Anti-EV Vitriol Is Alive and Well
Car and Driver’s drive review of the Honda Fit EV in its May 2013 issue is pretty much what you would expect from an auto buff rag: a brutal takedown on electric vehicles. But to dismiss the review as a bad review of a single electric car—or as standard fare from gearheads who revel in the rev of a gas-powered engine—would be to miss an opportunity to better understand persistent resistance to EVs.
C&D writer Ron Sessions provides a summary statement in the final paragraph of the review. “For a price that’s more than double the cost of a conventional Fit Sport, you get a car with less than one-quarter the cruising range, a third less cargo space with the rear seats up, a nine-percent-longer stopping distance, mushier steering, and marginally less grip,” he write. “The payoffs, of course, are fossil-free motoring and planet-saving bragging rights.”
The main message: This electric car is way too expensive, doesn’t provide enough range, and is a lousy ride. Only smug treehuggers would touch it with a 10-foot pool.
No big surprises here. ICE-lovers don’t like EVs, and this reviewer thinks the Honda Fit EV sucks. Fair enough.
But it’s the comments on the online version of the article that are instructive—revealing the level of vitriol aimed at electric cars. I know the web is all about anonymous flaming, but visitors to sites like PluginCars.com might forget how prevalent EV animus is, outside of our electric car bubble. Looking past the one or two defensive comments (and the completely empty name-calling), see below for a representative sample of the 50-plus comments fro Car & Driver readers.
Sample comments with minimal editing for clarity:
“You may not be spewing fumes outside a tailpipe but you are adding to the energy consumed by power plants. Don't even start with the ridiculous solar panel chargers, since it would literally take you a week to get a full charge from the solar panels on tops of an average family home. God help you if you are in an apartment.”
“The price difference between this [Honda Fit EV] and the gas Fit allows me to drive 180,000 miles on the gas-powered Fit. Which is about 22.5 years in my book. This will probably need a new battery pack in 3-5 years. Pretty stupid if you ask me.”
“Someone needs to explain to these stupid Liberals in government that: #1 Electric vehicles cost far more to build, maintain and own than the equivalent I.C.E. powered car. #2 You aren't 'saving the environment' or reducing our dependence on Middle Eastern oil.”
“If I had that kind of money, I'd drive around in a Lamborghini or Veyron. Even now, when people hear my engine and ask how many miles do I get per gallon, I proudly say '10.1.'”
“This is the state of the EV art, people. That's why I've been calling fail on EVs from day one. Like driving a gas car that's perpetually on 'E,' that you refill through a soda straw, with 700 lbs. of extra dead weight, for twice the price. A car only the California Air Resources Board could love.”
“The whole thing is about smoke, mirrors, and confusing people into accepting a political movement.”
“Leo DiCaprio will drive one to show how 'green' he is and others will follow.”
New to EVs? Start here
What Is An Electric Car?
Before we get going, let's establish basic definitions.
A Quick Guide to Plug-in Hybrids
Some plug-in cars have back-up engines to extend driving range.
Electric Cars Pros and Cons
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Eight Rules of Electric Vehicle Charging Etiquette
Thou shalt charge only when necessary. And other rules to live by.
Seven Things To Know About Buying a Plug-In Car
A few simple tips before you visit the dealership.
Eight Factors Determining Total Cost of Ownership of an Electric Car
EVs get bad rap as expensive. Until you look at TCO.
Federal and Local Incentives for Plug-in Hybrids and Electric Cars
Take advantage of credits and rebates to reduce EV costs.
Guide to Buying First Home EV Charger
You'll want a home charger. Here's how to buy the right one.
Electric Car Utility Rate Plans: Top Five Rules
With the right utility plan, electric fuel can be dirt cheap.
The Ultimate Guide to Electric Car Charging Networks
If you plan to charge in public, you'll want to sign up for charging network membership (or two).