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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Avoidable Contact #107: Could an EV get us all the way to Uranus? | Hagerty Media

It was a lazy, late Thursday night in my brother's college dormitory when some free spirit knocked on his door: "We're gonna go touch the Arch and come back. Do you want to go with us?" It was precisely 420 miles from Ohio State to St. Louis, and another 420 back.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/opinion/avoidable-contact/avoidable-contact-107-could-an-ev-get-us-all...
56 REPLIES 56
Sunshine1868
Pit Crew

I'll help you shout this from the rooftops! One of my favorite features (among the 9 seats+cargo area, manual-shift transfer case, and newly installed auxiliary battery system) in my '99 Suburban is the 42 gallon (or 44, depending on the manual you're reading) fuel tank. At ~70mph she makes 18mpg - which gives me the ability to transport 9 people with all their luggage more than 700 miles (across the flat midwest for argument's sake). I shudder to think how long it would take a Tesla to bring the same number of people and luggage the same distance.

PS: Jaco and Vulfpeck in a full-size Chevrolet? You're a man of good taste.
DaveFla
Pit Crew

Cue cries of "why would anyone NEED that!?!" in 3.. 2.. 1..
Sluicehotbox
Pit Crew

Because they enjoy replacing their transmission every 100k miles
Sunshine1868
Pit Crew

Ouch! She's only had her first rebuild at 300,000+ miles. The 4L60e is actually extremely reliable as long as you aren't a hooligan constantly doing hard launches or trying to push extra power out of the modest L31 powerplant.

Compare that to my 2004 Ram 3500 - when I was finally able to get that piece of gum off my shoe half the body was made of rust and the tranny needed 3 rebuilds - all within 200k miles. It really was a million mile engine (Cummins) surrounded by a 50k mile truck.
Rider79
Instructor

I am still trying to figure out who - or what - Jaco and Vulfpeck are.
MeJ
Detailer

While I agree with everything you said, the only problem is that gas is a limited resource. No matter if we all say eff-it to E-vehicles and just keep buying ICE vehicles, the problem is gas will eventually run out. Maybe not in my life time (I'm around your age Jack) but it will happen eventually.
mhealy1
Detailer

67 percent of the electricity produced here is generated using fossil fuels. Eventually, probably about the time the gas runs out, we’ll face the same reality with the generation of electricity.
I know, solar and wind. I can’t find a study anywhere with an estimate of the land mass required by solar and wind to match our fossil fuel electric capacity. I haven’t found a study that says it’s even possible to replace fossil fuels with solar and wind for the generation of electricity. And if I hear one more time about charging at home in the garage using my home solar panel...I, like a third of Americans, rent. I don’t have a garage, much less my own solar panel.
We have a long way to go before electrics are practical. I’m keeping my ICE until then.
DavidHolzman
Detailer

420 x 420 sq miles would give us much more than we need.

Go here for the big picture tinyurl.com/CheapSolar420x420sqmilesworld

And here to dig into the weeds https://tinyurl.com/systemthatworksbest

DavidHolzman
Detailer

That said, I'm planning to keep driving my ICE for the rest of my life, or until it becomes too inconvenient to find gas on road trips. To me, mechanical things have soul, electronic things don't.
mhealy1
Detailer

Interestingly, I find the idea is electric vehicles intriguing at the very least. I’m just not the pioneer sort. Too many nightmares of ending up in a modern-day Donner party.
RokemRonnie
Detailer

David, I know a number of guitar amp and pedal designers who would disagree with you.
Are the Seiko Spring Drive or Citizen Caliber 0100 less elegant inventions than John Harrison's marine chronometer just because they have some electronic circuitry?
It's interesting that a lot of guitar pedals that are designed to electronically reproduce the tone of vintage electromechanical devices like Hammond tonewheels or vibratos, DeArmond tremolos, and spring or plate reverbs can only come so close. Mechanical devices have non linearities that are hard to reproduce.
SJacobT
Detailer

Casio GW5000-1jf
mhealy1
Detailer

I’d be more comfortable with the New Yorker article if it wasn’t selectively excerpted and didn’t offer comparisons between incomparable figures (global solar km2 compared to US fossil fuel km2).
The US consumes 17% of the world’s total energy consumption. 17% of 450000 km2 (the area devoted to solar arrays as quoted in the article as needed to cover world energy consumption) is just shy of 30000 square miles. 30000 square miles is roughly the area covered by Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire combined. Mind you, that includes areas unsuitable for placement of solar arrays, such as lakes, rivers, cities, etc, so the number of states covered by solar arrays might go up a bit.
Not feasible yet, I’d say.
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

As I understand it, you can basically make infinite diesel fuel with a landfill and a breeder reactor. The problem is that this releases a lot of heat and carbon into the atmosphere. So at that point you need to address *that* problem.

I'm about as interested in a One World Government as I am in having my fingers fed to me one by one, but a truly effective world government would pursue a technological solution to all of this at once. Sequester a massive amount of carbon... into diamond coatings that would increase the albedo of the planet and reduce the amount of heat absorbed. Use small-scale assemblers to create floating islands from all the plastic trash, then coat them with recovered-diamond carbon. Build space elevators then pipe ocean water up to them, taking heat off the planet.

The problem with all of the above, of course, is that in addition to being difficult it also denies our political and social betters the pleasures of battering the proletariat with consumption-reduction methods. There's no fun quite as fun as telling people they need to eat cicadas from the comfort of your Gulfstream.
DavidHolzman
Detailer

Diamonds to boost the albedo is an interesting idea if it could be cost effective. I have no idea what the answer to that is. I also don't know how large scale floating islands would affect ocean life--on which we depend for our own sustenance, and which is also sequestered carbon.
Swamibob
Instructor

"There's no fun quite as fun as telling people they need to eat cicadas from the comfort of your Gulfstream." Now there's a T-shirt! Maybe the other side of the t-shirt advertising travelling to Uranus?
Just recently; the Governor of my state was nearly forced to raise the mask mandates for buildings. Of course that didn't stop the Governor from giving up his Emergency Powers, even though there isn't any sort of Emergency, but I digress... When the mask mandate fell; virtually all local businesses dropped any pretense of needing a mask. Shortly after the mandate fell, i was walking into my local Mega Super Market and it occurred to me to go running through the entire store "FREEDOM... FREEEEDOOOM; I was able to stave that desire off long enough to get my needed groceries and go back to my gas guzzling car and take a nice long, lazy drive around back roads and Dales enjoying my newly realized freedom.
So called, "Fossil Fuels" might be a limited thing, but the current known reserves will for several centuries.
CitationMan
Instructor

We need to add “so called” to describe so many things today LOL.

Rider79
Instructor

Grasshoppers are better, especially if chocolate-covered. And, we get exercise catching them! ;<)
DavidHolzman
Detailer

It probably will become practical to produce a liquid fuel via bacteria one of these days, likely for both cars and planes. Maybe even in the next ten years. Synthetic biology is getting better and better.
OldFordMan
Detailer

I am 73 and the stories of running out of oil/gas in X years has been floating that whole time, same as the Chicken Little story.
CJinSD
Advanced Driver

Why would we run out of gas? There are more known oil reserves now than at any time in history. Previously dry wells are replenishing. It's more likely that the earth is an engine for producing oil than it is that anyone who understands science believes in AGW.
CitationMan
Instructor

To maximize our freedom, all ICE vehicles should have the same Federal tax benefits as EV’s.
silentsod
Pit Crew

"It is human to dream of wide open spaces from behind the bars of a cage, but who could have sympathy for the person who lives in freedom yet dreams of a more perfect confinement?"

BAP would be proud. The American love of road trip and exploring as the call of the open steppe.
Rider79
Instructor

Who, or what, is BAP?
crm114
Pit Crew

If I owned a tourist trap like Uranus, I'd be pricing out DC fast chargers right now. It would be a great way to get families to stop for 40 minutes and buy crap.
DavidHolzman
Detailer

We drove cross country three times when my brother and I were 6 and 4, and then 9 and 7, and 10 and 8. I LOVED watching the country go by, and terrain changing, etc. But having to sit while the Studebaker or the '57 Chevy charged would have bored the bejesus out of us, and we would have driven our parents crazy. I drove myself across country the first time in the 8 year old '62 Falcon, at 17. Again, can't imagine the boredom of having to stop every several hours.

In fact, the few electric powered x-country trips described in the buff books have been boring.

Tinkerah
Technician

Age will change your perspective in ways you can't imagine now. I can barely remember not having to stop every several hours.
Rusty
Pit Crew

Good point. Not only do you need to stop more frequently but for longer periods.
Fifth87
Pit Crew

Next trip, Bunghole Liquors in Salem, MA.
No t-shirts there, but a trip to the Witch City and its shameless tourist traps will yield mementos and stories aplenty.
Stopped in Rolla a few times with my late FIL who had a fondness for a particular restaurant whose name escapes me. Disappointed I didn't see Uranus Fudge!
Sluicehotbox
Pit Crew

Electric cars are in their infancy. When the gas powered car came out, horses were better. If gas stations were spread out 600 miles and used a small tube to fill the tank, it would not be viable either. Obviously electric cars are not as capable, reliable, fun or useful as gas vehicle now. Look back 10 years and judge the progression of gas vs electric vehicles. If you've played with RC cars you may have had a nitro car and later got a brushless one. Eventually new technology eclipses the old in certain ways.

I think the real problem will be autonomous cars in 25-50 years that monetize routes, restrict the ability to go on an uncharted adventures and erase the concept of ownership of ones property.
CJinSD
Advanced Driver

The electric car peaked before the gas powered car. You can look it up. Edwardian era electric cars were far more user-friendly than gas powered cars while possessing greater transportation utility than horses. Then gasoline powered cars reached a state of development where they were as easy to operate as an EV while being infinitely better at all the things they're still infinitely better at, like providing true freedom of movement.
Sluicehotbox
Pit Crew

They just progressed at different rates. Just because something was the best option at one point in it's long development does not mean it "peaked." Unless you mean in popularity or general support. I would take a taycan or tesla over an 1.7hp electric stagecoach with wooden wheels even though the public was all over it during the Victorian times.

Gas cars are better now in many ways. But there will likely be a point in the future when gas is prohibitively expensive and those gas stations you could've stopped at on those trips no longer exist because it just isn't profitable anymore. Your freedom of movement may just be the radius around a few places. Just because a $4000 gas vehicle can be objectively more useful than a 100k electric vehicle doesn't mean it will always be like that.
CJinSD
Advanced Driver

What you're talking about is loving your cage. EVs won't get better. The world will have to be brought down to their level.

ATLpaul
Intermediate Driver

We have come a long way in a short time since first gen Tesla coupe and Nissan Leafs with less than 100 miles of range. Now we are at 250 miles or even more with some electrics. There are faster charging stations even outside Tesla that are popping up. Infrastructure and range are not there for electrics to serve as primary vehicle yet. But the amount of investment and ingenuity across the globe going into batteries and reducing charging times makes me think we should be able to get to similar transaction time as spent filling vehicle with gas in another 10 years or so. We shall see.
Spuds
Advanced Driver

Then theres that elephant in the room.Where is the electricity coming from? And you can bet your bottom dollar it wont be any less expensive than gas,in fact I'll predict it will cost much much more when the politicos have taxation control over every KW used.
This isnt about the environment,its about total control over you.Now go get your 'flu' shot,its not your body,they own it.Social control,the aircraft carrier in the room.
58_Plastic_Tub
Pit Crew

"The admirably compliant folks who do most of the autowriting in this business nowadays would have you believe that such freebooting behavior is limited to a small and unpleasant group of Americans nowadays. The nerve of me and my son, just deciding to drive around the country and ride our bikes sans the social absolution of protesting/demonstrating to justify us or the secular indulgence of carbon credits to shield us!"

I'd like to see other members of your guild (content as they are to play their respective part in the dystopian novel they are calling "the inevitable future") forced to read this article as a condition of employment, and of polluting "enthusiast" publications with trite pap and outright disinformation.

We stand at a "Red Barchetta" crossroads, and you, Jack are one of the few voices crying loudly enough to matter.

This is madness.
S2kChris22
Pit Crew

I’m excited for the Wrangler Rubicon 4xe I have on order. All of the virtue signaling in town on EV power, and all of the usable gas range I can use to do anti social things like drive long distances to hunt, fish, boat, off-road, snowmobile, and what have you.
Nick_D
Intermediate Driver

Vehicles like the 4xe seem far more viable than pure EVs for anyone needing a primary vehicle outside of a coastal urban area.

Cars seem to be going down two paths - the lighter, efficient, less resource-intensive route, and the mammoth 9,300lb load range F tire wearing Hummer EV route. One path seems far more sustainable than the other.
Gary_Bechtold
Technician

I don't think there is a way to comment about Uranus and sound like an adult so I'll just go now and giggle away like a 12 year old.
OldFordMan
Detailer

YAY get out and enjoy the ride AND the destination!
Dave404
Detailer

I once asked a man, "How do you like Uranus"? He said it was bigger than he thought. I asked a woman the same question, she said she can't get her husband out of it.
drhino
Instructor

Jack, Jack, Jack….

How immature and terribly irresponsible you are.

Always good to see a kindred spirit!
Gary_Bechtold
Technician

Not myanus, Uranus...

SuperDeLuxe
Detailer

Gasoline was a rare commodity in the early days of motoring. Fearless pioneers drove coast to coast without reliable maps, supplies of fuel, or even roads and bridges! They went because they could. American spirit, as it used to be called is now called arrogance. EVs are tethered to infrastructure. You dare not go along a road (I-90 comes to mind) that doesn't have a charging station every 100 miles, let alone a Trader Joe's. We have been conditioned to see freedom as accessing roads and other services that have been built for our convenience. Freedom is wholly divorced from convenience, freedom is the ability to find your own way without the limitation of infrastructures. Thanks again for another thoughtful piece Jack!
Swamibob
Instructor

Hmmm Jack.... Uranus Fudge Factory... Too EASY! 🙂
Love the idea of a group of guys just getting together and driving from Ohio to St. Louis to touch the Arch! Great idea. In my younger years A couple buddies and I packed ourselves in a '72 Pinto (this was in the early 80's, so it was getting old and rusty) and drove from Minneapolis down to just outside Dallas/Ft Worth, so I could see one of my brothers and buy a '72 Camaro.
We we did have a lot of fun, but a Pinto is no place for three guys and their gear and a straight through drive to Texas, but we did it and celebrated the Great American Road Trip. They left shortly after we got to our destination. I stayed two weeks, bought the Camaro and drove it back; again celebrating the Great American Road Trip.
If I can find the right car, this Summer, I will do the same thing again. Anyone have a nice '64 Tempest or Lemans or Chevelle or Buick Special?
Bring on Liberty!
Flashman
Instructor

As always, you express a thoughtful provocative opinion. I'm not sure I'd position it as class warfare, though. I've always felt you shouldn't take more of anything than you need, but "need" is very subjective.

BTW, my favourite tourist trap is Skinny Dick's Halfway Inn, in Alaska. I did not buy the t-shirt.
86
Intermediate Driver

Jack will not go gentle into that ICEless night. 🙂
JRJones
Detailer

Jack, the memories of significance here are destinational more than "the trip" but yes your point is vehicular and technological. It is a car (truck?) media not a bike media afterall.
Infrastructure was not always as comprehensive and trips as immediate as you suggest.
1969 I am reassigned from Selfridge AFB MI to Tyndall AFB FL with a buddy from San Antonio. Driving a 1966 Shelby GT350 we take a "delay in route" to entertain ourselves in San Antonio. Navigating from I-94 to Southbound in Chicago traffic the intersection with I-80 approaches. We reflect on our time at Tech School in Denver and impulsively turn West. The Shelby is great at high speed, anticipating lunch or maybe breakfast in Denver, but at 1AM in rural NE, the sixteen gallon tank is dry and nothing is open, even on the interstate. We pull into a small town gas station and try to sleep until opening.
This inconvenience was diminished when I recently found the trip diary of my Great Grandparents from 1924. Starting from the farm in Otsego WI they drove NW to Minneapolis and on to the northern West Coast, camping in town squares or boarding houses. The trip consumed about a year but the high point for me was the return, navigating the Mojave Desert. The road was obscured by a "sand-out" but waiting in a touring car with limited water was not an option. Great Grandma was tasked with walking before the car with a stick to prod the pavement for location.
Travel, technology and convenience has progressed and will continue to do so.
wdb
Detailer

Well duh.