Mr. Lane assumed that because a lot of electricity is generated by fossil fuels there are no greenhouse-gas savings. Just extracting, transporting and refining gasoline take as much energy per mile as an electric vehicle uses. The rapid growth of green energy makes electric vehicles even more attractive.
My electric cars are inexpensive, convenient and fun to drive. I plug in a couple times a week at home, never stopping for gas. There’s practically no maintenance. My all-electric Volt has no gas engine, no exhaust system and no radiator, and almost all braking is regenerative. If I paid for all my electricity, it would cost me about $2 per 100 miles. Because solar panels generate 80 percent of my electricity, my cost is less than 50 cents per 100 miles.
Marc Segre, Raleigh, N.C.
In his column against electric vehicles, Charles Lane discounted the advances in electric cars and battery technology over the past decade as “wishful thinking, political rhetoric and sheer commercial hype.” In fact, the cost of the most expensive part of an electric car, the battery, has gone down by more than 60 percent during that time, and batteries will be capable of running for a million miles within the next few years, if not months.
Imagine if a gas-powered car never needed an oil change and could run on fuel that was half the price of gas. Well, electric cars do that, and automobile dealers associations across the country are scared to death about it. They lobby state governments and use antiquated franchising laws to prevent Tesla from building stores and service centers.
François Lalonde, Reston
Since Charles Lane wrote his first critique of electric vehicles about 10 years ago, there has been a paradigm shift, with Tesla leading the charge. Production numbers for the Model 3 are actually about double those quoted in the article, and it appears that not just Beemer owners but also owners of Civics and their ilk are switching. Electric vehicles are now mainstream, and Mr. Lane appears stuck in the slow lane.
If you live in Maryland (or several other states), you can buy domestic electricity from renewable sources, which defuses his claim that there is little “climate benefit.” Running and maintenance costs are a quarter or less of those of fossil-fuel-powered cars, which does make the overall total cost equivalent.
The main reason the piece was depressing: Mr. Lane apparently hasn’t gotten the message that the world has moved from climate change to climate crisis, and, because he is an influencer, we need him to help in every way to accelerate us toward a fossil-fuel-free future.
Eric James, Darnestown