The Wall Street Journal reported this weekend on a four-day road trip from New Orleans to Chicago and back in an electric vehicle (EV) that ended up as a disaster — one that left the author grateful for her ordinary car, even at today’s high gas price.
The Journal article, by Rachel Wolfe, was titled: “I Rented an Electric Car for a Four-Day Road Trip. I Spent More Time Charging It Than I Did Sleeping.” In it, the author described planning the journey, using the PlugShare app to map charging stations and estimate charging times, based on the relative strength of each public charging station. She noted that more charging stations should, in theory, be available in future, thanks to the federal government’s new infrastructure bill.
For now, however, long-distance travel by electric vehicle proved almost impossible, saving just $100 and costing hours. At several points, Wolfe recalled, the car nearly ran out of battery; they missed several appointments. They also had to take drastic steps to curb their use of power, such as unplugging their phones and turning down their windshield wipers.
She wrote: “Over four days, we spent $175 on charging. We estimated the equivalent cost for gas in a Kia Forte would have been $275, based on the AAA average national gas price for May 19. That $100 savings cost us many hours in waiting time.”
Wolfe also described conversations with fellow travelers: “The woman charging next to us describes a harrowing recent trip in her Volkswagen ID.4. Deborah Carrico, 65, had to be towed twice while driving between her Louisville, Ky., apartment and Boulder, Colo., where her daughter was getting married.” She noted that the woman had described feeling unsafe while charging at night, and that her family had urged her to trade in her electric car in favor of an old-fashioned gas model.
The following week, I fill up my Jetta at a local Shell station. Gas is up to $4.08 a gallon.
I inhale deeply. Fumes never smelled so sweet.
Democrats are pushing drivers to abandon their gas vehicles despite the lag in available infrastructure, and the increased demand that charging will place on already-fragile electrical grids. In 2020, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) banned gas-powered vehicle sales in the state by 3025.
Though many drivers are considering the switch to EVs, given high gas prices, the limited range on many vehicles, the variable performance of electric vehicles in bad weather, and the scarcity of charging stations has many opting for hybrid models, or traditional internal combustion engines.