Electric car enthusiasts have little to cheer about with limited demand for a $30,000 novelty ("Driving Force Behind Electric: Utilities Take on Detroit in Defending Green Rules," Nov. 24).
Aside from battery cost, production of a basic electric auto should compete in the "under $10,000" range. No fuel system, no hydraulic system, no vacuum system, no cooling system or ignition, etc. Where is all the cost? Are manufacturers expecting to recoup all research expenses in their first months of limited production?
No poll could have anticipated the success of the VW Bug. Likewise, a low-cost electric will have great popularity as a second car, a commuter car, the market and school car--even with batteries limited to 50 miles. The key is the low price.
I think we also need to study our cowboy ego. The vroom-vroom at the stoplight is our bit-chomping horse; the red line on our tachometer is our six-shooter; our Western free spirit becomes a vehicle that can double the legal speed limit. Electric autos offer none of this, so somehow we must stop the alchemy in which autos become more than simple transportation.
Perhaps our youngsters' environmental educations can stress the practicality of electric cars; perhaps teen-agers could be licensed to drive only electrics.
The driving force behind the electric cars is corporate profits and bureaucrats' jobs.
Asking for a $600-million utility rate increase to subsidize the electric car is an unjustified social tax. The Air Quality Management District's job is to reduce smog. Mandating 2% electric cars in 1998 will not measurably reduce smog.
Setting up a $6,275 total incentive for each electric car is dishonest.
That $600 million would buy back a whole lot of the pre-1974 cars. Buying back pre-1974 cars will significantly reduce the smog.
ALLEN C. HAGELBERG