10 reasons not to buy an electric car

Align: Vroom editors Paul Brian and Lauren Fix may be seasoned car industry experts, but that doesn’t mean they’re completely immune to the electric vehicle hype.

“As far as looks … spectacular,” says Lauren. “Technology, amazing. And all of this entices you because the car manufacturers are doing something completely different than they did before.”

But those compliments come with some pretty big misgivings. Should you hop on board the EV bandwagon? Paul and Lauren recently sat down with me to share their 10 reasons not to go electric.

— Matt Himes

1. We’ve been down this road before

Paul: Electric cars are not new. When the 1901 Chicago Auto Show was staged, more than half of the fourteen vehicles that were shown at that show were electric vehicles. It’s not a new idea at all. The problem is, is that there’s this nasty little thing called practicality.

It’s all smoke and mirrors. This is all about control. Don’t let anyone kid you that this electric car thing isn’t about limiting your range.

There are a lot of people who are saying, “I’ve seen all of this, I apparently should be doing it.” And then they get hit with the harsh realities of what happens with an electric vehicle.

2. They’re more expensive than you think

Lauren: If you’re thinking about buying an electric car … you have to look at the full costs. The first thing you’re gonna do is [ask], “What’s the payment? Oh, ok, I think I can afford that, especially with all these incentives.”

[But these incentives] are now only for 12 cars, that’s it. Because they kept changing their regulations and they’re gonna make them even stricter. Right now we have 12 cars that qualify, and not all the Teslas even qualify, only the high-performance versions do.

And many of the states are out of the matching credits. … [They] have either stopped or have no more money left in their funds to have matching credits to support this incentive.

The insurance is twice as much or close to twice as much [as] a regular gasoline-powered car.

The tires wear out quicker because these are heavier, they’re low-rolling resistant and run-flat tires. They’re not $100 a tire, they’re $400 a tire, and they wear out about every 10,000 miles. Of course, no one talks about that … but it’s important that you look at all the true cost of owning a vehicle.

3. They depreciate faster than a Model S Plaid in Drag Strip mode

Lauren: Look at that really cool Porsche Taycan — I think it’s spectacular. Unfortunately, [it’s a] $200,000 car [that’s] available used for $100,000. So, if you buy one of these vehicles, you’re losing about half as soon as you drive off the lot.

If you are considering an electric vehicle, a lease would be your smartest move. Walk away at the end of your two- or three-year period.

Paul: Do not buy an electric vehicle. Period.

Lauren: The battery replacement will make you cry. Some of them are as much as $60,000 for a new battery. Lease it, give it back to the dealer. That’s your smartest move.

4. The charging infrastructure just isn’t there yet

Paul: I just took a trip up to Road America [race track] last weekend. I live in the Chicago suburbs, and I happen to have a Kia EV9. That’s what I was driving last week.

Lauren: Cool car, by the way. Very, very cool. Expensive, but very cool.

Paul: I had to charge up on Friday night to make sure that I was topped off, and then I drove to Milwaukee, and I did some interviews at the Milwaukee Mile. Then I said, “Hey, you know what, I can’t find a level-3 charging station in Elkhart Lake.”

[A level-3 charger] you can read a comic book while you’re charging; the other ones you better have a copy of a Leo Tolstoy novel with you.

So, I had to drive from Milwaukee to Sheboygan, Wisconsin, to find a level-3 charger. Well, that’s 35 miles, 40 miles away from where I was going — Road America. So, then I had another two hours while I was charging that vehicle.

Lauren: Who’s got two hours? Isn’t time money? It is to me.

Paul: When I finally got home, I had 19 miles of range [left]. It was terrifying because I’m watching that gauge closer than I’m watching the road.

Lauren: [Ask yourself], is there charging available around you? Now, we were just in California driving one of the newest Honda electric cars, and they said, “Oh, there’s four superchargers in this northern California town.”

So, we went there, and three of them weren’t working. One of them was, but there was a Tesla there. If it takes 20 minutes to charge, you should kind of hang around. Nope: 20 minutes later [it was clear] someone had plugged it in and taken off.

The fact is that you’re relying on public charging, but you have to still pay for that. And there’s a cost to it. And electricity in California especially is the most expensive in the country. And I live in New York, and Paul lives in Illinois, also extremely expensive. So the three of us live in states where it’s just crazy expensive for electricity, and it’s not going down. Look at your electric bill every month. Now, add in a charging station.

5. Charging may pose hidden health risks

Lauren: They always say, “Oh, just sit in your car. It’s fine. We have fully reclining seats and big screens and you can play video games,” and it all sounds great on the surface.

We’ve all heard, don’t put your phone in your ear, right? Don’t put your phone in your ear. Even these AirPods, if you put in two, it’s causing all kinds of issues. Don’t put your phone in your pocket, especially for guys. We’ve all heard and read about this in a million different places.

But it’s okay to sit in a car with alternating current.

So, I actually have one of these gauges that I bring with me. The manufacturers hate when I bring it, so I have to keep it hidden.

Paul: Did you get a tin foil hat?

Lauren: [laughs] If you’re sitting in the car while it’s charging, you’re not just exposing yourself but anyone in the car. So, it’s like being in a microwave. It’s alternating current, which is the problem.

Actually, you were with me, Paul. We were at one of the vehicle [test] drives at the super fast charger [that] takes 20 minutes. So, I asked the guy, and he said off the record, “Get out of the car and go as far away as you can.”

And I said, “Really?”

He said, “We’re not going to tell anyone this because I’ll lose my job. But get in the car, and park the car, plug it in, and go. Just go get something to eat and walk away.”

But they’re telling us all in the mainstream, “Oh, you can sit in the car with your kid and your dog and you can play games and make it fun.”

No one has addressed the medical side of this. And I fear that at some point, like much of the stuff the government sometimes pushes, [we’ll find out it has health risks]. And I’m not wearing a tinfoil hat, you can talk to anyone.

6. The capacity just isn’t there yet

Paul: And it’s not only the infrastructure, but it’s the capacity. I know about a company that — because they had bought into the hype so heavily — wanted to change their trucks to EVs. And it was, I think, a fleet of about 20 or 25 trucks that they had.

And they went to the village board and the village board said, “Wait a minute. We’re talking about you guys building this whole charging farm, and the amount of juice that you’re requesting far exceeds the capacity of the entire village.” And it wasn’t a small village.

We don’t have the capacity. We don’t have coal plants. We don’t have enough new plants to do it.

Lauren: They want to shut those [coal plants] down.

Paul: And it’s just antithetical to what they’re pitching. It’s like nobody thought about this. They just said, “This is a new idea, this is good, we’re saving Mother Earth. We’ve got John Kerry, we’ve got Al Gore, we’ve got St. Greta …”

7. They’re bad for the environment … and the roads

Paul: When Lauren said the tires are more expensive, there’s a secondary problem with the tires as well. And that’s particulate pollution.

Lauren: It’s bad. It’s worse. It kills the air. There’s less CO2, but you’re breathing in particles of tire.

Paul: [Because an EV] could be 1,500, 2,000 pounds heavier [than a gas powered car]. And so now you’ve got a whole lot more weight that’s playing on those tires.

Lauren: I have a lot of friends who are first responders and they say the biggest thing is when [an EV] catches fire for whatever reason, the problem is that it’s a chemical reaction. It’s polluting the environment worse than you can imagine.

Not just digging up the raw materials to make the batteries, but if [a battery] catches fire, there’s no way to recycle it. It’s a nice idea, but the fact is, it’d be like me handing you a birthday cake and saying, “Could you take the eggs out?”

I just read an article that older cars from the ’60s and ’70s are better for the environment than the new cars because of the impact from what we call in our business “cradle to grave.” In other words, from all its raw materials all the way to the finished product and then the end-of-life cycle.

Paul: And secondarily, for a long time states have been very generous with licensing fees for electric vehicles. [Now] they’re waking up, and they’re saying, “Well, wait a minute, how come that our pothole problems, our repaving problems, all of those things, are costing us more than they ever did before?”

Lauren: Especially on local roads, not necessarily highways. Highways are designed for 18-wheelers.

Paul: The taxpayer is paying that.

Lauren: The state of Texas is charging $400 when you register your car and $200 for every year after that. Every state is starting to charge by the mile.

If you’re thinking, “Well, I don’t have to pay gas taxes” … well, if you’re not paying gas taxes, then who’s going to repair the roads and bridges? That comes out of the general fund. And that’s what a lot of states have done, including here in New York.

They gotta come up with the money from some other places to pay for the electricity, to pay for the tax credits on a federal and a state level, and that’s you who’s paying for that. So, whether you think you’re getting it for free, you’re actually paying for it. Nothing is free.

8. They’re about government control

Lauren: It’s all smoke and mirrors. This is all about control. Don’t let anyone kid you that this electric car thing isn’t about limiting your range.

Paul: [They’re working on technology that] if you’re not making your payments, the auto drive system will drive it back to the dealership, so that it will in fact repossess your vehicle for you.

Lauren: Without a person.

Paul: Yeah.

Lauren: So, you come out, and you’re like, “Where’s my truck?” It’s at the dealer because you didn’t make your payments.

They’ve been able to lock you out of your car for a long time, especially on used car lots. But if you look at the infrastructure bill from 2021, the one that apparently Attorney General Ken Paxton has found to be illegal because they passed it without people actually being in Congress, there is a kill switch [proposal]. It will monitor everything in your car.

They put this under the guise of [stopping] drunk driving. They want to put in a fingertip device [on the start button]. So, you took a medication, you’ve had a stressful day. I don’t know, maybe you were using rubbing alcohol to remove nail polish. You touch that [and the car will decide] whether you should start [it] or not.

There’s a company called Gentex. You want to look it up. It tracks from the rearview mirror. Your eyes and [the eyes of] every person in the car. Second row, third row, your dog, your kid, everyone, your facial movements, what’s going on.

If it feels you’re stressed, you’re not paying attention, that’s going to be added into the AI in the computer in front of you.

If you don’t know if you have it, take your phone, just stand in front and take a picture [of your rear view mirror]. You’ll see two red dots or blue or green. It’s tracking your eyes. You’ve seen that. “Please pay attention to the road. Do you need a coffee?”

9. Nobody wants them

Paul: If you need some sort of an impartial barometer as to what’s been going on, take a look at what’s been happening at the car rental companies, where the car rental companies have just been having a horrible, horrible time renting the EVs that they already had.

Lauren: Nobody wants them.

Paul: Yeah, nobody wants them. They’ve sold off half of their inventory. And, and gee, what did they find out when they went to sell their existing fleet? Well, they’re not really worth what they were worth. You know, what they thought they were.

Lauren: They’re taking a huge hit. Remember, there was a shortage of cars because of the chip shortage. So.
Elon Musk, smart guy that he is, he’s the marketing king. He went to the car rental company and said, “Hey listen, I’ve got cars, I can’t sell them. Let’s work a deal, I’ll cut you a deal, you can offer electric cars, everybody’s happy, the government’s happy, you look like you’re helping in the agenda, everybody’s happy.”

Well, people don’t want them. I’ve talked to quite a few people, including myself, where I’ve gone to Hertz and they said, “Hey, we don’t have that car that you wanted, that SUV, but we do have a Tesla.” They’re so excited to tell you, and I’m like, “No, that’s not gonna work.”

So, are people accepting it? He goes, “No, we can’t, we can’t not rent them.” You have to return them fully charged. That takes time. When you’re at a destination, whether it’s a vacation or a business meeting, you have a very tight schedule. You go, you do what you need to do. You want to drop the car and take off at the airport. I get the field purchase option. If you look at the charging, you can’t bring it in on fumes. And they’ve also found there’s a high maintenance on tires, because like I said, tires wear out quicker, but also there’s a lot of damage to these cars and the cost to repair the damage like any rental car.

10. They’re bad for America

Lauren: We have more fossil fuels here, or oil, underneath the ground than any other country. But instead, we’re buying it from Russia and the Middle East. And we’re getting all of our battery materials from China.

So, while you think it’s being environmentally friendly, all you’re doing is helping China and the Middle East and Russia make more money. Now, wherever you think about that politically has nothing to do with it. The fact is, we can be energy efficient, and we were. But this administration wants to be reliable on other countries.

And China, of course, would love to take over our country by bringing in Chinese cars and owning everything that we have and making us basically sit at home and play video games all day.

Paul: We’re trying to limit the amount of Chinese product that we’re bringing into the States. But if the Chinese build their plants in Mexico, well, then all of a sudden, there’s a trade agreement that we have with Mexico and with Canada, that allows those same vehicles to be accessed by Americans.

Lauren: You know what’s interesting, Paul, is if you look at China, why they’re telling us, “Oh, electric,” because they knew they couldn’t take over the U.S. car industry. They knew they couldn’t beat the Germans. So they came up with this electric story and pushed the story, helped politicians get reelected by helping them push the narrative.

Now, there are five Chinese car manufacturers building plants in Mexico as we speak. At the same time, they’re building nuclear power plants and coal-fired plants in China. We’re taking those down where they’re building seven a week.

So, they’ve got plenty of energy … and of course they’re building stuff quick because that’s how they do everything. They’re gonna build plants in Mexico already started, they’re gonna be fully automated.

I’m on the World Car of the Year. We’ve driven the Suzuki, the SAIC, BYD, all of them. As a matter of fact, I’m supposed to go to China to see the plants, which I’m finding very interesting. But the fact is they want to bring these cars in here. And what does that mean? Everyone’s like, “Oh, great, low-cost cars.”

Be careful what you wish for, because the big three automakers that are here in the U.S. and all the manufacturers that are building here, Honda, Toyota, all of these plants are going to lose jobs.

And that affects not just the Dow, and the stock market, it affects jobs, it affects the economy. And believe it or not, the auto industry and all the little companies that support it is so big it’s half of the Dow Jones, and people don’t even realize that.

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