Tuesday, August 15, 2023 by Laura Harris
Dalbir Bala, a Ford F150 Lightning electric truck owner, experienced a nightmarish road trip with his family when his newly purchased six-figure electric vehicle (EV) left them stranded on the road.
Bala, a Canadian resident, invested over $130,000 in a Ford F150 Lightning electric truck, including the cost of the vehicle, charging panel installations and home electric panel upgrades. The EV truck was intended to be both an eco-friendly and practical choice for family trips, but the trip to Chicago showed the opposite. (Related: Electric vehicles are a SCAM – here’s why.)
The journey started on a good note, but the trouble began as the family crossed the border into the United States via North Dakota. A charging stop in Fargo took two hours, cost Bala $56 and provided a mere 215 miles of additional range. Then, when the family reached Albertville, Minnesota, the nightmare started – a non-functional charging station with no assistance available despite their attempts to contact the provided phone number.
The family then moved to another station in Elk River, but it was inoperable as well. Bala described the feeling of “sheer helplessness” as his family grew worried and stressed while stuck on the side of the road. With no reliable charging options within range and his EV’s battery nearing depletion,
Due to piling up inconvenience, Bala arranged for his electric truck to be towed to a Ford dealership in Elk River and rented a gas-powered vehicle to complete the remaining 400 miles of the journey to Chicago. The family managed to reach their destination, but the incident left a sour taste.
Bala described his experience as a “scam” and warned potential buyers to thoroughly research and consider the limitations of EV technology before making a purchase.
“The actual thing they promised is not even close. Not even 50 percent. And once you buy it, you’re stuck with it and you have to carry huge losses to get rid of that. And nobody is there to help you,” he lamented.
Just like Bala, other EV owners in the U.S. are now openly discussing the flaws of the once-promising transition. Steve Hammes, a YouTube personality who previously leased a Hyundai Kona Electric subcompact sport utility vehicle for his daughter Maddie, found himself entangled in a logistical nightmare.
The decision was meant to be a wise investment, enabling Maddie to allocate more of her funds toward her college education rather than traditional fuel costs. Yet, the reality quickly unfolded when they found it hard to look for suitable charging stations in other places.
Moreover, EV owners encounter three levels of charging. Level 1 offers a light two to four miles of range per hour of charging. Level 2 provides a more respectable 12 to 32 miles of range per hour. Level 3 is capable of replenishing 100 to 250 miles of range in just 30 to 45 minutes. These levels further add to the burden due to the demanding requirements.
Jared Rosenholtz, an editor-at-large for CarBuzz, has been reviewing different EVs and has had to download a slew of apps from different charging companies, such as EVgo, Electrify America, ChargePoint and Shell Recharge to ensure sufficient power for his test vehicles.
The absence of a comprehensive software tool that assists EV owners in efficiently planning their journeys only compounds the issue. Unlike the convenience of mapping applications available to conventional gas-powered vehicles, EV drivers are left to navigate an incomplete landscape of charging providers and services. This void has led to the proliferation of various charging apps.
“The process is akin to managing an E-ZPass account,” Rosenholtz lamented, drawing a parallel between the hassles of EV charging and the complexities of toll collection systems. “If your account balance gets low, the app pulls from your credit card on file and charges another $10. I probably have $8 to $10 in each of these apps, just sitting there.”
Learn more about electric vehicles at RoboCars.news.
Watch this clip of electric vehicle entrepreneur Jason Wilde discussing how he found it challenging to go on a long road trip through Montana due to the lack of charging stations in the state.
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