Electric vehicles are the future



By Ray Graham

Internal combustion engines have propelled our transportation industry for 100 years and, with wonderful manufacturing processes, have allowed most consumers the opportunity to engage in their personal transportation system. And while these engines have propelled our society into an era of enjoyment and growth, they have also affected the environment of the world in which we live.

According to a recent Time Magazine article, these internal combustion engines in the USA currently produce 30 percent of the world’s CO2 emissions. Yes, the world’s!

The first electric vehicle that I encountered was provided to Tom Gosce by Bangor Hydro in 1995. The lead acid battery system provided moderate travel in the Bangor area, but it was a start! My children have been using a Mazda Leaf for several years for their family of five, with a limited range of approximately 100 miles. I have my first electric vehicle on order for possible February receipt that features all-wheel drive (we live 2 miles on private road), 300-mile range, seating for seven (we can take our grandchildren!) and towing capability. Also, I have photovoltaics on the roof that provide free fuel, delivered daily.

Tesla has elevated the perception of electrical vehicles beautifully. Ford has proposed the F150 Lightning to replace “working trucks” currently in use, with 300-plus range, 120/240 VAC outlets that can be used for work power or as backup power source for homes that lose electricity during storms, a “frunk” that is as large as many current trunks and many other features. I recently saw Hyundai Ioniq promoted for $179/month from a local dealer. These offerings promote the desirability of electric vehicles.

As with many technologies, there are bumps in the road for going electric. First is the availability of remote charging stations. My personal charging station cost $500 plus installation, or a two-month payback in my situation. Governor Mills and President Biden are both promoting governmental programs to stimulate the installation of remote charging stations. Plus, utility companies and others may step forward to install these units as a business. The second issue is range, as my current SUV is able to travel 400 miles on gasoline fill, whereas my future SUV may cover 300 miles between “fill-ups.” But, as I stated earlier, my home “fuel” is free from the sun! Perhaps this concept will encourage others to install photovoltaic systems at their homes. Thirdly is the question of continued battery development. I have not found absolute perfection in my lifetime, so mining for specific minerals to manufacture batteries may induce environmental issues that we have yet to address. But, given the opportunity of electric vehicles to mitigate a cause of climate change that is encroaching on all our livescles, perhaps technology can develop other means to manufacture acceptable batteries.

Electric vehicles represent the future of our transportation system, whether by government coercion or by consumer choice. Let’s look to the future!

Ray Graham is an engineer with experience in aerospace and food processing. Now retired, he has operated several local businesses. He lives in Sullivan.

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