How Will You Power Your Electric Car Without Electricity?

Written by Rob Morse on September 2, 2022

Politicians always have excuses. It is never their fault when their plans fail. Though now retired, I was an engineer for four decades. I learned that excuses don’t count. You may have excellent reasons for why things failed but the responsibility always rests with you. That explains why I’m worried about our current energy policy. We need more than an artful fantasy to fuel our future because people’s lives are at stake. Energy is in almost every action we take. Energy is in every product we make. Raising the price of energy makes everything more expensive. Expensive energy makes everyone poorer. Energy keeps us alive hour to hour.

I’ve helped power a city. I’ve also lived in a town that was without power. When the lights went out, we couldn’t pump water. We couldn’t treat sewage. We couldn’t pump gasoline at the gas station and we couldn’t pump natural gas to power our stoves. We also couldn’t run refrigerators in our stores or light our stores so people could shop for groceries. Our cell phone towers stopped working after a few days. Our local hospitals were able to transfer patients to working hospitals a few hours away. We couldn’t process credit card transactions. Cash was king, at least while my cash lasted. Automated teller machines don’t work without power.

Many of my neighbors moved into their campers and recreational vehicles. That was brilliant. It worked for a few days and then my neighbors left to find power, water, and a sewage dump site. I was without power for almost a month. Some waited longer. Many people left town. Some never returned. Now imagine that we impose that sort of energy-deprivation on an entire nation.

Democrats said they want to cut off all oil, gas, and coal production. A small step would be building enough nuclear power plants to provide the electricity we need today. We will need even more nuclear plants to provide the electricity we need in the future to charge our electric cars, our electric trucks, and our electric trains. That doesn’t explain how we’d power our hand tools or power our jet aircraft. How would we power our farm equipment, our barges, our fishing boats, and our ships. “Going green” doesn’t answer how we’ll make asphalt and concrete. Sure, the Romans made concrete over a thousand years ago, but will Californians be able to make concrete next year?

Activists said that green power would be cheap. It isn’t. Wind and solar are intermittent sources of power. That means we need central-station power plants spinning all the time so these plants can take over when the sun goes behind a cloud or the wind drops. Even if green energy was free, the fact that it is unreliable makes it expensive. We have to pay for the big powerplants even if we don’t use them every minute.

Green energy is expensive because the price of fuel is only a fraction of our power bill. The rest of our power bill doesn’t go away as long as we want power on demand. We pay for the generating plants because we want to be comfortably warm in the winter and cool in the summer. We want to cook our food even on a calm and cloudy day. We want our kitchen refrigerator to preserve our food all the time, and not just when the wind blows.

We will need a larger power grid to go green. Electric cars are powered by a remote power plant. The electric car’s battery is like a gasoline-powered car’s fuel tank. The electric vehicle is no greener than the powerplant that charges it.

All of those homes powered by oil or natural gas are supposed to switch to electric heating and cooling. All the gasoline and diesel cars, trucks, and buses are supposed to be electrified. All the power that used to come from fossil fuels must now flow down the electric power lines instead. The grid has to be big enough to recharge all the snowplows on the darkest winter night while we heat our homes. Yes, we will need a much larger power grid.

It is better to put the necessary utilities in place before we need them rather than to sit in the dark. Right now, green energy can’t power the lawnmowers that cut the grass in the park. Green energy can’t power the tow truck that recovers your electric car when it breaks down or runs out of charge. California announced that gasoline-powered cars would be outlawed in a few years. Within days, California regulators told us not to plug in our electric vehicles because their power grid was failing.

How would we make steel and aluminum in this green future since those materials take huge amounts of energy? It is no easier to shut down an aluminum mill than to shut down a semi-conductor factory or a hospital, and equally devastating. How would we make rubber, plastic, and glass? Those are all made with fossil fuels. We can’t make them through solar power and wind power. We couldn’t even recycle those materials using solar and wind power.

So far the answer has been that we will have to buy the things we need from China.. and that China will soon own the United States. An answer that dooms our country isn’t really an answer at all. It is a secret suicide pact. I won’t sign it and neither should you.

I think I know how we got such a bad energy plan. Everything sounds easy if you’ve never built anything.. or if your standards are low enough. Green energy sounds wonderfully simple if all you’ve done is play on your laptop. If you actually know how real things are made, then you know that everything is hard. Even the napkins on my table are a miracle. Now compare the simple napkin to the wonderful bedside instrumentation in the local hospital. Those instruments allow nurses to continuously monitor many patients. We don’t have enough medial staff to unplug the hospital. Power saves lives every minute.

That is obvious when you stop and think about it. Think about what else happens when we don’t have enough electricity. The unknowable complexity of the real world is why revolutions fail and progress comes in hard-fought incremental change with many wrong turns along the way.

There are a lot of moving parts that have to be in place before the US will have an environmentally sustainable economy. We can’t recycle wind turbines or solar cells today. Someday we might recycle lithium batteries here in the US. We can’t do that now. It is important that those products and processes are in place before we reduce production of oil and natural gas. We should never shut them down. People who claim we should turn off fossil fuels are dangerous fools or lying conmen.

So far “going green” has been a lot of poorly planned political promises. We voted for higher prices, but millions of us only read the campaign headlines and ignored the fine print. Those details matter. Democrats voted to shut down modern industry before there was something in place to replace it. Using only wind and solar isn’t a formula for sustainability but for unilateral surrender to bankruptcy and the collapse of modern civilization.

Ask yourself if that is an accidental fault or if it is a tragic feature that was designed into the Biden green agenda from the start. Democrat politicians have shut down domestic oil and natural gas while they took bribes from overseas oil and gas producers to import oil. They claimed to protect us from “global warming” and rising sea level. At the same time, leading Democrats bought multimillion-dollar homes on the beach. Look at their actions and tell me if Democrat politicians are working for my children’s future or for China’s future.

You are smart enough and know enough to figure things out for yourself.


I am feeling a little better and can now write slowly. Thank you for your patience. RM


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