- Hero image from: stablemanagment.com All other photos as credited, text and errors by: Chris Breeden

Opinion: The urban - rural, EV divide

Why what works for one, can't work for the other

The other day I came across one of these:

BMW i3 on Tennessee State Route 41A between Shelbyville and Tullahoma. Photo by: Chris Breeden

BMW i3 on Tennessee State Route 41A between Shelbyville and Tullahoma. Photo by: Chris Breeden

I'm sure it's not surprising to anyone who lives in a large town, but "out here in the sticks" it's an odd sight. Other than the occasional golf cart, farmers and other people who live in rural areas aren't jumping on the EV bandwagon. No surprise I'm sure, but why should they? What would make an EV appealing to them? The BMW i3 starts at $45K. That's the same price as a really nice truck. The difference is, the truck is something they would use on a daily basis. I'm not sure what the towing capacity of an i3 is, but it's safe to say it's well under that of any F150, Silverado or Ram.

Photo from: rookierancher.com

Photo from: rookierancher.com

I know what you're going to say, "Tesla intends to make an EV truck. Once he does that the "big 3" will follow behind". OK, but: How much will one cost? How well will it work? How long will the charge last? How long will it take to charge? How much will it cost to charge? How heavy is it going to be? Exactly how far into the Tennessee mud will it sink under all that excessive battery weight? Does it come with a tow truck discount card? Maybe a mail-in rebate on a good winch?

In other words, how is it going to hold up to the real world...

Can a EV truck stay charged through a whole day of dehorning cattle, fixing yards of fencing, driving 30 miles into town while towing a tractor to get repaired, heading back to the ranch to haul multiple trailers full of hay. Then drive out past the gate, (watch the posts) through the pasture, (watch out for the rocks and all those defenseless cows!), then through another gate and down a dry creek bed to that stretch of fence that needs to be repaired... Hurry up and do that, because its 30 miles back into town to pick up Junior from school. We can only manage a quick stop at the Feed Store, because we have to pick up the tractor before the repairman’s shop closes…

These are the kinds of conditions that EV trucks are going to be required to operate in. And they better do a very good job at it, because what they are trying to replace, has already proved worthy of the task. That's because they've been in development for over 100 years.

Lastly, let me talk about autonomous systems in one of these trucks. How would you tell an autonomous truck to do all of the above? Since autonomous cars can't even manage to merge into traffic properly, would one be capable of performing even one of the above tasks? Would it fry it's circuit boards with all of those cows running around it before it figured out which one it was OK to run over? Would it really make your life easier, or would it make it harder to have to tell the truck to do these tasks on the fly? Would it even be possible?

Photo to from: jayhodgechevy.com

Photo to from: jayhodgechevy.com

Those in the pro-autonomous camp will say that farmers and the like will still have side-by-sides and they will still have trucks, but how is it going to work when they take that truck into town? Will all non-autonomous cars be forced to carry trackers on them, to tell autonomous cars they are there? Most autonomous defenders will say no to that question, which brings up yet another question. That would mean that autonomous cars are going to continue to carry tech that can sense rogue non-autonomous cars? That would mean, consumers are going to be required to pay the additional cost for equipment on autonomous cars that they will rarely and in some cases never need.

Photo from: tnvacation.com

Photo from: tnvacation.com

OLD MACDONALD HAD A AUTONOMOUS EV, E-I-E-... I DON'T THINK SO..

Both electric vehicles and autonomous technology are fields that are full of questions. Questions that no one seems to be asking. Those that extol the virtues of both, seem to be incapable of providing any answers. Simply saying that these problems will be worked out and we just need to accept this as how it's going to be, is infantile. It is incumbent on us, as car lovers, to ask these tough questions of this new technology. Every time I read an EV or autonomous news article, I seem to see the following two phrases used quite often, "they hope to" or "they think it will lead to" used multiple times. That should spur every person, with even the smallest affection for cars, to ask questions.

Here are two questions that I can answer. Both of them directly affect every petrol/gear/rev head on the planet:

1).

Q: What do Old MacDonald and his kind have to do with the average car lover?

A: Just like old Donny, you have a vested interest in making sure public roads stay open to every type of car.

2).

Q: Should any self-respecting car lover be blindly following the EV drum beats?

A: NO!

JUST SOME FOOD FOR THOUGHT.

Keep on Cruisin'!

JUST TWO MORE THINGS...

Don't forget:

At by: Chris Breeden

At by: Chris Breeden

About the Author:

"Chris Breeden is a Social Media content creator for Custom & Hot Rod Life on DRIVETRIBE, YouTube and Facebook. After spending 5 years in Southern California, a.k.a. Hot Rod Heaven, while serving as a jet engine mechanic in the United States Marine Corps, he moved back home to Tennessee with an even greater love for Hot Rodded Vintage Tin. Since then he has worked in retail sales and the transportation and logistics industry. In 2018, seeing a gap in Hot Rod and Custom Car coverage on DRIVETRIBE, Chris began advocating for their inclusion on the platform. During the summer months, he can be found all over the Tennessee region covering car shows, meets, and cruise-ins. During the winter months, he can be found in the garage working on his custom 1949 Ford two-door sedan and 1954 F100 truck."

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Comments (22)

  • I think the concerns about EVs in rural areas are mostly overblown. For one thing, the Tesla truck or Rivian would be able to handle what was described in the article. Also, you have the convenience of charging at home and powering tools from the truck. Starting every day near full charge means no range worries for daily routines. And BEV trucks are going to have torque to spare,

    The one and only thing that would be an issue and will be an issue for a lot of ranchers, is long range towing. Even the Rivian will likely only get 150 miles a charge when towing 11k lb. So if you need to tow a lot over 100 miles you might want to wait on the EV truck purchase.

    Cost will be a consideration, but also think about the cost of fuel as well. Powering a BEV truck costs about 1/3 what it costs to fuel a diesel. So figure that into your monthly payment before you decide a BEV truck is too expensive. Also, with fewer drivetrain parts, fewer things to break so in theory, they should be more reliable, but that must be proven. There is certainly less maintenance to pay for so additional savings there.

      1 year ago
    • You might be correct with your assumptions, but you might be wrong as well. No one is asking these questions and people mainly just say things like, it will all work out in the end. They said the same thing about diesel cars in Europe and that...

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        1 year ago
    • 150 miles is not a daily limit. It is per charge. The Rivian is supposed to be able to reach 80% charge in less than an hour so 600 miles a day is achievable but that is still rather low compared to a diesel. The rest is definitely still up in the air...

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        1 year ago
  • My opinion on EVs are mixed. I think they are a good idea. But if used with some common sense. I've said before use an EV as a commuter car then save your gas/petrol vehicles for weekends. Or when you need something with range, work load or fun. As for autonomous cars I am old school. I'm not going to let SkyNet drive me around, I'd rather do the driving myself.

      1 year ago
  • EV's, autonomous vehicles, and the like make me want to move from a city to the country seeing as greenies are slowly but surely ruining things in urban centers.

      1 year ago
  • Yes, the inner cityites really don't understand rural/regional needs at all - in a lot of areas. And I say that as a city-dweller.

      1 year ago
    • The impracticality of it is really kind of laughable, if it wasn't for the fact that people are running around fully under the impression that they will be able to buy fully autonomous EVs in the next 10 years. That's a lot of major problems to...

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        1 year ago
    • Yep.

        1 year ago
  • As a rural vehicle owner, EVs as they’ are, can’t tow my trailers. Can’t get to my house if it snows. Can’t mount a snow plow. Can’t get me back and forth the next time the power is out for 4days.

      1 year ago
    • Exactly and they can't hold up to a full days worth of work, either.

        1 year ago
    • (edited)The Electric Company’s Chevy “Bolt”was parked because they ran out of charge due to the power outage. Part of the mountain took a week to get power just to the service lines. (Edit I mistook it as a Volt)

        1 year ago
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