From an early age, I always imagined that electric cars would be the wave of the future. Having the ability to engage in limitless driving without fossil fuels is both intriguing and sensible. However, it is still just an idea that has yet to be realized. As we have slowly discovered over the past one hundred years of toying with electric vehicle creations, they simply don’t work for the American people.
So why does this automotive utopia still elude us? For starters, the cost of the vehicles is just too high. The expenses associated with development and manufacturing of a green vehicle are significantly higher than they are for a similar gasoline powered vehicle. This can be easily observed when you look at the price of two identical car models with the aforementioned varying power trains. A quick visit to Ford.com shows the starting MSRP of a 2013 Ford Fusion with a gasoline motor at $21,700. An identical 2013 Ford Fusion with the hybrid gasoline-electric engine has a starting price of $27,200. Similarly, Nissan recently unveiled their all electric Leaf with an MSRP of $35,200. Nissan also sells an all gasoline car called the Versa that is almost identical in size to the Leaf, yet has a starting price of only $10,990. You could have a fleet of Versas for the same price as one Leaf. I’m goin’ with the fleet.
So why else do Americans not like them? They’re boring. The American automotive heritage is centered around copious amounts of chrome and even bigger motors. This mentality still flows through the veins of the American populous. We all want that high horsepower sports car or that truck with the massive torque. What we don’t want is performance numbers displayed in kilowatts. Gigowatts, maybe. But not kilowatts. (Hat-tip, Back to the Future)
Another reason Americans scoff at electric vehicles is because we need cars that can actually travel long distances. Chevy has tried to dress up its Volt by calling it a Range Extended Electric Vehicle (RE-EV), but it is all smoke and mirrors. By their own numbers, the Chevy Volt can only travel 40 miles on its electric motor before the gas motor kicks in. However, actual owners have reported getting as few as 28 miles before their electric fix gets cut off. Equate this to how your laptop manufacturer claims your battery will last up to 9 hours, and then it only lasts 3. Same result. The majority of Americans have a round trip commute that far exceeds the 40 mile limit that is bestowed upon the electric aspect of these types of vehicles. Our lives are also very demanding, which leaves little time for us to go home and plug in our car, rendering it useless for 4 to 6 hours. No wonder the Volt’s production plant is currently shut down until October 15th. This can’t be good for that three letter word, J-O-B-S.
If you needed yet another reason to stick with your gas guzzling beast, would you believe that these green cars are not even green? As mentioned above, these hybrid vehicles deplete their electrical capabilities fairly quickly, at which time the gasoline motor fires up, no pun intended. Due to the weight of these cars and the intricacies of the hybrid system, the gasoline motor itself is not very efficient. Many owners claim being able to travel about 300 miles on the gasoline alone. If we divide this by the size of the gas tank, we learn that the gas motor is only achieving a paltry 32 miles per gallon. If we compare this to another similarly sized Chevrolet car like the Cruze that gets 42 miles per gallon, we can see just how poor the Volt’s mileage really is. Let’s also not forget about the main source of the electric power. In the United States, electricity is mainly produced through the burning of coal. Because burning coal is exponentially less clean than burning gasoline, many scientists have argued that electric cars actually are less green than a similarly sized gasoline car. How about that?
Finally, the phony green movement has resulted in nothing more than a transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich. Let me explain. Electric and hybrid vehicles are eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit. That is, they are subsidized by the federal government, and therefore funded by the taxpayer. This obviously makes the car more affordable. But for whom? Chevrolet’s CEO Dan Akerson reported that the “average purchaser of a Volt is earning $170,000 per year.” Hmm. Are we subsidizing vehicle purchases for rich people? That joke is called “yes.”
While I don’t necessarily dislike hybrid cars, I don’t think they should be forced upon us as the only future option. As a car enthusiast, I love trucks and the big motors that have defined American automobiles. Ironically, even President Obama owned a Chrysler 300 with the big Hemi V8. With more and more pandering to the radical left-wing environmental movement, our history slowly fades into the distant memory of years gone by. Very few manufacturers are still using those big V8’s to power their vehicles because the taxes associated with the CAFE standards have made it impossible for them to make a profit on those vehicles. I truly believe in an “all of the above” energy policy. If Al Gore wants to drive the tiny Nissan Leaf, let him. But also allow me and Barack to drive our monstrous chariots. This is a free country, right?