Electric Cars and 'Can't Do Spirit' of American Conservatives

By Bill Moore

Posted: 01 Jun 2011

I had to laugh when I came across Ed Morrisey's article in The Week entitled, "The folly of doubling down on electric cars" in which he starts off with the following:

So-called green vehicles are expensive, tough to dispose of, and may actually increase America's dependence on foreign sources

But it wasn't his lame attempt to slur electric cars and by extension, the Obama Administration, that got me smiling. It was his own readers' comments posted in response to his screed, which asserts that sales of the Volt and Leaf are disappointing and that the cars are expensive, as are replacement batteries, etc., etc.; complaints and criticisms we've all heard before. My guess is that Ed has never even sat in the driver's seat of the Volt or the Leaf, much less driven either of them. Maybe he should trot down to one of those Chevy dealers who's selling their Volt on eBay and take it for a spin.

Encouragingly, the readers of The Week online appear to be a helluva lot more astute than Mr. Morrisey when it comes to understanding how plug-in cars work and why we need them. Here's a sample of what they wrote:

JB points out: Consumer Reports did a study on a Prius battery after 10years and 200,000 miles and found that it remained as effective as it was when it was new. Lithium can be reused, oil cannot. Plus, I'd rather trade with China than Iran. Electric cars will be charging during the night, not peak hours so no massive utility spending will be necessary. And why can't we use renewables to charge it, in the reddest of all states (Texas) getting your electricity from a 100 renewable source only costs a few dollars a month more.

Caroll commented: This article is so full of holes how did it get published? For example the Leaf, I'm still on the waiting list and won't be able to get mine until December. Every point this oil spokesperson made has been debunked many times in scientific journals so The Week is apparently just a propaganda machine for big oil or the GOP.

Vincedc complained: Gee with that kind of attitude, we would be back in the horse and buggy days. I wonder what would have happened in the federal government did not subsidize the birth of air travel.

John writes: Please get your facts straight before you print trash.

Adam asserts: You should retract this article. Did the author read tea leaves as research?

But perhaps my favorite comment came from Mredder4 who wrote:

This column by Edward Morrissey perfectly encapsulates the modern Can't Do spirit of American conservatives. Their rallying cry should really be closer to Why bother? than Don't Tread On Me. I say we strip conservatives of the elephant logo and replace it with an ostrich with its head in the sand.

Let's be honest, shall we? This isn't about electric cars. It's really only about politics, pure an simple. The Obama administration has placed a sizable bet on EVs: 1 million by 2015. Disparage EVs and you undermine the policies of the President. What Morrissey also fails to tell his readers is that this isn't just a parochial political issue; it is a global one with governments in Asia and Europe throwing their collective weight behind the very technology he ridicules. This isn't just about the Democratic Party versus the Republican Party in the United States, it's about global competitiveness. And it's about jobs and the very soul of capitalism, Mr. Morrissey. Maybe you should read Ben Gisin's How Electric Cars Are Saving Capitalism.

Why has the Obama Administration --- and Chinese, Koreans, Japanese and the Europeans -- gotten behind EVs? It's easy: they are four times more efficient than whatever alternative Mr. Morrissey seems to be pushing, and please note that he offers no alternative other than the status quo, apparently. They are not dependent on a single fuel source increasingly controlled by unstable foreign governments. They can be 'fueled' by any energy source that produces electricity, including such squeaky clean ones as wind, solar, hydro, geothermal, tidal, etc. And they are a pure joy to drive, otherwise why does anyone who drives one always come away from the experience with a smile across their face? But are they perfect? Of course not. Range can be an issue for some people. Price certainly is for many of us. And are people reluctant to invest in new technology? Sure they are. How long did it take for people to get comfortable with the first automobiles, which were very expensive by the standards of the day? 20 years minimum and arguably, at least 50 years.

Frankly, none of Morrisey's observations are new insights. We've talked about them for years here on EV World. Carmakers are aware of them. So are governments around the planet. I've read scores of white papers on all these issues. Yes, there are challenges with the introduction of EVs, just as there are with CNG and ethanol vehicles. We've had a century to build up expertise and drive down costs on oil-dependent ICE-age automobiles. That won't go away overnight, but the handwriting is on the wall and the people who really understand what's at stake -- which The Week apparently doesn't -- know that this is the direction we must go. We have no alternative for economic, national security and environmental reasons.

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