[Oeva-list] FW: Letter to the Editor re: West Coast Electric Highway

Alan Batie alan at batie.org
Thu Apr 5 13:24:47 PDT 2012

On 4/5/12 12:16 PM, HORVAT Ashley N wrote:

> http://www.statesmanjournal.com/article/20120405/OPINION/120404043/-Electric-Highway-plan-leaves-questions

My reply sent to the SMJ (I just realized I should have added a note
about how normal home evening charging uses excess capacity and actually
helps the power companies too; oh well...):

On April 4, Terry Pohl asked some common questions about electric
vehicle driving, starting with congestion at the charging stations:

We can only hope that becomes a problem, as it all too often is at gas
stations now.  Obviously, if EVs become that popular, more stations will
spring up to meet the demand.

It is true that cross country EV driving, even with the current fast
charge stations will not be quite as convenient as it is with gas, but
the new stations *do* make it practical, especially for shorter "cross
country" trips.  For example, I live in Corvallis, for which it is a
stretch, but doable, to get to Portland and Eugene without them.  With
the new fast charge stations, a 10 minute stop is sufficient, not a big
inconvenience at all to avoid sending my money to the middle east,
pollution into your lungs, and noise into your ears.  It's fun to drive
as well.

While even with the latest EVs, most people will want a gas car as well
for those occasional long trips, but most people *have* two cars, and
having one of them be an electric car for all the in-town driving is no
inconvenience at all - in fact it's even *more* convenient as you never
have to stop and wait in line at the gas station: you just plug in when
you get home once in a while (I do it once or maybe twice a week).

Terry further asks about the cost:

The charges will be free for a very short period of time, after which,
it appears that the cost will be comparable to a gas car, mainly due to
the cost of the fast charge equipment.  When I drove my Leaf to the
Californian border and back from Corvallis, I used 143kWh on the trip -
about $15 worth of electricity for the 500 mile trip, vs the $80 my RAV4
(which will get a lot less use when a fast charge station goes in
between Corvallis and Portland!) would have consumed, or the $40 a Prius
would have consumed.  In the summer when I didn't have to run the
heater, it would have been even less.  So when you're paying for
charging, you're paying for the infrastructure: the power is a small
part of it.

But realize: that infrastructure cost is *only* for cross country
driving!  For the majority of most people's driving, they will be
charging at home and paying only for the electricity itself - a
significant savings over gas, as well as not having to perform all the
regular maintenance a gas engine requires.

Finally, Terry asks where the power comes from and states "no one is
answering", however
the answers are easy to find.  The state has a particularly good web
page with the answer at

One thing to keep in mind is that even if the power comes from coal, the
worst environmental offender, coal power plants are cleaner than most
cars, and EVs are much more efficient than gas cars, so you're use less
of a cleaner power source.  If you buy wind power, or, as is a large
share of NW power, hydro, it's an even bigger win, and when a utility
upgrades to cleaner power, they've instantly upgraded all the EVs using
that power source.  When has anyone offered to come replace your gas
engine with a cleaner one for you?

There really is no reason for most households to not have an EV unless
they really like funding unstable regimes in the middle east and filling
the air with smog.

-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: smime.p7s
Type: application/pkcs7-signature
Size: 6238 bytes
Desc: S/MIME Cryptographic Signature
Url : /pipermail/attachments/20120405/b638d9d6/attachment.bin 

More information about the Oeva-list mailing list