The Challenge of Electric Vehicles

I was going to go to the Rail Passengers Association meeting in Kansas City, MO this past Saturday but events conspired against me. I will post about that later. As it turned out, I went to the Transit Day at Ozark Regional Transit Authority instead. It was held at the HQ on Hwy 412 (Sunset) in Springdale. There are a number of things I want to share with you in a separate post. But this item requires its own report. We have some issues with large vehicle EVs.

ORTA has a Ford e100 Transit Van test vehicle. It is fully battery electric and it has range issues. ORTA used it on a trial run where it only lasted about 3 hours and about 100 miles. ORTA doesn’t have a 220 recharge station so they have to use a 120 wall outlet to recharge the e100. It takes 52 hours to bring the e100’s 68 kilowatt battery back up to a full charge. The 220 station takes 8 hours. There is a a separate problem with EVs catching fire. Especially the big ones. ORTA wants to run the e100 in Bentonville but they need a covered garage with the 220 station to charge it overnight. Bentonville doesn’t have one. Or they do. It is a garage under a building and if the e100 batteries catch fire it will be hard for the BFD to reach it in time to save the other cars and trucks in the garage with it.

The problem according to Joel Gardner, Executive Director at ORTA, isn’t with EV. Elon Musk (divisive character that he is) waited to release Tesla cars until he solved the above problems. The other manufacturers didn’t. They rushed product to their dealers without refining and ironing out all the technical issues. What Director Gardner wishes, is that transit vehicles were available as diesel or gas electric hybrids. To my mind these would reduce though not eliminate emissions. And still reduce costs, and look good for NWA’s brand. So a good hybrid would work until a large EV is refined enough to function all day on the road.

It’s too bad as the ORTA general meeting with the public we discussed that of the two types of riders; the have to’s and the want to’s, the want to’s are increasing in NWA.

We still need dedicated funding for ORTA. The chance to vote on a sales tax is coming. Let’s vote against the jail tax and wait for the transit tax.

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