H-ER Blog

Electric Vehicles (EVs) - what are you waiting for?

The pace of change for a better technology can be amazing, 15 years ago the modern smartphone didn’t exist, now half the people on the planet have one! In 2010 electric vehicles (EVs) accounted for 0.002% of global vehicle sales, it’s already 10% with a flood of new EVs, the 2020’s will be electric.

Get behind the wheel and drive an EV and be impressed. The silent, smooth, instant acceleration is refreshing and fun. EVs are easier & cheaper to own, even if they cost more initially, lower fuel and maintenance costs pay back the difference (see police EV example below). Imagine no more oil changes, exhaust or transmission repairs, plus regenerative braking reduces the wear on the conventional brakes while recharging the battery.  Fuel costs less because EVs are three times more efficient plus electricity costs about 60% less than gasoline.  Your fueling station is your home’s parking spot over night or whenever you choose to plug in, like your smartphone.

Bolt JK Hancock carr barnJohn Kondos with his Chevy BoltAs more EVs are produced and EV prices become more attractive the E-pace is accelerating. In 2018 my EV choices were limited, ideally, I wanted a small pickup or SUV w/ AWD and good ground clearance. I settled for another small hatchback, like my last car, but the Chevy Bolt has become my favorite. I’ve had well over a dozen trucks & cars including Fords, Toyotas, Hondas, Subarus, Nissans, a Barracuda, a Scout and a Saab Turbo. This little EV wins in several categories: lowest cost to operate, most fun to drive, smoothest, quickest and quietest. It has saved me a lot of money. The only maintenance expense other than tires has been a cabin air filter in 3 years, 27,000 miles. Fueling savings is hard to calculate since I try to charge with my solar system for free. My best estimate is about ~$200/ year or less than half what I paid for gas in the Prius (~$500/year) which got about 38 MPG.

I still want AWD and high ground clearance so I’ve been searching for my next vehicle. So far, E-SUVs clear barely 7”, the first Ford & GM E-pickup trucks are too big, the Hummer is way beyond my budget and the Rivian R1T is larger than I need and more than I’ve ever spent. But I keep coming back to it, those headlights are growing on me. With an electric motor at each wheel for exceptional traction and acceleration, it can adjust up to 14.9” of ground clearance. MotorTrend described its 2022 Truck of the Year, the Rivian R1T as "the most remarkable pickup truck" it has ever driven. Now, I’m waiting for a test drive…

Battery technologies are improving and prices are declining, the price of a kWh (kilowatt hour) of battery usage was $1000 ten years ago, now it’s $100/kWh. The auto industry is responding with more than just plain EVs, bi-directional charging which allows the EV batteries to power buildings is already available, VW sees EVs as ‘flexible, mobile energy storage units’. Beyond EVs, General Motors sees a huge market for electrification components as an increasing number of industries and municipalities introduce their own emission reduction goals. GM will be introducing various EV component sets in four areas: Chevy Performance and Aftermarket (for EV conversions of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles), GM Powered Solutions (for off road equipment), Ground Support Equipment (airport and other specialty vehicles), and Marine Propulsion. I’m waiting for a local shop to start ICE conversions to EVs.

At the Monadnock Sustainability Hub (MSH), we researched EV police cars and discovered they are saving lots of money. Our report, Making the Case for Electric Police Cars, issued in January, 2022 profiles police departments like Bargersville, IN that projected $6000 savings in year one for a Tesla 3, which turned out better “The breakeven point will be more like 19 months rather than 24 like we planned before.” The Chief figures the Tesla’s cost of ownership is $0.37/ mile vs $0.65/ mile for their Dodges (prior to the 2022 price spike). Across the CT River, the Windham County, VT sheriff reports that, ‘we were measuring 2-4 cents per mile traveled for fuel cost compared to 26-28 cents for an ICE vehicle with similar duties, at $2.41 a gallon’. As a taxpayer, I’m waiting for my town and county police departments to get EVs. What are you waiting for?