Electric Cars In Natural Disasters

Estimated read time 3 min read

They’re not as practical as you’re being told.

We came across an interesting piece recently from American Thinker about why electric vehicles aren’t a great way to evacuate ahead of a natural disaster like Hurricane Ian. This is a topic we’ve discussed among ourselves and with others many times. Sadly, most people don’t think too much about such things until it’s too late, instead trusting their leaders and private companies have their best interests in mind always.

Learn about vehicle charging rates skyrocketing in the UK here.

The fact is many electric cars, particularly those which are more affordable and thus more accessible for anyone who isn’t highly affluent, sport pathetic ranges compared to traditional vehicles. Some are well below 100 miles in real-world driving, while others might get you 200 miles or so. When a mass number of people are trying to clear out of the pathway of an unpredictable storm like Ian, this could be the difference between avoiding the disaster and being caught in the middle of it.

Sure, you can stop and recharge your EV, but that might take a long while. Ever gone to somewhere like Costco for gas and there’s a big line you have to wait in? If you’re waiting for more than 15 minutes it seems like an eternity. Well, for recharging most EVs at public stations, the low end you’re looking at is 30 minutes per vehicle with the possibility of a few hours. In other words, your ability to flee a hurricane would be greatly hindered as you have to stop and recharge your car along with all the other EV owners.

Thomas Lifson, the author of the above-mentioned piece, believes this could lead to cars backed up onto the highway. Considering the federal government is pushing for charging stations along interstates, that might not be such a wild concept. He also points out that others might chance driving to the next charging station rather than wait in a long line, their battery giving out before they reach their destination. Recharging these EVs stranded on the highway would be much harder than quickly filling a regular car with a couple gallons of gas.

There’s also the issue of the power going out wherever you are, leaving you helpless to recharge your EV unless you have a generator and fuel on hand. While it’s certainly true that you’d need extra fuel stored up since gas station pumps wouldn’t work unless the station had a generator going, that’s an easier solution. Some EV advocates argue that you can use your car to run some devices in your house which you normally couldn’t use until power is restored, but keep in mind that means you can’t drive as far, so that might put you in quite the bind later. Plus, you can do the exact same thing with a generator, which you might need to keep your EV topped off.

When leaders both in the government and private industry tell you that getting an EV and dumping your ICE car will benefit your life in every way, you need to take what they say with a grain of salt. There’s a reason why so many EV owners still own at least one traditional vehicle. There’s something to be said for sticking to what’s been proven rather than going all-in on something novel that’s marketed to be cool.

Photos via Nissan, Tesla

Steven Symes https://writerstevensymes.com/

Steven Symes is an accomplished automotive journalist with a passion for all things related to cars. His extensive knowledge and love for the automotive world shine through in his writing, which covers a diverse range of topics.

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