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The Electric Car Upside

Summary:
Is there any upside to electric cars? In the interest of fairness, this question should be fairly answered. As is true of almost anything – Hitler did build the Autobahn, after all – you can find a few good things to say about electric cars . . . if you look long and hard enough – and don’t ask too many pesky follow-up questions. The heat works immediately – An electric car is like a mobile space heater, one of those little boxes you plug in at home or work to take the chill off the room you’re in. They make heat as soon as you turn them on – assuming there is current flowing. In a non-electric car, you have to wait for the engine to warm up first. This usually takes several minutes, at least, on a very cold day and in the

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Is there any upside to electric cars?

In the interest of fairness, this question should be fairly answered. As is true of almost anything – Hitler did build the Autobahn, after all – you can find a few good things to say about electric cars . . . if you look long and hard enough – and don’t ask too many pesky follow-up questions.

The heat works immediately –

An electric car is like a mobile space heater, one of those little boxes you plug in at home or work to take the chill off the room you’re in. They make heat as soon as you turn them on – assuming there is current flowing. In a non-electric car, you have to wait for the engine to warm up first. This usually takes several minutes, at least, on a very cold day and in the meanwhile you stay cold.

On the other hand . . .

The electric car’s electrically powered heater uses power directly to make heat – just as a home/office space heater does – while heat in a non-electric car is a free perk of internal combustion, produced by the engine as a waste product. It does not cost you energy to  turn the heat on in an IC-engined car; you won’t use more gas to keep the heat on – even at full blast – and your range won’t be reduced an iota.

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Use of the heat in an electric car, on the other hand, consumes energy and by dint of that, reduces range.

Electric motors produce immense torque, immediately –

Torque is a measure of twisting energy and electric motors produce that in abundance relative to a combustion engine. Also, their massive torque output is available sooner and more directly because most electric cars are direct drive – meaning the electric motor directly turns the wheels, without the power having to be transmuted from up and down energy to rotational energy (at the crankshaft) and then transmitted via a transmission to the drive wheels.

Right-now power may be the electric car’s strongest card. The electric motor in the Tesla Model S makes in excess of 900 ft.-lbs. of torque and the car is capable of a ballistic 2.4 second run to 60 MPH. For reference, an internal combustion-powered supercar such as the 2018 Mercedes AMG S 63 sedan maxes out at 664 ft.-lbs. of torque and can’t keep up with the Tesla in a straight-up drag race.

On the other hand . . .

Energy – whether in the from of electricity or gasoline – which is transmuted into power – is limited by the amount you have available. The more power you use, the less energy you have left – whether in the gas tank or the battery pack. But the energy in a non-electric car’s gas tank can replenished in minutes while putting energy back into an electric car’s battery pack takes the better part of an hour, at the least  . . . if one can find a high-voltage “fast” charger. And using the “fast” charger, the battery pack can only be partially recharged – to about 80 percent of capacity –  in order to avoid damaging it. To recover a full charge – the equivalent of a full tank – takes hours of slow charging.

A gas-engined supercar might not be fuel-efficient, but it isn’t wasteful  . . . of time. And what good is an electric supercar that’s very quick, but which makes you wait for hours?

Eric Peters
Eric Peters is a freelance car/bike/political columnist. He escaped the corporate-owned media Big Boys years ago. Without the censorship of the corporate tools

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