by Don Fredrick, TheCompleteObamaTimeline, ©2021
(Jul. 19, 2021) — I am not a “letter to the editor” type of person. Most newspapers and magazines usually contain something that annoys me, including grammatical and spelling mistakes that suggest many of today’s “journalists” missed more than a few basic English classes, but I rarely react with a letter—and usually have no postage stamps lying around anyway. It is simply not worth the time to respond and would likely be as ineffective as trying to explain to my foreign-born wife a joke that alludes to a 1950s television program she had never seen. But the July/August issue of Car and Driver magazine (they cannot produce 12 per year?) drove me to the point of putting pen to paper, or fingers to the keyboard, with its intense support of electric vehicles (EVs). Apparently, it is not enough to have a “Car of the Year” award. Now there is an “EV of the Year.” The magazine’s winner is the Ford Mustang Mach-E, which has a few vague styling hints to remind on-lookers of real Mustangs, but otherwise inspires yawns. Yes, it will reach 60 miles per hour in 4.9 seconds and has a governor-limited top speed of 114 miles per hour, but testing those two features more than a few times will not only rapidly deplete the vehicle’s batteries, it will likely also get you immediate attention from the driver of a gasoline-powered vehicle with flashing red and blue lights. (But can Ford’s Mach-E best Elon Musk’s Tesla? Which billionaire will win the suborbital space flight tourism contest? I am not sure I care, but perhaps we can get a new flavor of Tang out of the battle.)
The electric vehicle is the future, we are told, and I have the feeling we consumers will have little choice in the matter. World automakers are gearing up their EV production, even though sales of existing models are growing less than hair on Brian Stelter’s head. But if Joe Biden can try to fool us with hair plugs, I guess the automakers can fool us with plug-ins. The push to put 1,100 pounds or so of foreign lithium under our seats and in our garages is certainly intense, so much so that those doing the pushing do not even see the inconsistencies in their own statements. As an example, Lea Malloy, head of research and development at Cox Automotive, a company “with unmatched expertise in vehicle remarketing services, and digital and software solutions for automotive dealers” that owns Autotrader.com, Dealer.com, and Kelley Blue Book, told Car and Driver,
“It’s all about the combo of the right body style at the right price point at the right range and getting the consumer confident about access to charging infrastructure, whether it’s public or at home. Part of me wants to say now, because you can almost check all the boxes. But by 2025, I think it will be a whole different game. In the next four years we’ll achieve that scale.”
Some may wonder how Malloy can claim, “you can almost check all of the boxes.” She may have a valid point regarding “the right body style,” of course, because the average EV looks like just about any other vehicle on the road, with the exception of reduced grill openings and an Etch-A-Sketch bolted onto the dashboard where we are used to seeing buttons, dials, and gauges. (“I’m sorry, officer, I was busy scrolling through 13 menu levels and missed that stop sign!”)
“At the right price point,” however, is not yet a box that can be checked. Volkswagen’s EV, the ID.4, has a base price of $45,190. A similar sized, gas-powered Volkswagen, the Tiguan SEL, has a base price of $33,740. A Ford Mustang Eco-Boost Fastback starts at $27,205. It has a 2.3-liter, gasoline-powered engine. The electric Mach-E starts at $42,895. The $15,690 difference can buy a lot of gasoline: 4,980 gallons at $3.15 per gallon. That would provide between 104,580 and 149,400 miles of driving in the Mustang Eco-Boost, which the EPA rates at 21/30 miles per gallon, city/highway. Oh, and did I mention that if you buy the Mach-E you will need to install a dedicated 240-volt circuit in your garage for charging? Car and Driver notes, “A professional installation generally runs between $750 and $1,750, plus the price of permits…” That is if your home’s electrical system can handle the additional load. That might not be the case if you already have an electric range, electric water heater, and an electric clothes dryer. (Upgrading to 200-amp service can cost between $750 and $2,000.) Don’t even ask about the cost of having the utility company run a beefier service line to your house from the utility pole or the underground system.
Even if you can afford to install a charging station in your garage, you might need two stations if you have two EVs—one for mom and one for dad. (Please excuse my making assumptions about the average American household.) Do you have teen-agers with cars they use to get to school and jobs? Where do they plug in their Teslas, Chevrolet Bolts, Volkswagen ID.4s, or Mustang Mach-Es? What if you have no garage? What if you live in a condominium or an apartment building? Do you have underground parking? Will your landlord or the condominium association install charging stations “free of charge?” No, that charging will not be free. Your rent, monthly condo fee, or HOA payment will increase. (There are no free lunches.) What if you have no assigned parking? What if you park on the street? Will you run an eight-gauge extension cord out the window to your EV, and unplug your 240-volt window air conditioner so you can instead use the outlet for the car?
Read the rest here.