December, 2023, Boston Globe columnist, Scot Lehigh wrote an article about his experience with an EV in Norway. Not sure you will be able to read this, but here is a link to the article entitled Norwegian Cold. He asked readers to weigh in with their thoughts. Here is what I sent him.
Thanks for your article, which was pretty balanced. Cold is definitely a weak spot for EVs. Knowing that, you just have to plan. Over the course of a whole year, I have averaged 3.7 miles per kWh with my Chevy Bolt. There was one time I almost got in trouble when going out to Western Massachusetts to cross-country ski. The owner of the B&B we stayed at said she had a charger. I assumed it was a Level II, but all she had was a regular 110-Volt outdoor outlet. When it is -13 degrees outside that is not very helpful! By the way, many of the mobile chargers that all EVs come with can have a 220-Volt adapter, so all you need is a 220- Volt outlet (for like an electric clothes dryer) to get a good charge.
Articles on EVs continue to go around and around on their readiness for prime time. Emissions aside, when you compare gasoline burning cars to EVs across all variables, EVs are already as good or better. I know because I have owned two EVs over the last 4 years and have driven 60K miles. I would never go back to an ICE (internal combustion engine), even if you paid me. Hands down the cost and ease of operation of EVs win. EVs can and will get better and better in terms of quality, efficiency, ease of use, and expense, but ICEs will never ever become zero emissions. Also, EVs shouldn’t have to be better than gasoline burning cars in every way possible.
When you take into account emissions, gasoline burning cars lose bigtime and should be abandoned as quickly as possible. Most of us believe that burning fossil fuels is a major contributor to climate change. Each person has a carbon footprint that they own, which contributes substantially to planet warming gases. If a person cared and wanted to reduce their carbon footprint, the easiest and most impactful way would be to not drive a car that burns gasoline. Each gallon combusted produces approximately 20 pounds of CO2. That should be a good enough reason to stop driving ICEs without even taking into account the other unhealthy pollutants that combustion produces.
How have we become so inured to something that has such negative side effects? Think about the life cycle of gasoline. It causes harm to the environment all along its path. Oil exploration and extraction (aka drilling) damage the land. You wouldn’t want drilling in your back yard, whereas producing the fuel (electricity) for EVs on your roof is a good thing. The oil has to be refined and the resulting gasoline transported, stored underground, and finally pumped into your tank. Energy is expended along the way and the danger of spills, leaks, and explosions is ever present. Then when the gasoline is burned it produces nothing but harmful byproducts. The oil is gone for good. We all know this fuel is not sustainable. Oil will run out, but most think that is too far in the future to worry about. But is it? Whereas when an EV battery is depleted, its raw materials are not gone and can potentially be recycled.
Scot, I liked the way you said that if you have two cars at least one could be an EV. I say that if you have two cars both should be EVs, but one should be a Tesla, because of its extensive supercharging network. Most of the qualms about lack of charging infrastructure really don’t pertain to Teslas. I drove my Y to Saint Petersburg in Florida from the Boston area with no problem and the cost for electricity was only 9 cents per mile. If someone thinks they have to have a car with a range of over 500 miles that can be driven nonstop, then they could rent one for the once in a blue-moon chance that they would actually need it.
As you mentioned, there has been news lately about EV sales slowing down. The implication seems to be that we should not be as eager to get an EV. I’d say more inventory gives the buyer the advantage. I don’t think this slowdown (if real) should in any way diminish the inevitable transition to EVs. The first wave of EV owners like me were pioneers that were willing to take a risk because of the overwhelming benefit of emissions reduction. Turned out, the risk wasn’t real, but the benefit of not spewing 20 pounds of CO2, as well as unhealthy fine particulates, for every gallon burned is real. The folks who are still on the fence and making excuses for not replacing their ICE with an EV are either scaredy-cats, climate deniers, or don’t care enough to take the single most effective and easiest action to reduce their carbon footprint and thus minimize their contribution to the climate crisis.
I am exasperated by the diehard climate activists, who strongly advocate for reducing emissions by electrifying our homes and transportation, but still don’t have an EV. The most common excuse I hear is that they don’t like to waste and want to run their car into the ground. Unlike replacing gas furnaces, which are not near end-of-life, you don’t have to incur loss. You can trade in an old gasoline burning car. Better do it soon before they lose value. Others are hung up on brand loyalty. If you want to do something about climate change, but love the emission-spewing car you drive, keep asking your dealers when they are going to come out with an EV version of your favorite model!