Electric Car Anxiety, Range Anxiety, and Eco-Anxiety? That’s a Lot of Anxiety.

Apparently, the past couple of generations have been bombarded with an overwhelming sense of anxiety, including something called eco-anxiety. This has led to electric car anxiety (electric cars are also referred to as EVs; electric vehicles) and range anxiety. That’s a whole lotta anxiety. My adult daughters would add “adulting anxiety” to this list, but I’m an old man and my generation simply called this one growing up. So, I won’t go there for purposes of this post. Electric Car Anxiety 1

Please note that I read a lot of car magazines, and cars have always been a fun thing for me. Therefore, I have a lot of information (some of it even useful) on the subject. With this in mind, I have broken this blog post into Part 1 and Part 2. I do not want to create anymore anxiety, such as a this-darned-blog-post-is-too-long-to-read anxiety. Electric Car Anxiety 1

The world appears to be filled with people suffering mightily from this eco-anxiety thing. It’s my understanding that eco-anxiety includes the fears that the world ended yesterday (I exaggerate for effect) due to overwhelming pollution and the glaciers are disappearing at an alarming rate due to global warming. Also, Florida will disappear underwater within the hour (I might not make it to the end of this blog post), and the earth will burst into flames next Tuesday. Electric Car Anxiety 1

This is all due to internal combustion engine emissions (gasoline engines), cow flatus, and industrial pollution. (As an elderly person, I’m guessing that no one has examined old folks’ flatus; I’m willing to bet we give those cows a run for their money, but I digress). Electric Car Anxiety 1

This eco-anxiety has led sufferers to seek relief from their fears through sustainable energy (solar and wind; perhaps that flatus thing could be useful here), veggie burgers (yuck), metal straws, and the electric car (or EVs), among others. I’m a car guy, and therefore my focus here will be electric car anxiety. The truth is that I read way too many car magazines. In that regard, it’s interesting to note a bit of history. Electric Car Anxiety 1

There was a time when the electric vehicle (EV) went head-to-head with the internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle, and the internal combustion engine won because, 1) the EV had very little range on a full charge and the USA is a very large place and 2) the oil companies couldn’t sell gasoline to folks with EVs (the old follow the money thing). Currently, gas prices are at $5.00/gallon (although they are falling somewhat; it is almost mid-term election time), which is causing us gas price anxiety, also pushing us towards EVs and electric car anxiety.  Electric Car Anxiety 1

Unfortunately, this eco-anxiety is apparently more like eco-PANIC. According to the car magazines that I read, all the major automobile manufacturers will stop making ICE vehicles by 2030, which by counting on my fingers I figured out is only eight years away. At that point one will only be able to purchase an EV, which leads to a plethora of people who will soon be a’sufferin’ from electric car (or EV) anxiety. I wish I could lay claim to this as an original idea, but these car magazines are already using the term range anxiety, which is related to EVs. So much for my fifteen minutes of fame. Electric Car Anxiety 1

Range anxiety refers to the limited range that an EV can travel on a fully charged battery. Earlier EV models had a maximum range of approximately 75 miles; they are now up to 300+ miles in a few cases. However, for the many reasons discussed below, various car magazines do not recommend plunking down $46,000 for a new EV and heading out for a trip cross country just yet. One might have a little more success in Europe, only because cities and countries are not so far apart. But the USA is one large country. This is the same reason why rail service probably works better in Western Europe. You don’t have to lay approximately 3000 miles of track to get across Western Europe. Electric Car Anxiety 1

So, I’m really looking forward to 2030. I’m guessing I should already be suffering from eco-anxiety, especially since I live in Florida near the beach. My condo is supposed to be underwater by next week due to the melting glaciers and rising ocean levels. To prevent this, I will need to buy a $46,000 (minus $7500 rebate, if they still exist by then) EV to replace my current 2020 ICE SUV that has 10 miles on it (haven’t driven it much due to the Covid pandemic). This will definitely cause financial anxiety. Electric Car Anxiety 1

Then, once I get behind the wheel of my brand-new EV, I will immediately begin shaking from range anxiety, as in where the hell is the next charging station, and will I make it home from the grocery store? Then there will be the spontaneous EV combustion anxiety (those EV batteries apparently get hot), exploding battery anxiety (EVs are infamous for exploding in an automobile accident), lack of A/C anxiety (might have to turn off the A/C to have enough charge to get home, which is not good in Florida in August), and on, and on. Read on. Electric Car Anxiety 1

According to various car magazines, current EVs come with range anxiety. The range that the vehicle will travel on a fully charged battery varies dramatically. The size of the battery is the main factor that determines the range that an EV will travel on a single charge. $46,000 will get you approximately 250 miles, while a larger battery might get you 325 miles or so, but for $90,000. Electric Car Anxiety 1 

So, to purchase an EV that can travel a similar range to an ICE car with a tank full of gas, you can either buy the EV, or a house in many places. Personally, I’d go with the house, with a garage, so you can have a place to charge your EV (I’m getting a headache). I predict that Xanax prescriptions are going to go through the roof from all this anxiety. Electric Car Anxiety 1     

Then there’s the inaccurate reporting of an EVs’ range by the car manufacturers. Again, according to those darned car magazines, the range reported by the dealerships include the EV being tested with a single driver in the car traveling at an average 55 MPH. If I drove on I-95 at 55 MPH, some guy in a jacked up pickup truck, or a woman in a Chevy Suburban, would push me into the ditch. I often do 80 in the left lane and get passed on the right by folks making me look like I’m sitting still. So, 55 MPH? I think not. The range can apparently decrease by 20% or more at 70 MPH. Electric Car Anxiety 1

EV range is also reported for a vehicle with a 100% battery charge. However, it is highly recommended by the manufacturers that you maintain your EVs charge between 80% and 20%. Much like with your laptop computer, taking the charge to 100% all the time apparently wears out the battery faster. If you let the battery discharge to zero, it also can damage the battery. So, if the manufacturer reports a range of 300 miles, you’ll probably get 80% of that. Alternatively, you can keep charging to 100%, in which case you can buy a new battery sooner than expected for something on the order of a kajillion dollars. Electric Car Anxiety 1

The range on a full charge also varies dramatically depending on the temperature, elevation, and whether or not you plan to use useless options like A/C in summer in Arizona or Florida, the stereo system, lights at night, your heated seats, radar safety equipment, etc. All of these options inconveniently run on electricity and reduce your range. Electric Car Anxiety 1

What’s the big deal? Toughen up, America. You don’t need all these fancy comforts. If you want A/C, a stereo, or lights at night, just stay home, unless the US electrical grid in your area fails because everyone has their EVs charging at the same time. Then it’s back to hand-held paper fans and ice houses. I remember an old Abbott and Costello movie where they delivered blocks of ice using a horse-drawn wagon. It didn’t look so bad, and it made me laugh, which does relieve anxiety. Electric Car Anxiety 1

I especially enjoy the information on electric trucks, like the Ford F150 Lightning. According to those darn car magazines, this EV pickup truck is reported to come with a range of 300+ miles. However, the range is actually around 220 miles when tested at 70 mph instead of 55. But the part that really got my attention pertained to hauling and towing. If I were to put out the $40,000-$90,000 for one of these EV pickups, depending on whether you want 250 miles of range or 300+ miles, I would expect the thing to function as a pickup truck. This might include hauling stuff, towing my boat, or perhaps towing a camping trailer. Electric Car Anxiety 1

Apparently towing and hauling (wait for it…) dramatically reduce the range. One of those car magazines reported that when towing a 7500-pound camping trailer, the range dropped from 300+ miles to 60 miles. I guess I shouldn’t expect to go very far a’campin’. I could travel 30 miles to a campground, and 30 miles back home, unless the camp site comes with a charging station. Or I could just buy the camper and park it in my back yard for the kids to play in. Electric Car Anxiety 1 

I shudder to think of the effect of placing five or six robust Americans (we are world famous for our largess) in the king cab. I’m guessing this would also reduce the EV range, in a manner directly proportional to the passengers’ fondness for fast food (I’m partial to a quarter pounder with cheese and a large fries myself). Electric Car Anxiety 1

There’s also the lack-of-functional-charging-stations anxiety associated with EVs. One car magazine reported that even in California, where this EV craze may have started, over 20% of people abandoned EVs after a year or so. The problems that they cited included a lack of functional charging stations; apparently a large portion of the public ones are broken. Then there’s the fact that people with ICE cars park in charging station because in places like LA there’s nowhere else to park. Electric Car Anxiety 1

 Other problems included people leaving their fully charged cars in the parking spaces all day while they went shopping, and the lack of adequate charging stations to travel across the country, or even between some cities in California. Finally, the financial anxiety took its toll. The initial $46,000 (minus refund) cost of the car and the cost to convert your garage to a 240 V charging station ($2000+) resulted in a car payment larger than a house payment. Let’s see, do I want the convenience of an EV, or a roof over my head that actually has functional A/C, heating, stereo sound, and lights at night? Electric Car Anxiety 1

I’m gonna stop here for this week. I did warn you at the beginning; remember avoiding the this-darned-blog-is-too-long-to-read anxiety? Stay tuned because Part 2 of this Electric Car Anxiety Blog is coming next week. You’ll want to tune in; Part 2 includes important information on EV tires, charging issues, and even a Robby-the-Robot thingamajig for charging your EV in parking lots. You don’t wanna miss that. Electric Car Anxiety 1

In the meantime, if you liked this blog, you would also enjoy my comedy murder mysteries PLEASURIA, MURDER BY ROAD TRIP, and THE REALTOR’S CURSE. For more and links to buy the books, go to johnjjessop.com.