MidlandToday welcomes letters to the editor at [email protected]. Please include your daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication). The following letter is in response to a letter regarding hybrid electric vehicles, published March 12.
Unlike Mark, who plans to switch back to gasoline-fuelled cars, I’ll be staying electric.
Like Mark, I started looking at hybrid electric cars years ago, and watched with growing interest as they became more common. Four years ago I undertook a serious survey of what was out there. What I found surprised me.
First of all, back then it wasn’t easy to get information. I sometimes had to tell car salespeople that, in fact, they do have an electric car for sale — “See, it’s that red one on your lot with the word ‘hybrid’ on the fender.” But now times have changed and just about every car dealer has a few models, and they know them.
The second thing I found was how small the batteries were in plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. After 40 kilometres or so, the tiny battery gets low and the car starts burning gasoline to recharge — a little gasoline motor to charge up the little battery to run the car for a little longer. So, you’re still buying and burning gas? It didn’t seem “green” to me.
Fortunately, the third thing I learned was the good news. Batteries had rapidly gotten better and safer, and had much greater range and shorter charging times. In 2020 I bought a Kia Soul EV Limited with a range of 400 km. It’s a fully electric battery electric vehicle. Sure, in the depth of winter it can dip to 340 km with the interior heater set to 23 degrees Celsius, whereas in the summer it delivers 450 km with the air conditioner on, if you want it. And the warranty on the battery is 10 years.
Oh, and unlike gas cars, I don’t have to leave home to refuel. I charge at home for a few hours while I sleep, and my electricity bill is the same or lower than it’s been for seven of the past 10 years. Not to mention more than $4,000 saved per year mostly in gasoline at pre-COVID prices.
Everyone has different needs for transportation, but for many, buying a gasoline car seems like driving in reverse, and looking in the rearview mirror to steer.