I’ve been driving my electric car (aka EV for electric vehicle) for a little shy of a year now. While I love it (I even bought a second one), I realize they’re not for everybody. Below are some reasons you might hate an EV:
- You love gas stations: The ritual, the delay in getting home, to work, or that trip out of town; and the drama of rising and falling gas prices.
- You don’t have a home where you could recharge your car. If recharging requires you to run an extension cord out of a 2nd story window, across a sidewalk or the street to plug-in your car, it may not be for you.
- You can’t keep your old gas guzzler – or have a friend with one to borrow– to use for those 100 mile+ trips.
- You drive more than 80 – 100 miles a day*, with no stops in between for more than 30 minutes with a recharging station. (Keep your eyes peeled for parking spaces with a pole, power cord, and E.V. recharging signage – they’re more common than you think, e.g., shopping center parking lots, etc. Check out one of the mobile phone apps: Plugshare, ChargePoint, or Open Charge Map that show you where you can recharge.)
- You love the feeling of shifting gears, either manual or automatic. You abhor the thought of a car that smoothly and quickly accelerates without those gear-shifting pauses.
- You love the sound of an internal combustion engine. Whether it’s the throaty roar of a muscle car or the high-pitched whine of a Euro or Asian sports car, speed without sound leaves you unsatisfied. The thought of acceleration without rev-noise is anathema, even more so given the great acceleration of many electric vehicles.
- You love your mechanic and want to support him or her. An EV with no oil changes, filter and fluid changes, transmission work, and just fewer moving parts to wear out would be hurtful to your mechanic. You can take no part in such mean conduct.
You are a climate warrior, not a climate change warrior. You are a soldier in the war on the Earth’s ability to sustain existing life forms. You want greater warmth at any cost and you don’t want to move closer to the equator to get it. You love “rolling coal,” particularly the smell of rich automobile exhaust when you start your car, or fuming-out pedestrians and bicyclers, and you love the scent of unburned gas and its chemical additives when fueling up at the pump. It’s worth the couple of years it’ll likely shave from your life, and those around you. Of course, if you live near a coal fueled power plant, you may still get some of that impact when recharging, but it will be a bit more detached.
- You spurn tax credits, even $7,500 tax credits. Cash rebates, like California’s $2,500 rebate are even worse. Why? It could be because you don’t know what to do the money you already have. Or maybe it’s ideological: you know somebody else’s tax dollars will pay for your credits and rebates. Sure, billionaires often pay less taxes than you, but you are a person of principles.
- You have a gas guzzler you hate and want to shorten its life span by driving it everyday in city traffic. For example, I have a Toyota Land Cruiser that I love for camping, ski trips, and carrying cargo. It used to bother me that I would put wear and tear on it by driving it for short commutes and errands. I was trading it’s longevity for tasks for which it was over-qualified. However, if I felt differently about it, for example if it was a lesser Land Rover, I might view that as a humane way to expedite it’s departure from this Earth. On the other hand, beware, upon its departure, you will be confronted again with the EV purchase decision.
- You are afraid of you’ll get dirty looks if you use the car pool lane (i.e. HOV lane) without a passenger. Even though you’ll be entirely within your legal rights to travel solo in an EV in the HOV line, it’s not worth the wrath of the non-conformist haters.
Conclusion: EVs are fun, inexpensive to fuel and maintain, reliable, and good for the environment but they’re not for everybody. With the tax credit and rebate, they are competitively priced. As for that “range anxiety” you keep hearing about, for many people, it should not be an issue. If you live where you can hang on to your old gas powered car, you can have the best of both worlds: an EV for the vast majority of daily trips, and the gasser for the occasional trips that exceed your EV’s range.*
Footnote: Tesla and Chevrolet Bolt have substantially reduced “range anxiety” because their cars have ranges similar to gas powered cars and Tesla can recharge to 50% in 20 minutes and 80% in 40 minutes at its supercharging stations.