When All Else Fails, Bury the Lede


When All Else Fails, Bury the Lede

Here we have a situation where a reporter had an idea, then wrote a story in such a way to show the world he was right. This article, “Can California’s Electric Vehicle Push Overcome the Red State Backlash” in the Los Angeles Times is a case in point. He goes to a ‘red’ state and interviews a number of leaders. He notes that they are all Republican, and so when they express their opposition to the “California Mandate” he infers that it’s because they are conservative. He then succeeds in burying the lede.

The next to last line in the story tells the tale.

Ultimately, electric cars will win not because of blue state mandates, but because they’re a better product, he said.

Yes, when EVs reach the point that they can charge in five minutes, reliably have a range of 300 miles, are able to find fast charging stations virtually everywhere, run well in cold weather, and are priced within a range so that the average person can afford them, then they will succeed no matter the politics of the marketplace.

As you read the article, you will find that most of the arguments against the EV come from thinking through the process. There are major concerns about the lack of ability to provide the electricity to charge a large fleet of electric vehicles. (The Swiss, for instance, have made charging EVs illegal in the winter as they simply must make a choice, charge EVs, or not have enough power to heat their homes.)

California, ground zero for EVs, is in a situation where it doesn’t have enough power to cool its residents’ homes, and has asked EV owners not to charge their cars at certain times so as to not pull down the power grid. And although it has mandated EV only sales in 12 years, has seemingly made no plans to increase the electric resources in the state.

But there’s more – It’s happening now – It costs more to charge an EV than fill up an ICE vehicle. From the Wall Street Journal:

In Germany, Tesla has raised supercharger prices several times this year, most recently to 0.71 euros in September before falling somewhat, according to reports from Tesla owners on industry forums. There is no public source to track prices on Tesla superchargers.

At that price, drivers of Tesla’s Model 3, the most efficient all-electric vehicle in the Environment Protection Agency’s fuel guide in the midsize vehicle category, would pay €18.46 at a Tesla supercharger station in Europe for a charge sufficient to drive 100 miles.

By comparison, drivers in Germany would pay €18.31 for gasoline to drive the same distance in a Honda Civic 4-door, the equivalent combustion-engine model in the EPA’s ranking.

Tesla didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

The change has been particularly notable in Germany, Europe’s largest car market, where household electricity cost €0.43 per kWh on average in December. This puts it well ahead of France, where consumers paid €0.21 per kWh in the first half of the year, but behind Denmark, where a kWh cost €0.46, according to the German statistics office.

In the end, the marketplace will out. When, as noted above, EVs turn out to be a better, more cost effective product, they will replace internal combustion engine driven cars. Until then, not so much.

Oh, by the way. For some reason you don’t see the term ‘carbon footprint’ in articles like the one in the LA Times. But that’s a conversation for another day.

Article contributed by:
John Van Horn
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