For decades (over a century in fact) we and our forefathers and foremothers have been provided with an odd proposition. This proposition is almost as fresh today as it was over a century ago. It goes like this.

Spend tens of thousands of dollars (or more) on a car that is powered by a somewhat inefficient Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) that burns fossil fuels, produces greenhouse gases, causes severe and ongoing climate change and poses an existential threat to humanity. Virtually no one will ever emphasize to you that only 12% to 30% of the energy in gasoline is used to move your vehicle, with most of the remaining energy lost as heat. ICE vehicles will come in all shapes, sizes and colours. But little more will be done than to slightly tweak the efficiency of the ICE system over time. However, to compensate for ICE inefficiency, bells and whistles and creature comforts to this platform will be added over time and new models will be released each year. The many more than necessary moving parts in your vehicle will ensure that the cars (and the parts) won’t last too long so that you’ll be able to constantly renew your ownership with a new or new-to-you vehicle.

With these vehicles a huge ever-growing network of fuel stations will be built, where they will sell you fuel at ever-increasing costs. Over time, these fuel stations will be located virtually everywhere on Earth, for your convenience. Although these fuel stations will contaminate the grounds they are built on, this will cause little concern for you and your fellow citizens. Over time, stopping weekly at a gas station to refuel at a cost of $50 to $100 will become so “normal” that you will think this is the only way things can be done. And you will fight and argue to maintain your normal.

Perpetuated in this is a system where you have to return to the garage periodically to do “maintenance”. This will provide an opportunity to suggest to you that you need this or that repair or upgrade to your existing car. These maintenance stations will usually be co-located with sales outlets, so that we will constantly remind of the opportunity to acquire a new vehicle. Again regularly scheduled maintenance will become “normal”.

Don’t worry because in your lifetime there will always be fuel available. There are extraction sites across the world (world-wide demand increased to over 100 million barrels of oil a day in 2023). It is unlikely that you will see many of the ultimate impacts of climate change because these changes will likely occur in the longer term.

This is the benchmark against which any future or new technology in personal vehicles is being and will be evaluated.

Enter Electric Vehicles. As an owner of an electric vehicle, one can quite clearly see that the proposition fed to us over more than a century has many flaws. This proposition has got the Earth to the brink of climate disaster. It most certainly assures that the lives of our children and grandchildren will be worse because we didn’t call out the perpetrators of this proposition earlier. As far as ICE being the predominant technology for cars, we have missed the mark as far as a “long term plan”. Unlike many of the technologies that support human life on Earth, ICE technology has more or less been stagnant for over 100 years. Imagine using the same basic technologies for communication for all of the last century. Or perpetuating the same technologies for a century as related to computing, health care, nutrition, or virtually any other aspect of our lives.

Electric Vehicles (EVs) represent a major paradigm shift in ownership of personal vehicles. Sitting in the driver’s seat of an EV we can clearly see that there is a better way to change the way we see, experience and interact with our personal vehicles. Instead of making the weekly trip to re-fuel our cars, why not just do the refueling at home, at our leisure, when the car is parked and not being used. Fuel costs for an EV are a fraction of the cost of gas. Instead of building ICE cars with a plethora of moving parts, why not simplify the personal vehicle with far fewer parts to make it go. Instead of ICE cars that are largely built on the notion of mechanical operations, why not use advances in computing to support the operations of our cars. Instead of owning cars that require regular oil changes and a prescribed maintenance schedule, why not build cars where traditional “maintenance” is eliminated. Instead of basing a personal vehicle on a poisonous, destructive, polluting fuel, why not simply take humanity-threatening gas out of the personal vehicle.

But because EVs represent a significant paradigm shift, many people will argue to maintain the “normal” (the status quo) that is referred to above. Clinging to the ICE paradigm is understood. Reluctance to embrace the new EV paradigm is hard. Many nay-sayers have created reasons of why a move to EVs is not workable. Most of these “reasons” are expressed from the perspective of the ICE paradigm. I call these reasons “Myths” and I’ve spent some time analyzing these “myths”. Myths about EVs are always expressed and concocted from an ICE paradigm. But exploding these myths is for another time. Suffice it to say, to make sense of these myths, a prerequisite is that one has to engage in a paradigm shift. Simply stated – in this context – Fossil fueled ICE vehicles have to go. EVs have to be embraced.

Of course, EVs are not the ultimate panacea for the Earth for all time, In time more efficient and appropriate technologies may emerge. But for me the paradigm of everyone burning fuel that is killing humanity just doesn’t make sense anymore. And I say bring on the new paradigm – Lets all get started with stopping the paradigm that is killing us. Let’s stop demanding fossil fuels to power our cars. Embracing the EV paradigm is the first step. We should all acknowledge that ICE cars are incompatible with the success of humanity. Moving into the EV paradigm (replacing our gas cars with EVs) will take a little time.

The clear takeaway from this is that EVs lead to less emissions and they need to become our new normal quickly – time matters.

 

Kim Elliott is a SCAN! member and a retired accountant who specialized in financial management and management assessment.

 

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