‘Insufficient for the Demands of Winter’: New York Gives Electric Snowplows the Cold Shoulder
2023/11/10

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Title: New York's Decision to Stick with Diesel Snow Plows Exposes Electric Vehicle Obstacles

Under President Joe Biden's administration, the push towards electric vehicles (EVs) in America has been relentless. However, the technology faces numerous challenges beyond issues related to raw materials and costs. Problems surrounding EVs include charging obstacles, inadequate infrastructure, a lack of concrete plans for recycling old batteries, and emerging safety concerns associated with battery use. Furthermore, heavy-duty vehicles like pickup trucks struggle with range limitations, which are particularly problematic when they are used as work vehicles.

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Recognizing the limitations of battery-operated vehicles, New York State is coming to terms with the harsh reality that such EVs might be best suited for less demanding applications. The state has decided to continue using traditional diesel-powered snow plows over their less reliable and underpowered electric counterparts.

New York did explore the possibility of adopting electric plows. Three years ago, the New York Department of Sanitation procured several Mack brand electric trucks, intending to utilize them both as garbage trucks and snow-removal plows. However, the city's plans for an all-electric truck fleet were quickly undermined by a fundamental flaw: a lack of power.

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According to reports, the plows struggled to handle the continuous movement required for snow removal, as snow buildup created resistance that the EV batteries could not handle effectively.

Additionally, it was found that the electric plow lasted only about two hours before needing to be recharged. While the trucks performed adequately for garbage collection purposes, the added weight and resistance caused by snow proved insurmountable. With heavy snowfall being a common occurrence in the region, snow plows typically need to operate for up to 12 hours at a time. Unfortunately, current battery technology falls short in supporting the demands of snow removal, as confirmed by the Vice President of Mack, the company that manufactured the trucks.

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The sheer weight of EV batteries makes them unsuitable for effective snow removal, leaving diesel as the only feasible option. This reality undermines the notion of replacing diesel with electric power, especially considering the challenges New York already faces in keeping its streets clear during winter storms. Existing plans to phase out diesel by 2040 may be unrealistic, as electric vehicles are ill-equipped to handle situations where time is of the essence, and mobility must be restored amidst massive snowfall or other significant obstacles. In such instances, the purported environmental benefits of EVs take a backseat to public safety concerns.

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While forcefully promoting short-range electric cars and underpowered electric pickups onto an unwilling public may be one thing, jeopardizing public safety in the name of an unsettled issue like climate change is another. Diesel-powered vehicles have proven their effectiveness, and during critical moments like blizzards, lives are at risk. It is essential to prioritize practical solutions over misplaced idealism.

New York's recent decision to stick with diesel snow plows underscores the reality that EVs face significant obstacles in certain applications. Until advancements in battery technology can adequately address these challenges, it is imperative to rely on proven solutions like diesel-powered vehicles to ensure reliability, efficiency, and most importantly, public safety in critical situations.

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