Recently my wife and I participated in an Earth Day event. We parked our Tesla Model Y at the fairgrounds and talked to people about electric cars. They had a lot of questions, most of them about batteries. How long do they last? What if they catch fire? How expensive are they to replace? The other popular questions were about range and charging. It wasn’t quite as much fun as spending the day at a beach with a good book, but it was our way of helping to move the EV revolution along as best as we could as individuals.
Today, while searching for topics to write about for CleanTechnicaI came across a post on the reddit EV forum with the simple title Why Have You Gone Electric? I was about to skip over it, but then I noticed it had gotten 225 responses. So I clicked through to see what all those people had to say. Instead of the people I talked with last week who had yet to take the EV plunge, these were folks who were already driving electric and talking about the factors that motivated them to ditch molecules for electrons.
Assuming most readers won’t have time to wade through 225 comments, I decided to do the work for you and highlight some of the best ones. All of us who drive electric cars are ambassadors for a new technology that many of our friends and neighbors consider avant garde. We are like our forebears who tried to explain to their neighbors why they switched from horses to automobiles.
The first comment in the thread was one of the best and set the tone for what was to follow:
- Cost (TCO of an EV is far cheaper than an equivalent ICE car)
- Convenience (I got fed up with having services appointments, having to go to gas stations, caring about consumables like oil, brakes, filters, …)
- Environmental concerns (we need to get off fossil fuels)
- General engineering (it makes no sense to me to apply a method that only uses 25% or less of provided energy for the intended purpose)
Those are four pretty good reasons to make the switch, especially the last one. With the world overheating thanks in large part to burning fossil fuels, how do we justify extracting oil, shipping it long distances to refineries, trucking it to gas stations, and then wasting three-quarters of it? That’s an argument that certainly resonates with me and once you explain it to others, often you can see that little light in their eyes that says they just learned something new. The first response to that initial comment just confirmed the message.
“Yep I agree, it’s funny to think for the last hundred years we’ve relied on such a convoluted machine that is shockingly inefficient with multiple points of failure and fatigue for personal transport and now we have a simple (mechanically) machine that is very efficient.”
Here are a few more comments for your enjoyment:
“Going green is nice and all, but they are just straight up superior vehicles in almost every way. It costs me less money to operate. It has better performance and a smoother ride.”
“Absolutely. My wife thought that there was something wrong with her car when we took it in a trip recently because it seemed really rough. When it turned out to be fine, she said ‘Huh. Guess I’m just used to riding in your car’.”
‘I’d say going green was important to me but to be honest, it’s also because of car performance. I like the smooth quiet yet fast drive of electric cars. They have to be better than ice cars in order for people to switch to them and I think they’re succeeding with that.”
“I never would have even looked at such an expensive car if I didn’t think the environmental aspect was important. But like you say, once I drove one it was also just so much better than any other car I had owned, I knew it was the way to go.”
Some comments addressed the higher cost of electric cars versus conventional cars. Here are two:
“My primary reason was environmental concerns. I have young children and felt compelled to do something in hopes it would benefit them and their children someday. I know changing my vehicles to electric won’t better the world alone, but I’m doing my part. I hope others at least attempt to combat climate change and environmental concerns. But, EVs will need to get a bit cheaper to purchase for everyone to get involved.”
“Somehow, the fumes from our Subaru Forester would always blow back when we got in while it was running (a necessity during Texas summer), so it was a helluva kick when my daughter ran into school and told the first person she saw, ‘ My dad got an electric car! It doesn’t use gas, it goes really fast, and it doesn’t stink!’ I’ve also been keeping track of the costs, and, so far, we’re saving an average of $100 a month on fuel — especially lately. So that helps mitigate the extra costs. I agree that EVs will need to come down in price before they can be widely adopted, but, from what I’ve read, recycling old battery packs can not only help that, it will also significantly reduce the initial environmental impact of building a new EV.”
Here’s another good reason to drive electric cars:
“One reason that many people don’t think of? National security. Don’t buy oil from tyrants and dictators. That being said, I bought a Chevy Volt gen 2 a few years ago. I became annoyed with oil changes, a limited range on battery, and was constantly trying to extend the range I drive in electric. So moving to a Bolt worked for me.”
And finally, there’s this:
“We are protected from the gross aspects of an ICE engine in a nice climate controlled interior, but what’s coming out the back is just… Gross. Gas stations are just… Gross. The oil industry is just… Gross. And its really only a niche of people who cling to the romance of gas engines these days.
“But then you also have the fact that electric cars are just… Better. Tesla proved that first and it has been fun to watch the traditional ICE behemoths slowly wake up. I genuinely don’t think they’d be doing so just to save the environment, it’s because somebody came along and made a better, more desirable product. And then just all the annoying stuff about owning an ICE vehicle — maintenance, gas stations, oil changes, etc.
“And finally, I just wanted to make the leap. I live in a part of the country where a lot of people think climate change is a hoax. So I think the more EVs on the road here the better, because the sooner they seem normal, the sooner more people will make the switch.”
Is “virtue signaling” a good reason to drive electric cars? Yeah, it is. As are lower emissions, greater efficiency, better performance, quieter driving, and freedom from constant maintenance. You can probably think of others yourself. If you are an apostle for electric cars, good for you. Walking the walk and talking the talk? It doesn’t get any better than that.
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