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  • Rick Bonetti

Transition to Electric Vehicles

According to Gallup, 39% of Americans say electric vehicles help climate change at least a fair amount, but only 4% currently own electric vehicles and only 12% are seriously considering a purchase.

Gallup also found that "Democrats are most likely to own EVs and say they help climate change. But, a substantial majority of Republicans, 71%, say they would not consider owning an electric vehicle.' So the fate of transitioning to EV's may hinge on the outcome of the November 2024 election.

On March 31, 2024 Tesla announced that owners would have a one-month trial during April to test "full, self-driving (supervised)." This advance in functionality automatically makes lane changes, selects forks to follow my navigation route, navigates around other vehicles and objects, and makes left and right turns. On my recent experience driving from Medford to Ashland I reached my destination without touching the accelerator or brake and only lightly held (but did not control) the steering wheel. I found the vehicle has a cautious, but confident response, much like I would do unassisted, only better. This could be a game-changer.

Tesla also recently expanded charging access to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy, by opening their fast-charging network to allow more EV drivers to charge at over 15,000 Supercharging stalls across North America.

The New York Times reported that on March 20, 2024 "the Biden administration issued one of the most significant climate regulations in the nation’s history, a rule designed to ensure that the majority of new passenger cars and light trucks sold in the United States are all-electric or hybrids by 2032."

Siskiyous & Oregon Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Association (SOHEVA) "promotes using electric cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, and bicycles. Local SOHEVA members offer guidance on buying, leasing, sustainably fueling, operating, and maintaining all forms of electric transit."

April 19, 2024, from 3:30 to 7 p.m. PDT, SOHEVA will participate in Drive Electric Earth Month at SOU's Earth Day with 12 plug-in vehicles, new and used, with nine from SOHEVA members and three from the Green Cars division of Lithia Motors. The new edition of Rogue Valley Green Car Guide should be available for Earth Day.

Converting from a combustion engine truck to an electric-powered truck has a much greater effect on reducing greenhouse gasses than upgrading from a hybrid to an EV. According to Bruce Borgerson, 'When charging from the northwest grid,..

  • if you go from a 10-year-old Prius to a new Tesla Model 3, you reduce your GHG emissions by about 133 grams per mile, and over 12,000 miles that’s a net reduction of about 1.6 metric tons.

  • but if you replace a 10-year-old AWD Silverado pickup with an equivalent four-motor Silverado EV, you reduce your GHG emissions by around 435 grams per mile for a net reduction of 5.2 metric tons over the same miles, or more than three times the reduction of Prius to Tesla!

"That’s a significant difference so let’s hope the millions of dollars that Ford and Chevy are putting into marketing their electric pickups will gain some traction in EV-resistant demographics."

SOHEVA recognizes the need to work more on apples-to-apples on GHG emissions versus apples-to-oranges of fossil fuel extraction/refining/transportation versus battery mineral extraction. They also need to work more on newer battery technologies that do not use lithium, but this is improving rapidly

In answer to the question: Are Electric Vehicles Really Better for the Environment?", EarthJustice answers: "Yes! Electric vehicles stack up better than combustion any which way you look at it."


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