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18% Of EV Drivers In California Switched Back To Gasoline Cars

Close to a fifth of all EV drivers in California have switched back to gasoline cars because charging their electric cars was a hassle, according to a new study bound to send ripples across an industry that has plans for market domination.

The study from the University of California, published in Nature Energy, looked at drivers who bought EVs between 2012 and 2018 and found that 18 percent of battery electric vehicle buyers switched back to gasoline-powered cars, as did 20 percent of plug-in hybrid buyers. The main problem cited by respondents to the surveys that the authors conducted was with charging times.

Insider, in a report on the study, quoted Bloomberg’s car analyst Kevin Tinan as explaining that he had just tested a Mustang Mach-E. It had charged—in a household outlet—at a rate of just 3 miles of range per hour. This makes just 36 miles of range for overnight charging, Tinan noted.

The technicalities of EV charging rarely make the headlines, and the reason is that they are a bit inconvenient for EV proponents. If you buy an EV that you use every day, you won’t be able to do it by charging it at home. The reason is that household outlets give out some 120 volts of power, which makes for the aforementioned rate of charging.

Public charging points, in comparison, put out 240 volts, which means faster charging. Then there are Tesla’s Superchargers, which give out 480 volts. Yet even with a Supercharger, it would take an hour to “fill up” an EV batter. This compares to just a handful of minutes to fill up a gasoline-powered vehicle.

What’s more, according to the study from the University of California, two-thirds of EV drivers didn’t use public charging stations, although the reasons for this were not specified.

Such studies don’t bode well for the future of EVs. The Biden administration—and the state of California—have superambitious plans for EV adoption, and so have all big carmakers. But studies such as the one from nature Energy suggest success may not be as certain as some would like it to be. Car dealers are already aware of that: a recent article in the Wall Street Journal noted EVs still make up a tiny minority of total car sales and cited one car dealer as saying, “The consumer in the middle of America just isn’t there yet.”

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com


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  • JC Hall on May 19 2021 said:
    I am not worried about the political leanings of those promoting EVs. I am sure they are well-intentioned and genuinely concerned about the environment. Their arguments, however, illustrate a basic disregard for scientific fact. The electricity for charging must come from somewhere. Despite everybody's clamor for more wind turbines and solar, we could never achieve the needed amount of electricity from those renewable sources. A wind turbine requires more energy in its construction than it will generate in its lifetime. So, wind is a net drain on the economy. At the end of life, there is NO KNOWN WAY to recycle the carbon composite blades. This is a problem that is plaguing the aerospace industry as we shift to carbon composite aircraft structure. Currently, after their relatively short life, turbine blades go to massive landfills.

    Solar is worse in many ways. Most rare earth minerals are controlled currently by China. They are required for the batteries and panels associated with solar production. Part of the reason for Chinese control is the unwillingness of Western economies to engage in massive rare earth mining -- especially open pit mining.

    So the only realistic source of non fossil energy at this time is nuclear -- and we all know the resistance that faces in the USA.

    If you are going to use fossil fuels to generate the necessary electricity, you must realize that construction of new power plants tends to be removed from the cities where EVs make the most sense (due to the NIMBY effect). So the first obstacle is line losses. Then the EV has to convert electricity to motion and heat through its motors. One energy conversion is at the fossil fuel plant followed by line losses and followed by a second conversion at the EV. Any engineer will tell you that multiple conversions are highly inefficient.
  • Ron Rattie on May 04 2021 said:
    This is a big pile of steaming bullshit.

    This is ancient data.

    Electric vehicles and electric vehicle charging infrastructure has changed drastically since 2018.
    It's possible to drive coast to coast in an EV with no problem. It's possible to do a cannonball run across the U.S. in an EV. The Porsche Taycan and the upcoming Ioniq 5 both sport 800 volt charging for 0-80% in 18 minutes of charging.

    Yeah, a 110 volt household outlet will get you 3 mph of charge. But most people don't use that. Most use a level 2 charger at home that gets 30 -40 mph of charge or they drive to a DC fast charger and top of in 20-30 minutes like a person going to a gas station.

    Even in the rural south there is EV charging infrastructure.

    "over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry"
  • Raymond Goggs on May 04 2021 said:
    I think most people have worked out that these things are a scam and don’t live up to the lies or hype they hear on communist left wing media. My friend bought one, it cost him almost 3 times the price of a decent normal car and all he could do was very short trips. His electricity bills shot through the roof, he said it wasn’t any cheaper, couldn’t use it when he wanted to and it lay in his drive a lot of the time on charge as he had no confidence in it to take him anywhere . One time the battery went completely dead on him, halfway to his destination some 200 miles away and he got stuck for 2 days in a remote town and the car came back home on the back of a breakdown truck. He then had enough of it, but had a lot of trouble selling it on and lost one serious amount of money on that stupid thing. I am talking tens of thousands. These things never can and never will dominate. They don’t work, and they are far more harmful to the environment than communist left wing media will tell you. One full charge has the carbon footprint of 8 diesel cars and these batteries turn into harmful non recyclable toxic waste after 2 to 3 years.
  • Don684 Kwasny on May 03 2021 said:
    So charging EVs is inconvenient, who knew? Why not just buy a reliable,fuel-efficient Toyota Camry or Honda Accord ICE vehicle. I guess that 18% of previous EV users figured that out.
  • Don684 Kwasny on May 03 2021 said:
    So charging EVs is inconvenient, who knew? Why not just buy a reliable,fuel-efficient Toyota Camry or Honda Accord ICE vehicle. I guess that 18% of previous EV users figured that out.
  • Mamdouh Salameh on May 03 2021 said:
    The ease of charging and also the availability of charging points are always on EV drivers’ minds particularly when they are embarking on a long journey of hundreds of miles.

    Therefore, it is not surprising that 18% of EV drivers and 20% of plug-in buyers in California are switching back to gasoline cars.

    It is estimated that it takes whole night home charging to provide a range of 36 miles. Public charging points do it faster but they still take up to two hours to charge an EV for a full range 250 miles not to mention the hassle and the waiting.

    This is one very major reason why EVs will never prevail over ICEs. The other is the need for global expansion of electricity generation costing trillions of dollars to be able to charge the supposedly millions of EVs that will be on the roads. How would this expansion come by: solar, nuclear or hydrocarbon?

    That is why ICEs will continue to be the dominant means of transport throughout the 21st century and probably far beyond.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London

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