When people find out that I drive an electric car; the slight squint of their eyes, subtle turn of their head and spreading smirk on their lips says it all! They believe that I am a tree-hugging, ultra-liberal, environmentalist wacko and most likely a vegetarian.
In fact environmentalism is a common reason stated by people who choose to drive a car propelled by electricity stored in a battery rather than the combustion of hydrocarbons with the resulting exhaust that goes into the atmosphere.
But there are other reasons. One would be they are just simply fun to drive. A characteristic of electric motors is that at the first revolution they produce their full torque and horsepower.
So in a battery powered car when you press down on the accelerator you do not hear the engine roaring to gain speed, nor do you feel the transmission lag, and shifts needed to achieve the power that you’re demanding. All you feel is the smooth, immediate, quiet thrusting forward as the car takes off.
Another reason people may drive an electric vehicle is because they want to avoid the sirens’ call of gasoline. You remember the sirens, right? They were the beautiful women who sang a promise of sensual delights and human comforts but delivered a cold death on the rocky shoreline.
I admit to feeling a little smug as I drive past gas stations. Doesn’t matter if the price is $3.19 or $4.19 a gallon. I know I do not have to buy any. Adding to that “smug” feeling is the fact that with electrical power costing about 2.8 cents per kilowatt hour it is only going to cost me $2.38 to “fill up the tank” which of course I’m training myself not to say anymore. I’m “charging.”
Electricity is produced right here in Douglas County in great abundance and is distributed throughout the state and in fact across the entire United States by a well-established network called “the grid.” The concept of not having a place to charge an electric car is somewhat erroneous as they can be plugged into 110-volt outlets found in almost every building in America.
Styling is also an aspect of electric cars that many find appealing. They are modern, they are different, and the designers have made them look special. They’re very aerodynamic because pushing air is not the way we want to spend energy. Batteries tend to be heavy and are usually located low in the car producing a very low center of gravity. Electric drive vehicles also generate electricity when slowing, causing a “down shift” like deceleration. These characteristics make cornering and breaking quite stable and fun to experiment with more like you would with a sports car. And, by the way I am not a political liberal.
Jack Anderson is a volunteer Project Manager for Plug-In NCW. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org