Note: This is the sort of personal rumination that I would normally put on Twitter, but I’m pulling back on that excellent social site for obvious reasons. At least for the time being, Twitter remains an excellent way to learn about science and energy news. I’m at @granitegeek .
Buying a car used to be pretty easy for my family. For at least 30 years we’ve owned one Subaru wagon for getting out of the driveway before the plow guy arrives and carrying the kayaks, and one fuel-efficient sedan for commuting. Buy them used, wear them out, replace.
The slow arrival of electric cars has complicated things, though, because buying gas-burners now seems wrong.
One complication is common to everybody: the pandemic’s snarling of global supply chains makes it very difficult to find an EV or a plug-in hybrid like a RAV4. It’s even harder if you live in New Hampshire because our fossil-fuel-loving legislature wouldn’t participate in the ZEV program, so we’re at the bottom of automakers’ list for deliveries, as I explained here.
Our personal complication is that we don’t have a garage and we park the cars in different places during winter, moving them to make room for snow to be piled up. It’s not unusual to park them at the end of the 100-yard driveway if anticipating a heavy snowstorm. We don’t have an obvious place to put a charger for the overnight “fill-up” that’s part of the EV life. So even if I could find a Bolt or Niro/Kona or Mustang MachE and was willing to spend my annual salary on it, it would be very hard to make it work from December through March.
After much thought, we’re probably going to go the used car wagon route one more time. Part of the thinking is that because I’m now working from home, that car gets driven very seldom – less than 3,000 miles a year. The environmental benefit of replacing it with a PHEV/EV would be minimal.
When the heavily used gas sedan (a Prius, to fit my stereotype) wears out, hopefully the EV situation will be different and we can start ditching gas for good.
One other point: Whatever we get, it will probably have to be an automatic since stick-shifts are getting rare even in the used car market. If so, this will be the first time in our life that our driveway hasn’t had at least a 4-on-the-floor (actually, 5).