By Miranda Lightstone-Styker
In celebration of Earth Day …
Alright, so enough with the hype already — give me all-electric vehicles all the time, or shut up about it. Really.
Nissan opened up the electrical lines, so to speak, on their brand new LEAF electric vehicle on Monday. Eager LEAF enthusiasts and future buyers were able to register online to be in line to purchase a brand new LEAF come summer of 2011. It kind of reminded me of lineups outside Chapters for Harry Potter book releases at midnight.
MINI released pre-production test vehicles of its MINI E about a year ago to a select few (600) drivers in the US, UK and Germany. And the Volt has been driven in CA for about 10 months now, but only a very select few are on the road right now as they are still working stuff out.
Tesla seems to be the only ones who know what do to when it comes to all-electric vehicles. Since 2003 they have dedicated themselves to making phenomenal EVs that not only run zero emissions but are also fun to drive and last on one charge.
And this is why I find it so hard to believe that a company like GM has spent the past 3 (is it 3 now?) years dicking around with a car like the Volt, and why companies like Porsche and Lambo have waited this long to produce hybrid/electric vehicles.
The technology is there! And maybe I’m just being bitchy (it is, after all, early on a Thursday morning and I’ve only had one cup of tea), but if there’s such a need for these types of vehicles (and there seems to be) then why aren’t manufacturers pursuing the creation of cars like the Tesla more intently?
Obviously, Tesla’s cars aren’t exactly affordable, but that’s because they are so unique and different in their genre. If everyone could produce electric vehicles that jump from 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds then wouldn’t the market be a bit more saturated and you could pick yourself up a Tesla S for $25,000 or maybe a BMW M3 EV for $40,000? And again, maybe I’m just dreaming, but it seems feasible.
Designing, engineering and building EVs takes more time, energy and money. Which, in the end, means a higher price tag on these planet-saving vehicles. So, in the end are they really the better choice for us motorists?
True, we aren’t paying for gas and most countries are now offering federal tax cuts on “green” vehicles, but in the end are we saving more? And do we know the long-term drivability on these vehicles? No. So we know what the lithium-ion battery packs will look like 10-15 years down the road? No. Do we know, roughly how long the batteries are supposed to last? They say yes, but it hasn’t been truly tested because EVs haven’t been around long enough to test.
Just like early adopters of the badly named iPad, problems will be found and first-time buyers are going to regret their hasty decisions.
But what gets me is that there shouldn’t be early adopters to this genre of vehicle anymore! Come on! We’ve had years to develop this technology and, as I said before, if Tesla can do it then why the hell can’t anyone else? A whole seven years after Tesla was first born in CA, major companies with oodles of funding and backings are just now starting to emerge with viable EV models that could change the face of all vehicles as we know them today.
I’m all for the advancement of EVs on the market, as long as they’re good EVs. I’m not about to get into a car that drives like a golf cart just to keep the air a bit less toxic (sorry Mother Earth). Nissan, Mits, BMW, Chrylsler, Mercedes-Benz; they’re all riding on the right electrical current, they just have to make sure they stick it in the right plug.