EV Travel Not Ready For Prime Time

A Canadian man’s nightmarish electric vehicle (EV) journey is turning heads and sparking debate about the much-touted future of transportation. Dalbir Bala’s ordeal serves as a cautionary tale for potential EV buyers and calls into question the widespread adoption of these vehicles in their current state.

Dalbir Bala’s dream of owning an environmentally responsible vehicle turned into a 1,400-mile ordeal that he and his family won’t soon forget. After spending $85,000 ($115,000 in Canadian dollars) on a 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning Lariat, Bala soon realized that EV ownership came with unexpected costs. He invested an additional $16,000 in home and work infrastructure to accommodate his new truck’s charger.

However, the initial costs paled compared to the issues Bala faced during a business trip from Winnipeg to Chicago. Despite careful planning and accounting for three charging stops along the way, the trip turned disastrous.

After a more than two-hour wait at the first charging station in Fargo, North Dakota, the Balas paid $56 to charge their vehicle from 10% to 90%. The real problems began in Albertville, Minnesota, where a faulty charger stranded the family. Their search for another charging station in Elk River proved futile, as that charger was also malfunctioning.

“This sheer helplessness was mind-boggling,” Bala described, noting his family’s distress at the time. “My kids and wife were really worried and stressed at this point.”

With a mere 12 miles of battery left and no functioning chargers in sight, Bala had his electric truck towed to a nearby Ford dealership. Opting for reliability, the family rented a gas-powered vehicle to complete their trip.

But the road trip snafu was only one chapter in Bala’s growing list of EV grievances. Shortly after his purchase, a minor accident left his truck in the shop for six months due to a parts shortage. “I can’t take it to my lake cabin. I cannot take it for off-grid camping. I can only drive in the city – biggest scam of modern times,” he stated.

His words of advice? “Do your research before even thinking about it and make a wiser choice. The actual thing they promised is not even close. Not even 50%.”

In response to Bala’s experiences, Ford Motor Corp. acknowledged the pressing need for more accessible and functional charging stations across North America. The company stated, “This customer’s experience highlights the urgent need to rapidly improve access to public charging across the US and Canada.” They noted their plans to increase charging options and tap into Tesla’s expansive Supercharger network.

While the EV industry continues to evolve, stories like Bala’s shed light on the practical challenges consumers face today. As governments and corporations push for a greener future, it’s essential to balance enthusiasm with the realities on the ground. Until the infrastructure catches up, potential EV buyers must proceed cautiously and stay informed to avoid falling victim to the unanticipated pitfalls of early adoption.