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Cars Image Credit: Tesla Motors

Published on February 15th, 2013 | by Zachary Shahan

44

Major Media & Tech Sites Fail Big Time On Tesla–NYTimes Story



Tesla-Model-S

Tesla Model S. Image Credit: Tesla Motors

When I first posted on the NYTimes–Tesla story, I figured I wouldn’t come back to the issue. I figured it was completely obvious what had happened, and that major media would be doing a good job of slamming the NYTimes and Mr Broder. Unfortunately, major media reporters, humans, and even tech reporters aren’t as bright as I had assumed.

Let’s start real quickly with the NYTimes–Tesla story before delving into the dumb responses to the story that I’ve seen on sites quite a bit larger than CleanTechnica.

John Broder, a NYTimes writer with a history of anti-EV articles, has gotten a lot of press for “surprisingly” finding that the 2013 Car of the Year couldn’t make a planned test drive. Good for him — everyone has a right to make money off of being idiotic. But it seems from data presented by Tesla that his story didn’t match up with the facts.

In his test drive, Tesla data has shown that he drove in circles in a parking lot, didn’t fully charge the Model S he was testing when it was obvious he needed to do so, and passed up public charging stations when he needed a charge. He even turned up the heat in the car when his battery was running low.

For anyone to pay Mr Broder’s “results” any attention is absurd, in my humble opinion. Yet, blogger after blogger and reporter after reporter are doing so. From TIME to MIT Technology Review, writers with very large audiences are blowing the story. Furthermore, they’re putting even more misinformation into people’s minds.

Without focusing on the myths, I’m going to bust some of them up a bit with a little bit of reality and perspective.

1. With common sense, you can easily drive an EV wherever you want today.

People have driven EVs around the world. There was actually an around-world EV race recently in which the Tesla Model S won. It’s not hard to fill up your gas tank and not run out of fuel. And it’s not hard to charge your EV and take long road trips if desired, even with EVs with much less range than the Model S.

2. EVs are completely ready for mass market… if the media would simply stop screwing up the story.

EV’s are now cheaper than conventional, gas-powered cars for many, many people. They can actually save many of us money. Simply do the math and check for yourself.

Furthermore, EV prices are coming down fast, making them even more of an obvious consumer option… again, for those who are willing to simply do the math and think for themselves.

3. Charging an EV is considerably more convenient than filling up a gas tank.

This is possibly the issue around which there’s the most widespread confusion. The fact of the matter is, all you really need to do to charge an EV is plug it in. That takes a mere seconds. You don’t have to stand at a gas station breathing in air pollution that can actually kill you. You don’t have to stand outside in the cold on a winter day. If you’re using your car for normal daily purposes (and you’re an average America), you can charge your car at night when you get home and not have to worry about it. In an increasingly number of workplaces, you can also plug in at work. Again, plugging in your car and unplugging it later takes a mere seconds. Yes, the car takes longer to charge, but you don’t have to pay it any attention after you plug it in.

If you want to take a longer trip, you can do so with some basic planning. If you don’t want to think about plugging in while away from home, you can buy an extended range electric vehicle (e.g. Chevy Volt) and use gasoline for the 1% or 10% of the time you might find it more convenient. Or you can simply rent a car for such trips.

Count up the hours you’d save each year from not having to stand or sit at gas stations. Consider how much easier it would be to plug in your car when you get home, forget about it until your next drive, and unplug it again when you go back out. Consider these things and I’m sure you’ll notice how much more convenient an EV is.

4. EVs are most certainly a lot greener than gasoline-powered cars.

This is an issue I’ve seen brought up in comment after comment… with completely the wrong point being made. People love contradictions, especially when they can say them and show people how “smart” they are. It has become common practice among some people to claim that EVs aren’t greener than gasoline-powered cars when they charge from our grid (which uses some coal power). For those who think they’ve got a useful point to make there, please read up on the facts before spreading misinformation. In the most comprehensive study on the matter to date, it has been found that EVs are greener in pretty much every corner of the United States (on the current grid).

Furthermore, from what I’ve read (don’t have a link on this one, though), the majority of EV drivers have solar panels. If you want to make sure your electricity is green, put up some solar panels, save even more money, and live happily.

5. The biggest barriers to change are closed-mindedness and ignorance.

What is actually blocking even more widespread EV adoption? The biggest obstacles to a faster EV revolution are apparently closed-mindedness, ignorance, and fear.

People like Mr Broder, who have made up a story before even giving the new technology a chance, are confusing the public and holding us all back.

People who don’t look past the claims of Mr Broder and gang, who even repeat the claims, are holding us back through their ignorance.

Those of us who don’t adequately look at the benefits of electric vehicles before buying our next vehicle, or discussing the matter with those who might be doing so, are slowing the technological revolution.

Those who don’t make the switch to electric sooner, or who even fight against electric vehicle growth and popularity (simply out of fear, simply because they are afraid of change), are holding us all back. These are the reasons why articles like those written by Mr Broder are not immediately scoffed at and thrown in the trash.

I’m sad to say that people who I thought would have “gotten it,” do not. I’m sad to see that they’ve written horrible responses to the Broder/NYTimes piece that simply reinforce the myths that are holding society back. Here’s hoping some of them learn a bit from this debacle and don’t make the same mistake again.

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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy for the past four years or so. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the Network Manager for their parent organization – Important Media – and he's the Owner/Founder of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.



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  • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

    @60b2bbe9dc672e9cb887f3003013b097:disqus :

    I’ve updated the cost comparison spreadsheet (link below). A few notes:

    1- Maintenance costs were never calculated in the initial spreadsheet. There was a placeholder for them, but perhaps I decided to leave them out of the calculation due to uncertainty with the EV costs. (So, initial benefit to the gasmobiles there.)

    A study on the difference in costs was recently published on this matter, so the maintenance costs are now based on that, and included in the calculation.

    2- Projected battery replacement costs are now included, based on projections by U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu. (They don’t really change much. The EV savings at 9 years go from $20,746 to $17,896. Not insignificant, but insignifiant when it comes to which car wins based on price alone.)

    3- I’ve put a call-out for more input on the assumptions used, and I’ll soon do comparisons with more competitive EVs (the Ford Focus Electric isn’t exactly the most competitive EV on the market. ;D) Thanks for pushing me to do better calculations… which I imagine are simply going to put EVs in better light. But we’ll see….

    Link to the spreadsheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AsDzwXJeEr1pdDVxT245YWlMLXBPWFF2enB4NjFEeHc#gid=0

  • The smelly gas station

    Ev are more affordable for many many many blah blah? I thought this was about tesla? Hmm the gauge says ill definitely make it..screw it ill stop here and waste an hour to satisfy childish bloggers who hate facts? Pumping in the toxic airs gonna KILL you hahahaha ew and its smelly? Grow up. What was he doing trusting the car what an idiot right…and oh my god the heat was on..what a right wing baby hating killed my wife in cold blood capitalist…right? big oil bush did it go eat a dick cheney…unless you like that..then …dont do that…that was a joke.. A tasteless one but the tone and belittling in this is so offputting..you hurt the cause worse than the test drive….its funny how obsurd these criticisms are… this guy drove in circles turned the heat on tried to go the speed limit and tried to make it to a suggested reachable destination…it was like he was hellbent on undermining american progress !! Lmao the car.has.weaknesses… And coddling it in reviews.wont.fix.them…for that price I expect to.do.wheelies to cleveland and back.. ICEs are the past?…so are.EV.. Is anybody impressed with batteries nowadays.. batteries are holding the world back.. Batteries go bad you know how many forklifts ive towed back cause I got on it with full.charge.. Beep beeeep beeep…christ again?! That shit dont even have heat…i did drive.in circles though is that bad for….subpar battery technology? And F that bmw story.. Youre not clever.

  • mds

    This discussion is over-focused. You are all missing something really important here:

    Are any of you old enough to remember the gasoline shortages of the 70s? How about the more recent episode of $140/barrel oil and gasoline over $4/gallon? How do EVs compare to gasoline vehicles if there is a war in the Middle East? Iran is working on nuclear weapons and the whole area is pugnacious.
    What if that meteor over Russia had been in the Gulf of Mexico and made it into the sea creating a tidal-wave that took out our oil rigs and refineries along the coast? The world’s oil distribution network is stretched very thin and could suffer a significant loss at any time. This would create near instant scarcity and send prices sky high. We have been on the edge of this for decades. It is a miracle no really big disruption has happened. Our past episodes of fuel shortage are small potatoes compared to what could happen. Why do you think the military is so supportive of renewable energy in general? I can’t believe I’ve lived most of my adult life without seeing the powder keg of the Middle East really going up. Our military has done an incredible job. It won’t last long. What about the increasing demand for fossil fuel from China and India? Resource scarcities cause many of the wars in human history.

    Now, how inconvenient will it be to wait a few hours to charge your EV if something like this does happen? How will EVs and EREVs compare to gasoline vehicles under these circumstances? You will either have electric transport or you’ll walk, that’s how!

    Electric vehicles (EREVs, PHEVs, and EVs) are the solution for the future. Fossil fuel vehicles (gasoline and diesel vehicles) are the past. By 2025 electric vehicles will be cheaper to purchase than fossil vehicles. Some are already cheaper to own and operate over the life of the vehicle.
    John Broder is nothing less than a Benedict Arnold of our time for misrepresenting the facts as they are and trying to cover up the incredible progress that has been made, by Tesla in particular, and by others.

    Rhodomel Meads, You are correct, EREVs like the GM Volt and others like the Prius PHEV and Ford are revolutionary in their ability to reduce fuel using by driving all-electric for part of their range …and then go farther using gasoline in hybrid mode without any range anxiety. I too like the GM Volt better because of the longer 40 mile all-electric range. 78% of USA drivers travel less than 40 per day average. This combined with the 38 (37?) mpg hybrid mode (48% more than the current 25 mpg national average) means we could eliminate more than 80% of our fuel use for light trucks and cars if they were EREV like the GM Volt.

    Zach and Bob, You are also correct, EVs are part of the solution to our current fuel supply problem and impending fuel supply crisis.

    You are all correct. Broder is wrong, very wrong.

  • publius

    We have a BMW X3. It gets something like 19 mpg. I thought it would be fair
    to test it, to have a gasoline-powered comparison to the controversial Tesla
    review.

    I filled the tank, and set off for LA.

    Near Oxnard, the low-gas warning light (an amber LED in the dashboard)
    started glowing.

    Consulting the user’s manual, it said that 1/16th of a tank, or about
    1.25 gallons, of gasoline was remaining, which would give me a bit more than 20
    miles.

    I really wanted to make it to Disneyland, but that’s farther than 20 miles
    from Oxnard. (Google maps says it’s about 89 miles.)

    Pulling over, I parked and tried to call BMW for advice, but couldn’t reach
    anyone. But I figured if I drove more slowly, I could make it.

    I tried to keep my speed below 75 mph, but the dial gas gauge kept going
    lower, until I got really nervous. So I turned off the heater (or at least I
    think I did, although later it seemed to have been turned up, not down).

    I again pulled off the freeway, and drove around a parking lot looking for
    a gas station.

    Eventually the car stalled, way short of Disneyland, and I had to call AAA
    to rescue me. The tow-truck driver said I had “run out of gas, idiot”.

    I blame BMW for this. They promise better mileage than I got, and their
    customer support is worthless.

    Gas technology is never going to become popular if they don’t iron out
    these problems.

    • mds

      Fair analogy ;-)

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      Haha, excellent. :D

  • http://www.anewerworld.net/ Bill Hewitt

    I don’t have much use for John Broder at the NY Times – I think he takes
    every opportunity to take a hatchet to Obama and, for that matter, to
    environmental concerns. The EV test drive story was a travesty for all the reasons that you cite, Zach.

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      Thanks for the note. Have to say that I’ve turned away from the NYTimes — just too much nonsense there. (Though, I am aware there are still some good reporters there, as well.)

  • theirishlion

    Even though we (Americans) are the pioneers in most industries, I feel like the average consumer doesn’t trust American ingenuity for automobiles. For now, unfortunately, most of us think, when the Japanese do it, then it will be done right. I hope Musk can prove all the doubts wrong, consistently.

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      Interesting thought… might be true.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Damon-Poeter/623153457 Damon Poeter

    I appreciate your support for EVs but there’s no need to bend reality to make the case for them. “Charging an EV is considerably easier and quicker than filling up a gas tank.” Really? Eight hours of charging time (or an hour or more at a Supercharger) is “quicker” than 10 minutes filling up at a gas pump? Man, I’d like to come over to your house for Thanksgiving, where roasting a 15-pound turkey is faster than microwaving some popcorn.

    Seriously – there’s no need to literally tell the opposite of the truth in extolling the virtues of EVs. They are worth buying for some people, IMHO, and I’m definitely glad those early adopters are helping ensure the tech keeps going forward. But right now EVs require a very different sort of care and maintanence than gas-powered cars, especially around charging and especially w/r/t long-haul trips one might want to make. An EV requires one to plan their driving life around the considerable time it takes to charge the car (yes, for typical short-range daily driving this is not the inconvenience some paint it as) whereas conversely an owner of a gas-powered car has much more flexibility to plan fueling trips around their driving life.
    Some people–many, in fact–depend on having an alway-available car that can travel short, medium, and long distances in a reasonable amount of time, and this is crucial–on the spur of the moment or with minimal planning required before embarking. An EV is not that car – yet. But there are many other compelling reasons to buy an EV and certainly reasons to support them.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Please don’t misrepresent what was said in the article. Plugging in is a lot quicker and easier than filling your tank. Yes, charging takes time, but your not standing out in the bad weather/hot sun while it happens.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Damon-Poeter/623153457 Damon Poeter

        But the article says “charging” an EV is quicker than filling up a gas tank – actually not just quicker but “considerably” so. That’s what the article says, I didn’t misrepresent it. And I think doing these kind of mental gymnastics to will away the far longer time it takes to charge an EV versus filling up a gas-fueled car … really doesn’t do anybody any good.
        There are plenty of people who are open to buying an EV and who would likely be willing to accept the trade-off of the long charging time – but I bet they would prefer an honest presentation that this trade-off exists and not a bizarre attempt to create a temporal anomaly wherein the obviously very brief time it takes for the physical act of plugging and unplugging from an outlet somehow also encapsulates the hours and hours the car actually needs to charge.
        I mean, you are aware that at modern gas stations it also takes less than a minute to go from pulling up to a gas pump to setting a gas nozzle’s trigger to automatic flow … at which point, if the sun is bothering you, you can go hang out in the shade or in the mini mart or something? Why does the actual wait time while fueling disappear for EVs but it’s part of why filling up gas cars is so long and terrible?

        • EVDriver

          Damon, you’re absolutely correct. My EV charges at a rate of roughly 3,500 watts an hour on my 240 volt, 15 amp (delivered on a 20 amp circuit) home hookup. Tesla’s “superchargers” are twice the voltage (480) and four times the amps (80), although the amp multiple might be higher depending on whether it’s an 80-amp circuit or 80 amps delivered.

          In any case, Tesla claims to deliver 150 miles of charge in half an hour. But that’s based on their bogus 300-mile range claim, which has to be significantly reduced in the real world, especially if it’s cold out. Even if we used the E.P.A.’s numbers, which are also too optimistic for cold weather, you’d get a maximum of 130 miles from a half-hour charge.

          I can take five minutes to “recharge” my gas car and get 450 miles of range. And it won’t differ significantly based on temperature, regardless of the claims made by the Tesla cult here or elsewhere. (I know this because I have trip computers on my gas cars, one of which I’ve owned for 18 years. My mileage varies only negligibly with temperature.)

          For some reason, some of the EV enthusiasts feel a need to be so cult-like that they feel threatened by the simple facts about electric car characteristics. One such fact is that it takes a while to charge an EV, depending on which charging hookup you use. Another fact is that range varies a lot with temperature, especially in cold weather.

          These are facts that every EV owner is familiar with. I really like my EV a lot. I’m a believer in EVs and their future. But I’m not going to join some cult that parrots sci-fi dreams. In the end, these are just another box with four wheels. There are lots of things to say about EVs, but they are not magic or the deliverance from all evil.

          • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

            1- i’m not making any claims about EV range not being harmed by the cold, and haven’t seen anyone do so.

            2- i’m into good perspective. i don’t like seeing misrepresentations of anything. the whole “inconvenience” thing is a misrepresentation that gets on my nerves. it’s simply faulty thinking (except in the less than 3% of US trips where range is an issue for a normal EV owner).

            3- call whatever names you want if that makes you feel better. or have a civil discussion about the matter.

        • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

          i will change the sentence to make it more clear — but figured the context around it already did so.

          what’s the difference with the wait time? where do you go to relax and hang out — a gas station or your home?

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Damon-Poeter/623153457 Damon Poeter

            Cool Zach – I think adding a little clarity will make your point better and won’t open it up to criticism from to EV opponents who love taking stuff like this out of context and running with it.

            As a long time interlocuter with the right-wing media and blogosphere, I can attest to how much they love to do that!

          • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

            Sure do! :D

            It was a mistake to not be more accurate in the subheading. Wish I had noticed it myself before it confused people a bit.

      • mds

        Give it up Bob. Clearly it is misleading or maybe just stupid.
        Zach,
        You do the cause a disservice by not being more clear. You are being over-zealous the same way Rhodomel Meads is on the side of the GM Volt about. You can get away with this if you are representing the incumbent technology because of the phenomena of paradigms. Some people are stupid to be sure, but what is even more true is “Man is a rationalizing animal. He is not a rational animal.” Humans rationalize the means to their own needs and build up rationals that the way they’ve been doing things makes sense. It takes them a while to change. (Apparently a lot of right-wing types are more highly rationalized than some others and it takes them a really long time.)
        I’m blathering philosophical stuff. Yuck. Sorry. Back to the point: You can get away with distorting the truth if you represent the incumbent technology, the way it’s always been, but if you are championing a new way then you must be scrupulously honest, honest to a fault. Otherwise the remaining rationalizers, those who still think this Christopher Columbus round earth stuff is all fraudulent, will label you unreliable in total and listen to none of the rest of what you say. Sooo…..
        Sorry, but the honest truth is EVs take a long time to charge and this makes them inconvenient on long trips. You must be fair and honest about this. Bob, you too if you are both men the altruistic men leading the way to a better future as I believe you are.

        Now I’m going to start another comment. One you may like better.

        This discussion is over-focused. You are all missing something really important here.

        • Bob_Wallace

          No, I’m not going to give it up. Here’s what Zach wrote -

          “3. Charging an EV is considerably easier and quicker than filling up a gas tank.

          This is possibly the issue around which there’s the most widespread confusion. The fact of the matter is, all you really need to do to charge an EV is plug it in. That takes a mere seconds. You don’t have to stand at a gas station breathing in air pollution that can actually kill you. You don’t have to stand outside in the cold on a winter day.”

          “Count up the hours you’d save each year from not having to stand or sit at gas stations. Consider how much easier it would be to plug in your car when you get home, forget about it until your next drive, and unplug it again when you go back out.”

          Clearly he is saying that it is quicker to plug in than to stand and pump. He is not saying that charging batteries takes less time than filling a tank.

          Damon misrepresented what Zach wrote.

        • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

          Quite frankly, I think it’s absurd that the common assumption is that it’s easier to go to a gas station than plug in at home. This is one of the key benefits of EVs — this is way more convenient.

          I’m not being overzealous. Every EV owner I’ve talked to about this has found this to be a big relief.

          But others have won the framing battle on this — some came up with this anti-EV argument on purpose, while others simply didn’t think it through (and don’t drive an EV).

          Believe me, I’m not dropping this point — I’ll be coming back to it over and over again. Because it’s a huge, important point for the selfish consumer.

          • mds

            Bob,
            It’s all in the first sentence:
            “Charging an EV is considerably easier and quicker than filling up a gas tank.“
            Clearly charging an EV is easier, but the quicker part is a half truth. It is far easier to charge at home for normal within range use, but takes longer than a fossil fuel vehicle on longer trips. I agree Zach explains what he means very clearly afterward, but this is lost on some. Likely some are trying to miss the point, but I think you provide a better argument if the point is made more clearly.

            Zach,
            I’m not asking you to drop the point you make, just to be a little clearer so some individuals cannot spin it on you. One of the funniest arguments I’ve heard is that it’s easier to refuel at a gas station than to charge an EV at home. Boy does that come from a well heeled paradigm. It makes no sense.

            Both,
            This is not really that big a deal, but it is causing you to miss the broader picture some. I don’t agree that EVs are being held back because of ignorance. (Actually, I don’t agree their being held back at all.) Broder is just another nayser without large effect really. EVs are being held back because of:
            (a) Cost of the vehicles (Mostly the battery, but also the car itself since EVs are mechanically far simpler than fossil fuel vehicles and the lower cost of the vehicle should help make up for part of the battery cost.)
            (b) Shorter range combined with fewer refueling stations than for fossil fuel vehicles.
            (c) Longer refueling times during long trips.

            All of these will be improving rapidly now that there is an established market. A good chunk of this is nothing more than economies of scales, as Bob has written somewhere.

            Fact is some EVs are already more economical than fossil fuel vehicles for the short trips most North Americans take on a daily basis. (50% less than 26 miles per day; 78% less than 40 miles per day) If you are a two car family, with half a brain cell to use planning trips, then an EV will save you money and protect you in the event of any future world oil crisis. You will still be able to get to work, get the kids to school, and get to the store. If you only have one car and can rent of borrow a fossil fuel vehicle then the same applies. If you live in Hawaii, the Caribbean, or some other island, or in a place like Israel (bordered on all sides by hostile countries and the Mediterranean) then one of the current EVs on the market is all you’ll ever need. This is not true for longer trips, but for most longer trips are less essential for most people. (That’s a statistical fact.)

            EVs are not actually being held back at all. They are just selling a little slower than Carlos Ghosn expected and seem to be selling a little slower than PHEVs and EREVs in the North American market. [Small wonder, since EREVs like the GM Volt completely solve problems (b) and (c) above and will sooner solve problem (a) since their required battery size is smaller.] EVs, PHEVs, and EREVs are all selling way better than Hybrids like the Prius did in their first few years. Again, small wonder since the available fuel savings from all three of these vehicle types is leaps and bounds more than it is for hybrids. Do you really care which one is selling best as long as they’re all starting to replace the old smelly alternative?

            KEEP A CLEAR HEAD AND SMILE. WE’RE WINNING THIS! THERE IS NO QUESTION THE DEMISE OF FOSSIL FUELS VEHICLES IS AT HAND… WE’RE JUST GETTING STARTED.

            Sorry for any confusion I’ve helped create here.
            mike

            ps I think we’ll be surprised how fast this transition accelerates, and how fast people’s minds open, as their pocket book is able to benefit more and more. They’ll start learning VERY quickly.

          • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

            Thanks for the addendum. I updated the subheading yesterday, but let me know if you think it could still use some tweaking. Completely agree with you those matters.

            Regarding your a, b, c points to Bob — I agree that these are the technological issues holding back faster growth. But I think it’s their overhype that has really caused the problem. With a bit of thinking (as you know) they aren’t the issue they’re made out to be. But people get scared easily, especially about change. (But perhaps people are really so cautious about those things themselves that the anti-EV hype doesn’t change things a whole lot, as you suggest.)

            Sales — Yep, completely agree. Another point that has been manipulated and confused. My latest post was on just that matter: http://evobsession.com/evs-are-selling-much-better-than-hybrids-at-this-stage-of-their-lives-note-that-the-toyota-prius-is-the-3rd-most-popular-car-in-the-world/

          • mds

            Thanks Zach. Good enough. Yes, over-hype sucks, the forces of big fossil fuel business know this and are working it. You should be getting some amusement from how often this is backfiring on them. Sometimes when you tell too big a lie people call you on it.
            Saw that recent post. Nice. Please keep up the awe inspiring work!

          • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

            Thanks. Appreciate the great feedback you’ve provided, and always eager to make things as clear as possible. :D

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      Seriously, Damon, give it a few seconds of consideration. How long does it take *you* to plug in the vehicle? You save considerable time not having to stand at a smelly gas station. Yes, the charger is working, but you are not. I think that was clear, but happy to reword the article above if it needs to be made even more clear.

      Also see: http://evobsession.com/second-thing-i-learned-from-the-tesla-nytimes-debacle/

      Furthermore, regarding the planning of trips — yes, if you take a long trip, you need to plan for it. But 97% of our trips are under 50 miles, well within the range of most EVs on the market: http://evobsession.com/one-of-the-biggest-things-i-learned-from-the-tesla-nytimes-debacle/

      Again, you come back to the recharging — “an owner of a gas-powered car has much more flexibility to plan fueling trips around their driving life.” An EV driver has the flexibility of not going to a fueling station, of simply pluggin in at home.

      The vast majority of the framing is counter to where the most convenience really exists.

      “But right now EVs require a very different sort of care and maintanence than gas-powered cars” — Yes, this is the issue. It’s not that EVs are more difficult or less convenient, but simply that they’re different — and many humans are afraid of different.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Damon-Poeter/623153457 Damon Poeter

        Zach – thanks for the response. First of all, I’ll just say I don’t want to charactarize what I’m about to say as a concession – because I support EVs and support Clean Technica’s evangelism of EVs and other sustainable tech. But I think you’re point about the benefit of being able to plug in at home vs. traveling to a gas station is big — that’s a real positive for EVs and one that should get told more.

        But I do you think you should re-word your point No. 3 to make it more clear. Again, ’3. Charging an EV is considerably … quicker than filling up a gas tank.’ (I removed the word ‘easier’ b/c my beef isn’t with that) is at best an incomplete version of what you’re trying to say. And taken as it is written, it appears to baldly misrepresent the facts. I suspect most people are like me and will read that sentence and think, what the hell? It takes longer to charge an EV battery than to fill up a gas tank, what’s this Zach guy trying to pull?

        Again, I now understand what you were trying to convey, thanks to this conversation, and I think the point you’re making about the convenience of plugging in at home (when a driver adjusts their fueling maintenance to the needs of the EV) has a lot of merit.

        FWIW, for many years I’ve done EV car owners one better in being green by not owning a car and using a bike or public transpo for my daily getting around needs (helps that I live in a big city of course …;-)

        • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

          Yes, I did so — was bad wording, but didn’t realize it until others brought it up. Thanks for the note.

    • addicted4444

      To consider the convenience factor, consider another device, which nearly everyone has, and has a charging pattern similar to EVs. Smartphones.

      Does ANYONE think that they would be happier if smartphones did not charge off the grid while you were sleeping at night, but you had to go to a special smartphone refuelling kiosk every few days to recharge it?

      • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

        Great analogy! Saving this one for future reference. May actually write a new post focused specifically on this analogy.

  • http://MrEnergyCzar.com/ MrEnergyCzar

    Oil and Gas are big advertisers for the Times… going off the path into Manhattan Island is a bit foolish I’d have to say…

    MrEnergyCzar

  • ajw

    Rho, would it be fair to point out that in other posts you state that a friend of yours has a motor design turned down by Tesla and that you have been promoting his manufacturing license for a patent that reportedly converts an ICE to hydrogen fuel? Readers deserve to know if there might be some bias on your part. Elon has built his cars and asks for nothing more than an honest evaluation. The cars were reviewed unfairly by Top Gear, no they were not found guilty in the courts, but their defense was that it was OK to make false claims because they were entertainers, not journalists. Now someone promoting hydrogen fuels requiring tens of billions in infrastructure development, and keeping the public tethered to filling stations, says that someone else’s car isn’t ready? Let us know when your friend’s car is ready for a side-by-side road test or is selected as car of the year.

    http://gm-volt.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-16824.html

  • SecularAnimist

    Zachary wrote: “writers with very large audiences are blowing the story. Furthermore, they’re putting even more misinformation into people’s minds.”

    It’s not an accident and it’s not a “mistake” as you suggest in your final sentence. The New York Times has a track record of printing misleading and outright false articles that denigrate and disparage renewable energy, efficiency, and electric vehicles — and so do many of these other “writers with large audiences”. And of course, they diligently IGNORE most of the exciting, promising and even revolutionary news about renewable energy technologies that you all report here.

    Don’t underestimate the degree to which the mainstream media is in the pocket of the fossil fuel corporations.

    • http://www.energyquicksand.com/ Edward Kerr

      A-Men…

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      I certainly may be doing so. I don’t even follow the NYT anymore because their reporting got so bad. It’s a shame.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rhodomel.meads Rhodomel Meads

    1. While it could be true, be prepared to invest a lot of time in the trip. Remember that your effective speed is the total distance traveled divided by the recharging time and driving time.

    2. The EV’s except the GM-Volt are not ready. It is called range anxiety and it makes it very inconvenient for surprise trips and detours of life. It would necessitate hiring a tow truck every now and then or buying another dedicated ICE car for long distance trips, doubling the space for parking. GM-Volt solves the range anxiety problem while giving you electric ride on most daily commutes. None of the current EV offering, except the GM-Volt, can practically reach their adertised mileage. Would you drive a Tesla Model S for your 300 mile trip when there is no supercharger in between? Who has driven a Nissan Leaf continuously for 100 miles in California highways?

    3. The range of a typical commuter EV should be equal to the charging capability during your normal sleep duration. This is most practical as you wouldn’t need additional infrastructure for quick charging. Many unforeseen events can mess with your plan trips. EV’s except the GM-Volt are all unreliable for long distance trips. It would be very inflexible, and the weather could really mess up with your plans. What if brownouts happened along where you need to recharge? Think about the snowstorms, ice storms, heat waves, hurricanes and other weather related events that are now occuring with greater frequency. The GM-Volt shines in such disaster, and may even be modified to supply electric power.

    • Bob_Wallace

      EVs are ready, for what they are ready for…

      A lot of households own two or more cars. A “100 mile range” EV could be the best choice for their car that drives the furthest daily as long as it is within the EV range. An ICEV could be used for shorter daily commutes and long trips. And then one can use public transportation or rent a car for long trips.

      If you want to charge faster, you can…

      The Leaf will charge at the rate of 5 miles per hour on a 120vac outlet. If you sleep eight hours per night that’s 40 miles. Plus another 10 to 20 is you spend your evenings at home.

      If you need more miles per day then install a 240vac outlet. The Leaf will fully charge from empty in eight hours.

      As for running your house…

      The Leaf comes with that capability. It doesn’t need to be modified.

      One size does not fit all. PHEVs would be best for some, EVs for others.

    • mds

      Mr Meads,
      1. Ok, fair enough.
      2.There is no question EREVs like the GM-Volt are great for many people who do need to go farther at times, but EVs are part of the limited oil supply problem too. EVs right now are primarily suited to short distance daily trips. 50% of USA drivers travel less than 26 miles daily, 78% less than 40 miles. This saves a lot of fuel cost if you have another ICE in the family, or can rent/borrow, when you need to go farther. What if you live in Hawaii or Israel where you can’t go much farther in a day without driving in circles anyway? …and where gasoline is more expensive than here.
      You state: “It is called range anxiety and it makes it very inconvenient for surprise trips and detours of life.”
      I disagree. I think it’s called trip planning and reading your range-gauge and it ain’t rocket science. Some of us just aren’t that stupid. Some drivers run out of gas and need to call a tow truck you know.
      You state: “None of the current EV offering, except the GM-Volt, can practically reach their advertised mileage.”
      EVs all reach their advertised to the same degree ICE vehicles do. Do you wait till your tank is completely empty to fill up?

      3. I agree Mr. Shahan’s point about charging plugging in being quicker than refueling is misleading. It is technically correct that plugging in is quicker, but it does take longer to charge EVs. Longer trips in an EV are going to be less convenient, even if there are recharging stations, for that reason. However, the GM Volt has only a little advantage over the Leaf EV in bad weather. It is less likely to run out of electricity/fuel while waiting for the roads to be cleared. Both are going to use virtually no power, except for running the heater, while waiting in stopped traffic. You will be able to run the heater more in the Volt. Big deal, carry a heavy coat and a few blankets in your Leaf and leave the heater off …or don’t buy one if you live in a colder climb and are worried about it …or drive your other car when the weather looks bad. Face it Rho, a surprising number of Americans have extra cars. Fact is solar in combination with electric vehicles (Volt EREV or Leaf EV) rule in the after-math of a storm like Sandy or an earthquake/tsunami like the one in Japan. Distributed power with no fuel distribution network needed.

      In my opinion PHEVs/EREVs and EVs are both going to put ICEVs out of business in coming years. Fuel is a pain and so is making more of it, so EVs will eventually replace even EREVs. That may take 10 years, or it may take 100, or maybe they won’t ever completely replace them. We’ll see how fast technology can solve the battery energy density and fast-charge problem. Technology development is very difficult to predict any distance into the future. Witness those fussion generators they’ve been predicting for over 60 years.

      • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

        checking out that line again and will make it more clear. i thought it was, but apparently came across a bit misleading.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joe-Murtaugh/100003480326456 Joe Murtaugh

    We killed over 4,000 soldiers in the trumped up oil war in Iraq. (With an exCEO from Halliburton as vice president. Do you think Telsa is going to get a fair hearing?

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