On the road with Sen. Debbie Stabenow and her taxpayer-subsidized EV

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Addressing a June 7 Capitol Hill hearing, Michigan Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow was eager to avoid discussion about why gas prices are so high at the pump.

Instead, she regaled her audience with a tale about her recent drive from Michigan to Washington, D.C.

“I do have to say, just on the issue of gas prices, after waiting for a long time to have enough chips in this country to finally get my electric vehicle,” she explained, “I got it and drove it from Michigan to here this last weekend and went by every single gas station, and it didn’t matter how high it was.”

The message from this representative of the ruling political class is clear: Rubes still driving conventionally-powered vehicles shouldn’t sweat having to dig deeper and deeper to pay for gasoline or diesel, all they have to do is purchase a snazzy EV, and they’ll live happily ever after.

Not so fast, says noted automotive writer, and Michigan resident, Chris Sawyer in an email. If she was driving a regular Chevy Bolt, it had a range of 259 miles, according to EPA estimates, he pointed out. If it was a Bolt EUV (electric utility vehicle), the range falls to 247 miles. With the usual accessories, that comes to a purchase price of around $40,000 minus the government rebate for EVs, “but I’m sure Debbie Stabenow got employee pricing – or (much) better,” he says.

The Real World

“British auto writer Neil Winton (www.wintonsworld.com) has shown that, in the real world, range [for EVs] drops by an average of 37% on the highway. At speeds above 70 mph – say 85 mph or so – that jumps to a near 60% drop, Sawyer wrote. “In addition, it’s recommended that you don’t charge beyond 80% of capacity, and do not draw the charge below 20% — just like your cell phone – if you want to do the least harm to your battery. In essence, you only get to use 40% of the battery. Also, cold weather can take 30% all by itself, but it’s nearly summer, so we’ll leave that for another time.”

“Let’s assume the senator bought the trendier EUV. If we follow the preferred charge/discharge protocol above, that means her best-case scenario range is 247 x 0.60, or 148 miles,” Sawyer continued. “Since the bulk of the trip (approximately 700 miles) is on the highway, her range drops to 148 x 0.60, or 93.24 miles. If we assume she regains approximately 10% of that range in urban areas, and under other situations where she can add back mileage via regenerative braking, this number increases to approximately 100 miles. Which means she has to stop a minimum of seven times on her trip. Thankfully for her, this past weekend was dry and mild. Adding heavy air conditioning and wiper use would have had a deleterious effect on range, to say the least.”

“Unlike a vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine (ICE) – like the ones preferred by her security team – recharging takes much more that the 5 to 10 minutes for a typical ICE fill-up,” Sawyer explained. “The average gas station carries in its underground storage tanks energy equivalent to a small nuclear power plant. Automobiles use, on average, about 30% of the available energy from each gallon of gas (the percentage is about 10% higher for diesel). While EVs are much more efficient, only about 60% of the energy put into the grid comes out of the plug, so there is that loss to take into consideration. Nevertheless, if we assume she was able to take advantage of fast chargers at each stop, and they were both readily available and plentiful along her routs (highly unlikely), she spent hours waiting for it to charge.”

“Why do I not believe her statement that she ‘smiled as she passed the gas stations’ along her route,” Sawyer asked. “Perhaps because, if we assume the above math is anywhere near what she could expect on a trip that takes her through the hills and dales of Pennsylvania etc. she was probably driving with her eyes glued to the range meter as she climbed every hill while trying to maintain a speed that would prevent her from being run over by an 18-wheeler delivering goods to businesses across the country…”

“Incredible Transition”

Joe Biden recently tried to explain the high price at the pump by saying it’s part of an “incredible transition” to a green energy future. It’s incredible, all right, but not in the way Biden means. People’s lives are being needlessly disrupted by the false promise of green energy. EPA and EV manufacturers may say than an EV has a range of so and so, but in the real world, as Chris Sawyer points out, the performance is far less. This is similar to wind farm developers saying their facilities have the “capacity” to supply x number of homes with electricity. Land-based wind turbines, however, only operate at about 30 percent of their capacity, so the figures the developers throw out are utterly meaningless.

Neither the U.S. nor Europe nor anyone else has the infrastructure necessary to support the millions of EVs we are told are on their way in the next few years. Decarbonization goals have been set, but they will not be reached – not by a long shot. Where the electricity for the EVs is to come from, along with the raw materials that go into the batteries, remain a mystery.

The crowd that was willing to shut down society in order to “bend the curve” on COVID-19, and managed to strip supermarket shelves nationwide of baby formula, has its next masterpiece in the works.

Author

  • Bonner Cohen, Ph. D.
  • Bonner R. Cohen, Ph. D., is a senior policy analyst with CFACT, where he focuses on natural resources, energy, property rights, and geopolitical developments. Articles by Dr. Cohen have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Investor’s Busines Daily, The New York Post, The Washington Examiner, The Washington Times, The Hill, The Epoch Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Miami Herald, and dozens of other newspapers around the country. He has been interviewed on Fox News, Fox Business Network, CNN, NBC News, NPR, BBC, BBC Worldwide Television, N24 (German-language news network), and scores of radio stations in the U.S. and Canada. He has testified before the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, and the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee. Dr. Cohen has addressed conferences in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, and Bangladesh. He has a B.A. from the University of Georgia and a Ph. D. – summa cum laude – from the University of Munich.

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June 15, 2022

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