Electric cars may not be terribly useful in the midst of an energy crisis. While almost 6 million of these are on the road, drivers had better hope that the Tesla charging in their driveway isn’t the only vehicle they own. In another episode of “Wait, you can’t charge that right now,” Switzerland has drawn up proposals to restrict the use of electric cars for any nonessential travel this winter.
Let me be absolutely clear for the “independent fact-checkers” who love to put words in my mouth. I’m not saying that Switzerland is “banning electric cars.” They’re not. The proposal is specifically about reducing the need to charge them during times when the grid is overburdened.
But if the only car you have is electric, this could certainly pose a hardship.
The details of the proposal
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know that power in Europe is at a premium and the world in general is facing a full-on energy crisis. Heck, some folks in the UK are getting hit with bills that exceed $10,000 per month. A lady I know who lives there told me that her smart meter read that they’re using the equivalent of $58.78 in power a day, and they’re only heating their living room and using lights. And it isn’t even full-on winter yet.
Anyway, this has propelled Switzerland to plan ahead for when things get even colder. The UK Telegraph reports that the plan has two tiers that they’re calling “emergency” and “crisis.” There are three levels of restrictions in the emergency tier and two in the crisis tier. You’re going to get Covid Lockdown vibes when you read this – even the Telegraph compared the two. (Conversion of temperatures is mine.)
The lowest level will see public buildings heated to no more than 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees F), with people asked to limit their washing machines to a maximum of 40 degrees Celsius. (104 degrees F)
Under the next level, temperatures will be lowered to 19 degrees Celsius (66 degrees F) and streaming services asked to lower the resolution of videos from HD quality to standard.
If the situation worsens, shops will be asked to close two hours early and electric vehicles limited to essential journeys.
Crisis measures could see hot water disabled in public bathrooms and the use of electric leaf blowers barred.
Next, escalators will be stopped and outdoor Christmas lighting turned off.
Cryptocurrency mining would then be banned if supplies keep dropping, along with swimming pools closed and lights in sports stadiums turned off.
If the most extreme shortages hit, sports matches, concerts and theatre performances will be cancelled, and all leisure businesses forced to close. (source)
Don’t be silly. Climate lockdowns are a right-wing conspiracy theory. Aren’t they?
This isn’t the first time this has happened.
Last Labor Day weekend, in California, electric car drivers were asked to limit the charging of their electric vehicles as the grid struggled to meet power demands during a blistering, triple-digit heat wave. Ironically, this request came a mere week after the state announced that they planned to ban the sale of non-electric vehicles by 2035.
Proponents of ending the reliance on fossil fuel say that this demonstrates the need for more electric cars instead of the flaws in moving to an electric transportation system. And they also say that folks are overreacting to the request:
A spokeswoman for the governor, Erin Mellon, said that the request to avoid charging electrical vehicles has been misrepresented by critics of California’s efforts to curb emissions.
“We’re not saying don’t charge them,” she said. “We’re just saying don’t charge them between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m.”
Experts acknowledge that moving to more electric vehicles in the coming years will present a challenge, and part of that challenge is building a grid that is up to the task. But they said it was laughable to call a few hours of voluntary charging limits a sign of failure.
“Nobody charges during those times anyway,” said Elaine Borseth, the president of the Electric Vehicle Association, an advocacy group. “It costs more.” (source)
If nobody charges then, why did they feel the need to request that nobody charge then?
What are the costs involved with electric vehicles?
And in these days of excruciatingly high electricity prices, it could be incredibly expensive to keep your Tesla revved up and ready to go. However, if you calculate in the price you’d be paying for gas (also excruciatingly high), it might not be that bad.
A recent article broke down the costs of charging different models:
It would cost about $15.29 for a Model X to fully charge. Given the 2022 Model X has a range of 348 miles, the cost per mile would be slightly higher around $0.053, or $5.27 per 100 miles driven.
If you purchase the 2022 standard Model 3, you can expect to pay about $10.94 to fully charge the battery. That brings the cost per mile to about $0.04, or $4.02 per 100 miles.
Completely charging the 2022 Performance model would cost $14.39. That’s about $0.046 per mile.
Tesla’s newest EV model – the Model Y – has two versions, both of which come with a 75 kWh battery. The cost to fully charge the Long Range Model Y comes out to $13.16. That’s about $0.04 per mile or $3.98 per 100 miles.
Keep in mind that there are variables such as the type of charger, the car you’re charging, and local electricity prices.
You’ll also be out a pretty penny to buy the electric vehicle and to maintain it. The average electric car costs about $65k, whereas the average combustion engine car costs $32K. (source) May the odds be ever in your favor, Hunger Games-style, if you ever need to replace the battery on your EV. That can cost an eye-watering $4,000-20,000 depending on what you drive. Sure, you don’t need to replace a battery until about 200,000 miles on an EV, but what if you just bought one used to try and save the planet second-hand? Imagine getting handed a bill for twenty grand to keep driving that huge paperweight in your driveway.
If you can afford them and your drives are short enough, you can save cash on gasoline, and over a period of many years, you may end up saving money in the overall balance on an electric vehicle. But, most of us cannot drop the kind of cash required.
A hybrid vehicle, for those who want to venture into the land of green driving, might be a better option. It can be fueled with either gasoline or electricity, it costs around $38k to buy a new one, and the battery “only” costs $2,000-8,000.
Let’s be real: the average Joe and Josephine can barely afford groceries. They’re not going to be able to afford the upfront costs of an electric vehicle.
Are electric vehicles all bad?
I don’t think the idea of electric vehicles is a terrible one but it definitely should not be mandated. I wouldn’t want to drive a vehicle that might flat-out die if I was stuck in a traffic jam like the I-95 gridlock nor one that the use of which could be limited by the government. What’s more, I can’t afford an EV nor can I swing the expense of repairing one.
I think we’re starting to see the beginning of a series of events tagged with the heading of, “wHy do yOu hATe thE pLanET?” that could make life a whole lot smaller. I don’t think that climate lockdowns are nearly as far-fetched as proponents of environmental policies want us to believe.
Don’t get me wrong – I care about the environment. I care about the garbage patch in the middle of the ocean and about the wastefulness of our society. I believe there are a lot of things that can be done to be environmentally friendly that we can do, like limiting single-use plastic and drinking our own filtered water from our own containers, or bringing our own cloth bags to the store. These things don’t have a life-altering impact like the expense and potential restrictions on one’s mode of transportation.
And furthermore, I just don’t believe in making laws just to make laws. If the powers that be want to move people over to “greener” decisions, then they need to make those decisions more personally and financially beneficial. After all, if it’s that great, you wouldn’t have to force people to do it, right?
What do you think?
Do you think Switzerland’s potential limits on electric car use are something that will spread? Do you feel we’re witnessing the beginning of impending draconian climate-change lockdowns? What are your thoughts on electric vehicles?