E-vehicles were the topic of the Rotary meeting on January 12, 2022. Joe Evans was both Rotarian of the day and guest speaker. Joe’s curiosity about electric vehicles was initially piqued by one of his children’s books called “Wheels.” He decided to do some research on the subject, thinking he might like to have one. Much of what he learned surprised him.
Joe discovered that presently there are slightly over two million electric vehicles on the road in the United States. Electric vehicles—E-vehicles—are those powered completely by electric energy, which is replenished by plugging the vehicle into a source of electricity. Vehicles known as hybrids are powered by a combination of electric and gasoline-generated energy, which must be refueled with gasoline but not electricity. Joe was interested in solely electric vehicles.
He learned that slightly over 300,000 E-vehicles were sold in 2021, mostly manufactured by the Tesla company, which makes only E-vehicles, but also some made by Ford, General Motors, and Volkswagen. He also discovered that the average retail price of an E-vehicle decreased from $64,000 in 2019 to $55,000 in 2020.
The main limitation and drawback to the E-vehicle is the range allowed before refueling is needed. It has improved a lot over the last five years or so, but the average range is still under 200 miles. Another drawback to the E-car is the time required to refuel. If you plug it into your home electrical outlet, it can take more than a full day to recharge. Some recharging stations do exist which take much less time for re-charging. There is a destination charger in Ruston which can provide a full recharge in 10 hours. There are also supercharging stations which will give you a full recharge in about 30 minutes. In Louisiana, those are located only in Shreveport, Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
The E-car does have an effect on emissions from fossil fuels. Refining one barrel of oil produces 19 to 20 gallons of gas, among other products. In comparison, one barrel of oil produces 550 kilowatt hours of electricity, a small electric car has a battery which uses about 50 kilowatt hours of electricity, and the largest uses about 100 kilowatt hours.
A negative factor in having a Tesla vehicle, at the upper end of the E-car, is they are quite expensive to repair. They do retain, however, much of their value over time. Tesla can charge new car prices for a trade-in after upgrading the software of the car after it is traded in by the prior owner. On the low end of the electric car scale, there is the Chevy Bolt, which is not so expensive to repair, but currently has a recall on its battery.
Joe also looked into the electric scooter as well as the electric bicycle. In fact, he has purchased two electric bikes, which he and three of his daughters rode to the Rotary meeting for a little “Show and Tell.” E-bikes have been around a number of years, and have been improved a lot over the years. Joe selected Rad Power Bikes, which are manufactured in Seattle. He got two bikes for the family, one a medium sized step-through model and a larger one called the Radwagon. The Radwagon is large enough to transport one adult and two small people at the same time, or to haul groceries and the like on the rear. Rad also makes a Mini, which folds in the middle and makes it easy to store.
These bikes are “hybrids” in that the rider uses the electric motor and pedals at the same time. You can also just use pedal power if the battery runs out during your ride, but the bikes are heavy so it’s hard to move them under only pedal power. The range of the e-bikes battery is between 25 and 40 miles, depending on the terrain and weight on the vehicle. They have different grades of pedal assist, so the lower the grade of pedal assist one uses from the electric motor, the higher the range of the motor. The maximum speed of the Evans’ electric bikes is 25 miles per hour.
The meeting was adjourned with the Rotary motto, “Service above self,” and the Evans family mounted their bikes and rode from Lynda’s Country Kitchen back to Joe’s office near the west end of Main Street.
Pictured above: Rotarian Joe Evens spoke to the Rotary Club of Winnfield on Jan. 12 about the growing development of electric vehicles including electric bicycles like these his family recently acquired. With Evans are daughters Sallee, Siblee and Sophee