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Francesco Crisafulli of Santa Fe plugs his car into the Tesla Supercharger on Thursday. He said his electric fueling costs are far lower than gas; there are fewer parts to service in the battery-run cars; and about the only things he has to worry about replacing are tires, wiper blades and the air filter.

The dominance of gas-guzzling cars will gradually get zapped by growing demand for electric vehicles, many observers of the auto and energy industries say.

Automakers see it coming. So do some consumers. It’s a matter of time before electric vehicles — EVs in industry parlance — take over, although how much time isn’t clear.

A Public Service Company of New Mexico manager estimated that in his company’s service area, ownership of electric vehicles rose to about 3 percent this year, up from about 1 percent three years ago. There are close to 4,000 electric cars in PNM’s service range now, he said, and that should rise to 7,800 by the end of 2023.

Alaric Babej, PNM’s manager of customer programs, called it “a super-exciting time” to be involved in electric vehicles.

Babej cringed at predicting for the long term but said he wouldn’t be surprised if half of the new cars sold by the end of the decade are powered by electricity. He called electric cars “disruptive technology” that will infiltrate the country in a similar manner to air conditioning and cellphones.

Over the past couple of months, the state’s three investor-owned electric companies — PNM, El Paso Electric and Xcel Energy’s Southwestern Public Service — have filed plans with the state Public Regulation Commission to help increase adoption of electric cars. A state law passed in 2019 required them to file plans with the commission.

The plans can include outreach and education, low rates for customers who charge their cars at night so the system isn’t overburdened, rebates to businesses and organizations to install charging stations and other items.

PNM expects to spend $11.4 million for incentives, rebates, discounts for low-income customers, education and administrative costs over the next couple years. The costs will be recovered by a rider — a line-item addition to everyone’s bills — because all customers may benefit through incentives and educational material, Babej said.

EV drivers will pay for their additional electricity usage at the applicable billing rate, Babej said.

“We want to make this as accessible to as many New Mexicans as possible,” he added.

Realtor Francesco Crisafulli of Santa Fe already is a believer in the technology.

“I’ve owned three electric vehicles,” Crisafulli said.

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Francesco Crisafulli’s car at the Tesla Supercharger on Thursday.

He currently has a Tesla Model 3 sedan. He said his electric fueling costs are far lower than gas (equivalent to roughly 100 miles to the gallon); there are fewer parts to service in the battery-run cars; and about the only things he has to worry about replacing are tires, wiper blades and the air filter.

Tesla drivers can use with adaptive devices the charging stations that are available to other cars, and Tesla has its own network of charging stations, strictly for the brand.

“You could literally drive from here to Mexico City on the network,” he said. “Or Canada, for that matter.”

Online used car retailer Carvana advertises used Teslas for about $45,000 and well beyond that. Purchasing electric vehicles of all makes tends to cost somewhat more than buying their gas-driven counterparts.

Charging can be done through a home wall outlet, although that charges a car slowly. There are faster charging systems available for installation in the home and for businesses, and much faster charging places called DC Fast Charging Stations, where drivers can fully charge their cars while getting lunch.

“Range anxiety” is the term used for the fear of running out of electricity on the road. “In rural states like New Mexico, that’s a special challenge,” Babej said. “There are places in New Mexico that are very hard to reach with electric vehicles.”



Governments encourage the purchase of electric vehicles through tax credits and promote the construction of more charging stations through grants. President Joe Biden’s infrastructure initiative includes $7.5 billion for charging units and EV technology.

Cities are getting involved as well. Neal Denton, sustainability officer for the city of Santa Fe, said the city has received state grants (in one case through a nationwide settlement with Volkswagen) to increase electric cars in its fleet and to build more charging units for public use.

The city currently has a charging station at Genoveva Chavez Community Center and more are on their way, including at the airport, Southside Branch library, the Railyard area, the convention center and the Sandoval parking garage downtown.

Denton said the city intends to lead by example toward carbon neutrality and show the public how easy it will be to switch to a less polluting driving alternative.

“It’s really exciting seeing most major auto companies signal a transition to an all-electric future,” Denton said.

Michigan State University supply chain faculty member Jason Miller said he has no doubt electricity will drive the vehicles of the future.

“The automakers are making massive domestic investments to build batteries and assemble EVs,” Miller wrote in an email. “High gas prices will encourage consumers to switch towards EVs. The infrastructure package just signed into law contains substantial sums for charging stations, which to me is the most critical element that needs addressed for there to be wider spread EV adoption.”

Not everyone sees an electric vehicle takeover, at least not in the near future. Buddy Espinosa, general manager of Toyota of Santa Fe and Enchanted Mazda, said he sells Toyota hybrids. Toyota just announced it will release an all-electric car in mid-2022.

“We’re not on the list yet,” Espinosa said of the Toyota electric car. “I think it’s because of us being such a rural area.”

As Espinosa sees it, the conversion to an electric car society is “a long ways away.”

But Noah Barnes, a spokesman for California-based Plug In America, said battery technology is rapidly improving. The range of electric cars doubled between the Nissan Leaf and the Leaf Plus from 2017 to 2019, he said.

Statistics point to a dramatic uptick in the purchase of EVs. Veloz, a nonprofit promoting EVs, said 170,954 electric vehicles were sold in the U.S. in the third quarter of 2021, up from about 85,000 at the same time last year and 30,000 in the third quarter of 2015.

Barnes said there was an effort to sell electric vehicles in the late 1990s, but the phenomenon began to take off with the Tesla Roadster in 2008.

Even the nation’s best-selling pickup, the Ford F series, will start selling an all-electric F-150 next year. Ford says it’s “charging into the future” with the electric-run truck, called the Lightning.

Janie Chermak , chairwoman of the University of New Mexico economics department, said for a long time EVs were a niche and novelty market. But states and countries now demand that less carbon emission be spewed, Chermak noted, and manufacturers are “learning by the day” how to make the cars better and cheaper.

Public Regulation Commission Stephen Fischmann said he needs no more information. “Certainly my next car is going to be all electric,” he said.

Fischmann said some people have the notion that EVs are “itsy-bitsy, rinky-dink, lower power” vehicles, when in fact today’s accelerate and corner well. Depending on the car, ranges have increased to 200 to 400 miles, he said, and over their life, electric cars save their owners several thousand dollars.

And, he said, there is nothing rinky-dink about that.

(61) comments

Mike Johnson

Even in Kalifornia, not everyone is happy with the EVs they have......"Roughly 20 percent of electric vehicle owners in California replaced their cars with gas ones, a new UC Davis study shows.

The main reason drivers made the switch was the inconvenience of charging according to the study.

The study’s findings suggest new challenges facing the growth of the EV market."

https://www.autoweek.com/news/green-cars/a36329317/ev-owners-switch-back-to-gas/

Richard Irell

Without the ability to charge at home or at work, EVs are not a viable solution.

I would imagine that in the early days of the automobile, finding fuel was a challenge as well. It also took a while for ICE fuels to be standardized, so it should be no surprise that the EV charging infrastructure will take a while to develop.

Mike Johnson

I agree, the biggest issue for me today, of all the negatives I see, is the lack of any charging infrastructure near my home, the high cost and inconvenience of installing same at my home (it's hard to even get a plumber where I live), and the uncertainty of any charging infrastructure and the time and inconvenience of finding it all if you want to take a trip. That won't be solved in the next 5-8 years I am sure, and anything longer than that is just too far in the future for me to plan for at this stage of my life. But one thing for sure, the government, using tax payer money, didn't build gas stations so Henry Ford and others could sell their ICEs. That is the problem for me too.

Richard Irell

Electric cars are still in their infancy. But they have fewer bugs than the ICE vehicles in their infancy. To expect them to be perfect is absurd.

Mike Johnson

They also require much less maintenance than an ICE, and the physics of an electric motor provides almost 100% of torque on starting, unlike an ICE which needs to wind up in RPM to get to peak torque. They do have some advantages, just not enough to please me compared to the disadvantages.

John Cook

Saving the climate is a good reason for moving to EVs. Perhaps a less socially acceptable reason is the real reason EVs will take over the car market. Acceleration. Any ICE (internal combustion engine) gearhead will flip out when he can go 0 to 60 in a flat 3 seconds!

Richard Reinders

But it won't look as good as my 67 Tempest doing it.[beam]

John Cook

The 'big engine' Tempest, '67 took 10.0 seconds 0 to 60. But it did, indeed, look very good doing it. A great car. But the ordinary, family version of the Model S does 3.0. The Plaid Model S is under 2.0. And they look good doing it. None of which is to take anything away from the '67 Tempest! Or my '02 Thunderbird.

Mike Johnson

Much classier for sure, most of the EVs I have seen are butt ugly 4 door sedans. I have higher standards for my garage, and at least 2 cars that do 0-60 in well under 3 seconds.....and they look much better than any EV.

John Cook

You should go look at a Model S. And you assuredly do not have 2 ICE's that do 0-60 in under 3. There are only 2, total, that can do that and I doubt they are in your garage. Or, perhaps I wasn't clear: I meant 3 seconds; not minutes.

Mike Johnson

Sorry, the Tesla is the homliest of the group IMO, and I have a new 2021 Corvette HTC Z51 package and a 2019 Corvette ZR1 in my garage, and yes they are both cars that do 0-60 in well under 3 seconds......"In our testing, we recorded a zero-to-60-mph time of 2.8 seconds." https://www.caranddriver.com/chevrolet/corvette-2021

And the 2019 ZR1 Corvette: "2019 Corvette ZR1 Does 0-60 in 2.85 Seconds"

https://www.roadandtrack.com/new-cars/a19592831/2019-chevrolet-corvette-zr1-acceleration/

And both are much better looking than any Tesla, and cheaper than the Model S too. You really don't know much about performance cars do you? I also have a '63 Z06 Corvette tanker with a 4.56 rear end gear ratio that also does 0-60 in a bit less than 3 seconds, with the right tires..and it is also much better looking than any Tesla, or even VW...https://www.motortrend.com/vehicle-genres/1963-chevrolet-corvette-z06-rare-big-tank-profile/

Mike Johnson

Mr Cook, there are dozens of cars that can do 0-60 in less than 3 seconds, and most are ICE cars, where did you get only 2?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fastest_production_cars_by_acceleration

Matthew Rawlings

Who doesn't love a fast car? Everyone should at least once in their life hit 0-60 in less than 4.0 seconds and hit 130 on the road. Of course on a back road somewhere that is, where no one is around. It feels like flying! Proceed with caution.

Mike Johnson

Exactly Mr. Rawlings. I was fortunate enough to hit 203.6 mph at the Texas Mile in my ZR1, what a rush that was.......

Barbara Harrelson

The downside to electric cars, which no one seems to recognize, is that when they catch fire, as in a collision, it takes LOTS of water to put out the battery fire, about 3X the amount that a normal fire would need--and the fires keep erupting after they seem to be out. I hope that the innovators and manufacturers are working on solutions to this dilemma.

Robert Fields

They are indeed. VW uses segmented batteries in a larger metal battery box designed to contain battery insults as much as possible. There’s also automatic shutoffs built in that activate in a crash to keep the power all in the battery box. VW has some neat innovations (I’m sure others do too) that eliminate high voltage cables. The battery terminals go right into the inverters that feed the motors and are totally surrounded by metal casings. These things are all getting major engineering attention.

Richard Irell

Remember the Pinto!

Spencer Ralston

Oops, sorry - here’s the link: https://www.autobytel.com/electric-cars/car-buying-guides/10-top-electric-cars-under-30-000-131749/

Michelle Rudy

This appears to be old information.

Mike Johnson

Here's more up to date info:

https://insideevs.com/news/534027/electric-car-prices-us-20210918/

Spencer Ralston

Here’s an article listing 10 electric vehicles that cost under $30,000 (with some that’s before the $7500 credit, others after). According to C/NET, the average price of a new car in 2021 is $45,000, and according to Kelley Blue Book, the average price for ICE cars went up 5.4% this year while the cost of EVs went down 10.8%. When automobiles came on the market over 100 years ago, plenty of people kept their horses and buggies so rest assured ICE owners, you will be able to continue to drive and pollute for the rest of your lives.

Thom Wilson

......the 1st cellphone i bought - not a smart phone, just cellular - cost about $500. The 1st computer i bought - a Commodore 64 - was about $600 in 1984, and that's what...about $1800 today? My point is, economy of scale is active and technology improves exponentially. We'll all be driving electric cars in the future if not this year.

Steve Boyles

If you have always had a gas burner and you’re thinking about an electric car, we may be able to shed some light.

Tesla’s are beautiful cars, and with their great charging network, long-distance driving is just-about tackled. But they entry price is pretty high.

Lower cost EV’s are available, the Chevy Bolt, the Nissan Leaf, the BMW i3, all of which have different ranges and comfort.

There is a “sweet-spot” for lower-cost EV’s: If you have more than one driver in the house, if you have a garage or driveway, if you do a lot of miles around town—-getting an EV can save you money.

The tax incentives are like this: Uncle Sam will give you a $7500 tax credit (one-for-one dollars) for the purchase of most EV’s, this may go up next year.

But what really makes it worthwhile is the charger. A Lever-2 charger (240 Volt) on your garage wall, or in the driveway, makes all the difference. Electricity is fairly cheap-for $4.50 worth of power we drive 150 miles, that’s 3 cents per mile, no gas burner we know of can do that. 90% of our miles are “in-town”. Like LED bulbs, EV’s are simply more efficient and produce almost zero waste heat.

Yes, we still have a gas-burner for longer trips but we hardly use it.

There are tax incentives for the Level-2 charger as well, Uncle Sam will give you a 30% tax credit (again one-to-one dollars) up to $1,000 total credit (or a $3000 total cost). For example-suppose you like the “Charge-Point” wall charger, it costs around $1,000, and you get it installed for $500. You should see a tax credit of ~$500.

Every five days or so, we plug-in the car before bed, and it’s charged by morning. It could not be much easier. EV’s are quieter, faster and more efficient, it is by far our first choice in vehicles to drive locally. Every dollar you do not give the oil companies, is a dollar they cannot use for political campaign contributions to stay in power.

Robert Fields

So much every bit of this. And we have to switch to electrics, stop CO2 generation, and depower the fossil fuel industry.

There’s already some electrics available but every car company is working on bringing new cars to market. Some are really amazing. The next few years are going to be pretty amazing. Batteries can take charges much faster when you’re on the road and VW is giving three years of free charging with their cars too. With all electrics, if you install solar panels your “gas” can even be essentially free.

It’s actually pretty exciting stuff and very encouraging to see happening!

David Gunter

Another advantage—one we took up—is the incentive to go electric at home and install solar panels. We did it back in 2015 when the tax rebate (Federal and State combined) was 40%. Now that I drive a Chevy Bolt as my daily commuter my fuel is free.

Robert Fields

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

Philip Taccetta

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Charlotte Rowe

Bravo!

Pam Walker

Some of us are not all that excited. There will never be enough money in my little budget to purchase one. Living in the country also is another reason. My newest car right now is a 2002. It is what it is and hopefully they won't shove it on us to soon.

David Ford

Don't think anyone is shoving anything on anyone. It will be the free market that will be the driving force behind the increase in electric cars on the roads. Updated and improved technology, charging stations, range, and cost will make them more appealing and more prevalent. As that technology drives increased sales the cost of gas will increase simply due to the reduced demand. Again market forces. I have owned hybrids since 2005. My current one averages 58 mpg. Hooked on that(!), and will be following the technology and practicality of an electric car going forward as well.

Robert Fields

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Richard Reinders

Robert did you work in journalism where you got paid by the word?

Emily Koyama

Odd logic. "The cost of gas will increase simply due to the reduced demand". Economics 101 says the opposite. Reduced demand will lower gas prices.

Still, EVs are definitely going to eventually take over, but initially, it will be more affluent urban areas that lead that change. Poorer people living in rural areas will still drive used $5000.00 ICE cars, because they can't afford even the cheapest EVs.

The tax incentives will be no help to the 40% of US residents who pay no net taxes at all, so other ways will have to be found to bring down the price for them.

Mike Johnson

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup] Economics obviously not the strong suit here......But Buddy is the smart one of the group interviewed, he knows the realities of the car business.

John Cook

Economics 301 agrees with David Ford. With fixed production, refining and distribution costs, reduced quantities sold mean rising gas prices from reduced demand.

Mike Johnson

Mr. Cook, you really should read more about this: "The EIA, too, sees electric vehicle sales only nibbling away at gasoline as a fuel for cars and trucks, and fuel efficiency standards playing an equal or greater role in cutting U.S. demand for oil for transportation over the next decade. EIA's latest annual energy forecast reference case, which assumes no major political or technological changes, predicts 9% more oil will be consumed by the U.S. transportation sector in 2050 than in 2020, even as electric vehicle sales explode."

https://www.spglobal.com/marketintelligence/en/news-insights/latest-news-headlines/ev-impact-electric-vehicle-growth-to-sever-oil-from-key-market-66514990

Robert Fields

Mike, from your own link:

“Norway's Equinor ASA sees an aggressive drop-off in oil demand. Assuming current trends play out, Equinor predicts global demand for oil for transportation will drop 47% between 2018 and 2050 due to improvements in fuel efficiency and electric vehicles.”

Yes, there will be I.cE holdouts at least the way things are going now, but reducing transportation CO2 by almost 50% is major progress. That’s also globally and not in the US where transportation accounts for 30% of our emissions. It all buys us time and pushes temperature increases farther out. We are going to need all that time to beat global warming. It all helps.

You seem to be the king of can’t when it comes to averting climate catastrophe but for oil and gas you are all “drill baby, drill”. Your pro-oil bias is showing.

Mike Johnson

Also Mr. Cook, astute investors see gasoline prices behaving the same as whale oil prices did when cheaper and better substitutes emerged, supply and demand still rules in economics.....: "The innovation investor expects oil prices to decline just as in the early 1900s, when whale oil prices drastically lost value as other sources of fuel replaced it."

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/10/01/cathie-wood-compares-current-crude-market-to-whale-oil-predicts-it-will-meet-the-same-fate.html

Mike Johnson

Why Mr. Fields, I am honored to see you read my link fully. Having lived in Norway for many years, I know Equinor well, they are a majority Norwegian government owned entity and as you know Norway is fully in the tank for EVs, and promote them at every turn. I would prefer to trust a much more prestigious and non-partisan source, like EIA. However, economics is much like climate science, where there are differences of opinions on the severity and pace of global warming, there are legitimate differences about how fast EVs will penetrate the market, and what will happen to oil and gasoline prices as they do. I'm not so much pro-oil, as I have no financial interest in oil companies anymore, as I am pro-reality and trying not to mislead people with Pollyanna hallucinations about trendy, Hollywood items.

Robert Fields

Mike, you want to talk about economics? Climate change is already expensive and costing us hundreds of billions of dollars per year:

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/article/climate-change-costs-us-economy-billions-report

But not addressing climate change moving forward is going to get even more expensive and at some point the planet simply gets too hot to support populations anywhere close to what they are now. It’s uncharted territory likely to be marked with resource wars, refugees, and god knows what. That’s not considered in this NRDC report but it doesn’t take much sense to extrapolate to that. But just considering economics, global warming gets very expensive. It’s a good read if you don’t want to sleep well tonight. It’s from 2008 but forecasts an almost $2 trillion dollar annual cost to global warming in the USA by 2100.

https://www.nrdc.org/sites/default/files/cost.pdf

The sleight of hand you seem to be using is telling everyone what’s best for you like it’s best for them. It’s not. Your cynical and selfish economics don’t address the value of having a livable planet for humanity. The economics questions probably have very different weights to younger people who will have to deal with the consequences of these decisions.

So yeah, we get that it’s cheaper for you to keep killing the earth especially given that being retired you aren’t looking at many decades of consequences. But others are looking at that and the very young are looking at a very uncertain future under your vision.

Besides, if alternatives don’t make economic sense, why do solar installs pay for themselves in 10-15 years in electricity savings? Why are EVs so economical that Amazon just ordered 100,000 Rivian delivery vans and Hertz just ordered 100,000 Tesla Model 3 cars? It’s your economics that don’t make much sense. Not only are many able to afford these things, they save money too.

Mike Johnson

Mr. Fields, you seem to be quite the expert on EVs, so tell us about yours, what you chose, why you chose it, and how you like it.

Charlotte Rowe

Correct.

Richard Reinders

What about the maintenance of the roads we drive on, are they going to add a road tax to electricity or add $300.00 for example to annual vehicle registration. In NM we are under funded because of Indian gas sales. This issue should be delt with before we get to far down the road.

Mike Johnson

Right Richard, that is the one item no one talks about now, but you can bet when gasoline sales really start gong south, the politicians will come down hard on EVs, adding much more expense to owning one.

Robert Fields

Unfortunately the change and conversion is going to cause problems for many but there is help and will likely be much more. But expectations may also need to change. There is starting to be a used electric market and that will continue to grow.

What happens with electrics is the batteries lose capacity over charge cycles just the same as you have probably noticed with cell phones and tablets. You will be able to buy used electrics but range will likely be reduced over new. There are also some really cool 3 wheeled vehicles on the way and a number of smaller vehicles. Electric bikes are also coming on very strong.

Electrics are much less complicated than gas or diesels though there are some exotic metals/materials involved but prices should drop well below what gas cars cost now. There’s also much lower and less frequent maintenance required.

Electrics cost much less to fuel up and even less if you have solar panels installed. For now there is a bigger up front cost but significant savings the more you drive. There are also leases available.

It’s going to be a change and take some getting used to, but there will be assistance and manufacturers know they need to cover the range of affordability. And again, there will be/are used electrics that will cost less.

The thing is that this is really really important that we do this.

Mike Johnson

Well said Ms. Walker, the common person cannot afford an EV, even with the $12,500 giveaway the government is planning in the BBB bill to make you try, should it survive Manchin and Sinema. People also need to realize that an EV uses 90 KWH of electricity for a 300 mile charge too, the same as a 4 bedroom house uses daily on the grid. Think of millions more 4 bedroom houses on your grid. The grid is not ready for that either. Considering the high costs to purchase, along with all these other issues that need to be solved (take a look at what cobalt, lithium, etc. mining does to the environment for batteries too, that technology must change) it will be many decades before EVs even reach 40% of the cars on the road. And be prepared for environmental disruption too......https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-01735-z

Robert Fields

Mike, I know you know this since I’ve pointed it out to you before but you conveniently omit it yet again - many are installing solar generation on their homes. That provides energy sources sprinkled throughout neighborhoods and sources the energy locally so the energy grid isn’t burdened. That’s during the day when the energy grid taxed the heaviest but also when solar produces its electricity. Double benefit for folks installing solar on their homes.

Also, at night there is much less energy being used on the grid so there is much more headroom for charging. Additionally, level 2 chargers which would typically be used in the home are generally breakered at 40 or 50A. That’s the same as electric stoves and electric dryers - things already in lots of homes. Charge at night when grid demands are lowest and it’s no worse than doing a late night load of laundry. Gosh, I hope the power lines can take it.

EVs also currently have ranges over 200 miles. They don’t need to be charged every night and it ages the battery if you do. Most don’t charge their cars except once a week or at least every few days. That spreads the load out. You won’t have every EV in the country all getting plugged in at 6PM. It will be staggered. Plus you can set when your car charges.

And this won’t even be an issue at all for quite some time. There aren’t that many EVs out there yet anyway. There won’t be problems at all for years if there ever are.

It’s funny how you can always find and overblow any possible reason why people need to stay stuck on fossil fuels but just throw up your hands and claim the already-proven possible is impossible when it comes to why people should move away from fossil fuels. How do you always surprise us with that, Mike?

Right now EVs are practical and save money and the environment over gas-fired cars. For those with solar, the savings are even bigger. Right now. There is a higher up front cost but I can buy at least two or three EVs for what you paid for your Corvette. The more you drive an EV, the more the economic advantage over gasoline. There is no reason to wait on this. The cars are here and more arriving every day, but you are right - the technology will only improve. There is tremendous research going on improving batteries and charge rates and even if nothing at all comes of any of it, EVs are now already practical.

You want environmental disruption? Keep using gasoline. We already know where that’s taking us - right to ecological collapse and an extinction event and that horizon just keeps getting closer. The estimates I saw put that at around the year 2100 and avoiding that is why EVs, solar, and other alternatives are so important.

You are chasing the wrong things, Mike. Again.

Mike Johnson

I wonder if Ms. Walker can afford a rooftop solar system if she can't afford an EV? Probably not, that's also for rich folks. And I am glad you mentioned the battery issues, they can't be recycled, and the environmental disrpriton from that is whole 'nother disaster looming....."The battery pack of a Tesla Model S is a feat of intricate engineering. Thousands of cylindrical cells with components sourced from around the world transform lithium and electrons into enough energy to propel the car hundreds of kilometers, again and again, without tailpipe emissions. But when the battery comes to the end of its life, its green benefits fade. If it ends up in a landfill, its cells can release problematic toxins, including heavy metals. And recycling the battery can be a hazardous business, warns materials scientist Dana Thompson of the University of Leicester. Cut too deep into a Tesla cell, or in the wrong place, and it can short-circuit, combust, and release toxic fumes."

https://www.science.org/content/article/millions-electric-cars-are-coming-what-happens-all-dead-batteries

Emily Koyama

Robert, I have solar panels on my house- a pretty big 10kw setup. Cost is probably around 30k after tax incentives. An EV (even a cheaper one) is another 30k.

Payments (for those who can afford to add 60k in debt), will be more that the average family earning, say, 75k per year, can afford to pay, on top of housing, food, etc.

The world you live in is not the world 60% of Americans live in, so wider adoption of EVs and solar will be much slower than you think.

Charlotte Rowe

Emily you overestimate the percentage of Americans who lack the resourcefulness to seek help for an electric conversion.

Robert Fields

Mike, she doesn’t need to add rooftop solar to benefit from an EV. They are already less expensive than regular ICE cars even without free “gas”. And she doesn’t even have to install a charging system. Level 1 (just plug into the wall) chargers can easily provide most peoples’ daily needs.

As to the recycling issue, that is already ramping up. Ford just signed a big contract to recycle their batteries to reuse the raw materials in new batteries and other companies are also scaling up. This is a new industry and it is building out. It wasn’t that lithium batteries can’t be recycled. It’s that nobody was doing it.

It’s a new industry, that’s all. Companies are also now building in pathways to help battery recycling too. As already mentioned, Ford is launching a big recycling program and VW opened a big recycling plant last January.

Again, you throw everything you can at the wall but so much of it isn’t true. Meanwhile you push for the biggest environmental disaster imaginable. Why?

Robert Fields

Emily, good points but prices have dropped pretty sharply over the years. Using quotes for my home to extrapolate, a 10kW system at current pricing give or take would be about $23-24k. Still expensive but it all depends on how big you need to go for your home. With you at the limit PNM allows for net metering / non-commercial systems you probably live in a pretty big home. The quote to cover current electrical demand for this medium-sized home was just $14.4k for a hair under 5kW. But the more electricity someone uses from PNM, the faster a solar install will pay for itself too. Still expensive and out of many peoples’ reach, but the manufacturing and installation infrastructure isn’t built out yet. In some ways, it’s better that everyone doesn’t all place orders for solar installs right now as it would cause similar problems to how covid disrupted supply chains in general and which is also impacting the solar supply chain now anyway.

I know that many can’t run out and drop that kind of money. Like I said it would be bad for everyone if it was a mad rush to the solar store anyway. But for those that can, it’s a way to start saving money and reducing their fossil fuel use since PNM is largely fed by fossil fuel plants. Anything we do helps slow global warming and buys us more time.

But while on the subject of solar installs, the technology has really progressed. Inverter per panel systems are proving to be much more resilient and less subject to shading. The power interfaces to your home electrical system are really advanced and show you detailed system information at a glance on a phone or tablet application - but operate totally autonomously. And some take the opportunity to install battery backup for critical circuits. Grid tie solar systems shut down during power outages but with battery backup, you can keep some circuits alive for important loads like medical equipment, fridges, computers, etc. How many circuits depends on how big of a battery you want to buy, but the advantage is every day there is sun, panels will recharge the batteries and you get power on those circuits for as long as you need. Folks in Texas would have loved that last February.

The battery supply counts against PNM’s 10kW non-commercial limit, though, so sizing backup battery capability has to be done as part of the overall system design. What we opted for was a mutual compromise between power generation and storage. We don’t have so many critical circuits but cover the important stuff while allowing for 100% of our electric needs plus a bit extra for future growth in our own demand.

The tech is now really good enough all the way around. Systems are smaller thanks to increased efficiency and prices have come down at the same time. And there is financing too. People can do installs for basically zero down. You don’t have to put cash on the barrelhead to go solar. Anyone interested ought to talk to the solar folks and get actual quotes (free) to see what options there are. Financing obviously dilutes some of the economic advantages, though.

Charlotte Rowe

the difference being that unlike gasoline cars, EVs can be charged by solar. That has minimal environmental footprint and once installed, is free.

Mike Johnson

According to the EV industry experts, over 90% of EVs are charged at night, you better have some big, powerful battery storage at your house in that case.

Robert Fields

Mike, you still aren’t getting it. At night electrical demand on the grid drops way off. There’s a lot more headroom for charging. And many businesses are installing charging stations for customers and employees so many can charge at work during the day if they want to or need to.

Cars and chargers can be programmed to charge at various rates. Level 2 chargers can charge at rates between 3 to 19kW. An electric dryer pulls anywhere between 2 and 6 kW. Electric stoves are about the same. Absolute worst case is drivers charge at the low end in which case the grid is already totally capable of that. The grid will be fine for quite some time regardless. There aren’t that many EVs out there but PNM is already planning for them and embracing them. Checked the PNM website recently? They don’t seem anywhere near as afraid of EVs as you. It’s actually more of a get on board feeling. See for yourself.

https://www.pnm.com/electric-vehicles

But the reality of charging at night is it means charging using PNM’s largely fossil fueled infrastructure. Even though solar installs may feed into the grid during the day and reduce fossil fuel use then, at night, cars will still be filling from largely fossil sources. And that is where batteries can really shine.

They don’t provide much in economics but how much does a fire extinguisher or portable generator pay for itself - until you need it? But newer battery systems don’t mind daily charge and discharge cycles and last for over 10 years. Those can store excess power generated during the day and pay it back out at night to charge a car - exactly as in the scenario you try to present as ludicrous.

Yep, if you want a full charge that’s a lot of battery. But most aren’t needing a full charge and a 10kW battery pack can charge about 20-25 miles per night without dipping into grid power to do any of it.

Richard Reinders

[thumbup]

Richard Irell

110 years ago the average person could not afford a Model T.

WAGE LEVELS AND THE PRICE OF A FORD MODEL T

Average Earnings Price of a Model T

1912. $592 $600

1914 $627 $490

1916 $708. $360

1924 $1,303 $290

Richard Irell

Drat. The table didn’t turn out right.

In 1912 the average wage $592/year and a Model T cost $600.

Mike Johnson

Yes, that's a valid point. But remember Ford's production went from 78,000 vehicles in 1912, to 1.7 million in 1924. That is a 21 fold increase in 12 years. I doubt the EV market is going from 295,000 this year to over 6 million in 2032. And, unless Biden's inflation really stays with us, I doubt wages are going to increase 3 fold over that period either. America was a different place in the early 1900s.

Richard Irell

Tesla 2016 Q1 production was 15,510.

Tesla 2021 Q3 production was 237,823.

That’s an increase of 14.9:1 in just over 5 years.

Mike Johnson

And after many years, Tesla finally make a profit without selling emissions credits.....https://www.theverge.com/2021/7/26/22594778/tesla-q2-2021-earnings-revenue-profit-credits-emissions-bitcoin

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