Don’t Give Up Your Gasoline Car Quite Yet

Friends of ours have children and grandchildren who live in the New York City area and they often drive there. They can make it in about 7 hours in their SUV.

Now that everyone is talking about electric cars, I was wondering how long it would take them to make that drive in an electric-driven vehicle (EV)?

Though EV batteries are getting bigger and better, it is currently best to only count on them for 250-300 miles between recharges. New York City is 360 miles away. So, it is probably best to think about driving to New York in an EV over two days and not trying to make it a one-day trip. You wouldn’t want to run out of juice in the Lincoln Tunnel right at the end of your trip.

Currently it takes 8-10 hours using conventional sources of power to “fill-up” an EV. So that would mean driving east to Binghamton, staying over-night, recharging the car and then heading on into New York the next day. Who wants to do that?

I bring this up because sometimes people want you to think that the conversion away from gasoline-driven cars will be an easy thing. It may be easy around a big city where you never drive more than 100 miles per day. But, around here, things get more complicated.

There are a lot of differences between electrically driven cars and those with internal combustion engines. An electric car has no big engine or transmission. It has no exhaust system. Yet, it does have a battery that weighs 1,200 pounds that needs to be constantly refilled, and you could be left stranded.

Someday they might make a battery that will go 1,000 miles between “fill-ups,” or perhaps they will develop a technology to fill a battery in a matter of minutes instead of hours. But, for the foreseeable future, it looks like long distance trips by electrically-driven cars may be problematic.

Another option might be to have electric cars rented instead of owned. You could then drive a car to Binghamton, trade it in for a fully charged car and then head on into New York. It would sort of be like a modern day “Pony Express” where every so many miles you get on a fresh horse in order to keep the mail moving. But, would people actually adapt to that? We are used to having our own car.

When you think about it, our gasoline driven cars are really quite efficient. Where else can you put 90 lbs. of fuel into a 14-gallon tank and have the energy to propel you down a road for about 300 miles?

I don’t know about you, but I think that it is going to be awhile before people start driving electric cars from here to New York City or beyond. I wouldn’t give up your gasoline car quite yet.

Rolland Kidder is a Stow resident.


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