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Letters to the Editor: Skip the hybrid and buy a fully electric car already

Cars are parked next to a city street.
A Nissan Leaf is parked in front of a Tesla Model 3. A reader says columnist Steve Lopez’s driving needs could have been handled easily by an entry-level Tesla.
(John Gibbins / San Diego Union-Tribune)

To the editor: Glad to see that columnist Steve Lopez has finally taken a step he could have taken a full decade ago by buying a plug-in hybrid vehicle, which has limited all-electric range and a gasoline engine backup. Better late than never.

Charging infrastructure is needed for more people to go full electric, but rather than seeing this as a negative, look at it as a huge jobs program that can’t be outsourced. We need thousands of licensed electricians, and we need them now. It appears President Biden will help with some of the cost.

Getting a plug-in hybrid is a great first step, but Lopez’s driving needs as described could easily be handled by an entry-level Tesla. This is why they are so popular — they go far, and there are Tesla-specific fast-charging stations everywhere. Making that dig at Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk for using the incentive program was a cheap shot, since he neglected to mention the enormous harm from using oil.

Paul Scott, Santa Monica

The writer is co-founder of the electric vehicle advocacy group Plug In America.

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To the editor: As a driver who has been on the all-electric road for more than 20 years, I can state that once you take the exit to that road, you will likely want to stay on it.

I am not alone in my enthusiasm, especially since electric vehicle range and the number of public charging stations continue to expand. In fact, the vast majority of first-time electric car buyers stay electric when they purchase their next car.

Perhaps one of their biggest delights is zooming past gas stations and simply plugging in at home. How arduous is it, after all, to treat your car like a large cellphone and plug it in at a fraction of the cost of gasoline?

As for the dreaded “range anxiety,” I can speak from experience: I have never been stranded by the side of the road next to a car fresh out of charge. However, I have certainly been stranded by a car that has run out of gas.

Linda Nicholes, Huntington Beach

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To the editor: As the owner of a 2013 Chevy Volt, the original plug-in hybrid, I fully understand Lopez’s reasoning not to buy a fully electric car just yet.

One idea that has not taken hold in the media is the possibility of using our future electric vehicle battery capacity to back up the power grid. Each car can have between 60 and 120 kilowatt-hours of electricity stored in its battery. With millions of EVs in the future, this is a massive amount of power.

New electric vehicles have fast-charging connections, and there are already bidirectional chargers that can turn your car battery into a power source for your home. We need a program to encourage employers to install charging stations at work so that all of our excess solar energy available in the middle of the day can be dumped into our cars, which could then be used to support the electric grid when necessary.

Robert Buckner, Sierra Madre


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