History Repeats Itself . . . Again, by Eric Peters

Electric cars have a long and not particularly glorious history. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

Electric cars aren’t new – and neither are their problems.

Back in the mid-1990s, I experienced them firsthand – which gives me some standing to comment on them today. To specifically make the comment that very little has changed in the roughly quarter-century (tempus fugit) that’s flown by since I was a young car journalist.

I am now a middle-aged car journalist – and while my belly has gotten bigger and my need for naps, greater – electric cars are still practically and economically uncompetitive with cars that use batteries for starting engines – and motors for spinning fans – as was the case back in 1996, when the “Gen I” EV1 came out.

I can say this because I actually drove the thing when it was the latest thing – unlike probably nine out of ten of the journalists writing hagiographically about the thing today, some 25 years after the fact. Because most of the ones writing stuff today weren’t old enough to drive anything back in ’96.

Back then, I was also driving a ’74 Beetle – which was then 22 years old. Its gas tank held about 10 gallons and that meant it could go about 280 miles on a fill-up, averaging around 26 MPG. The fill-up cost about $12 (ten gallons at about $1.20 per) and the fill-up took less than five minutes.

As it does now.

Today, 25 years down the road, most electric cars still can’t go as far as my ’74 Beetle on a single charge – and the few that can take a lot longer than less than five minutes to recharge.

It is the wait rather than the range that remains the single biggest practical problem with electric cars – today.

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