Op-Ed: Future With Electric Vehicles Is on Its Way

“The great American road trip is going to be fully electrified,” declared President Biden in a speech at the Detroit Auto Show recently. His administration’s aim, he said, is to have half the vehicles sold in the United States by 2030—that’s less than eight years away!—be electric-powered. It a central part of the fight against climate change with carbon emissions from cars and trucks a major cause of global warming.

Only five percent of Americans now drive electric cars. Under the Biden program—which provides for an array of auto industry and consumer incentives including rebates—that percentage is to be dramatically increased. “It is all changing,” said Biden. “Today, if you want an electric vehicle with a long range, you can buy one made in America.” He pointed to the many new “zero-emission” (of carbon) cars on the floor of the show and drove one of them, an electric Cadillac.
As to charging stations—vital if the plan is ultimately for everybody in the U.S. to be driving electric vehicles—a program was announced at the show involving the installation of 500,000 electric chargers through the nation by 2030 using $7.5 billion authorized by Congress.

“Charging stations will be up and as easy to find as gas stations are now,” said Biden. The transportation scene in Suffolk County will be deeply altered by the change. An example: already, the New York State Department of Transportation has altered its “Clean Pass” program for Long Island’s main thoroughfare, the Long Island Expressway. This past February, it announced that “new Clean Pass stickers will only be issued to Plug-In Electric and Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles.” This would impact on the use of the LIE’s HOV lane.

My “hybrid” Toyota Prius doesn’t have a “plug-in” component so after 210,000 (trouble- free) miles, my next car will be a “plug-in.” Electric cars have taken a long time coming. In the early 90s, I did a show on electric cars in one of the nationally-aired “Enviro Close-Up” TV programs I’ve hosted for more than three decades. Featured was a car manufactured by a small company in Massachusetts, and I was amazed, driving it, by its fast pick-up and substantial power.

Today one sees many electric cars manufactured by that now giant company Tesla, with the stylized T on their nose (for inventor Nicola Tesla who did so much of his visionary work in Suffolk at his laboratory in Wading River). Jumping into building electric cars before the major auto manufacturers (these days they’re actively joining in) was key in making Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, Inc. the richest man in the world as of last year.

This summer, an excellent hour-and-a-half event titled “Electric Vehicles: Everything You Need to Know” was held at the LTV television studios in Wainscott, aired on LTV and via Zoom, and is now also on YouTube. You can view the event on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSeV7SFMSm4

It was moderated by journalist Biddle Duke who opened it by saying “America’s transportation fleet is undoubtedly going electric…This is going to be cleaner and more efficient, less expensive, quieter and user friendly. There was a panel including experts in electric vehicles and folks who own EV’s who told of their experiences, speaking with affection about their electric cars. The event in July was organized by the Town of East Hampton’s Natural Resources Department in cooperation with the Energize East Hampton initiative. East Hampton Councilwoman Cate Rogers told of how “I leased my first electric vehicle in 2017. Its range was 100 miles… Fast forward a few years and the improvements are staggering.”

She just ordered, she said, a 2022 Volkswagen electric car “with a range of 275 miles and a fast-charger time of 70 miles in 10 minutes.”

Many of the new electric cars have ranges of 500 miles and more. Rogers said of the LTV event that people linking to it and learning about electric vehicles is “an important step both for yourself, your family and our planet.”

Check it out. The information about what will change in our way of traveling—and do much to combat climate change—is important indeed.

Says Gordian Raacke, co-founder of the Energize East Hampton Initiative and executive director of Renewable Energy Long Island: “Electric vehicles are the future. We will all be driving them in the next couple of decades if we choose to drive a car.”

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