Cheryl Jensen's article ("Electric cars: Are we there yet?" April 19) paints a good picture of the electric car revolution, but unfortunately, like most other reviewers, she is looking through oil-soaked glasses. Many of the article's comparisons seem to make sense, but are skewed from the gas car legacy perspective. Comparing an electric vehicle (EV) to a gas car is often an apples to oranges proposition.
For example, the JD Power and Associates spokesman laments that there are only 1,000 public charging stations compared to 160,000 gas stations across the country. This overlooks that there are in fact over 69 million single family homes with built-in overnight charging stations (any 115V outlet will do) and those people who use their electric car for commuting need never look for a public charging station (and never again a gas station). That's over 60 percent of all Americans. People with range anxiety and who want to drive across country should simply not be looking for an EV for that task.
Currently, there are only four EVs on the market compared to over 400 makes and models of gas cars. Trying to cram the broad spectrum of all wants, desires and needs into those four models is ridiculous. An EV should be chosen based on how it meets an individual's particular needs, not an amalgam of everyone's needs all rolled into one. There is no such thing as the ideal average car — that's why there are 400 to choose from.
The article also refers to the Consumer Reports survey lamenting that 66 percent of people polled are concerned over the high cost of the EV. Yet of the 400 different makes and models of gas cars on the market today, fully one-third cost more than the $41,000 Volt. So clearly, the cost of a car is not a show-stopper for one-third of buyers.
Another 60 percent or so of the respondents were concerned about charging infrastructure and range anxiety. Well, clearly those are people who should not own an EV! But the other 40 percent (140 million people) seem to be OK with choosing an EV for what it does best (commuting trips that allow overnight charging at home).
Such attempts at comparing a specific EV to the broad range of motorist desires are very misleading. Consider, for example, Chevrolet and what would happen if carmaker surveyed Americans asking, who wants a Chevy? Well, 88 percent would say they'd rather buy something else. Does that make a Chevy deficient? No. The 12 percent who want one get exactly what they want.
Since Chevy makes at least a dozen different models, you can likely say that for any make and model car, fully 99 percent of Americans will want something else. Yet, Chevy sells more than practically everyone else.
Driving all over the countryside is not the optimum economical design goal of most EVs. Yet there is plenty of market for EVs for commuters without any need for the expensive public chargers already oversold by the media to the gullible with range anxiety.
Drive an electric vehicle to and from work and then plug it in overnight and never visit a gas station or "public charger" again. Sounds pretty good to me.
Bob Bruninga, Glen BurnieCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun