Electric vehicles are a sales flop and a dismal failure. Or so I was told this week—and last week and the week before—by respected newspapers.
The “sales flop” part surprised me, since I am one of thousands of people waiting in line to buy my electric vehicle. I made my reservation for the car in April 2010, and am hoping for delivery by April 2012. If a car has a two-year wait list, is it a sales flop? Nevermind.
The latest article’s author, like the others, conveniently left out the part about the long waiting list. And he left out a few other things as well. Maybe these folks are just too busy to check their facts. Or, maybe something else is going on.
Whatever the reason, the media often has an irrational disdain for electric vehicles (EVs). And a similar disdain is common among the general population too. The same EV-hating arguments are repeated ad nauseum in the media. After analyzing the key arguments of the EV haters, I have compiled what I believe is the first-ever EV-Hater's Guide to Hating Electric Cars. If you really hate EVs—and you know who you are—then this Top 10 guide is especially for you.
First, commit these truthy facts to memory:
1. EVs are totally overpriced.
Point to the $109,000 Tesla Roadster supercar as your only example. If you’re forced to compare prices with a Nissan LEAF—in the mid- to high-20s after tax breaks—then perform a lengthy comparative cost analysis contrasting the LEAF to a $12,000 gasoline car to prove that the EV is more expensive.
2. Plugging them in will crash the grid.
Forget that most electric car charging will occur during off-peak times. And forget that the EV charger on the Nissan LEAF draws a modest 3.3 kilowatts. Just for fun, make the grid-crashing claim while your 4.4-kilowatt clothes dryer is running.
3. EVs are worse for the environment than a gasoline car.
It’s not true, but if you say that often enough, people will believe it. Then roll your eyes and point out that producing electricity for an EV emits pollution too. And what about those batteries? Imply that they’re made out of poison that will pile up in our landfills. Depending on who your audience is, you might also mention that carbon dioxide is a fictional gas invented by the liberal elite.
4. EVs are just a status symbol for eco-snobs.
Remember, the EV is always a symbol for something that you hate. It's not a car.
5. EVs are a sales flop.
Never mention the huge unmet demand and the production bottleneck. Never mention the long waiting lists. Small sales numbers in the first few months of introduction prove that no one wants to buy one. Period.
6. Shout it: Limited range!
This is the one gripe about electric cars that is actually true, so get all the mileage out of it you can. Associate limited range with the word “anxiety.” Say it again: “Anxiety.” See how delightfully negative that word makes you feel. And if an EV-lover mentions that gasoline cars can run out of fuel too, just look at them like they’re crazy, and then change the subject.
Now, swear (on a stack of Hummer owner manuals) that you’ll never talk about these things:
7. NEVER mention fuel costs.
Just don’t go there. A typical gasoline car will burn about $20,000 worth of gasoline over it’s 128,500 mile lifetime, while an EV will run the same distance for less than $4,000 of electricity. If people start mentally adding that extra $16,000 to the cost of their gasoline car, it’s game over.
8. Never mention timing belts.
I just spent $1,500 getting one replaced in my gasoline car. Of course, an EV owner will never have to do that. Similarly, oil changes and other costly maintenance are a non-issue with an EV. Keep that quiet, okay?
9. Never mention the luxury ride quality.
People spend tens of thousands of dollars extra for gasoline cars that have a smooth and quiet ride. An even smoother and quieter ride is standard with an EV. Avoid mentioning that, and remember to mutter something about golf carts.
10. Never mention the future.
The cost of an EV will go down by thousands in the years ahead as production costs fall—especially the cost of the battery. Along with the cheaper price will come longer range, faster recharging, more choice, better performance, and other improvements. EVs are price-competitive already. In a few years, EVs will be a distinctly better value than gasoline cars. Shhh. Just keep saying that they’re too expensive.
There you have it, EV haters. Please don’t bother to take an electric car out for a spin to see for yourself, or to ask an EV owner about the real-world experience of driving an electric car.
Add more reasons why EVs suck in the comments below. And spread the word.
About Steve Harvey: I live in St. Louis, where I work as a physician. When not thinking about electric cars, I like to read about paleontology and tend to my trilobite collection. My father and grandfather both worked in the oil industry, so I grew up thinking about oil, and was always aware that oil is coming to an end. I am currently waiting for an electric car to replace my gasoline-powered car. As a Missourian, this will be a long wait.