Electric vehicles in 2023

I’m a pretty unabashed fan of battery electric vehicles.

Well, I am slightly abashed in the fact that I feel like it’d be much better if mass transit were more accessible in more places, and even the most efficient BEV still has some pretty severe ecological issues associated with them (lithium refinement, impact of manufacturing the vehicle itself, parking space, road space, externalities of power production, etc.), but as a form of harm reduction in the society that we are stuck in within the vast majority of the continental US, they’re still way better than internal combustion engine cars, for those whose lifestyles require a car and can accommodate the (vanishing) limitations of a BEV. Even in areas where most electricity is generated by fossil fuels, the environmental impact of charging a BEV (with emissions generated in a centralized location) is much lower than the impact of carrying a little inefficient fossil fuel combustion source everywhere you go.

So, BEVs are an improvement. The thing is, the state of BEVs is pretty abysmal in general, at least in North America. In other parts of the world there’s some pretty compelling vehicles available (such as the MG4) but the US auto market is currently emphasizing large “crossover SUVs” and pickup trucks, and combined with the fascination of maximizing the car’s range, most BEVs coming out here are forced into a situation of having a gigantic battery, raising the overall vehicle price, and therefore meaning that every electric vehicle ends up being some ultra high-end luxury car.

Update (1/16/2023): Added some stuff about the Hyundai/Kia duality that I’d missed previously. Also a change of opinion on the EV6.

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