View On Energy

Travel is Changing Across America

by Laurel Beesley


Check your gas gauge, sigh, anticipate the high cost of travel, and take off on your trip–or not. Road travel is expensive, grim, with the cost of gas in America today.

But that isn’t necessarily so. The era of the electric car has arrived, making going without gas the way to go! Hundreds of thousands of hybrid and electric vehicle owners are committing to smart travel.  They are responsibly protecting the environment while drastically reducing their personal travel costs. How can this not be smart?

Successful auto manufacturer, Volvo says that by 2020 every car coming off their line will be an EV, as in Electric Vehicle. The upcoming Tesla-3, the first Tesla EV offered in the affordable cost range of $30,000, already has a pre-buy backlog of 400,000. Half a million EVs will soon be joining the already considerable population of previous Tesla car owners as well as the swelling population of other EVs  offered by competing car manufacturers.

This ocean of change acknowledges that times are changing, and with that, our awareness of how fragile our life-supporting environment is. The footprint of extensive car travel has grown, as Americans continue to travel by car, and eager global visitors rent vehicles as well. Like it or not, every time you drive a gas-operated vehicle, you contribute to the bad side of an increasingly fragile environmental scale of justice. If you dare consider this reality go to:

Visit www.myclimate.org, and click on footprint to calculate the carbon footprint you are leaving behind.

chevy_bolt_1Let’s go back to the 1920’s when the automobile market was new and Henry Ford was changing the history of American transportation. From the beginning, Ford foresaw the shortcomings of gasoline-operated engines and attempted to drive new investors into an acceptance of alternative energy sources. At the time, he enthusiastically embraced crop-based alcohol fuel, what would later be known as gasohol. Later in our history, with a world oil glut and rock bottom fuel prices, the gasohol movement came to an end. And now? A constant oil war dealing with unstable global partners has aggravated the situation, and infinite amounts of petroleum are not always readily available, so costs sky rocket. Wars are fought over oil and the globe shudders with the exploitation of its increasingly precious resources. Is it not time to embrace a cleaner and cheaper alternative?

Let’s do an Electric Cars 101, plugging into the reality of EVs.

They are increasingly common. A couple of dozen plugin vehicles are already on the market, with about 70 models expected to be available within the next five years. Battery electric vehicles run exclusively on electricity, and plugin hybrid vehicles run on electricity for a limited distance before switching to gas/electric hybrid mode. Major manufacturers are in the game, from Fiat, Volvo, and Mitsubishi to Chevrolet, Ford, and Volkswagen.

No one wants to be left out when the win-win is so obvious. Subcompact, hatchback, sedan, luxury, SUVs, and minivans are all Hybrid/EV available. Subaru intends to introduce a new plugin hybrid next year, and on it goes.

After the 2006 documentary film, Who Killed the Electric Car? the global market has drastically changed, and needs to reintroduce sensible options.

Now let’s drill down on the specifics of why you should buy an EV. EVs use far less energy than gasoline-powered cars, generally cost about a third as much to run, and have lower maintenance costs. Charging at home is convenient.

Running on electricity in most parts of the country costs less than using gasoline (compare how much you’d save in your state using the Department of Energy’s eGallon tool at https://energy.gov/articles/egallon-how-much-cheaper-it-drive-electricity).

Worried about the cost of purchase? Base prices range from $21,750 for a Smart Electric Drive to more than $125,000 for a high-performance Tesla Model S. But electric cars are eligible for both federal, and often state and city tax credits. Look beyond the sticker price and realize your actual cost of purchase against long-term savings. How convincing does this sound? Most pure EVs have a seventy-five to one hundred-mile range. The next generation EVs can go a lot further, more than two hundred miles.

Hotels, motels and even smaller -green- lodging accommodations are bringing in EV charging ports to assist their guests and the travelers from EV Travel Planning Sites.

How difficult will it be to find charging ports as you travel? Plug-in hybrids have a range of four hundred to five hundred miles, so driving an EV requires planning. That challenge; however, is rapidly diminishing. Given the proven advance sales success of its new Tesla-3, Tesla is aggressively encouraging the development of chargers along many popular travel routes. These destination chargers will relieve range anxiety in drivers.

The Blanding Visitor’s Center, in Blanding Utah, realized how important it would be to help visitors enjoy their base camp to adventure while traveling responsibly, and put in four super charger ports. “It’s meant a lot to us,” said a Visitor Center staffer. “We are seeing many more visitors now; people really eager to enjoy the environment in their great environmental vehicles.”

Cliff Dwellers Lodge at Lees Ferry in Marble Canyon, Arizona is operated by the Greene family. They are installing EV ports. EV Super Ports can be found at a few hotels in the Page, Arizona area as well.

Although View On Magazine supports the use of EVs, the views expressed in this article are the personal views of the writer.

 

 

 

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