Challenge of electric cars in mass evacuation was warned of in 2020 Florida report


Evacuating hundreds of thousands of people from an impending disaster, as occurred in South Florida during Hurricane Ian this week, is hard enough with limited evacuation routes. There’s but one road out of Key West, and it takes hours to leave the Keys and get to the mainland. The challenge becomes daunting for those who own electric cars in places like Key West, Fort Myers, Port Charlotte, and Coral Gables, Florida.

The typical range for an electric car is just 200 miles. That would get a driver from Key West as far as Fort Lauderdale or from Fort Myers to Orlando. That is, if the driver isn’t stuck idling in traffic.

Florida, home to over 21.2 million people, doesn’t yet have enough charging stations to make it practical or for a majority of its people to evacuate in electric vehicles. The problem is compounded by power outages, such as the one that took power down for 2.6 million customers during the storm; days later, the power is still out for over one million Floridians.

“The 2020 Battery Electric Vehicle lineup features all-electric ranges between 123 and 402 miles, many older models have ranges under 100, which is not as practical for long distance highway travel,” a State of Florida report noted in 2020. “Despite the travel range increases, adequate infrastructure is still an issue, especially for those with EVs that have shorter travel ranges; a problem that seriously complicates planning for an evacuation.”

The problem is illustrated by the fact that there are only three public charging stations in Cape Coral, Fla., which was under evacuation orders for Hurricane Ian, and which is home to over 200,000 Floridians. Florida has fewer than 5,700 charging stations for its electric vehicles, which total over 200,000 this year, a number that increased 56% from July 2021.

“With the threat of a hurricane, EV drivers cannot spare much time to stop and charge their vehicles. Level 1 and 2 charging stations, which take hours to fully charge an EV’s battery, are not adequate for evacuation travel. Alternatively, DCFC stations can charge many batteries to 80 percent capacity in a half hour or less. EV charging lengths vary depending on the model and charger type, but even the quickest chargers take over three times the amount of time it takes to fuel a gasoline vehicle,” according to the 2020 report from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, linked below.

To be clear, even if someone is driving a gas-powered vehicle, he may have limited range if caught in a traffic jam, and if the power is out, drivers might not be able to find a gas station that has working pumps and electronic payment systems. But typically, a small SUV can go for about 480 miles on a tank of gas, more than double the range of an electric vehicle.

The short ranges that electric cars have in Alaska is even more of a challenge, because of long distances, remote areas, and the fact that cold weather affects battery life. There are few charging stations available across the state. Anchorage has 64 charging stations, including two DC fast chargers, while Juneau has 23 charging stations.

The distance from Kenai to Anchorage is 158 miles, which means drivers need to leave the peninsula fully charged, just in case they get stuck in a traffic snarl, as often happens along the Seward Highway.

But while cold weather is one challenge, even in hot weather the range for batteries can be taxed because of the need to turn up the air conditioning in a vehicle that is idling in congested traffic, such as occurs during mass evacuations. For Floridians on Friday, the main north-south corridor of I-75 was suddenly shut down in both directions because of rising water from the Myakka River, which runs under an interstate bridge. People were stuck in their vehicles for several hours.

Click on this link to access the Florida report on the conversion to electric vehicles.


  1. Exactly why electric cars are not viable nor able to handle range, weather and cold. That tells me they are WORTHLESS! I will be using gas until I die…I don’t care how much they charge us for it!

      • Yes–and if the lefties do have a gas car–it is a Suburu. Another virtue signal. Like wearing their stupid mask while driving. Begs the question: The place most likely to pick-up a virus is the home. So–why don’t they wear their stupid mask at home? Because nobody can see them…..

    • EVs are useful as urban commuter vehicles only. And running the cabin heater in those things drains the battery like nothing else.

      Of course, our betters will mandate them for everyone anyway. If it makes rural living impractical, that suits them just fine – move to the city and enjoy your pod.

  2. Caveat Emptor (buyers beware):
    Floodwaters in western Florida were not freshwaters, they were saltwater. This ruins automobiles. These cars will get washed up and transported to other states far away from Florida. If you are buying a used or new car in the near future, check it’s place of recent origin. Lift the floor mats and inspect, as well as under the car for rust. If from west Florida, don’t buy, or offer very low.

      • Greg, do you live in a cave? Components around the engine, tranny, differentials, and all undercarriage electrical are not dipped. Only the underframe. The rust seal eventually wears out and saltwater accelerates the rusting process. All cars eventually rust, unless sanded, resealed and painted. Do some real research before you sqwack.

        • Idiot, I live in Florida and there are no rusty cars down here. Only cars with their paint deteriorated from UV damage. I suppose there’s still some rusty cars up in Minnesota where they use salt on the roads, and maybe if you drove a car into the ocean and flooded it when you drug it out there might be a little bit of corrosion somewhere. They’re making cars better and they did in the seventies and I would suggest you update your knowledge about technology and the longevity of automobiles and electronics and today’s world.

        • Also in an attempt to educate you, the evacuation order for Tampa was given out a full 48 hours before the storm was supposed to make landfall. By the time it did reach land, it was only moving at about 6 miles an hour or let’s just say about 150 miles a day. A fully charged electric vehicle with a 200 mile range could have easily outran the storm had they chosen the right direction to travel. Most people from Tampa who thought the storm was going to wipe them out headed to Orlando which was a mistake. That’s the track the storm took on its way from fort Myers which is about 60 miles south of Tampa towards the space coast and then offshore and on North. But they didn’t know. The correct course of action would have been to travel South towards Miami or north towards Tallahassee. Regardless, most gasoline powered cars have a cruising range approaching 500 miles. Now electric cars don’t use much fuel when they’re sitting in traffic unless they have their AC on. Gasoline powered cars also sip fuel when idling. People that did run out of gasoline because they were trapped in a congested highway probably didn’t do their own diligence and fill their car up before they headed out or at the very least when they first heard that a hurricane might be approaching. That’s Florida knowledge 101. 5 years ago during the last big hurricane, there was a traffic jam from Tampa all the way up to Atlanta and they opened up both shoulders as Lanes and they even opened up southbound and turned everything into a northbound moving traffic jam. Coming back home after the storm, electricity was wiped out and gasoline stations were dark with no power. I followed a 10 semi tank truck convoy South for a while until I had to turn off on my highway. I sent evacuated over 350 miles one way to escape the storm clear up into Alabama. As it turned out Tampa didn’t get hit by this current storm and had outflowing winds which pretty much drained the bay bone dry.. all those people that evacuated Tampa did so needlessly but you never know. Fort Myers looks like a nuke went off down there and most of the loss of life is elderly people and the cause is drowning. Not a good way to go.

    • Actually most of the flooded cars further than four or five miles from fort Myers flooded due to freshwater from the 20 inches of rain that fell there. Most components on modern cars are zinc coated and dipped and that includes floor pans body panels frames etc. Most cars that did get into salt water can benefit nicely from a power washing. That’s what I do with my boat trailer and it hasn’t rusted in10 years

      • Greg, if the salt water gets into the engine compartment, that’s big time trouble. Also, the metal components in power windows, inside panels, window seals, trunk, etc will be heavily damaged. Its not good, Greg.

    • We currently have a less attractive version of AOC in Alaska. Mary Peltola. Her IQ hovers near AOC;
      room temperature.

      • That’s generous, Alvin. I’d put Peltola’s IQ around -15. A complete idiot and moron from Bethel……the armpit of Alaska.
        Begich 1.
        Palin 2.
        Blank 3.

  3. You can have a spare gas can in the trunk during an emergency. Can you carry a portable battery charger? I don’t like these electric cars.

  4. I love AOC’s always brilliant comments. Essentially saying with no electricity they can’t pump gas, we need more electric cars. Um, how do we charge electric cars? If you fill an ICE car, most have a range of 300 mi at least. Small generators can power a gas station and your average car can fill in under 5 minutes.

  5. Electric cars make perfect sense in a place like Juneau or Sitka where there is plentiful and cheap, green and sustainable Hydro- Power and no more than 40 miles of road. E.V.’s make much less sense in South Central Alaska or the Interior where power is generated by Natural Gas and Coal and where it can be a 40 mile trip to Fred Meyers, meaning if its cold out between the Battery Warmer and keeping the windshield defrosted you might not make it home!
    Decisions on whether to buy E.V. or Gas are best left to the consumer and should never be mandated. It’s called Liberty! Personally, I want an E.V., I realize that it’s not going to be a year round vehicle but I think it would be fun to drive and it would be a hoot charging the car battery with my Diesel Generator!

  6. This is what happens when people in giant cities make policy. Imagine if the was no electoral college. Do you think the people in third world countries which use small motorcycles because that’s what they can afford or going to all go green?

    The liberals have found a way to a new kind of colonialism. Most of the plastic pollution comes from Asia so to solve the problem they ban plastic straws in Seattle. And where is all this power going to come from?

    Go ahead tell a farmer in Brazil he can’t use gas anymore and he will say “Now that you have advanced you will prevent me from the same thing. You used gas to lift your country up, now the rest of us don’t get the same chance. Pollution comes from the whole world, not the plastic bags in Wasilla.

  7. Its very interesting, I have been in Tucson AZ for a week, very few EVs in that city, I took a trip to New Mexico and back and saw 1 EV on that trip, there are no charging station on that stretch of I 10, I couldn’t have made the round trip in an EV, it is insanity to think we could ever go fully electric.

      • EV’s are great only for short runs. If you have to drive any serious miles, EV’s are useless. I typically drive between states for work, which in a gas vehicle takes 11 hours. In an EV it would take like 3 days. Lack of charging and limited range in a crisis makes them a poor choice for emergency use or evacuations. Awesome for normal commutes and short trips. In the future, when we have moved away from Lion batts and the range has increased significantly, they will be far more practical. right now they a long way from being practical for a lot of people, besides the ridiculous price tags on these new vehicles. And if you need a truck, forget it… the tow range of an EV vehicle is pathetic. It draws 2-3x the charge when towing even light loads. In 5 years I would expect them to far more interesting than they are now

  8. Just a half dozen EMP (ElectroMagnetic Pulse) warheads would cripple the N. American power grid. It would take months to restore it, providing our enemies didn’t use any more EMP warheads.

  9. Quite a few months (if lucky), if the grid was crippled as you describe. And a significant portion of the population would not survive.

  10. How is it possible that AOC has so many ‘Let them eat cake’ moments? She has absolutely no understanding of the world in which the majority of humans live.

    • That is because Sandy Cortez lives in New York City, a place almost completely divorced from the majority of humans, and from the real world itself. Their ignorance of the wider world outside of their fetid urban bubble is matched only by their arrogance and elitism.

  11. People cite Juneau as the right place for EVs, but if it is it’s because there is a huge population cohort that wears the liberal, climate-change panic mentality on their sleeves. It’s a way for the self-satisfied and the self-important to make a statement, but as a practical technology it has unsolved shortcomings. EV muni buses have not worked well here. Yes, EVs can hook up for free at city-owned charging stations, and yes, the distances are small here, but then how much gas or diesel do you really burn commuting those small distances? There are years when I put more gasoline through my outboards, a 40 and a 4, than through my V-8 truck. When without government subsidy gillnetters and seiners are switching from diesel to electric I will take a look at making the switch. The greenies say that petroleum producers receive large government subsidies but they never say exactly how. Elected people get up every morning and wonder what part of our lives they can next decide for us.

  12. Interestingly… in actual practice during Hurricane Ian… Gas stations ran out of gas, charging stations did not run out of electricity. The entire DC Fast Charge network (Tesla and non-Tesla) stayed up during evacuations. Gas vehicles were abandoned due to lack of gas. Also, when idling (unlike gas cars) EVs use almost no power – able to idle for tens of hours if not days at a time. Now after the hurricane, gas folks are desperate posting on Craiglist and Facebook willing to pay $10/gallon for gas. EV owners are zipping along, as most EV stations are up and running in the rest of the state.

    • No gas stations didn’t run out of gasoline. Most were knocked out of power which means they couldn’t pump gasoline but they had plenty of it to sell. Internet just today was restored in Daytona Beach. There’s still water standing everywhere between Palm Coast down to Orlando and back down to fort Myers. Water is still over the road in most subdivisions and in some cases only yesterday were cars able to drive through it has it receives. The entire St Johns River from Jacksonville down to it’s origin by Lake Okeechobee is a no wake zone because the water is laughing at people’s front doors. No electricity is quite a ways down on the range of what these people need right now. They’re just trying to get their life back together for simple things like having a dry place to sleep and keeping the snakes out is Paramount.

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