Electric Cars Suck Less Than People Think
Popular Science is keeping the recent surge of stories on electric vehicles going with “8 Things You Should Know About Electric Cars.”
Even those of us who’ve only been paying attention out of the corner of our eye know the first two: electric cars are more expensive to buy than their gas counterparts but they’re cheaper to operate. The third–”Some plug-in cars have engines as well; some don’t”–is of little interest to most consumers. The next two, though, dispel some longstanding concerns:
4. Electric cars are much nicer to drive than you think.
We’re pretty much past the, “Oh, they’re all golf carts” stage. But a lot of drivers don’t (yet) know that electric cars are very quiet (no engine or transmission noises when running on battery power), as well as surprisingly torquey.
Their motors produce maximum output from 0 rpm, so acceleration away from a stop is strong and smooth. Drivers like that.
And the fact that electric cars are a nicer driving experience may be their secret weapon once they arrive in volume.
5. Range anxiety abates.
It’s entirely normal for drivers to worry as they see the number of available miles on a battery electric car ticking down toward zero.
But as experienced electric-car owners will tell you, in general you drive fewer miles each day than you think—and over time, you get comfortable that a fully charged electric car really can deliver that number of miles, reliably, over and over and over.
In terms of my daily commute or even a trip to the mall, any of the electrics out there now already meet my needs. None of them yet make the grade for long road trips, which I expect will be a more common part of my life as the girls get older, particularly given the rising cost of airfare. But, by the time I’m in the market to replace my daily commuter (a 2008 BMW 328i convertible) that problem will likely be solved through a combination of improved battery technology and charging infrastructure. And, for that matter, I’ve got a 2010 Toyota minivan that will likely last me another decade since I essentially use it only for longer trips.
Especially if fuel prices remain above $4 a gallon, I could certainly see myself in something like the Tesla Model S in a few years. By that point, prices will be more reasonable. And, I hope, they’ll have a convertible that seats five. And assuming robots haven’t taken over the driving by then.