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Details of owning and operating an electric vehicle

by B.R

The Climate Action Plan proposes that the majority of our cars are to be electric. Have

our city leaders even researched the details about electric vehicles or just the Federal

funds related to them? Hybrids are a reasonable choice, but all electric can be expensive,

inconvenient…and controllable by our city’s electric power capabilities.

The CAP involves replacing all city bus fleets, including school buses, to electric. Our power grid does not have the capacity to handle such loads. A full-size electric school bus can cost

$320,000-$440,000 versus about $100,000 for diesel. The “fuel” is cheaper in the beginning

for an ESB, but the battery pack replacement about every 7 years is extremely costly. On

average, the battery makes up 30%-50% of the cost of the bus. (

Here is information from U.S. News, BBC News, Car & Driver, etc: The lithium-ion

batteries that EVs use cannot be recycled like the traditional lead-acid ones. They must be

dismantled and less than 50% of the components can be reused. They contain hazardous

materials, and have an inconvenient tendency to explode if disassembled incorrectly.

Manufacturers are finding they can make new batteries cheaper and safer.

For most EVs, there is no way to repair even slightly damaged battery packs after accidents,

forcing insurance companies to write off cars with few miles leading to higher premiums and

undercutting gains from going electric. Battery packs are already piling up in scrapyards in

other countries and can ignite up to three days later, so they must be dipped in water to avoid

catching the scrapyards on fire and releasing even more toxins. Battery packs can represent up to 50% of an EV's price tag, making it uneconomical to replace them, so we’ll also have a surplus of scrap car bodies. And when the batteries wear out, they release more CO2 than the vehicular emissions. Disposal is a real issue and there will be a lot of batteries to deal with.

The increased weight of batteries is also a concern. For example, a 2023 Hummer EV pickup is 9,000 pounds; 3,000 pounds heavier than the 2023 GMC Sierra. The battery alone is 2,900 pounds. More braking distance is needed to avoid crashes and pedestrians. The increased damage possible to a standard car is certainly a safety issue. And if a battery is damaged, it doesn’t just set on fire, it explodes like a bomb engulfing the vehicle in fire. The additional weight of EVs will affect the structural integrity of bridges, roads, and parking garages.

Charging an electric vehicle: Depending on the make of the EV, battery packs may only last

10,000 to 20,000 miles and the replacement cost is $10,000 to $20,000. EVs cost more than

their gas-powered counterparts, but over time they have shown to depreciate more quickly.

Some have lost as much as 70 percent of their value over a five-year period.

Currently, the average mileage of a fully charged electric car is 211 miles. The charging time

comes down to primarily: power source, the vehicle's charger capacity, and battery size. Both cold- and hot-weather extremes add to the charge time.

There are currently 3 charging levels.

  • Level 1 -A full charge at home using a 120-volt outlet, isn’t measured in hours, but rather days.

  • Level 2 -A homeowner would need to install a 240v, 50-amp circuit which will maximize most EVs onboard chargers.

  • Level 3 - Public charging will have direct current fast charging. Expect about an 80% charge in 35 to 45 minutes, unless you also have to wait in line. Traveling a long distance will be a challenge.

Charging station rates are influenced by location, time of usage, length of use, and power level.

You can only pay by app or credit card. Idle fees are extra charges consumers may pay when

they leave their EVs at a charging station for too long. You’ll have a 5-minute grace period to

move your car to another parking space, if you can find one. That charge can be from $0.40 to $1.40 per minute.

Public charging stations can be hacked. An infected charger can contaminate a charging

station which will affect other cars and stations, then you have a contaminated transportation

community. NY Times reports a hacked EV could shut down the power grid once the car is


Who covers the costs of replacing or upgrading all these charging stations? Do we want stations everywhere to take up real estate, parking space availability, and could even become rather obsolete. Do Chattanooga residents prefer tax dollars to go toward improving streets,

upgrading school buildings, better waste management, crime control, and more. We the People would like to vote on this!

The base components for batteries are out of China, and Ukraine is one of the world’s richest

sources for EV materials, particularly lithium. We should address the big picture of all this and see where we are being led.

I don’t want a Smart city; I want smart city leaders!

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1 Comment

Aug 22, 2023

Missing from most conversations on controversial issues are what I call the 7 intellectual virtues: humility, honesty, curiosity, carefulness, thoroughness, tenacity, impartiality. I am very conservative, and I have owned an electric vehicle for over 5 years. For anybody that reads this article, my recommendation is to please hear both sides of the argument for electric vehicles. Every new technology has to go through a period in which complex design, manufacturing, and environmental issues have to be identified and fixed. (Consider the transition from "horses" to "automobiles.") Also, it is so easy to only listen to the side of an argument that agrees with your own presuppositions. I would highly recommend reading a book like "QAnon, Chaos, and the Cross." …

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