WHERE’S THE CLAMOR?
Remember about 10 years ago when there was an almost daily clamor about the danger of SUVs? “Experts” were bellyaching about how the extra weight of those vehicles was causing 1) damage to the roads, 2) wear and tear on tires, 3) longer stopping distances, and 4) physical danger to the occupants of lighter vehicles. SUVs were “killing people and breaking things.”
The November 2013 issue of “The Journalist’s Resource” reported that heavier vehicles “pose a greater threat to those (people) in other vehicles.” They also reported that they are more likely to cause fatalities.
Well, where’s the clamor about EVs? They pose the same issues but receive NONE of the bad press.
According to “Consumer Reports” the average stopping distance (60-0) for small gas cars is 130 feet. Full size pickups take an extra 10 feet. EVs take 138 feet due to the weight of those vehicles. That weight and the extra stopping distance means these vehicles are far less safe for their occupants and those they crash into. Where are the safety agencies, like NTSB, for instance? Where are the reporters? Where’s the government oversight? Why is no one demanding LIGHTER e-vehicles?
The other day I was reading an article about pedestrian safety, and another about bicycle safety…and it hit me like an EV…I have NOT seen one story about the risks to others due to the weight of these monsters. So, I went looking…
Axios (never heard of them before) reported in April, 2023 that the risk of fatality increases by 47% for every additional 1,000 pounds of vehicle weight. “Since we’re seeing pedestrian and roadway fatalities at record levels, the introduction of more weight into crashes via EVs will complicate any attempts to reduce the ongoing fatality crisis that has showed no signs of abating,” Center for Auto Safety acting executive director Michael Brooks told them.
A report from England said adding 1,000 pounds to a vehicle more than doubles the road damage caused. The problem is that road damage, especially in northern states, means lots of potholes. I’ve had my fill of those having lived in Michigan (and one of the reasons for leaving). In the southern states, the heat makes the pavement “slip” when heavy vehicles stop…leaving long grooves. Increasing the need for repaving seems to be a very energy-heavy problem caused by EVs.
I did not suspect the following because I’ve never paid much attention to tires. Personally I just want 3 things from a tire: Miles, Stopping Power, and Safety on Snow and Ice. Apparently EVs require specially rated tires to handle the extra weight. Tires are rated according to the stress they are required to handle. Often that involves vehicle weight (and for taller vehicles, stability). Dealing with increased weight reduces usable life of the tire. Thus, EV owners are encouraged to change tires more frequently and at higher costs. Only once in my life was I eager to pay more for tires…I wanted more traction on snow and ice and was willing to pay.
Parking structures and bridges were not designed to handle the extra weight. We have a local example of a bridge that collapsed when technology changed. The steel structure bridge over the Kentucky river at Boone Tunnel was built with stagecoaches and buckboards in mind. In 1953 (according to one article) a food delivery truck was crossing it when one span collapsed. The driver survived with a broken back. How many of our bridges were built with EVs in mind? The highway that connects Florida to the Keys has 20 original bridges built between 1905 and 1912. Imagine the horror if one of the crossings over sea water collapsed due to excess weight. A normal car will sink in 1-3 minutes. However, the heavier the vehicle the faster it usually sinks. If you are in an EV, plan for less time afloat. For all the “talk” and billions spent for “infrastructure” in the last 15 years, very few old bridges have been upgraded.
Finally, there are serious questions about how much extra electricity will be available to charge the increase in e-vehicles. California ALREADY does not have enough capacity and won’t in the foreseeable future either. Meanwhile, hydroelectric dams are being decertified in many parts of the country. Coal fired and wood-fired energy plants are being dismantled at a rapid rate. Even many natural gas plants are finding it difficult to receive re-certification. That means that our REAL (that is, our constant) ability to produce electricity is being dimmed while the sales of e-vehicles is on the increase. This is not the time to change from gas water heaters and gas furnaces to electric. It is not unreasonable to think that there will be more frequent brown-and-black outs in the next few years.
So, this issue is FAR from being simple. It is not just the higher purchase price (According to Kelly Blue Book, last year the average EV cost $65,291 while the average gas car was $48,094), the increased insurance premiums, being doomed to keep travels short-range, or the aggravation of trying to find WORKING available charging stations. It is not just the risk of uncontrollable fires, cars that won’t even unlock their doors when out of juice, or the uncertainty of added state fees for ownership. It is not just the cost of updating your home electric panel to handle a charging system (which ought to be OUTSIDE…I’m just waiting for police to investigate a complaint of a neighbor charging THEIR e-car while someone is at work). I have come to a growing realization that I MUST WAIT until some of these issues are resolved before jumping in front of this fast-moving train.
Where is the clamor? EVs are “killing people and breaking things.”
Surely, we have not been beaten down to the point where we say, “Just do what you want to me.” Are there not thousands of journalists who have been sitting on these stories because they don’t want to make waves. There have to be. Otherwise, the news would be FULL of stories of dissatisfaction and regret. One would have to be a fool to sign up for this pain, if one only knew!!!
I think, looking back in 10 years, we will laugh ruefully on the day we were prodded into surrendering our lives and our money for a broken solution to someone’s political agenda.
Copyright 2023 Donald Whelpley
[PLEASE NOTE that Don is always open to discussing the thoughts and opinions he shares here and welcomes comments as shared in the comment section. He doesn’t use other social media platforms, as I do, and won’t see whatever you’d like to share with him elsewhere. ~ Sherry]
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