EV – to buy or not?

~a column by Colleen O’Brien

How many times have I thought of trading in my gasoline operated vehicle for an EV. Or a BEV.

An EV is an electric vehicle; so is a Bev – battery electric vehicle.

A few friends have them and are quite smug about it – they’ll spend around $3.50 traveling a hundred miles while I’m spending about $10.50. Maintaining an EV is cheaper because the fuel costs less, and you don’t ever have to get the oil changed. Besides, EVs don’t pollute with gasoline fumes. Their operating costs are less although wherever it is their electricity comes from to power the battery – coal? Oil? – is polluting somewhere.

The part gasoline/part electrical cars (also known as hybrids), as well as the purely electric cars, cost a lot more than a soon-to-be old-fashioned ICE (internal combustion engine) car. But you get a $7,500 federal tax credit if you buy any kind of electric vehicle.

So, what is my reluctance? Perhaps a hybrid would work for me. When the battery power wanes a hundred miles from home, the gasoline engine kicks in. A purely electric car doesn’t yet have a long range or a built-in battery charger. Tesla can go for 200 miles without a charge; the rest of them go only 80 to 100 miles. There is not yet a good system of battery charger stations across the country as there is the superb system of gas stations.

Interesting facts about EVs: Electric vehicles accelerate quicker than internal combustion vehicles that have to warm up the gas a second or two before they charge ahead. This might be important to some folks. I don’t need to accelerate to 30 MPH in a second.

Another interesting thing is how nicely quiet they are – shockingly so at first, as you can barely tell the motor is running. Imagine a planet with no traffic noise.

Interesting to me: most batteries for EVs and BEVs are made in Japan and South Korea. Most PR about electric vehicles comes from – guess where? – here, in the U.S. A lot of this has to do with Tesla, who is in the news a lot because they’re either not going to make a go of it, or they are; and that they are the world’s only full-scale clean energy corporation. And that their vehicle is so expensive, at $68,000 to $138,000.

Sales are increasing all over the world. China sells the most electric vehicles, including public transportation buses. The U.S. is fifth or sixth (depending on the reporting source) in the world in sales percentage, with very few buses of any kind, let alone electric, compared to most of the rest of the world. Even at that ranking, our EV sales are only about one to three percent (depending on the source of reporting) of the market.

Like many other people (most of our vehicle-owning nation), I’m waiting for something when it comes to electric cars; not sure what. It could be I want the promise of a battery station when I need a few watts; as convenient as it is right now when I need a couple gallons of gasoline.

One expression that will eventually fade away like the phrase “shoeing a horse”: “Step on the gas!”

[Information for this article: InsideEVs 3-15-17; Business Insider 7-20-15; Yahoo Finance 4-26-17]

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