The electric vehicle market has been on a roll lately and showing no signs of slowing down. We have stunning cars and rugged electric trucks. And while most EVs are stylish, fast, powerful, and offer the latest luxury features, it’s not all good news.
We were promised zero emissions and green rechargeable vehicles that can drive for days on end, but we’re not quite there yet. There are still some disadvantages when it comes to EVs. So while a future with electric cars is coming right around the corner, how quickly is the bigger question.
Electric Vehicle Availability
While electric vehicles are exciting and new, buying and getting one delivered is perhaps the biggest problem right now. After the government mandated the increase in electric cars, we’ve seen every major player in the automotive space make moves, but not fast enough.
Manufacturers including Ford, KIA, Subaru, Toyota, GM, Jeep, Chevrolet, and more have announced upcoming electric cars or plans to offer EVs soon. One fascinating yet also troubling area is electric trucks. We’ve seen newcomers like Rivian release the R1T, yet supply constraints and creating a new automotive brand from scratch have proved challenging.
Even an established brand like Ford is struggling too. Ford expects to build and sell roughly 40,000 units of its newly released F-150 Lightning EV this year. For comparison, Ford sold over 700,000 gas-powered F-150s in 2021, which is a substantial difference. The company can’t make enough F-150 Lightning trucks to keep up with the demand.
Another great example is Tesla. In early 2022, Tesla broke all its delivery records despite supply chain issues, but it’s still not enough. If you order any Tesla model today, it won’t ship to your door for several months, if not longer. In fact, many models are entirely sold out until mid-2023.
While every significant player in the automotive sector is working on all-electric cars and trucks, finding one in stock is a problem. Then, when you do, some dealers add insane markups, more than doubling the price.
The demand is enormous, but the supply is tiny. And don’t get me started on some of the prices lately.
We recently saw a fearmongering story on social media claiming that electric cars are more likely to die and get stuck during a traffic jam. Suggesting they are dangerous, don’t come with heaters, the AC isn’t efficient, and EVs will run out of battery in around three hours during a traffic jam.
That’s entirely false, but it’s not hard to see why some are hesitant to get an EV. Range anxiety is real, but it’s not hard to avoid if you plan accordingly. That said, you can’t just hit a nearby gas station for fuel and instead have to search out and find a charging station. Then, once you do, it takes a bit longer to recharge than it does to top off a tank with gas.
For example, the base Hyundai IONIQ 5 SE in all-wheel drive only gets around 256 miles of driving range on a single charge, but upgraded models push that closer to 300 miles per charge. Tesla’s most affordable Model 3 in the standard range option (which is no longer available) only got around 220 miles per charge. That’s not bad, but it’s certainly not very good either.
In comparison, the 2021 Hyundai Elantra gas-powered vehicle can reach around 462 city miles and about 602 highway miles from a full gas tank.
Electric vehicles are coming with more efficient motors, bigger battery packs, and faster-charging speeds by the day. But, for now, range anxiety will still be a thing for many. The future looks bright, but it’s not entirely here yet.
Charging Time & Speeds
Another aspect of EVs that old gas-powered vehicle fans are quick to point out is the charging times and speeds — and they’re not wrong. It certainly takes longer to charge an EV than it does to put gas in my truck.
EVs are supposed to be easy, require less maintenance, and make driving fun again. But when you start worrying about where you’ll charge your car, how long it’ll take, and whether or not you’ll be able to find a fast-charging station, some of that fun quickly dissipates.
In 2021, Business Insider reported that 1-in-5 EV owners in California switched back to gas-powered cars due to charging hassles or woes. Keep in mind that new charging stations are appearing by the day, but you’ll still need to factor that into your buying decision. More importantly, you’ll also want to factor in charging times, speeds, and pricing into travel plans. That said, for short daily commutes to work, you’ll be fine and can simply charge at home.
We didn’t want to dive too much into the cost of charging an EV here, as that’s constantly changing based on the location, time of day, and more, but it’s another concern. While it’s undoubtedly cheaper to charge an EV than to buy gas these days, electricity prices are rising.
Speaking of electricity, what about the electrical grid? This is another common argument on social media, but honestly, the question is still up for debate. I’ve read countless articles suggesting the grid can handle the rise in electric vehicles just fine, as long as it’s managed properly. You’ll also find reports from The Washington Post and others that suggest the grid is nowhere near ready.
I’m not so sure. We’ve seen electric grid issues in California and Texas. Plus, here in Las Vegas, there were times last summer the energy company asked everyone to use less air conditioning at peak times. Imagine those same struggles but with millions of EVs needing juice too.
Considering the battery inside the F-150 Lightning EV can power a home for anywhere from 3-10 days, depending on usage, shows just how much power electric cars really need. In 2020, there were roughly 276 million cars registered in the United States. Yes, many of those are not daily drivers, but what happens when 20 million EVs need to charge, or 50 million?
How will the electric grid handle EVs from almost every major manufacturer needing juice to keep the battery full of charge and ready for a daily commute or road trip? Now, I’m not saying the electric grid can’t handle it or won’t be able to scale with electric vehicle growth, but it’s still a concern.
It’s a potential problem that’ll need work, just as battery capacity, range, and other issues need some improvement. Otherwise, EV owners may end up charging their vehicles during off-hours to try and save a buck.
Americans love pickup trucks. The Ford F-150 has been the best-selling truck in America for 45 years in a row. That’s because it’s the perfect blend of utility, commuting, work, and freedom. You can hit the job site, take the family to dinner, then load it up and go camping for the weekend.
However, over the last several months, we’ve learned that while electric trucks are insanely exciting and have tons of promise on and offroad, towing will remain a sore spot for the foreseeable future. Several tests as of late show that electric trucks lose around 50%, if not more, of their range while towing a trailer or boat.
So, if you have the fancy new F-150 Lightning EV that’s supposed to go over 300 miles on a charge, but it’s loaded with the entire family, gear, and a trailer, you’ll need a charging station in 150 miles or less just to be safe. Then you have to stop for 20-30 minutes to recharge. Again, it’s not the worst thing in the world, and EV buyers are readily aware of these challenges, but it’s still a problem we hope future vehicles can solve.
Electric trucks are still new and exciting, and (as of writing) only two are available stateside — the Ford F-150 Lightning and the Rivian R1T. Eventually, we’ll see a new Chevy Silverado EV, the RAM 1500 EV in 2024, and several others. Maybe by then, we’ll have better technology to take our electric vehicles and trucks further than ever before.
I’m not here to tell you that you shouldn’t buy an electric vehicle. There are plenty of excellent reasons to buy one. This is just a reminder that the technology is new and evolving, and the all-electric vehicle future I want isn’t quite here yet.