“Electric vehicles are no good,” the email read. “That one only goes 90 kilometres on a charge, and twice a week, I have to drive 200 kilometres for work.”
I sighed as I have when I’ve written about the two-seater Smart, and received letters from people who say they’re useless vehicles because they won’t hold three children and a Great Dane. As when I’ve written about plug-in hybrids, and heard from those who live in condominiums that don’t yet have charging facilities. And as when I’ve written about big pickup trucks that can pull massive RVs and horse trailers, and been chastised by those prefer small cars, and who don’t pull RVs and horse trailers.
I sighed because I find that too many people think a vehicle is no good if it isn’t exactly the right one for every single driver. Not everyone believes that, of course, but it’s far from a rare occurrence.
Every vehicle comes with limitations, but right now, many people are focusing on electric ones, because they’re the newest-of-the-new, and they haven’t quite figured out how they fit into the automotive rules as they know them. When an electric car runs out of battery power, it stops moving.
A gasoline car does the same thing, but we’ve always been okay with that, primarily because there’s generally a gas station not too far away. If you don’t make it, you can always fill a gas can.
In contrast, charging infrastructure is still in its infancy in most places (although data is starting to suggest that even when public stations are available, most owners still charge their battery cars exclusively at home), and even when people never drive beyond an electric car’s range, they still want to know that they can.
But I’ve also heard from people who bought electric cars, and who are happy with them—the primary reason being that they don’t go beyond the car’s range. It isn’t that they’re driving less now that they have a battery-powered car, but that they never drove more before they had one. All the electric car really did was make them aware of how far they went each time.
It happens any time you move outside your comfort zone. I often take public transit, which means I’m limited by the routes—nothing comes right to my door, and seldom drops me precisely where I need to go—but the more I travel to new places, the more bus and train routes I find will work for me. I’m not quite ready to trade in my driver’s license for a bus pass, but I’ve discovered that public transit is a viable option for me.
Likewise, electric cars will never work for everyone. They have specific parameters, but I expect that in time, even more people will realize that their daily commute falls well within an electric’s range, and they’ll switch over. Electric cars are specialized, but they’re not pointless. Please, don’t make me sigh again.