EV assumptions flat-out wrong

Russ Andrews, a candidate for Lauren Boebert’s vacant seat, recently wrote in the Telegraph that “Electric vehicles are a non-starter in rural America.” Specifically, he challenged Gov. Polis to make a comparison roundtrip from Cortez to Denver first in a conventional SUV and then return “in his choice of EVs … in the dead of winter, then report back!”
As a coincidence, I did just that. In late-January, I drove from Hesperus to Denver in a Toyota RAV4 SUV and returned in a Rivian R1T (410-mile range), a four-wheel drive electric pickup truck more muscular than a Ford F-150. The EV leg had better traction, a smoother ride, more power and cost less. I stopped just once to recharge; the dash screen told me to charge in Salida for 9 minutes, but it took me 15 minutes to eat my lunch, so I charged for that long. The charge cost $12.79. I reached Hesperus with 80 miles of charge remaining, and I could easily have reached Cortez had I wanted to.

But EV tourists might want to avoid Cortez, as the town’s city fathers recently rejected Tesla’s free offer of installing and maintaining superchargers there. Unlike nearby tourist towns like Bluff, Monticello, Moab, Farmington, Durango, Telluride and Ouray, visitors to Cortez have no place to get a fast charge. No reason to spend the night in Cortez. To compound this self-inflicted wound to the Cortez economy, Andrews would apparently like to accelerate our aridification by rejecting common sense and cost-saving actions to preserve water supplies for agriculture, the other engine of Cortez’s economy.

Andrews supposes that driving an EV costs extra money. Actually, all analyses suggest that the lower cost of fueling an EV lowers a driver’s transportation costs. For example, the Washington Post recently computed that an average pickup truck driver in the Four Corners states wastes $47.25 every time they fill up a conventional pickup truck rather than an electric one. And the more miles a user needs to drive in a year, the greater the savings from EV driving. The long distances between destinations in rural America are the best possible justification for going electric.

–Gordon Rodda, Hesperus