Saturday, December 15, 2012

Why Your Neighbor Should Buy an Electric Vehicle (EV)

 I will begin by conceding to the reality that an EV is not for everyone.  At least not yet!  Maybe the range isn't long enough, the style doesn't suit you, or perhaps you can't justify the initial cost (even if the long-term cost is lower).  But that's no reason not to convince your friends or neighbors that it isn't right for them.  What's in it for you?  Why should you take up the EV cause?  Will it be the lowered environmental impact?  Will it be the hope that as the early adapters demonstrate there is a commercial soundness to EVs, the price comes down and advancement to the technology results in range increases?  No.  Your motivation should be much more direct and personal.  Your motivation should answer the question, "What's in it for me?"  How do you stand to gain from others buying and using EVs?  Simple.  LOWER GAS PRICES!  It's simple supply and demand, really.
One need only to look at Hurricane Sandy.  It was a devastating natural disaster that many people are still struggling to recover from.  What does this have to do with EVs?  It's true that 320 Fisker Karmas were destroyed at a port in New Jersey due to flooding.  And 16 of those had caught fire after salt water damage caused a short circuit to the low-voltage Vehicle Control Unit in one car that spread to the others due to the high winds.  But that has nothing to do with my point.  So back to the supply and demand reasoning.  There were some that were speculating that this natural disaster, like so many others, (and especially Hurricane Katrina) would be cause for the price of gasoline to spike, or at least increase.  But just the opposite happened.  Why?  There were far fewer commuters in the areas that were effected and therefore there was a decrease in demand.  One could almost draw a parallel to the numerous times people have tried to organize "don't buy gas days".  The theory was that, if as a nation, people chose one day to not buy gas, the result would be gas stations having excess inventory.  That would force them to lower prices as they would have to sell what they had prior to new inventory arriving.  Maybe others have different "effects", but the common goal was to get gas stations to lower the price of fuel.  The hurricane was able to achieve what loosely organized social experiments were not able to accomplish.  The price of gas decreased.
So this is where your friends, relatives, and neighbors come in.  If they buy and regularly use an EV on a daily basis, then there is more gas for the rest of us.  Why do I include myself as a beneficiary?  Well, in addition to my Mitsubishi i-MiEV, I also own a beautiful and functional work of art known as the 2006 Jaguar XJ Super V8 Portfolio.  I could fill pages about what I like about that car also, but that would have to be another blog.  And some might consider it boastful or arrogant.  I also have a motorcycle and a Mazda Miata which is now only 5 years away from qualifying for antique plates.  So, I too, would be happy to see the price of gas go down. 
Just because an EV isn't the right car for you, doesn't mean you can't be an advocate.  Convince your extended family members that it would be the best vehicle for their high school student because the limited range would be sufficient to get them back and forth to school, but wouldn't allow them to take unauthorized extended road trips.  Convince you boss that the financial incentives would have a positive effect at tax time.  And, if the company installs an ESVE (Electrical Vehicle Supply Equipment) Charger at work, he could recharge for free while the company gets "green" credit for caring about the environment.  Persuade your neighbors that the cost of charging is around 2-4 cents per mile (depending on local utility rates) compared to 13 cents per mile (for a car getting 25 MPG at $3.25 per gallon) for a gas powered car.  You won't have to worry about hearing their exhaust as they're coming and going at various hours of the day, or worry about the fluids their car leaks.  And when it comes time to head out to dinner with them, you can talk them into driving.  They can use that time to thank you for enlightening them about the benefits of EV ownership and they can show off how much they enjoy various features.  You can smile contently and silently thank them for helping to lower price of gasoline.  Who knows, maybe one day in the future, they will convert you as well.


  1. Another advantage of neighbours with an EV is that they can go and sit in fuel lines when there's a shortage or rationing without wasting fuel to idle. I regularly take my EV on refueling runs for my diesel which uses about one kilowatt-hour ($0.10): it would burn half a gallon (~$2.50) to visit my favoured filling station, otherwise.

  2. That's a great point about advocating EV's even if they aren't right for you personally. Some of us may have longer commutes and need a regular car but why not point out the benefits of EV's if you know someone for whom it could work?

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