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OPINION | DRIVETIME MAHATMA: Time will tell if e-cars the future

by Frank Fellone | August 27, 2022 at 4:07 a.m.


Dear Mahatma: I didn't find derision in your comments about EV stations being established in Arkansas. But I see a good bit of short-sightedness. Do you think we should have a lot of EVs but no place to charge them? -- Jeffrey

Dear Jeffrey: I promised the fellow immediately below a third column about electric vehicles and their place in the driving cosmos. The first column expressed skepticism about the federal government's giving of $54 million dollars to establish a network of EV charging stations on the state's interstate highway system.

Our skepticism centered around the scant number of EVs registered in the state -- about 3,000. The charging stations aren't necessarily for local traffic, but for interstate traffic. So that some happy day a driver can electrify coast to coast.

Such a network is either brilliance or boondoggle. Time will tell. By the time the answer is clear, we will be feeding daisies.

Dear Mahatma: Read your EV column again. It certainly struck me as derisive, or sarcastic. You may have been in Arkansas too long, and must strive to become more visionary. Despite all that, I still love you. -- Earl

Dear Earl: It's good to be loved, even when undeserving.

Others had similar outlooks on the worth of EVs, as opposed to what most people drive. That is, petroleum-powered vehicles. Let's compare and contrast.

The American Petroleum Institute reports our great nation has about 145,000 places to tank up.

One of our smart readers (all our readers have above average intelligence) tells us he consults the Tesla website to plan routes around Tesla's network of 35,000 chargers.

That ain't 145,000, but it ain't bad. This reader drives his Tesla from Hot Springs Village to Rogers with one 15-minute charging stop at a Tesla supercharger at Ozark.

Fifteen minutes is about right for a bathroom break and a cup of joe. Our reader says the supercharger is like a fire hydrant, and home chargers more like garden hoses.

Another reader who lives in Little Rock wrote in to say he and the missus drove to Philadelphia last summer. On the Pennsylvania Turnpike, at every gas station, were eight to 10 Tesla superchargers.

That, he said, is "planning."

Two more thoughts.

First, Dodge is phasing out the gas-powered Charger and Challenger. They are glorious, fabulous muscle cars. We once had a chance to get a Challenger but blew it. As Yoda would have said: Dumb, we are.

The Charger and Challenger will be replaced by an electric. To please muscle-car lovers, it will shift gears and have a loud exhaust.

Finally, Alfred P. Sloan was the great industrialist instrumental in creating General Motors. David Farber, who wrote a biography of Sloan, said the man "absolutely believed in giving people cars that they wanted."

Do Americans really want electric cars? In the fullness of time, we will know.

Frankly, we now desperately want one of those electric Dodges.

Vanity plate: SMRTALX. Darn. He beat us to it.

Fjfellone@gmail.com


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