Auto reporter Henry Payne is only the latest person to discover that electric vehicles are simply not ready to replace gas-powered cars, especially for long-distance driving, when his Ford F-150 Lightning got only just over half the mileage that the manufacturer claimed on a 280-mile trip.
Payne, an auto critic for the Detroit News, set out to travel from Detroit to Charlevoix, Michigan. His trip was to be around 280 miles, and he was driving a new 2022 F-250 Lightning EV.
Payne wrote that he charged the truck to a full 100 percent charge ahead of the trip, and that the manufacturer claimed that a full charge should have allowed him to travel the whole distance without another charge.
But it wasn’t even close.
Payne wrote that as he sat at his third charging station of the day, another driver asked what sort of mileage he was getting on his roughly $93,000 EV truck.
“I’m getting about 170 miles of range on this trip up I-75,” he told the other driver. “How about you?”
The man replied, “I’ve got the turbo-6 cylinder. I’m getting 600 miles and 22 mpg. I don’t think I’ll ever get one of those electrics.”
At the bottom of his tale of woe, Payne reeled off the F-150 Lightning’s statistics, which included that it was supposed to have a 320-mile travel range on a full charge. But Payne only got about 170 miles down the road before he had to find a charger.
Certainly, electric cars themselves are not entirely useless, especially for local driving. Instead, the problem comes with the Biden administration’s attempts to force Americans to switch to electric vehicles rather than allowing them to determine for themselves what kind of vehicle best fits their needs.
The auto writer noted that inside the city limits of his hometown of Detroit, the Ford Lightning was a great vehicle. But out on the open road, no so much, adding that out on the long haul, “the Lightning’s wattage starts to dim.”
Payne started out the night before with a full charge on his battery, but by the time he got to Saginaw, a little less than halfway to his destination, “the Lightning was getting just 60 percent of estimated range and it was becoming clear to the trip computer that we would not make it to Gaylord,” Payne wrote. He added that the “281-mile range (he was supposed to get) looked more like 168 miles.”
Saginaw had several charging stations, but even that experience left him with a less-than-satisfying outcome.
The first charging station that he found stated that other drivers were currently charging their vehicles. So, he tried a second location that supposedly had four charging stations. But when he got there, two were occupied and the other two were being serviced by technicians and were out of service.
Then it got worse. One of the drivers at one of the two portals pulled out and told Payne that the second charger was not working, meaning that only one of the four chargers at the station was any good.
A frustrated Payne then drove to the first station he found and waited, wasting a lot of time.
Perhaps it could have been worse. If Payne’s truck had needed a battery pack replacement on that trip, it could have cost him more than $35,000!
Payne also added that he had to calculate earlier chargings in areas he knew he could find a station instead of risking having to hunt for a charging station when he was dangerously low on power. It was a calculation about which he said manufacturers don’t warn buyers.
“Though I had traveled just 70 miles since Bay City, chargers are scarce in Charlevoix and so I wanted to top up. That’s something that in-car navi systems don’t tell you. Arrive at your destination with low battery and there may be no infrastructure to get you around town,” he wrote as a warning to his readers.
This fact brings to light the serious mental aspect about driving an EV. The phenomenon is called “range anxiety,” as drivers find themselves in anguish over whether or not they will make it to the next charging station before their EV conks out because manufacturer claims don’t ever seem to pan out.
Payne’s final report was a bit disheartening, especially for those who claim it is much cheaper to drive an EV.
“I arrived in Charlevoix after six hours, 40 minutes for what’s normally a stop-free, 4-hour trip by gas-fired pickup. I had been delayed by 45 minutes of construction and nearly two hours of charging detours across three stations. Cost? About the same as filling with $3.50 gas,” he wrote.
The disaster led Payne to conclude that road trips are the electric truck’s “kryptonite.”
Payne ruefully concluded his review of the F-150 Lightning with a statement made by the driver of a Rivian, an electric car made by a Tesla competitor.
“I recalled my conversation with the Rivian driver in Gaylord,” Payne wrote. “He said he hadn’t anticipated so many delays on his family trip to Mackinac Island. ‘Next time,’ he said, ‘I’m bringing a different vehicle.'”
That statement seems to be the common denominator in these stories. Everyone who tries using an EV for a long haul wishes they had driven a gas-powered car, instead.
For instance, a Colorado man found his 180-mile road trip through Wyoming took 15 hellish hours where it would take less than four hours in a gas-powered car.
In another case of an EV disaster, a Youtube user discovered that his electric truck was not suited for towing despite what the manufacturers said.
Towing is a particular problem which seriously limits the range of an EV. According to Autotrader, towing large loads reduces the range of electric cars significantly, sometimes by as much as one-third, or even by half.
American consumers are perfectly free to buy a far more expensive electric vehicle, of course, especially if they intend to use it only to drive locally. But the government’s idea that we all should be in an EV is simply not a logical goal considering the logistical and technological limits from which these vehicles suffer.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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