There is an electric car in your future, and you’re going to buy it sooner than you may realize.
How do I know this? I just bought one, after saying I wasn’t about to. My wife — who is wise — says the hardest part of getting used to our new electric car is not the mechanics of driving it — it’s the “information technology” of how to make all the features work.
The fossil-fuel era is ending. Not with a bang but a whimper. Your image of an electric car may be a luxury Tesla, but models are already available at prices comparable to ordinary gasoline-powered cars. State and federal tax credits may reduce those prices by up to $10,000. Those inducements are proving so successful they are being phased out for car makers whose production is already gathering steam.
There will be pickup trucks and vans as well as passenger cars. There will be an electric Hummer. Volkswagen is even reviving its iconic bus in an electric version. Hybrids like the Toyota Prius will become passé.
Electric vehicles may be less than one percent of the cars and trucks on America’s roads now, but that is about to change. Major car companies are launching many new models, and several say they will stop producing gasoline cars in the next 10 to 15 years.
I’ve been watching internet videos about EVs and reading people’s comments. Positive comments seem to be mainly from people who own EVs, extolling how great they are to drive, while negative comments come from people who say EVs cannot drive far enough without recharging and there are not enough chargers available.
Those objections are just resistance to change. Most electric cars on the market have a range of over 200 miles. The average American driver totals about 40 miles per day. Those who make a habit of recharging the car’s battery every night can easily top up, even with ordinary household current. The electric car I bought has a range of at least 250 miles, so it can comfortably do the 200-mile round trip to Boston from Eastham without refueling.
You may never need a charging station except on long trips. Competing networks of charging stations are proliferating. Tesla has its own, and there are several others. Volkswagen is investing $2 billion in Electrify America, in part to atone for its recent emissions data scandal.
Your favorite smartphone navigation app will help you find charging stations along your route. Each of the new networks has its own app, and there are third-party apps. You can see how many chargers there are at each station, and whether they are available, in real time.
Charging at public stations usually takes less than an hour, perhaps while you refuel your body at the same time. Powering a car with electricity is much cheaper than gasoline. Fully charging a depleted battery on ordinary household current can take all day or more, but for about $1,000 you can install a faster charger at home, using the 240-volt current that clothes dryers use.
There are now at least three charging stations in Provincetown, two in Wellfleet, and one in Eastham, and I am sure there will be more soon.
After putting solar panels on our roof, switching to EVs is one of the best ways we can personally fight greenhouse-gas emissions to stem the tide of global warming. But we must also think about how the electricity is generated, and work on converting from fossil fuels to sources like solar, wind, and tidal energy.
Terry Gallagher is the Eastham delegate to the Barnstable County Assembly.