Are electric car haters persuadable?

fe-with-anti-ev-statementseditors-blog-entry3I got into it – yet again – in a comments stream below an article about EVs.

The article was a fun-to-read, sarcastic piece over at PlugInCars.Com, with the headline, The EV-Hater’s Guide to Hating Electric Cars.

In it, author Steve Harvey sarcastically lays out, and deconstructs, some of the most common anti-EV arguments out there – they’re overpriced, only for ‘eco-snobs’, they’ll crash the grid, the long-tailpipe argument, etc.

I posted a comment in which I praised Steve for a fun, well-written column. I also noted one anti-EV criticism I thought he’d missed: the anti-EV subsidy view.

‘Arrogance’ of the Left
I confess to embellishing a little – and this is probably what set off my attacker ‘Michael’ – in the comment stream. I noted in my comment that it is, in my view, typically people with right-leaning political tendencies who are anti-EV subsidies [no, this might not always hold true, though I do think it’s generally true].

‘Michael’ went off on me for being ‘arrogant’ – while, ironically, being arrogant himself ‘You just don’t get it, Christof!’, he wrote at one point, apparently incensed that I wasn’t recognizing the ‘obvious’ ‘superiority’ of his views. He also lambasted me for being divisive, and for hurting the EV movement by bringing politics into the picture.

Now, while I don’t particularly appreciate the way ‘Michael’ treated me in the comments stream below that article – he essentially called me an “a—hole”, I do appreciate his view – to a certain extent.

volt-blackEV ‘Big-tentism’
His is the classic Big Tent EV view, the idea that everyone should be encouraged to become part of the ‘the EV movement’, regardless of political or ideological affiliation.

This is generally a good idea.

But simply because there are some Big Tenters in the EV movement, doesn’t mean that we all need to, 100 percent of the time, be just like them. Especially when we’re confronted with some of the anti-EV vitriol out there, coming from folks, many of whom, in my view, will never be convinced of the merits of EVs [not all EV skeptics are impossible to persuade, but a large portion are.]

A movement isn’t just driven by its center, but by those on the “edges”. Social movements for change – whether we’re talking about the EV movement or another movement — get most of their energy from folks who are outside of the mainstream. People in the mainstream are by their very definition not generally change leaders – they’re content with things as they are.

My passion for the environment drives my passion for the EV movement. I wouldn’t have created SolarChargedDriving.Com two years ago were it not for this passion.

A social outlier
I view myself as being somewhat of an outlier, as someone outside of the mainstream on quite a few things, politically and socially. It is precisely because of this outsider status that I’m getting something done in terms of driving the EV movement forward (although ‘Micheal’ claims I’m only setting ‘the movement’ back).

My passion for the environment drives my passion for the EV movement. I wouldn’t have created SolarChargedDriving.Com two years ago were it not for this passion. In contrast, most self-professed middle-of-the-roaders don’t start web sites and devote thousands of hours to promoting things such as solar-charged driving.

My point: Middle-of-the-road-ism has its place, but if that’s all we had there would be no movements for change because the drive for social change always comes from the “fringes” not from the middle.

stop-using-gas2Reigning in my Left-ism
Over the past two years, I have reigned in some of my political left-ism on this web site in recognition of the significance of ‘big-tent-ism’ and in recognition of the fact that some of the readers who land here are well to the right of where I am politically.

For instance, I’ve made an effort to play up the fueling independence angle of solar-charged driving, in part because I recognize fueling independence cuts across political boundaries in ways that environmentalism, unfortunately, at least for now, generally does not.

And you don’t see many, if any, more direct references to “right-wing” on SolarChargedDriving.Com, though, if you look at some of the original content I posted two years ago, you will see some of this. Of course, even back then, I was aware of the importance of ‘big-tent-ism’ and I wasn’t aiming to close anyone of from solar-charged driving.

Broad-ranging content
I want as many potential solar-charged drivers as possible to identify with at least some of the content I post to the site.

But, while I’m committed to actively highlighting the many different and varied reasons to go EV + PV, I’m not going to completely mask my original and driving passion. A left-leaning environmentalism continues to be the biggest of my motivators.


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Suppressing some of my “extremism” and pushing myself to the “ideal” middle would take away the uniqueness of SolarChargedDriving.Com. Worse, it would defy the original passion that inspired me to build the site.

The ‘ideal’ middle?
Moving completely to the “ideal” middle (I strongly disagree with the idea that the middle is always the “best” place to be), or to the perfect “mainstream” location, socially and politically, would arguably kill SolarChargedDriving.Com. Indeed, someone thoroughly steeped in mainstream-ism would never have founded a site devoted to covering and promoting the synergy between solar and EVs, as they are quite clearly not mainstream – at least not yet 😉

I see this as a point in favor of non-mainstream-ism. And, while I’ll continue to pitch and cover solar-charged driving across multiple viewpoints, it’s safe to say that no matter how mainstream solar-charged driving becomes SolarChargedDriving.Com will never be a totally mainstream web site.

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