Electric Vehicles are Smart Investments | Monadnock Shopper News

By John Kondos, MSH Board Member

Originally Published in The Monadnock Shopper News, Green Monadnock column, January 2022. 

Electric Vehicles (EVs) are coming fast as folks realize they’re easier & cheaper to own. Even if they may cost more initially, lower fuel and maintenance costs pay back the difference (keep reading for taxpayer savings).

Better tech wins; think digital photography and cell phones, especially when it saves money. EVs are easy to own- no more oil changes, exhaust or transmission repairs, plus regenerative braking reduces the wear on the conventional brakes while recharging the battery. Fuel costs less because EVs are three times more efficient, plus electricity costs about 60% less than gasoline.

Instead of gas stations, most EV charging is done at home, often overnight. EV Charging stations are available along major travel corridors and increasingly in parking facilities, car dealerships, inns, restaurants, and workplaces. Watch for the first local public fast chargers at the Co-op next year. Charging planning apps make EV travel easy.

EVs are smooth, quiet, balanced, quick, and fun; no wonder every EV owner I know says they’d never go back to an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle. The challenge is making them fast enough. If we don’t produce EVs, China will have the largest EV market already. Ford announced plans to triple the production capacity for the Mustang Mach-E. The company plans to be making 200,000 E ponies by 2023. Tesla is hustling to build a new Gigafactory to meet backlogs for their SUV.

Fortunately, trucks aren’t being overlooked. Ford, Chevrolet, and Rivian have begun production of commercial vans initially for large fleet customers like FedEx and Amazon. E-pickup trucks are generating lots of pre-orders. In December, Ford suspended taking orders for its F-150 Lightning pickup, an all-electric rig due out this spring, after exceeding 200,000. Chevy just opened Silverado EV reservations in early January 2022. I’m excited by the Rivian R1T, the first E-pickup. When deliveries began in October 2021, it had over 50,000 pre-orders. With an electric motor at each wheel for exceptional traction and acceleration, it’s built for adventure, including the ability to deal with 3 feet of water and adjust to 14.9” of ground clearance. MotorTrend calls its 2022 Truck of the Year, the Rivian R1T “the most remarkable pickup truck” it has ever driven.

What about taxpayers saving money?

The Monadnock Sustainability Hub (MSH) researched EV police cars and discovered they are saving lots of money. The MSH Report issued in January 2022 profiles three police departments, but many more are going electric.

The Bargersville, IN police chief was looking for cost savings in 2018. Fuel and maintenance were significant line items that he thought an EV might reduce. The projected $6000 savings in year one for a Tesla 3 turned out better, “The breakeven point will be more like 19 months rather than 24 like we planned before.” Chief Bertram figures the Tesla has a cost of ownership of $0.37/ mile vs. the $0.65/ mile for the Dodges. The Windham County, VT sheriff reports that “we were measuring 2-4 cents per mile traveled for fuel cost compared to 26-28 cents for an ICE vehicle with similar duties, at $2.41 a gallon.”

As taxpayers, we’re excited by the significant cost savings from E-police cars in our communities. As citizens and for all parents, we are grateful for these reductions in the greenhouse gasses (GHGs) that threaten the world future generations will inherit.

The next big opportunity for helping our kids and building resilience in our communities is E school buses. The cost differential is higher, but dozens of manufacturers are scaling up to bring more affordable E-school buses to us. The foul smell of diesel school buses warns us of the toxins emitted. E-school buses eliminate this when driving and idling. The smart way to cover the added cost is to use the buses as giant batteries and feed the grid during peak summer electricity demand periods as well as during power outages. The V2G (Vehicle to Grid) buses are automatically recharged off-peak to repeat the cycle.

John Kondos is a founding member of Home-Efficiency Resources, the Monadnock Sustainability Hub, and the Monadnock chapter of Citizens Climate Lobby.