Lynn Wright | A Counterpoint on Electric Vehicles

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

After reading Phyllis McKenna’s attack on electric vehicle technology (letters, Oct. 13), I felt compelled to offer a rebuttal. Unlike her letter, this one is not based on talking points provided by Big Oil.

The first is that somehow electric vehicles actually cause more pollution than their gasoline cousins. This notion is laughable but the (conservative) press keeps making this claim, using some variation that electricity comes from coal, coal is dirty and therefore to power the car requires this “dirty” source. Approximately 0.15% of California’s generated electricity comes from coal. To use the coal sourcing card as an argument is as ridiculous as it sounds. 

Furthermore, the dirty little secret about fossil fuel plants is that they pretty much have to run 24/7 due to inefficiencies, so charging your vehicle at night is actually beneficial in that it captures (uses) electricity that would otherwise be lost to dissipation.

Ms. McKenna laments “charging time” and its impact on commerce. She worries especially about electric trucks and the ports in Los Angeles/Long Beach. Evidently she has not kept abreast on supercharging. I recently made a trip to San Jose in my electric vehicle, making one stop of approximately 20 minutes each way. In the time it took me to eat a snack and use the restroom, my vehicle was fully charged. I realize if you spend your time watching news programs hostile to electric vehicles you would not know this, but rest assured, charging times and infrastructure are making dramatic leaps, well ahead of any 2035 mandate. And the amount of filth and air pollution caused by idling diesel trucks is a documented health hazard. 

Likewise, Ms. McKenna’s information about rare earth metals is both dated and untrue. She laments that so much of the technology to make lithium ion batteries comes from undemocratic countries, or ones with lax environmental laws, yet lithium ion is already being phased out as newer technologies such as solid state, graphene aluminum ion, carbon nanotube, cobalt-free and silicon anode lithium batteries are being developed, and will pack more power and less charging time. Indeed, IBM is developing battery technology that will do all this and use no heavy metals.

And the United States is poised to reap the technological and economic benefits of this new and emerging technology. The only real impediment to the U.S. being the world leader are the conservative luddites who have somehow convinced themselves electric vehicles are a political issue and therefore must be opposed for the good of what, Donald Trump?

Ms. McKenna claims no one wants an electric vehicle. In truth, electric vehicles require far less maintenance and have virtually no moving parts to wear out. In approximately a decade we have gone from cars that could barely go 70 miles on a charge, to vehicles that can now get 400, even 500 miles on a single charge. The rapidity in which costs have decreased, and range has increased, is staggering. Combined with solar panels, electric vehicles are virtually free to operate. 

Case in point: I own three electric vehicles and in the month of August my electric bill was $29. We can either reap the benefits of this technology, or we can buy it from China. As a patriot, I would much rather see the benefits accrue to my country. I wish conservatives felt the same way.

Lynn Wright


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