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Pundit’s Mailbag: Bay Cities Produce ‘Experiment’ with EV Trucks Sheds Light on Climate-Change Fanaticism

Our piece — Will Climate-Change Fanaticism Bankrupt the West? —brought many responses, including this one:

Jim, thanks for saying what’s not being said.

Bay Cities Produce was recently asked to be part of a study to electrify delivery trucks. The load capacity would be 40% less. Run more trucks was the answer. Twice the drivers was the solution.

A 30-minute charge, up to a three-hour wait time needs to be figured in. The new electric semi is available, great torque, power but a 150-mile range. Also a three-hour charge time.

Batteries weigh 10,000 lbs. and have 25% less load capacity. A ten-hour drive from L.A. to the Bay Area is now 20 hours.

Oh… due to the lack of power available currently, we have been asked not to charge our E.V’s during peak hours.

I must be missing something.

—Steve Del Masso
Bay Cities Produce
San Leandro, California

It is entirely possible that all trucks will eventually wind up being electric. Tesla’s new Semi is said to travel up to 500 miles on a single charge and can recharge up to 70% of that in just 30 minutes. Tesla claims a low cost of ownership:

Charging with electricity is approximately 2.5 times cheaper per mile than refueling with diesel. Operators can see estimated fuel savings of up to $200,000 within their first three years of ownership. With remote diagnostics, over-the-air software updates and fewer moving parts to maintain, operators will spend less time at service centers and more time on the road.

Others think the future for large trucks may be hydrogen:

We Ride in Toyota’s Hydrogen-Powered Big Rig

While the jury is still out on whether hydrogen fuel cells will play a big role in powering future consumer vehicles, it does show some promise in filling the long-range trucking space. That’s the thinking at Toyota, in any case, as the automaker has invested heavily in hydrogen-electric vehicles. This tech is still years away from seeing mass adoption on the roadways, but Toyota is readying its powertrain to see production start next year.

Now technology is always advancing. There are always new opportunities, and what the future might bring is always uncertain.

As we quoted in our original piece:

If you think this couldn’t happen in America, think again. The underlying cause of Britain’s energy misery is its fixation with climate goals, especially the ambition to achieve net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050. To meet that goal, Britain has grown hostile to domestic energy exploration, banning shale-gas fracking and slapping windfall-profits taxes on North Sea oil and gas producers that will deter investment. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has hurt, but the U.K.’s policies made its citizens vulnerable to such a global shock….

There are two big issues:

The first issue, of course, is that whatever one may think is the desirability of meeting the Net-Zero carbon goal, that is not in the power of the UK, or of California. The BBC reports that China Emissions Exceed all Developed Nations Combined. In other words, it is not obvious that imposing tight standards in California will actually do much of anything to impact climate change.

The second issue is money.  Joel Klotkin, Roger Hobbs Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University in Orange, California, and Executive Director of the Houston-based Urban Reform Institute, and author of many studies and books, has dealt with these issues. He has written pieces including:

Electric Car Mandates Latest Frontier of Elites War on Middle Class that explains the situation:

Perhaps the most dubious aspect of the all-electric policy is the simple question of where will the new juice come from to power these cars. In the UK, EVs are projected to double the demand for electricity by 2040, and the government is already looking to ban the use of home chargers during peak hours.

Expect the same in California, which has not been adding capacity along with its decrees, forcing the state to import over 30 percent of its electricity from other states. This has made California the nation’s largest net electrical-importing state by a wide margin; by 2050, state consultants estimate that electrification mandates, including those for trucks, will cause total demand to skyrocket, with some estimates of demand rising 60 to 90 percent by that time.

Nor will electric cars provide much relief to middle or working-class families. The price of rare metals and computer chips has surged of late, raising the prices of EVs; electric truck maker Rivian recently raised the price of their pickups by $12,000, to nearly $80,000 (not coincidentally, the original amount of the rebate promised in Build Back Better).

Simply put, EVs—which last year sold for an average of at least $56,000 —are not a viable option for most Californians, particularly as enormous demand for lithium, copper, and aluminum has soared. Middle-class Americans certainly won’t be snatching up the newly planned $300,000 Cadillac EV, or even the popular Model Y Tesla SUV, now $70,000 due to rising battery prices. The best they can hope for is to use the EVs of the ride-sharing companies, whose electric transition will be financed by taxpayers, if a new ballot measure passes.

As with President Biden’s college debt forgiveness, the EV drive raises enormous issues of class and equity. When Newsom announced an accelerated schedule to ban gasoline-car sales by 2035, Assemblyman Jim Cooper, an African American from Sacramento, denounced the proposal, pointing out that the low- and middle-income drivers he represents can’t afford electric cars. “How will my constituents afford an EV? They can’t, he tweeted.

Mr. Kotkin also wrote a piece, titled The Democrats’ Green Agenda is Hurting Californians, which broadens the issue:

… a key reason for California’s energy shortfall is the state’s harmful green policies; Jerry Brown’s plans to rebuild the state’s water capacity, for example, elicited a hostile green response from a state commission that refused to consider new dams or desalinisation, let alone spending money on already voter-approved new water storage projects. They are even pressuring Washington to demolish four dams in northern California for not being environmentally pure enough.

A similar dunderheadness extends to energy. For the last twenty years, the state has looked toward “green” energy — solar and wind — as the sole acceptable energy source. But despite billions spent, the state continues to struggle with the intermittent nature of solar and wind power. In order to prevent a total electricity shortfall, Governor Newsom — faced with a potentially devastating energy shortage this summer — was forced to reprieve the Diablo Canyon, the state’s last remaining nuclear plant. He has also allowed some gas plants to remain open.

Things could get worse as the state seeks to go all-electric in the next decade, with the elimination of gas powered cars by 2035. Yet there is little consideration into how California will be able to satisfy the rising demand for the electricity that EVs require. This, remember, in a state that already faces regular power shortages (California imports over 30% of its energy from other locations, and it is by far the nation’s largest net electrical-importing state).

Steve is not missing out on much.

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