September 13, 2017

Hurricane Irma: Is reliance on electric vehicles really the best for the future?

Are electric cars and trucks really the future for transportation of people and freight?

Well, perhaps not, given the lesson being learned from Hurricane Irma.

As of today, approximately 15 million people in Florida are without electricity, in addition to an unknown number in the remaining states visited by Irma's wrath.

15 million people.  And restoration of electrical power is expected to take untold weeks in Florida.

Not days without electricity.  Weeks.  Months, maybe?  And it's not just about not having the lights on.  Not just about lacking air conditioning.

It's also about electric plug-in vehicles.

Much is said about gasoline shortages in Florida, and people waiting in line for up to 90 minutes to fill up vehicles with gasoline.

Granted, the wait in line is an inconvenience, but gasoline is available. People have transportation, trucks can deliver desperately needed food, water, and supplies.

But wait a minute, there' s a catch.  That catch is, of course,  that the vehicles are gasoline or diesel powered.  100% electric plug-in vehicles are dead and of no use until the power comes back on.  Which could be weeks or longer.

No electrical power.  No electric vehicle.

Some may say:  Well, what about using generators?  My answer to that is two fold.  (1) It simply is not practical for every electric vehicle owner to have a generator; and (2) generators require gasoline to run.  So you'll need to use your electric car to get to the gas station for gasoline.  An impossible task to do if your electric vehicle is dead.

Don't get me wrong, I do believe that electric vehicles have a place in our lives for both personal and freight transportation.   But to the special interest groups and electric vehicle manufacturers who are pushing for future  100% (or thereabouts) electric vehicle reliance, I say:  Take a step back and look at realities.  We will have more natural events and other perils that create extended electrical power outages, at times in large, highly populated areas.  How prudent is it to place 100% (or thereabouts) reliance on an electric plug-in vehicle for transportation when the vehicle cannot run during these times; times when transportation of people, food, water, and supplies is desperately needed?

In my opinion, not very prudent at all.

Mary Rae Fouts


  1. Hybrids are better than all electric, gas backup.

  2. I read today that people died from carbon monoxide poisoning using generators in the hurricane area.


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