Dear EV manufacturers,
Last week I spent two days at the Detroit Auto Show with a focus on studying electric vehicles. I rode the Lightning (in an F-150 Lightning pickup truck) and saws dozens of EVs from the major manufacturers.
Marjorie Taylor Greene is wrong!
Recently Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (aka MTG), R-GA, posted on social media that Pete Buttigieg, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, is trying to emasculate us all by taking away our gas- and diesel-powered vehicles and making us drive battery-powered cars and trucks. However, rather than removing the testosterone of everyone who drives an EV, many of these high-profile electric vehicles have (and are being sold with) a lot of machismo.
A lot of the latest EVs perform like drag racers in street car disguise, out-accelerating any of the muscle cars I drove in the ’70s. My short 5-second ride in the Ford Lightning truck was breathtaking, and I am a child of the ’70s who used to drive (and occasionally street raced) a big-block Dodge Challenger and Pontiac GTO.
It’s the sizzle that sells the steak
Nearly every exhibit area at the Auto Show showed a beautifully detailed electric vehicle of some sort, most of which boasted about the acceleration of these electric-powered vehicles. For example, the humble Blazer SUV with the sports package boasted an acceleration time from 0 to 60 mph of 3.2 seconds, and the F-150 Lightning pickup truck 3.8 seconds.
But none of the presenters at the Detroit car show had a clue as to how much it costs to charge any of their EVs or details about their range, especially when towing a trailer.
Current EV trailer towing tests are flawed!
And there it is. Most of the electric vehicle towing tests I’ve seen have focused on the weight of the trailer, not the wind resistance. While trailer weight certainly does influence handling and road safety, it really has little effect on the range loss. It’s not the weight, it’s the wind! And these are noted car gurus who should know better. Here’s my simple towing test from last July using my loaner ID.4 EV to tow a Safari Condo trailer at various interstate speeds.
I would like to see tests like this run with several EV trucks (Lightning, Rivian, Silverado) and at least two styles of RV trailers. I already have a standard-aerodynamic GeoPro toyhauler—which is perfect for this since I can do the same road test both unloaded and loaded. But I think the ideal form factor for an EV towable trailer would be an Airstream trailer which is shaped like an airplane, which is why that would be my second test trailer.
The following ad was auto-inserted by Google
I can’t drive 55…. (Thanks, Sammy Hagar)
I would also like to see identical road tests performed at 55, 60, 65 and 70 mph. As you can see from my ID.4 towing test last summer, road speed is a huge determining factor in the mileage loss while towing.
I’m within a 20-minute drive of one of the longest continuous Interstate highway grades in the USA, going up to Sideling Hill (6% grade for 13 miles). So this would be a great test of towing torque on grades as well as regenerative braking.
What does it cost to recharge one of these EV trucks?
My estimate for the F-150 Lightning is around $15 for 0% to 100% charge. It should take around 10 hours when plugged into a 50-amp outlet overnight. There are faster and slower charging options that are more or less expensive, but that’s a topic for a future article.
BTW: I’ve just seen an article stating that it took four days to recharge a Lightning at a campground. That’s a pile of bologna. But I need a loaner EV truck to test my estimates.
What about campground EV charging?
I have a Zoom meeting in the next few days where I’ll be discussing this very topic with a medium-size campground owner who’s installing EV charging pedestals as we speak. So I’ll know a lot more in the next few days.
Don’t get me started on the idea that there’s 500 years of oil in the ground we can use, so we should continue to use our gas and diesel engines for the next 500 years.
It’s obvious that the climate is changing for the worse and we need to intervene somehow. And while I do agree that there’s currently not enough power or distribution capacity in the electrical grid to charge all the EVs if they all happened overnight, this will be a phase-in project that will take at least 10 years to accomplish.
The power grid in the U.S. is currently well over 100 years old and seriously in need of an upgrade which, as mentioned, will take at least 10 years to accomplish. And that also includes ways to gain energy independence from foreign entities who would like to weaken us.
The following ad was auto-inserted by Google
Where will the power come from?
That’s another topic which I am studying as fast as I can. As you all know, I like to design my own experiments, do my own observations and run my own numbers. So if I publish something, you can be sure that I’m sure of my conclusions.
Right now, I simply don’t know enough to jump on any particular technology for the near future. But I do believe I’m capable of figuring it out. I’ve been invited out to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to see the big Fusion experiments. That will be really cool when it works. But it won’t be ready for the power upgrades that are needed right NOW. However, there are lots of other immediate power possibilities. More to study….
What do I need from the EV manufacturers?
I need loaner electric vehicles, access to your engineering brain trust, and a budget so I can take a year off of my regular work for this study. In that time I could run dozens of tests, read hundreds of papers, and do a thousand calculations. And it will all be published for the good of the public as well as the EV and RV manufacturers. Please contact me to discuss….
Please don’t argue with me unless you bring your slide rule…
Let’s see if we can help human civilization get over this energy crisis just like when we began converting from horses to internal combustion engines nearly 150 years ago. I have the utmost faith in American ingenuity and entrepreneurs, so let’s compare notes and make it happen.
Let’s play safe out there….
Send your questions to me at my RVelectricity forum here.
Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 50+ years in the industry. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at Amazon.com. For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.
For information on how to support RVelectricity and No~Shock~Zone articles, seminars and videos, please click the I Like Mike Campaign.