One of the things that I find very puzzling (among numerous things that puzzle me) is the seemingly almost visceral hatred some people have for electric cars. For myself, I tend to be an early adopter of new technologies and gadgets, at least as much as I can afford them. Admittedly the electric vehicle I’d really like—the Tesla Model S—remains beyond my reach, even for a used vehicle. Having two children in college really puts a damper on anything else that costs much money.
But I have still managed to get myself an electric car, specifically, a Nissan Leaf. I bought it used and paid just a hair more than ten thousand dollars for it. Not a bad price at all for a nice used car. Admittedly, the Leaf has limited range compared to a Tesla or an average gasoline powered vehicle. But I live in California and gasoline is on the expensive side, on average about a dollar more per gallon than most other places in the United States. And that is the reason I wanted an electric car and finally got one: it saves me a lot of money. And the range of a Leaf fits within the amount of driving that my wife and I do on a daily basis. Now, instead of paying close to 400 dollars per month for gasoline, I’m paying about 60 dollars per month extra on my electric bill. Even with my minimal car payment I’m saving a lot of money each and every month.
On top of that, I have no oil changes, ever; I never have to get a smog check. And regular maintenance on the vehicle consists of checking the cabin air filter, replacing the wiper blades once a year, and sooner or later I’ll have to get new tires. With regenerative braking, my brake pads last longer, even.
And so this is why I can’t fathom why people hate electric cars.
I pondered this today as I watched some of the negative comments piling up on the announcement that the Tesla Model S just tested by Consumer Reports got a 103 out of 100 points. They said it was the best car they’d ever tested.
And yet the comments on some of the news articles condemned it for any number of nonsensical things. Yes, it’s expensive, but so are a lot of other vehicles. But those who purchase it were likely in the market for some other luxury car—there are a number in the same price range—and they wisely thought to themselves that buying a car that requires less maintenance and way lower fuel bills was a good choice. Does charging the battery take more time than filling a car up with gasoline? Sure. But most of your filling for an electric car is done at home the same way you charge up your cellphone. So you’re avoiding going to a gas station and spending that time and money filling up—which actually takes less time, then—since your electric car is charging up while you’re sitting in your living room watching TV or sleeping. Your electricity may be produced by burning coal, so then you’re not actually helping the environment any. Well, maybe: but at least here in California, our electricity is produced by burning natural gas, or by water tumbling over dams, or by nuclear generators—or by solar power. Which is how I get my electricity since I have solar panels on my roof. And why did I put solar panels on my roof? Because I’m so concerned about being green? Not really. Solar power saves me money. That’s mostly the kind of green I’m concerned about after all. Two kids in college, remember? I think I mentioned that.