Op-Ed: How the rest of the world views your electric vehicle

OCT 15 2016 BY MARK SMOLINSKI 120

Not everyone views your EV like you do (via Mark S)

Not everyone views your EV as you do (via Mark S)

Four recent encounters have clarified a few things for me regarding how other people feel about my electric car. Since half of the encounters involved an obnoxious attitude, EV advocates need to be reminded that all of our banter in forums is merely ‘preaching to the choir’ and does not engage us in how the public actually feels about automotive electrification. I would also assert that other EV owners and advocates need to head to polls in a few weeks with 100% participation; our viewpoint is a MINORITY viewpoint and some would gladly take away our EV driving rights if given the power to do so.

My wife told me last evening about part 2 of an EV discussion she had with one of her customers. Part 1 involved an obnoxious DENIAL (and I will come back to this word again) that an electric vehicle could actually be driven from FL to NY. He told her that after her 40 miles (in her Volt) she could call him to come pick her up. She not only tried to explain about the Volt’s gas engine backup, but she also described the Tesla Supercharging network. He would have none of it. (I will use this phrase again!)

We guarantee Mark's family Chevy Volt will indeed go further than 40 miles if necessary...

We guarantee Mark’s family Chevy Volt will indeed go further than 40 miles if necessary…

Apparently, she saw him again yesterday and he had a very different attitude. He must have either digested what she said or researched it on his own, as he had to revisit his previous intransigence he demonstrated with her and tell her that he truly had no clue that superchargers existed, and that that changed everything.

Mark's Tesla Model X getting a boost

Mark’s Tesla Model X getting a boost

This past Sunday, I was out picking apples at a nearby orchard and had one of the Model X’s Falcon Wing Doors open to aid putting my wagon back in the vehicle. Of course, those doors stand out and people notice and often comment. One fellow asked if I had actually driven the X up from FL (noting the license plate versus our current location). I then told him of the supercharging stations, of which he was completely unaware. With a smile, he told me I was wearing the wrong hat, as I had my ‘Volt’ ball cap on. I told him I had THREE of them, too. He told me he would have to talk to his brother-in-law, as money was an issue for him. I then reminded him that GM’s (affordable) Bolt would be out very soon.

Model X license plate

Model X license plate

Two days ago, I took my daughter and two grandkids off to the Adirondacks for a drive to see the fall foliage in the mountains. We topped off the X at the Utica supercharger and then proceeded to do a 200+ mile loop through the mountains.

(FYI, when we left the supercharger, it stated I had 256 miles of range and when I returned to the Utica supercharger, after 212 miles of driving, the estimate still showed 72 miles remaining.)

At the little hamlet of Inlet, NY I pulled into the little lakeside park and popped the FWDs to let the grandkids out…which brought out the curious, AND THE CRAZY! (all septuagenarians, btw)

A woman and her two friends approached and asked if it was a DeLorean. After explaining what it was, there were many more questions, including about how I managed long trips. This exchange was pleasant, unlike the fellow waiting to engage me who was standing right behind these ladies, just waiting for his turn to ‘pounce’.

My mindset was not one of confrontation, especially after answering so many interested questions just moments before. If I had been more aware initially, I would have seen his body language, as well as his wife’s, for what it actually was- bottled up rage. I should have known that his quivering voice, as well as his wife’s attempt to pull him away, were signs that I was not speaking to a rational person. My electric car, and my pleasant discussion with the ladies were simply things he could not tolerate. Perhaps what angered him the most was my license plate, ‘OVR OIL’.

Not always easy to keep a low profile with doors aloft

Not always easy to keep a low profile with doors aloft

His first statement was a question, but it was obviously meant as a preface to him lecturing me on his viewpoints. He asked, ‘But where does it get its power from’. It was vividly and immediately clear that I was about to get into one of those dirty-electricity-from-fossil-fuel discussions. However, in the past, when such sentiments appeared, they were quickly averted with my description of solar panels on my FL roof and NY purchase of renewable energy. This fellow would have none of that.

It was clear by his statements that he had bought into the far right’s viewpoint that the global economy could not function without fossil fuels. When I told him that my NY renewable electricity bill was essentially the same as my fossil fuel based bill, he shouted, ‘NO IT’S NOT! IT’S MORE EXPENSIVE’. This is the DENIAL that I mentioned I would return to. Fortunately, his denial was accompanied by the run-away mentality and he was headed in the other direction when he was shouting those things.

(For the record, I believe I pay about an extra penny per kwh, but it is hard to know for sure with seasonal changes in rates; macroscopically, I see no change since I started buying renewable electricity.)

By this point, I saw this man for what he was- the poster child for the stubborn, mean spirited political party that I used to call my own, before I disavowed all affiliation. It was clear that the only words that would echo in his head were those of far right and alt right media outlets and talking heads. And as someone who keeps track of current news, I had seen horrific reports of that party’s current mantra even bolstering school bullying of ‘Your gonna be deported’ to children of color. I understood that the mere sight of my electric car had made this man so enraged that he shook when he talked. As he walked away, I told him, ‘Go vote for …’. (I don’t think I actually have to write the name, do I?). He hollered back ‘Go vote for …’, (that person’s opponent) confirming the political orientation of this obnoxious encounter.

My daughter told me, ‘Don’t worry; he’ll be dead soon’ (so his opinion won’t matter). However, I would be remiss in not restating this incident and reminding EV owners that there are people who HATE your cars and all they represent. They will vote- and you need to, as well.

Charging stations are the most common points of public interaction

Charging stations are the most common points of public interaction

Chevrolet Bolt EV w/Optional CCS Combo

Chevrolet Bolt EV w/Optional CCS Combo

I would also like to come back to another theme of EV ownership- perception of range limitations. I will reiterate my position that GM made a HUGE mistake in their approach to the Bolt. By doing NOTHING about charging infrastructure and making DCFC OPTIONAL (really?), they show a complete disconnect with how the public currently sees electric vehicles.

Reread the previous discussion to see how people continue to DENY that neither the Volt nor the Tesla can drive them where they want to go. This is FOREFRONT in their perception!!! Does GM actually think it can sell the Bolt here in NY with its ONE (non Tesla) DCFC charger outside the NY-Albany corridor? My experiences in the last week show me that many people are interested in driving electric, if, and only if, they get the exposure to see that the supposed range limitations are myth…

…and for those who never want to drive electric, make sure they don’t get more input at the ballot box then their narrow minded mentality deserves. The current mouthpiece, and dismantler, of the party has a following as dogmatic and determined, as they are hostile. Given that they are already stating that they might lose…because the system is rigged against them…you can believe that every one of them will vote- so you must, as well.

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120 Comments on "Op-Ed: How the rest of the world views your electric vehicle"

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I completely agree with the author’s point that the position of some are completely set, regardless of empirical facts. When I run into someone who obviously expresses an emotionally supported position, I understand it’s pointless in attempting to dissuade that person. They aren’t folks who are actually seeking solutions, they’re simply grasping desperately at anything to support their emotions. Insecure folks like these are terrified of questioning anything their party stands for, because if something in their terrified world is proven wrong, then it makes them feel that maybe other positions they believe in may also be wrong. That’s terrifying to them. And hard core Republicans are this way, along with hard core Democrats. Most EV drivers I know (myself included), came upon the myriad of benefits alternative energy and EV’s provide by chance. That’s what happens with an open mind. My solar and Volt found me, I wasn’t looking for it when it happened. Folks who want to live in their ICE Matrix will continue to swallow their blue petroleum pill because it’s a ‘comfort’ zone they’ve grown accustomed to. You can’t help folks like that. Eventually, they will either come on board or die out. “Most people won’t… Read more »
“When I run into someone who obviously expresses an emotionally supported position, I understand it’s pointless in attempting to dissuade that person.” Exactly, and thank you for stating that so eloquently. There are reasons why some people won’t ever accept the idea that gasmobiles are going to become obsolete over the next few decades. Maybe they invested in Big Oil stocks. Maybe they actually believe the anti-EV lies from the Hard Right are true. Maybe they’re just so old that they find the idea of any major change in their world to be threatening. There is really no point in engaging people like this. It’s like trying to make a logical argument about religion. Even if you have facts and logic on your side, a True Believer will always reject your argument. And if you really push them, all you’ll accomplish is to make them angry and upset. If someone is this resistant to the idea that electric cars are going to replace gasmobiles, then it’s far better to just shrug your shoulders and walk away. You won’t win any points with other onlookers by trying to shout down people who can’t face the reality that their world is changing,… Read more »

One of the most common comments I get about my EV is that it makes no noise. Lots of people say “I like V8’s and the noise a petrol car makes”. I wonder what the reaction would be if my RV had an amp that played revving noises at appropriate speed, that I could turn on or off as the situation dictates?
Maybe it would get a bit of interest of the vehicle that dragged you at the lights also made a racket but was also an EV.

Everyone has their breaking point.
As a former Republican too, Reagan-Milton Friedman, what broke was that Reaganonics didn’t work, and as Naomi Kline has documented, in the 7 countries it was tried in, it Broke Those Countries.

And then there’s:
Global Warming.
Rural Voters voting down city infrastructure.
Red State school systems destroyed.
Red State Economies destroyed by the feed the rich tax cuts, and cuts in working class benefits, pensions, and jobs.

I admit I was a slow learner, but what’s left of the Repub party, are the No-Learners.

+100,000,000

Basing an economic agenda on a meme / false premise, written on a napkin, turned out to be a horrible policy decision? And changing laws that allowed outsourcing. Nooooo. 😉

But you saw the light, and that means there is some hope for humanity in the US…

This can all be blamed on the right wing media.
Rupert Murdoch.
Money before Truth.

man, i’ve got to say…i’ve owned a chevrolet volt for over 4 years and i have *never* had any interactions like those described in this article. the writer of this article has a license plate that is obviously environmentally oriented; and maybe it is drawing negative reactions. on the other hand, if the writer is experiencing more negative interactions while driving the tesla model x, the underlying cause might be general envy. the model X is an EXPENSIVE car. if someone walks up to you with an apparent sense of “rage” even when you didn’t approach them, maybe the person has an idea of how much the car costs and is envious because he can’t afford one. for my own part, i can probably count on one hand the number of people who have asked me anything about my car in the 4 years that i have owned it. but i’m not trying to “evangelize” electric vehicles either, or trying to convince other people that they should want to buy one. i’m going to offer an alternative proposition: maybe it’s not an issue of: “how the rest of the world views your electric vehicle”; and more one of: “how the… Read more »

I don’t even have an EV and I’ve had interactions like these.

Usually after I leave the coast.

Truth be told, I encounter the same obnoxious attitude from “some of” the EV gang here at InsideEVs whenever I mention the Mirai or any other hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. They’re not exactly the most tolerant group of perhaps the minority viewpoint that HFCVs can be green, and that HFCVs and EVs can coexist in the future. :-/

Why would you mention a carbon-source car in an EV blog?
Isn’t there a carbon blog you could go to for love?

…Because ‘EV’ doesn’t mean ‘no carbon’. The electricity has to come from somewhere. A Mirai is an EV.

sven- while I understand some folks can be just as emotionally attached to their EV position as ICE folks, don’t confuse logic with emotion. Logically, hydrogen isn’t as practical as electric, for many reasons. Hydrogen fueling stations are non-existent, cost in the millions to construct, and you can’t fill your car from your home like EV’s can. The electric charging network is now numbering into the dozens of thousands. The argument is VHS vs. Beta, the ship has sailed my friend. (Most) all of us here are open to any alternative to oil, but don’t expect to see a lot of support for a platform that is more expensive, doesn’t really exist on any true scale, and has essentially no options vehicle-wise.

Does that make sense?

The BEV Troll has the clueless audacity of saying “I’m a Victim, too!” 😀

Wonder why?

Yes, he/she continues their Trump-like tactics as both their worlds crumble around them!

A few points. You say that FCEVs aren’t as practical, “fueling stations are non-existent, cost in the millions, and you can’t fill your car from home like EV’s [Sic.] can.” Two of these claims are correct for now, and one isn’t. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and there are currently six full-retail fueling stations here among the 22 now in California, including one 1.9 miles from my place (about the same distance as the gas station I normally use), with more under construction; it’s already possible to drive an FCEV from here to Lake Tahoe or Los Angeles, both common road trips, and the Tahoe trip corridor was enabled much quicker than Tesla did it. In such situations rapid refueling matters a great deal. In addition, while the FCEV’s lower efficiency compared to a BEV is true, their efficiency when providing Combined Heat and Power is much closer to an BEV. The availability of waste heat means that there’s far less difference in range year-round, and much less trip planning is needed by an owner; those of us who live in cold climates or ski appreciate not having to choose between using heat or reaching our destination.… Read more »

Fair enough. Thank you very much for the well thought-out and courteous discourse- quite a rarity I might add!

What would it cost, for you and the 44% of Americans you claim “cannot” charge at home, to establish an L2 charging point? What would it cost to establish an at home hydrogen station? The former is obviously viable and the latter is as obviously ridiculous. It takes twenty years to turn over the fleet of cars. And that’s if every car sold starting now is a new kind of car. Realistically then it takes at least 30-40 years. So using the number of people who can or can’t charge at home as an argument is only valid if you also consider what can be done about that in a few decades. Unless you are suggesting hydrogen ought to replace all electricity so we can dismantle the electric grid, it’s blindingly obvious that the infrastructure cost, long term, of having both hydrogen and electricity will be much higher than having just a slightly better grid. Much work needs to be done on the grid in any case, so the extra cost of making it capable for all to drive BEVs is actually tiny – not much more than equipment costs. You know as well as I do how much more… Read more »

Ignoring the cynical reasons, there was one key reason to promote HFCVs: batteries sucked.

As batteries have improved and got cheaper, there’s really only one company pushing it hard and that’s the company with the top-selling hybrids.

The current hostility is the same as it was with hybrids. And this time round people won’t be able to call the flagship cars slow.

GRA said: “Hydrogen, especially renewable H2, is currently far too expensive without subsidies (unless you’d otherwise be curtailing variable renewables, as in Denmark), which all the stakeholders are aware of, and is why so much R&D is going into reducing its cost.” GRA, I thank you for making a genuine attempt towards a reasonable case for hydrogen fueled cars here. That’s a rather refreshing change from most of the FCEV advocacy posts made on InsideEVs, which come from post-ers who appear to be shills for Big Oil; posts which appear to be aimed at bashing EVs rather than promoting anything practical. The problem with the case you’re trying to make is that the high price of compressed hydrogen fuel, and also the high price of dispensing stations for that fuel, are a direct result of the unfavorable physical properties of a hydrogen molecule, and the unfavorable thermodynamic flow of energy as it’s moved thru multiple energy-losing steps from generating the hydrogen to actually dispensing it into a FCEV car. It of course will be possible, by developing the tech, to slightly or somewhat reduce the disparity in cost between practical fuels (such as gasoline, diesel, natural gas, propane, etc.). However,… Read more »
I’m aware of the costs of compression etc.; that’s why so much R&D is going into low pressure adsorption and/or hydride storage. BTW, I recommend reading the study described here, http://www.greencarcongress.com/2016/10/20161006-sandia.html Which details the current extra costs of H2 versus diesel, as well as the emissions using various fuel pathways, in a ferry for S.F. Bay. As for the cost of renewable H2, much of that in California comes from biomass, not electrolysis. In addition, a lot of R&D is going into photochemical and thermochemical production, all with the intent of improving EROEI. DoE’s goal is $4kg, untaxed, which would be competitive with gasoline now, although we’re nowhere near that point, Prices at the stations I know in California, varies from $13.59. to $16.78/kg., so there’s a long way to go. As for transmission, Germany is mixing it in NG pipelines up to 10% or so. We’ll have to see what develops re. pure H2 pipelines, as they will obviously be expensive. Liquid H2 is routinely shipped in cryogenic tankers now, so that tech is pretty mature and apparently not overly costly. To be clear, the success of none of these measures is guaranteed, but I’m constitutionally averse to putting… Read more »

sven, BEV and FCEV cannot coexist. If FCEV is viable, that means H has become widespead and cheap. There really won’t be a reason for BEV in that case. I don’t see H coming down in price low enough for this to happen at current state of things, but you never know if there will be a breakthrough.

But even if H costs just a bit more, I’m finding DCFC to be awful. For past 5 DCFC sessions, I had to wait for stupid Leaf getting free charging and taking dual head charger when Chademo unit was sitting empty. With stupid crap like this, I don’t know if I’ll get another EV.

Killing BEV is easy; just give free charging to all public chargers, and they will be hopelessly clogged that no one will want to drive EV. Thank you, Nissan and BMW for turning me off from EV.

I wouldn’t say that BEVs and FCEVs can’t coexist, but BEVs do appear to have some significant cost advantages.

Regarding DCFC infrastructure, it’s quite apparent nowadays that we need a true reliable next gen fast charge infrastructure in the U.S. Something like this:
http://insideevs.com/op-ed-next-gen-fast-charge-networks/

My next door neighbor, a “staunch” republican basically doesn’t talk to me. I guess my 8 KW solar array (over 45 MWh produced so far since 2012), 2011 Volt and home gardening makes his world crumble. But I know a little secret about him that is quite embarassing … 🙂

Rarely had any issues with people and I live in a very heavy CUV/SUV/Truck biased area. We have growing numbers of Volts around here. Even see the occasional Tesla. Good region that makes Volts very worthy since many commuters are doing 20-30 miles a day or more. You can get a used Volt for $10k and basically drive electrically every day for your commute. Doesn’t save much over gas but the car should last a lot longer than a similarly priced $10k used ICE vehicle. Our region is littered with Kia, Hyundai, and other lower-priced brands (though they are going up in price). And the Chevy shops hardly carry Volts. Maybe one day they will all start to care.

Yes, about the only thing conservatives care about– is Blackmail… 😉

Keep up the excellent work. 😀

You paint with an uber-broad brush when you lash out and say, “conservatives” – as if every human with non “progressive” ideals is a scumbag.

I prefer to listen more and argue less. Anyone who has facts is fun to talk with. Their facts or background may be different than yours. It doesn’t mean we need to stereotype so black and white.

I despise Rush Limbaugh and InfoWars. But I’m not going to vote for Hillary. I am saving for solar and wind – and drive electric. You can’t assume you know what others believe. You can, however – make broad-based statements that will divide Americans and keep progress moving forward – JUST LIKE CONGRESS DOES!

Proverb: The roots of scumbaggery (is that even a word?), germinate in the shadows of conservative ignorance.

I too had a few negative encounters early on with my 2012 Volt and these people almost uniformly parroted the right-wing echo chamber talking points that they clearly didn’t even understand themselves.

Mostly though, people were just curious so i tried to educate them a little about EVs and Solar as the only way to make your own fuel for almost no cost.

I have thankfully had no negative encounters for the last three years although I confess I stay away from Trump rallies.

I do however still get the occasional curious questions and of course there are many, many more PEVs and chargers around now.

I’d like to preface my comments with these facts: I’m 37, college educated, registered R since I turned 18, and am a partner in an IT firm that has oil & gas companies as valued clients. All that said, EVs in their contemporary form are very exciting to me and to many others from around my home state of Oklahoma. That is why I enjoyed this article until it became political. I believe discussing a set of products, and others’ reactions to them, can be had without making judgments about political affiliation. Just because a person is an R doesn’t make them an evil seal clubber that’s too dumb to understand EVs. I know plenty of horrible human beings that lie on both ends of the political spectrum. Even if the fella from the orchard is an R, how on earth is that a reason to think all, or even many, Rs are like him and hate EVs? The best technology will win according to application. EVs seem to be promising, but they will not fill every need for all people and all organizations. According to Statista, 2017 will see roughly 75 million cars sold world wide. Say we can… Read more »

Let’s keep the generalizations and stereotyping of people OUT and focus on the solutions. (silly embarrassing typos)

Well said, B.D.

You also sound like someone who doesn’t pay attention to Rush Propagandist either.

Sir, you would be correct. I neither have the time nor interest in propaganda.

Personally, I think labeling yourself as anything pigeon-holes yourself to agendas. That’s why I got rid of mine…

Jay is the one who suggested I remove the last semblance of labeling when I excluded Limbaugh and Faux News from my article. Since you stated that you were fine with the article until a certain point…that would be the point where I started describing the actions of a man who wanted to start a fight about the SOURCE of power for my EV. At that point, he became a caricature for a movement. I continue to quote a fellow who called himself ‘Ted from Ft Myers’ on the GM-Volt site. He came to my house a few years ago after reading things on the forum. He stated it best, ‘I did not leave the Republican Party; It left me.’ I have looked at the graphs of voter registration and they show inverse proportionality between Independent and Republican registration, while Democrats are little benefitting from the flight of us former GOP people. You can state your background; I will state mine- a Retired Naval Officer. We voted GOP because of ‘job security’. However, the current loonies who run the party won’t even admit that this climate change thing exists, EVEN THOUGH THE MILITARY IS ALREADY DEALING WITH IT. Sarah Palin… Read more »

Mr. Smolinski, I totally agree that “moderate” and “compromise” should not be hated words. I agree that the GOP needs to get It’s act together and “broaden the tent” as I’ve heard it said. I also disagree with closed primaries. It does not mean, however, all Rs are insane and to blanket them as such is in the same vain as your chosen protagonist (along with the D’s standard bearer too for that matter with her “deplorables” statement). I’m thrilled you’re so passionate and I agree everyone needs to go vote, but let’s leave politics out of technology discussions. It serves no purpose because the right solution will win on It’s own merit.

You do realize that it is a misquote to imply that the Democratic candidate for President said that all (or most) supporters of the other candidate were deplorable?

I very much agree. The ever-worsening situation in which everything is becoming identity politics is extremely counter-productive.

It should not be the case that knowing what someone thinks about gun control tells me anything about their position on EVs, but with many wanting to belong to and identify with a particular tribe it’s sadly a pretty good predictor. And that’s a problem.

In order for a democracy to have any hope of functioning well, the electorate has to hear both sides of any issue. And it truly doesn’t matter what you think about the second amendment or abortion when we’re discussing energy or environmental issues or more specifically EVs.

At the same time, it’s certainly valid during an election, when discussing the environment and EVs, to point out that one candidate claims climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese, and what that likely means the candidate would like to do about regulating the car industry, CARB, the clean air act, and the EPA. It’s not simply a rhetorical trick to say that Trump could at least delay, if not destroy, the EV revolution that many of us believe is underway.

B.D., thank you for your well written (despite the typos) and thoughtful post. It is good to be reminded that many conservatives — in fact, I hope it’s still the majority of them — don’t reject truth or facts, and don’t live in the “bubble world” of the Hard Right demagogues like Rush Limbaugh. While I cannot disagree with any of the facts in the article above, I find the “us against them” tone troubling. Now of course, this is clearly labeled an “Op-Ed”, and as such, I think it’s entirely appropriate that InsideEVs publish such articles. But reading between the lines, the article seems to take the position that EV advocates like me are a persecuted minority. On the contrary, we EV advocates are on the right side of history. I don’t think there’s any question that eventually EVs will prevail, and gasmobiles will become obsolete. The article claims “…our viewpoint is a MINORITY viewpoint and some would gladly take away our EV driving rights if given the power to do so.” Well yes, but then some would take away our right to drink soda pop if they could. I don’t think that it’s appropriate to paint anyone who… Read more »

Well said. Economic forces are quite powerful.

The people who would take away your soda-pop don’t control the majority of State Houses and Congress. They don’t control, really, any seats in Congress.

So it’s kind of false equivalence.

Still… Trying to get away from identity politics to actionable facts is admirable. If only it translated into results.

Pushmi – your comments get better as time goes on!

Great commentary. I totally agree.

Good article. Despite making a concerted effort to not, “preach” to people about my plug in vehicle i have had a few negative experiences.

The negative experiences usually start with the person asking question after question trying to “poke holes” in my vehicle purchase. After calmly answering each one of the questions they start to get frustrated when they are not able to uncover any obvious faults. The conversation usually ends with the person proclaiming that despite my satisfaction with a plug in vehicle they wouldn’t ever buy one and they love their current ICE vehicle.

Honestly a lot of it feels like the beginning of cell phones. Many people complained about how rude cell phone users were and vowed never to get rid of their land lines. Today everyone has a cell phone and land lines are a very niche application.

I always try to remind myself how soon these people will see the light. It’s a sad thing they likely won’t remember how right you were, but their feelings about EVs are, as you pointed out, likely to evolve in much the same way as in relation to mobile phones. And don’t think that just because they become frustrated and are stubbornly sticking to their guns your conversation doesn’t have any impact. It’s just human nature to be reluctant to change our views in a flash. It takes time and several cracks before the shell protecting our beliefs collapses. Their frustration is a sign that you are successfully making such cracks. I have never actually experienced the kind of hostility deaconess in the article in person. But online, it’s clear that there are people who hate EVs in Norway as well. Typically they accuse EV drivers of free-riding, since EVs are exempt from taxes and ubiquitous road tolls. Even so, with only 3% of the fleet being electric (~20% if new car sales), about 50% are in favour of extending the privileges beyond 2018. I think a good way to have more productive conversations with EV sceptics is to concede… Read more »

I agree you make some excellent points. It’s plain when a person has an open mind and when they just want to argue-to be “right”.

We are Johnny Appleseeds to be sure. Share the positive and the drawbacks/challenges. But mostly, our enthusiasm and positivity shine through.

Bottom line, those of a certain era will die out and a new era begins. Look no further than our youth today believing that smartphone purchase or tech possession is a better goal then to own a car. Eventually, the entire transportation space will evolve.

What is frustrating is – will it be in our lifetime, or will corporate greed keep the EVolution a slow one? I optimistically believe there are too many practical drawbacks for a 1st tier nation to remain dependent upon fossil fuels. Thus, I think the slow migration to EVs will pick up speed in the next 10 years to become equal or the majority choice in the next 25 years.

“It was clear by his statements that he had bought into the far right’s viewpoint that the global economy could not function without fossil fuels.”

It’s a left wing myth that we can easily and cheaply switch to wind and solar. That is simply not true. Wind and solar can be on the grid but they can’t be the only source of generation. No one has cheap grid storage. To suggest otherwise is a lie and not on the side of truth or science. Could it be invented? Absolutely, of course! When will it be invented? I have no idea but like you I am optimistic.

You should educate yourself a little Zim.

Wind and Solar are rapidly becoming the cheapest ways to generate electricity and on that merit alone it is likely that they would dominate all new electricity production in the very new future.

The transition is eminently doable and in fact will pay for itself on the fuel savings alone.

See here:

Despite the fossil fuel owned Republican Party’s desire to please their masters a very clear majority of Americans of all political persuasions is in favor of it:

http://cleantechnica.com/2016/10/10/americans-want-solar-power-not-coal-duh/

There will of course be many other technologies coming out as time goes on just as is happening in the Ev world

And going back to what flmark says, the costs of not transitioning far, far outweigh the costs of doing nothing as all these “100 year” storms that keep happening yearly prove:

http://cleantechnica.com/2016/10/15/frequent-fires-bigger-blazes-scorching-california/

http://cleantechnica.com/2016/10/12/study-sandy-level-storm-surge-flooding-common-new-york/

http://cleantechnica.com/2016/10/11/hurricane-matthew-deceptively-powerful-storm/

Do you find it troubling to claim that solar has achieved “grid parity” when that doesn’t include the cost of any battery/storage and thus depends upon the grid when the sun isn’t shining? If you’re talking about pushing entirely to solar then any cost comparison should include the storage cost as well.

Ivanpah is a demonstration of a central solar plant and it’s not worked out as hoped on multiple measures. It’s neat and it’s a great concept but it’s not ready to scale out.

Are you saying the hurricane Matthew is evidence of some climate catastrophe? Look at hurricane data for the past 25 years and try and show me where climate change is increasing the number of severity of storms. Temperatures are slowly warming but hurricanes aren’t increasing at all. I don’t know if that’s convenient or inconvenient but that’s what the data shows.

Zim, Agree and I’m not sure the subsidized 4-5 cent/kwh solar contracts compete, even before batteries. They’re “affordable”, but not 2 cent natural gas power coming from a paid down plant.

Get Real, there is a great deal of useful data here that basically concludes solar is still by far one of the most expensive sources for electricity. There is also a table of battery cost. The sources for the data all look pretty legitimate to me – there’s no Glenn Beck quotes in there for example.

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

The costs of both solar pv and wind are dropping so rapidly that they will both soon become the cheapest methods for new electricity generation.

They are also fast to build and scale and complement themselves very well since the wind tends to blow more at night then during the day.

It will obviously be a transition and fast rampable NG electrical generation along with grid interconnections and pumped hydro and other forms of storage will be needed and storage even expanded but within some decades we will be at the high 90s in RE percentages because they will be cheaper because of no fuel costs!

Also, the costs of not acting far, far exceed the costs of transitioning which will actually be free or close to it when ALL the externalized costs are accounted for:

http://cleantechnica.com/2015/11/03/clean-energy-transition-is-a-25-trillion-free-lunch/

Thankfully there is also hydro, nuclear, bio-fuels like biomass, bio-oil or biogas.

Fossil free doesn’t mean it needs to be renewable and especially not only solar and wind.
Wind and solar can do a lot, but the combination of sources is what will take down fossil fuels.

What’s good about hydro?? Hydro is an environmental mess all its own.

Seriously?

Actually, hydroelectric power is largely a fringe benefit of building dams for other purposes; flood control, and creating water reservoirs for a reliable supply of drinking water, as well as creating lakes for recreation.

Is there a down side to building such dams? Sure. Changing a watercourse in such manner has caused drastic changes to local and regional ecologies, sometimes for the worse. But that’s an inevitable result of any major change to our world. Very few if any major changes have no downside at all. Should we blow up the dams to restore rivers to their pristine condition? Are salmon runs more important than flood control and ensuring that you can be sure every time you turn on the tap, drinkable water will flow out? I think most people would say “No!”

By castigating hydro power as being insufficiently “green”, Zim, you’ve clearly shown yourself to be on the far left of the “Greenie” fringe, which casts doubt on all your assertions.

Couldn’t one similarly say, isn’t it worth it to emit CO2 to be sure the lights always turn on?

…The position that it’s better to kill the entire population of humans than a few fish today because you want to have lights turn on is not a balanced one.

Hydro in no way damages the environment on the same scale as changing the atmosphere so that the planet is not habitable to humans.

> It’s a left-wing myth that we can cheaply and easily switch to wind and solar. I think this is true. However, it is quite clear that we can much more cheaply and easily switch to renewables than not do it. This remains the case even if you completely dismiss climate change and the huge costs associated with it, for the simple reason that fossil fuels will come to an end whether we deliberately make the switch or simply burn it all. The argument then ought to be about the timing, not about whether fossil fuels is a sustainable way to power human activities. Oddly enough, it isn’t. Rather, it’s simply claimed that prosperity without oil is impossible. If that is true, what does that imply about the morality of using up hundreds of millions of years worth of supply in a matter of a few centuries? Shouldn’t it follow, if oil is intrinsically required for a thriving economy, that we should use the absolute minimum required? Somehow this leads to even stronger reasons for carbon taxes than the climate change point argument ever could. We should all realise that the challenge ahead is huge, and it’s not certain we… Read more »

Yes, with the current state of tech, the prosperity created by the industrial revolution and capitalism is impossible without carbon based fuels. Technology is advancing and providing greater opportunities to diversify how we create energy. But we cannot switch to all solar and wind without a major loss of prosperity.

When will we run out of fossil fuels? You’re essentially making a Malthusian argument. You don’t know and no one knows. Peak oil keeps getting pushed further and further into the future. People have been predicting that we would run out of oil for over 50 years now. Markets and humans are very dynamic, able to adapt to many variables without your central planning for doom and gloom.

Zim said:

“…we cannot switch to all solar and wind without a major loss of prosperity.”

You’re painting this as a false binary choice: Either use fossil fuels or renewable energy sources for electricity.

On the contrary, France has unquestionably proven that electricity from nuclear power is a viable and safe alternative. That is a tech which is available right now, today. If human beings were rational animals, then decades ago we would have replaced every single coal-fired power plant with a much “greener”, and in the broad picture far safer for public health, nuclear power plant.

Now more nukes!

I completely agree. Fourth generation nuclear holds tremendous promise for the future.

The biggest substantive danger from anti-EV folks is their quest to slap fees (seemingly pulled out of thin air) on plug-in cars to make up for lost gas tax revenue, as if it was the plug-in cars that were bankrupting the Highway Trust Fund.

That said, I actually don’t have a problem paying my fair share of road taxes, which is why the only real solution is scrap the gas tax and switch to a usage fee, like what is being piloted in Oregon (http://www.myorego.org/)

Also be on the lookout for “Fueling US Forward”, a Koch-backed group designed to promote the “benefits” of fossil fuels and question electric vehicles.

Yeah, agreed, a usage fee makes the most sense.

In the meantime, I understand a fee feels punitive but since you do understand that gas taxes are not punishment for using gasoline but rather provide funds for roads, then, obviously you understand why states are applying the fee.

In any case, there is tremendous subsidy support for EV’s. Anything with a plug receives up to $7,500 in support from the federal government and many states over additional support such as HOV lane stickers and thousands in tax rebates. Obviously then there is no conspiracy against EV’s but rather just bureaucrats trying to manage their budgets.

I googled it. I don’t see anything about electric vehicles on the website:

http://www.fuelingusforward.com/did-you-know/

Are they running something apart from that website that discourages electric vehicles?

There are some people who support an “all of the above” style energy policy while also supporting PHEV and BEV’s. Actually, I suspect that’s Clinton’s actual view. Also support can be something other than government subsidies.

Usage fees need to actually be… usable. EVs do much less damage than other types of vehicles right now because they tend to be lighter and driven less far.

A usage fee would have to be so low as to be nearly stupid to collect.

I’d druther my gas tax double or quadruple than make an EV pay more of a usage fee than my 31-mpg car does. (The EV usage fee in Washington State, when announced, was twice what I pay in gas taxes in California.)

Glad to see you here and welcome your opinions greatly, but whoever told you EVs are lighter was selling you a bill of goods.

Actually, EVs are heavier – and by a good margin. Lithium packs are not light. Look at the weight of a Tesla Model S vs. one of it’s German luxury counterparts.

I think we will all have to deal with some sort of toll and taxation to insure a viable infrastructure moving forward. How much to pay and when to level the playing field and charge the same no matter the fueling system employed by your car is another subject and a complex one, there is no doubt.

Thanks for the post and your perspective on the politics of EVs. I don’t think it was overly preachy or partisan. It’s real life experience. My only push back is that the president will likely have little influence on EVs specifically. Congress, or state elections… that’s a different story. 1) The credits are designed to be temporary and in a few years will used up. There is no reason to end something that is ending. There is no reason to extend crutches for a burgeoning market. 2) Tesla has proven proven its case to the manufacturers, and some are serious about competing(surviving). The manufacturers are the real voters. If we want to support EVs, the best way we can do that is to reward a manufacturer for a job well done. Buying a product is the real vote. 3) Conservatives will come around when ROI makes sense in reasonable amount of time. For a long while average non-Teslas EVs did not meet the sniff test. $40k to go 70 miles? $100k to go 200! For budget conscious buyers (not all Republicans are wealthy exploiters), this was just prepaying gas. There was no access for middle to low class America. This… Read more »

The rest of the world likes that I drive EV’s. I’ll never get in their way at a Gas Pump, and less demand means a lower price for them.

Wow, that was like not political at all….

Scott, it is only “political” if you disagree. Otherwise it is “common sense”.
Sarc/

Yes, Ziv, that is it exactly.

If someone agrees with you, they are being honest. If they disagree with you, they are being political. It sounds simple, but university psychological studies have borne this out.

So this article is not about “how the rest of the world views your EVs”, its about how republicans view your EVs. The article writer is dishonest.

Saying that “all conservatives hate EVs and love big oil” is just as prejudiced as saying “all black people are thieves”. Further, towing the popular line and declaring everyone opposite the party you belong to as demons just makes you a tool of the media, not an original thinker.

Yeah, it rubbed me the wrong way too. I drove my X to vote for Trump this morning.

The experience attached to the realization that vehicle powertrain electrification works well and is an economic improvement is an experience that even someone familiar with the underlying technology and science can find remarkable. The feasibility, practicality, affordability, let alone morality, of choosing to drive an EV sometimes lays bare the truth that our beliefs and affiliations are less empirical and rational than we believe. As with Haidt, the elephant is in charge, the brain mostly rides along. My apologies for the brevity of that line… I take solace in the idea that the experience, once people have it, of the revelation of the suitability of EV use, is a positive experience, the paradigm-shifting results of which simply aren’t always easily conveyed to other humans by explanation or debate. I frequent the area of the incident in question, and the greater region within which a similar mind-frame is present. I can understand the desire to have to say something about the incident to others. I think that arguing for people to head to election polls is not really the outlet for mitigating such encounters, nor a fruitful defense against them, Mark. The EV idea is simply the better idea, and it… Read more »

Solution: Get a bumper sticker that says:

Oil is for Export,
Drive Electric, Drive American

I’ve advocated for EVs since 2006 and driven one since 2008 (conversion kit for a Prius). This article seems more interested in promoting one candidate right before an election. I’ve had every one of these arguments over the years and yet in the conservative Southeast I now only have positive reactions. Love your car, etc. Is that the one? So IMO the demographic of EVs is not as simple as the author suggests and more accurately is a “coalition of tree huggers, do-gooders, sod busters, cheap hawks, evangelicals “” and Willie Nelson.” as said by former CIA Director James Woolsey, whose advocacy of EVs precedes 2006 and is even an advisor to Donald Trump. So everyone cheer up. The train has left the station. EVs are here to stay.

It’s beyond me why a person like that would be angry at your for driving an American car that is built in the US, fueled by energy that is generated in the US, not imported. I really don’t get it!