Electric vehicles are the future – like it or not


I remember when electric vehicles would draw quite a few chuckles.

“Hey, nice golf cart!”

The first attempts at electric vehicles were maybe not great, but they were important. Remember the first time you saw a Toyota Prius? Man, that was one ugly car. Who would possibly buy that thing?

Turns out a lot of people. And thankfully, Toyota has updated the body style of the car. It’s still not a thing a beauty, but it is also not nearly as unsightly as it used to be.

I remember when I saw my first Tesla when I lived in California. First, it was a beautiful car. The design was quite striking. Rolling down the window to get a good luck, I noticed it made no sound. At all. And when it accelerated, it was gone.

Yes, electric vehicles are good for the environment and they are fast – very fast. Depending on the model, a Tesla can go from 0 to 60 mph in less than 3 seconds.

Yes, that’s fast.

Even Harley-Davidson, the motorcycle company known for loud machines, is getting into the electric business. The company plans to release the electric Livewire in the next year.

A Prius and a Tesla are not the same thing, of course. A Prius is not all electric, first of all. And most people who can afford a new car can afford a Prius, which goes for about $24,000. A Tesla will run you from about $75,000 to more than $100,000, depending on the model. The company is working on a more affordable model, so time will tell if the Tesla will be more than a rich person’s car.

As much as I like the idea of electric vehicles, like most Americans I drive a lot. We need vehicles with more range than a couple of hundred miles. And we need vehicles that can charge quickly. We can’t sit around for hours just to get enough charge to get us another hundred miles or so.

Not that there is the infrastructure to support a huge fleet of electric vehicles in this country. There are some, sure. Even Rockford has charging stations. And places like California have many.

Still, driving across the country in an electric vehicle in 2018 would not be a simple task. It would include a lot of planning and probably some strange routing.

But this will change, because it has to. Yes, we have gotten better about lowering emissions in newer vehicles, but electric vehicles offer the chance to bring that number to zero. Sure, many of us roll our eyes at talk of emissions and some even actually believe there is such a thing as clean coal (there isn’t), but the future is clean energy, whether we like it or not.

Look at Norway, where the goal is to have only electric cars sold in the country starting in 2025. Already more than 20 percent of the vehicles in Norway are electric. Sure, it is a small country, but this is a laudable goal.

And a goal with an eye on the future – a future that will be electric. In the not too distant future, young people won’t remember a time with gasoline vehicles. They will have gone the way of the dinosaurs, which is quite fitting, don’t you think?