Electric Vehicles

Shahe Koulloukian“Electric Ave” was the song Eddy Grant sang in 1982 and a lovely tune it was. Though the 80’s seems like such a long time ago, it kind of fits todays direction the auto industry is aiming for as engineers are battling to stave off earths looming climate crisis with electric vehicles.

The reality though is that there is much more to electric vehicles than saving on fuel economy. Sure, you don’t have to spend money on gas. Yes, you can drive in the HOV lane to sneak by all other single passenger car drivers. Sure your can put it on auto pilot and check your emails or facetime grandma to ask for your favorite brownie recipe. Let’s not forget the real carbon footprint the manufacturing of electric cars leave on the world.

These facts may come as a surprise to you…

Knowing them will give you the chance to take a brief break from the clamorous trappings of marketing and cost-cutting grandeur. To start, lets chat about the 6-13 year old children along with their parents that are mining for cobalt and lithium in the people’s republic of Congo, where 60% of these precious metal come from. Never mind their age or the hours they work. It’s the dauntless energy that is used working without even the most basic protective equipment such as gloves and face masks that is heartbreaking.

The destruction of the local ecosystems caused by the release of wastewater and other unusable ores onto the environments they are forced to live in due to their wages being so minuscule should make us pause and consider our moral obligations. Amnesty International has documented children and adults mining cobalt in small man-made tunnels and the exposure to the dangerous gases emitted during the procurement of these rare minerals.

Not only would the world not be able to provide this need, but many of these materials also come from hostile or uncontrollable regions, such as China/Mongolia, the Congo, and Bolivia, making the supply unpredictable.

Now let’s focus on the newly developed and finished electric battery found in these modern, sleek, and promising electric cars. Did you know that one metric ton of lithium requires around 500,000 gallons of water to mine? Oh my! That’s a lot of water. Yet we are so concerned about overwatering grass. Not just with regular US citizens but also with golf courses in all the desert cities with scarce water resources. Hmmm…I used to think I was a hypocrite, but then I realized, I’m just consistent in my inconsistency!

OK, shifting over to the electric battery charging capacity…

The average electric car battery will lose roughly 10% of its charging power within the first 3 years and roughly 3-5% each year after that. So hypothetically, by the 5th year, your electric battery will be at around 75% charging capacity, oh wow! How much did you say that electric car cost again?

Let’s recognize that the electric car is like the laptop you buy that gets considered “ancient” within the first year. So much technology change is happening during the moment your actually purchasing it. It just can’t seem to catch up with itself. And so is the same for the electric vehicles.
Who is going pay top dollar for “That old thing” at only 3 years old. The newer, better and improved models are going to be manufactured faster than the 240 mile distance. OH, speaking of charging it, lets compare some numbers shall we. The cost of charging an electric car at a public charging station depends on several factors.

For the sake of argument, lets just ballpark it….

The average cost per kWh is between $0.40 and $0.70 cents and you get around 3 to 4 miles for every kWh. With this in mind, the average EV vehicle could require around $30 to be fully charged and the time to recharge will also depend on either a public charging station or at home.

The slowest, Level 1 equipment, provides charging through a common residential 120-volt (120V) AC outlet. Level 1 chargers can take 40-50 hours to charge a battery from empty and about 20 minutes to one hour at a fast DC charge station costing around $30.00 with a distance of around 180 to 240 miles.

So let’s break it down to the ridiculous. It costs about 17 cents to drive one mile in an average gas-powered vehicle versus roughly 5 cents to drive one mile in an electric vehicle. If we compare the electric powered to the gas powered vehicle, the gas powered vehicle will essentially cost the owner $29.00 more than the electric powered vehicle to drive the same distance of 240 miles.

Where does that saving fit in the bigger picture of saving while driving?

Well, If you visit Starbucks an average of once a day 5 a week with the average coffee price of about 5.40, that puts your gas driven vehicles driving cost about $27.00 on top of your normal fuel cost per week. Just for a moment can we audit our senses and understand what is the true cost of value we believe we are chasing and or getting? Ok, now that’s been revealed, lets chat about the purchase prices of an electric vehicle. At the end of 2022, the average price of an electric vehicle was $61,488, compared with $49,507 for all passenger cars and trucks, according to Kelley Blue Book.

That’s roughly $12,000 more up front cost for a electric driven vehicle versus a gas driven vehicle. Oh what to do with that extra $12,000? Perhaps start a Starbucks fund?

Moving on…

Let’s chat about what happens to the electric batteries once they have failed and ready to be disposed of? There is no hard evidence of what happens as we know EV batteries can be recycled, reused, or both, fueling everything from electric bicycles to elevators. While myths about EV batteries end up in landfills still persist, the energy left inside used EV batteries is far too valuable to waste.

We also have no hard evidence of electric battery recycling plants. We’re not talking about names of companies on the internet. We want physical street addresses and or location of the plant that opens and closes for business. Plants that exist for the sole purpose of disassembling electric batteries with the purpose of removing all those precious metals and recycling them to good use.

In the end…

I’m sure we can all agree that there is nothing wrong with electric vehicles. No one is flat out saying don’t purchase one or it’s a bad idea. It’s just the theories and valuable outcomes of owning and driving electric vehicles.

What we should all recognize and most importantly understand is that as a consumer, we cannot make blanket statements. “I bought and drive an electric vehicle because I’m saving the planet”. “I bought and drive an electric car because I’m saving more money by doing so”. “I’m doing my part to save the human race”. These are all fluffy feel good self-empowerment beliefs that are just not 100% true.

The unspoken emotions that consumers have when purchasing an electric car is a sense of false relevance. The core of the purchase is based on the promise of saving money and the environment. Not to mention how proud we are to own that vehicle. Unfortunately, the true value is only recognized when we trade it in to continue the cycle.

Try to silence the distractions around you so you can see and hear the truth. Once you do, you will be able to choose between your emotional wants and your rational needs.