Electric Car Facts

I hate stories like this one by the Associated Press.

Electric cars are also more limited than their gas-guzzling cousins, running 40 and 120 miles (60 to 200 kilometers) on a charge, while taking anywhere from two to seven hours to fully recharge.

The problem with this? Although the article gives a negative tone with phrases like “more limited” the perfect fit for electric vehicles is the urban and suburban driver who never go more than 120 miles per day and are stationary for at least two hours a day. This technology is not meant to replace the fantasy of the open road trip; the one people in the suburbs always talk about but rarely ever act upon. They could rent an exotic non-guzzling turbo-diesel performance vehicle for those days.

Here is another example:

Jay Nagley, the publisher of Clean Green Cars, a British online guide to environmentally friendly vehicles, said the G-Wiz, while ubiquitous, is technically not a car but an “electronic quadricycle.”

He said the G-Wiz had limited appeal outside the British capital, where wealthier residents use it mostly to avoid parking fees and the city’s hefty congestion charge.

“It’s pretty expensive paying seven grand for a four-wheeled motorcycle. You’d be pretty brave to take it outside the city center,” he said.

First of all, seven grand is peanuts for a new high-end motorcycle in London, especially one to carry two passengers and baggage. When you factor in the maintenance and gas consumption of a motorcycle then the G-Wiz doesn’t seem “pretty expensive”. It also is a tiny sum compared with the cost of property in London. Finally, why should an urban vehicle have appeal outside the British capital? That seems to me a lot like saying an airplane doesn’t do very well as a ferry on the Thames. This chicken does not taste like beef. There should be more attention paid to the objectives of new transportation with better efficiency and less noise about the old fantasies, habits and fashions.

Some of the more meaningful things that the article could have mentioned is a reduction in risk that comes from smaller vehicles, lower insurance rates, etc.. It also could have mentioned stats like the average daily distance traveled by American drivers; seems like it is around 50 miles, perfect for a small electric bike with two or four wheels.

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