Letters

01/26/01

I would buy an electric vehicle today, but no well-engineered vehicles — such as the General Motors EV-1 — are available in Texas.

Charles Freeman



What’s wrong with the dems?

RE: “Death by a Thousand Quotes

01/26/01

The only comfort I find in the Democrats’ pandering to the religious right is that the senators from California are voting against Ashcroft. Anyone who has read Sen. Feinstein’s statement on Ashcroft would realize the man speaks with a forked tongue. Are the other democrats too blind or are there other forces at work?

Phyllis Pircher



Car companies in cahoots

RE: “I Want My ZEV

01/25/01

Besides corrupt car companies, there may be another explanation for the reticence to produce ZEV’s: a collusion between the car and oil corporations to increase both vehicle and gasoline consumption.

Michael Zara



Better cars no better

RE: “I Want My ZEV

01/25/01

Battery powered vehicles will never make sense from an engineering standpoint as replacements for our internal combustion-powered automobiles. No amount of government regulation is going to change the physical limitations of battery powered cars, whose oversized, toxic batteries are bad for car performance and the environment.

Fuel cells are promising technology for clean cars, but commercial implementation is at least five years away. And we still have that nasty problem of road congestion.

We don’t really need better cars. We need better public transport — a lightweight monorail of high-capacity, high-speed trains, for instance. These would be safer than highways, cleaner than cars, more affordable, and would create jobs.

Geoffrey J. Swenson



You got that right

RE: “I Want My ZEV

01/24/01

Thank you for this story, a breath of fresh air in the normally hazy Detroit-driven media coverage of California’s electric car issue. I’ve been driving an EV1 since June of 1998, and based on my experience, your explanation of the situation is entirely accurate. Nice work.

Jerry Hudgins



I got one

RE: “I Want My ZEV

01/24/01

I am one of the people lucky enough to have a GM EV1. This is the most sensible, peppy, and fun car I have ever owned. It was like pulling teeth to get GM to lease this car to me. In a typical week I let at least four or five people take this car for a spin and the response is amazing. Give me a hundred of these cars and I am sure I can find grateful people to give them all homes.

The convenience of being able to charge at home and essentially have a full tank every morning is wonderful. The added bonus — that driving is not degrading the environment — puts a smile on my face on the way down the road. The auto companies are clearly trying to maintain the status quo and want electric cars to fail! Drive one and you will be convinced.

Ken Katz



I want one

RE: “I Want My ZEV

01/24/01

Count me in as an interested alternative-fuel-vehicle driver. I have been searching for something clean and green to replace my regular combustion engine for some time. Toyota makes the RAV4 in an electric version, but no dealer here in my area on the East Coast has ever heard of it! My options seem to boil down to ordering a kit to build one myself or waiting years for the auto industry to wake up. There are many of us who would snap up an EV.

Stacy Horrigan



To be expected

RE: “The Department of Energy’s War on Whistleblowers

01/23/01

The article on whistleblowers shouldn’t come as a surprise. It is merely a reflection of the corporate attitude toward working people. We are consumable supplies, and when it costs more to keep us than we produce we become expendable.

Tom Lewiston
Fall City, Wash.



One unsatisfied would-be customer

RE: “I Want My ZEV

01/23/01

I agree completely with your piece. I’ve been trying to get a Honda EV+ for some time now. I’ve hassled Honda and been put on the waiting list and I’m probably about 25th in line. I’ve written to Gray Davis in support of CARB’s ZEV program. I’ve called numerous dealers. This argument about low demand is not factual. Honda maintains a long waiting list of individuals and fleets who are interested in buying EVs.

Good reporting. Please forward your findings to CARB. They should be busting the carmakers on this.

Robert Cowart
Berkeley, Calif.



EVs: problems under the hood

RE: “I Want My ZEV

01/23/01

The idea of a zero emissions vehicle is very nice. However, I would be delighted if I could buy a ZEV with great performance, handling and styling. Driving a feather-weight vehicle with tires that can barely handle a wet road is not compelling for me or for a lot of consumers. Lots of us want an environmentally responsible car that is fun to drive, too — if auto manufacturers could build one with that in mind.

Alexander Martis



EVs a grand success

01/23/01

Thanks for your article on ZEVs. I drive an EV (the Honda EV Plus), and love it. I’m sure more people would drive them if given the chance (and a reasonable purchase or lease cost, made possible if car companies would produce more of them).

I’m holding my breath to see what the CARB does this week, and hoping they will do the right thing.

Gordon Firestein



01/23/01

As an EV1 driver myself, I was delighted by your article. You’ve hit the nail right on the head, and I hope CARB receives engraved copies of the article to couteract the misleading statements from the car companies.

One thing any EV1 driver can tell you: it’s hard to go a day without getting questions about your car from interested persons. If only a fraction of the folks who express such interest proceeded to buy or lease the car, the demand would outstrip the mandate’s requirements easily.

Mike Kobb
Belmont, Calif.



EVs: environmental hazards

RE: “I Want My ZEV

01/23/01

I have no doubt that most Americans would like to drive clean, emissions-free vehicles and forcing the issue through legislation is one way to stimulate the manufacturers to develop such vehicles. However, as a potential user, I find these electric cars problematic.

Their lead batteries are environmentally expensive to produce and dispose of, and their range isn’t really optimal. I am further concerned that the energy used to recharge them is not necessarily clean. At least conventional cars have very strict emissions standards and are running cleaner than ever.

Finally, California is having a terrible time providing electrical energy to its citizens. I don’t think the system needs additional users in the name of the environment when many would like to blame “environmentalists” for causing the energy shortage in the first place.

Rachel Levitt
Boston, Mass.



01/22/01

The issue really is the overall environmental impact of battery-powered vehicles versus that of other methods of transportation. When the batteries die, where do they go — recycling facilities, nuclear dumps — where? And what is the energy and environmental cost to produce the vehicles and their power sources? Until someone proves that these factors yield an environmental cost savings over internal combustion-powered vehicles, the ZEV benefit argument is incomplete.

That said, the story of hybrid gasoline/battery vehicles, having been around since the early 1980’s, is worthy of research and discovery. Overall, this technology may be superior to both gasoline- and battery-powered vehicles.

Finally, before we go off half-cocked about collusion among producers, fuel cell vehicles need to be considered, as some parties maintain that, in 10 years, they will spell the death both of gasoline and hybrid vehicles.

Jed Pauker



History lesson

RE: “Ashcroft’s Power Play

01/22/01

Your article was very informative in the facts that were brought out. However, I think it’s a shame that MoJo comes out like such hypocrites by criticizing Ashcroft’s support of tobacco and beer while considering itself the great protector of America’s right of liberty and its peoples’ freedom of conscience. How is it that such talented journalists can abdicate their responsibility to be balanced and fair-minded?

Tod Gable



History lesson

RE: “Death by a Thousand Quotes

01/22/01

Rall describes Ashcroft as being ignorant about Civil War history, but I find this statement could probably apply more to Rall than to Ashcroft. Lest we forget, the reason that the South seceded in the first place was over states’ rights — not directly over slavery.

Charles J. Ferro



Money, not soda, for educators

RE: “Schoolhouse Rot

01/22/01

This problem is indicative of the budgetary crisis that schools are facing today. I sympathize with the administrators’ dilemna when they are presented with a pile of cash from a soda company in exchange for marketing access to their students.

The government needs to be willing to spend equally enormous sums on school reform planning committees, school construction, teacher certification programs and scholarships as it does on the drug war.

Is this soda-funding-education the kind of corporate involvement that President Bush wants to foster? I hope not, but I fear so.

Carter Reedy