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editors-blog-entry3If you’re an electric vehicle enthusiast two recent news developments should have you positively giddy. Meanwhile, if you’re one of the many anti-EV folks out there, or, perhaps a Board member for any Big Oil company in the world, you’re probably getting a bit anxious.

Why?

Because two of the three biggest criticisms of electric cars – they don’t go far enough and they take too long to fuel – are in serious jeopardy of being rendered completely moot.

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(The third biggest critique of EVs is that they plug into a lump of coal, but, as you know, that criticism is easily erased by plugging an EV into renewable energy).

Martin Eberhard, formely of Tesla Motors and now a big wig at Volkswagen, made news recently with the declaration that an affordable EV with a battery that boasts a 500-mile range is likely to be on the market by 2020. That’s right, a 500-mile EV. That, by the way, is a greater range than virtually any gasoline powered car on the market.

Public quick charging station in Portland
Here’s the other bit of news that spells trouble for EV doomsayers: Portland General Electric recently completed the installation of a public quick charging station for EVs. The station will charge a lithium ion battery to 80% charge in about 20 to 30 minutes.

In other words, quick charging is a reality, here and now. And it kills the claim that EVs take “forever” to charge (though, to be fair, there are concerns about the impact of too many quick charging sessions on EV battery life).

Let’s see: In 2020, we’ve got quick charging, a 500-mile range car, and the allure of air pollution free driving, not to mention substantial auto fuel savings, and, for those who can put a 2.5 kW solar system on their roof — the vast majority of Americans with a single family home could fit at least a 2.5 kW system on their roof – the attraction of near total fueling independence in favor of EVs. On the other side, in 2020, with gasoline cars, we have $5 gasoline, a shorter range, no fueling independence whatsoever, and a vehicle that produces lots of air pollution to boot.

There’s always the chance Eberhard is wrong about cost-effective 500-mile batteries. But there’s a good chance he’s right.

If he is, the EV critics will be, as the American saying goes, ‘eating crow’ – and lots of it – perhaps a lot sooner than many of us think.

As for that third big – and allegedly “fatal” critique of EVs – that EVs will only push pollution from the tailpipe to the smokestack. It’s already weak.

In fact, only about 50 percent of electricity in the U.S. comes from coal, with another 30 percent coming from comparatively clean burning natural gas. Nuclear and renewable account for the rest of the electricity. And it’s clear that, in particular, the share of renewable energy is growing quickly in the U.S. – and in much of Europe.

Putting solar on home shuts up EV critics
Besides, even if you do live in a black coal electricity state like Wyoming or West Virginia, you can shut the critics up by putting solar on your home and running your EV – with its 500-mile range and quick-charging capability — on completely air pollution free sun. And, to top it off, you’ll never have to make another trip to the gas station again.

Let’s see: In 2020, we’ve got quick charging, a 500-mile range car, and the allure of air pollution free driving, not to mention substantial auto fuel savings, and, for those who can put a 2.5 kW solar system on their roof — the vast majority of Americans with a single family home could fit at least a 2.5 kW system on their roof – the attraction of near total fueling independence in favor of EVs. On the other side, in 2020, with gasoline cars, we have $5 gasoline, a shorter range, no fueling independence whatsoever, and a vehicle that produces lots of air pollution to boot.

Which auto technology – and fueling approach – do you think is going to win out now?

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