Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Tech Tuesday: Seven Stories from This Week's EV News

Photo courtesy J Dean via Unsplash
My comments in italics

Tesla is recalling almost all of its electric vehicles in the U.S. for a software fix as it faces heightened scrutiny from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). 

When you read the details regarding this recall, it seems the recall involves something incredibly petty, though it will require Tesla to notify every car owner and schedule time to make the adjustment for each car. Is the government trying to disincentivize Elon Musk from selling cars to Americans? Did Ford or GM put a bug in the ear of the NHTSA? 

EVs Are Too Heavy to Be Stopped by Guardrails 
Results from crash testing in the US have raised concerns that electric vehicles may be too heavy to be stopped safely by guardrails on roads.

EVs must be heavier than we realized.... or guardrails flimsier. Is replacing guardrails part of the infrastructure plan?

Building EVs Impacts the Environment, Too
"As the world embraces electric vehicles as a solution to carbon dioxide emissions, there is too little discussion of the environmental harm associated with the metals needed to build them, says one of Japan's foremost researchers in the field."

This story from Tokyo draws attention to another side of the EV coin. In theory they are better for climate impact considerations, but there are other problems that the mining of rare metals exacerbates.

GM Went All In on EVs. Dealers Say Buyers Want Hybrids.
Some auto retailers worry GM is missing an opportunity to nab buyers who aren’t ready for EVs

This is what happens when there is a government-generated mismatch between supply and demand. Will GM need another bailout in a few years? 

More automakers are being forced to rethink their EV plans

EVs have been the shiny new toy in the auto industry, albeit an expensive toy, but the demand has not yet been generated for a variety of reasons. One of the biggest is the hassle of re-charging the batteries.

77% of Americans have homes, but only two-thirds of these have a garage. Finding re-charging stations can become massively annoying, and even moreso when travelling. One recent study found that 40% of all charging stations in California were broken. (or maybe it was in L.A.)

Why Americans Don’t Want Electric Vehicles

Not long ago, pundits were telling us that gasoline-powered cars would soon vanish from the streets, replaced by sleek, space-age vessels powered by electricity. But consumer demand for electric cars never matched the hype.

Why? Again, charging stations are a hassle. And in cold weather, it takes even longer.

Keep Politics out of the EV Debate and Listen to the People

People in Connecticut want to know the details of a plan: where will we get the extra electricity to power the thousands of new EVs, how will the transmission line infrastructure be built, who will pay for it all (your electric bill is already too high), where will people charge them throughout the state, will there be enough operational charging stations where people live and work, and will EVs be affordable? 

This last was a letter to the editor of the CT Examiner. Many questions. I drive by our university paking lots and see a thousand cars, but only a half dozen charging stations, if any. At UMD Saturday I only saw one Golf utilizing a charger. Will we one day have a totally electric transportation fleet? Maybe, but probably not in my lifetime.

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