Can vehicle technology advance fast enough in 10 years to make the residents of Washington happy with their lack of choice?

Washington House Bill 2515 (you can find it at this shortened link: http://bit.ly/2SrLfqO) would not allow anyone in the state of Washington to license any nonelectric vehicle built on or after model year 2030. That means in 2029, when automakers introduce the 2030 model vehicles, only electric vehicles could realistically be sold in Washington.

The purpose of the law is to force everyone in the state out of their internal combustion engine vehicles and into electric vehicles. No, hybrids don’t count. They must be completely electric. Should this bill pass, there is a bunch that needs to happen within 10 years.

Electric vehicles have a range of anywhere around 40 miles to nearly 300 miles per charge. This is, of course, under ideal conditions. It is like the fuel mileage of your current car. The manufacturer tells you what the average fuel economy of the vehicle is supposed to be, but “mileage may vary.”

I wonder how a vehicle must be driven to be able to claim these longer distances. Do they have a radio playing? Any headlight usage? What about a heater or air conditioner? Each of those takes electricity to operate which will decrease the distance the vehicle can travel.

We typically don’t think much about turning on the heater when it’s 20 degrees outside. The choice is possibly between your ability to travel a longer distance or being warm. There are alternatives for warmth. You could wear long johns, a knit hat and thick jacket in your 2030 model car.

One must take into account the greater time it will take to travel around the state or country when considering how to fuel the vehicle when on the road. Most fuel stops take around seven minutes to pay at the pump, top off the tank, and hit the road. That is quite a luxury that will not be seen with an electric vehicle. Super fast recharging stations, which would not actually top off the battery, can still take 20 minutes. What happens when all the plugs are full and there are a couple of people in front of you? Might as well pull out a picnic basket and start a movie.

Speaking of recharging stations, how will those even work? Is the government (i.e. the taxpayers) going to subsidize the installation of these recharge stations? If not, how long do you think it will take private business to place a station in Rosalia? What about Garfield, Lacrosse or Palouse? I know what you’re thinking. People in Whitman County can recharge at their house overnight when they are sleeping. Well, what about those traveling to Pullman for a football game? They don’t have a house to charge their car overnight. They will be dependent on recharging stations. Infrastructure development will be a huge undertaking. Lastly, the extra electrical energy needed to supply vehicles will require great sources of electricity. Do we have the infrastructure to produce the energy? There are people who want to tear out the hydroelectric energy production in Washington. Currently we have cheap electricity prices. If our ability to create energy becomes more limited then prices will increase.

Those on the west side who don’t have to travel great distances to purchase a gallon of milk don’t realize it’s not like that for all residents. They forget we have residents in eastern Washington who have to drive much greater distances to simply get groceries and travel to work.

Yes, I understand that technology of the electric vehicle will get better and some of these problems will be a thing of the past, but do you think that within 10 years this state, or any state, will be ready to swear off the internal combustion engine in favor of an all electric vehicle fleet?

At least we live close to Idaho. Just sayin’.

Scotty Anderson is a computer programmer who enjoys serving the community through various community-oriented service jobs.

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