If you’ve been listening to the White House at all, you know that the political left really wants you to trade in your gas-guzzling car for something that’s supposedly more environmentally friendly. There are just a few not so minor problems with that.
First is that, as of right now, it’s really just not all that feasible for most Americans. And no, I’m not just talking about the fact that the average electric vehicle costs about $30,000.
Instead, we are talking about the cost of charging those lithium batteries. And that comes with its own series of issues.
It’s important to note that while the lithium used to make those batteries and run EVs does not contribute to air pollution like fossil fuels, it is no less destructive to the earth to mine. In fact, as lithium is such a rare substance, it actually requires, in most cases, far more disruption to natural habitats than drilling for oil.
Secondly, there’s been a growing problem of not only finding charging stations for such batteries but also finding ones that work.
As you can imagine, there aren’t exactly charging stations for EVs at every gas station in the nation yet. In fact, in my small rural hometown, I don’t know of anywhere that has one yet, even in larger nearby cities.
But as many people who own EVs are finding out, it’s not good enough just to find one while you’re on the road. It also has to be in working order. And as one study just concluded, a growing number of stations don’t function well enough to do their job.
The study was led by retired University of California Berkeley bioengineering professor David Rempel and a team of volunteers from a nonprofit group known as Cool the Earth. It found that over 22 percent of all charging stations in the San Francisco Bay Area don’t actually work.
The group went to 657 EV charging plugs located at 181 different stations in nine counties. Unfortunately, only 72.5 percent were fully functional. According to the study results, nearly 23 percent of the chargers had issues like electrical failures, payment system failures, or blank and unresponsive screens. Another 4.9 percent of chargers didn’t even have a cord long enough to reach the plug-in on the vehicle.
Now, as most of these issues seemed to be electrical and/or software-related, the team waited a week and went out again, rechecking the functionality of 10 percent of the previously nonfunctioning charging plugs. The study noted that “no overall change in functionality” was demonstrated for any of them.
So that’s a problem.
Then, there is the monetary cost of charging those batteries.
If you didn’t know, there are a couple of different charger levels.
A 240-volt Level 2 charger, which most EV owners have installed in their homes, costs around 13 cents for a kilowatt-hour of electricity. And it takes roughly eight hours or more to charge most EVs fully. (These cost around $2,000 to have installed in your home, by the way.)
A Level 3 is quite a bit faster. In fact, it has been reported that most EVs can be charged up to about 80 percent capacity in as little as 18-40 minutes, depending on the car. However, according to Fox Business, the cost to use such a charger is a bit more, coming in at about 43 cents per kilowatt-hour in most states.
The outlet reported that someone with a Ford Mustang Mach-E would cost the owner about $2,100 per year to drive about 15,000 miles using a Level 3 charger.
Now, compare that to Ford’s gas-guzzling Ford Escape Hybrid, which gets about 41 mpg. Even with gas as high as $4.25, as it is in many blue states where driving electric is more popular, it would only cost the owner about $1,550 to go the same distance in a year.
Driving the less gas-efficient Ford Escape S, which gets 30 mpg, would cost about $2,100 per year in gas at the same price.
So yes, driving electric might allow you to save some money. But only if you’re using a lesser charger and only the alternative is not a massive truck that only gets about 15 or so mpg. And all that depends on you even being able to find a charger that works.