An Open Letter to Governor Whitmer and the Auto Industry


We listen to you our Governor and automotive leaders and we're lead to think EV's are the future. Sounds great, you say you can do it, you say your phasing out ICE. Wow, great accomplishment. But wait, is it? While EV's can and should play a big part of the future, I just don't see this 100% EV fleet push. In fact, one can make the argument, its borderline delusional. The major challenge among many is the battery tech. While battery tech has come a long way, it's only 5% of the distance it needs to go for us to have a 100% EV fleet.

Here's some facts you, our Governor and auto CEO's don't seem to want us to know. The current battery tech does not like: high speed, constant speed, cold, age, fast charging, sitting without being plugged in, any extra resistance like snow on the road, using high rolling resistance winter tires or adding things like roof racks for extra gear, bull bars or running boards. All these things reduce your range, some of them significantly. Yes they reduce your gas mileage in an ICE vehicle, but not anywhere near to the extent they reduce range for an EV.

Lets take your typical Ford F150 electric. It boasts a 300mi range (that's with the $10,000+ extended range battery option, standard battery is only 230mi). 300mi sounds great! Well, wait. Is it Really? That's 300mi on a 70 degree day at 45mph in stop and go traffic unloaded. Load up your F150 with 4 people, gear, towing 2 snowmobiles in 20 degrees going 75mph up I75, and your 300miles, is much closer to 160. Add in 4 years old @100,000mi, and you might be lucky to get 120mi out of it under those conditions. This is just fact with today's battery tech, and it's not arguable. And if you fast charge your F150 often, add in some more degradation.

The other elephant in the room is infrastructure. There is basically none. You love to tout how much you do have, but if you have 100% of the fleet on electric, you'd need to effectively replace every gas station that has an average of 6 pumps with 18 fast charge outlets at the same location, AND every overnight stop like hotels and cabins with at least level 2 charging for every vehicle in the lot. Not to mention every apartment complex, every home, many old homes like those in Detroit and Lansing still have knob and tube wiring on 30amp service. Do you think you're going to charge your car on that? What about all those people that park on the street in cities, where are they going to charge up? What about every little cabin place that barely makes ends meet to begin with, are they going to install 5 or 10 60 amp charge stations when all they have now is 60amps supply for all their cabins? They'll be out of business installing those, if their guests can even reach them anymore!

Let us not forget about the supply side of the infrastructure. Ever notice how the power company keeps asking us to shift our usage, reduce our usage and are forcing people on time of use rate programs? Well, that's because they don't have enough juice, especially during the day, and that's in the here and now with many big baseload plants still online slated to be shutdown in the near future. Imagine every car being electric. They keep closing 1000Mw baseload plants and opening 200Mw non-baseload wind farms and calling it a victory. I've nothing against green energy, but you can't have a grid on 100% wind and solar. Won't work, the only people that say it works are rouge MPSC analysts who when you look at their personal Facebook pages are all in 100% we need to be off all fossil fuels now...even if it means shutting down air traffic and moving everyone off natural gas and propane heating...type people. In other words people with a ideological agenda and form their analysis not on facts but on opinion of what the facts should look like. I'm not trying to politicize this letter, but you can't have extreme viewed analysts driving your policy as that is not representative of the people. Oh, and BTW, one way these "analysts" say to do this is managing your power for you, they call it a "smart grid" other words, we're not going to be able to charge that car when we want, or possibly even cook or dry your laundry or run your A/C when we want as all high energy drain devices would be managed, and a smart grid also introduces some major privacy concerns. Along with that the analysts plan for a 100% wind/solar includes plans to use OUR electric vehicles stored energy to supplement and backfeed the grid during high drain times, thus further degrading our vehicles battery life. With forced time of use electric rates, what about the 3rd shift worker, who needs to charge during the day at home, her cost to charge up her vehicle will be thru the roof. At the end of the day you can spin numbers to any delight and analysts love to do just that, but use some common sense, if they're asking us to reduce our usage TODAY and have to fire up natural gas plants to supplement high energy use days TODAY, imagine what a continued decrease in supply coupled with increasing the electric demands on a massive scale would do? You can't do a 100% EVs without some major new baseload on the grid or severely subjugating the people.

There are other real life impacts of 100% electric, especially here in Michigan. In Michigan, there is a culture of "going up north", and I'm sure this exists in some fashion in most every state. Every Friday people leave after work and tow their camper or atvs or snowmobiles to destinations "up north". They usually want to get their destination that night with room to spare so they can wake up and enjoy their full weekend in Michigan's beautiful and great outdoors. The outdoors in our great state is a major part of Michigan's economy and if I read certain charts correctly it's 2nd only to our awesome auto industry. With the current battery tech, you're not going to make it from Detroit to Traverse City, or Grand Rapids to Copper Harbor. Sure you can fast charge IF your car even supports that (many don't) and IF you can find a DC fast charger along your route at the right place along that route as they're practically non-existent right now and IF someone else isn't already using said fast charger, that's still 40 minutes extra time over your average gas up at 5 minutes, and remember, every fast charge degrades your battery a little bit more. Fast charging may make the Detroit to Traverse City doable while adding significant time, it still doesn't make a Grand Rapids to Copper Harbor doable without an overnight stop, eating up precious time in your weekend of fun doing nothing but waiting to charge. And then you have to cut your weekend short to get back!

Here's another elephant in the room, the tax credit is only for those who pay that amount in taxes. So to get the federal $7500 credit you'd have to have at least $7500 in income taxes. Many people don't get anywhere near that. And also each automaker was only allowed a finite number of vehicles eligible for the tax credit and we know GM and Tesla among others have already reached those limits, so no tax credit for those. So EV's are totally out of reach price wise for the average person, leaving average and low income folks with aged...aka degraded EV's that don't get but 2/3's of their rated range when new. So, you're basically sticking it to the middle and low income class.

These are the questions I have. You want 100% EV fleet, what are you doing to address these challenges? Why don't you want diversity in your fleets energy needs to hedge against a price rise in one or the other? EV's make a lot of sense for alot of things, but long range, cold, coupled with aged EV's are not among those things.

I'm not trying to poo-poo the Electric vehicle, in fact we own one, but there really needs a major battery breakthrough to make it a viable vehicle for the masses and all use cases. Indeed there's a lot of people and alot of private and public capitol working on battery tech, but to date, there is nothing notable on the horizon other than marginal at best increases in packaging (weight to storage ratio) and efficiency. There's some that have found amazing ways to storing energy that would yield big ranges and/or super-fast charging, but it's with some exotic substance/chemical/material and is many decades away from being cost viable to mass produce if it would ever be viable to mass produce.

So, I ask again, really, I'd just like to know the answers, what's being done to address these issues? You're all in on pushing EV's on everyone, but have you thought about all the ancillary issues that introduces and how it affects people's real life? Let me rephrase, have you thought about these ancillary issues from outside your bubble and sphere of influence, from the perspective of the average citizen? These are real issues that you're going to force the people to face going with 100% EV. With 100% EV fleet on todays or even the forseeable futures battery tech, you'd basically be asking hundreds of thousands of Michiganders to change their lifestyle drastically, all while making the middle and lower income class bear the brunt of this policy from a cost perspective.

With these facts, and the fact the Governor and the auto CEO's KNOW this, one then has to ask, why aren't you telling us the full truth? It seems to be an agenda not originated from the People. It would seem more reasonable and diverse energy sources to propel our vehicles would be a much saner path to the future.

Sincerely, an average citizen of the great state of Michigan