Why I will never own an electric vehicle

Home Column Why I will never own an electric vehicle

electric vehicleSo there is a faction of the population who believe that by 2035 all combustion-engine vehicles should go the way of the dinosaur, replaced by the bevy of electric-powered options that continue to hit the market. All I can say is after a recent trip to Canada, I will never own an electric vehicle. Sorry, Mayor Pete. 

Elon Musk can push his free speech agenda on Twitter to his heart’s content, but his dream of a world filled with Teslas is, in truth, a nightmare. Here’s a story for you. 

Last week Dustin and I made our annual fall foray to Quebec, where we like to catch up with a few good friends, who also happen to be our customers. Actually, this was our first trip north of the border since pre-COVID-19 because Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, with all the restrictions he imposed these last two years, makes California Gov. Gavin Newsom look more like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. 

Anyway…the game plan was to fly to Quebec, drive about an hour to St. Georges for lunch, then back an hour to Quebec City for a dinner, with a flight home the next afternoon from Montreal with a meeting along the way. Yes, lots of driving, but we’ve done this before—in a car that derives its power from fossil fuel. 

When we got to the Hertz rental counter, we were given the “keys” to our vehicle. Yes, a Tesla. Now, Dustin and I never professed to be rocket scientists, but it should not have taken us 10 minutes to figure out how to unlock the doors. (Turns out you need to tap the key card somewhere near the roof.) Not what you want to be doing when it’s 15 degrees outside. 

Once inside the car, do you know how to start it? Trick question, because you don’t start it. You put the key card down and it’s already started. But you wouldn’t know because the car doesn’t make a sound. Once we figured out how to get the car in drive, we needed Albert Einstein to figure out how to turn on the heat. But the person we really needed was Blaise Pascal since everything that appeared on the giant iPad was in French. Ten minutes into our drive, Dustin figured out how to get the climate to 22.5 degrees Celsius. That’s after 22.5 tirades. 

But here’s the kicker: Theoretically, the vehicle runs for 375 miles on a full charge. Theoretically, it’s not 15 degrees outside. Theoretically, you’re not driving 85. According to the Tesla website: “When the temperature drops, range can decrease due to extra energy demands. As you drive, be mindful of common reasons your range may decrease more rapidly: high driving speeds.” Thanks. 

We pulled into our lunch locale, which was only 70 miles from our starting point yet caused us 140 miles of fuel—err, electricity. Sorry. We were deeply concerned about the rest of our trip. Not like we can pull into any ol’ gas station. As we were driving from St. Georges to Quebec City, I was calling hotels seeking one with a charging station—and someone who would know how to charge the Tesla. We found the Saint-Antoine, which met our three criteria: charging station, valet to charge it and a bar. 

To get the full charge, it would take 13 hours since it wasn’t a supercharger. Glad we were staying the night. 

We leave in the morning with a full tank, err, full battery. I calculate that we have to drive 127 miles to our meeting and then we have about 65 miles to the airport. That’s 192 miles. Been a long time since math class, but 192 is less than 375. Except as I am driving I am watching the mileagedometer decline as rapidly as the fortunes of a Trump-backed candidate. We pulled into our meeting with 90 miles left in the tank—err, never mind. Imagine our stress level at this point because we are in the middle of nowhere. And there are no charging stations in nowhere. And we are not going to make it from nowhere to the Montreal airport with a battery that holds a charge as well as an iPhone 8 in 2022. 

Good news: There was a charging station at the company we were visiting. Not that we knew how to use it. Thankfully, others did. Two hours of charging “bought” us a grand total of 60 miles. Enough to make it to the airport. 

Electric vehicles? Pass. 

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Nov. 21/28, 2022

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