Many on the left side of the political spectrum are pushing for electric vehicles - and automakers are responding, primarily because there are tax credits for doing so.
Electric vehicles are touted as being more 'green' and for moving us away from our dependency on foreign oil.
Of course, I have many questions about this, which causes my confusion over why so many think this is a good thing.
1) We are only dependent upon foreign oil because we don't take maximum advantage of our OWN oil. (Naturally, that highlights the point that those using the phrase 'foreign oil' really mean 'oil' ... but that's another argument for another time.) So if we wanted to be free from dependency on other nations, we could open up any available source domestically, but that logic seems to escape most of the people making the argument in the first place.
2) Have you seen the electricity prices in this area? The same politicians who are talking about how great electric vehicles are happen to be the same politicians complaining that we have the highest electric/utility bills in the state. How in the world would any local resident be better off with a vehicle that would INCREASE what they pay for 'fuel'?
3) Do you know how we get electricity? We get it from coal-burning or nuclear plants. While there is clean-coal technology that plants are beginning to incorporate, most of the electricity in this country is produced by methods that electric car supporters happen to oppose. So we're being told to switch to a vehicle whose source of fuel is as bad as oil?
And what about President-elect Barack Obama's promise to bankrupt the coal industry? Where will we get the electricity if he's successful in keeping that promise?
4) Electric vehicles require batteries. Has anyone thought about how those batteries will be disposed of when they are no longer functional? Have you tried lately to replace a regular car battery and then dispose of the old one? What will be the process for the larger batteries used to 'fuel' the electric car - and will there be enough of an aftermarket to make recycling worthwhile? And if so, for how long?
5) How practical are these types of vehicles? Most are good only for short ranges, though the WhiteStar Sedan can get up to 250 miles from a single charge. However, that vehicle was expected to cost between $50-65,000. A bit high for most car buyers. Additionally, it takes six hours to charge it.
George Peterson, president of AutoPacific Inc., an automotive market research firm in Tustin, CA, said of the WhiteStar:
"You will never be able to justify its purchase price based on the fuel savings," Peterson said. "It's almost purely an ego purchase. Driving it will make you feel good."
Now, there may come a time when all these issues are addressed efficiently enough to make an electric vehicle a cost effective choice. But until then, I'm not inclined to own one - at least, not just to 'feel good' - and I won't be lured by all the hype and political correctness.