Achilles Heel of Battery-Powered Vehicles, Part 2

Hurricane traffic, Tampa FL.

Achilles Heel of Battery-Powered Vehicles, Part 2

All eyes will turn to restoring electricity to customers after a hurricane.

Before the hurricane strikes, electric utilities will have mobilized their equipment and personnel to be ready to restore power as soon as the storm has passed.

The primary piece of equipment used to restore electric service will be the bucket truck.

Bucket trucks 2 for Hurricanes
Bucket trucks mobilized before a hurricane.

But in the future, with net-zero carbon policies, these trucks will all be battery powered.


Battery-Powered Bucket Trucks

For background:

There are two types of battery-powered bucket trucks being built today. There is the hybrid truck that uses the battery to operate the boom, while still using a diesel engine to power the truck. This improves working conditions since the diesel can be shut down while the truck is stopped and work is being done on the overhead lines.

This  type of hybrid truck won’t be made when all vehicles are to be battery-powered.

The second type of bucket truck is brand new, and is currently being made by Lion Electric of Quebec Canada. Being new, there is little real world operating experience. Consolidated Edison in New York, which is buying these trucks, has said,  “The truck should have a range of 130 miles, and can be recharged in 8 hours using Level 2 chargers.”


How will battery-powered bucket trucks perform after a hurricane?

Electricity will be unavailable until the power lines are repaired. It can take several days to restore electricity to everyone in an area affected by a hurricane.

The battery-powered truck will only be able to operate for about eight hours before the batteries will have to be recharged. 

At the end of eight hours, electricity will have only been restored to a small fraction of the affected area. So how will the bulk of these trucks be able to recharge their batteries?

Will these bucket trucks become a few thousand pounds of useless equipment stranded  in remote locations?


The Conundrum

Can we recover from disasters with BEVs?

This is a conundrum about which no one has apparently given much serious thought. Consolidated Edison in New York is buying battery-powered bucket trucks without explaining how they will operate under conditions where electricity isn’t readily available.

If all vehicles are battery powered, will it be possible to recover from disasters such as those caused by hurricanes or large snow storms?


Read Achilles Heel of Battery-Powered Vehicles, Part 1

The new book, Net-zero Carbon, The Climate Policy Destroying America, delves into the strategic reasons why relying on battery-powered vehicles may be bad for the United States.

Net-Zero Carbon

Available form Amazon

. . .


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7 Replies to “Achilles Heel of Battery-Powered Vehicles, Part 2”

  1. Lemme see here. How about large trucks carrying charged batteries to the scene of the repairs? Nope, that won’t work – such trucks can’t travel far without charging and once they have no more battery power… How about trucks carrying large diesel or gas generators? Oops, can’t do that. Diesel or gas – horrors. How about horse trailers drawing horse-driven cranes with battery powered trucks to carry them food? That might work until the food-carrier trucks are out of charge.

    How about realizing that our electric power generation and distribution systems unavoidably require fossil fuel powered machinery to build, maintain and repair them? Naw, that’s just faulty thinking.

    • Fossil fuels are essential for protecting lives and maintaining our standard of living.
      BEVs may be a niche product for those so inclined, but gasoline and diesel powered cars should remain as the major component of our transportation fleet.

  2. I live in Collier County where recovering from a hurricane is usual. Before electricity can be repaired with anything, the trees and debris has to be removed from roadways. That requires motorized equipment to then put that mess into trucks who haul it to collection points for future disposal. When Hurricane Irma hit Florida just after another gulf hurricane battered Houston, there were many truck drivers stopped on roadways by individuals and small companies and offered a substantial sum of money to come to Florida and get the clearing work underway. Those who had agreed with our county, made so much more than we could pay them, they went private. We paid them because FEMA couldn’t respond for higher payments because of their bureaucracy. Electrical equipment would only make it much worse. Unlike fossil fuel, it has to be produced as needed.

    • Great comment.
      The equipment needed for clearing roads etc.if powered by batteries, would also need to have electricity readily available. Obviously, there won’t be electricity until the roads are cleared and power lines and transformers installed and energized.

  3. NOTE:
    Donn Dears write’s consistently good articles that get to important points quickly, without wasting words, as you would expect from an engineer who is also a good writer. There have been many articles recently about EVs stranded on a highway during a winter storm. Some were published here. Some of them also mentioned using EVs to escape a hurricane. None of them covered the subject as well as these three Don Dears’ articles, combined on one page here:
    Ye Editor