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Energizing the electric car

Want instant acceleration, a smooth ride, and plenty of zip in your car? Go electric.

Why don’t we hear that more?

Why don’t car companies appeal to our patriotism by emphasizing the independence from foreign oil that comes with a plug?

Texas cut back drastically on littering with their “Don’t Mess With Texas” campaign because it struck a chord with macho, patriotic young men. They used Dallas Cowboys football players to further the message, and basically made it cool to not litter.

Electric cars need a similar campaign.

I’m a bit of a tree hugger, so I don’t need you to sell me on a car’s powerful engine or superior handling, but I’m not the average American either. In general, we love speed, power, and style. Sure, Tesla’s cars have all of those in spades—plus an average run of almost 300 miles per charge!—but they also start in the mid-$50s, a bit out of most people’s price range.

The Mitsubishi i-MiEV

Even the smaller cars like the Mitsubishi i-MiEV start at around $29K. And that puppy is small. I drove one over the weekend and was really impressed with its get-up-and-go, but not so much with its size or range. Good for a commuter car, not so much for a family car. And I say that as a mom who drives a small SUV instead of a minivan or large SUV.

So, come on, marketing people. Give me campaigns that emphasize the sexy, powerful, fun aspect of electric cars. Make them cool for macho young men and everyone else will follow. Make them a patriotic purchase that no red-blooded American can resist.

A Tesla Model S Signature and a Tesla Roadster

Designers, give us more cars like Tesla’s, that marry style with function. Not everyone wants to drive an electric car—or hybrid for that matter, think Fisker Karma (drool)—that looks like an electric car. We just want cool cars that happen to be good for the Earth too.

Anyone?

All photos are my own work.

0 Comments

  1. Reply

    Even electric still has to plug into the grid, and that is usually powered by coal, which this administration has made increasingly difficult to get from our own mines. There’s also strong opposition to adding nuclear power. There has been some traction gained with wind and solar farms, but those are still a long way away from being a primary source. With the president’s stated goal of making electricity much more expensive than it is, switching to an electric vehicle is likely to wind up costing just as much to “fill up” as a gasoline motor.

    I love seeing the innovation in this field. The Volt has taken a lot of heat (that pun wasn’t really intended), but it’s a spiffy looking car (as long as you can put aside the MASSIVE taxpayer subsidizing that makes it still an expensive statement vehicle).

    I also want to see more innovation in solar and wind power. But seeing pictures of the massive land requirements for the Apple solar farm in NC for their data center really gives me pause. I’m having trouble envisioning how we get from where we are to where we want to be — and how much of that is feasible?

    • Reply

      Jean: True. I’d like to see us get off coal myself. I agree that solar and wind farms can be land-intensive, but mining is pretty destructive to large swaths of the country too. Maybe if we could put some real money behind green energy for a change we could solve some of these problems. Unfortunately, there’s no perfect option.

  2. Joe

    Reply

    One way to make it at least practical is by hitting the pocket book! In the Big Island of Hawaii the KWHr electrical rate for residential homes is 3 -4 x what it is in the mainland and many people are looking at alternative power. You hear guys at Lowe’s talking about “getting off the grid.” (Solar power). Many people drive motor scooters to avoid the $4.50 gas price. Interesting, for some reason electric cars don’t seem to popular here yet, you do see some hybrids. Maybe it is because most people on this island don’t drive a lot of miles each day, so scooters are a pretty cheap, practical alternative.

    • Reply

      I agree, Dad. If consumers really paid the true cost of gas, we’d be demanding alternatives. I suppose the higher electric costs there could put a damper on electric vehicle use. I wonder if Honolulu–apparently the worst traffic in the country??–drivers have shown any more interest. At least when an electric or hybrid car idles, it’s not wasting fuel.

      Even more than greater electric car adoption, I’d love to see an expanded mass transit system. Get the cars off the road. 🙂

  3. Reply

    I’m with you on this one. There needs to be a better way and I’m sure some brilliant mind will come up with it. They just have to get past the Lobbyists.

  4. Reply

    No eloquent discussions about electric cars, KWHrs, or “getting off the grid” from me. Nope. Just wanted to add something to your discussion about Texas and trash. You said:

    “Texas cut back drastically on littering with their “Don’t Mess With Texas” campaign because it struck a chord with macho, patriotic young men. They used Dallas Cowboys football players to further the message, and basically made it cool to not litter.”

    They also came up with a nifty song that played pretty much non-stop on TV and radio. It had a catchy chorus that I still remember:

    “It’s mighty reckless, to mess with Texas.”

    How could you litter with a song like that in your head?

    🙂

    • Reply

      Dave: I’m not sure you got any eloquent discussion from me either. 😉 I didn’t know about the song; thanks for sharing!

      Maybe electric cars, reusable grocery bags, Meatless Monday, mass transit, and recycling all need catchy theme songs sung by burly football players. Shades of the Bears’ Super Bowl Shuffle. Yeah, that’s it…

  5. Reply

    I just found your blog (just installed Scrivener, too). I love what Tesla Motors has done. The Model S is my dream car. Sigh. I blogged about getting to drive the Roadster. Electric, powerful, and sexy, not tiny, boxy, and boring!

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