by John Kondos (as seen in Shoppers News 2/6/2019 – Keene, NH)
At the September, 2018 Drive E event at Keene Ice, I met a very enthusiastic Chevy Bolt owner. After some research, I test drove one over a winding mountain road, the highway and my typical drives. The winding mountain road convinced me, the rest reassured me that I could finally abandon a life of searching for the lowest price gasoline. I can’t imagine owning an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle again. The short list of reasons includes it’s fun to drive, very quick, smooth, quiet, sure footed in snow and clean.
The rational list goes on – no need for gas, oil, or transmission fluid, no exhaust system, instead of an engine and a transmission w/ hundreds of parts, it relies on a silent electric motor. Maybe that’s why beautiful, old car restorations are going electric, more reliable with less maintenance and repairs, not to mention fast. An E vehicle is three times more efficient than an ICE vehicle! The bottom line is it’s cleaner, smoother, quicker and has way lower operating costs.
Heck, in the early1900’s Electric Vehicles (EVs) accounted for ¼ of new vehicles as the horse was being displaced. The simplicity, efficiency, and quickness are still appealing but it’s taken breakthroughs in batteries combined w/ a need to reduce our largest source of emissions to jolt this transition into gear. Waves of new EV launches have been announced, an upstart pickup truck w/ a 400-mile range that can do 0-60 mph in 3 seconds has pushed Ford and the rest to play catch up. Superior technologies, replace old ones once the word gets out, it took digital cameras about 5 years to displace film. EVs are more fun, quicker, smoother, quieter and cost less to operate than ICE vehicles.
The cost of electricity/ mile is about ½ gasoline, add in reduced maintenance and EV ownership costs are much lower. As a long-time sun harvester my electricity is free on sunny days, nothing beats free fuel. For now, there are fewer choices but more options are coming fast and charging infrastructure is limited though Tesla is proving that’s solvable.
Burning fossil fuels is costing us more each year as our planet gets warmer and we’re approaching tipping points faster than predicted. Melting of glaciers, most recently in Antarctica, is increasing at alarming rates. Rising sea levels will force millions out of their homes not only in the US but around the world well before the end of this century. The poor will suffer the most but the political instability and chaos that the US Department of Defense calls a threat multiplier from flooding, droughts, severe storms and sea level rise will continue to make the world much more expensive and dangerous.
One of the speakers at that Drive E event was Dr. Shahir Masri who noted that “If we want to stop treating the atmosphere like a free waste dump, then we’ve got to start charging a fee to pollute.”
Fortunately, an achievable policy was recently introduced in Congress. The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act is a groundbreaking bipartisan climate solution to price carbon, give revenue to households and bring greenhouse gas emissions down 90 percent by 2050. The benefits of the plan include:
- Effective – 40% greenhouse gas reduction in twelve years
- Good for families – less pollution, better health, puts money in people’s pockets helping low- and middle-income Americans
- Good for the economy – 2.1 million new jobs in ten years and a boost to the economy
- Bipartisan – Republicans and Democrats are both on board cosponsoring the bill
- Revenue neutral – this solution does not grow government
This would accelerate the transition to clean energy, it’s not fair to selfishly demand “cheap” dirty energy that future generations will suffer from. Some good news- Electric vehicles are much cheaper to run and because they’re fun, hopefully we’ll make this transition sooner than later.