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Opening Arguments

Take this car and shove it

An Indiana University study finds a not-very-surprising attitude about electric cars:

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - A study from the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs casts doubt on the Obama administration's goal of putting a million plug-in electric vehicles on the roads by 2015. But the study does find that consumers are more receptive to buying electric cars in some cities, including San Jose/San Francisco, Chicago and Boston.

The researchers surveyed more than 2,300 adult drivers in 21 large U.S. cities in the fall of 2011. They found that the perceived drawbacks of electric vehicles outweigh the advantages for most consumers. The primary drawbacks are the limited driving range, the vehicles' high sales or lease price and the inconvenience of recharging batteries.

You can't make people take what they do not want, yet government wastes billions and billions trying to do just that. Drivers will gravitate to electric cars if and when it makes sense to them, either economically or because advancing technology makes them more attractive than they are now.


Harl Delos
Sat, 12/29/2012 - 11:34pm

The folks in Dayton have electric trolley busses.  There are some problems You can change lanes, but if there are fire trucks blocking the street, the bus cannot easily detour around the blockage.  They have to dispatch a diesel bus to handle that route until the fire  engines are gone.  And if someone builds a new apartment complex, it's a major construction project to change the routes.

On the other hand, the power unit of a trolley bus lasts several times as long as the diesel power unit, and between reduced maintenance costs and the cost of electricity (including the cost of building and maintaining the overhead wires) versus the cost of fuel, it's far cheaper to operate a route with trolley busses than diesel busses.

It's a marketing problem, really.  When Indiana Service Corporation came to an end, it split into transportation (which became Fort Wayne's bus system) and power (which became I&M).  It just takes imagination to come up with a practical marketing system.

If you lease a smaller car, you can't pick up a sheet of plywood and some 2x4s at Lowes.  Every so often, you have to take your car in for service, and figure out how to get around in the meanwhile.  With an electric car, it takes a long time to charge the battery, and if there's no place for you to park except on the streets, how are you going to plug in?

Leo Leasing would lease you a car, bundling the vehicle, the energy, and your insurance in the deal.  When you sign the lease, they install charging stations at three locations for you, such as light poles in front of your house, and spaces in your company's parking lot.  When you need service, you take your car into a Leo Leasing Swap Station.  Drop off your blue car and drive away in a red pickup truck.  It's more per mile to drive that pickup, but you can swap back at any time.  Or maybe you want to drive a white car instead of a red one evey Wednesday; you swap on Tuesday night and swap again on Wednesday night.  Been running errands all day, and your battery is running low?  Swap and go!  When you swap vehicles, it's cleaned inside and out, checked for maintenance needs, and topped up.  Want to make sure they have a green van?  Go to the website and reserve one, and the site will tell you that you have 90 minutes to swap at the Georgetown Swap Station.  There's a charge for reservations, refunded if you actually swap, but you can check the inventory at any swap station without making reservations.

Going on a trip?  Drop off your car at the airport and hop the shuttle bus to the terminal, then pick up a car when you return, saving you the cost of airport parking or a taxi ride.  Taking a trip by car?  You can swap ar a Suoer Swap Station for a car that runs on gas, and you don't need a credit card, but you pay for your own gas.  Need a second car for a while because your wife is working at the west office, and you can't ride together to your westside jobs?  Pick up a second car at the Swap Station.  Need to swap at 2 in the morning?  Plug in your car at the swap station, and grab another one.  Your key identifies you to the car, and you drive away.  If you don't have a "you need service" light on, and your battery has topped up, your car becomes available for swap to anyone who thinks the interior is adequately clean; if some wants to swap for it at 4 AM, they get in and go, driving through the automatic car wash if they choose to. If your car is still there in the morning, the technicians will check it oout for service issues, body damage, and run it through the car wash.