Editor’s Note: We received over 35 responses to last week’s Is This the Beginning of the End? NMA E-Newsletter #638. No matter what side of the divide our readers fall, they certainly have many different opinions about electric vehicles.
Two things come to mind: the change from horse-drawn power to cars starting around 1900 and the transfer from steam-powered to diesel locomotives that started around 1950. Is the conversion from gas-powered cars to electric the same? It could be, but I don’t know.
One thing I do know, though: any government did not force my two examples.
I don’t care what powers my vehicle. As long as it can be completely refilled/recharged in about 5 minutes and when using the heater does not affect range, it’s ok by me.
Bob Morrow, Montana
Regardless of what we drive, there will still be roads, and there will still be drivers. We need to make sure our rights are protected.
Eric Berg, Tennessee Member, and NMA Board Director
My only experience with the practical use of EVs comes from visiting my son, who lives in Colorado and drives a Chevy Volt. Charging the car at home or work is not a problem, but it’s a different story when we are on the road.
Phone apps to find charging stations are always a problem, but the worst is when you actually find an available charging station and get hooked up. Because different companies set up charging stations, you need to have payment apps for all of them set up on your phone. It’s like needing a credit card for every single brand of gasoline. If you are lucky enough to get the payment app to work, the final hurdle is getting the charging station to function properly.
I would say we encountered an out-of-order charging station about 50 percent of the time, and there is no way to tell until after you’ve gone through the whole payment app process. Very frustrating and extremely time-consuming.
Lisa S., Michigan
I love EVs and the way most of them drive, but not so much their limited range and recharge times. Personally, if I had auto-industry money to invest, I’d put all of it into the companies with the best ICE engines in the best-driving, most appealing, best-value vehicles for a long, long time to come.
No matter how many chargers you install, how will anyone police the people who will plug their car in at the trailhead and go for an all-day hike? A friend of mine is a pilot for a major airline, and he parks his Tesla in front of the terminal in a covered garage, plugs it in, and flies off to India for almost five days. The car sits at the charger the entire time. How do you prevent that?
George Sedlacek, Arizona
This is great news, and people who are initially resistant will be grateful for them. EVs drive so much better than ICE counterparts and, because of the low battery, are much less likely to get into a fatal accident. The planet literally requires we end ICE vehicles ASAP. Transportation is the biggest polluter segment today. I love the sound of a roaring Mustang engine, but their time has come. EVs can be ‘juiced up’ right from home. Far more charging stations than gas stations in short time, too, watch. So many benefits and virtually no downsides sans reduced range, but with plenty of places to charge, it’s not as big a deal.
Greg Brailsford, Rhode Island
Without government interference, the adoption of EVs will continue to increase at a pace defined by the market as people balance the drivability benefits and lower maintenance requirements vs. the range and charging drawbacks. That is a normal process with any new technology. However, with government mandates, there will be unintended consequences—people priced out of the market, electric infrastructure problems, etc. It will be interesting to watch because that is the path we are on…
Stewart Harman, Michigan
Where will all the batteries come from? What will happen to the batteries that are old and won’t hold a charge? The batteries need rare earth minerals, which means a lot of digging in the places that the environmentalists don’t want to be opened up to development. And what will we do with millions of old batteries that aren’t good enough to recycle? The environmentalists will have a fit over that–it’s surprising that they haven’t already. Or we might just shut down the transportation industry completely.
James Phend, Florida
Who wants to take a cross-country trip in an EV if the outcome adds an inordinate delay due to charging and frequency of stops? Presently, you can safely travel a couple of days in an ICE vehicle, with just one overnight stay, let’s say from Portland, Oregon to Yuma, Arizona, for example. Utilizing the shortest route through some very desolate terrain is not conducive to an EV because there are currently no charging stations for hundreds of miles. Even if there were, adding hours here would add days to the overall trip, given the present time/distance constraints for most EV’s charging requirements. Typically an EV (with a 60k Wh battery) takes just under 8 hours to charge from empty to full with a 7kw charging point. It then has approximately a 250mile range. That means that for the above trip, a person in an ICE vehicle will have arrived, spent several days on their vacation before the EV vehicle could arrive.
William Rayburn, Washington State
EVs reduce the pressure on our fossil fuel reserves. Without EV’s we would be seeing governments passing even stricter fuel efficiency standards. The results of which would not please any ICE enthusiast. Thus stop bashing EVs and policies that support them. Instead, look at the good that comes from them, distracting governments from CAFE standards and leaving more fossil fuels for ICE enthusiasts to utilize.
I greatly enjoyed your message discussing the arbitrary dates manufacturers are tying themselves to when it comes to phasing out the internal combustion engine. What all these entities are ignoring is not only the profound affection many have for cars with real engines but the vast potential of reduced carbon emissions from ICEs that is yet untapped.
Where will we be if everybody is producing only electric cars and nobody wants to buy them? The emotional component of real engines is completely left out of the discussion.
John Baxter, Mississippi
I have no problem with EV’s. I think they should continue to be developed and offered for whoever chooses to purchase one. But absolutely, they should never be mandated, forced, or coerced on the American public.
Andrew, South Carolina
Electric cars are just as bad or worse for the planet when you look at the big picture. This is a big government pipe dream that I will never support. I have no intention of ever buying one.
While it may sound impressive that half of new car sales in Norway are electric, remember that only 5.4 million people live there. And Norway gets over 96% of its electricity from hydro! It’s a very different story in the USA, where 87.5% of electricity comes from coal & natural gas (60%), nuclear (20%), and hydro (7.5%). Even though ‘renewables’ receive massive subsidies, wind only contributes 8.5% and solar 2%. And because wind and solar are intermittent, the grid needs redundant backup from reliable sources (usually natural gas) to keep the power flowing at all times. Keeping redundant backup plants idle much of the time is very costly to ratepayers. Too many people take our freedom of mobility for granted. That freedom is under a massive attack, and the NMA is doing a great job spreading the word. But we need to ask ‘where will we get the electricity more often and more loudly.
David Healy, Colorado