We’re a unique family. Both of our cars are battery electric vehicles.
As early adopters, we are learning a lot about a different way of getting from here to there.
When I reference our EVs, I am acutely aware that we are privileged to be able to afford these cars since currently EVs carry a premium price.
But battery electric cars will soon (in two or three years) be priced similarly to gas-burning vehicles. And with the prices of gas these days, the value equation is even stronger.
While many think of Tesla when thinking about EVs, we have Volkswagen ID4 cars. They are spacious, mid-sized SUVs that have 250 miles of range on a charge. Better yet, they come with three years of free charging on the Electrify America network of fast chargers.
So, when traveling around Kentucky, we charge at home for pennies. And when we take longer road trips, we pay nothing. Plus, we received $7,500 per car off our tax returns. That adds up fast.
As the geek in the family, I was a bit surprised when my wife, who was in the market for a new car in 2021, chose to go fully electric. Full disclosure: she was the first to get an EV – and I followed a few months later out of complete jealousy.
I understand being an early adopter, but why would Rejeana be willing to deal with the inevitable quirks of trying a technology early in its life?
For her, it was all about caring for the environment, and about the sort of world that we leave our children.
Sure, our two EVs by themselves won’t make a dent in climate change, but, honoring Kant’s categorical imperative, she felt that we should act like we wish all people would act. We’ll do our part.
The surprising thing is realizing that when we are driving to work, to the grocery store or to visit friends, we are not spewing fumes into the air. These cars don’t use oil, or gas, or most of the other many fluids gas-powered cars need. The only thing we add is windshield washing fluid.
And these vehicles are quiet. Really quiet.
In fact, they make this spaceship sort of sound when moving at under 20 miles per hour, so pedestrians aren’t caught off guard as we approach. But over 20 mph, there’s virtually no sound.
That may seem like a small matter but think about a world where there are no fumes, no engine noise, no noisy streets, no dumping used oil or transmission fluid or automatic steering fluid.
I hear those who argue that the electricity that powers our cars is often generated by coal or other fossil fuels, so what’s the benefit?
But the reality is that every year the U.S. is decreasing its use of fossil fuels for generating electricity. The day is coming when renewables (solar and wind) will dominate. I’m still on the fence about nuclear power, but even it can offer a safer power source than fossil fuels.
The bottom line is that we are living into a future that is not yet here. But it can be here soon.
The sooner our cars stop spewing fumes, the sooner our air is cleaner and our climate less prone to extremes. It feels good not to burn things to get around town.
Our planet is amazing. Full of life and beauty, it is both resilient and fragile. We are bound to it and created to live as part of it.
As Wendell Berry reminds us in the Art of the Commonplace, “the care of the earth is our most ancient and most worthy and, after all, our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it, and to foster its renewal, is our only legitimate hope.”
Editor’s note: This is the first of a two-part series. Part two will appear tomorrow.