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Letter to the editor: Transition to electric needed

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Posted on December 27, 2018 |
By Peter Grant



I have had an electric car for a year now and am mostly happy with it, on warm sunny days — a Chevy Volt.

It gets about the equivalent of 100 miles a gallon with $2.50 for a gallon of gas and $0.15 per kWh in electric mode. Or 45 miles on a gallon of gas in gas mode. This doesn’t really offset the lease of $310/month.

But it is a California car. It took the service tech 15 minutes of pushing buttons and fiddling when he showed a weak stream of warm air coming out. That doesn’t really heat the car at 20 below, and not the toasting blast a good Vermont car can do. Well, it does have a steering wheel heater and seat warmers. If it is cold enough outside (it has a temperature gage on the speed display) the seat warmer comes on automatically, which uses a lot of battery. When it is below freezing the gas motor comes on to assist the battery that gets weak when cold. And it has a big gap between the hood and windshield for snow to fill up and attack the wipers. I once drove a car that had the wipers retreat below the hood and in an ice storm I had to stop the car and engine when the wipers were up so I could get the ice off.

It has two dashboard displays and someone can fiddle with buttons and suddenly the steering wheel buttons control the radio instead of mileage; or the car beeps at you for some reasons that can be hard to figure out like putting it in gear with a door open, but it has a nasty habit of locking the passenger door so my wife can’t get in if it is in gear.

I can drive long distances with it, only about 70 miles on a fully charged battery (over two trips to Middlebury) and over 300 miles on a tank of gas, and forever with re-filling the gas tank, but it takes over four hours with a costly high-speed charger to refill the battery and, 15 hours with the supplied cord to plug into 110 volts at home. They should make a battery that can be removed and replaced with a charged one, like replacing tired horses at a stagecoach station with a well-rested team, ready within seconds.

I have solar panels but a lot of good they do this time of year and most of 2018 where cloud cover doesn’t allow panels to make much power. Gotta end global warming. It sends a signal to a satellite if the tire pressure is low so I get an email warning of low pressure, but nothing in the 300-page instruction book tells what the desired pressure is supposed to be so look at the tire to find the numbers, if you can find them. And the tires have so many numbers that finding the pressure in the dark is impossible.

The back up TV takes some time to get used to as left to right are confused from the way back up mirrors are.

It is hard to go back to an exhaust-emitting car.

Peter Grant

Bristol

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