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Anti-EV friend refuses to be persuaded

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The Tesla Model S has won Motor Trend Car of the Year Awards, has won accolades from the mainstream press, has recently been driven more than 400 miles on a single charge, and single-handedly disproves virtually all EV myths, and yet that's still not enough to convince some anti-EV die-hards. Go figure. [Photo Credit: Tesla Motors]

editors-blog-entry3You win some and you lose some on the EV persuasion front.

Here’s one I won – sort of: A beaming work colleague came to me last Friday and said she’d just bought a brand new Ford C-Max, the standard hybrid version, that is. And she said, “Christof, you get some credit for this because you and your web page influenced me.”

She also said she views her new hybrid as a possible springboard into a future plug-in hybrid.

Chalk one up for me ;-)

‘Battery technology sucks’
The day before saw one I lost, or, really, one I know I’ll never win.

In passing, I mentioned to another colleague that my brother was expecting delivery of a Tesla Model S any day now and that I was soooo jealous (which I am!).

My colleague’s response: “You’d never buy one of those things would you? The battery pack will be dead after two months. Battery technology sucks.”

Frankly, I was a bit taken aback, as this colleague, like all of my colleagues are, is well aware of my long-time advocacy for plug-in vehicles, and he’d never once said anything negative about plug-ins before.

I said, “Well, that’s not true. There are people who’ve been driving for more than a decade on the same battery pack in Toyota RAV4 EVs. And there are plenty of folks who’ve been driving Tesla Roadsters for four or five years.”

Toyota_RAV4_EV

The Toyota RAV4 EV has taken multiple owners more than 100,000 miles on a single battery pack (see http://www.evnut.com/rav_owner_100k.htm). [Photo Credit: Wikipedia.Org]

‘I don’t believe it’
My colleague’s response: “I don’t believe it. I don’t believe it.”

I said, “Well, it’s true. You can read it for yourself in the Tesla and RAV4 EV listservs and owners forums.”

“Don’t believe it. Don’t believe it,” was his again response.

He went on to cite one EV myth after another: They don’t perform, they’re useless because their range is too limited -- never mind that the Performance Model S my brother will soon be zipping around in, yes, it will be solar-charged!, is, under certain conditions, capable of 400+ miles -- they’re too expensive, etc., etc., etc.

I didn’t take the conversation any further. Partly because I was a bit shocked at the response: I’ve never encountered, in person, such stubborn anti-EV views as I seemingly was getting from my co-worker (I’ve seen these stubborn anti-EV views everywhere online, though). I’ve also never really gotten into any ideological/political conversations with this colleague, with whom I have a great relationship, and I didn’t feel like it was worth jeopardizing that relationship over plug-in cars.

10 reasons EVs still suck
I thought the conversation was over, and then, about five minutes later, this landed in my e-mail box: “Ten reasons EVs still suck: We unplug the EV hype.”

It’s an article on CNET.Com UK written by Rory Reid, published on Nov. 8, 2010, mind you. That’s two years ago, or before tens of thousands of people began driving around in plug-in cars such as the Chevy Volt and Nissan LEAF. Some of these folks have been driving their plug-ins for two years now.

anti-ev-ers

Stubborn anti-EV attitudes persist despite more and more real-world evidence that EV myths don't hold true.

“Ten reasons EVs still suck” pretty much plugs into (pun intended ;-) every single misinformed, unfair, often downright untrue EV myth out there.

I know I’ll never convince this colleague EVs don’t suck. Though I sure wish I had an EV right now to give him a test drive in, in particular a Chevy Volt, as this colleague – he’s a techie galore, in fact, that’s what his job is, technology meister for much of our university – has Volt written all over his name, if only he’d give plug-ins a chance.

Deconstructing 10 reasons that EVs suck
As for the ridiculous “Ten Reasons EVs still suck” piece: They’re just plain wrong. Here’s why -->

10. EV’s are too expensive. Not true – at least in many cases (Okay, the Model S is expensive). After tax incentives, many people are driving away in a plug-in here in the U.S. for around $25,000, or for about the price of a middle-of-the-road new Honda Accord. And, of course, their fueling up costs are going to be far less.

9. They’re expensive to fuel. Not true – at least in the vast majority of cases in the U.S. (it could be different in the UK). Fueling costs for gasoline cars in the U.S. are typically at least three times as high as for an EV such as a LEAF.

8. Zero Emissions is a lie. It depends. If you plug in your EV in hydro and renewable rich Washington State, Oregon, or Idaho, or, if you buy wind credits, or if you use home solar to charge you EV, you’re pretty damn close to zero emissions. Far closer than you’ll ever get in a gasoline car. But, of course, the reality of renewable energy generated electricity is an inconvenient truth for EV bashers – which is why they inevitably willfully ignore it.

tesla-supercharger

An artist's rendering of a Tesla solar-powered Supercharger station. [Credit: Tesla Motors]

7. They take forever to charge. Not true. If ever there was a case of an article being outdated, this is it. Tesla’s Model S can now be charged to 50 percent in 30 minutes via one of its solar-charged Supercharger Stations. Yes, renewable energy can be, and is being, used to create zero emissions EVs! Of course, typically plug-in drivers don’t need quick-charging for most of their driving. It’s perfectly sufficient to charge up in 4-8 hours overnight.

6. Quick charging can damage batteries. This is likely true. But who cares. For most people, 95 percent of the time they will not use quick charging. The limited times that they might are less likely to do significant long-term damage than quick-charging regularly would. This is a total and complete straw man, CNET UK!

5. The driving range is pathetic. It depends. A Tesla Model S was just driven over 400 miles in Florida (once again, this CNET UK article is WAY old), and it’s clear that the 80 kWh version of the Model S is going to regularly deliver at least 200 miles per charge, and, in typical driving conditions, probably 250+ miles per charge. Yes, the 50 mile range of, say, an Mitsubishi iMiEV, is limited. But if you never use your iMiEV to drive more than 50 miles, and don’t need to, you do NOT need the extra range, and thus the range argument is moot. If you do need more range, buy a Volt, use it to drive 95 percent of your miles as pure EV miles, as tens of thousands of Volt owners have (Volt owners recently reached 100 million all-electric miles driven), and then take it cross country if you need to.

4. EVs make using other appliances more expensive. Hmmm…might be true in some cases. But again this depends on a variety of factors, most notably whether your utility has Time of Use (TOU) under which you pay different per kWh rates depending on what time of day you use your electricity. It also depends, ahem, on whether you have home solar, which, as we’ve noted time and time again, can, and does save you money.

3. EVs could raise electricity tax rates. Okay, maybe in the UK. Though it would be interesting to see if this has actually happened in the two years since this anti-EV story was published. I kind of doubt it actually has.

2. Where’s the resale value. Actually, here it is-->“Volt and LEAF top 90% resale value after one-year” -- http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2012/06/nissan-leaf-chevy-volt-one-year-resale-values-top-90-percent.html.So much for that one, eh, CNET UK?

1. They’re useless for inner-city inhabitants. Maybe – for some of these folks. It is true that many apartment dwellers do not have easy access to overnight charging. But it’s also true that there are tens of millions, at least in the U.S. who have garages and who drive no more than 40-miles per day, easily within the all-electric range of a Chevy Volt. So, CNET UK, you ought to say: For some, maybe many in the UK in urban areas, charging an EV is a problem. But this doesn’t mean that it necessarily follows that EVs are useless for: a) all inner-city inhabitants; b) the millions and millions who live within an easy pure EV shot of work/inner-cities and who do in fact have garages and easy access to overnight charging.

In sum, this CNET UK anti-EV piece is: a) way old; b) makes sweeping claims, most of which don’t hold up to scrutiny; c) really, really needs to be updated now that tens of thousands of new plug-in owners in the U.S., UK and other places have, through their own driving experiences, shattered many of the ill-informed EV myths.

Unfortunately, even though real people are showing EVs don’t suck via their own experiences, we still have a long way to go to break these myths down, as my recent experience with one of my work colleagues clearly illustrates.

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