LETTER: For better world, electric cars must replace the gas burners

To Ozaukee Press:

The writer of the letter to the editor published in last week’s Ozaukee Press, “Owners of electric cars can get high-cost, short range jolts,” seemed to have a problem with the idea of electric vehicles. Maybe he has interests in maintaining the status quo with ICE (internal combustion engine) cars, but here’s our experience after driving electric for the last 25 years.

The average person drives less than 50 miles a day, which means there are dozens of options for those interested in driving electric cars, and many are not high priced like Teslas. All of these choices charge at home, overnight when everyone is asleep, and give the owner a full charge each morning. That’s like having a gas car with a full tank every single day.

When we had our Solectria Force (an electric Geo Metro), we had an 80-mile range, which was more than adequate for a day’s driving. It had lead-acid batteries like the one in every gas car. When they aged, we recycled them and upgraded to lithium-ion batteries, which survived our 21-year-old car and now function as power storage for the output of our home’s solar panel array.

Solectria also produced electric pick-up trucks and we have had a used electric S-10 pick-up for 21 years. The original lead-acid batteries have also been upgraded to provide a 100-mile range. The truck still functions well at 27 years old. It can and has powered the heat in our home in power outages as well as providing off-site power for garden club projects.

We purchased a Tesla Model 3 when the old Force’s chassis rusted out. We have had no problems with the car in day-to-day operations or on road trips to places like New York or Montreal, Canada. Tesla, which considers itself an energy company, not a car company, has made this easy by developing an excellent interstate charging system.

Other electric car brands use several other charging options and certainly the national charging system needs improvement. But this isn’t any different than the beginning of the reign of ICEs when intrepid motorists had to bring their own gasoline along on trips outside cities.

Also for the record, early model Tesla sedans (2012 Model S) have been used as courier cars between Los Angles and San Francisco for years. Some of them have over 400,000 miles on their battery packs and are still fit for driving. When batteries’ capacity falls below the level needed for driving, they can also be used for energy storage, as we have done. Tesla, which manufactures its own batteries, also recycles them to reclaim the valuable metals.

If electric vehicles were impractical, Europe and China would not be turning to electric fleets. Schneider National truck company here in Wisconsin uses electric semis and wouldn’t if electric trucks were impractical. And Amazon wouldn’t have an order for 100,000 electric delivery vans if it didn’t see value in changing from gas vehicles.

Electric cars function as well as they are maintained. Just as gas cars need to have regular oil and filter changes, constant radiator coolant levels, etc., electric cars need care of their batteries, most of which is automatic. All of these things matter for the life of the vehicle and it’s why it’s always a good idea to know how a car was treated by its first owner when purchasing a used vehicle. That’s how most of us obtain our vehicles and it will be true when used electric cars start to get to the market.

Good information about electric cars and how to improve the mileage you get from your gas car is available at DriveSmart Wisconsin (https://drivesmartwi.com/). In addition to the educational programs it runs, the organization holds meet-ups so you can talk to the owners of hybrid and all-electric vehicles to hear real-life experiences and sometimes have ride-alongs to help you learn about each model.

We have no children or grandchildren, but we both want our nieces and nephews to know we tried to leave them a better world. We think switching to electric vehicles is a big part of that. Just as horses made way for gas cars, gas cars must make way for electric ones if we want a better future for coming generations.

As for the letter writer’s claim that EVs are “not a replacement for a gasoline-fueled car,” that comment is misinformed and utterly laughable. We have had only the Tesla Model 3 and the Solectria pickup truck since 2018 and travel anywhere we want without worry—and without gasoline.

Elizabeth O’Connell and Tom Hudson

Port Washington


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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


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