Wayne, Michigan-December 14: A worker builds a Ford Focus on the assembly line of the Ford Motor Company Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan on December 14, 2011. Ford announced details of the electrification of the Michigan Assembly Plant, which will be partly powered by one of the largest solar generator systems to produce the new C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi electric vehicles. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
I have to admit that I am one of those electric car resistors (pun intended). I like the smell of inefficient carbureted fuel and the sound of internal combustion engines.
However, my opposition to the electrification of the world's passenger fleet has little to do with this kind of heartfelt pleasure, but more out of practical considerations.
As a loyal supporter of long and aimless road trips, I have experienced the excitement of caring for the throttle many times. At the same time, the pointer of my fuel gauge is immersed on the left side of E, miles of empty roads without gas stations Stretched out in front of me.
I can often enjoy these moments because any smelly pollution generator I drive has a simple two-gallon or five-gallon safety net in the form of extra fuel.
I was rescued twice by a kind and well-prepared stranger, and once by a kind person who took me through the snow to the nearest service station and returned to my car.
The centerpiece of the "built from natural gas" exhibition that opened at the Farmington Museum in Gateway Park on Friday, November 12, is the reconstructed 1940s Mobil gas station.
There is currently no comparable strategy to deal with electric vehicles that have run out of "fuel". Although the public charging station network in the United States and Canada has grown to nearly 500,000, they are mainly concentrated near major cities and highways, leaving most rural Americans powerless.
Although this is dwarfed by the number of gas stations (slightly more than 100,000, about half of 1994), these facilities are capable of servicing multiple cars at the same time, and most of them can refuel from empty within a few minutes.
Electric car manufacturers have paid attention to this problem and have made great progress recently, but not all cars can accept electrons at the speed that the fastest chargers can provide.
With the advent of each generation of electric vehicles, there are innovations in charging efficiency. Scientists at Ford and Purdue University have proposed a liquid-cooled plug that can shorten the charging time to a few minutes and fuel my 40-year-old jeep.
The idea of having to stop for 20-30 minutes every 200-300 miles seems to me sufficient to avoid the use of electric vehicles. However, once they are at the same level as their fossil fuel-powered counterparts in terms of fuel convenience and efficiency, one of the three remaining valid arguments against them becomes meaningless.
NEW YORK-March 22: During the anti-war protests in New York City on March 22, 2003, anti-war demonstrators carried the "No Gulf War" sign made from the old-fashioned Gulf Oil gas station sign. Approximately 200,000 demonstrators marched along Broadway from downtown to Washington Square Park, expressing their opposition to the US-led war in Iraq. (Photo by Stephen Chenin/Getty Images)
(We can discuss the other two—the fossil fuel cost of powering all these chargers and the environmental impact of battery production and disposal—another day.)
I have to admit that decades of accumulated mastery in internal combustion engine troubleshooting and maintenance will be a little frustrating to disintegrate with obsolescence, but it will be a relief if there are fewer systems to monitor and malfunctions on the road.
Less than nine years after the last ICE-powered car rolled off the assembly line in the United States, resistance (again, a pun) to the electric car revolution would be futile. Through more innovations like Ford and some that focus on extending the charging network to rural areas, we will be ready to power millions of electric vehicles easily, quickly, and cheaply.
Until then, I will hold on to my old, smelly, 12-mile-per-gallon beast, but this is the first time — without thanking Ford and Purdue — I can see the end.
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