A Clash Of Civilization

It seems two opposing forces have been increasingly clashing against each other and that clash is getting noisier and more contentious. This clash is affecting more people all the time. What is this clash?

Here’s a hint: It isn’t in Gaza or Israel.

This clash is between the Biden Administration’s EV mandate and reality, specifically the reality of the high cost of EVs and the electrical grid’s lack of capacity to charge all those EVs we’re being told we’ll have to drive.

That clash is already having some fallout with one automaker after another rethinking their shift towards EVs. Ford has ceased production of EVs and GM is ramping down production of theirs. Demand is falling off and EVs are filling dealer lots with no takers.

Toyota and Honda are moving away from battery EVs and towards fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) and hydrogen-fueled internal combustion engines. (Toyota has also been touting their new ammonia-fueled internal combustion engine.) Volkswagen dialed back EV production and may cease it altogether. BMW has seen EV sales fall off and has also reduced EV production.

There’s another downside of EVs, that being that most of them are heavier than an equivalent ICE vehicle which increases wear and tear on the roads and bridges. (Some have made the claim EVs aren’t any heavier than regular vehicles, but that claim is easy to debunk with a little research online.)

Range anxiety is also a problem, with EV owners/drivers worried about having enough charge left in the battery pack to make it to their destination. (At this point I have to bring up this joke: “95% of all EVs are still on the road. The other 5% made it to their destinations.”) They also worry about being able to find a charging station if it turns out that they don’t have enough charge left in their battery to make it back home.

I know one issue that is often ignored by EV advocates is the problem of temperature, specifically cold temperatures. The batteries don’t like below freezing temperatures, causing the effective capacity to decrease. In places like where I live, New Hampshire, the winter temperatures can get to well below zero. It is not unusual to see -20ºF in the depths of winter. At temperatures like that an EV battery pack can lose up to two-thirds of its capacity. You won’t go far. You aren’t likely to stay very warm as there may not be enough battery charge available to both move the EV and heat the interior. Being stranded on a lightly traveled rural road at night with very little battery charge available when it’s -20ºF is not anything I want to experience.

Yet there are those supporting the EV mandate that think that would be just dandy. And that is just one aspect of the clash taking place – What is demanded versus what is possible. The mandate ignores what is possible. Proponents don’t care whether or not what is mandated is possible. They just want it done. However, those who are subject to such mandates don’t care what the mandates being pushed on them say. They will either ignore them, if possible, or push back and tell The Powers That Be to “Piss off”.

This will be a long, drawn out clash. I have no idea who will prevail in the end, but I think it’s going to get nasty, it will be expensive, and it’s going to hurt a lot of people and a lot of businesses. But “They” don’t care as long as they get their way.