Folks, I’m a car guy – and I firmly believe the future is electric. Gina McCarthy and Secretary Granholm hit the road to talk about the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework’s historic investments in electric vehicles and how we’re going to ensure the future is made in America. pic.twitter.com/xZDXu7BpXr
— President Biden (@POTUS) July 1, 2021
What would you like to see in the infrastructure package?
internet everywhere, fast cheap, as utilities.
@gvg: I live in a small city where they took over the internet and installed fiber optics all over the city. If you signed up when it arrived on your block – $50 for life for 1gig. They get all kinds of awards and help other cities plan the process. It’s doable.
@TaMara (HFG): I am jealous because we threw many dollars at attorneys, and we are not allowed to do that here.
That’s the bipartisan infrastructure package.
(Press: “But no Republicans voted for it.” Psaki: “It has 84% support nationwide, and 53% support among Republican voters.”)
Gina McCarthy says “I’m doing the driving, because my friend…” and I totally wouldn’t have been surprised if she continued “…is usually a bit drunk.”
LOVE these ladies!!
Things I saw mentioned in the bill include up to $12k tax credits for domestically produced electric cars. That’s fine, and would be helpful if/when we get an electric car, but it seems like it’s old-school thinking. Maybe doing things like pushing heavily to get them out into fleets will be more of a jump-start. Like strongly encouraging rental car outfits, government fleets, police departments, etc., to go electric as quickly as possible. It’s still a hassle to get charging at home in older homes. Laying the foundation for a heavy push for electrical upgrades in such homes would be helpful, and probably useful in going toward the “smart grid” that people have been talking about for decades.
And expanding transit. DC’s Metro has issues with not being able to run longer trains because the stations weren’t built for them. Most of the system only has two tracks, so if maintenance needs to be done on one it can cause delays on the other. Money needs to be invested now to figure out how to increase capacity for the coming decades. I’m sure it’s the same everywhere.
That’s my car! Well, not mine, but yeah there’s a reason they chose the Chevy Bolt. I’ve started calling myself an, “Electric Car Vegan” based on my willingness to expound on the awesomeness of electric cars. As for my desired items for infrastructure? Anything and everything related to clean energy and carbon removal. I’m talking Apollo program/Manhattan Project level stuff to get CO2 out of the atmosphere. Not as a magic bullet but in addition to getting as clean as possible as fast as possible. (I live in Portland so we are just done with any and all excuses on this)
Oh, and banning crypto coin mining and stuff like that. It would probably free up GWh of electricity here just as it did in China.
As someone who recently scratched all-electric off the shopping list (I’m looking for a new ride just now), the problems at home are nowhere near the problems away from home. Unless you’re driving a Tesla, the charging infrastructure is pathetic. More money for non-Tesla charging ports on Interstates, pleez.
Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes
A network of re-education camps for white Christian conservatives. Each camp will be centered around the combination abortuary/Gaia worship center/forced interracial gay marriage pavilion. Housing will be zoned, with reasonable confined space, and powered in green fashion by a combo of solar and wind.
@dr. bloor: I have a plug-in hybrid – gets about 184 mpg when charged and 50-70 mpg on road trips (hybrid only).
I find it a good bridge until electric is more viable.
Amtrak, please; it’s been underfunded for years. Also figure out how to manage passenger rail and freight so neither is slowed down.
Lots more public transit–let’s be creative and think about how to do it in suburbs and small towns, too.
Yes to high-speed internet everywhere.
Fix the damn post office!!
ETA: alternative energy–on a small-enough scale so it can be on houses or blocks, and manufactured in the US.
@TaMara (HFG): Yeah, there are some tempting options in that category. Waiting to see what the 2022 model year brings, particularly since stock is low and prices are high just now.
Significant funding for cities to plant shade trees (low-water-use species) and install canopies. Cover that asphalt and sidewalk. Increase comfort and save lives while reducing urban heat island.
Bicycle-friendly city planning.
@dr. bloor: It’s my (limited) understanding that most non-teslas have various adapter cords so that they can use just about any type of charger (except T’s SuperCharger).
There seem to be lots and lots of non-T chargers out there, with more coming. E.g.
But, honestly, I haven’t looked carefully at all the issues. Until we get to 10 min charging, I figure most non-long-distance charging would be overnight at home.
Never have and never will understand the rush for zero to sixty in 2 seconds flat for electric cars. I for one would feel much less safe riding inside such an accelerating projectile. That and there is no rational reason for not slapping a limit on top speeds attainable (either via a hard ruling or by way of incremental tax increase (payable annually) for every mph the design accommodates/incorporates over X).
Also too, retrofitting for high rise and skyscraper roof gardens.
@Another Scott: Boston is worse. Every line has its own cars. Cars for the Green Line can’t be used on the Red, Blue, or Orange lines. The Green Line is mostly above ground and runs on overhead wires, so I can see that, but they really need to design a car that will run on all the other lines.
Massive subsidy of renewable electric generation, especially solar farms, combined with massive investment in a more flexible and robust grid to move the power around. Lighting (plus AC etc) is still a huge contributor to global warming.
@NotMax: I am usually anti-roof gardens. High-albedo roofs are critical, though.
What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?
Things I would like to see:
Funding to plug all the leaks in the natural gas pipeline system. Pipelines are infrastructure and methane is a powerful climate change gas and is leaking from all over the system from wellhead to meters and even inside buildings. Find and fix all those leaks.
Upgrades to the electricity grid – right now bottlenecks there are actually preventing deployment of renewable electricity which in the near future will be the cheapest source of energy. The market will force out other energy sources if we upgrade the grid because nobody is going to want to pay like 2 cents or more per kilowatt hour for electricity when they could get cheaper cleaner electricity and save money.
#2 might reduce or eliminate the need for #1, depending on how fast consumers switch over for heat and cooking, but I don’t know how quickly people will shift from gas for heat and cooking so #1 is probably still worth spending money on.
@TaMara (HFG): They are doing it in our city as well – plan is for citiwide wifi+internet. They are targeting lower income families first which is perfect. – https://www.hillsboro-oregon.gov/services/hilight
But on top of that we have a fiber company that has taken over for Frontier – and they are charging about 80 for gigabit. Comcast is on the ropes here and you can smell their desperation.
@Feathers: The Blue line is a bit odd, because it’s third-rail in the tunnels and then switches to overhead wiring once the line reaches the Airport stop. That means the trains need both types of pickups, plus the mechanisms to switch over. Red and Orange are pure third-rail, which is a lot more straightforward.
And — a not-inconsiderable point — æsthetically pleasing. I yearn for the leafy canopies of my suburban youth.
@What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?: Long-range high-capacity interconnects between the various regional grids is something well worth investing in. Besides helping smooth out the variability in renewable energy production (the wind is always blowing _somewhere_), it helps with local surges in demand. See: Texas last winter (and yes, I know their grid isolation was a Because Freedom explicit choice).
Among many other things, I would like to see more charging stations and electric school buses. I would fast track these.
Speaking of tracks, the Washington Post had a map a couple days ago, heading an article on proposed additions to nationwide Amtrak service. There was a lot there, including new service radiating from Atlanta in 4 or 5 directions.
I would love, like our president to see high speed trains in the pacific northwest. Creating fast trains from Portland to San Francisco would be fantastic.
@What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?:
We meed to also tackle the water issues in the west. Given the historic drought and possibly room for more – we need to figure out what the future is going to look like.
ETA WOW – #30! That’s like worth 10 #3 comments!!
Albert Einstein (along with Leo Szilard) received a patent for a non-electric refrigerator with no moving parts.
Nothing being free though, it does need a source of heat.
I want the biggest, juiciest long term infrastructure bill that is chockablock with social good. No private profit at public cost. Project Labor Agreements! Direct jobs for youths- apprenticeships, work study, and the ability to try different jobs. I want all the transit modes- planes, trains, autos, bikes, ferries, buses and peds. Start with accessibility for all as a guiding principle. Build new schools – with multifunctional to serve their communities. And, as is my wont, I want confiscatory tax rates that wring the idle capital out of the soft pink palms of the wealthy – estate taxes, capital gains, off shore and on and a white collar crime prosecution policy to put a criminal in jail. I want the IRS, Social Security, the Post Office and so forth to be fully staffed to meet the needs of citizens instead of the misery of waiting for hours that is intended to make people hate their government.
As a former Tesla owner – I can definitely see a scaling problem. Today the Teslas are popular enough that the superchargers are quite busy and you might even have to wait in line. Given that it takes approximately 40-50 minutes to charge – wait time could be significant.
The Moar You Know
@NotMax: Because the old electric cars were shitwagons that could barely do the speed limit and could get you to freeway speed in five to ten minutes or so. They had a reputation as useless eco-weenie nerd cars and it was fully deserved.
The smartest thing Elon Musk ever did was not figuring out how to build an electric car – the smartest thing he did was to look at what sold cars to American consumers (horsepower, speed, size and comfort) and give the people that. On steroids. And it is working
The trillion-dollar problem is charging, and getting it to apartment dwellers, people living in crowded urban areas, and poor people. None of them have fixed parking and most park on the streets. Gotta figure out a way to solve that problem.
Does anyone know anything about storing an electric car for an extended period while away from home? If you store a gasoline car, I understand that normally the battery is removed or may need replacement/charging to start the car? At this point, since I live in California and generate more solar energy than we use, this is what is blocking my purchase. I’m thinking about a Mini since I don’t need a lot of range and they’re relatively inexpensive.
@Juice Box: Google “solar trickle charger”.
The Moar You Know
@Juice Box: You would want to talk to your chosen car manufacturer, but I can tell you with a Tesla the thing you REALLY DO NOT WANT is for the auxiliary 12 volt battery to go dead. I don’t know if you can trickle charge them or what (you can with a ICE engine) but that battery needs to not ever die or you are in a world of shit. As in tow trucks and a hefty service stay. Again, a manufacturer-specific question.
I too yearn for the return of the Benz Patent Motorwagen. Surely that will be acceptable.
@NotMax: I’m all for fast acceleration in electrics. If subcompact electrics can smoke gas muscle cars in a drag race the penis enlargement crowd won’t enjoy gas cars anymore.
Gin & Tonic
I am eager to hear your proposal for how to police that.
@What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?: I agree with patch the gas pipelines and upgrade the electric grid. Natural gas heat and power generation has been cheap for a long time and is ubiquitous. Natural gas will be with us for much longer than I like. I replaced our oil furnace in 1995 with “clean eco friendly” natural gas. Kinda disappointed when I moved out into the woods that there was no gas service and my central heat was a heat pump.
@Gin & Tonic: Apparently mining farms send up the same red flags as pot farms, suspiciously hot buildings using lots of electricity.
@Fair Economist: Sheeeeet, they gonna pipe in the noise and the smell of nitro?
@Kelly: I just bought a used Dodge Caravan with an “eco” sticker on it!
I’d like to see more canals refurbished and re-opened, both for freight and passenger travel.
Sure, it’s slower than most other forms of shipping, but we don’t really need to get everything shipped to us within two days of conceiving the want of it.
edit: meh, who cares
@Fair Economist: The downside is the PE set will buy electric trucks. Right now my ICE sedan can stay barely ahead of tailgating yahoos until both pursued and pursuer are at highway speed. When the truck is electric and gets to 80 in the time it takes me to get to 30, I expect many more aholes to seek what they see as their natural home in my car’s rear end.
I’ve heard of Daimler-Benz electronically limiting some of its high-performance petrol-engined cars to 250 Km/h.
I would like to see development of electric urban vehicles–scooters, rickshaws, crash resistant golf carts. Not every trip requires a heavy car made heavier by the battery needed to power it.
Among the items on my wish list: Federal funding and better car-commuter train coordination. Here in WV’s Eastern Panhandle we have access to Maryland’s MARC commuter line, but our idiot R (but I repeat myself) state legislature won’t kick in the roughly $3 million for O&M to run from the MD state line into Martinsburg. Riders are already paying a surcharge on tickets to board at WV stations, and Maryland keeps threatening to just stop the service to WV. I could drive to Brunswick, MD, to catch the train, but it’s a 50-mile round trip and the Brunswick parking lot (which at least is free) is ginormous, I’d estimate at least 750 spots, maybe a thousand!
Another item: Grants – not loans – to encourage subdivisions and geographically cohesive neighborhoods to install hyperlocal distributed solar and wind and home charging stations. (If this comes to pass, I’ll volunteer my neighborhood in a NY minute!)
@topclimber: I think that ship has already sailed.
Ford has completely upended the game with the F150 Lightning.
Bubba and Cooter can tow their boats and power their huntin’ camps off their new big trucks?
I’m tellin’ ya, they’re gonna sell like effin’ hotcakes.
@Professor Bigfoot: I would first set the standard that a “10 second car” is not street-legal, with respect to acceleration.
If obtaining one was a plot point in a “Fast and the Furious” movie, it shouldn’t be something you can pick up from a dealer.
I’m not sure where the final legal limit should be, but that is too much acceleration.
Underground has issues with overhead wires, like the overhead room which is less in tunnels and which changes when in a station. LA has the Metro system that has both and there is a good reason for each, depending on the above or below ground needs. Outdoors you can’t have a third rail with thousands of volts of electricity out in the open. You can have stations underground for cars with over head but it is more expensive to create bigger tunnels with overhead wires.
Where does the water come from? And go to?
Gin & Tonic
@Searcher: Yeah, but in many places growing cannabis is illegal. Computing is not.
I would like to see the “Mountain-Valley ” pipeline cancelled. It’s a 42″ inch natural gas pipeline that will run from West Virginia to close to the North Carolina coast, and probably to the coast once the owners get a LNG shipping terminal. It has been slowed down and stalled by environmental challenges. A similar pipeline to the north has been cancelled.
@WV Blondie: The problem is that we have created a lot of anti-govt ideologues and it’s just knee jerk response to say no. They don’t want to see anything succeeding because they want to throw everything to private interests – which could be fine if there was competition but a lot of times it is exclusive – eg comcast.
@Professor Bigfoot: The clincher will be an option that gives the ETrucks the sound of a revving gas guzzler. Loud and fast, that’s the ticket.
@The Moar You Know:
You don’t want that in a lot of ice cars these days either. My 5 yr old car’s battery died and I realized that there is no way to open the doors, hood or trunk without 12 volts because there is no way to unlock the doors and the trunk and the hood release is inside. Many cars do not have key locks anymore, only a remote. And I found out that many cars batteries die in less time than they used to because there is so much run off the battery when the car is parked, alarm system for one, the lock system for another. The computer is always on and draws some juice. Not a lot but the car parked takes some power. Your cell phone takes a lot less power to sit there not being used but on, but it takes some if you have to keep it turned on, say because it’s your only phone, or just do anyway. Most modern cars are no different.
Electric cars are not going to save us, as anyone seriously involved in climate change work knows. The U.S. fleet turnover rate is about 7%. It would take 15 year to turnover the entire U.S. fleet. If we entirely banned the sale of ICE vehicles TODAY and required every single car sale from here forward to be EV, we’d hit an electrified US fleet in 2036.
Now lets use real math. EV’s account for roughly 2% of US vehicle sales. Let’s be generous and say we more than double that to 5% starting today. (Which isn’t happening…). So, we’d fully electrify the US fleet in…300 years.
Let’s be every more fantasyland and increase it to 1 in 10 of US sales or FIVE TIMES as many EVs as sold today. YAY – we fully electrify by 2170! And we’re still…dead.
Wanna bend the GHG curve? Ban the suburbs. Stop building sprawl. Require infrastructure funds to be tied to urban densification. Stop investing in “roads and bridges” and start investing in rail and buses.
Every dollar spent on anything auto related is just climate arson at this point.
@NotMax: This can make for a realization that you don’t have the speed to finish passing, while the oncoming car is going to pancake you.
Yep. You don’t have to use *all* of the capacity, but used properly, fast acceleration is a safety feature. The guys who want to play Boy Racer on the highways are going to make things more dangerous no matter what the limits are on acceleration.
@dr. bloor: Yep. I have gone to pass people, been side by side with them, when some knucklehead turns out of a driveway…..
@gvg: agree with priority for inexpensivr/to-free universal internet. However here in NC when a half-dozen NC towns instituted that successfully on their local municipal level, the big telecom companies successfully pushed a law through legislature (gop controlled) that forbade any further towns from providing municipal internet service, purportedly because such unavoidably took advantage of telco infrastructure without paying for cost – but obviously the real concern was the pvt telcos would be unable to compete at the same price point
@topclimber: I wonder what the preferred method of generating a cloud of noxious smoke from an EV vehicle will be. Maybe just have a flame thrower mounted to the hitch?
@narya: re: greener home energy efficiency, it drives me nuts to see new tract home developments being built with no apparent effort or thought to aligning rooflines to facilitate solar energy capture – and also they start by clearing every tree or other living thing to a multi-acte hellscape of bare dirt, instead of only taking out what is really needed for the footprint of each house and utility lines, which was far more commonly done 30-40 years ago
We need to unbuild car infrastructure and replace it with bike/mass transit.
Even if we convert all ICE vehicles to BEV, we’re still fucked. You can’t hit the target with cars. Hauling around 2 tons of steel just to get a ¼ lb hamburger is an environmental disaster even if you are charging it with electricity. Plus, it’s too slow. Shifting the burden to those who can afford to buy new BEVs is going to be extraordinarily slow, and events like Lytton BC are only going to get more common. Cars are the principal cause of emissions, and building alternatives to cars – shifting the cost burden back to government is the only way to address the problem quickly enough.
@bbleh: You don’t need to subsidize it – it’s already cheaper to build new solar+battery than it is to run an existing coal plant. You just need to regulate it and have the resolve to enforce the regulations.
J R in WV
I agree completely. But if we bought an electric car here in WV, we would essentially be driving a coal-powered car, all the electric energy in this area is from coal-fired plants right now. That’s what we need to fix soonest!
A Ghost to Most
Battery storage just came online to supply 4 hours of backup power to Oxnard (?), In lieu of a gas peaker plant. It was cheaper and faster to get up than the gas plant. Economics are driving them to renewables.
J R in WV
@What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?:
This!! We live in an old Oil and Gas patch, and the gathering lines from well heads to the compressor stations were a total leaky mess when we moved out here. You could hear and see gas leaking from 2″ pipelines that were 60+ years old, they run on the surface, unpainted iron pipe with bubbles of gas in all the creeks.
They replaced the delivery lines with new plastic lines some years ago, which helped a lot, but the small time gas companies can’t really afford to replace their gathering network as long as they make a buck from what they manage to collect via those leaky old pipelines.
Big chunks of money for national forest remediation. For anyone who says that’s not infrastructure, damn is my municipal water utility going to be spending a ton of money to offset the gunk that’s going to run off the big national forest/park burn scars.
@Juice Box: I agree with The Moar You Know that the lead acid battery is the issue with long term storage. Our last Leaf stopped charging the lead acid battery. This battery powers the dash board and all the software that tells the motors things like forward or reverse, slow or fast. We were leasing so got a new car after the Leaf “expert” couldn’t figure out the issue – only took six weeks of driving the loaner ICE (disgusting – another story about what happens when you drive an EV for years). Who made the dumb decision to power the chips with lead acid? There must be a way to use an external power source like a Powerwall or AC to DC converter. Sigh…
Sorry I am coming late to this thread. In Los Angeles county, the pandemic has really had a big impact on the budget for mass transit. L A Metro has recently done almost everything they could do to make transit less convenient, from eliminating some routes to increasing travel times. The one good thing is no increase in fares.
Still, these moves may discourage people from using public transportation.
@J R in WV: My understanding is an EV is still better than a gas ICE vehicle. The GHG emissions are lower because converting fossil fuels to miles driven is far better because there is greater efficiency than gasoline to miles. And grids are interconnected so your grid will have some renewably generated electrons.
Don’t quote me. It’s what I recall from similar discussions many years ago. Of course the best solution is less coal and less single occupancy vehicle miles.
@Michael Cain: A rake-ready project?
I can definitely see Joe in a Model S Plaid.
Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937
@Tim C.: I love my Bolt too. It’s like driving a spaceship. Internal combustion is so last century.