Most people have no direct experience with electric cars – and neither do I.
Well, not officially.
The difference is, I should have it – because unlike 99.9 percent of the population, I am a car journalist. The car companies send me new cars every week to test drive and evaluate.
It’s been my full-time job for more than 25 years.
But I don’t get electric cars.
And not just me. Other car journalists don’t get them, either. And that ought to serve as a kind of 9 volt canary in the coal mine about electric cars. Amazon.com Gift Card i... Best Price: null Buy New $50.00 (as of 01:10 EST - Details)
Why don’t some of us get them?
It’s not because we don’t want them. “Want” in the sense of professional obligation. I’ve been accused of not liking electric cars – which is true. I also do not like minivans and most “crossovers,” either. But I want to drive them in order to write about them because I know there are lots of people out there who are interested in them.
My personal affection or lack thereof is as professionally immaterial as a doctor’s liking or disliking of his patient.
I want to get electric cars for the same reason I want to get any other car: To get seat time and real-world experience, in order to convey useful information to the people who read my stuff, which is how I make a living. And that is important to me.
But I don’t get electric cars – for two reasons.
The first reason is that I live too far away. My place is up in the Blue Ridge Mountains, in the far southside of rural SW Virginia. The press pool for this part of the country is located in the DC area, which is about 220 miles one way.
This is too far for electric cars. Amazon.com $50 Gift Ca... Best Price: null Buy New $50.00 (as of 11:05 EST - Details)
They run out of juice before they get here. Which means they have to be flat-bedded here – and that gets into money as well as hassle. It also begs the same question the little boy posed to the emperor about his new clothes… .
Any other car can easily make a 220 mile trip without being at least temporarily crippled by it.
They have been making the trip, regularly, each week – for the past 15 years that I’ve lived where I now live. The distance has never been an issue because it isn’t one – for non-electric cars.
Even if there is a wreck on I-81 (which is the major stretch of Interstate between DC and here) and the trip becomes a six-hour-long slog in stop-and-go traffic, it’s not a problem. The driver can blast the AC – or the heat – to keep comfortable and if he has to pit to refuel, it’s a five minute stop.
It takes longer to get and pay for a cup of coffee than it takes to fill up the tank.