March 27, 2013What are the real issues of electric cars today? The answer is nothing different from any new technology. If you look at any everyday technological advancement like computers, cellphones and so on, what was once large in size and cost is now smaller and more affordable. The same is true with cars, but one difference to other technologies is that a car's fuel source has been owned by large industries that help support and run our country.
This fuel source ownership heavily influences our government to meet their interest – a big hurdle, but one that isn't insurmountable. The unique aspect of plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles that threaten the residual fuel economy is the need for electricity instead.
Electric vehicle battery technology is constantly improving and will eventually meet and exceed 100 percent of any driving desire or need. Plug-in hybrid cars are a great multi-year segue into accommodating infrastructure to support electric cars. The mentality that there is no better way than what we are doing now will not survive ingenuity, and will progress into eventually leaving those who don't grow behind. With a plug-in hybrid, you can recharge (refuel) at home or only when you want and not have limitations because the car is a hybrid with great fuel efficiency when not using an electric charge. You could drive within the electric range and seldom ever use petroleum fuel. No matter what you do, this will dramatically reduce the current demand for petroleum. And while this is happening, the same battery that only went 40 miles last year will now go 60 miles just one year later. That cycle will eventually be a number that doesn't limit someone's journey, just like anyone who needs a gas station today.
People are creatures of habit. If you look at where you drive on a daily and weekly basis, with few exceptions, there is a great deal of consistency. There is a point and range that will make sense for you if that point is not already currently available. I write this message from experience of driving a plug-in hybrid for the last year and a half. Also, I travel with a non-plug-in hybrid and I race petroleum fueled cars. My goal isn't environmental, though that is a great byproduct. My decision revolves around independence and financial logic.
I'm writing this as a Republican, embarrassed that the left wing is leading the charge in progress, which is the backbone of this country, without financial guidance. The only brainwashed response I hear from my voting group is that it is not viable and we should explore something else. I do not want to put the oil workers out of work, but the current situation is no different than the blacksmith or farrier who put horseshoes on horses when the car came along – that occupation evolved into being a mechanic. I also don't want to send friends and family members to the Middle East just so I can fill up my car. If Americans reduce our need for petroleum enough, we can service our own demand with our current supply.
The political decisions based around petroleum and our country's need for fuel is unhealthy. As an individual, I can create my own fuel for my plug-in hybrid through solar technology at my house, which I do, and I can also use solar energy to offset my electricity usage from the power company. Comparing the cost of petroleum against the cost of my solar system (without any incentives) gives me a 2.5 year payback. At that point, my plug-in hybrid's fuel source is free. As you can see, solar power has the potential to be a disruptive technology, and this can be a problem for our country's residual revenue with respect to political special interests. However, it may not be as bad as it seems once things evolve.
Like many others in America, you may wait for the answers, but I already have mine. I know that renewable energy and electric cars can help create a better America for ourselves and for future generations.
President and CEO of Alpharetta-based Solar Energy USA and President and CEO of Net Zero USA