Txchnologist: Why Are Electric Car Demonstrations So Boring? Page 2

Camp Jeep Outdoor Off Roading Ride Along at New York Auto Show [Matthew Van Dusen/Txchnologist]

Camp Jeep Outdoor Off Roading Ride Along at New York Auto Show [Matthew Van Dusen/Txchnologist]

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What problems should we be solving? Well, for starters, gas is expensive, dangerous to procure and China is going to steadily outbid us for it in the coming decades. So, we should improve our fleet fuel economy to 50-150 mpg.

Also, our vehicles spew too many greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, so our cars should be cleaner. Truth be told, we already have solutions – imperfect ones, but solutions all the same – to these problems. They’re called electric vehicles.

The real problem is that they’ve been shunted to the corner of sub-basement B, or, rather, automakers have put them there. Why aren’t electric cars out having nearly silent drag races on 11th Avenue? Why doesn’t GM create a demonstration Volt that can tackle a nearly vertical incline?

It doesn’t matter if this rugged Volt would cost $250,000 to make and a regular Volt could never do that.

I can’t stress this enough: Nobody drives like that.

Electric cars need swagger. Right now, they have none.

“America Hates Electric Cars," Joel Johnson proclaimed last January in Jalopnik, the official blog of America’s automotive id. I’m not going to disagree, even though some of the technical arguments were pretty specious.

You know what America loves? Awesomeness.

And awesomeness is an equal opportunity sport – as open to Nissan Leafs as it is to Jeep Wranglers.

Somehow, that message got lost on the way to the EV Pavilion.

Matthew Van Dusen is the editor in chief of Txchnologist. he was a reporter for ten years at newspapers in Wyoming, Indiana and New Jersey, where he covered health care, the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina in Mississippi and government corruption. He is the former co-editor of Green Energy Reporter.

This article, written by Matthew Van Dusen, was repurposed with permission from Txchnologist.com, an online magazine presented by General Electric. High Gear Media's editors have edited the article to conform to this site's standard formats.


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Comments (4)
  1. Wow, I was so confused by the Voelcker by-line versus the content of the article. Now that I realize that Voelcker didn't actually write this piece, my view of the natural world order is restored. But anyway...

    Excellent article and very well put. The best line is:
    "when did we get so good at solving problems that no one actually has?"
    You said it brother. We have actual problems to solve and the vertical hill climb is not one of them.

    Great article.

  2. @John: Ha, thanks for the reminder. Just switched the byline to "High Gear Media" staff, which is normally what we use when we pick up a Txchnologist piece. Sorry for the cognitive dissonance.

    (OTOH, see the one I *did* write on the 2010 Detroit Show 'Electric Avenue' catastrophe ... linked inside this piece.)

  3. Well, I'll have to go back and read the linked article.

    But thanks for bringing the Txchnologist article to GCR, it is excellent. Actually there are a lot of great articles on GCR today. Thanks.

  4. Actually, rereading the 2010 Detroit Show piece is very illuminating. It shows how far the EV industry has come. The NEV image problem is hardly even discussed anymore now that the LEAF and VOLT are shipping in serious numbers and other real EVs are on the way.

    2010 was a time where there was still some uncertainty about whether or not the LEAF and Volt would ship, and now we have a new conversation about whether or not they have shipped enough to be considered a failure or not.

    The debate has shifted from will the EVs work, to how will the EV adoption rate compare to hybrids, better; worse?

    Yes, the article reveals significant progress has been made since 2010.

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