Wednesday, May 03, 2023

Are Electric Cars the Answer?

Are Electric Cars the Answer?
Nicholas Johnson
The Gazette, May 3, 2023, p. A6

Can Americans’ electric cars slow climate change?

In 1971 the comics’ Pogo ecologically observed, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” We have now witnessed more and stronger tornadoes and hurricanes, droughts and floods, heat waves and wildfires.

Since 1990 the annual official warnings have intensified. UN Secretary Guterres now advocates “climate action on all fronts: everything, everywhere, all at once.”

However impressive our politicians’ rhetoric and professed goals, neither will save us. Consider President Biden’s electric cars plan. He wants 67 percent of America’s newly manufactured cars to be electric by 2032.

But what does “electric” mean when 80 percent of U.S. electricity is generated from fossil fuels? (Iowa only 40 percent.)

Among the proposal’s other numerous challenges are four: consumers, chargers, cobalt and China.

Consumers. Cars on dealers’ lots are not cars in driveways. Recently 70 percent of car sales were used cars. The average age of drivable cars is 13 years. So we’re talking the occasional purchase of one third of car sales.

Used EV cars? An EV car’s “range” is the miles it can go from a 100 percent charge. But the recommended charge is between 20 and 80 percent – 60 percent of its “range.” Excessive heat or cold, fast chargers, driving speed, age and miles, reduce it further. Why buy a used battery, whether in a car or flashlight?

Chargers. Unless the EV owner lives in a house or apartment with a personal, assigned charging station, that EV is just street decoration. Gas tanks fill in five minutes. Charging takes 30 minutes to hours. Is the hunt and wait time worth it? On the road, PBS found numerous broken chargers; electricity priced four times what homeowners pay. Will they remain unregulated? [Photo credit: Wikimedia commons; EV owner's questions: Is there any charger within your remaining "range" in this sparcely populated countryside? Once there, is it turned on? Is it broken? Does the nozzel fit your car? Will it accept your credit card? How long will the charge take? How many times what homeowners pay for electricity are you being charged? If it won't work for you, do you have enough "range" left to reach the next charging station?]

[Credit: Toons, "The Electric Car," May 26, 2023,]

Cobalt. You can’t buy 1000-2000-pound lithium EV batteries, or their components, in most U.S. cities. Gathering lithium, cobalt, and other minerals is not like pumping oil or mining coal. For example, the Congo gathers 70 percent of the world’s cobalt with the hands of children and forced labor.

China. China has a 10-year head start on EVs, producing two-thirds of global EV cars and 75 percent of EV batteries. It controls half the world’s components, refining and processing capacity. The U.S. has 10 percent of EV production and 7 percent of battery production, with shortages of necessary minerals. The U.S. can’t be world EV car champion. Cooperation with China would benefit both countries.

There are alternatives.

Seatbelts weren’t popular with manufacturers or customers. The government’s response? Requiring them on all government vehicles. Soon all cars followed.

Much CO2 comes from fleets, postal and other delivery vehicles, city and school buses. Replacing them with EVs and individual charging stations should be project one.

Some EVs have burst into flames, especially e-bikes. But peddling one, or walking; working from home; housing closer to workplaces are among other alternatives.

EV cars? OK. Just don’t put America’s biggest bet on them.

Nicholas Johnson drove a dealer’s EV car. Loved it as a toy; it was not practical (for him) as a car.

Climate change. Gregory Johnson, “Eco News 2023,” Resources for Life, April 22, 2023,

Fiona Harvey, “Scientists deliver ‘final warning’ on climate crisis: act now or it’s too late; IPCC report says only swift and drastic action can avert irrevocable damage to world,” The Guardian, March 20, 2023, (The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), made up of the world’s leading climate scientists, set out the final part of its mammoth sixth assessment report on Monday . . . boiled down to one message: act now, or it will be too late. The UN secretary general, António Guterres, said: “This report is a clarion call to massively fast-track climate efforts by every country and every sector and on every timeframe. Our world needs climate action on all fronts: everything, everywhere, all at once. . . . we have failed to reverse the 200-year trend of rising greenhouse gas emissions, despite more than 30 years of warnings from the IPCC, which published its first report in 1990 . . . impacts, such as the loss of agriculture, rising sea levels, and the devastation of the natural world”)

“How Do We Know Climate Change Is Real?” Global Climate Change, NASA,

“The Causes of Climate Change,” Global Climate Change, NASA,

“Climate Change 2023: Synthesis Report,” UN Environment Programme, March 20, 2023,

“Environment Under Review; We empower governments and other stakeholders in evidence-based decision-making,” UN Environment Programme,

Pogo – enemy is us. “File: Pogo - Earth Day 1971 poster.jpg,” (“We have met the enemy and he is us.”)

Effects of climate change. “The Effects of Climate Change,” Global Climate Change, NASA, (“Midwest. Extreme heat, heavy downpours, and flooding will affect infrastructure, health, agriculture, forestry, transportation, air and water quality, and more.)

Warnings since 1990. Fiona Harvey, “Scientists deliver ‘final warning’ on climate crisis: act now or it’s too late; IPCC report says only swift and drastic action can avert irrevocable damage to world,” The Guardian, March 20, 2023, (“we have failed to reverse the 200-year trend of rising greenhouse gas emissions, despite more than 30 years of warnings from the IPCC, which published its first report in 1990 . . .”)

Guterres. Ibid. (“The UN secretary general, António Guterres, said: “This report is a clarion call to massively fast-track climate efforts by every country and every sector and on every timeframe. Our world needs climate action on all fronts: everything, everywhere, all at once. . . . “)

Biden Plan. Ana Faguy, “Planned EPA Rules Could Make 67% Of New U.S. Cars Electric By 2032,” Forbes, April 12, 2023, (“The Environmental Protection Agency announced two proposed rules Wednesday designed to ensure that 67% of new passenger cars and 25% of heavy trucks sold in the U.S. are all-electric by 2032, in the latest push from the Biden Administration to reduce planet-warming emissions by pivoting to electric vehicles.”)

See also, “FACT SHEET: President Biden Announces Steps to Drive American Leadership Forward on Clean Cars and Trucks,” The White House, Aug. 5, 2021, Although approaching two years old, this statement provides additional wording and clues with regard to what vehicles are included – Cars only? Cars and “light trucks”? Cars, light trucks, and medium to heavy trucks?

Whatever is ultimately included as the President’s plan unfolds from proposals to legislation and action, this column is focused on “cars,” as that is of greatest relevance to most of the news stories and data – and readers of The Gazette.

Electricity from fossil fuels. “Renewable Energy,” Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, Department of Energy, (“Renewable Energy [in the US] generates about 20% of all U.S. electricity.”)

“Renewable and Nonrenewable Energy Sources,” World Energy Use, Texas Gateway, (“About 85 percent of our energy comes from nonrenewable fossil fuels—oil, natural gas, coal.”)

Steve Cohen, “Fossil Fuels, Renewable Energy, and Electric Vehicles,” State of the Planet, Columbia University Climate School, Feb. 21, 2022,

“Emissions of Carbon Dioxide in the Transportation Sector,” Congressional Budget Office, Dec. 22, 2022, [credits at end of document] (“Increases in CAFE and greenhouse gas emissions standards and changes in incentives for purchasing electric vehicles take time to improve the average fuel economy of vehicles on the road because the stock of vehicles is replaced slowly. The average age of passenger vehicles driven in the United States is 12 years, so even several years after a new standard is adopted or electric vehicle sales are boosted, most vehicles on the road will still be older models that produce more emissions.”) See heading, “Average age of cars 13.1 years,” below.

Iowa’s electricity from wind. “Iowa State Profile and Energy Estimates,” Independent Statistics and Analysis, U.S. Energy Information Administration, July 21, 2022, (60% Iowa’s electricity comes from wind. “In 2021, nearly three-fifths of Iowa's total electricity net generation came from renewable resources, almost all of it from wind.24”)

Used Cars 70%. Ben Ellencweig, Sam Ezratty, Dan Fleming, and Itai Miller, “Used cars, new platforms: Accelerating sales in a digitally disrupted market,” McKinsey, June 6, 2019, (39.4/56.7=0.694 “McKinsey’s auto retail micro-market model (ARM3) for used-car demand in the United States estimates that Americans buy 39.4 million used cars each year, versus 17.3 million new ones (2018), and that used-vehicle sales will increase faster than new-vehicle sales over the next five years.”)

Average age of cars 13.1 years. Nishant Parekh and Todd Campau, “Average Age of Vehicles in the US Increases to 12.2 years, according to S&P Global Mobility,” S&P Global, May 23, 2022, ([Chart indicates average age for “light vehicles” is 12.2 years; but the average for “cars” is 13.1 years] “The average age of light vehicles in the US reached an all-time high in 2022 as the vehicle fleet climbed to 283M passenger cars and light trucks. The average age of light vehicles in operation (VIO) in the US rose to 12.2 years this year, increasing by nearly two months over the prior year, according to new research from S&P Global Mobility (formerly the automotive team at IHS Markit). This is the fifth straight year the average vehicle age in the US has risen. This year's average age marks another all-time high for the average age even as the vehicle fleet recovered, growing by 3.5 million units in the past year.”)

Used, New, Age, Total vehicles. Ashlee Tilford, “Car Ownership Statistics 2023,” Forbes Advisor, March 7, 2023, (“There were a total of 278,063,737 personal and commercial vehicles registered to drivers in the U.S. in 2021. [1] . . . Sales of electric vehicles (EVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles accounted for 12.3% of all new vehicles sold in 2022, up 2.7 percentage points from 2021, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association. . . . In 2022, the average sales price for a new car was $45,646, and the average sales price for a used car was $30,796.[7])

Source unknown; Google response to question: “What percentage of private vehicle sales each year are used vehicles and what percent are new vehicles?” “The findings mirror National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) data that says the average dealer achieves a roughly 0.75:1 used-to-new sales ratio. May 7, 2018” Source: Dale Pollak, “3 Pillars Of A Stellar Used-to-New Vehicle Sales Ratio,” Like I See It, May 7, 2018,

Car Value. “Why Does a New Car Lose Value After It's Driven off the Lot?” Cars Direct, March 11, 2020, (“A new car depreciates or loses value almost immediately after you drive it off a dealer's lot. As a quick rule of thumb, a car will lose between 15% and 20% of its value each year according to”)

EV cars’ “range.” Jordan Fromholz, “Do Electric Cars Lose Range Over Time? Here is the Data,” Plugin Report, c. 2017,

Charging. Credit: These opening sources and commentary were provided by Sherman Johnson: (“Here's a PBS video from the most recent [April 26, 2023] NewsHour. It turns out the EV experience can sometimes be lacking: "Demand for electric vehicles growing, but can charging network keep up?" According to PBS, attempting to drive in certain areas in an EV can be frustrating, time consuming, and/or expensive. In their experience, many chargers do not work, and even when they do they are expensive. The rate at one charger they showed was *$0.48* per kWh! That's about 4x the average cost of residential electricity. FOUR (4) times! 33.7kWh has the same amount of energy (BTUs) as one gallon of gas. $0.48/kWh x 33.7kWh = ~*$16.20* -- for the energy equivalent of one (1) gallon of gasoline! So even if the EV gets over 100 MPGe, it will still cost more per mile to operate than a typical ICE vehicle!

The national average price of gas is about $3.65/gallon. $16.20 / $3.65 = over 4.4 gallons of gas that could be purchased for $16.20. So an ICE car that gets over ~25 mpg will cost LESS per mile (for fuel) than an EV that gets ~100 MPGe (when paying 48 cents per kWh). That means that unless a person can charge at home, an EV may not be the best choice. The owner may have to pay exorbitant rates for electricity; they have to hope there is a charger available -- and that it works; they must wait for their car to charge -- anywhere from 1/2 hour to an hour or more. Oh, and don't forget the fat fines for leaving the EV at the charger after it's done charging. Those are some of the potential downsides of EVs. The other side of the argument might be that there is plenty of competition; that the chargers (especially the highest power ones) are very expensive, as is the installation (concrete pads; trenching for underground cables; upgrading the utility service; new transformers, etc.) and permits, etc. Obviously, the cost per kWh will be somewhat higher at commercial chargers than residential rates -- the question is, how much is reasonable? If there truly is adequate competition, then perhaps $0.48 to $0.58 (and more) per kWh is the amount they must charge to make a reasonable profit -- but I doubt it. I can understand that the companies installing chargers need a reasonable ROI, but -- without knowing all of the costs involved -- ~$0.50 per kWh seems very high. Also, once the initial costs are recouped, they should be able to lower the cost per kWh, because ongoing maintenance costs will be relatively low. To be fair, EVs do make a lot of sense for a large segment of drivers. Primarily those that can charge at home (or at work), and do not discharge the battery beyond the amount they can recharge it (usually overnight at home -- 100 to 200 miles in 10 hours with a Level 2 residential charger). In that case, an EV: * Saves money (much lower cost per mile for “fuel”. * Saves time -- no gas tank to fill; no oil changes; tune-ups, etc. * Is always "full" when leaving home. * Helps reduce the owner's carbon footprint (reduction varies according to type of EV and source of electricity). * Is fun to drive. Even some moderately priced EVs are quick: Good, concise charger info: Level 1; Level 2; DC Fast Charging, etc., Here's a good related article: )

And see, “Chasing Carbon Zero,” NOVA, PBS, April 26, 2023, 2:45-5:47, 43:44-48:40.

For a little balance, see Christian Agatie, "This 2018 Tesla Model 3 Passed the 300,000-Mile Mark, Here's What You Need To Know," Auto Evolution, July 26, 2022, ("The guy works as a courier and drives more than 300 miles every night, Monday to Friday. This also explains the high mileage after only four years on the road. As you’ve guessed by now, he drives 90% of the time at highway speed, which is not very taxing on the drivetrain. Nevertheless, he often needs to charge at Superchargers, which is known to take a toll on the battery. But even so, 310,000 miles and still 80% of the battery left is impressive. Most people would not drive that much in a decade.")

Lithium battery weight. “Electric car battery weight explained,” EV Driver, EVBOX, Feb. 17, 2023, (“On average, however, EV batteries weigh around 454 kg (1,000 pounds), although some can weigh as much as 900 kg (2,000 pounds).”)

Cobalt. David Iaconangelo, “U.S. strikes at China with EV battery deal,” EnergyWire, E&E News, Jan. 20, 2023, (“The deal also raises questions about how new U.S. influence in the region might affect alleged labor abuses in the Congolese cobalt sector, which provides 70 percent of the world’s supply. Last year, the Labor Department added lithium-ion batteries to its list of goods made with child labor or forced labor due to reports of abuses in the country’s cobalt mines (Energywire, Oct. 5, 2022).”)

See, in “China EV Sales,” below, Hannah Northey, “Biden’s EV Bet is a Gamble on Critical Minerals,” E&E News Greenwire, April 18, 2023,

“Critical Minerals in Electric Vehicle Batteries,” Congressional Research Service, Aug. 29, 2022, (“More than 16 million total EVs have been sold worldwide, with about 6.6 million EVs sold in 2021. The U.S. EV market is small when compared to those in China and Europe: new U.S. EV registrations were slightly less than 10% of new global EV registrations in 2021, while registrations in China were 50% of the global total and European registrations were 35%. . . . These EV battery chemistries depend on five critical minerals whose domestic supply is potentially at risk for disruption: lithium, cobalt, manganese, nickel, and graphite. The U.S. Geological Survey designated these and other minerals as “critical,” according to the methodology codified in the Energy Act of 2020. The United States is heavily dependent on imports for these minerals for use in EV batteries and other applications.”)

"Salton Sea lithium deposits could help EV transition, support economically devastated area" (From below the video: Jan 24, 2023 "The demand for electric vehicles is surging in the U.S., sparked in part by the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act and the subsidies it offers. But a looming supply shortage of lithium threatens to stall the EV transition. Stephanie Sy traveled to California's Salton Sea where lithium deposits could help meet the country’s energy needs and support an economically devastated region. Correction: This segment stated that the Salton Sea area alone could produce nearly six times the lithium currently produced globally. This was a miscalculation. The region could produce an amount of lithium roughly equal to existing annual global output, not six times the amount.")

China EV sales. May Zhou, “China Drives Up Global EV Sales to New Record,” China Daily, Jan. 17, 2023, (“China accounted for around two-thirds of global sales of full EVs last year.”)

David Iaconangelo, “U.S. strikes at China with EV battery deal,” EnergyWire, E&E News, Jan. 20, 2023, (“Congo and Zambia are major global sources of cobalt and copper, key ingredients in lithium-ion batteries. Once extracted, those minerals are often exported to China, where they are subsequently processed and incorporated into batteries. China made about 75 percent of the world’s lithium-ion batteries in 2021, compared with 7 percent for the U.S., according to the International Energy Agency. . . . The deal also raises questions about how new U.S. influence in the region might affect alleged labor abuses in the Congolese cobalt sector, which provides 70 percent of the world’s supply. Last year, the Labor Department added lithium-ion batteries to its list of goods made with child labor or forced labor due to reports of abuses in the country’s cobalt mines (Energywire, Oct. 5, 2022).”)

[2 pages] Hannah Northey, “Biden’s EV Bet is a Gamble on Critical Minerals,” E&E News Greenwire, April 18, 2023, (“EPA in its proposed tailpipe rules released last week, which would aggressively limit emissions from cars, SUVs and trucks on U.S. roads by 2032, includes key assertions about the future of the EV industry. Among those: The price of lithium needed to make batteries will “likely stabilize” at or near historic levels by the mid-2020s . . .. “No one … has any idea whether that’s correct or not,” said Morgan Bazilian, public policy professor at the Colorado School of Mines. Right now, critical minerals like lithium, cobalt and nickel needed to make EV batteries are largely mined and processed abroad — an industry dominated by China. . . . Andrew Miller, chief operating officer at U.K. mining data firm Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, said he doesn’t expect the U.S. to be able to produce the amount of lithium it needs over the coming decades. Miller also said he expects the “incredibly volatile” pricing around lithium and other minerals seen in recent weeks and months to continue, throwing into question the United States’ ability to secure enough material in an increasingly competitive global landscape. . . . The nation’s ability to deploy EVs at an aggressive clip will hinge, in part, on bringing down the price tag of EV batteries — which account for up to 40 percent of the car’s cost — and securing supplies of critical minerals and metals needed to manufacture them. As it stands, today’s battery and mineral supply chains revolve around China, and the International Energy Agency has said that supply chains will need to expand tenfold to meet the world’s ambitions for EV adoption. China pumps out three-quarters of all lithium-ion batteries, and over half of lithium, cobalt and graphite processing and refining capacity is located there, according to IEA. The U.S., in comparison, has a much smaller role, with only 10 percent of EV production and 7 percent of battery production capacity. . . . Miller said it’s “incredibly optimistic” to look at the lithium in the ground across the United States and expect the nation can rely on projects coming into production. “This isn’t something that happens quickly,” he said. He predicted many projects wouldn’t reach “their full potential or even … some type of production” until the 2030s. . . . “You’re constrained by the fact that there’s fundamentally not enough material to recycle to meet your ambitions,” he said. “You’re going to need new mines, you’re going to need recycling, we’re going to need technology to play a role.” . . . Specifically, a car becomes eligible for half of the Inflation Reduction Act’s $7,500 tax credit if at least 40 percent of the critical minerals in an EV battery are extracted or processed in the United States or in a country that has a free-trade agreement with the United States, or are recycled in North America. To receive the other half of the credit, 50 percent of EV battery components must be manufactured or assembled in North America. Eligible cars cannot contain battery components from “foreign entities of concern” starting in January, a rule that kicks in for minerals the following year. . . . Timothy Johnson, a professor of energy and environment at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment, said the targets for developing supply chains under both the Inflation Reduction Act and the tailpipe rule are “aspirational” given where the United States is right now. While the minerals exist in the U.S. and its allies, Johnson said the bigger question is whether people will accept what’s poised to be a mining boom in the name of climate change as nations across the globe search for minerals like lithium, manganese, copper and graphite needed for not just EVs, but also electrifying buildings, boosting renewables and energy storage. “It would take the equivalent of, I think, the industrial ramp-up you saw in the run up to World War II, that’s the level of industrial transformation that needs to take place,” said Johnson. “So physically, could we do it? Yeah, if we decided, but I think the big question here is would it be socially acceptable.”)

Hiroko Tabuchi and Brad Plumer, “How Green Are Electric Vehicles? In short: Very green. But plug-in cars still have environmental effects. Here’s a guide to the main issues and how they might be addressed,” New York Times, Nov. 9, 2021, (“the lithium-ion cells that power most electric vehicles rely on raw materials — like cobalt, lithium and rare earth elements — that have been linked to grave environmental and human rights concerns. . . . “)

“Can Geothermal Energy Solve the Lithium Shortfall?” Geothermal Technologies Office, Department of Energy, Oct. 18, 2021, (“Hot salty water, or geothermal brine, is pumped to the surface and converted to a gas that turns a turbine to generate electricity from heat within the Earth. In addition to electricity production, these geothermal brines can yield lithium, brought up in the brine solution from thousands of feet underground.”)

EV Fires. Becky Sullivan, “What's driving the battery fires with e-bikes and scooters?” Technology, NPR, March 11, 2023, (“Last week's blaze joined the more than 200 fires in New York City last year caused by batteries from e-bikes, electric scooters and similar devices. Lithium-ion battery explosions are now the third leading cause of fires in the city, the fire department says. . . . They're small, lightweight and powerful — but they're also prone to overheating and catching fire, said Michael Pecht, a professor of engineering at the University of Maryland. "Ever since lithium-ion batteries started to be prevalent in products, we've seen fires," he said. . . . "They can provide a lot of power to our cell phones and to our computers for a relatively long period of time in a very small volume," he said. "But because we have so much energy packed in that small volume, if there is a problem, then they're very flammable." . . . Chevy, Hyundai and Chrysler have all been forced to issue recalls over battery fires in electric vehicles. The Federal Aviation Administration reported more than 60 incidents last year in which lithium-ion batteries . . . overheated, began smoking or caught fire on airplanes.”)

Ask Bing: “How serious is the problem of lithium ion batteries bursting into flame?”

“These lithium-ion batteries can’t catch fire because they harden on impact,” 2018 Technology Innovation Program: Safe Impact Resistant Electrolytes (SAFIRE), Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Sept. 5, 2018, (“Lithium-ion batteries commonly used in consumer electronics are notorious for bursting into flame when damaged or improperly packaged. These incidents occasionally have grave consequences, including burns, house fires and at least one plane crash. Inspired by the weird behavior of some liquids that solidify on impact, researchers have developed a practical and inexpensive way to help prevent these fires. They presented their results in August at the 256th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS). “’In a lithium-ion battery, a thin piece of plastic separates the two electrodes,’ said Gabriel Veith of the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the project’s principal investigator. ‘If the battery is damaged and the plastic layer fails, the electrodes can come into contact and cause the battery's liquid electrolyte to catch fire.’”)

Larry Greenemeier, “Could Chevy Volt Lithium-Ion Battery Fires Burn Out Interest in EVs and Hybrids?” Scientific American, Nov 29, 2011, (“Lithium-ion battery fires are nothing new, but until now they have been more a problem for makers of cell phones, MP3 players and laptops than car companies. As Scientific American reported in August 2010, the usual cause of lithium-ion battery fires has been "thermal runaway," a chemical reaction that could start from excessive overheating, then potentially cause a cell to catch fire or explode.”)

Go to

Andres Picon, “Why 6 flooded EVs burst into flames after Hurricane Ian,” Climate Wire, E&E News (“essential energy and environment”), Oct 21, 2022, (“In the days after Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida, firefighters near Naples put out six blazes in electric vehicles that had been submerged in seawater. It was a first. The North Collier Fire Control & Rescue District had never before dealt with an EV fire. The hurricane’s storm surge flooded thousands of vehicles with salt water, and the surprising fires added a challenge to a fire department that was already overwhelmed by search and rescue operations in the wake of the deadly storm. The fires also put a political target on electric vehicles. . . . Pol, the Purdue engineering professor, said he would be hesitant to purchase an electric vehicle. “I am aware of how much energy [an EV’s lithium-ion battery] can store,” he said, “and that could go wrong one way or another.”)

See generally, “Are Electric Cars Worse For The Environment? Myth Busted,” Engineering Explained, YouTube, c. 2019, 13:46, and for more

“The EPA Wants Millions More EVs On The Road. Should You Buy One?” Consider This, NPR, April 14, 2023, 15:00, (issues discussed: Range, Charging stations, 67% EV sales necessary, 7% sales now, $58K average, Could lose factory jobs (easier to assemble), Need more mass market, Will be more and cheaper, Not used EVs, Don’t have a charger nearby, Tax credits 50% components 40% only if minerals or recycled in US)

E-bike fires have been a special concern to Kate Johnson, who lives in New York City. Here are some sample stories:

"2 youths were killed in the latest fire blamed on an e-bike in New York City," AP and NPR, April 11, 2023, ("An electric bicycle powered by a lithium ion battery is being blamed for a fatal fire on Monday in New York City that killed two youths, marking the latest in a string of e-bike-related fires in the city. . . . With Monday's fire, there have been five fire-related deaths this year in New York City where officials have said the cause of the blaze was an e-bike, out of 59 total e-bike-related fires this year.")

Winnie Hu and Joshua Needelman, "Two Young People Killed in E-Bike Fire in Queens; The bike’s battery was being charged near the front door of the apartment building when the blaze ignited and quickly spread," New York Times, April 10, 2023,

Peter Charalambous, "Amid a rise in fires and deaths, New York City enacts new e-bike rules; At least 19 people died nationwide in 2022 due to these devices," ABC News, March 20, 2023,

Scott Patterson, "E-Bike Battery Fires Are Soaring, Especially in New York; Many of the fires start when people charge bikes overnight, allowing them to overheat," The Wall Street Journal, March 6, 2023,

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Greg Johnson said...

It's nice to see the benefits and challenges listed in a single article. One usually finds people who are 100% in favor or 100% against EVs. The reality, as you point out, is a bit more complicated. The focus on fleets seems like a practical approach with the greatest potential benefit.

Brian said...

EVs are only one component of Biden's plan. The bigger impact will be the move to hydrogen based energy so we're not burning fossil fuels to power the grid (used to charge EVs).