Everything I know is wrong

 The title of this article refers to all the lies about electric vehicles (EVs) told in propaganda from both sides, the oil industry and those who don’t want to make Earth become Venus. It was borrowed from a 1960s Firesign Theater’s album title.
A little background: I just bought an EV last month. I started driving in 1968, and was a driver in the Air Force from 1971 to 1975. Most of their vehicles had standard transmissions, as did some of my own.
Filling my car while shivering one winter a couple of years ago I made up my mind to buy a car I didn’t have to fill up while shivering. So I looked to buy one.
The most told lie about EVs is that they’re good for the environment. Mine runs on coal, since that’s where my electricity comes from, a coal-fired electrical turbine. EVs are only good for the environment if you have clean power. Here, we don’t. But again, that’s not why I wanted one. I don’t like standing in broiling heat or below freezing cold filling it.
Some of the biggest liars are the magazines. “Not all EVs are expensive!” they scream. The hell they’re not, Elon. The cheapest I could find was $30,000, and that was a little “economy” Chevy.
And nobody had one. I called every Chevy dealer I could find on Google for a hundred miles, not a single one had a Bolt, or any other EV. I found out they had discontinued them but were still advertising them! I spent the next two years trying to find an affordable EV, and never did.
So I bought an unaffordable one few weeks ago. I’d had enough cash in the bank to pay off my mortgage (I’d been piling extra into the principal since I took it out), and put that and five grand from a credit card and my twenty year old Grand Am for a down payment. The car payment is two hundred dollars more than my mortgage payment. Affordable, my ass.
And why do they only sell expensive ones? My guess is the F-150s, Corvettes, Cadillacs, all had V-8 engines, usually very big ones that used a lot of gasoline. Making their most gas guzzling cars electric sure takes the sting out of their fleet EPA mandates! Again, I have no data or personal experience to back that guess up. Call it a conspiracy theory.
I’ve heard many people repeating the lie that EVs are toys, glorified golf carts. It’s easy to fool the ignorant. The only way to eyeball an EV is to look for its missing exhaust pipes. It’s a car, and will probably outrun and outlast your obsolete Rube Goldberg ICE car, likely more comfortably than what you’re driving now. The Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) is dead, it just hasn’t noticed yet. Its only advantages are the infrastructure and ignorance.
I stopped buying new cars in the 1980s when my wife insisted we get one because they’re dependable when The Le Mans’ clutch was going out, and the new VW’s German engineering stranded us ninety miles from home with a bad alternator. But you can’t easily buy a used EV, although a Mercedes dealer who once owned the property next door to mine told me he gets used Teslas once in a while. Good luck with that!
Now, in late 2006 I bought the nicest car I ever owned, a 2002 Chrysler Concorde. My brother in law (he and my sister have the money in my family, they made it in real estate) had a Lexus, and the Concorde was nicer and more comfortable than his Lexus. I paid ten grand for it, borrowed money. Its engine blew in 2014 and I paid 6k cash for a 2004 Grand Am that I absolutely hated; the Chrysler spoiled me.
The Ioniq 6 I just bought is nicer than the Concorde. Its only advantages had been a sun/moon roof and you never felt the bumps in the road, not even going over a railroad track. It had handled better than any car I’d driven, the Hyundai handles even better; the weight’s on the bottom. The Chrysler had the best brakes of any car I’d had, the Hyundai’s are better. But I feel the bumps in the road.
But it’s the best car I’ve ever owned, about as far from a “golf cart” or a “toy” as you can get. Its only drawback is its range and limited infrastructure.
Illinois’ Governor Pritzker said even before I tried buying an EV there would be charging stations in every rest stop. He lied. There are no chargers in any rest stops. As a lawyer, he should know that the federal law that started the interstate system had strict controls on what could be sold at a rest stop, and electricity isn’t included.
They (probably the oil industry) lie that charging takes forever. It doesn’t, not at a commercial charger. Less than twenty minutes from almost completely discharged to 80% in my car; the last 20% has to be charged slowly. Also, they recommend that you avoid charging it to more than 80% unless necessary to prolong the life of the battery. That’s 4/5 of a tank in under twenty minutes; in an old gasoline car the gauge would read “full”. It took fifteen to fill the old Grand Am, not counting the time it took for the person inside the building to energize the pump. Sometimes that takes longer than actually fueling, especially if somebody’s buying a lottery ticket inside. And especially if it’s snowing.
They would have you think that chargers cost thousands of dollars. Well, I’m sure the commercial chargers that take credit cards do, but EVs come with chargers; at least Chevy and Hyundai cars do. Mine came with a 220 volt charger, and I don’t have 220, so I bought a 110 volt charger from Amazon. It cost $175.
At home, charging does takes forever. With my charger, and the car at 9% charge before I plug it in it takes thirty hours. At home, why should I care? An afternoon’s charging does it unless you’ve let it run down that far. Working people would just plug it in at night and unplug it in the morning and not worry about it.
As I said earlier, they’re expensive to buy. The only vehicles I found for sale were luxury cars. But they’re really cheap to drive! Someone asked me about mileage, and I told him it reported 4.3 miles per kilowatt hour (kWh). “What’s that in miles per gallon?” I told him you would have to convert both to miles per dollar for comparison, so I decided to do the math the next day out of curiosity.
Miles per kilowatt hour divided by price per kilowatt hour gives an EV’s cost per mile, miles per gallon divided by price per gallon gives ICE cost per mile. Simple algebra. My last two cars, the Chrysler with a six cylinder and the Grand Am with a four cylinder each got 35 mpg on the highway with the cruise control set to 65. At $3.80 a gallon that works out to eleven cents per mile (it’s a dime a gallon higher than when I calculated that). My EV got 4.3 miles per kWh going to Mike’s in Columbia near St Louis the week I bought it, my electricity from CWLP costs a dime a kWh making the car cost a fraction less than two cents a mile on the highway, less than a fourth the cost of gasoline. A hundred miles costs me two dollars, it was twelve in the old car, and gas was a lot cheaper the last time I drove that far. And that’s before gas goes up again like the Saudis are threatening.
A commercial charging station charge costs over four times as much as you pay for electricity at home. Still a little cheaper than gasoline.
And that’s on the highway. In an ICE car in the city you’re only getting half the mileage you get on the highway. My city driving reports 3.7 miles per kwh, almost as good as the highway.
At four times as cheap as gasoline, I get the equivalent of 140 mpg on the highway, more than a hundred mpg in the city.
Then there’s the lie about our “aging electrical infrastructure can’t handle EVs,” the “aging” infrastructure that has actually been continually updated since the nineteenth century when it was just starting to be built.
This lie is told by people who know that simple math is a mostly arcane lost art to most people. My charger pulls 1.8 amps. A space heater pulls over ten. A vacuum cleaner pulls up to six amps. How many amps does your electric dryer pull? It runs all afternoon! And it doesn’t hold a candle to the amount of electricity your central air pulls.
Plus, oil refineries use a lot of electricity. A Tesla will go twenty miles on the electricity it takes to refine a gallon of gasoline, Google informs me. So if your typical gasoline car gets 20 mpg in the city, it’s using as much electricity as a Tesla. If you’re in a big Dodge crew cab you’re using a lot more. EVs will be LESS of a strain on the electrical infrastructure than ICE, as most driving is local stop and go when you’re lucky to get 20 mpg.
Then there are lies of omission, the reason why in court you swear to tell the truth and THE WHOLE TRUTH. Nobody warns people that if they have never driven a stickshift before, an EV takes quite a bit of getting used to because of the regenerative brakes. It’s like driving a three speed stick with the gearshift stuck in second, only without the need for a clutch. Those with manual transmissions call it “engine braking”. Luckily for me, half a century ago stickshifts were common and I’ve owned a few, but many today would be befuddled.
They never describe it in the media, leading one to think that when you press the brake pedal is when regenerative braking occurs, but it’s when you take your foot off the “gas”. EVs have the same brakes the old obsolete ICE cars have had for decades. You will eventually need brake pads but not as often. It also has brake fluid.
Another untold truth is your choice of engines while driving the car. I was pleasantly surprised to find a button that changed it between an economy four cylinder, a standard six cylinder, or a V-8 that will outrun most cars on the road. The “sport” setting sucks down electricity like a 440 cubic inch engine with two four barrel carburetors sucks down gasoline, but it’s the third fastest car I’ve ever owned, after the ‘69 Mustang with the 350 Cleveland and the ‘74 Le Mans with its motor worked on for racing.
But I discovered the big lie going to Mike’s, about a hundred miles away, a few days after buying the car. Among the biggest of all these damned liars is the EPA. Their range estimates would make Donald Trump and George Santos jealous. And the magazines help with their lies of omission, the modern penchant to fill a dozen pages without imparting much information at all, if any. Why has no one actually described regenerative braking? And why did they trade he two syllable word “engine” for the five syllable word “regenerative”?
The magazines have articles (you’ve likely seen them) about how easy it is to go 600 miles in California, or from DC to Maine in an EV. They’re lies. Maybe you can on the coasts, but in the middle of the nation, commercial chargers are almost nonexistent. The only two between here and Mike’s near St. Louis are one on South 6th here in town close to the interstate, and one that may not be but a few miles out of the way near I-70 that may not even work with my car. Meanwhile, there’s at least one and usually more gas station at every interstate exit. A gasoline car with a hundred mile range would have no problem traveling most places. But the infrastructure is nowhere near sufficient to travel in an EV yet, regardless of range, despite what anybody says. Rather than EVs, they should call them CVs, for commuter vehicles.
The magazines also said that the Ioniq gets an EPA estimate of 360 miles, without mentioning that the base model is 340. But that should still get me a hundred seven miles and back.
It didn’t. I drove down I-55 with the cruise control at 67 mph, 65 on the way back. Halfway home, right before Litchfield, it tells me I’m running low on battery. It gives directions to a charging station, taking me WAY out of the way through a long, convoluted trip over back roads to Carlinville about thirty miles northwest of Litchfield.
Its charger had no place to use a credit card, requiring an app and a tapable phone. I found that there is absolutely no cell phone signal in Carlinville if you have Boost or T-Mobile. George is surely laughing from the grave. I have Boost. I’ve been planning to switch carriers since. I’ll bet Europeans and Canadians don’t have that nonsense! I could have gotten almost home if I’d kept driving up 55 and would not have lost cell signal.
The place with the charger was closed, so I couldn’t even complain. So I went to a gas station looking for a phone. “Drive right past gas stations,” my ass!
A fifty mile tow isn’t cheap. The tow truck driver told me it’s all makes of EVs; Mustangs, Teslas, all of them, every day, the EPA simply has no respect for the truth. I finally got home around 11 PM after leaving Mike’s at 2:00. The next day I looked up how much electricity my battery would hold, when I found about the smaller base model the EPA claims gets 340 miles. My math, using the storage capacity of the battery and the mileage in miles per kWh displayed on the front screen says 275 miles, the same as it said when I left for Mike’s with a 100% charge. I did do a little showing off when I gave him a ride, and his house is high on top of a bluff.
But I went back down there a few days ago, partly to test it. I charged it fully the day before. The mileage it displayed didn’t change. I drove down at 60 mph there, and it said I had 130 miles of charge; it said 275 when I left home so I didn’t bother plugging it in at Mike’s, despite his insistence I do so.
On the way home, at the Farmersville exit between the Litchfield and Carlinville exits the screen that I had darkened lit back up, and it and the screen behind the wheel warned me that I needed to charge soon. I was pretty confident I’d get home, or at least to the charger at Walmart in town.
It seemed longer from Litchfield to home than I remembered as I passed the Carlinville exit and remembered that my house was a few miles past the city limit. I had visions of it dying while crossing the lake, especially when it nagged about the need to charge immediately when home was thirty miles or more away.
But cruising past Walmart it said I had seventeen miles left so I didn’t stop. I pulled into the driveway with a 9% charge. It won’t go 340 miles on a charge, it has a hard time going 214.
I plan to write a nasty note to Pete Buttigieg and Michael Regan about their government lies. I seriously doubt you could get 340 miles on a perfectly level flat track at less than highway speed; actually any speed, and nothing turned on.
I hate this century’s dishonesty, at least in the US. Maybe other countries are more honest.
That said, again it’s so far the best car I ever owned, but if I did a lot of traveling it just wouldn’t be worth it. But it’s practically free to drive in the city, literally pennies, and I seldom travel except to St Louis. I plan on a long trip next year; I’ll rent a gasoline car.
But I won’t buy any more ICE cars. They’re too much hassle and inconvenience and expense and have way too much maintenance, both routine and unexpected. Perhaps we’ll have more infrastructure in five years and it will be practical to travel in an EV.

Why I Don’t Contribute to Politics
Race and the Bible
Sony Bono and the Supremes
Feels Like Bullshit
Analog Myths
Artificial Insanity
Stopping the Gun Violence
Microwave Cooking
Those Pesky Kids!
Number Systems
Classified Transparencies
Make America Great Again
Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks
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