What Stands in the Way of an Electric Car Revolution?

Charging stations, of course. Price is an issue, but with universal charging, sales will explode and with exploding sales, prices drop.

It’s a chicken-and-egg conundrum

 But we have chickens today and we have eggs as well, so it’s not an insolvable problem—even though we argue about which came first.

Probably the government has to get into the act

Never a happy prospect, but what the hell. That’s because private industry has proven itself a bit shy about sticking its toe in the water. A big investment is required and an unknowable waiting period until the market catches up.

My take on it is that two things have to happen before the golden EV age can unfold before us: First, we have to get over this nonsense about proprietary chargers. Pulling in to fill your gas-guzzler doesn’t need a different pump for a Buick over a Ford. Universality is required—get over it, Tesla, get universal on the hookups.

Second, drivers have to be assured of a convenient place to top-up their batteries and that doesn’t mean trying to find one on the street or in a shopping mall. It means a gas station. They’re all over the place and that’s where we naturally look for a fill-up.

So that’s where the government comes in

Subsidize Exxon, Shell and whatever other brands are out there to set up charging stations—with whatever universal hookups we cram down the throats of EV manufacturers. That shouldn’t be a hard-sell for oil companies. We’re going to need gasoline for at least the next fifty years and possibly forever, but that’s going to be a steadily diminishing need. Meanwhile, why shouldn’t these same ubiquitous islands of automobile service profit from zapping the battery on your EV?

Consider this

No proud owner of an EV wants to stand around, tapping his toe while a thirty-minute charge occurs—all the time facing the grins and waves of those fellow drivers who just gassed-up and took off. He or she wants to hook up, step inside to use the restroom and have a contemplative cup of coffee and a doughnut. Who knows? Maybe pick up a copy of Car and Driver.

Owning a Tesla (and the other EVs will catch up eventually) pays for itself over and over. Meanwhile, that Ford 150 truck you love or the Audi A6 you would love if you could afford it simply depreciates until it’s worth nothing. Don’t believe that? Look at the price for a three or four-year-old Tesla and see how scarily close its price is to a new one.

You want the newest features on your shiny F-150? Gotta buy a new one, pal. 95% of what’s new on a Tesla is automatically downloaded for you at no charge—because it’s not really a car with a computer. It’s a computer with a car attached.

It’s also expensive—fifty-grand or so. But it will knock the socks off a $150,000 Porsche Panamera Turbo at 0-60mph. Well, maybe not knock the socks, but equal them and those are some outrageously expensive socks. Same for your favorite Lamborghini, so take your pick.

Cost to run

Comparing the closer purchase cost of a Tesla to a Toyota Camry, you’ll save almost nine grand on fuel and maintenance alone over five years. You’ll save another ten grand on depreciation. That’s nearly four grand a year, pal on a hot car instead of a ho-hum.

The stickler is finding dependable charging

 Ask anyone, based on all these facts, why they don’t jump all over an EV for their next car purchase and you’ll get the same answer. “What happens if I run out of power?” As of today, you’re screwed is what happens.

But we have an answer for that and it should please both gasoline service stations and EV buyers.

What it needs is a kickstart in Washington and the courage to stare down the oil lobbyists. It’s already late in the game and EVs are on the right side of history.

Image  Credit: fuelsandlubes.com

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