Q: There’s a lot of EV happy talk in your column, but there’s one big problem with them.
We own a Chevy Bolt and really like it as a second car. Our primary car is a gas-powered Ford Escape. I can fill it in 5 minutes. Many readers seem to put up with the inconveniences of charging an EV for much longer. But John Q. Public is not going to be happy about needing to have a lengthy lunch and long walk while his EV charges. It’s not practical yet, as a primary car.
I know California is going to ban gasoline engines by 2035, but politicians better hope and pray that someone creates a charging system that gets the job done in around 5 minutes, or there’s going to be chaos in our lovely state.
Bob MacFarlane, San Jose
Q: No one seems to address the elephant in the room, which is that EVs are still rich-people-stuff. I’m not just referring to the substantial up-front cost of buying one. I would love to own an EV, but you need somewhere to charge it, and in San Jose, I’m never going to be able to afford a home with the electrical equipment necessary for a decent charge. Only the most newest apartment complexes, also out of my price range, have charging stations. People working at tech campuses also generally have access to charging options while they’re at work, but tend to be the same people who can actually afford to buy houses. I could plan on charging around outings to Whole Foods (I don’t regularly shop there). You can see where this is going. Most of the infrastructure is, likewise, designed around high-income consumers.
I would prefer to drive less, overall. The number of aggressive drivers on the road keeps increasing, along with the amount of traffic. Working from home has alleviated the stress and back pain I used to get from my long commute. A high-speed train to LA sounds way better to me than 8 hours with a charging stop on Interstate 5.
Plenty of the self-satisfied EV adopters would like to penalize those who won’t or can’t move to electric. They don’t seem to realize that it’s near impossible to survive here without a vehicle, and such penalties end up being yet another tax on the poor.
What we need to save the environment is to move away from individual transportation/car ownership being the norm.
Sarah Cottingham, San Jose
A: Be patient. To reach mass adoption, EV prices will have to become more affordable and charging options will have to continue to improve. I hear what you’re saying about mass transit.
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