Coming Clean on Electric Cars

Daytona Everett

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More research is proving the cost, origin and effect of electric cars and the batteries that run them might not outweigh the so-called “eco-friendly” benefits.

A typical electric car is run off rechargeable batteries and these batteries are hurting the environment. According to General Motors, the battery of a Chevy Volt, a semi-electric vehicle, holds 16 Kilowatt hours of electricity. It takes a full 10 hours to charge a drained Volt battery.

After calculations, a B-C Hydro Executive confirmed, in the Volt’s case, it costs about 74-cents per mile to operate versus 10-cents per mile for a gasoline-powered vehicle.

KMIR did the math, not only do they cost three times more, it could take three times longer to drive cross-country.

Brian Buckley, the Fixed Operations Director of Lexus in Cathedral City said he has his own reservations about the expansion of electric vehicles.

“Let’s say you buy an all electric car that has a bigger range of over 250 miles, obviously you can’t plan on taking a long trip, say to San Francisco, without having a charging station or a place to stop,” Buckley said.

The batteries have an average life of six to seven years and can be thousands of dollars to replace, Buckley said.

As far as the carbon footprint goes, the key is the source of the electricity used. If the source of the electricity is coal, that means electric cars cause four times more smog and soot, according to the National Academy of Sciences.

The industry is changing and proponents of electric, like Lexus Salesman Alexander Pendleton, believe the batteries are adapting too.

“The battery has to be at a certain weight. The lighter the battery, the better the fuel efficiency is going to be,” Pendleton said.

A B-C Hydro Executive points out a home-charging system for a Tesla requires 75 amp service. An average house is equipped with 100 amp service. On a small street of approximately 25 homes, the electrical infrastructure would be unable to carry more than three houses with a single Tesla each.

“Everybody’s going solar, there’s so many new sources out there, that I think it’s sustainable,” Buckley said in disapproval of the previous numbers.

Both Lexus employees agree the world is moving toward electric but said there will always be a market for consumers committed to gas-powered cars. Lexus does not sell electric cars but they do sell hydro vehicles powered on electric and gas.

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