Electric Cars aren’t Cheap to Charge and may not get you Home Safely

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 22nd, 2011

Week in Review

Everyone get their government subsidies to buy an electric car?  To enjoy driving free?  With no gasoline to buy at outrageously high prices?  With the convenience of plugging in anywhere for a quick convenient charge?  Perhaps you should read this first before taking the electric car plunge (see Charging Stations Multiply But Electric Cars Are Few by JAMES R. HAGERTY And MIKE RAMSEY posted 10/17/2011 on The Wall Street Journal).

Some businesses, such as Mr. Wolf’s restaurant, initially are providing charges free to test demand. Others impose fees. Car Charging Group for now charges $3 per hour. (Mr. Wolf estimates his giveaway charges cost him about $1.50 an hour.)

Three bucks an hour.  That’s a lot.  If you plug in once a day 7 days a week that’s $21 dollars.  For a short charge that won’t recharge your battery completely.  And if you plug in for eight hours at home over night for a full charge that’s $12 a night.  Based on the restaurant’s cost of $1.50 an hour.  Doing the math that’s $96 a week.  All together (day and night charges) that’s $117 a week.  Which costs a lot more than a weekly fill up of gasoline for a comparable sized gasoline-powered car.  And it won’t even take you as far as good old gasoline will.

Jonathan Read, chief executive of ECOtality Inc., a maker of charging equipment, recently suffered “range anxiety” while running errands in Phoenix in his new Leaf. The car warned him he had six miles of charge left; he was 12 miles from home.

To reduce battery use, he switched off the air conditioning, despite 115-degree heat, and made it home, concluding the car could go a bit farther than it promised. Still, he would have stopped at any business along the way that offered charging services.

Lucky he wasn’t driving at night.  Because you can’t drive at night without headlights.  And with the headlights on he’d be lucky to get another six miles out of his battery.

Of course being stranded at night would be cooler than being stranded during the day.  But at least the car that comes to get you to get you home will have air conditioning.  And headlights.  Courtesy of beautiful, reliable gasoline.

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