I recently had the pleasure of attending a legislative hearing on the subject of electric vehicles a.k.a. EVs at the Georgia State Capitol. Unfortunately, I got there a little late. Although most of what I heard presented was not new to me, it's always interesting for the tech geek that I am to hear what's happening with new technology. I did get there in time for the questions from the legislative panel. I have to say that as I smugly sat there and accused the elected officials as ignorant and tweeting away that the real ignoramus was me.
I stay so entrenched in sustainability stuff that I have lost perspective on how little the general public still understands about everything I am intimate with. So here are some answers for those of you who might not be aware of the next wave of technological sustainability…EVs.
- Are EVs safe? When I first heard this I thought “Are you kidding me?” But then someone pointed out to me that there was three days of a flurry of Volt Fires. Then there is the fact that I spent half an hour with an EV automaker Wheego. If you missed that episode of Speaking of Green, here’s the link, Wheego! The adventure of the homegrown EV. So, I didn’t know until I spoke with Mike McQuery, CEO of Wheego, that all cars have to meet stringent federal guidelines. Of course, if you think about it, it’s common sense, but really how many of us walk around truly thinking about the safety of our cars. We just accept it. And guess what? EVs have to pass those tests too after all it’s a car fueled by electricity not an UFO.
- How do you fuel up? Fueling up is as easy as plugging in your car. Many athletes use the term muscle memory. Muscle memory is when your body does something after being trained over and over and over again. Guess what? We all have muscle memory for filling up our cars. That is why EV manufacturers have made the transition of charging your car as much like that sensation of filling up your tank. Just think you never have to worry about getting gas on the way home again. You never have to worry about waiting in line and watching crazy people miss your car by inches trying to find an empty pump.
- What about oil changes? If you own an EV, you will never have to have another oil change again. Let me say that again. You will never have to have another oil change again. For women this is particularly important. Every single female understands the anxiety of going in to get your oil changed and not truly knowing that you can trust the guy behind the counter. Sad but true. Hooray for EVs, us single gals lives just got easier.
- Doesn't EV have the same technology as my regular car? No, EVs are smarter than you and way smarter than your regular car. We have truly reached the technological age where your car can do more things than you ever dreamed of before. Your Nissan LEAF will send you more text messages then your husband, wife or lover. Your LEAF will send you as many messages as you like. It's all programmable. But when you get your new LEAF make sure the first text message you ask for is a reminder to charge the car.
- How do you charge your car? Charging your car is as simple as plugging it into the wall. Okay not quite, because you do need a different voltage for where the plug runs from the car to the wall. However, if you have a dryer in the house, it's the same voltage as your dryer. All cars come with a level I charger that will charge your car to its fullest in about 24 hours. However, you do have the option to purchase a level II charger that will charge your car to full capacity overnight or about 8 hours.
- Can you overcharge the car? Unlike your cell phone and many other rechargeable batteries, your car cannot be overcharged. The cars are so smart that they actually turn themselves off once a full charge is complete. I wish my cell phone did that. I am a habitual overcharger.
- Are there any incentives available? Yes! There is a $7500 federal tax credit. Many states including Georgia have incentives in place. Please check your local tax regulations to find what you might qualify for.
- What about running out of juice while on the road? They already have a term for this problem. It's called range anxiety. Electric cars are not a solution for long-distance commutes or road trips. They are however perfect as a second car or for city dwellers. Each manufacturer lists different ranges for their cars. However, if your commute is under 20 miles each way, you are the perfect candidate for an EV. And don't worry, big brother is with us, big brother being marketers not the government. Many major retailers, including Kroger, Whole Foods, CVS, Best Buy, and a slew of others are installing chargers at a rapid rate to entice you to charge while you shop. No pun intended.
- Other advantages? The cars are incredibly quiet. The cars have anti-theft technology just like your own car. They are roomier than you expect. They are fun to drive. They compete competitively in price even before your tax credits. Oh and did I mention, no more oil changes, no more waiting in line at the gas station. What other advantage do you need?
So my apologies to those public servants who I thought were so ignorant. The future is here and it’s gonna be wicked cool and a lot better for everyone!