Almost everything you read or hear about electric vehicles (EVs) is wrong — either written by deep-pocket oil company cronies, narrow-minded media, others with an interest in maintaining our total reliance on an oil society, or writers stuck in the century-old legacy thinking of the gas tank fill-once-a-week car model.
The electric car is not a general replacement for the long-ranging gas car. But it is an ideal improvement for the majority of regular commuters and local travelers who would never have to go to a gas station again. EV drivers can travel at one-fourth the cost of energy while eliminating their contribution to pollution and moving forward toward our future of renewable energy (50 percent of EV buyers also either install solar or purchase their electricity from solar/wind providers, so that their carbon footprint is close to zero).
Since the typical American car is parked for more than 21 hours a day (mostly at home and at work), the problems of range-anxiety and time-to-charge vanish as an issue to the EV commuter. By plugging in at home and at work, her range is nearly doubled and she begins every trip with a full charge and max range. Her total time to refuel of about five seconds each to plug in and unplug when she parks at home and at work (20 seconds total and about $2 per day), is much less than the weekly five or 10 minute, $70 gas-station experience.
People must move beyond these long range/gas tank/gas station legacy comparisons to EVs and realize that the EV is an all-new transportation paradigm. Its best application is as a commuter or local travel appliance that is simply plugged in while parked, just like your laptop and cellphone when not in use. Even plugging in to only a 120-volt outlet while parked at home and at work can maintain a full range of any 100-mile electric car per day (Nissan or Mitsubishi). Likewise, the 40-mile electric range of the Volt or 15-mile electric range of the Prius can be doubled when also plugged in at work, which gives far more daily range than the number of miles the average American drives each day.
It is sad that the Chevy Volt, one of the best extended-range Evs, which is made in America, has become a political punching bag for some pundits who want to see GM and American car manufacturing fail just to score political points. Anyone with an understanding of the limited supply of dead dinosaurs knows that we must transition to renewable energy sooner rather than later before we have to maintain even more wars to ensure our dwindling foreign oil supply. Our own kids will face this crisis we are pushing down the road because of our refusal to be open-minded about change and transitioning to 100 percent American electricity for local transportation, which Chevy and the other manufacturers have shown is really easy to do.
The EV charging infrastructure already exists. Almost everyone has a 120v outlet and can charge any EV from it for daily commuting without ever having to buy gasoline again.
So, the EV is an excellent choice for millions of drivers wanting to help stop our addiction to foreign oil and all the problems caused by the $1 million we send overseas each day to oil dictators, despots and shaky regimes in unstable areas of the world. On the other hand, If your own needs are not met by the EV or you believe some of the poppycock being bantered about by EV opponents, then at least stop blindly bashing the EV. Just get out of the way so that those who want to take full advantage of this new foreign-oil-free means of lower-cost, clean, local transportation can select from any of the dozen or more EVs coming on the market this year.
This is the future for commuter and local transportation. The sooner we stop burning all that foreign oil, the better.
Bob Bruninga, a Glen Burnie resident, is a member of the IEEE National Committee on Transportation and Aerospace and the Electric Vehicle Association of DC/Maryland. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.