Electric cars for everyone—someday

By Lucien Crowder, August 3, 2018

Ken Kimmell, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), is very glad he decided in February to lease an electric vehicle.

February… that’s just about the time that my wife and I considered buying an electric car—and balked.

Why did Kimmell and the Crowders reach opposite decisions? Well, they did so for reasons that Kimmell elucidates very nicely in a blog post titled “My no-regrets, enthusiastic transition to driving an EV.”

First, Kimmell. “As UCS’s president,” Kimmell writes, “I was obviously very motivated to drive an electric car.” That’s crucial. He could swing the expense—also crucial. He had the leisure and the savvy to perform the necessary research. He also … this is very mundane … had a garage.

Result? Kimmell leased himself an all-electric Chevy Bolt EV—and, for four main reasons, he loves it:

  • It is really fun to drive
  • It is more, not less, convenient than a gasoline-powered car
  • It is more affordable than you think
  • It feels really good not to cause unnecessary pollution

Sounds awesome. But electric vehicles aren’t yet for everyone, as Kimmell discusses in the second half of his blog post. Which brings us to…

The Crowders.

For us, affordability was something of a stumbling block. We could afford a used electric vehicle as a second car, but affordability tended to go hand in hand with an 80-mile range—fine for extended errand-running, but not much else.

The real stumbling block would have been charging our new used car. That’s because we live in a rented house without a garage, which means that charging the car would have required—well, the details are boring. But in short, we were looking at considerable trouble and expense, which doubly gave us pause because we suspected we might soon move to a different house. As indeed we are doing tomorrow.

Kimmell argues that, for electric vehicles to achieve greater market penetration, progress is needed in three key areas: affordability; practicality; and one-stop shopping.

The Crowders regretfully concur.


Publication Name: Union of Concerned Scientists
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