PBOT joins the fight against big trucks and SUVs

PBOT post on Instagram, October 23rd.

The massive size and aggressive design of many trucks and SUVs are making traffic crashes deadlier than ever. The issue has been around for years, but has gained considerable momentum of late. In 2019 we covered a talk in downtown Portland by author and activist Angie Schmitt where she said truck size is one of the major culprits for the rise in pedestrian deaths and then illustrated the problem with a photo of her 4-year-old son standing in front of a Ford truck. The boy’s head came up to the license plate.

As research and awareness have grown, the issue is now common in large national media outlets and has turned the corner into an issue that’s even safe enough even for government agencies to address head-on. One of those agencies is the Portland Bureau of Transportation.

Oversized trucks and SUVs are now a key part of PBOT’s “Safe Systems” approach to road safety. In their latest Vision Zero newsletter, PBOT draws a clear line from a rise in traffic deaths to “increasing vehicle size trends.” “More large vehicles are on our streets despite their disproportionate likelihood to kill and seriously injure people,” PBOT wrote in the newsletter, under a provocative photo of an adult woman staring into the grill of a jacked-up pick-up.

On Monday, they elevated the issue further, with posts to their social media accounts. With 153,000 views and counting on X (formerly Twitter) alone, PBOT is now fully engaged with this issue. But beyond the internet, what does all this mean for Portland and PBOT?

(Graphics: PBOT)

So far, when it comes to taking action, PBOT says they’ve joined a national campaign (led by the National Association of City Transportation Officials, or NACTO) to pressure the US Department of Transportation to update new car safety ratings to include crash risks for people outside of the vehicle. This is the same campaign I mentioned in coverage of this issue from the Vision Zero Cities Conference in New York City last week.

The other step PBOT has taken is to specifically call out a need for “safe vehicles” as one of the four elements central to their Safe Systems approach.

Identifying and embracing the issue as a priority are a necessary first step. But there’s much more PBOT can and should do to put actions behind their words. If PBOT understands the clear and present danger of these large vehicles, they have an even greater responsibility to design streets in a way that can withstand their impacts. This means less paint and plastic flex-posts, and more concrete separators, metal bollards, and so on.

It also means taking every opportunity possible to separate vulnerable road users from car and truck drivers — and not going in reverse by taking protection away just to satisfy complaints from business owners.

In their recent newsletter, PBOT gives us a hint about one step they could take: They could work with Multnomah County to increase vehicle registration fees for some SUVs and trucks. PBOT linked to an NBC News story about a new policy in Washington DC that would raise fees for vehicles weighing more than 6,000 pounds from $155 to $500. Given the desperate state of the PBOT budget, any reference to raising revenue — especially one backed by a safety goal — is notable.

The other place where PBOT can show us how committed they are is in how they handle their own fleet of vehicles and the vehicles used by contractors.

NYC DOT Deputy Fleet Management Officer Eric Richardson at a panel on “mega-trucks” in Manhattan Friday. (Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortand)

At a panel I attended at the Vision Zero Cities conference on Friday, New York City DOT Deputy Chief Fleet Management Officer Eric Richardson didn’t just speak passionately about the need for safer vehicle designs, he shared several concrete steps his agency has taken:

“We require telematics on all of our vehicles, we require high-vision truck cabs, we require pedestrian alerting and collision warning, we are working with manufacturers to try to redesign the vehicles so that when we are making vehicles heavier by electrifying them, we’re also trying to make them also safer…”

Richardson also said all 4,200 trucks in the NYC fleet have truck side underrun guards and that, thanks to a new city law, all contracted fleets will be required to have them too. On this front, PBOT has a good record. They currently say side guards are standard on all new heavy trucks purchased by the City of Portland since 2019. And all garbage and recycling contractors were required to have them by 2022.

The next step after truck design is speed management. Richardson said his current top priority issue is intelligent speed assist. New York City began a pilot program with the technology last year. PBOT has done great work on speed-related issues over the years; but to my knowledge, they have not delved into any speed limiting technology (I’ll update this post if I learn differently),

Asked at Friday’s panel to share one last word with the audience, Richardson chose to talk about speed limiting technology and how larger vehicles make it an even more important tool:

“Bring back from me to where you live, intelligent speed assist — ways to slow vehicles down so that they cannot go above the speed limit. One of my concerns is all the information that we have on speeds is based on current vehicle weight, and we need to make sure we’re keeping vehicles at or below the speed limit, because as they get bigger and become more dangerous, we’re going to see more fatalities at lower speeds. And so getting people down to the speed limit is really, really important.”

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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SeaTacgoride
SeaTacgoride
4 months ago

It’s easier for PBOT to blame large trucks and SUV’s than focus on their own shortcomings. While record traffic deaths are occurring in Portland there is zero evidence that this is from an increase in large vehicles.

idlebytes
idlebytes
4 months ago
Reply to  SeaTacgoride

While record traffic deaths are occurring in Portland there is zero evidence that this is from an increase in large vehicles.

Yes there is. Oregon Walks put out a report of the pedestrian deaths from 2017 – 2019 and trucks/suvs were responsible for 54% of pedestrian deaths in Portland and 61% of the vehicles involved in the crashes were above the threshold for “heavy” as rated by NHTSA.

This almost 20 year old study found that light trucks are a greater risk to pedestrians. SUV and truck sales are expected to be 78% of sales by 2025. It follows that the more of them that there are on the road the more risk there is to pedestrians. Also vehicles are significantly larger now than they were 20 years ago.

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
4 months ago
Reply to  SeaTacgoride

“there is zero evidence that this is from an increase in large vehicles.”

I’ve noticed that silly absolutist statements often come from people who are seemingly incapable of doing a 5 second google scholar search.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2212012221000241

I estimate that replacing the growth in Sport Utility Vehicles [2000 to 2019] with cars would have averted 1,100 pedestrian deaths.

https://injuryprevention.bmj.com/content/11/4/232
~40% increase in the relative risk of being killed by a light-truck (SUVs and pickup trucks) versus a car.

rick
rick
4 months ago
Reply to  SeaTacgoride

I was hit by a Prius (shaped like an egg) on SW Scholls Ferry Road. My hip still hurts and my leg was broken, but how would I have survived without further injuries from an impact with one of today’s typical truck or SUV? Who goes off-road through mud with even a Range Rover today in Oregon? Who would put a roadkill deer or elk in their Range Rover or other SUV?

cct
cct
4 months ago
Reply to  SeaTacgoride

one hates to play devil’s advocate (OK i lied; i lovr to do that!), but i think Seatacgoride’s point is that while statistically and nationally this is an issue, does PORTLAND’s increase specifically result from the vehicles, or something else? considering the jackasses i encountered on a drive yeasterday, por que no los dos?

socially engineered
socially engineered
4 months ago

Remember to make eye contact. Safety is a shared responsibility!

lifted7.jpg
socially engineered
socially engineered
4 months ago

(Alt text: the front of a lifted crew-cab pickup truck with dark tinted windows resting on the crumpled hood of a small sports car following a collision)

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
4 months ago

to increase vehicle registration fees for some SUVs and trucks

PBOT should increase registration fees on all SUVs and trucks with punishing increases for the largest ones.

Small hatchbacks and sedans with safe sloping front ends are readily available:
comment image

While even the smallest SUVs has a vertical front-end designed to injure:
comment image

Will
Will
4 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

Agreed. Raising registration fees for SUVs is administratively straightforward and should be set high enough to dissuade potential SUV owners. Similarly, they should stop charging less for vehicles with poor fuel economy.

cc_rider
cc_rider
4 months ago
Reply to  Will

The large trucks that speed through my neighborhood frequently have Washington plates on them.

IMO if they want to do this performative action as a way to increase their budget, that’s fine. It’s not going to move the needle on road safety though.

PBOT’s official motto should just be “Don’t Speed (wink)”

Dave Fronk
Dave Fronk
4 months ago
Reply to  cc_rider

frequently have Washington plates

Always nice to see BikePortland pushing the “other” narrative, as if Oregonians never drive trucks in Washington.

Yes, it’s always someone else– the outsiders, those people. Have you ever considered that Washingtonians are free to travel in our state? That many of them even work here??

qqq
qqq
4 months ago
Reply to  Dave Fronk

BikePortland isn’t pushing that. It’s a comment from a reader, just like yours.

And it’s doesn’t say what you’re claiming anyway. It says “frequently” and only in reference to the commenter’s own neighborhood.

I’m guessing the commenter also understands that Washingtonians are free to travel and work in Oregon also. They didn’t even imply that they shouldn’t be in Oregon, or that Oregonians don’t drive trucks in Washington.

was carless
was carless
4 months ago
Reply to  qqq

Well, once I-5 and I-205 are tolled, it won’t be free!

Chris I
Chris I
4 months ago
Reply to  Dave Fronk

Yes, many of the sociopathic large pickup drivers are my coworkers. I know how they feel about pedestrians, cyclists, and Portlanders in general because they aren’t afraid to share it.

cc_rider
cc_rider
4 months ago
Reply to  Dave Fronk

Always nice to see BikePortland pushing the “other” narrative, as if Oregonians never drive trucks in Washington.

LMAO what? How did you dream this “narrative” up?

Yes, it’s always someone else– the outsiders, those people. Have you ever considered that Washingtonians are free to travel in our state? That many of them even work here??

Bruh, what even are you talking about? Yeah, I know they are free to travel here. That has literally nothing to do with my comment.

Will
Will
4 months ago
Reply to  cc_rider

It’s not sufficient, but it is necessary.

Dave Fronk
Dave Fronk
4 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

a vertical front-end designed to injure

Okay, let’s see some proof that auto designers are intentionally trying to injure pedestrians, as you have claimed.

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
4 months ago
Reply to  Dave Fronk

“intentionally”

That’s your strawman.

A design can injure even if it’s not the intention. That being said I suspect the vast majority of professional automotive designers/engineers understand the rationale for a sloping front-end.

Watts
Watts
4 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

“Designed to injure” asserts intentionality. “Dangerous design” would convey a similar message but without claiming intention.

was carless
was carless
4 months ago
Reply to  Dave Fronk
Bluesmudge
Bluesmudge
4 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

I’m pretty sure that the European pedestrian safety standards actually require more flat front ends because it spreads out the impact forces. Sloping front end puts all the force into one spot. There was a story about how Chrysler was able to get away with a sportier sloping front end of the Chrysler 200 because it was a North America only model. It’s the total height that really matters. Out of the two cars shown above, the lower one is probably safer to pedestrians. But once you get a little higher the design becomes dangerous because the pedestrian can no longer be thrown onto the hood.

RobWPDX
RobWPDX
4 months ago

Thank you for highlighting this issue. PBOT should team with other cities and NGOs to address safety through the insurance industry. What does PBOT/PPB data show about large vehicle bike & ped accidents? Is it private drivers, or commercial fleets?

PBOT has a maintenance funding problem too. All our delivery services, business to business, and business to consumer, should be paying increased fees to PBOT based on maximum loaded weight.

grrlpup
grrlpup
4 months ago

Maybe PBOT could do more to publicize and enforce City Code 16.20.130, which says vehicles more than 6 feet tall can’t park within 50 feet of an intersection. Sad to say, parking might be stronger motivation to buy smaller cars than safety is.

qqq
qqq
4 months ago
Reply to  grrlpup

Yes. I bet awareness of that law is at about 1% (if that) of drivers of 6′ tall vehicles.

And PBOT could start that campaign by quitting doing it themselves, then telling Parks, the Water Bureau, etc. to also stop. (And also tell them the solution isn’t to park in bike lanes instead.)

Potatoman
Potatoman
4 months ago
Reply to  grrlpup

Good thought. Also maybe enforce things like headlight angle (lifted trucks rarely re-aim their headlights) and tires that are wider than the body/fenders of the car and other illegal modifications I see rolling around town. Much like with illegal street racing, it is fine to try to add new, more specific regulations to target a problem, but also we already have a number of regulations we aren’t enforcing now that we could be.

Daniel Reimer
4 months ago

The increase in vehicle fees for larger, heavier vehicles should be rooted in reality. Ford f-150, and even some trim levels of an f-250 weight less than 6,000lbs. Most Cadillac Escalades weigh less than 6,000lb. If we want are serious about incentivizing smaller vehicles, the pricing needs to reflect the weights of the vehicles that are inherently unsafe for vulnerable road users.

Dave Fronk
Dave Fronk
4 months ago
Reply to  Daniel Reimer

Don’t let facts get in the way of emotions. Anyone who drives something that I’ve been told to be afraid of by activists should be financially punished for not joining our cause. It’s the progressive way!

Chris I
Chris I
4 months ago
Reply to  Dave Fronk

I will pay a higher registration fee for my F150 if needed, as I recognize that it causes more damage to the roads. I use it for construction, so it is worth it to me. Maybe some of the people with these pavement princesses will opt for something else, since they don’t actually need them.

socially engineered
socially engineered
4 months ago
Reply to  Dave Fronk

Researchers have found that pickup trucks than SUVs are more likely than smaller cars to injure or kill pedestrians when turning. Darn those pesky tree-hugging activists at the (*checks notes*) Insurance Institute for Highway Safety!

https://www.consumerreports.org/cars/car-safety/suv-and-pickup-truck-drivers-more-likely-to-hit-pedestrians-a7444108492/

was carless
was carless
4 months ago

This news agency also did an extended piece on children being run over by cars and the front blind spot of newer vehicles.

https://www.wthr.com/article/news/investigations/13-investigates/13-investigates-millions-vehicles-have-unexpected-dangerous-front-blind-zone/531-9521c471-3bc1-4b55-b860-3363f0954b3b

There are some good graphics that they developed through testing as well:

comment image

socially engineered
socially engineered
4 months ago

*and SUVs, whoops

qqq
qqq
4 months ago
Reply to  Dave Fronk

It’s the progressive way!

Actually, making people who generate costs to society (safety and road wear in this case) pay for those, instead of forcing others to pay for them, is a central principle of true conservatism and capitalism. Otherwise, people being impacted are subsidizing the people who generate the impacts.

Lazy Spinner
Lazy Spinner
4 months ago

Taxing heavier/larger vehicles
Enforcing speed limits
Eliminating parking within 50 feet of an intersection with markings and barriers

These are all common sense, politically expedient, and low-cost solutions that could be implemented very quickly and start providing benefits in the short term. What will PBOT do?

A five-year study of NYC’s speed limiting technology program that will require winning a federal grant, hiring 10 staff members, an associate director, a full-time legal staffer, and an outside consultant (former PBOT manager, now retired on PERS). In 2029, after much study and many trips to New York and other cities using the technology, PBOT will conclude that the tech is too expensive and unworkable due to our abundant neighborhood foliage and the potentially harmful effects of electromagnetic radiation on local squirrel populations. Also of concern, the cost of retrofitting older vehicles owned by low-income minority drivers is prohibitive. This creates equity issues and potentially disproportionate enforcement action against minorities. After five years and $15 million in spending, PBOT decides to scrap the idea in favor of exploring a new licensing fee for vehicles over 4000 pounds curb weight.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
4 months ago
Reply to  Lazy Spinner

Don’t forget the three separate fact-finding trips to Amsterdam, plus appointing a 25-member citizens’ advisory committee (2 for each new councilor plus one for the mayor.)

JK
JK
4 months ago

It’s nice to see PBOT recognize the size and shape problem. It’s strange for them to barely mention vehicle weight when it’s so particularly impactful to them right now.

Roadway wear and damage increases to the fourth power of weight per axle.

For example, a current Ford Ranger weighs 43% more than the previous generation, and does 1.43 * 1.43 * 1.43 * 1.43 = 4.18 times as much damage to roads. Increasing vehicle weight is wrecking roads and PBOT’s budget, and PBOT should be mad about that.

Attaching an exponentially increasing restriction or cost to weight would directly address PBOT’s maintenance cost problems, while indirectly applying an incentive for drivers to choose smaller vehicles that generally have safer shape, size, and sight lines.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_power_law

Dave Fronk
Dave Fronk
4 months ago
Reply to  JK

The previous version of Ford Ranger was introduced in 1993 and produced until 2012 with only minor revisions. So that’s a 30-year-old design, essentially. Seven more years went by before the Ranger returned in 2019.

Where’d all the new weight come from? Safety features like airbags (which my ’94 Ranger totally lacked), crumple zones, intrusion beams, safety glass, technology (power seats, A/C, backup cameras, collision avoidance systems, etc.).

On a sane and rational platform I’d expect us all to be supportive of such life-saving additions. Alas…

qqq
qqq
4 months ago
Reply to  Dave Fronk

Power seats are a life-saving addition?

You can look up endless statistics that show how pickup trucks have gotten dramatically larger and heavier recently, or just look at older ones vs. current ones. In regard to the Ford Ranger, just look at this photo of a 2021 Ranger vs. a 1999:
https://www.therangerstation.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/1999_ford_ranger_vs_2021_ford_ranger_110.pn
g

Or this:
comment image

https://www.therangerstation.com/1999-ford-ranger-vs-2021-ford-ranger/

To say the additional weight is all–or even significantly–due to “life-saving additions” is ridiculous. It’s size–including that large cabs (with back seats) used to be rare, but are now the norm. Today’s midsize trucks are comparable in weight to full-size trucks of not too long ago. Today’s common full-size models are larger than all but the very largest models of the past. And they’re often driven exclusively as commuter vehicles that never or rarely haul anything (lots of statistics available about that too).

mosmill
mosmill
4 months ago
Reply to  qqq

And don’t forget that large trucks/SUVs are exempt from the federal fleet fuel efficiency calculations, and you can get a sweet business deduction for them!

was carless
was carless
4 months ago
Reply to  JK

Yes but then run the numbers for a TriMet bus. They weigh what, 20 tons?

Each bus does 625x more damage to the street than in 8,000 lb huge pickup truck.

Or, compared to a Nissan Leaf or a Chevy bolt electric car, that bus does 17, 000x more damage!

Aaron
4 months ago
Reply to  was carless

Sure, but the bus also carries far more people so that damage is distributed over more individuals. The weight per passenger based on average passenger count would be a better metric to consider if you want to include buses in the calculation. Most pickup trucks on the road are transporting a single passenger and no cargo.

Ray
Ray
4 months ago
Reply to  Aaron

Cue the “But the buses are all empty!” comments.

Watts
Watts
4 months ago
Reply to  Aaron

Each bus does 625x more damage to the street than in 8,000 lb huge pickup truck.

the bus also carries far more people so that damage is distributed over more individuals. 

No TriMet bus carries 625 people, and most individuals don’t drive a huge pickup.

TriMet’s buses also emit more CO2 than if people drove solo.

Fred
Fred
4 months ago
Reply to  Watts

TriMet’s buses also emit more CO2 than if people drove solo.

Your evidence?

Watts
Watts
4 months ago
Reply to  Fred

A couple of things. I saw an analysis a few years back that showed TriMet’s CO2 emissions per passenger were about the same as solo driving in a small car. Since then, ridership has cratered, driving the per-person rates up.

Also, emissions data and ridership data is available from TriMet, and I did the division a while back. I have to take those numbers with a grain of salt, but it showed pretty high emissions per passenger. This was post-covid numbers.

If more people used TriMet without an increase in service, these numbers would improve. As the auto fleet electrifies, these numbers will get worse. As TriMet electrifies, they will get better.

bbcc
bbcc
4 months ago
Reply to  Watts

The good ol’ “I read a single report produced by city analysts a couple years ago that I can’t find now but confirmed my priors and fueled me with a hot take to post on the local news site I comment on daily”

First of all, carbon emissions per passenger mile is not a simple thing to calculate and you’ll find different estimates depending on the assumptions made by each researcher. It’s not as simple as you frame it!

Secondly, there are moral reasons to run a good, high-frequency public transit system that have nothing to do with carbon emissions. And once that service is offered, my riding it emits 0 additional carbon on the margin, while saving whatever carbon I would’ve burned to transport myself via another mode.

Watts
Watts
4 months ago
Reply to  bbcc

confirmed my priors

My priors were that transit is more energy efficient, since that’s what we all “know”. It may be in other places. TriMet’s data is available; you can do the math yourself.

The conclusion I draw from this analysis is not that we should abandon transit, but that the service TriMet is providing is not working well for Portlanders. If it worked better, more people would ride, and the system would become more efficient. There’s a lot of nearly empty buses cruising around, and induced demand isn’t filling them.

once that service is offered, my riding it emits 0 additional carbon on the margin

This is exactly right. Even if the system emits more per passenger than driving, it is far better for you personally to take the bus than to drive. It’s also why I disagree with those who tried to guilt-trip Jonathan over flying to NY. His marginal emissions were pretty low (probably 0 if you assume the airline would have filled his seat with someone else).

And, in 2023, TriMet is still investing in new diesel buses.

bbcc
bbcc
4 months ago
Reply to  Watts

“TriMet’s buses also emit more CO2 than if people drove solo” is a very funny way of articulating that thought, but ok!

More busses is good even if they’re diesel imo, but we can disagree on that

Watts
Watts
4 months ago
Reply to  bbcc

I think it underscores the need to get more people onto transit, and TriMet’s failure to provide service good enough that more people want to use it.

And yes, we disagree on diesel. We simply should not be burning that in cities for it’s health impacts alone, never mind its climate impacts.

pierre_delecto
pierre_delecto
4 months ago
Reply to  Fred

Anyone who had a clue about the impact of climate- and person-poisoning diesel buses chugging and fuming along with low occupancy would not have to ask this question.

Our bus transportation system is a @#$%ing disaster from a climate-crisis perspective. And there is no excuse for this other than weasel-faced ignorance in that we could have converted a large percentage of lines to money-saving electric trolley buses many generations ago,

Phil
Phil
4 months ago

PBOT says they’ve joined a national campaign (led by the National Association of City Transportation Officials, or NACTO) to pressure the US Department of Transportation to update new car safety ratings to include crash risks for people outside of the vehicle.

Will people who buy these large and dangerous vehicles really care if their vehicle has a low safety rating for people outside the vehicle? Why not just pass regulations on vehicle safety standards?

LisaY
LisaY
4 months ago

Electric cars are more dangerous. Sometimes thousands of pounds heavier than gas vehicles. A few days ago it was stated that there are more Electric cars on the roads, therefore less money via gas taxes to maintain roads. Contradictory.

socially engineered
socially engineered
4 months ago
Reply to  LisaY

Yes, and a growing number of those electric “cars” just happen to be large pickups and SUVs:

https://www.autoweek.com/news/green-cars/a42486843/ntsb-heavy-electric-cars-trucks-suvs-safety/

was carless
was carless
4 months ago

The vast majority of EVs sold today are Tesla model 3’s and Chevy bolts, which are pretty small sedan / hatchback.

We’re only now seeing the beginning of EV truck sales. Unfortunately, they are going to be very heavy – 8,000 lb and above. The new Chevy Silverado EV has a battery that weighs more than the Nissan Leaf, for instance.

And unless there is some technological breakthrough that makes batteries four times smaller than today, that will just be the reality if we want to eliminate fossil fuel use.

Trike Guy
Trike Guy
4 months ago
Reply to  was carless

Tesla model 3’s are 4000lbs. That is only small by today’s aburd standards, the Bolt 3700lbs.

Compare to the cars I learned to drive in:

1983(ish) Honda Civic Station Wagon 1,900lbs
1984 BMW 318i 2,300 lbs
1980(ish) Ford Courier pickup 2,500lbs

That truck was a working truck – it hauled hay, livestock, firewood, building materials and regularly traversed our muddy 1 lane track from the top to the bottom of our long narrow farm.

Somehow it managed to do it with a 2.3l engine (the other 2 were 1.3l and 1.8l respectively).

The Civic was a family car – 2 adults, 2 teenagers to everything, 2 people and 30days worth of groceries also common (every month). Also, enough room if you laid down the seats for a 6’3″ teenager and his 6’1″ GF – don’t ask how I know 🙂

The Bolt’s 65kWh battery is 1,000lbs all by itself.

I’d be curious to see the lifetime energy useage/emissions profile of a 4,000lb EV vs a 2,000lb ICE car with a completely modern 100hp low displacement engine (only the BMW had 100hp). How many miles does it take to recoup the sunk costs of that battery?

Not saying the EV doesn’t win – but I’d love to see the numbers.

Bluesmudge
Bluesmudge
4 months ago
Reply to  Trike Guy

I’ve heard its around 50,000 miles before buying a new EV is better than continuing to drive an existing ICE vehicle that gets 25 mpg (from a GHG emissions perspective). Most people will drive more than that in their lifetime, so in general its better to switch to an EV.

Trike Guy
Trike Guy
4 months ago
Reply to  was carless

Also (sorry) less than 5% of household trips in the US are >30 miles – so why does the bolt need 1,000lbs of battery with 259miles of range?

Watts
Watts
4 months ago
Reply to  Trike Guy

why does the bolt need 1,000lbs of battery with 259miles of range?

Because most people want to be able to reach the beach or the mountain without having to rent a different car or by a second one.

Trike Guy
Trike Guy
4 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Huh, I actually used to rent a car to go to the beach.

The biggest issue that I see in this discussion is that people are restricted to 1 car. So it has to do *everything*

So the Chevy Bolt owner is spending 95% of their time not using anywhere near the capacity of the battery they paid for and haul around.

I do wonder how much range a 500lb battery could give you in a vehicle that weighed only 2500lbs.

Rolling resistance is a huge part of the power needed to keep a car moving and goes down proportionately to the weight. Also, for short trips the energy needed to accelerate is a large percentage of the overall energy for the trip (for the Model S to go 5 miles at 45mph with no stops the acceleration energy is over 20% of the total), reduced mass also reduces that proportionately.

Dave Fronk
Dave Fronk
4 months ago
Reply to  Trike Guy

The biggest issue that I see in this discussion is that people are restricted to 1 car. So it has to do *everything*

Meanwhile Portland is busy removing parking spaces and mandating that new construction has zero.

Can’t have a lightweight runabout car and a heavier touring car, even if you can afford it.

And we wonder why our population keeps shrinking…

qqq
qqq
4 months ago
Reply to  Dave Fronk

Meanwhile Portland is busy removing parking spaces and mandating that new construction has zero.

Where are you getting that Portland is “mandating that new construction has zero”?

That’s not what Portland’s Zoning Code says. Parking requirements are based on zone and use. Some uses in some zones allow unlimited parking. Most have maximums, but allow some (often generous amounts). There may (or may not, I didn’t look them all up) be certain Plan Districts that prohibit parking, but otherwise prohibitions against all parking are rare at most.

It looks like you’re confusing NOT REQUIRING parking with PROHIBITING parking.

NOT REQUIRING PARKING, by the way, is a conservative principle–letting developers choose whether to provide it or not, and allowing tenants to choose whether they want to rent in buildings with or without parking.

Maximums are listed in Tables 266-1 and 2:
https://www.portland.gov/sites/default/files/code/266-parking_3.pdf

Watts
Watts
4 months ago
Reply to  qqq

NOT REQUIRING PARKING, by the way, is a conservative principle

Only if its “conservative” to allow developers to externalize their costs. It will also make the transition to electric vehicles more difficult for those who have no place to charge them.

Watts
Watts
4 months ago
Reply to  Trike Guy

So it has to do *everything*

You answered your own question!

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
4 months ago
Reply to  Trike Guy

Drag coefficients are the most important variable when it comes km/kwh*. Only Tesla and Hyundai seem to care much about this which is nucking futs.

Trike Guy
Trike Guy
4 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

For cyclists aero drag overtakes rolling resistance at pretty low speeds – lower for the very upright position on e-bikes than for a roadie on the drops or my trike, with a fully faired velomobile like the Milan GT not hitting 50/50 until well over 20mph (they have about 1/4 of the CdA as I did on my trike and very similar tire/wheel setups while only adding about 17% to the curb weight).

For a 4,000 pound car the break even point is higher because the weight is so huge and their Cd is better than most cyclists (obviously frontal area is quite a bit higher).

As I recall on my racing trike (I haven’t done power meter stuff for 7years) my 50/50 point was under 18mph – 150W to do 18mph (8m/s) was a 70/80 split**. Trikes have a higher Crr than a 2 wheeler running equivalent tires.

** All CdA and Crr calculations done with Dr. Robert Chung’s Virtual Elevation method and a powertap.

socially engineered
socially engineered
4 months ago
Reply to  Watts

So what you’re saying is we need more fast and frequent public transportation to the mountains and beach specifically:

https://www.amtrak.com/vacations-in-oregon-by-train-and-thruway-bus

Watts
Watts
4 months ago

Yes, if we had high quality bus service to the various PNW trailheads and campsites for people, their gear, and their dogs, it might reduce some of the pressure people feel to be able to drive there themselves.

Or, it might not. We can’t even get people to ride the bus in the city.

BTW, I’ve taken the bus out into the gorge, and it only works for very specific trips.

socially engineered
socially engineered
4 months ago
Reply to  Watts

And whose fault is that?

Aaron
4 months ago
Reply to  was carless

that will just be the reality if we want to eliminate fossil fuel use

Only if every car is replaced with an equal size equivalent battery EV. If you replace a car transporting a single person with an e-bike transporting a single person then suddenly your elimination of fossil fuel use can be via a 60lb $2000 bike and not a 4000lb $60,000 car.

That’s why bike advocates want more and more people making the decision to switch to bikes which can accomplish the same job as a car 80% of the time with a dramatically lower footprint. Electric cars won’t save us, but e-bikes could.

Watts
Watts
4 months ago
Reply to  Aaron

but e-bikes could

Only if you have a place to park it, which Rubio is working to make more difficult.

Dave Fronk
Dave Fronk
4 months ago
Reply to  Aaron

Now haul that 60lb ebike up the stairs to your 3rd floor apartment.

Oh wait! In the future we’ll all be living in modern, government supplied free housing with secure bike parking and won’t ever need to travel beyond our walkable and very fashionable inner Portland neighborhoods. We’ll all work remotely, if we feel like it, and have dual incomes and no kids. Yes, any day now…

PTB
PTB
4 months ago
Reply to  Dave Fronk

Why are you here? Honestly, for your health, stay off this site. I guarantee you’ll feel better. You’re so wound up and wound up over shit *that is not happening or going to happen*.

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
4 months ago
Reply to  PTB

Now haul that 60lb ebike up the stairs to your 3rd floor apartment.

This time around David Fronk has a good point. As an apartment dweller I could not purchase an e-bike until lighter varieties* became available because there is no way I could possibly haul a 60 lb e-bike up and down stairs when my autoimmune disorder flares.

The gutting of bike parking regulations at the behest of Sightline//P:NW advocates is a huge betrayal. It shows how the real interest of these orgs is laser focused on the profits of real estate speculators, not in advocating for a better Portland (World).

*my e-bike weighs 27 lb

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
4 months ago
Reply to  was carless

And unless there is some technological breakthrough

Sigh….progress as usual is not a breakthrough.

Lithium-ion Wh density:
comment image
.
The idea that we will be stuck with Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide forever is already both false and absurd. There will be far more energy-dense chemistries will be available in coming years.

Dave Fronk
Dave Fronk
4 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

The future is a government subsidized Rad Power bike at the bottom of a landfill. And we both know it

Bluesmudge
Bluesmudge
4 months ago
Reply to  was carless

But even the Bolt is much heavier than a comparable sized ICE car. We moved from a Suzuki SX4 to a Chevy Bolt. They are almost identical in exterior dimension, and the Suzuki is carrying around the extra weight of an AWD system, but the Bolt is still almost 1,000 lbs heavier!

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
4 months ago
Reply to  LisaY

Electric cars are more dangerous. Sometimes thousands of pounds heavier than gas vehicles.

This is largely due to the fact that our corporate overlords are pushing monstrous SUVs and so-called pick-up trucks to juice their bottom line. I own a 3400 lb EV so it’s not that smaller EVs are impossible to build but rather that there is a perverse and narcissitic interaction between manufactured desire and Fordism.

Lois Leveen
Lois Leveen
4 months ago

Multnomah County has suggested “incentives to reduce the size and weight of vehicles” including:

  1. “establish a higher registration charge for heavier and taller non-commercial vehicles”;
  2. “enforce restrictions on large vehicles parked near corners”;
  3. have “publicly owned parking facilities … increase charges for large vehicles or reduce the availability of spaces for large vehicles”;
  4. “index [traffic] citation amounts to the height and weight of the vehicle”;
  5. maintain a public “fleet that minimize vehicle size and weight, and maximize visibility/sightlines.”

Will PBOT and ODOT and other government entities work together to make any of this happen? This would require effort and follow through but would save lives (and prevent/lessen serious injuries — not everyone harmed by these supersize vehicles dies, but the injuries are way worse.)

Not-so-fun fact: PBOT Director Millicent Williams drives an SUV. Perhaps she can practice what PBOT is preaching by trading it in for a less deadly vehicle? Or just riding her ebike instead?

Stephen Keller
Stephen Keller
4 months ago

Every mile driven on the public right of way should be charged according to vehicle weight. Tie it down to the pound, if you want: 100 pounds is less than 240 pounds (it’ll incent me to lose weight) is less than 3500 pounds is less than 6000 pounds. I don’t know how to implement this, but the reality is that we all share the burden of a public right of way. Maybe governments want to encourage active over passive, so the scale can slide around, but we fool ourselves if we think transportation is free. The sooner we learn it is not (economically or otherwise), the more quickly we’ll move to less deleterious modes of transportation.

Aaron
4 months ago
Reply to  Stephen Keller

I’m pretty much in agreement with you, but from what I’ve seen once you get down to a certain weight level (roughly that of a cyclist) it’s no longer cost effective to require registration and collect fees because the fee itself would be so low that it all goes to administrative overhead. You could scale the fees up so that cyclists are paying a more than a pittance (say $50 a year instead of $1 a year) but if you actually scale that up to car weights then you have people spending $100,000 a year to register their midsize SUV because of the enormous weight and overall impact difference between the two. As much as I’d like to stick it to drivers of huge hazardous vehicles the numbers just don’t work out to be practical without causing some real political issues on both ends.

Stephen Keller
Stephen Keller
4 months ago
Reply to  Aaron

Road maintenance costs likely doesn’t scale linearly with vehicle weight either. My comment is mostly a thought experiment, as I see no practical way to implement it.

Watts
Watts
4 months ago
Reply to  Stephen Keller

I generally like this libertarian proposal, and it could probably be achieved by non-intrusive odometer readings. But how do I avoid paying Oregon tax when I’m driving in a neighboring state? I don’t drive much, but I’d estimate at least half of the miles I do drive are in Washington.

If every state did things this way, it could be handled in bulk via reciprocity, but I suspect a lot of people would not be excited about paying Oregon and Washington taxes when driving in Washington. On the other hand, Washington drivers would love it… they might make a special trip just for the cheap Oregon gas.

Trike Guy
Trike Guy
4 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Forget non-invasive then 🙂

Track every mile driven and what jurisdiction it was in.

Collect the tax nationally and distribute it by weight mile:

If 1,000,000,000 miles were driven with an average weight of 4,500 pounds you have 4,500,000,000,000 weight miles. If 1,000,000,000 of them were driven on PBOT roads, then they get 1/4,500 of the total

🙂

Perfectly fair – you pay for what you drive and agencies receive based on what they need to fix. Scale the tax so it covers all road repair. Let local agencies add a surcharge for their roads on (IE Midwest DOTs might need more for winter repairs than the base rate).

Remember the first knock on effect – freight companies would end up paying the lion’s share, they would then pass that on to their customers (like our vendors), who would pass it on to us (either directly with a freight charge or indirectly through increased costs), whichever way they do it someone like me will build it into our landed cost, we sill then markup from there and sell it to a retailer (while charging a delivery fee appropriate to the vehicles used to deliver it and their costs). The retailer then marks that up.

End result – goods cost more.

Now, I don’t have a problem with that personally – if you demand goods from far away you should have to pay for the costs that imposes on society and governments.

Maybe that would make local products more competitive?

In the end, maybe we should just do a national VAT, but base it on weight/cube and have that go to roadway repair?
eight % built in.

I’m not actually advocating either of these, just stream of conciousness spitballing 🙂

ShadowsFolly
ShadowsFolly
4 months ago
Reply to  Trike Guy

I’m sure the middle-class and poor will enjoy your spit balling on them.
I’ve been poor and know what it’s like not being able to buy something needed for my family and back then we shopped at Goodwill or Wallymart.
So, the thought that I’d have to choose between food and housing or the now more expensive rain jacket for my child makes me think this idea won’t go very well except for people who can afford added monthly expenses.
Now people are one medical bill away from being homeless, can you imagine being one rain jacket away?

Trike Guy
Trike Guy
4 months ago
Reply to  ShadowsFolly

A. I’ve been poor too ($4.13/hr living on my own in 1988/89)
B. I was pretty clear I wasn’t advocating for it.
C. The increased cost of goods if Freight pays their share of the road damage is just what would happen.

Freight companies aren’t going to eat the increased cost, nor are we as distributors with a 5% blended margin across all categories, nor is the retailer.

Or maybe you’d like us to cut some of the above median wage jobs with benefits that we provide? (warehouse workers)

D. I don’t know how much that increase costs –

  • We’re paying $500 to get a pallet (LTL) from Florida.
  • Cost of goods for that pallet was about $7,000 – so I *have* to build 7% load into our landed cost for the product.
  • Does that go up to $700 (10% load) or $1400 (20% load) when freight pays their share?.
  • The 1st represents a 3% increase in the cost of goods. The 2nd is a 12% increase in cost of goods.
  • This increase only applies to stuff shipped 3,000 miles to be sold here. The stuff we picked up from a local manufacturer yesterday has 1% load built in for the gray cost of labor (our driver simply picked it up in the course of their delivery route).

So, we’re back to “how do we pay for the roads that serve all of us in a fair an equitable manner”. Apparently that’s not “you broke it, you fix it” since some people can’t pay their share of it.

Would you give freight a break then? Or do we charge it fairly then make sure we actually help low income people better (for example by making sure there’s enough affordable housing available for the working class people in our state?)

Watts
Watts
4 months ago
Reply to  Trike Guy

Doesn’t freight already pay based on weight and mileage?

Trike Guy
Trike Guy
4 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Last I heard, what trucking pays isn’t even close to the cost of the damage they do to roadways.

I don’t have sources for that though – just the word of someone who used to be a budget analyst for the state in the 80’s and hasn’t been “connected” in over 20 years.

Watts
Watts
4 months ago
Reply to  Trike Guy

what trucking pays isn’t even close to the cost of the damage they do to roadways

“Congress has done studies over the years, allocating which groups should pay more in terms of road user taxes,” said Joe Mahoney, a civil engineer from the University of Washington in Seattle. “Trucks do pay more in terms of road user taxes. They pay a fuel tax, particularly for diesel, and they also have other weight-related taxes that most other vehicles don’t have.”

“I’m not going to say that they’re fairly allocated. That’s kind of like saying that income taxes for individuals are fairly allocated in the United States. I think you could probably debate that with some vigor, and you could do the same here,” he said.

TL;DR: It’s complicated.

https://www.insidescience.org/news/how-much-damage-do-heavy-trucks-do-our-roads

SeaTacgoride
SeaTacgoride
4 months ago

Portland needs to focus on enforcing our traffic laws not virtue signaling about SUV’s and trucks. As traffic stops have declined in Portland, traffic deaths have skyrocketed. This ain’t rocket science, but hard for the far left progressives of Portland to grasp. People respond to consequences.

IMG_5058.jpeg
billbowlrider
billbowlrider
4 months ago

Cant wait to fetch building supplies at Mr Plywood like this!

IMG_6633.jpeg
pierre delecto
pierre delecto
4 months ago
Reply to  billbowlrider

Delivery Services Available:
https://www.mrplywoodinc.com/deliveries

was carless
was carless
4 months ago
Reply to  billbowlrider

I fetch plywood all the time with my Chevy bolt, I pull a trailer with it.

Otherwise, Home Depot rental trucks are $20/ hour or you can have it delivered.

Still, none of my friends with trucks have ever carried any lumber with them.

Aaron
4 months ago
Reply to  billbowlrider

If you’re a construction worker then keep your truck, higher fees should be worth it if it’s actually making you money.

If you’re not a construction worker and just have to pick up supplies a couple times a year for home projects, then you could own a small car (or no car) for 360 days a year and then either rent a truck for a few hours a few times a year to haul your building supplies, or have them delivered. Maybe you’d find that most of the time all of your supplies actually DO fit in your hatchback, and you didn’t need an F150 to commute to the office every day just because you buy lumber twice a year.

Lois Leveen
Lois Leveen
4 months ago
Reply to  Aaron

I don’t drive much, but when I do, I still wish I had my 1992 Colt, a 2-door hatchback manufactured by Mitsubishi but sold in the US by Dodge. I could fit a huge amount into that car. @billbowlrider has reminded me of the time when, after shopping at a Large Chain Bigbox Hardware and Building Supply Store, I headed to load up my car in the parking lot and discovered someone loading up what they’d just bought into the car next to mine — a different shade of Colt. “Nice car!” I said. “Why does anyone buy an SUV?” they responded. STILL TRUE.

Bluesmudge
Bluesmudge
4 months ago
Reply to  Aaron

And most things people think they need a truck for would be done better with a $18 trailer rental from Uhaul pulled by their existing car. Even the smallest cars can easily tow 1,500 lbs. I’ve pulled 500 lbs with a small motorcycle.

socially engineered
socially engineered
4 months ago
Reply to  billbowlrider

Pictured: Mitsubishi Minicab, Japanese kei truck with 770-lb. payload capacity, converts from dump truck to flatbed truck, curb weight 1,720 lbs (less than a ton)

GQAF8FuDSA.jpg
billbowlrider
billbowlrider
4 months ago

Cute, practical, safe, economical. But available for sale in 100 mile radius around Portland? Nope. Probably not even available in the entire US. Like the Toyota hilux which would be an awesome, reasonable homeowner truck

socially engineered
socially engineered
4 months ago
Reply to  billbowlrider

Ah I see. So we should just surrender the public roadways to the most sociopathic drivers and the corporate lobbyists who seek to profit from their addiction to ever more bloated land yachts. Join the vehicle arms race or be crushed. How very practical!

billbowlrider
billbowlrider
4 months ago

What? Neither of my two comments have anything to do with vehicle operators.

socially engineered
socially engineered
4 months ago
Reply to  billbowlrider

Nothing in this article says construction workers will be forced to drive subcompact cars like the one in your photo either, yet here we are ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Bluesmudge
Bluesmudge
4 months ago

And illegal to register a kei vehicle like that truck in Oregon. Ironically, in the name of road safety. Really? I can register a motorcycle but not a small import truck? I guess I’ll have to go buy a F150 in the name of road safety.

qqq
qqq
4 months ago
Reply to  billbowlrider

Cant wait to fetch building supplies at Mr Plywood like this!

You’re making a great point, but I don’t think it’s the one you’re trying to make.

Using a small car to transport building supplies that are larger or heavier than the car is designed for is using the wrong tool for the job.

In exactly the same way, using a huge truck–designed to carry or tow large or heavy loads–for commuting or getting groceries is USING THE WRONG TOOL FOR THE JOB.

But it’s irrelevant anyway. Even if a large truck is being used 100% of the time for carrying or towing loads that couldn’t be handled by a smaller vehicle doesn’t change the fact they’re less safe (and wear out roads more) than smaller vehicles, which is the relevant fact behind PBOT’s focus on them.

Bluesmudge
Bluesmudge
4 months ago
Reply to  billbowlrider

You can easily get plywood with a Bolt. It works fine to put it on a roof rack or trailer. I’ve even picked up drywall with a motorcycle. Pickup trucks are actually terrible at moving pieces of wood longer than 8′ because unless you have a giant ladder rack there is no way to have most of the wood go over the front of the truck. I’ve had much better luck moving 20′ long pieces of wood by putting them in the ski rack of my compact crossover than when I tried doing it with a Ram 1500. There was literally no convenient way to move wood that long with the pickup. In the car it was locked down in the ski rack in 15 seconds.

mh
mh
4 months ago

PBOT needs to standardize the size of striped parking spaces to whatever size the believe motor vehicles should be limited to. I believe that is under their control. Just make existing in this city harder for the most unnecessary and dangerous vehicles.

was carless
was carless
4 months ago
Reply to  mh

PBOT already has 8′ x 16′ parking spaces which some trucks exceed in length.

Stephen Keller
Stephen Keller
4 months ago
Reply to  was carless

And people driving large trucks just hang over the edges without a care in the world.

mh
mh
4 months ago
Reply to  Stephen Keller

As above – ticket them.

Fred
Fred
4 months ago
Reply to  Stephen Keller

So true. Some guy parks a huge truck in front of Sasquatch Brewery on SW Capitol Hwy that takes up 3/4 of the bike lane. And he never gets a ticket.

mh
mh
4 months ago
Reply to  was carless

Make some money from discouraging them – parking tickets.

Chuck Finnley
Chuck Finnley
4 months ago

Seems logical that there’s a link between speed and vehicle weight. So let’s incentivize smaller and lighter vehicles with higher speed limits. Your lifted doolie with stacks out the bed (rolling coal system optional) gets you a 5 mph speed limit. Honda fit, Fiat, Ford Fiesta, you get to go 30. And ebikes of course 55 😉

Shannon Johnson (Family Biking Columnist)
Shannon Johnson (Family Biking Columnist)
4 months ago

What if heavier vehicles and those with taller front ends (both factors that increase fatalities when crashing into a pedestrian) were required to drive 5mph or 10mph under the posted speed limit?
I think folks would pay the extra money to keep their big vehicles. But make them drive slower? I think they *might* size down.

David Kafrissen
David Kafrissen
4 months ago

Unfortunately we still have 10 ton dump trucks like the one that ran me out of the BIKE LANE on N Vancouver and Russel yesterday.

Also I support registration fees on these farm equptment.

Bluesmudge
Bluesmudge
4 months ago

The weight of the vehicle directly effects how much road damage it does and how dangerous it is to other road users so it’s ridiculous that our registration fees are not directly tied to weight. We should make registration fees exponential like that PBOT graph in the article and very low for all vehicles under 2,000 lbs since they do relatively little damage to roads and are much safer to everything around them. We should incentive/encourage people choosing very small cars and motorcycles.