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What Made This Car Hater Into An Electric Car Lover?

I’m not going to lie — I’ve got issues with cars. My master’s degree is in city and regional planning. From my experience studying that (before, during, and after graduate school), I’m well aware that cars and cities simply don’t mix well. I mean, they could, but the vast majority of cities in the world are overfull of cars.

A city, by definition, is a lot of people living in a relatively small space. To try to move individuals around in quite large vehicles of their own is highly inefficient. In the US, this results in the loss of trillions of dollars a year. Seriously. From billions of hours wasted in traffic, to oil imports from countries that aren’t fond of us, to lives lost and people injured from car accidents, the costs are actually quite stunning, incomprehensible, and incalculable.

But I won’t go on about that today — rather, let me switch to the topic in the title. I have become a huge electric vehicle (EV) fan, obsessed even. I actually started this website due to my desire to read and write about electric cars every day.

So, why and how did this switch occur?

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Basically, I know that global warming and climate change threaten society like nothing before. The unnatural disasters, drought, floods, disease, migration, political instability and even chaos, wars, etc. that could come about due to massive, unprecedented (since humans have been around) global warming is a tremendous threat, one that it is hard to imagine we are ignoring as much as we are.

Furthermore, there’s a large amount of air and water pollution from gasoline-powered vehicles; there are the issues of oil dependency mentioned above; and, not to be discounted, gasmobiles create a tremendous amount of noise pollution.

Bike-only roads with green spaces on the side quite common in Groningen, Netherlands. Image Credit: Zachary Shahan / Bikocity

Bike-only roads with green space on the side quite common in Groningen, Netherlands. Image Credit: Zachary Shahan / Bikocity

Yes, I think it would be great if we transformed cities and our lifestyles in order to switch from driving to bicycling and using mass transit for the majority of trips. I actually lived in a city with a 50-60% bicycle commute rate (Groningen, Netherlands). I am sure the transit commute rate wasn’t bad either — the buses were often packed. The city was so quiet and unpolluted that it’s hard to describe it. The quality of life was the best I’ve seen anywhere.

But, again, that’s all a discussion for another day. While I’d love it if all cities emulated Groningen, I know that isn’t happening. And I know that a lot of people still think they need and want a car, and want to drive for most trips. In other words, I know that there’s still a tremendous amount of demand for cars, and that they will be dominant transportation forces in our cities and countries indefinitely. So, the pollution problems must be addressed.

Image Credit: Fiat

Image Credit: Fiat

Electric cars are, quite simply, the cleanest option we’ve got. Even with the relatively dirty grids we rely on today, electric cars are cleaner than gasmobiles. But our grids are getting cleaner every day, and if we install our own solar panels, we may be able to charge our cars with 100% clean, renewable electricity. That is a humungous step forward. Humungous.

So, I started reading and writing about electric cars a few years ago. And as I have, I have fallen in love with their beauty, simplicity, performance benefits, and revolutionary spirit. I’ve fallen in love with the EV movement. I’ve fallen in love with specific EV models — the Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model S, Fiat 500e, Detroit Electric SP:01, and of course several electric supercars. (No offense to the others — I love and like several others, too.) I’ve also become fascinated with thoughts and projections on how the electric revolution may play out. All in all, this is just a super fun technology and transformation to cover.

Of course, I still think cities are much nicer when they are planned for humans rather than transporters that are simply too big for efficient and pleasant city life. But electric vehicles themselves are such a huge step above what we have today, and they really are a useful option for a number of occasional needs, that I can’t help being an EV enthusiast. If I ever do buy a car again, my biggest problem would be deciding which EV to go with.

That’s my story. How about you? How did you fall in love with electric cars?