OPINION: Debunking EV myths key to widespread adoption

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With the rapid pace of information — and misinformation — sharing these days, perception often becomes reality.

It’s a struggle we at South Shore Clean Cities work with on a regular basis when it comes to issues of sustainable transportation, particularly when it comes to electric vehicles and electric vehicle charging stations.

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South Shore Clean Cities was thrilled to be selected last month by the Indiana Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust Fund Committee — on the recommendation of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management — to manage the outreach, education and marketing for the statewide electric vehicle charging station network supported by the VW grant program and the Indiana Utility Group.

The combined efforts to share information under one brand with one unified message will help not only to encourage widespread adoption of electric vehicles but also to help Hoosiers see their neighbors, local businesses and governments are EV owners and EV charging station operators as well.

Many people still believe EVs are only for the wealthy or that the only EVs on the market are high-end models. The reality is nearly every automaker has an EV in its lineup or plans to add more soon, with many models starting around the $30,000 range.

Some public and private fleet managers or decision makers automatically dismiss the idea of electric options for replacement vehicles, thinking they either don’t exist, won’t perform their intended tasks or are too pricey for their budgets.

More and more electric vehicles are being added to lineups for fleets as well, including in larger class sizes, and grant funding helps reduce cost. With the lack of a need for oil changes and other routine maintenance and the cost of charging being less than that of diesel, the total cost of ownership and longevity of the vehicles are making them more appealing and accessible to fleets of all types and sizes.

Skeptics often question battery range or availability of charging stations. The overwhelming majority of EV owners charge overnight in their garages during off-peak grid hours and range is increasing with each new model year. The range on most new passenger EVs is around 300 miles or more, comparable to a tank of gas.

What about electricity that comes from coal-fired power plants, some ask. Isn’t that causing as much air pollution as gasoline? Multiple studies at the federal level have shown the answer is no. Even with coal-fired power plant electricity, EV charging still produces fewer emissions overall than gasoline-powered tailpipe emissions.

For those without garages living in apartments or condos with parking lot or street parking, South Shore Clean Cities is working to help solve charging barriers along with other Clean Cities coalitions and the U.S. Department of Energy through the Vehicle Charging Innovations for Multi-Use Dwellings program.

South Shore Clean Cities is also a partner in the Michigan to Montana I-94 Clean Fuel Corridor program, which seeks to fill charging station gaps along I-94. Portions of I-94 and I-65 are already designated as alternative fuel corridors thanks to our work there.

Are EVs the solution to all of our sustainable transportation needs? No, but they are an important piece of the complex puzzle that is being assembled to help all of us reduce tailpipe emissions and contribute to a healthier future with investments in cleaner domestic fuels and technologies.

Making sure decisions are being made about EV adoption using credible sources and data is at the heart of the efforts, right here Indiana, and we’re proud to be a part of it.

Remember, it’s never too late to begin your environmental legacy.

This column first appeared in The Times of Northwest Indiana. Carl Lisek is executive director of South Shore Clean Cities and vice president of Legacy Environmental Services. The opinions are the writer’s.

3 COMMENTS

  1. What are they doing with old batteries that go bad, I have heard, and may be misinformation, that the batteries can’t be recycled, and are bad for the environment,so how will they dispose of the batteries since they are lithium.

  2. Sure no “traditional” oil changes of crank case oil are needed, but that does not mean that petrochemical lubricants are not needed. Bearing grease in the wheels is a perfect example. And transmission lubrication is still needed. Of course, we could go back to harvesting whales for oil.

    Lubricants are a byproduct of the “cracking” of oil out of the ground., With reduced gasoline demand, the cost of lubricating oils and greases that are still needed will skyrocket – high demand and reduced production will drive prices up. Add in inflation and the cost of ANY vehicle will increase beyond the means on many. In fact, many products of oil refining will be nothing but “toxic” waste. That is if any petrochemical companies can afford to stay in business.

    To help supply lubricating oils and grease that are still needed, and the other petrochemicals needed in everything from makeup to pharmaceuticals the only option is whales and other animals and in some cases plants – clearly renewable resources, until they are all harvested. And don’t count on plant based oils to do the job of traditional lubricants. Look up tribology if you are not aware of that field of expertise. Even spacecraft require lubricants. And hydraulics, and so many other things people have no clue will be affected.

    Keep in mind, any metal that is cut or threaded will require some sort of coolant or cutting fluid. While some are water based, many are still petrochemical based – and for cause. Water leads to rust and corrosion. It will be like trying to replace Freon in the electronics industry; replacing petrochemicals will be a long painful process and will never be as good as the petrochemical they are replacing.

    Then there is the substantially increased demand for rare earth metals which are ecological disasters at the mining sites and the need for plastics (again many are petrochemical based).
    EV’s are no no solution. This is a disaster in th emaking, and it will eliminate private vehicle ownership except for the most wealthy!

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