Flashback: Man Plugs His $115K Electric Hummer In to Charge on Sunday, Finds Out It Won't Be Done Until Friday


Editor’s Note: Our readers responded strongly to this story when it originally ran; we’re reposting it here in case you missed it.

I still remember that Sunday night in my foolish youth driving a Volkswagen on a 67-mile trip while low on gas.

Desperate, I got off the interstate once or twice to poke around small towns trying to find what was in those days a rarity — a gas station open on a Sunday night.

I don’t remember if I found an open station or if there were enough fumes in that little bug to successfully get me to my destination, but I made it. Whew!

That was decades ago, and yet in 2023, I hear — and have written — about electric vehicle drivers having similar experiences to my search for energy all those years ago.

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Because it turns out that, despite all the razzmatazz and hype over an impending climate crisis and saving the planet and such, EVs simply are not ready for the demands of general use.

And there are more than just range issues. The wonderful promise of recharging your EV at home overnight isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Consider the following short video from TFLEV, a YouTube account dedicated to all things EV.

This guy, using a regular U.S. household electrical outlet of 120 volts, needed five days to charge his Hummer’s large 250kw battery.

Five days! Does the car then use the U.S. Postal Service to notify the driver of a full charge?

True, there are upgrades you can get to speed charging. But what does that require? I consulted the “EV Home Charging Cheat Sheet” of a pro-EV nonprofit organization called Coltura.

It said if you don’t drive more than 40 to 50 miles daily, you can get by with a 120v charge, known as Level 1.

Coltura cited Department of Energy figures indicating a 2- to 5-mile range per hour of charge, although in the video the 250kw Hummer battery only increased 1 mile per one hour of charge.

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If Level 1 charging is too slow, you can do Level 2 charging. The Coltura cheat sheet had a link to a DOE website to tell you whether or not you need a Level 2 charger.

Going to that government site produced an error message that said, “You are not authorized to access this page.”

At any rate, Coltura’s cheat sheet indicated 250v would run a Level 2 charger. Most homes and some garages have some 250v circuitry, and with 30 amp capacity, you get 25 to 30 miles for each hour of charging, it said.

But “you might want to consider 40 or 50 amps to better future-proof your charger,” the cheat sheet said. And there’s more.

Level 2 charging equipment can cost “from $500 to $2,000 before installation,” although you might get some money back from “state and utility incentives.” And they strongly recommend hiring an electrician, which for a job like this presumably would run $300 to $500.

Also, the cheat sheet recommends extending battery life by only charging it up to 80 percent, which, of course, reduces range. And, it added, don’t speed.

Then there are the hefty purchase prices and maintenance costs.

Despite hype from media and car manufacturers, there is plenty of skepticism about EVs. That includes from Toyota, which says it will continue making gasoline cars, have EVs as a part of its offerings and, in general, wait until infrastructure catches up for EVs, according to Fortune.

Toyota, at least, realizes it shouldn’t take nearly a week to fill up a vehicle.

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Mike Landry, PhD, is a retired business professor. He has been a journalist, broadcaster and church pastor. He writes from Northwest Arkansas on current events and business history.
Mike Landry, PhD, is a retired business professor. He has been a journalist, broadcaster and church pastor. He writes from Northwest Arkansas on current events and business history.