Over the last two weeks I addressed two issues regarding the wide-spread use of electric vehicles. The first was a lack of reliable battery technology and the second a lack of power infrastructure. The final issue I find with widespread use of electric vehicles is the limited single-trip mileage of electric vehicles.In the early 1900s we had electric vehicles; a cab company in New York developed an electric taxi with interchangeable batteries. They were facing the same issues we see with electric vehicles today. There was a limited amount of power in the rechargeable batteries and a long charge time. On average the lead-acid batteries would operate a car for around four hours on a two-hour charge. Our modern lithium batteries are not quite as bad, with a drive time of six hours and a rapid charge time of 30 minutes, but it still limits our maximum travel time.It’s not just a problem of maximum travel time, but also a limit to the number of rapid charge stations available. In our area the only rapid charge stations are in West Plains and Rolla. This means that if you own an electric vehicle, you must install a charge station in your home, and these are in general the slow charge stations, needing a four-to-six-hour charge time. Don’t count on being able to recharge on the road.The other issue is the charge time; according to chargehub.com the charging stations in West Plains are Level 2 charge stations, meaning that they can supply between 12 and 60 miles of travel on a one-hour charge, which is barely enough to travel back home. The home chargers are Level 1 chargers, which supply between four and five miles of range in a one-hour charge time, meaning a trip to Rolla and back will require a ten-hour charge. This leads me to believe my electric car would spend more time on the charger than on the road.There is a rapid charge, Level 3 charge station in Rolla, which will supply enough power for a 200 mile trip in a 30-minute charge, but there are only eleven cities in the state that offer these rapid charge stations, and they are not practical for home use with an average cost of $50,000. Unfortunately, in our rural area these rapid chargers are the only practical solution, meaning that after spending $50,000 on an electric vehicle, we will either need to convince our local governments to install rapid chargers in our cities or spend another $50,000 to install rapid chargers in our home.Take a quick look at the cost of running an electric vehicle versus a gasoline vehicle. If we only take into consideration the cost of the rapid charge station and ignore the increase in the power bill, we can drive over 300,000 miles in most vehicles with a gasoline price of $4 per gallon for the cost of the charge station alone. The average family drives 12,000 miles a year, meaning it will take 25-years of driving to match the cost of gasoline, and that is not even including the cost of the power.I would love to see a world in which we could eliminate the reliance on fossil fuels, but electric vehicles are clearly not the answer, at least for the family vehicle. I do believe they have a place in the city, for public transportation, for example. An electric bus can transport up to 30 people over a six-hour drive time on a single charge and offset the costs of the power and charging station in a short period of time. Electric vehicles may also be an answer for shipping and delivery vehicles where you are managing a fleet of vehicles, but to mandate a high percentage of electric vehicles is both not practical and not possible with today’s technology. We all need to be sharing this type of information with our local, state and federal officials to make them understand the issues.Until next week, stay safe and learn something new.Scott Hamilton is an Expert in Emerging Technologies at ATOS and can be reached with questions and comments via email to shamilton@techshepherd.org or through his website at https://www.techshepherd.org.

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