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“Electric cars won't cut it in Wyoming” letter to the editor – The Branding Iron

by Nov 2, 2022Blog0 comments

Letter Provided by Randy Bunney from Fort Ripley, MN. 
Dear Editor,
The BI’s article “Electric cars won’t cut it in Wyoming” reads like the writer is looking in the rear view mirror instead of ahead. Sure. EV battery performance sags, as you point out, during the winter. Tip of the hat to you there, as that story about cold operating conditions is underreported. And, yes, EV driving ranges need to improve — quickly. 
Meanwhile four factors are important to increased performance in the evolving EV market.
First, money. Auto companies are already betting heavily with their investments on EV production. Join those industry investments with the Whitehouse’s adrenaline shot of $14.5 billion to build a national EV charging network and domestic manufacture of batteries, and we get a fleet of advances in the EV sector.
Two, as Mckinsy and Company points out, the U.S. investment climate and the regulatory conditions create a “turning point” for U.S. auto dealers that makes EVs “unstoppable.”
Three. About 80% of gasoline’s internal combustion engine energy is lost to inefficiencies, according to MotorTrends and other reporting. Loss of energy includes tailpipe emissions and heat loss at the engine block. Whereas EV electric motors hum along losing only about 16% to 24% of its energy to the wheels. 
Fourth. An important condition of renewables is largely missed by EV critics: increasing adoption of renewables will put the brakes to the loss of human life from fossil fuel emissions.
Hello Randy,
I appreciate your feedback on the article. I first want to outline that my editorial was directed toward Wyomingites considering an electric vehicle purchase within the next few years and the implications associated with that.
I understand the “rear-view mirror” perspective that was given in the article. The article relates to Wyoming and the infrastructure related to the state. Wyoming recently has received 4 million dollars in federal funds allocated to EV infrastructure. The money will be used to build charging stations off of interstate 80, 25, and 90. This is problematic because outside of those roadways, it would be risky for EV vehicles to venture elsewhere. 
Wyoming infrastructure has a long way to go for it to be entirely EV compatible. This infrastructure development brings up an interesting question for debate: is it worth Wyoming tax payer money to invest in electric vehicles considering the sparse, low-traffic areas in parts of the state?
For a lot of Wyoming voters, the answer is no. This means that infrastructure development for EV vehicles will largely come from federal funds- which can waver with administration changes. 
I, too, have noticed the auto industries shift towards electric vehicles and this will only become more prevalent in the years to come. I believe that these manufacturers need to make drastic improvements to their vehicles for it to be compatible with Wyoming roads now. 
The Environmental Protection Agency reported that the 2021 median range for fully electric vehicles was 234 miles. A trip from Crowley, Wyoming to Casper, Wyoming is 239.8 miles on a route with no access to a charging station. EV’s will not be “unstoppable” as you mentioned currently in the state of Wyoming – they will be on the side of the road. 
However, I do think that with time the technology for EV’s will grant them further range, and Wyoming will adapt to the future of motor vehicles. I do not think that this will be seen in the near future. 
As for your concern regarding internal combustion energy loss in electric versus standard vehicles, I believe that statement is entirely valid. Electric vehicles are more efficient at conserving and utilizing energy than their gasoline counterparts. This energy efficiency bodes better for the environment overall. 
However, in cold conditions gasoline vehicles maintain a better overall range than EVs. This is especially pertinent in a state in which cold conditions are consistent for the better part of the year in addition to the already limited supply of charging stations. It makes the decision of purchasing an electric vehicle within the next few years questionable. 
Travel to most other locations in Wyoming requires a great deal of miles. Most of these trips require the already accommodating infrastructure of gas cars in Wyoming as well as the better range that gas cars maintain in all conditions. 
Wyoming, and other rural states should continue to take steps to accommodate electric vehicles. I believe that in the far future Wyoming will be able to meet the demands of the growing EV market, but in the near future this is not possible. 
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Wyoming’s electric vehicle drivers zooming around making daily trips within their battery ranges must have been puzzled by the BI headline “Electric cars won’t cut it in Wyoming.” Wyoming has 500 registered EVs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Presumably, nearly all of the drivers live in or near a metro or alongside freeways. That’s the typical for America’s population density. Of course this pattern is what drives the location of the national system of charging stations that is being built for Wyoming, the nation and the planet.
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