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Promoted from the diaries by streiff. Promotion does not imply endorsement.
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In this Nov. 14, 2017, photo, a worker and a driver stand next to a Toyota Mirai fuel cell vehicle while it is filled hydrogen full into at a hydrogen fueling station in Tokyo. Toyota is banking on a futuristic “electrification” auto technology called hydrogen fuel cells for its zero-emissions option. (AP Photo/Yuri Kageyama)

At a global warming climate change meeting last night, when the priest who was leading the meeting was asked what was in the so-called ‘Green New Deal,’ he admitted that it was just a sort of broad overview. Being the helpful sort that I am, I noted that while the Green New Deal itself wasn’t very detailed, all of the Democratic presidential candidates had their own versions, and people could look them up on the various candidates’ campaign websites. I tend to concentrate on Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who is (apparently) moving toward frontrunner status, and her adoption of Governor Jay Inslee’s (D-WA) plan.

Warren had already announced plans on green manufacturing and public lands. She said in her Tuesday post that she was committing an additional $1 trillion over 10 years “to match Governor Inslee’s commitment, and to subsidize the economic transition to clean and renewable electricity, zero emission vehicles, and green products for commercial and residential buildings.”

The candidate aims to achieve clean electricity, clean vehicles and clean buildings.

Specifically, she said she hopes to achieve “100% zero-carbon pollution for all new commercial and residential buildings” by 2028, “100% zero emissions for all new light-duty passenger vehicles, medium-duty trucks, and all buses” by 2030, and “100% renewable and zero-emission energy in electricity generation” by 2035.

So, by 2030, “all new light-duty passenger vehicles, medium-duty trucks, and all buses” will be total electric vehicles like the Tesla.¹ Perhaps Mrs Warren — net worth: $8.75 million — can afford to buy a Tesla (Model 3 = $35,000 starting MSRP; Model S = $75,000; Model X = $81,000), but most Americans cannot.

But then I started thinking about the hidden costs. An electric vehicle is totally useless if you cannot recharge the batteries!

So, I started looking up home recharging stations. Using the Home Depot website, one of the least expensive home charging stations, at $491.21, was the Seimens VersiCharge Gen 2 30 Amp Indoor/Outdoor Electric Vehicle Charger Plug-In Bottom/Rear Fed with 20 ft. Cord, which:

  • Level 2 EV Charger, Charges most EV’s in less than 3.5 hours
  • Plugs into a NEMA 6-50, 240 Volt Receptacle
  • Visible glowing LED halo indicates charging status

240 volts and 50 amps, huh?

The minimum wire gauge for a 50-amp breaker is eight gauge, and if the current draw is expected to remain close to the 50-amp limit for an extended period, you should use six-gauge wire. The three-conductor cable should have two hot wires that are colored red and black, a neutral wire that is colored white and a green or bare ground wire that doesn’t count as a conductor.

I’m fortunate: I have the knowledge, tools and skill to install such a circuit in my garage myself, but most people don’t. This involves adding another breaker to your circuit breaker box, running the cable and installing the receptacle. Six or eight gauge wire is tough; have fun threading it through your walls!

The obvious truth is that the vast majority of people would have to bring in an electrician to get this work done, and depending upon location and the complexity of the installation, it could easily run over $2000, and still leave you with holes in your interior walls you needed to repair yourself.

Of course, all this assumes that you have a place to charge your vehicle! At my previous residence in Pennsylvania, I did not have a garage. The lot was long and narrow, and I parked my Ford F-150 in the driveway off of the back alley; my wife parked her car on the street out front. To have charged our vehicles would have required a separate electric service, to an outdoor vehicle charging station, fully accessible to anyone who walked past. Would I want neighborhood kids able to play with a 240 volt charger? Would I want someone to pull in and charge his car on my bill while I was away at work?

And we were fortunate enough to have a driveway in which we could park. Many people have on street parking only available to them, and oftentimes have to park someplace other than a space directly in front of their homes. How could they reliably charge their vehicles? Would they have to stop at the charging station after work, perhaps several miles from their homes, and sit there for well over an hour before they could finish their drive home? Not everyone works at a place in which there could be charging stations; practically everyone in the building trades works from jobsite to jobsite rather than out of a standard shop.

Many older homes do not have 200 amp electric service, which would be necessary to service a car charger. Some older homes have 100 amp circuit boxes, to run everything in their homes: lights, refrigerators, etc, and adding a 50 amp 240 volt circuit really isn’t feasible. These homes, usually owned by poorer Americans, would have to have their electric service upgraded, meaning a new panel box, installed by a licenses electrician and inspected by the local government. Some older homes still have knob-and-tube wiring, and many local codes would require upgrading that before a new panel would pass inspection.² Just how much would that cost homeowners, or landlords, some of whom aren’t exactly rolling in dough?

Wealthy Americans, like Senator Warren and the gaggle of other Democrats who want to run our lives, really don’t understand the lives of poorer people. Oh, they make noises about it, decrying income inequality and lower wages, but they have no flaming idea what it is like to have to worry whether you’ll be able to put food on the table every day until the next payday comes. Yet these oh-so-sympathetic Democrats seem to have no problems at all proposing things which would require large investments in home improvements to support the electric cars they want everyone to drive. They’ll propose all sorts of things to ‘help’ people buy electric drive vehicles, but without upgrading the wiring in their homes and adding circuits to their garages, electric vehicles will be useless.
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¹ – My older daughter has a Toyota Prius Hybrid, which gets over 50 miles per gallon, but it still has a gasoline engine for part of driving, and that means it is not zero-emission, not good enough for Senator Warren.
² – I have seen a lot of ‘non-standard’ wiring in homes which have been half-way modernized, with new wiring connected to older knob-and-tube circuits, and yes, it does work, but no, that’s not how you want to do things.
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