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Electric vehicles are the future, but currently not inexpensive Local columnists

My wife and I have aged vehicles – my 1999 Subaru and their 2012 Prius. So we were on the market for at least one new automobile.

Since we’re both pretty rabid environmentalists, our thoughts point in the same direction – to an all-electric vehicle. The recent introduction of the all-electric Ford F-150 pickup truck received numerous publicity, including a video of President Joe Biden sitting behind the wheel praising the high speeds of the F-150.

Triggered by this advertisement, I started looking for electric cars. In doing this search, I found that electric vehicles aren’t quite ready for prime time.

While prices are likely to fall due to competition, EV prices are currently well above what we – and most people – can afford. All electric vehicles in the market require a significant down payment of thousands of dollars.

The second thing I found was how long it takes to charge one of these. With household electricity (120 V) it takes all night. Even at an EV charging station, it apparently takes about 30 minutes, plenty of time to visit the bathroom, loll around, and eat snacks – but half an hour is a long time, especially when that time is taken about every 300 miles.

Then there is the problem of finding a charging station. Not a problem in St. Louis or Kansas City, but there isn’t much outside of Columbia and Springfield. Nothing in Joplin, Cape Girardeau, or Kirksville, or anywhere else. However, this is likely to change as more and more electric vehicles become on the move. Since we travel to places as far away as Fort Collins, Colorado and Charleston, South Carolina, I’ve found that getting there in an electric vehicle would mean we’d likely get laid off somewhere in Kansas or Tennessee.

Speaking of charging stations, most EVs have a range of around 300 miles, some less, some more.

Only Tesla offers a vehicle with a range of just over 400 miles. To make up for this, Tesla is also the most expensive. But right now, when you drive an electric vehicle, a person will run out of charge before there is a charging station.

The electricity used for charging is generated by coal-fired power plants. That is changing as more power plants use less polluting energy sources like natural gas. Currently, the vast majority of power plants use highly polluting coal.

All in all, I found that while times like Bob Dylan were changing, an electric vehicle is in our future. Not now.

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