So, are plug-in hybrids, EVs?
Count me as one of those BEV (battery electric vehicle) snobs that have been irritated when I turn up to a public charging and find Chevy Volts plugged in and taking space. I’ve always felt that if you were going electric, jump in feet first.
Even after slightly over 15 months of driving electric, I am a relative newcomer to the EV world. My original bias was caused by my attitude that pure BEV are superior to our plug-in hybrid brethren and felt that those that went halfway with their Chevy Volts, etc. could use gasoline and therefore shouldn’t be taking the space on an EV charging station. I held this belief for my first year of EV driving. So, why the change of heart?
Well, I’ve listened to my “elders”, in terms of years of EV experience, etc.
On Thursdays at Noon Pacific, 3pm Eastern, and 8pm British Time, Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield and Mark Chatterley host a program called Transport Evolved. I started listening to the program on episode 144 and have been hooked since. I’ve used Youtube and iTunes to catch up on the backlog and you should too. Though I may find that the program may be more focused on the “green” aspects of EVs and the like and not necessarily on the economics that motivated me, I find their review of EV news to be interesting and entertaining. They (at least Nikki is) are real “car people”. Mark is very entertaining. The hosts definitely have a more Liberal (had they been in the US) view of things than I, but they definitely make good points.
After spending some time through hours of the series backlog, I’ve been convinced by the hosts and their guests regarding the fact that the entire EV community (including our plug-in brethren) are too few to stand divided. I have been reminded of the challenges that the “previous” generations of EV owners have done to blaze the trail and that we need to support those that are taking “baby” steps toward EV ownership. Once they drive one and get more comfortable. They’ll get it.
Basically, I respect the fact that Volt owners would go through all sorts of lengths to stay driving electric. I can only guess how frustrating it is to only have 40 miles of EV range. Even driving a pure BEV for the majority of my drive has still required me to go approximately 20% of the time on gasoline. Now, I don’t feel guilty about driving gas, just irritated at how much it costs me when I do. In fact, during the past three months, it cost me a bit to replace the battery on my X5.
Now, an optimal 40 mile battery range for a plug in hybrid makes the vehicle practically electric and should be treated with respect. What about the 12-16 mile range plug in hybrids (like the Plug in Prius or Plug in Accords)… Well, I’m not SO “enlightened”. I’m still irritated by those. I mean, there ARE better choices (in terms of battery range, etc.) I don’t know if I’ll ever be “enlightened” enough to welcome Plug in Prius or Plug in Accord users, but in the meantime. I’m ok with saying that “I was wrong.”
So, join me (and a bunch of other EV enthusiasts) and support my favorite EV journalist, advocates and their guests on Transport Evolved.