hours is only like 100 miles of driving. Wouldn't it make more sense to run the battery down further, since charging is faster at a lower state of charge?

That also depends on passenger weight, or if you're hauling something. The new electric trucks plummet on mileage if they are carrying weight. I understand that gasoline vehicles do the same thing, but not at such a steep rate.

I don't think a lot of commenters here have much experience living in rural environments.

This doesn't even begin to touch on the ability to repair the vehicles.

All vehicles plummet in range pulling heavy loads at high speed. You notice it more in a vehicle with careful range estimation, and slower refuling. If you need to drive 600 miles a day pulling a heavy trailer, EVs don't work for you right now. Similarly my wife's Toyota Camry does not work for that either.

I'm not trying to take sides, but electric cars seem vastly simpler from a mechanical perspective.

I'm sure they have complicated electronics, but most modern cars do as well and those aren't components people typically work on.

Just consider the electric vehicle has no transmission, no drive train, no oil. It doesn't have most of what cars have under the hood.

EVs have less than 20 moving parts in their drivetrain. Scheduled maintenance is brake fluid every few years (as it absorbs moisture over time), cabin air filter every 2-3 years, and tire rotations (~7k miles) and replacements (as needed). Brake pads and rotors under normal duty cycles should last the life of the vehicle due to aggressive regenerative braking (at least that's what Tesla is seeing).

It's possible that they do last longer, but the track record is not there yet. There are a lot of Toyota vehicles with over 1M miles, you can look up high mileage Toyotas for sale. That does not yet exist with Teslas. I have heard (not first hand) of Tesla having some quality problems, so immediately jumping to the conclusion that they are future proof seems like a mistake.

> but electric cars seem vastly simpler from a mechanical perspective.

The electric motor is simpler than an ICE, yes.

OTOH, a modern (and by modern I mean anything in the last ~30 years) ICE engine is supremely reliable, so it's a wash.

Most repair time isn't from having to fix the engine or motor anyway, it's the whole rest of the car.

We have a a Fiat 500e (EV) now sitting it's fourth week (not continuous) at the dealer to get window regulator problems fixed. Those types of problems have nothing to do with whether the car was an EV model or the ICE model.

Mechanically simpler, but (at least in Tesla's case) can be harder to get replacement parts for. Obviously their repair network isn't going to be as complete as a more established brand, but it doesn't really sound like they're prioritizing repairability at all.

That's true, but it seems to be an issue with Tesla as a company rather than electric vehicles as a product.

Fair point. Unfortunately it's a trend I've already seen over the last decade with battery-operated power tools, and they-re a simplified and scaled-down version of electric car drivetrains.

Pretty much all modern brushless power tools, while mechanically simpler than their brushed cousins, require a full motor and control module replacement when something as simple as the switch fails.

Don't get me wrong, I do believe that electric propulsion is the future for efficient transport and that gas isn't a long-term solution going forward. It just seems to me the marketing and hype have gotten ahead of the current offerings, and I worry the 'scrap it and get a new one' approach employed often by tech companies will end up being applied to cars as well.

It's hard to get replacement parts for Teslas because every single part they make is put into a new car and sold.

There is no extra capacity producing spare parts to sit on shelves.

> The new electric trucks plummet on mileage if they are carrying weight.

Source? Supposedly the F-150 Lightning numbers are including 1000 lbs of cargo. So a full cabin of people still supposedly getting the stated 300 miles on a full charge (For the extended range.)

Just look it up? I think it was part of many press questions regarding the truck, including Car & Driver. https://www.caranddriver.com/news/a36481590/ford-f150-lightn...

"Applying these results to the F-150 means that towing a modest trailer would put the highway range at roughly 100 to 125 miles, depending on the pack. Towing anywhere near the 10,000-pound maximum rating on XLT and Lariat models (with the maximum trailer tow package and extended-range battery) at highway speeds, we believe you'd be hard pressed to exceed double-digit miles."

Ohhh there was this YouTube video (from Motortend?) showing a model X in tow that had a drastic reduction in range when towing a trailer.

Now compare that to the LandCruiser that we haul race cars with… the LC always gets 14 mpg, we have filled it with 6 adults going to Tahoe, same MPG. Haul a 2700lbs sports car. Doesn’t change at all.

Honestly an EV would be nice for hauling stuff to the track, hopefully with the race car, and equipment it can make it to Willows on a single charge, at least the track has RV hookup points, can charge while you race.

> Now compare that to the LandCruiser that we haul race cars with… the LC always gets 14 mpg, we have filled it with 6 adults going to Tahoe, same MPG. Haul a 2700lbs sports car. Doesn’t change at all.

This is physically impossible unless the LandCruiser is just throwing energy away when empty.

What's more likely is that this estimate is not very precise.

It is believable. Towing is more about wind resistance than about mass. A car on a trailer is probably sitting mostly in the slipstream of the LC (they are not very aerodynamically shaped) and so not contributing much to the total wind load. Also engines to a point become more efficient under load. All told, there probably isn't a noticeable difference.

Of course we are talking about towing a light sports car here. Tow a different type off trailer, or a very heavy load and the losses will start to catch up.

In addition to wind drag, the additional weight contributes to the acceleration work required by the engine. This acceleration is occurring during cruise speeds as well as starting from rest (you can tell because your car engine is louder during cruise speeds than it is while the car is idling from rest.) Anything towed or carried contributes to the weight of the car which means the car is accelerating more weight. The curve isn’t perfectly linear with additional weight, as you noted, but the reduced MPG is measurable with a number of passengers in the car, let alone a towed car. A reduction of only 10-25% mileage might not be noticeable to a less observant driver but that isn’t to say it’s effectively the same.

Considering the LandCruiser is pretty much a box with maximal air resistance, it might actually get more aerodynamic by adding the trailer to it :p. So the difference while trailing would be much smaller than adding a trailer to an aerodynamic car. Energy consumption when trailing with constant speed is mostly about aerodynamics.

I live and have lived in a "rural" environment for most of my life.

Because there's not a supercharger across from every McDonalds and at every exit.

I don't want to stop for food, order, wait, eat, get in the car, drive to who knows where for a charger, and then start charging for 30 minutes.

Well, give it time. As combustion vehicles are outlawed [1] and billions of dollars are poured into charging stations [2], early adopters will pave the path to get to the future you want. I've driven over 50k miles cross country in the US on Superchargers [3], and it's a pleasant experience using them and works for us (most of the time the car is done charging before we're done with our pit stop or grocery shopping). Happy to help drive forward innovation as a consumer (being the squeaky wheel demanding charging infra from any business I interact with that'll listen). See you in the future!

(i am also advocating with policy makers to outlaw new petroleum filling station permits/infrastructure, but that is a topic for another thread. i am applying YC startup school lessons to public policy efforts. please excuse the dust while the electrification of transportation ramps)

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phase-out_of_fossil_fuel_vehic...

[2] https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases...

[3] https://supercharge.info/map

Umm, a quite few McDonalds in Finland have 350kW chargers. [0]

Your car is done charging before you get your Big Mac and eat it.

[0] https://kempower.com/information-center/news/kempowers-leadi...

I think the charging situation is incredibly overrated. This really only matters for long trips. If you are someone driving 200-300 miles daily, it might be an issue, but at at the same time I can't imagine driving that long to stop for 30 minutes.

If you commute like most Americans (26 minutes), then you just charge at home and never think about it. I don't think people realize that most Telsa owners don't use public chargers.

> I don't want to stop for food, order, wait, eat, get in the car, drive to who knows where for a charger, and then start charging for 30 minutes.

That's not what you do... You stop at the charger and then go get food or take a break at the store that's right next to it.

Don't you also have to stop, eat, and then drive somewhere to get gas?.

Which is no problem, if it only takes 5 minutes to fill up. But when I use a route calculator from Tesla, it schedules two charges (one 45 minutes the other 20 minutes), to get to my in-laws. At places where I don't want to stop. There are, apparently no super-chargers between Cincinnati and Indianapolis. Do you know how many gas stations there are on that route?

Right now I can choose what I want to eat, find one of those restaurants and fill up there. You can't pretend as if the opposite (planning around where my car wants to go, and eating what happens to be there) is the same thing.

Nor can you pretend that it is just as convenient to spend an hour and 5 minutes waiting for my car to charge when I normally spend 10 minutes max filling it up.

I just compared, and that's a route where having the long range Tesla makes a big difference. With the long range, the charging is reduced by around 30 minutes, so it only adds 30 compared to the ICE car, and only requires one charging stop.

Do you normally go through Bloomington? Both Google Maps and the A Better Route Planner say it's faster to go through Indianapolis.

Do I know you? Did I say where I was going from and to? Lol. Just a bit confused/creeped out.

But from Cincinnati to WI (the route I’m talking about) I always go through Indianapolis. I used the default car. Didn’t think much about the range differences, but you’re right. That makes a big difference.

LOL sorry, I was just going off your comment:

> There are, apparently no super-chargers between Cincinnati and Indianapolis

Basically all superchargers are placed next to food and the major highways.

It's not "who knows where". Your car knows where and its right off the interstate in a parking lot next to a lot of places to eat. Better than most gas stations actually.

You want to eat while you charge? Get food next to your charger. They have already thought of all this when they were spending billions of dollars on building out charging infrastructure

Where do you live that this is the case?

At least in California, on our road trips, ever supercharger has been near a place where we could get food.

All the ones we stopped at in Canada were near food as well

IME, superchargers have not been located very conveniently, unfortunately. Mostly doing trips around Oregon.

As long as we are talking hypothetically and pilot projects, unlike hydrogen you can charge EV’s at highway speeds for unlimited range. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_road

As to the current infrastructure, plugging in nightly works for most people most of the time. Spending an extra 15 minutes charging for long trips is hardly a big deal. People tend to go inside for drinks walk around etc which eats into the time lost.

Adding to that, it's also worth noting that the battery segment of all-electric EVs has improved considerably over the past 20 years. The charging times per mile of distance will drop further and the range of the vehicles will continue to improve. The Toyota hydrogen arguments often intentionally ignore that the current approach to EV batteries is an improving target, despite that it's already good enough to take over the market as is.

This is becoming less true every year. Tesla now has 250kW superchargers, and there are even 350kW CCS chargers starting to be installed. In practice, for a Model 3, this means that you can charge the battery up to about half in 15 minutes.

For a long day of driving, say, 700 miles, assuming charging available at both ends, this means two charging stops of 15 minutes each instead of one gas stop of 5 minutes.

IMO while this can always be improved, this is now at the "good enough" point for long distance driving. Obviously to make this a true reality, there needs to be widespread charging available in parking lots, and more 250kW Superchargers, but progress towards this is rapid.

That is IF the charger is available when you want it and you don't need to wait 15-30 minutes for the car that's ahead of you to charge. Maybe rare now, but unless chargers keep building out at or greater than the pace of EV sales, it will become a bottleneck. It happens now with gas stations at busy interchanges, but generally a car can fill up and move in < 5 minutes.

How are urban car owners with street parking going to charge EV's is also a great question. There's zero infrastructure in place for that and it will be expensive when it does come.

Last year I saw a charge point added to a public curb parking area near me.

It's about half the height of a parking meter. The power is right there under the pavement. Probably cost £800 to install, which could generate £200 in revenue each year.

Not every charger needs to be a super charger.

Getting lots of 11kw chargers in every parking bay would be a higher priority than everywhere having super chargers. Most people could keep topped up and those doing long trips use the faster charging points.

The grid capacity is not infinite. Of course, we are going to improve the grid but it is not a trivial problem.

1. Many owners run a cord from their house — this can be solved with a modest update to city codes and maybe a trenching service to help run lines under sidewalks. 2. Street lights have power lines and it seems like that infrastructure can be reused: https://metroenergy.org/programs/current-projects/streetligh... 3. We should be doing everything possible to discourage urban car ownership — EVs still make the city more expensive for everyone else, hurt people, pollute (tire, brake, sound), and require far more space than any other form of transportation.

You have an odd way of using the word zero. I see plenty of infrastructure including both charging stations, as well as the undeniably real electric grid infrastructure which is a huge start on solving the problem.

I think you're missing your parent's point here. Folks who have street parking don't have a way to charge their cars at home. Folks are currently doing ad-hoc solutions draping wires overhead or underfoot, which is seen as a nuisance. If every residential block had a single charger, it would be both hugely expensive for a municipality and inadequate to the point of conflict among neighbors sharing that block.

No I got the point but the point is misinformed.

We have many blocks (roughly 10x10 blocks, so 100 square blocks) sharing a single charger site now and for the last 3 years with only two plugs in a high EV density area and we don’t have any conflicts that I know of.

Most of these objections are just imagined problems coming from the minds of people without actual experience of owning an EV.

That being said, some EVs, once bought, are an easier ownership experience than others, but that’s getting off track.

> Most of these objections are just imagined problems coming from the minds of people without actual experience of owning an EV.

Hi, previous EV owner here, had to get rid of it because there was too much range anxiety thanks to the lack of chargers near my house and inability to use my house's power thanks to street parking. Saw multiple conflicts at congested chargers, mostly passive, some aggressive, because the infrastructure was insufficient to meet the demand.

Most EVs do it poorly though. This may be the fallacy of judging an entire product category based on a poor implementation. Very common amongst people who bought cheaper EVs. In any case both EVs, and charging options, are only getting better.

Most EVs do what poorly? Get charged from a 120V cable stretched across a sidewalk? Last I looked, it would take a several days to fill a Tesla's battery like that. That's not because somebody cheaped out on the Tesla.

Lots of things poorly. A lot of EVs don’t have internet so you can’t monitor the status, don’t have sentry mode so people can screw with the cable without being noticed, don’t have a mobile app that lets you (again) check on things or remotely control things like when your wife goes to collect the car but forgets the key and you can unlock it remotely, don’t give you a fast charging backup option that makes life easier, don’t have the range, don’t have Netflix and YouTube to pass the time for the odd times when you need to sit in the car for a while… the list goes on.

Okay, but we were talking about a lack of charging infrastructure, and your evidence that I'm misinformed and making up imaginary problems is... watching youtube and a forgetful wife trope? And BTW my combustion car lets me do almost all that crap, including turning on the AC over the internet. Whoop dee.

Fast charging sounds so great! It sounds like you've got two Teslas in a place where fast chargers are plentiful. That doesn't describe where I live. So, good for you, but please remember that people aren't necessarily idiots just because their life experience differs from yours.

But, hey. Credit where credit's due... at least you didn't say FSD.

My list of stuff is specifically things that help make life better for charging.

... if you can find a charger. All those bells and whistles are beyond useless if you can't. It's rather amazing that you continue to talk past this point.

When I had an EV, it frequently took several hours of combined searching and waiting to find a charge per week. That's not counting time to charge. Frequently, broken chargers would remain listed on apps for weeks, which made it a terrifying gambling game when range was low.

A combination of superchargers and plugshare helps a lot!

What you say is indeed right for some EVs and some locales, but give it time, it’s getting better.

Are you sure you are in a high EV density area? Because I can't imagine how that can work out if more than a few % of cars in the area are EV.

I used a rented BMW i3 with range of 150km in Warsaw city center for a month or two. Charging was not an issue - there were multiple. harging public spaces within 5 min walking dostance from my apt, and also a communal charging spot in my apartament building. I just left the car there for one in a few nights.

The real issue - and the one that prevented me from buing an electric car so far - was that without my own charging spot I would have an issue leaving the city for a month or two, or just swotching to transit for a while. With ICE I can leave the car for 6 months unused and it’s not a big problem.

I was wondering this same thing, then I found out that in many cities home owners can have a high speed charging port installed at the front of their property line and run a cord across the side walk to their car.

Of course this doesn't work well if your neighbors park right in front of your house, oops. (In most American cities, AFAIK, home owners have no claim over the parking space directly in front of their home)

Not sure what to do in "real" dense cities, Chicago row houses and such.

Honestly making them public infrastructure where people pay a monthly fee subscription fee to the city might just work. (And generate revenue for the city!)

As an urban car owner with a car that has a 300 mile range, when I am running low on “energy”, I will drive the car to a dedicate place where more “energy” is put into the car. ICE or EV, it makes no difference to me, energy goes in at an external place.

What EV has over ICE is that these energy-giving places can be located anywhere - my work, the supermarket, a town car park, a mate’s house, an extension cable pit my window in absolute emergencies, etc. I really don’t see why this is a good argument against EV. Yes I can’t fill up outside my house, but I can’t do that with a petrol car either.

They're doing pilots in my city where there are just chargers next to some of the street parking spaces. They use one of the major EV networks, so you can use the app to get an alert when it's free, and people cycle through.

Well the infrastructure certainly needs to be built, but the solution is straight forward. You just place slow charging stations where the cars are parked overnight.

Yes, in the UK it will be a massive problem. But practical issues seem to be irrelevant to those making policies.

1300 street lights already converted as chargers: https://www.fleeteurope.com/en/new-energies/europe/analysis/...

Seems like there's a lot less street lights than cars.

Really, people should just have fewer cars.

Overly simplistic nonsense like this does not add to a discussion

If you live somewhere so dense that there is no off-road parking then why do you have a car in the first place?

It's not density that makes this happen in the U.S., but age. Old streetcar era suburbs didn't have driveways or garages. I've lived in neighborhoods entirely made of single family homes with hardly any off street parking. It was terrible coming home after 6pm. Ironically, if you live in a dense area of the U.S., your building probably has a parking spot for you in the garage as most apartment builds since the 60s included parking.

Because having a car is nice and convenient? Its great and all to be able to take the subway to a bar but the subway doesn’t get me to my golf club, the beach, the mountains etc.

> Because having a car is nice and convenient?

But it's not convenient if you have to park on the street... because there's nowhere to charge. That's the point.

Which is why I have an ICE and will continue to have an ICE... which is exactly the point: EV's are not convenient and they will not work for a large number of us.

Within a few years you will have dedicated parking spots with chargers on every other street corner, so it won’t really be an issue.

In Warsaw city center there is a such a public parking spot every 300-500 meters or so, where you can park for free as well if you have an electric. Those will get even more common as electrics get more popular.

The only issue is if you tend to leave your car unused for extended periods of time.

As demand for gasoline drops, more gas stations (which are already declining) will close. As time goes on, it will be more and more convenient to charge an EV than to drive half way across town to a gas station.

Range and recharging speed of electric cars are pretty close to what hydrogen cars offer. But there is a catch: you don't have to go to fuel stations to charge your electric car. Anywhere where there is electricity, e.g. at home or at any business, it is trivially easy to add chargers, starting at a few hundred dollars. Which means, most electric cars will have to go to charging stations only on road trips. With hydrogen, you have to stop at a fuel station for every single refill.

(Not to mention that "green" hydrogen requires at least 3x as much energy as plain electric cars)

It is not trivially easy to add chargers. The energy needs to come from somewhere and be transported to the charger via some infrastructure. Sure, currently when there is an odd charger here and there it is not an issue, but if we want to scale it it will require huge investment into the grid.

Not saying it is impossible, but it is not trivially easy.

> Charging still takes a long time

Barring roadtrips, charging at home costs about 30s. Even factoring the longer time supercharging on roadtrips (relative to gas), I'm confident I spend far less total time charging my EV than filling my gas tank.

30 seconds per day times 30 days is 900 seconds or about 15 minutes per month spent charging. How much time do you spend filling gas per month?

You don't need to charge an EV every day...

On a model 3 range, you maybe change 3x as often as fill up.

Gas is a 10 minute overhead generally. So 90s vs 10 minutes per 400 miles or so.

Not only that but counting fill up time against gas, while not counting all charging time against EV is hardly apples to apples.

If the justification is doing something productive with that time, then washing your windshield or going into the C-store to get a snack and a drink shouldn't count as gas up time.

I get that progress is being made, but the contortions required to prove that the status quo is "good enough" are frustrating, at best.

The best way to get a person to commit to an ice vehicle for life is to mislead them into committing to an EV before it or the infrastructure suits their needs.

When I get home, I plug in my car and then go do something else "productive". When I need my car, I unplug it and go. Both of these operations take about 10s each (because I like coiling the cable nicely).

Contrast that with the experience at a gas station, where I have to stand awkwardly next to my car while I keep my hand on the pump handle (there are no "locks" on the handles anymore), then wait in line inside the store to pay while the old lady in front of me buys a gazillion lottery tickets in pennies (tongue-in-cheek, but hey, it happens).

Not having to do that every week is very nice, IMO.

Then you have the roadtrip experience, where yes, you have to wait a bit while you charge, but it's a lot less of a problem than people think. I did a roadtrip in a Tesla back in 2015 with 3 other guys. We did Montreal - Atlanta for a conference, and we were driving non-stop, changing drivers every time we charged. There were maybe 2 stops total where it was inconvenient because we had to wait in the car, but the dozen others were often longer than the car wanted because we found a nice restaurant / café. Again, this was in 2015. 6 years later, I imagine it's improved a lot.

> anyone who looked outside their window would see EVs all over the place

Not where I am. They are rare enough that it's still something of a novelty to see one (I'm talking about pure EVs like a Tesla, not hybrids).

Toyota may be seeing that EVs will be a mass-market fiasco in many parts of the country where charging infrastructure is sparse, winters are cold, and even 200+ mile range can be a real limit and want to be able to continue to sell hybrids and ICE vehicles to those customers who prefer/require them.

Yes, there needs to be support for ICE vehicles in certain areas for quite some time to come. Until EV technology can support those that rely on gasoline or diesel powered cars in remote places.

Once the fossil fuel infrastructure starts to lose mainstream use, folks that require larger range, better cold weather reliability, etc. will pay through the nose to be able to move freely using their existing cars.

It will be a slow transition until it's not, and then you have a bunch of useless piles of steel, glass, and rubber lying around.

I wonder how they will handle emergency and military vehicles in the future. For any of them to use it it has to just work, and work quickly.

What do you mean about cold weather reliability? Isn’t Norway one of the countries with highest EV count per capita?

Also, living in a country with cold winters - EV will heat up in winter way faster than ICE. With ICE for short trips I need to spend as much time deicing windows and heating up the cabin as driving…

(Not to mention Diesels in winter - what a fun it can be!)

"I strip away the old debris, that hides a shining car.

A brilliant red Barchetta, from a better, vanished time.

Fire up the willing engine, responding with a roar!

Tires spitting gravel, I commit my weekly crime…"

A lot of people think this song is about driving an illegal gas engine, but its really about driving a car with illegally low safety features. Honestly the cyber truck feels like what the source material was envisioning, but not due to the electric part

That song is an excellent example of Libertarian fiction that didn't happen, but it still regarded to be a cautionary tale. Which brings me to the joke about Lord of the Rings and The Fountainhead...

> and even 200+ mile range can be a real limit

If your daily commute is 200 miles, your lifestyle is unsustainable anyway. Fuel consumption, greenhouse gas and particulate matter emissions, and even with electric vehicles you're still losing 3 hours of your life in traffic.

I don’t think they’re talking about people driving 200+ miles to an office every day. Think more along the lines of service technicians (plumbers, electricians, etc), home builders (working on multiple projects at a time), and on and on. There’s millions of people who’s office is the job site wherever that may be.

People in some service jobs, many independent contractors, tradespeople, etc. have to drive from place to place, sometimes many places per day, to do their jobs. I agree that for people with well-defined commute and shopping patterns an EV may be perfectly acceptable.

On the other hand, for them the fuel cost is important. That’s why in some countries Teslas are super popular with Uber.

A good 12-hour shift in the taxi for me was 200+ miles, with hopefully 1/2 of those paid miles.

I don't know what percentage of paid miles rideshare drivers can get. My friend recently took a 60+-mile ride share trip. That driver certainly had to drive most of the way back empty.

In europe, it would cost you $30 in fuel a day. You could save $10-$25 per day by driving electric…

Just because you only drive to the office and back does not mean that's the only place anyone might ever want to drive to.

> Hybrids were a mediocre half-measure

The US currently has just one million EV's and over 5.8 million hybrids (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plug-in_electric_vehicles_in_t...) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hybrid_electric_vehicles_in_th...).

I think it's a lot more fair to say that hybrids are a transitional solution. They came out in the 90's and still outnumber EV's on the road over 5-1 today, so I'd say we're in the midst of a 30-50 year transition.

It’s going to tip a lot faster than that in 2 yrs when EVs are cheaper up front.

New car sales might tip in two years, but that’s a small fraction of cars on the road. The average car on the road is over a decade old.

In fact, if people stop buying non-EV’s entirely, that might eventually slow down EV adoption since existing car owners will be unable to trade in their vehicles to buy EV’s.

ICE trade-in value will crash as mfrs exit the market, parts will become scarce.

> Hybrids were a mediocre half-measure and hydrogen was a worse solution to the problem.

I believe it is more sinister - most of hydrogen currently available is made "almost free" from natural gas. So behind hydrogen, I would expect current Oil and Gas companies that are trying to stay relevant - and hydrogen is perfect for greenwashing, since it could in theory be made from green electricity and thus zero emission - but that will never be price competitive with hydrogen from natural gas, unless we start counting externalities.

> anyone who looked outside their window would see EVs all over the place

In Germany this is not the case. Also: A typical residential building over here has 3× 230 V / 63 A which results in ~43 kW. Medium charging power mentioned by Tesla is 11 kW (16 A), so if we wanna leave some headroom for the residents you can charge 2-3 Teslas maximum there at once.

Of course you could dig out the electrical cable leading to the house, add another house connection etc. but that would also mean all the electrics of the whole house have to be brought up to current standards etc. Also at some point the main cable under the road will be the limiting factor, and this has to go as well.

I think EVs have an advantage over hydrogen now that they are not in totally widespread use, because their true infrastructure cost will only appear once everybody wants to charge them at once, and this is certainly not the case right now.

Maybe worst in developed country: Japan. Here's 100V/60A is max for home. Even fully upgraded, maybe 100A or 120A is max. Situation even worse for apartment.

I'm visiting a not too tiny (1.5M metro population) European city. The closest supercharger is over 300km away. Over a week I've seen a grand total of three EVs. But seems about a quarter of the cars are hybrids.

I think cars have an advantage over horses now that they are not in widespread use, because their true infrastructure cost will only appear once everyone wants to get gas at once, and this is certainly not the case right now.

Yeah, because you pump your gas over the whole night at home — sure.

If 80% of cars of a house need to be charged in the morning because everybody uses it to go to work, and they use it during the day where else are they gonna charge it than at home and when else are they gonna charge it than after work?

Charging a EV takes longer than pumping gas which is why collisions are more likely. The whole thing might work if the charging stations auto-negotiate some compromise, and leave some cars uncharged or charge some cars less, but waking up and have your car not fully charged will ot be a rare occurance based on the physics of our existing infrastructure alone. You cannot draw more than 43 kW at once in the very typical example building (in fact it might be much less).

Also: everything upstream of those houses (cables, fuses, transformer stations, ...) assumes a certain load factor, running every single house near full load at once is not something that might be feasible, without digging open the street, exchanging that cable, transformer etc.

Because of the downvotes I am curious to explainations to the contrary. I am certified to work on the german electrical grid, if there is something I am getting awfully wrong I'd like to both know and understand it : )

until there are chargers for the masses or some kind of new tech comes along that can charge as fast as filling up the tank or the batteries can hold way more range than they do it is not going to work for the majority of people with cars. too many people can't plug in overnight to charge. electrics are superior for the people that they are superior for.

We owned two Teslas for two years with no place to plug in at home. But we did have local charging options. You would be surprised how easy it can be, if you live in the right place. However, I’ll be the first to admit that this is a big if.

Now we manage to keep two Teslas charged with one single 110 outlet. It’s plenty for around town. We even have nights where we go to bed without plugging in either car, because they are both already 80% full, which is a good place to stop for battery health.

Is this just your opinion, or do you actually have data to back up your claims here?

I ask because there was a 5 year old study that illustrated that in 2016 87% of trips were within range for an electric vehicle with overnight charging. https://www.nature.com/articles/nenergy2016112

Range anxiety is a real thing, but we settled on a PHEV SUV with a 40km range last year due to not finding the right mix of towing capacity and range in an electric vehicle (we need to routinely use a trailer that can haul >1500 lbs for business reasons). That 40km range covers approximately 3/4 quarters (74.38) of our routine driving (I actually have this data, we were surprised that it came out to such a round number!)

We expect to sell our current vehicle and switch to a full electric SUV with similar capabilities once they are available in 2021/2022.

> 87% of trips were within range for an electric vehicle with overnight charging

That is the wrong number. The real number in question is what % of cars never do any other trip. 90% of my trips might be within range of an overnight charge, but my parent's house isn't on that list, so there will be several times per year that I will make a trip that isn't within range of an overnight charge. (My parent's are too close to making flying a reasonable choice)

I suspect the point was more centered around access to charging facilities. Range is less of a problem if you have access to a charging point overnight. For those that park on-street or in public garages without charging available, range is far more of a problem unless you plan to take a few hours out of your day to hang out at a charging facility. That group of people would include a pretty substantial portion of those living in dense urban environments.

Range isn't the problem, lack of charging stations is. Drive around any city at night and look how many cars are parked overnight on streets and in parking lots with no chargers anywhere near. That infrastructure can be built but it will take decades.

Not true. You don't need to charge everywhere you park. One can park at home, at the office or at the mall. One is enough, and once a week, too. So that's already less than 7%. And since the vast majority of households have a plug at home, you can probably divide that by 3.

I disagree. You're overlooking the psychological aspects. Range anxiety is real. You might not need to charge up more than once a week but if you're down to 1 day or less of range do you really want to count on the fact that there is a free charger available when you get to your destination? I live in a condo so charging at home isn't an option. If I had an EV I'd probably start to get anxious when it gets down to somewhere around 1/3 of the charge left.

> I live in a condo so charging at home isn't an option. Why not? Why not join your strata or hmo board and change that?

Why not lobby your local jurisdiction to add these kind of requirements to new construction, or pass by-laws or laws at the right level to require condo buildings to allow individuals to install chargers?

All of these complaints are passive and indicate that you don't have agency in this situation. These types of changes don't happen unless people push back against the status quo.

I am always shocked when I see so many people participating on a message board that is designed for people who want to move fast and break things just... accept... the way the world around them is.

Lobbying for it in new construction doesn't help my situation. I could convince the HOA to install chargers in all the parking spots but that would lead to a big special assessment and raise the HOA fees to cover the increased electricity use. That seems like a big hassle for the option to charge at home if I still live in the building several years from now when I replace my current car.

The vast majority of detached houses can charge an EV at home, assuming you either own it or have a landlord willing to let you install the charging equipment.

That's okay if it takes decades because the average age of vehicles on the road today is 12 years. It's going to take a LONG time to convert everyone over.

Why would it take decades?

Equipment costs, limited city budgets, permit process, labor availability, local transformer capacity, etc.

A charging station costs an order of magnitude less than a petrol station

Why would cities need to pay a dime for charging infrastructure? There are commercial vendors doing just fine.

Which do you think is the hardest to get a permit for? 1) underground tank for thousands of gallons of explosive liquid that's bad for the environment if it leaks 2) overground tank of pressurised explosive gas known for its ability to leak out of every container 3) a big-ass electric socket

As for labor, you need an electrician with a high voltage certificate. Not a exactly rare, hard to train, commodity. Maybe a dude with a backhoe to dig the wires.

Local transformer capacity is highly variable, some areas might have issues, others might not. A charging station can bring stability to unstable networks if paired with a battery bank to offset the load. (And maybe even make $$ by charging it during low load and feed back during peak hours).

The issues I see are that EVs can't charge quickly, charging stations can't cycle cars quickly, EV range varies on additional conditions like temperature, and you can't self-sufficiently extend an EV's range. To clarify that last issue, you could fill a gas can with additional gallons of fuel to extend your range, cover yourself for an emergency situation, etc. But you cannot do this with EVs. You can't just carry a jug of extra charge or operate without the grid being nearby, online, and available. I understand that there is always some level of dependency we have on large infrastructure, but gas vehicles let you have a longer period of reliable self-sufficiency compared to EVs.

I am confident the vast majority of daily trips can be covered by an EV. But I still need a gas car to do things on the weekend, to go places on holidays, to feel secure in my ability to transport myself or loved ones at will, etc. When hauling people and gear, can I really rely on the stated range of an electric SUV to go offroad to a campsite and come back? I'd feel better if they let me carry an additional battery pack in the trunk/bed to extend range but that seems to not be a focus right now. So EVs basically seem like they preclude certain use cases entirely. In a multi-car household, I still see the need for at least one gas vehicle, and don't agree with bans that try to phase them out entirely as a result.

Your concerns are basically straight up range anxiety. Anecdotally speaking, my previous vehicle was the only one out of 4 vehicles on camping trips for several years that had mechanical issues.

The simple reality is that in most of North America you are less than 2 hours away from help in case of mechanical defect. Inside the United States, with few exceptions, it's must closer. You are just as vulnerable to mechanical failure with a gas vehicle as you are with an electric vehicle.

That said, it's currently a consumer choice, but as a tax payer and a consumer I desperately want my (Canadian) government to end all subsidies for fossil fuel industries, and introduce additional taxes with a direct path to those taxes being used to subsidize and invest in electric alternatives.

What is the breakdown of electrical power generation in your area of Canada? Your EV may still be mostly/entirely fossil-fueled.

It's 100% hydro and wind in most of Québec (second-most populous province). The number for _all_ of Québec is something like 98%, but that 2% is remote communities that can't reasonably be connected to the provincial grid (like the Magdalen Islands). The main grid is 100% renewables.

Source: https://www.hydroquebec.com/about/our-energy.html

A fossil-fueled EV by seems by all accounts I've seen to be less environmentally impactful than an ICE vehicle. https://www.theverge.com/2021/7/21/22585682/electric-vehicle...

I drive a mazda 3. Sometimes I need to move things that don't fit in it. When that happens I rent or borrow a bigger vehicle. What's wrong with using an EV for daily driving and renting a gas vehicle for the rare trips that really need the extra range?

I'm also going to point out that the mileage I saw on my car at the dealer does not match the gas mileage I get in practice. That isn't something that is unique to EVs. After driving their car for a while most people will have a good idea of what their gas mileage is for their usual routes and won't be accidentally running out of gas or charge.

> What's wrong with using an EV for daily driving and renting a gas vehicle for the rare trips that really need the extra range?

I don't know. How about the vast majority of people don't have the economic means to do that? Most people live paycheck to paycheck. Their one and only vehicle is likely their single largest purchase. The idea of dropping hundreds of dollars to rent a vehicle simply isn't in the cards. I know people who are in this position.

If the answer to the objections people have to electrics is "just rent an longer range gasoline powered car", why would anyone buy an electric car in the first place? True believers, maybe, but that is not how the average person makes a purchasing decision. I learned this reality of business the hard way many years ago. People rarely make altruistic decisions when buying anything. They want the most for their money and, for the most part, could not care less where it comes from or how it works.

EVs are still pretty expensive. If you're living paycheck to paycheck you probably aren't going to buy a Tesla.

Would you only buy a vehicle that you expect to meet 100% of your needs? If so, have fun driving your moving van every day.

> If so, have fun…

That’s a ridiculous jab. You obviously have no interest in having a serious conversation.

> What's wrong with using an EV for daily driving and renting a gas vehicle for the rare trips that really need the extra range?

Well right now, legislation is being discussed that bans gas vehicles outright, rather than leaving them as an option, so even your rental suggestion is precluded. I'm not a fan of bans on consumer products in general - I would rather price in externalities. Additionally, this rental model doesn't work when everyone has the same holiday weekends when they want to go out with the family, or the same great weather conditions they want to take advantage of (for example to go skiing). The surge in demand won't match up to a limited supply of rental vehicles.

> I'm also going to point out that the mileage I saw on my car at the dealer does not match the gas mileage I get in practice. That isn't something that is unique to EVs.

Sure, but with EVs there are more variables at play like temperature. The max range on gas vehicles is also still a lot higher than EVs - for example I can easily get over 500 miles in my SUV on a single tank even driving aggressively. Plus the range is less of an issue when I can just carry an extra can of gas or fill up in an unplanned manner virtually anywhere in the country. If we don't have portable battery packs, or battery packs that can be swapped, it's simply not an equivalent substitute.

>a Model 3 Long Range operating at peak efficiency can recover up to 75 miles of charge in 5 minutes and charge at rates of up to 1,000 miles per hour.[1]

I agree we need more public chargers, but I don't think "chargers are too slow" is really a valid forward looking argument anymore.

[1] - https://www.tesla.com/blog/introducing-v3-supercharging

I say this as a Tesla owner.

Chargers are still too slow to appease a LOT of people. A 15-30 minute charge every 2-3 hours is unacceptable to people who expect a 5 minute gas-up every 3-4 hours. And while the supercharger network is expanding, the fact is, for a road trip, you'll still likely want to plan your charging stops ahead of time, and many people don't want to do this. With a gas car, you can easily just wing it with zero planning since no matter where you are, there's a gas station within 15 miles.

The "charge rates up to 1,000 miles per hour" is only accurate when your battery is under what, 30%? IIRC, charging speed falls off almost linearly with state of charge.

Faster charger are coming, too. Tesla already announced 300 kW https://electrek.co/2021/07/15/tesla-upgrading-supercharger-... and Ionity is already offering 350 kW https://ionity.eu/en/design-and-tech.html

But the most important thing is the curve, not the peak rate. It's improving fast https://www.motortrend.com/news/tesla-model-s-plaid-charging... and will improve further with the 4680 cells next year.

> I don't think "chargers are too slow" is really a valid forward looking argument anymore.

The problem is how many cars can be serviced by a single charging center in a given amount of time. Think about a weekend with good weather, or holiday weekends, when many people are taking trips on the same days. Normally, because filling a gas tank takes 5-10 minutes, cars can cycle in and out of ubiquitous gas stations very quickly. The same isn't true for charging, at least with the current footprint of chargers out there, especially with differences in charging architectures.

I'd bet against you.

The majority of people with cars can use EVs today fine.

There are some exceptional outlier cases and even those people can rely on super chargers or charging stations (which are expanding rapidly).

The majority of people I know who have cars would not be ok with EVs because they just don't have the range. The people I do know who are fine with EVs almost don't even need vehicles at all to be honest -- they could be using public transportation or biking or walking instead (I don't mean to suggest they shouldn't be using an EV, only that their alternatives often aren't combustion vehicles). I do think there are a lot of people who could be happily using EVs, but I don't think it's a majority.

As for charging stations, I think many people who are still using combustion engines want to see a charging station at every gas station, or of equivalent geographic density. Distribution could be there but it's far from that now.

Many people are afraid of the range, but don't actually drive anywhere near it day to day.

EV range is also continuing to improve.

I suspect/predict we'll see adoption continue to accelerate. I think a lot of the resistance is just status quo bias.

FWIW, I think eventually EVs will dominate the market. It's a matter of when, not if (unless hydrogen makes a splash somehow).

The issue with trips is yes, many people don't drive anywhere near that range on a daily per-trip basis. However, people don't buy cars on a trip-by-trip basis, they buy a car to handle the range of regularly encountered transportation scenarios they encounter. So even if people only make, say, 7% of their trips outside the range of an EV, they don't want to go and rent a car to do that if they already own a car. They want to have a car that will do that, plus the one or two trips per week that go well outside that range. They don't want to rent another car every week or two to do that. Add to that a conservative 50% reduction in range in the winter (per Consumer Reports), range is currently a concern.

I guess I just think the range-per-trip metric can be misleading, because that can equate to a relatively large number of trips per time, especially given the expense of a car, regardless of technology.

I pretty often make the drive from SF to Tahoe which requires a supercharger stop for ~40min.

For this distance it's really not an issue. People typically stop once for bathroom or food anyway. The tradeoff of low cost fuel is also a factor.

All the other times an EV is a strictly better experience (not having to go to gas stations, pay gas costs, cleaner, better performance, etc.)

Longer trips outside of that kind of thing are exceedingly rare for the vast majority of drivers (iirc the data correctly).

I don't think it's about renting a car, I just think the supercharger network is at a point where things are good enough today for that kind of use case.

Most of the lower cost hotels in the Tahoe area still don't have charging stations.

There are a few superchargers there, destination chargers aren't that important.

I think non-Tesla EVs are a lot less viable an option for this reason.

Kinda miss the panhandlers though, right? /s

All over the world countries are banning ICE. The US won't because of "muh freedom" but economically it's impossible to keep making them. When China and the EU switch to EV the world will follow.

The US is large enough on its own to keep petro cars running. There won't be as many advances without other markets to subsidize development, but there are enough people to keep things going. What will kill gas in the US is when there is enough charging infrastructure that people believe those 7% trips where you don't charge at home are reasonable, and so they switch their next car.

Once that happens petro will be left to things where nothing else will do. Things like farming, or heavy construction where you are using a lot more energy than batteries can supply: these are already diesel. And a few collectors, but the 1957 Chevrolet is something you only drive in parades anyway.

It be will better for US economy then. At least they don't outsource car production to china.

I covered 6000km last month. If I didn't have a petrol car, I'd not have a car at all, possibly renting one whenever I needed one. I only use my car for leisure, and if I can't reach remote locations with ease, then I don't need it.

How many chargers do you need to equal the bandwidth of a petrol station with 6 pumps?

How many petrol stations do you need to equal the bandwidth of almost all charging happening at home/work?

I refuelled my car 3 times a day when I was driving through Europe, I can only assume I would have to charge an EV as many (if not more) times.

Are most of the people you know driving 300+ miles regularly?

Even if they are, this is a problem solved by fast charge stations.

Most people can charge at home overnight. According the US census 65% of adults own their own home. Sure infrastructure needs built out for the remaining 35% of renters. However the demand won't be there for a while since most renters are likely younger and/or lower income and not the current target market for EVs.

Some of those 65% (condo and rowhouse owners and places where on-street parking is prevalent) will also need some amount of shared/public charging infrastructure.

It's easy to do. There are electric cables everywhere (every street lamp, for example).

Also, I'm old enough to remember when one had to pay for wifi at hotels and restaurants. I bet we won't pay for charging a car at some point and/or at some time of the day (plugging your car will help the grid due to the share of renewables, you may even be paid for the service). See https://www.tesla.com/support/energy/powerwall/own/californi...

Owning a home does not imply the ability to charge a car. It is common for homeowners to park cars on the street out of necessity.

Some apartment renters can charge at home too. Just depends on the setup. But sure some can’t.

My wife and I recently purchased a new car. We have strongly been considering an EV, but went with a hybrid because even though EVs were well within our price range, we couldn't depend on one. The infrastructure just isn't there, nor is the range. Maybe when we replace our other car it will make sense as that one is driven much shorter distances and we'd have the other one for longer distances (both are hybrids). This isn't even getting into issues with having to upgrade our electrical box and wiring to handle car charging in our garage.

I would never buy a Tesla because I see better options in the EV space, but I do give them a lot of credit and thanks for introducing competition in the area and turning EVs into a product to covet. To me that's always been the best way to handle these sorts of things, to introduce competition and win people over. Lightbulbs were the same way -- the arguments died when quality affordable LEDs came on the market and took away any argument for anything else. When there's big range, reliable and affordable EVs with quick ubiquitous charging, people will flock to EVs.

Sometimes I feel like these discussions are in a bubble, to be honest. When I think of the people I know, and what's in the parking lot, getting them to migrate to a hybrid is really where there would be any movement. Maybe someday they'll just jump to an EV and skip hybrids but at the moment there's lots of people who won't even consider anything but a full combustion system.

I also don't really fault Toyota for pursuing hydrogen and would really like to see that continue at least as a research focus. It is much more energy dense and solves a lot of problems. I realize it's not as fully there yet as EVs, but EVs aren't either if anyone is being completely honest. The article casts Toyota in a nefarious light, but in some ways I feel like if the government is going to get involved and start playing favorites, they should do so in a competitive and diversified way. Otherwise maybe they should get out of the way and just incentivize competition per se. In fact, if the EV market is so healthy, maybe the government should be subsidizing alternatives like hydrogen?

If you're in the US, this comment really makes no sense to me, unless you live in or visit rural areas very frequently. Teslas are practical EVs right now for those who can afford them. Most charging happens at home, and there are plenty of superchargers along major highways. Additionally, many cities have level 2 charging, so if you're going to be in a city for even an afternoon you can charge up quite a bit even if there's no supercharging.

If it's only an occasional trip where charging is not available, you could rent a car.

> I would never buy a Tesla because I see better options in the EV space

Tesla has by far the best charging network, so if you ruled them out right away, then I could understand your comment. Electrify America is growing rapidly, and I'm pretty bullish on their network over the next couple of years.

> When I think of the people I know, and what's in the parking lot, getting them to migrate to a hybrid is really where there would be any movement. Maybe someday they'll just jump to an EV and skip hybrids but at the moment there's lots of people who won't even consider anything but a full combustion system.

I don't really see why. EVs are a bit of a mindset shift (charging at home…), but I don't see the major practical hurdles you do.

> I would never buy a Tesla because I see better options in the EV space

Tesla might not be your taste, but every test and comparison shows that Tesla is at the top or at least incredible competitive.

> To me that's always been the best way to handle these sorts of things, to introduce competition and win people over.

That's exactly what has happened already.

> I also don't really fault Toyota for pursuing hydrogen

You mean talking about hydrogen while trying to prevent cleaner fuel laws and zero emission vehicles. Yeah you really can't blame gigantic cooperation from lobbying against the environment. Where would we be if cooperation could be criticized like that.

> I realize it's not as fully there yet as EVs, but EVs aren't either

EV are going totally gang busters and are on a massive growth curve. They are on an incredibly fast adoption curve, as faster then many expected and its going faster. They are there, but it still needs time.

> In fact, if the EV market is so healthy, maybe the government should be subsidizing alternatives like hydrogen?

Why? Why would you dumb money in a technology stack that has gotten government money for 50 years and has shown absolutely no success what so ever and is worse for the environment by far. What is the logic in that.

Seems much more important to replace ICE vehicles then to fight EV with FCV. Wouldn't you say?

> I would never buy a Tesla because I see better options in the EV space Out of curiosity, who do you see as a better option and why?

I'm also curious - I looked at a lot of EVs (maybe all that were available?) before getting the Model 3 (and had a Fiat 500e prior to that).

None of them really came close in features and most were not competitive on cost either.

I don't see how this could be true, Tesla is way ahead of everyone in terms of charging infrastructure. The Mach-E and Id.4 both look like good cars, but Electrify America is still smaller, and having some growing pains. I think Tesla may have real competitors in the very short term, but not quite yet. The only thing is that some people may not care about fast charging, because you really don't need it most of the time, especially if you have another ICE car for road trips.

> I would never buy a Tesla because I see better options in the EV space,

Only Tesla EVs have range over 300miles EPA and cost less than 50k.

I'm worried there's a reason they're so cheap - they don't seem to have good build quality.

85 percent of Model 3 owners are "very satisfied" with the ownership experience, the most of all EV owners, in Norway. It's a good stat to go by since that market has the most EVs per capita in the world.


Not true, Ford Mach-E is $42k at 305 EPA. $36k after tax credit, so even cheaper.

42k is already after tax credit (and it's RWD only)


And Ford dealers are likely to sell them above MSRP. Or, at least they will try:


Oh wow, their marketing pages are very misleading. They list the best stats for each model, but no model exists that has that combo of stats.

We need some sort of infrastructure that delivers electricity around a country and only then will this work

I see what you did here :D

It always amazes me people use the infrastructure argument against EV adoption. Electricity infrastructure is nearly universal worldwide and clearly more available than gasoline. Also recharge times on new Teslas is very impressive of not irrelevant to most of the population that can recharge at home

And even if they admit that the infrastructure exist, they vastly overestimate the amount of power needed to charge an EV at home.

People actually believe you need a 150kW+ charger at home, when reality is that if you have a socket that can handle an electric kettle, you can charge an EV from it.

The overwhelming majority of households use their cars such that one essentially is used only for commuting and running errands on the weekend. The second car, can quite easily be electric given the state of today's technology, and that's the sweet spot for it right now. Once prices come down I would be surprised to see people not have at least one electric car in their garage.

Gas hybrids are vastly superior though for long distance traveling. The infrastructure just isnt there yet, and charging for an hour sucks.

That's exactly the model my household follows (or will follow once I return to my office commute) - one small EV (with a short, 110 mile range) for the daily commute, and one Hybrid for longer trips or hauling more stuff/people. We'd probably just have the EV and rent a car for longer trips, but we needed a second car for my spouse anyway who works from home full time.

Two EVs are way easier to manage than one EV and one ICE car. Because you can trade them off at a distant charger.

Until the demand for chargers hits a tipping point and starts replacing corner gas stations...

Yes, you do still have the charge time issue, but that's why chargers get paired up with places. Right now there's two (slow) charging stalls at my mid-tier local grocery-store-etc mall (Albertsons), and (ofc) none at the low-tier (Big Saver). There's plenty of room for more, and while my local grocery mall doesn't have a gas station in it, most do. Replace those with charging infrastructure, and we'll get past that tipping point.

In Finland the largest charger networks are owned by the two largest ... grocery chains.

Their locations are already next to traffic hubs, stores already have a beefy electrical hook up and a car full of people stopping for 15-45 minutes to charge is excellent for business.

Yup! Because Tesla charges waaay more for time at a charger not charging, I'm starting to like the slower chargers since it gives more time for whatever I'm up to at the location. 30m is enough to pop into Trader Joe's, but not enough for a restaurant (as an example)

Electric motors are also superior to combustion engines in pretty much every way.

The biggest issue is mobile energy storage in sufficient quantities. With a train-sized diesel generator the problem goes away :)

They already have chargers for the masses. Superchargers are all over the place and charge nearly as fast as filling up a tank.

Most people wildly underestimate how much time they spend at a gas station filling up gas anyway.

Range is not really an issue either. Unless you're regularly road tripping 400+ miles, an EV will handle the trip just fine.

> Superchargers are all over the place and charge nearly as fast as filling up a tank.

This is not at all true. Filling up even a larger 25 gallon gas tank can be done within 10 minutes. Even the newest Tesla Model S Plaid on the fastest supercharger takes 52 minutes to go from 5% to 95% (https://insideevs.com/news/515641/tesla-models-plaid-chargin...).

> Range is not really an issue either. Unless you're regularly road tripping 400+ miles, an EV will handle the trip just fine.

Range can be an issue for numerous reasons. Your range changes based on load, temperature, and the road. If you're driving in cold conditions, uphill, with passengers and cargo, your range isn't 400 miles - it might be half that. Plus even the longest range Tesla currently gets only 396 miles under the ideal conditions of the EPA cycle. Unlike with gas cars, you can't just carry an extra can of electric charge to cover yourself for a rare longer journey.

> Even the newest Tesla Model S Plaid on the fastest supercharger takes 52 minutes to go from 5% to 95%

The thing is, you don't actually do that in practice. Go and actually listen to the insideev podcast. The Tesla will tell you where to stop for how long. Typically on a road-trip you actually make a few more stops and only charge from 5% to 60%.

Unless you are a really extreme road tripper, peeing and getting a quick snake is more then enough. The guys on insideev actually do a huge amount of road tripping (with all kinds of cars) and they prefer EV to ICE for almost all trips. And in most cases the charging doesn't hold you up much at all.

Also guess what, if you drive uphill with cargo in extreme temperatures you also use more gas and your car doesn't get its normal mileage.

With an EV you actually get much of that energy back when going down the mountain on the other side.

Also, this is probably less then 0.1% of all miles driven. So it really doesn't work as an argument and doesn't apply to 95% of the people. And for another 3% it likely doesn't apply for more then 1-2 a year.

Nobody is saying that EV are literally perfect for every single case ever. But as a practical matter, they are simply better for the majority of people already.

> Also guess what, if you drive uphill with cargo in extreme temperatures you also use more gas and your car doesn't get its normal mileage.

Yes, but gas vehicles still have higher max range and they have easily extensible range. An SUV can literally carry the equivalent of a second tank of fuel in gas cans and still have tons of space for people and cargo.

> Also, this is probably less then 0.1% of all miles driven. So it really doesn't work as an argument and doesn't apply to 95% of the people. And for another 3% it likely doesn't apply for more then 1-2 a year.

I disagree. Those trips may be a small percentage of all miles driven but an overwhelming majority of car owners still take those trips and want their vehicle to be capable of supporting those trips. Most people who own a car take trips with increased load or increased mileage frequently enough that it is an important use case for their vehicle. The percentage of total miles driven is not really an important metric in considering a vehicle. It is critical for me to be able to take extended day trips with my family and friends even if I do it only once a month. EVs are better for the majority of road miles driven, but not for the majority of people.

A woman was saying (on Reddit, I think) that she is not comfortable sitting for an hour at the charging station. If I hadn't read that, I would've never thought of the safety angle for female EV owners.

I hope EVs surpass gas guzzlers, but there are some issues to fix before that can happen.

Leaving aside "sitting for an hour" (?), isn't it much safer to charge 99% of the time in your own garage and never have to regularly step out of your car alone at a dark gas station on the corner?

Even on a long drive you leave home with a "full tank" without having that first stop to gas up.

Yeah - plus superchargers are typically in busy public areas often with security (unlike many gas stations).

It feels fairly contrived, I'm skeptical it's not just anti-ev motivated reasoning.

No need for security, Tesla owners watch out for each other.

To put it another way, people charging EVs tend to look out for each other and help each other. At Tesla chargers, since they have multiple plugs in one spot, there are often other friendly people there charging so you feel safer and more secure. So even without security guards it is a good setup for leaving your car or for being there in a strange parking lot.

People draw a lot of scary conclusions based on what they know about bad EV choices.

It all depends on what car you choose.

With Teslas at least, you don’t sit for an hour, since they have fast chargers all over the place. In other cars, yes.

Some of our charges are 5-10 minutes. On a road trip most are 20-30 minutes. The longest charge is if you need to get to a place that is near the edge of your range, which is exceedingly rare, even on long road trips. In those highly unusual cases you might have to charge for 45-50 minutes for that one leg of the trip, if you didn’t arrive with half a charge already. Again this is with a supercharger. Other cars… yes, scary charge times. (You will hear about how some cars… Porsche… can charge at a faster rate, but the chargers to support this are rare, so their fast rate is often not possible and they are stuck at a slow charger for hours.)

Also with other cars you are sitting there alone often at a single plug station. With Tesla chargers you are generally not alone, you are with other Tesla owners who have your back if anything suspicious starts happening around the area.

This is where Tesla Coils come in. Just play Red Alert 2.

Honest question: is there any evidence a woman sitting in a car is more likely to be attacked than a man sitting in a car?

Almost no one sits in their car while charging. This is just FUD.

I kind of like what Nio is doing with batteries in their cars - quickly swap them out and be on your way instead of sitting there for an hour+ charging. It obviously wouldn't work everywhere as it requires a substantial infrastructure compared to a charging station (so economical in dense populated areas). But it's essentially as fast as filling up with regular gasoline. Pull in, battery gets swapped in minutes, pull out. BaaS (Batteries as a Service). It also lowers the price of the car up front since you don't pay for the massive battery, which is the largest cost portion of an electric vehicle.


Maybe battery swaping will work this time.


Even things that used to do battery swapping, such as forklifts, are moving away from that. Now that battery forklifts can get through a workday on one charge, it's easier to just recharge during off hours.

There are a number of problems with EVs that ICEs handle much better.

Trucking and logistics is very time dependent, so stopping to recharge imposes severe logistical constraints. You can't have every truck stay at the same pit stop. There isn't enough space or time.

Large apartment complexes are plentiful. A 1,000-resident building complex full of EVs will draw a lot of power. Can the grid handle it? What happens when the power goes out?

How will residents of states that snow over in the winter will fare? Do they have to stop using their vehicles?

Long trips by car suddenly become more painful, which will likely shift more traffic to air travel.

------ Edit -----

I have a "bad contributor" flag on my account [1]. I had a response to this comment [2] that I wanted to make but can't. I'll include it here for lack of an ability to post on HN:

I just looked at my coke zero can (bad habit), and it's using potassium citrate as an acid buffer.

Inflammation is a tax on the immune system and puts it in a state that is mainly intended for dealing with pathogen and cancer clearance. Over time, endothelial and genetic damage can accrue, resulting in hastened aging and system dysfunction. Increased cell population recruitment from the thymus also diminishes the organ's size in age, reducing immune system capacity to deal with these threats.

Not news I wanted today, but something I needed to hear.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27959642

[2] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27963171

Trucking has tradeoffs in both directions - EVs are cheaper, and easier to maintain, trucks are huge and can have a lot of battery capacity. I think what's better depends on specific circumstance.

For large apartment complexes there will probably need to be some load balancing, but seems manageable. Power going out doesn't seem like that big of a deal, more likely to have some charge in the car and it's more likely to find power than gas in a crisis (long lines at gas stations etc.)

Long trips by car via super charger are pretty easy for everything except 700+mi trips which are very rare for vast majority. Unlikely to shift anything to air travel, if anything lower EV fuel costs could shift other direction.

For snow my parents have had only EVs in Buffalo and have been fine. They also drive down the east coast to Florida.

While electric sports cars and the electric Ford F-150 gets most of the attention, the boring Ford Transit, America's work van, is about to come out in electric.[1] In a few years, most businesses where all the vans spend the night in the fenced company parking lot will probably be going electric, just to save on fuel cost.

The electric version is still US$7K more than the gasoline version. When that price differential disappears, it's all over for the IC engine.

[1] https://www.ford.com/commercial-trucks/e-transit/2022/

No one is arguing any of these points. The problem is that currently the increased efficiency of ICEs are externalized from the people who are profiting from it.

Pollution, noise, power distribution (fuel vs electric) and the toll on public infrastructure are all externalized costs for these businesses.

The detail that is really exciting is that as EV technology is improving and people are becoming more aware of the realities of climate change and our complete inability to practically affect change as individuals, more and more people are starting to look to sustainable choices, and ICEs based on fossil fuels simply aren't one of them. AFAIK hydrogen fuel cells still aren't simply because the cheapest source of hydrogen is still fossil fuels, by a long shot (unless there is a more recent study that shows otherwise).

Toyota made a bet that they will leap over current EV teach with their, "soon to come", solid state batteries.

With all battery production capacity already spoken for, Toyota has to slow down EV adoption, convince us that hybrids are still a thing. If unsuccessful, they stand to loose market share soon.

By the time solid state battery are thing, Tesla will be much bigger (and moving faster) in the EV space, so it's highly probable that the industry (including cell manufacturers) will line up to support Tesla rather than Toyota. Also, Tesla's margins are improving to a point where they'll soon be more profitable than Toyota and be able to pay a better price for any cell production capacity available (solid state or not). It's getting really late for the Japanese giant and they're still in denial (a good friend of mine is responsible for the deployment of Mirai in Europe and he's well aware that).

People talk about battery fires in cars, but boy, are the willies I get from the thought of driving around with a pressurized hydrogen tank about a thousand times worse than whatever small chance of having a battery ignite.

> Elon's early responses to this remain true (grid already exists, people can charge at home, easier to build EV infrastructure, etc.) - there's been nearly zero progress in hydrogen fuel cells.

Reminder that Elon bought his way into Tesla. I'm sure those are all things that Tesla's founders pointed out when they pitched the investment to him. =)

> Elon's early responses to this remain true (grid already exists, people can charge at home, easier to build EV infrastructure, etc.)

And Battery tech is "good enough" for most (99%) trips.

and if we destroy any market that isn't electric by punishing gas/hydrogen/etc, what does that do to the 1%? Sorry you're out of luck, just move to the city and change careers/lifestyle? Also note that a lot of that 1% are the trucks that bring goods into the city.

At current gas price there are many places where EVs are already cheaper to operate.

It's unrealistic to switch everyone to EVs right now. But many two car households could reasonable have one EV and one ICE car. The Chevrolet Volt was pretty much perfect for the current situation: most commuting would happen on the battery but the extra long trips would switch over to gas.

I don't disagree with you, but I'm wondering about the 1%? For example I lived in Alaska for a few years. There are places up there when you have hundred of miles between stops, and if you run out of fuel the situation can be potentially deadly. Everyone carries extra fuel with them to protect against this situation.

What happens to those people when the cost of gas is sky high because economies of scale are completely gone and it's a niche product?

Obviously, Alaska will be outlawed as part of the bill that ends fossil fuel production and criminalizes the possession of ICE cars.

(Serious answer: gas will be subsidized, just like everything else up there.)

Two EVs is way easier to manage than an ICE car and an EV.

If you have no charging at home but a walkable charger nearby, with two EVs, you can drive the second one to your vehicle that is already at a charge station, and trade off, driving the first one home and leaving the second one to charge. Then trade off again later. With an ICE car as the second car, you would either do more walking (nothing wrong with that, sure, but it takes time) or you need a second driver.

You’re possibly falling into the trap of thinking EVs are hard to use for long distance road trips. Depends on which EV though. Not true for at least one brand.

If you don't have a second driver why do you have two cars in the first place?

That’s not what I meant.

I see a lot of ICE drivers giving an EV driver a ride to the charger. For example, husband wife couples.

If they had two EVs in their (multi person, ok?) household, then the ICE driving person would not have to spend their time being a chauffeur, because the EV driver could just drive the second EV to the charger and leave it there charging.

And then when the second EV is charged?

It feels like you have a half thought out point. Sure it can work, but I think anyone in that situation would discover it is really inconvenient in practice.

No it’s not only fully thought through, it’s a tried and tested lifehack that we did for a year or so, and we loved it.

It means if you have a 10 minute walk to the charger, you only have to do that walk once when you drop off for the first charge, and once when you pick up for the last charge. That can save a lot of time.

Who is talking about punishing hydrogen? And what about the fact that gas is currently massively subsidised, is removing subsidy a "punishment"? And what about the fact that we all need this air to breathe and we're all collectively subsidising this lifestyle with our health? Also note that trucks bringing goods into a city could still be subsidised separately from other things if we chose, and that bulk goods distribution have more options for on-premises fuel tanks than people's homes do, things don't have to be binary.

When you subsidize competitors to hydrogen (such as electricity), it punishes hydrogen. Toyota et al are asking to reduce these subsidies.

I don't know whether gas is subsidized or not, but if it is, I agree, remove the subsidy!

ha yes. Gas is wildly subsidized so consumers have cheap fuel prices to support the car based economy.

Same as corn, dairy, etc...

Ah yes, good point about corn. That's heavily subsidized and will only become more so since every politician wants to win Iowa early in the primary

Why did you think they keep pushing hydrogen fuel cells as the future? They know we're no where close to solving that problem, and if they ever do, the oil industry owns all the relevant patents. This is a simple case of the currently rich caring more about staying rich than if all the infrastructure collapses. A few of them believe the apocalypse is coming, and actually believe they can arrange matters so that they can control the remaining population'access to food and water after it happens, allowing them to become regional dictators. It's a lot of blind stupidity from idiots with inherited wealth. We should seriously consider upping the inheritance taxes to 100% for any amount over $5 million. The founders put that tax in place specifically to try and prevent idiots from inheriting extreme wealth they could never have earned through thier own efforts. Any argument that the US is a meritocracy kind of falls apart as soon as you consider that small, but extremely consequential point.

Hydrogen cells do work, it is just not economically feasible yet. But it may not have the scaling problems like EV will have when widely spread.

It is false that we have the infrastructure, there are already occasions where people were asked not to charge their vehicles in peak times. And this is for a tiny percentage of people actually owning EV.

Their lobbying should still be condemned.

Indeed, hydrogen fuel cells have achieved precisely what the big automakers intended. GM unveiled their “leapfrog strategy” in 2003 https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2003/08/11/the-car-of-tom... GM even built a Disney exhibit to cover themselves in hydrogen glory while forever continuing to sell gas and diesel SUVs and pickups. I am reminded of the Cali Cartel’s big PR push about how they were abandoning cocaine as product and violence as a tool.

> throwing their weight around to try to cheat out some legislative relevance rather than compete on product

So well said and - a market economy cannot really coexist with an environment allowing buying legislation.

> cheat out some legislative relevance rather than compete on product. Many companies being disrupted do that (see recent viasat story, US car dealerships, etc.)

Or all the recent hullabaloo against Apple’s App Store

As long as we are limited on battery production capacity, plugin hybrids save a lot more carbon emissions (you can make several of them for every full electric).

Only if you ignore all the carbon emissions going into constructing internal combustion engines, plus all the oils and oil derivatives used to lubricate them, plus all the carbon emissions of actually using the ICE part of a hybrid.

> plus all the carbon emissions of actually using the ICE part of a hybrid.

If we are supply constrained on batteries, you can't just ignore this. It's e.g. either 1 full electric and 5 gas cars, or 6 plug in hybrids.

You don't have to ignore the lubrication oil etc. as you are saying. Just look at total carbon for the two alternatives (not the only options, less cars and more buses is another option).

You are presuming a zero sum game here, that no matter what "6 cars get made" and that we can't just slow production until supply catches up.

Slowing production may be bad for the laborers of the company in the short term as it probably means fewer factory shifts and fewer workers get paid, but it also means less downstream supply of cars on the market, potentially an increased pressure on price to meet demand, so also potentially good for the company bottom line if they demand higher prices during the constrained period.

Slowing production would be great for total carbon output.

Keep using old gas car (for average about 3 years) by making 1/6 of BEV is better than selling PHEV (I expect zero emission for 90% workload, and lower carbon emission than BEV in production) now for decarbonization? I think decarbonization isn't just avoid ICE.

Slowing production is my bus option. Also without something like "cash for clunkers," slowing production potentially keeps less efficient stuff in play for much longer.

Hydrogen for vehicles is very nearly fully developed. Honda says their upcoming generation is no more expensive to manufacture than an ICE vehicle.

The problem isn't with hydrogen vehicles, it is with the production of hydrogen itself. Once (IF) humanity licks the generation of electricity problem, hydrogen vehicles will be the mode of transportation for nearly everyone.

> Honda says their upcoming generation is no more expensive to manufacture than an ICE vehicle.

A hydrogen vehicle from Honda (or Toyota) is an EV (electric motor, lithium ion battery) with an expensive fuel cell ("weird battery") and expensive fuel tank tacked on (and maybe missing an electric plug). An admission that they've got the cost of Hydrogen cars down to the same costs an ICE vehicle is an underhanded admission that they can build EV cars cheaper than ICE.

(The problem is with hydrogen vehicles. It's a funny red herring to just producing good cheap EVs.)

> A hydrogen vehicle from Honda (or Toyota) is an EV

Yes, FCEVs are EVs, just like BEVs are.

> grid already exists, people can charge at home, easier to build EV infrastructure, etc.

I find it really interesting how people tend to repeat these "facts" over and over again and nobody fires-up Excel to go through some math and see if any of it makes any sense. I have. And I can't see how the infrastructure can possibly support a transition to a fully electric ground transportation system, well, ever.

Basic numbers:

How much power do we need to support the entire US fleet of cars going electric?

The simplest assumption is one where 100% of the fleet uses 8 hour long charge cycles:

    daily charge energy                       50,000 Wh
    cars                                 300,000,000 cars
    long charge                                    8 hours
    fast charge                                  0.5 hours

    Portion charging long                        100%    
    Portion charging fast                          0%    
    % of long-chargers charging simultaneously   100%    
    % of short-chargers charging simultaneously    0%    
    Total daily energy requirement            15,000 GWh
    Cars long-charging simultaneously    100,000,000 cars
    Cars short-charging simultaneously             0 cars
    Power for simultaneous long charging       1,875 GW
    Power for simultaneous short charging          0 GW
    Total power requirement                    1,875 GW
This isn't realistic, you are not going to have 300 million cars charging simultaneously during the same eight hours. Or, are we?

If every hour we have, say, 1/8 of the entire fleet plug in for eight hours to charge, what's the maximum number of vehicles that will be charging simultaneously at any point in the day? The assumption is that car will charge for eight hours and be off charge for 16.

Well, eight hours into the day we will, in fact, have 300 million cars charging simultaneously. After a full 24 hours from the start of this approach, the minimum number of cars charging simultaneously will be 187.5 million and the maximum 300 million.

So, yes, at peak utilization we will will have 300 million cars, requiring that we deliver 50 kWh in 8 hours, which means a peak requirement of 1,875 GW.

This means we need nearly two thousand giga-watt class nuclear power plants to support a fleet where 100% of the vehicles will slow charge.

What happens when some percentage of the fleet needs to fast charge? I am defining fast charging as delivering 50 kWh in 30 minutes:

    daily charge energy                       50,000 Wh
    cars                                 300,000,000 cars
    long charge                                    8 hours
    fast charge                                  0.5 hours

    Portion charging long                         80%    
    Portion charging fast                         20%    
    % of long-chargers charging simultaneously   100%    
    % of short-chargers charging simultaneously   20%    
    Total daily energy requirement            15,000 GWh
    Cars long-charging simultaneously    240,000,000 cars
    Cars short-charging simultaneously    12,000,000 cars
    Power for simultaneous long charging       1,500 GW
    Power for simultaneous short charging      1,200 GW
    Total power requirement                    2,700 GW
Now we need 2,700 giga-watt class nuclear power plants in order to be able to deliver the power needed to support the bulk of the fleet slow-charging and the remainder fast-charging spread across the day.

TWO THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED nuclear power plants.

Even if I am off by a factor of ten (I threw this together and it is very simplistic), that means nearly 300 nuclear power plants to be built in, say, 30 years. We have to build ten per year and we had to get started yesterday.

This is the kind of thing I look at when I talk about not reducing reality to single variables. The amount of energy we delivery by using petroleum is of a scale that is hard to imagine. To go electric we have to find alternative means to deliver some percentage of that energy (because electric cars are more energy-efficient than IC vehicles) to every car on the road every day. This task is far from being simple. Beyond that, the unmitigated mess that US politics has become over the last few decades virtually guarantees we cannot build a single nuclear power plant, much less ten, fifty or a hundred.

I think we are going to have some number of people driving electrics and, in the hubris of it all, we are going to ignore the fact that we are going have to burn twice or three times more coal to charge those cars every day. It has all the potential to be a larger mess than what we currently have.

I would love for someone to take the time to develop and publish a better model than my mindlessly-simple quick calculation. I know a lot of subtlety could be introduced. That said, I somehow don't think we can escape physics.

My guess is we will reach the limits of our available power generation capacity at some number in the low millions of electric vehicles, not sure that means tens of millions. At some point we will face the reality that the energy we transport today in liquid form will have to be provided in electrical form. If that happens in ten years and we suddenly decide "oh, shit, we can't make enough power!" either we get very good at building nuclear power plants at a staggering rate or the fleet of electric vehicles will reach an asymptotic balance point and that will be it for a while.

There are no alternative realities here. Physics doesn't tend to grant free lunches.

Request: I you (plural, anyone) are going to refute the above and say something like "we will use solar". Please, pretty please, with sugar on top: Do the math first. Most people don't. Hence the problem.

To repeat myself: Even if I am off by a factor of ten, the excess power generation capacity we would need to support a fully electrified ground transport system is of staggering proportions.

Average car drives 12500 miles a year. Or about 35 miles a day. Typical electric passenger car gets 3-4 miles per kwh, call it 3.5 miles/kwh

That's an average of 10 kwh/day per car.

275 million cars X 10 kwh/day --> 2.75X10^12 wh/day. Per hour, 1.146X10^11 wh/hour --> 114.6 gigawatts.

Needing 115 GW extra generation capacity doesn't seem insane. Air conditioners in the US probably use 200 GW.

Thanks for giving this a try. Not quite right though. Let me see if I can explain.

Let's start with a useful number. How much energy does something like a Tesla Model 3 require, on average, per year?

I am using this article for the data:


The owner drove just over 15K miles in 12 months and bought about 5200 kWh that year.

The reason the average numbers I use are higher than this number is simple: I can guarantee you that vehicles like the electric Ford F150 will require far more energy, probably twice as much. We already know that the Mustang Mach E requires more energy per mile than a Model 3.

When we say 300 million vehicles, we are not talking about 300 million Tesla's. There will be a wide range of vehicles, from large trucks to minivans, cargo vans, large and small SUV's, performance cars, commuter cars, etc. And then we have to include semi trucks and large commercial trucks. The average energy-per-mile figure isn't going to be that of a Model 3.

However, for the purpose of a discussion, I'll go with the number from the article for a Model 3. In fact, because I want simple numbers, I'll round it down from 5,200 kWh to 5,000.

So, the for the entire year we need to pump back 5,000 kWh into the car.

How long is a year?

Hmmm. People don't drive the same distance every day. We have to be VERY careful not to average ourselves into an artificially low power requirement number. Please note I am using upper case for highlight because this doesn't really do the job. Not yelling at you.

This point deserves highlighting: This issue is about POWER generation, not energy.

For those who might not be comfortable with the concepts:

A 1,000 W light requires 1 kW of POWER every instant it is on. If it happens to be on for one hour, it will have used 1 kWh of energy. Ten hours, 10 kWh.

If I have a thousand 1 kW lights I need 1 GW of POWER every instant the lights are on. It doesn't matter if they are on five seconds or three days. I need a gigawatt. Energy is a function of how long the lights are on. A kilowatt-hour means you used 1 kilowatt of power for one hour, not five minutes.

OK, back to cars.

This is why "How long is a year?" matters. There are three possible answers to this:

200 days, 365 days or some complex formula that accounts for average weekend driving.

There are roughly 200 working days in an year, which is when most of the driving happens. Put a different way, this is when people will most likely drain their batteries the most.

The difference between 200 and 365 is massive. It's almost double. This is significant because the next question we have to answer is:

When do people charge and how much?

The Model 3 owner from the linked article didn't have one massive 5,000 kWh charge on January 1st. to then drive the entire year. That would require a battery the size of a large building.

For the purpose of modeling we have to either choose to develop a complex model, one where we divide the population into behavioral groups and assign a wide range of utilization and charge scenarios to each group. That's a lot of work when all you are trying to get is a sense of proportion rather than an accurate answer.

I think it's sensible to pick 200 days as a starting point. That assumes all of the driving is done during the week and ignores the weekends. We can look at the 365 day case as well and compare notes. This is why throwing this into a spreadsheet is useful.

I spent some time discussing power because this is what we are after. If I now take the annual 5,000 kWh baseline from the article and divide it into 200 days, we get 25 kWh per day.

That's the energy you need to pump into the car every one of those 200 days. However, you are not going to be plugged in for 24 hours. The more likely scenario is that you are going to plug in after work while you sleep. The assumption I have made is that the average car will be charged in eight hours.

So, that means you have to deliver 25 kWh in 8 hours. Which means you need 3.125 kW of POWER. Here's where the difference becomes important, if you could charge 24/7 you would only need a little over 1 kW of power. Because we can't do that, our power delivery system would have to provide us with THREE TIMES the power when compared to averaging over 24 hours.

What if we charge every day for 8 hours each day? 5000/365 = 13.7 kWh per day. That means 1.7 kW of power for eight hours.

Now we have two scenarios we can compare:

    200 day year -> 3.125 kW power for 8 hours
    365 day year -> 1.7 kW power for 8 hours
How many vehicles would be charging simultaneously?

My simple model states that the minimum is around 188 million and the maximum would be 300 million. This is a model where I divide the fleet into time-zone groups, each of which starts charging the entire fleet for that time one hour after the prior time zone. A simple model, yes. I am just trying to get a sense of proportion here. A more accurate answer would require regional as well as behavioral modelling. For example, places like New York and Los Angeles are going to behave differently from Las Vegas, NV or Wakefield, MA.

What matters is the peak power requirement, not the minimum --unless we are willing to ration electricity.

Two scenarios then, 200 day and 365 day year and 300 million car peak utilization.

    200 day year -> 3.125 kW (power) x 300M cars = 938 MW 
    365 day year -> 1.7 kW (power) x 300M cars   = 510 MW
In other words, at a minimum, given this model, we would need an additional 500+ megawatts over and above current utilization, with the peak being over 900 megawatts.

Now it is necessary to put this into context. A typical nuclear power plant produces 1 MW of POWER. In other words, we are talking about needing somewhere in the range of 500 to 900 new nuclear power plants.

We can't say something like "air conditioning alone uses x megawatts" because we don't get to use that power for cars. That power is an existing requirement. In order to have 300 million electric vehicles we need to ADD power generation AND transmission capacity throughout the country.

That's the other part of the story that is often waved over. Moving an extra 900 megawatts of power isn't something one can assume the current infrastructure can handle at all. Here in CA we are already struggling with blackouts and forest fires caused by a range of issues, including the aging power grid. We should not hand-wave our way around the realities of what we are facing if we want this electric vehicle future.

So, 500 to 900 nuclear power plants. That means, just guessing, somewhere between 5 to 20 per state (some states will need more than others). Well, we can't build ONE nuclear power plant in, say, ten years. If we want to go full electric in 30 years we would have to build 15 to 30 nuclear power plants per year, every year, for the next thirty years.

I'll repeat what I said in my prior post: Even if I am off by a factor of 2 to 10, the problem is of massive proportions. At the low end it means we need 50 nuclear power plants (off by a factor of ten and using the low estimate). At the high end we need 900 of them, if not more.

All I see out there is hand-wavy, blue-sky, just install solar panels wishful thinking. Not a single honest mathematical model in sight (that I know of).

The important take away is that, while range is about energy, the reality of charging is that it is about power. It is far too easy to fabricate numbers that are artificially low by making assumptions like 24/7/365 charging and that nobody ever wants or needs to pump the aforementioned daily requirement of 25 kWh into their vehicle in just one hour, something that requires EIGHT TO TEN TIMES MORE POWER (due to losses) than when charging in eight hours.

> A typical nuclear power plant produces 1 MW of POWER.

I think you've got things confused by about an order of magnitude here – 1 GW per nuclear power plant sounds more like it.

(Also for comparison's sake – an electric train can use up to a few MW when accelerating under full power, and you certainly don't need multiple nuclear power stations to power just one measly train)

That was a typo. If you look at the amount of work and research I have done on this subject I think it is pretty easy to determine "confused" is far from where I am. Yes, it is 1 GW. And my math uses this number, not 1 MW.

I invite you to run through your own calculations. I actually WANT to be wrong. I just don't see what I am missing. Again, this is about developing a ROM (Rough Order of Magnitude) model. The difference between 50, 100 and 300 nuclear plants is almost irrelevant. Why? Because we can't even build a single nuclear plant in 10 to 25 years, which means that a ROM requirement of ten, twenty or a hundred nuclear power plants might as well be a million.

In the US, we are at a point in history where we can't build anything of any real scale. The best example I have of this is the failed high speed train in California. A project sold to voters as a ten billion dollar price tag. It is now at a hundred billion, only about ten miles have been built. These ten miles are unusable (not in service as far as I know) and are far from being high speed by any definition of the term. Some think this thing will be a trillion dollar disaster, if it is ever completed.

In this context, we actually think we can add hundreds of gigawatts to our power generation system? The only way to do is is through nuclear power. Which means it is a fantasy. Unless our culture, philosophy and politics changes radically we just can't do it.

Here's another ROM calculation. Let's keep to California. We have just over 31 million cars and trucks [0].

Since this is a ROM calculation, I'll start with the assumption that everyone gets home and plugs into a Type 2 charger.

Type 2 chargers typically deliver 3 to 5 kW of power.

How much power will we require at 6:00 PM PST when everyone gets home and plugs in?

    3 kW x 31 million = 93 GW
    5 kW x 31 million = 155 GW
It does not matter if people charge for one hour or eight, if they are all pulling 3 to 5 kW from the grid, you have to have the ability to supply this kind of power instantly or power outages and other ugly things will be the consequence.

OK, this was a ROM calculation. Right? What if only 10% of these vehicles plug in every day at 6 PM. What then?

    3 kW x 3.1 million = 9.3 GW
    5 kW x 3.1 million = 15.5 GW
How much power generation capacity do we have in CA? [1]

Refer to the table titled "Installed In-State Electric Generation Capacity by Fuel Type (MW)"

In 2020, it's about 80 GW. Also, note that half of it comes from burning natural gas and only just over 2 GW from nuclear.

Here's where we have to understand that we don't build infrastructure to be able to supply two times the power we need. The cost of doing so would be staggering. In other words, we don't have another 2 GW of nuclear power sitting around waiting to be used. Hence the blackouts and other issues we have throughout the state.

My guess is that we are likely at 80% peak utilization. For many years now we have been asked to limit use of air conditioning and power in general or risk blackouts. In fact, rolling blackouts are kind of a normal thing in CA these days.

Is it realistic to assume to only 10% of all electric cars and trucks in CA will plug in on any given day? Likely not. Put a different way, the longer these vehicles wait to recharge the worse the power deliver problem becomes. If they plug in every day they might only need power for a couple of hours. If everyone waits until the weekend to plug in, they might need to sit on that charger for eight to ten hours and the stress to the power grid would be compounded.

I like to use nuclear power plants as my unit of measure because they are about 1 GW. The ROM calculation above says we need from ten to 155 new nuclear power plants to be built in CA in order to support simultaneous class 2 charging by some portion of a vehicle fleet where every single vehicle has been switched to electric power, no more gasoline or diesel at all.

I think the low end of this ROM calculation isn't reasonable. The same is the case for the high end. The answer likely lives somewhere in the middle of this range. One thing is certain, we need to add a very serious amount of generation capacity, likely in the many tens of gigawatts.

We might have to DOUBLE our current power generation capacity. Double it.

How do we do that?

Well, being that half of it comes from natural gas, maybe we build more plants and burn more of it. How is that for being "green"?


I don't think so. Most of the solar capacity in CA is installed on homes. In general terms, these rooftop systems are sized to cover the energy needs of the home. Most of my neighbors have systems that are barely adequate enough to cover their needs, which means they have nearly zero excess capacity. So the rooftop-solar-powered electric car charger is mostly a fantasy for most. Most of the systems in my neighborhood are around 6 kW. This does not mean they actually deliver this kind of power, not even at the peak.

I designed and installed my own system, which consists of 40 panels, for a theoretical total of 13 kW. At the absolute peak of the season I might see 10 kW. Yesterday the peak was just over 8 kW [2]. This is due to a combination of the time of year, clouds, shade and dirt on the panels. As you can see, the curve has a nice 45 degree-ish slope both going up and down. By 6 PM (coming home time) I am at about 2 kW. Most of my neighbors would be lucky to generate 1 kW at that time.

As for energy generation, this is July [3], a peak of about 57 kWh. June [4] was a little bit better, with a peak at 65 kWh. May [5] had a peak at 69 kWh. April [6] was the best month, with a peak at 72 kWh.

You might note that every single month had several days of really low energy output. This is usually due to weather, clouds or such things as fires reducing the photons that can reach the panels. For example, while April provided a nice 72 kWh peak, it also had a day where the best we did was 24 kWh. May was the best month so far this year, with 1.9 MWh total energy generation [7].

This is all to say that the reality of solar is very different from the fantasy of solar. Most people who do not have solar think of it as some magical energy source that gives and gives and gives. Not so. And, when it comes to electric vehicles, the problem becomes that you don't have it when you need it. Sure, there are all manner of accounting credits that come into play. Explaining the mess that is TOU billing in the US would take-up another post, if not five.

What do you do when you expect to generate 72 kWh and you only make 24? The power grid has to be ready to supply your needs. No problem, solar energy sharing from neighbors will take care of it locally, right? Not so. Most homes have small systems. In my neighborhood there are probably only two or three homes generating at my level. Which means we are the only ones with real excess capacity. When the clouds come in, nobody has power to share, not even those of us who produce twice as much as the rest.

Without storage solar isn't very useful for electric car charging. And storage at the home is a foolish investment from a ROI perspective. Not there yet. Believe me, I want to turn my home into a massive solar-powered UPS. I studied this when I engineered my system and it is ready for it. It just does not make sense at all at the moment. It would be far more logical to add another ten panels than to buy batteries.

Anyhow, not to go on a tangent here. The point is that the step change in power requirement to support millions of electric cars isn't going to come from solar at residential rooftops. And, even if we installed massive grid-scale solar, the curves and generation issues you see from my system will still create issues. The only way they might be able to mitigate this would be through energy storage and, at this time, this is a high cost fantasy. I have high hopes that iron-based battery technology --which stands to be 10x cheaper-- might become a reality we can all benefit from.

The other issue with solar is that neighborhoods are turning against these massive installations anywhere near their town. A few weeks ago I read a story about a massive installation that is being taken down (at great loss to all investors) because the neighborhood sued with a claim of taking a hit to home values due to the unsightly visual of thousands of panels on a hill. As is always the case, reality is far more complex than most think and it can't be reduced to a single variable.

BTW, an order of magnitude is 10x, not 1,000x.

[0] https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/file/estimated-fee-paid-vehicl...

[1] https://www.energy.ca.gov/data-reports/energy-almanac/califo...

[2] https://i.imgur.com/LTMNDO1.png

[3] https://i.imgur.com/CfcIt7o.png

[4] https://i.imgur.com/WEvCkse.png

[5] https://i.imgur.com/NJajGwU.png

[6] https://i.imgur.com/mhGKDBI.png

[7] https://i.imgur.com/lcsLkEP.png

Your calculations use a full charge every day. How often do you fill your gas tank?

Most people (not even fully) fill their tanks every couple weeks. Even when I had an extremely long (an hour each direction) commute, I was only filling up every 3 days. I've gone over a month between fillups when I lived nearby to where I worked.

On the low end you're at least 3x off. On the high end you're at least 14x off.

Not quite. Please read my reply to another commenter here:


Also, don't make the assumption that every electric vehicle will require the same energy per mile as a Tesla does today. It is easy to see that something like an electric F150, Suburban, Jeep, Toyota Sienna (minivan), commercial cargo van, commercial truck or big rig will require far more energy on average and far more power to charge if charging is to happen within a reasonable period of time (30 minutes to 8 hours, depending on utilization profile).

While I do not claim my simple model to be accurate, even with a large error we still are looking at having to build a massive number of nuclear power plants in order to support this electrified ground transportation future. We can't even build one new power plant. How are we going to build 50, 100 or more?

My fear is that the hand-waving that is going on out there will result in a reality where the well-to-do will be able to drive electric cars and everyone else is going to get stuck having to drive conventional vehicles.

If we don't get serious about adding a serious amount of power generation capacity we will ultimately face an asymptotic relationship between cars and electric power. This will limit the viability of electric cars, which will limit sales, which means prices will remain high and the cost of electricity will skyrocket. On top of that, oil prices are likely to go up at the same time, which means the poor, lower-middle and even middle class will get royally shafted at every conceivable level.

And, BTW, as I said in my original post, even if I am off by a factor of ten, we need 300 nuclear power plants. I'll take your 14x suggestion and take up a notch to being off by a factor of twenty. That's 150 nuclear power plants. Someone needs to explain how that is even remotely possible.


This is important. Most people make the mistake of thinking about energy rather than power. This idea of filling-up one a week vs. every day is great...when what you are doing is pumping a liquid. If what you are pumping is electricity, well, there is no free lunch. The energy you did not pump into the batteries every day of the week will need to be pumped into them on Sunday. Rough numbers means you need seven times more power in order to achieve this when compared to charging a little bit every day.

As I have been saying, most people have hand-wavy conversations about this, which means they develop the wrong model for the of electric charging. You have to sit down and make an attempt at a half-way honest model of what it would be like to charge hundreds of millions of electric vehicles of different kinds under reasonable usage regimes. Some people will charge every day for eight hours to top off. Others will need to top off in half an hour. And, yes, some will charge on Sunday (or whatever). In the end, physics is physics, and the mathematical results do not get better if you charge once a week, they get worse, much worse.

This is what I come here for, and let me add in a few more confounding factors I haven't been able to chase down.

Power transmission is neither free, trivial to implement, or perfectly efficient. The more power you are moving somewhere, the more dangerous and costly the "pipe" you use to get it there. If you look at residential situations, it isn't hard to find households with >3 cars. Is everyone plugged in at once? Who gets the fast charge? Can the house handle it? Can the neighborhood handle everyone doing it at once?

What happens to residential electric? Do we start doubling up on transformers? One to keep the Electrician's codes from having to change, and one to feed auto chargers? What does that mean for linemen/women/people? How does the increase in higher power transmission lines affect the biosphere?

What happens the first time a feed or arterial link goes down? You can ship gas, electricity, not so much, especially if swappable batteries are not a thing?

How about equipment? Cars aren't the only things that use gas, Gotta count in charge maintenance and battery attrition there too as well as consumption.

What happens when the almighty Centralized Generation(TM) goes down? How decentralized is our generation going to get? How do we ensure the grid can be maintained safely without linefolks also having to go house to house to isolate them from the upstream grid they need to work on?

Electricity, despite the near magical experience of the layperson, is frigging complicated, and it's successful deployment has been built on a lot of interconnected assumptions, standards, and what have you. If the transition is slow enough, I figure we can spread answering all of these questions over the span of a generation or so; but I'm really uncomfortable with the optimism of people going "we JUST need to go electric".

Hell, all of that has to be considered on top of increased need for power for climate control, the possibility of higher temps leading to actively having to mitigate water shortages or any of the other myriad of other knock on effects nobody has wracked their noodle enough to realize may be a problem yet

Exactly right.

I like to say that reality is a complex multivariate problem. Reducing it to a single variable --which is what you see out there nearly 100% of the time-- is, at best, a complete misrepresentation of what solving real problems in the real world looks like.

I avoided adding layers of complexity to my simple model because all I was after was a sense of the scale of the problem rather than an accurate number (not sure that's even possible).

Once you start to add power system transmission, conversion and delivery efficiencies the problem quickly grows. On average, the energy loss from power generation to delivery is in the order of 6%. This might not seem like much, yet all of that power is converted into heat. Which means that if we need to deliver 500 GW to homes, we actually need to generate 532 GW, of which 32 GW will be converted to heat.

I have no clue what this means because I don't yet have a sense of proportion on such matters. That is is a very large amount of energy being wasted goes without saying. I can't really voice an opinion beyond that other than to highlight that this is yet one of the other variables that needs to be considered.

Power conversion systems and charging circuits (in general, switch-mode power supplies) of course have losses. SMPS efficiencies (I used to design them) are in the 85 to 95% range. It's a complex combination voltage and current that produces switching losses. At higher voltages you can be more efficient, however, because we are drawing such high currents the losses quickly mount. In the end, you are going to convert another 5% to 15% of all of incoming power into heat.

So, if cars need 500 GW and chargers are, say, 90% efficient, the total power delivered to the building connections will have to account for the 6% transmission and delivery loss and 10% SMPS loss. This starts to add up fast. Now we need 591 GW and will convert 91 GW of that into heat (the aggregate efficiency being 84.6%.

I could go on. This is not a simple problem. And those who just hand-wave and say stuff like "solar and wind can handle it" can only do so because they have not devoted a single minute to doing some pretty basic math before forming --or believing-- these flawed ideas.

Not my area of expertise, but people that claim to be experts suggest that global electricity generation is enough: https://www.barrons.com/articles/theres-enough-electricity-i...

My intuitive guess is your simple model is wrong, but I'm not an expert.

Thanks for the link. Sadly, no, the "analysis" in the article --and I am being kind-- is overly simplistic. This is the kind of hand-wavy thing I've been running into when I look for prior work on the subject.

Here's an analogy that might convey the nature of the hand-waving:

A typical home swimming pool requires 20,000 gallons of water. Let's say the average flow rate of a good quality garden hose is 20 gallons per minute. That means you can fill that pool in 1,000 minutes, or, about 17 hours.

Can you fill the pool in 8.5 hours if you use two hoses?



Because your plumbing will establish a limit on just how much water you can flow per unit time.

Anyone who has ever dealt with plumbing understands this. In some installations, if you flush the toilet and someone is taking a shower they get burned because less cold water flows to mix with hot water. In my home, when the sprinkler system is on there's a marked difference in flow rate everywhere in the house.

What if a thousand of your neighbors want to fill their 20,000 gallon swimming pools simultaneously? Could they?

Very likely not. Well, not in 17 hours. The large pipes supplying water to a neighborhood have a flow rate limit as well. Under normal usage they are adequate for the usage profile of a certain number of homes in a neighborhood.

Are these pipes designed and specified to manage twice that design rate? Likely not. And certainly not five or ten times.

Most neighborhoods in the US are supplied with drinking water from large water tanks strategically located higher than the homes they service. This isn't universal across the entire nation but it is very common.

Here comes the next problem. Filling a thousand 20K gallon swimming pools requires two million gallons of water. This, over and above the water required for all the other things people do with water, from drinking to flushing the toilet.

A typical neighborhood water tank might hold one or two days of water, as defined by the typical usage for the area. It certainly does not hold an extra two million gallons to dispense over 17 hours.

As the water level decreases due to either normal or abnormal usage, pumps are engaged to maintain water level. Once again, these pumps are sized for typical usage as it might pertain to the specific installation. They are not sized to provide a massive step change in water pumping from the main aqueduct into the neighborhood tank.

As you can imagine, this analysis can extend beyond neighborhood tanks and explore issues with aqueducts, water treatment plants, etc.

What these articles do is they say something like "the world capacity is N GWh. We need 1/2N GWh for electric cars. We only use 1/2N for everything else. We have what we need."

Well, no. We don't.

There's also a confusion between power and energy. Power is energy per unit time. Put a different way: There's a huge difference between walking a mile and running a mile. What these articles ignore is that the electric car charging problem is like the neighborhood swimming pool issue. When everyone in the neighborhood wants to charge their cars in eight hours or less, what you need isn't just the energy (the water level in the pool), you also need power, you need to be able to deliver a lot more gallons per minute at every home, street, neighborhood, town, city and region. Exiting power plants cannot do this.

Furthermore, by definition, if we want coal power plants to deliver twice their average power to charge cars, you have to burn at least two times the coal you were burning before. Hence me reaching for nuclear power plants...because any other option would be somewhere between unrealizable (the plant just can't produce twice the power) to unthinkable (pollution).

Put a different way: Let's say your city is fed by a 1 GW nuclear power plant today. Everyone is driving gasoline cars. Median load factor for nuclear power plants is in the order of 80%. That means you only have a 20% excess capacity. Now everyone buys electric cars and, of course, everyone wants to charge them as quickly as possible, with some willing to wait overnight. Well, your power plant will not be able to supply this extra power. We don't design power plants to be twice or three times larger than what we need. Which means you'll need to build one or two additional plants as soon as possible.

I have yet to see a study of model of electric car charging energy and power requirements that passes the physics test. Lots of hand-waving and "trust me, I am a <insert appeal to authority>" but no numbers. Science is about numbers.

My attempt isn't complete at all. However, like I said, even if I am off by a factor of ten, we have a problem. Heck, we likely have a problem if I am off by a factor of 20.

I think what everyone is counting on is everyone covering neighborhoods with solar power. As the owner of a 40 panel array I built myself to, among other things, power my CNC shop and, after expansion, support electric vehicles, I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that the idea of a clean solar future for electric cars is a fantasy. My energy logs say so. I would need somewhere in the order of three to five times the array to truly be "green" as far as electric vehicle charging would be concerned. Any way you look at it, that is impossible.

I don't think everyone wants to charge their car in eight hours or less or at the same time in most cases. Seems like load balancing would probably work out in the short term if necessary.

You've obviously thought about this more than I have so I don't have much to say - I'm just skeptical of answers like this since I think they often turn out to be wrong. Not very satisfying, but I guess we'll see what ends up happening.

When there’s demand, capitalism and markets are usually pretty good at solving for it.

The reason I modeled an 8 hour charge is because this would be what most people would have available after they get home from work.

I modeled a rolling scenario where 1/8 of the fleet starts charging every two hours. It isn’t a perfect model, of course. The intent was to simulate both time zones and people coming home from work at different times.

If we accept the above and add the idea that people will charge at work for an additional eight hours, for a total of 16, then power requirement is cut in half. This would still require a massive increase in power generation and delivery capacity.

And then, of course, there’s a percentage of the population that will need to charge fast. That means half an hour.

The problem is power. Energy can be delivered over time, power is instantaneous. We don’t have enough power.

While I agree that entrepreneurs often find a way, we still haven’t come up with a way to violate the rules of physics. That’s a hard limit.

EVs really aren't currently viable. There is not enough physical battery material currently extractable to make the bulk of vehicles battery electric.

There also the argument that EVs are not cleaner, most pollution from cars is actually due to braking and rubber tire deterioration, of which the heavier weight if EVs produces more. Carbon emissions are an issue but we are really really good at filtering them and getting better.

The carbon costs of material extraction and electrical generation to power all cars if they were EVs absolutely had the potential to approach or exceed future expected emissions as we continue to improve low emission vehicles.

The real future unless there is a serious battery revolution is going to get in alternative fuel hybrids, with limited full capacity EV capabilities. It's going to be a mix of the best of all technologies instead of a straight transition.

Rechargable, gas / fuel cell hybrids.

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