A friend brought his new Tesla to our Wisconsin home over Christmas. We didn’t worry too much about charging because he lived only an hour away. That was a mistake. Read on for a Wisconsin Tesla Story.
He left home with 100% charge after charging in his garage overnight. He knew that he would use a bit more power than usual because he carried a passenger, unlike during his work commute. Many of us who drive those naughty internal combustion vehicles aren’t used to calculating our mileage with or without passengers. If we truly change the US fleet to EV, get out those calculators!
It was a cold day, which is another blow to battery power for two reasons. First, batteries in general don’t like being cold. And unlike an ICV, there is no heat ‘waste’ in an EV, so any desired heat must be produced using – you guessed it — the battery.
When he arrived at our house (did I mention it is one hour away?) he was down to 46% charge. Colder weather was due by evening, when he would be driving home. To cover his bases he drove 15 minutes to a Tesla charger listed on his Tesla app. The charger was broken; it appeared that someone drove into it. He got back to our home with 40% charge remaining.
I got busy on the computer and found two chargers, each in towns on his way home. But those chargers were ‘Charge Plus’ units, build for non-Tesla cars. My friend did not have the required adaptor.
Our house would charge the car in about 4 days, but we had no adaptor to do that. Our dryer plug runs higher voltage and could theoretically charge the car overnight if I had the courage to hook up to his car using a couple unwound coat hangers. Didn’t try that.
He eventually found a Tesla charger about 30 minutes away, and after driving there found that it was an overnight charger. He sat with his heater on low to avoid freezing, and after an hour was breaking even at 22% charge.
I made the hour round trip to bring him to our place, and another trip a few hours later. At that point he had over 50% charge, enough to make a dash for home.
I understand that we need to transition of hydrocarbons eventually. The key word in that sentence, for everyone interested, should be ‘eventually’. Renewables currently make up less than 5% of our energy needs. More and more places are banning the placement of windmills and solar fields. My house is surrounded by windmills because people in Wisconsin enjoy sitting peacefully and watching the blades rotate. Heck, one just tipped over near my house and left a small crater in the ground. It was the most exciting thing to happen around here in years. Apparently windmills fall over more often than you would think. But nobody will be buidling windmills off the Malibu coast anytime soon.
Other major issues include an aging electric grid that never seems to get rebuilt. When I was in San Diego having surgery last summer the Governor asked people to hold off on charging their cars for a few days. And EVs will only get more expensive as the market is hit by shortages of base and rare earth metals mined in African and Asian countries. Electricity costs are predicted to run higher as coal and nuclear plants are phased out over the next few years. And in 2022 it already costs more to drive an EV than a gas-powered vehicle, not even counting the lower mileage in cold climates and the higher costs for vehicles and vehicle mainetance.
I drove a Honda Civic Hybrid in 2004 and it was a nice car. But after replacing the transmission a second time two years later I went back to my gas vehicle. Still, I believe hybrids will prove to be the smart person’s answer to transitioning away from fossil fuels, which will be a generation-long process.
In the meantime, have some fun watching the zealots like Al Gore complain about ‘boiling oceans’ as they light and heat their 50,0000 square-foot homes and fly to conferences in private jets. After all, its all about reining in the little people.