It’s hard to keep up with all the fast-moving information on EVs (electric vehicles) and self-driving cars and trucks.
Who has the time? Well, there are a few of us energy nerds around who really follow this area, and most of us happen to also be passionate about fighting climate change. I’m one of those nerds, and my family lets me know when I’ve talked about it too much at dinner time, again.
However, there are reasons to be excited about EVs, specifically how you can save money along with our local governmental agencies and businesses, if you play your cards right.
When considering your next car or truck purchase it’s important to consider TCO (total cost of ownership). Today, a Tesla model 3 is cheaper than an Accord or Camry when you consider the five-year TCO. Also, a Tesla CyberTruck is about $10,000 to $20,000 cheaper than an equivalent FF (fossil fuel) F-150 for the five-year TCO.
EVs require very little maintenance: no oil changes, almost no required service intervals, and brakes almost never. Battery technology has made tremendous strides. In fact, Tesla is working on a EV battery that will last one million miles. Already they have some early EVs with 350,000 miles and only 13% battery capacity loss. I just used Tesla as an example. There will also be an all-electric F-150, GMC, Rivian, Badger, Lordstown Endurance and Bollinger in less than two years, just to name a few.
Cars? There are about 50 all-electric or plug-in electric vehicle models currently, and hundreds of more models hitting the market in the coming two to three years.
VW, GMC, FORD and many others are moving as fast as they can to an all-electrified lineup. They are stopping most of their production of FF cars soon; trucks will be close behind. So, since there’s no economic reason to buy FF cars or trucks anymore, some businesses and government agencies are considering moratoriums on purchases of FF cars and trucks.
I’m a little surprised Mayor Kawakami and/or Kaua‘i County Council hasn’t moved on this yet, but I’m sure they will soon, or it may become a major election issue. I know there have been discussions at KIUC of enacting such a moratorium, and the state is also looking at this for their fleets. The federal government and military can’t be far behind. Then the public won’t be far behind, either. In fact, there was a bill to ban the sale of FF cars and trucks by 2030. Not sure that will pass this year, but might soon.
However, I think once businesses, government agencies and the public get how much money they can save, how fun EVs are to drive, how safe EVs are, good for air quality for their employees and the public, they’ll simply stop buying the FF cars and trucks now and any ban will be moot.
That’s not all. Here’s where it gets really exciting:
RE (renewable energy) continues to get cheaper every year. So, as we add more EV cars, trucks, semis, Matson freight movers and, eventually, ships and planes, demand for power goes up, allowing KIUC to add more RE projects at cheaper rates and bring power cost down for all.
Everyone knows housing is the most-expensive aspect of living in Hawai‘i, but anyone want to guess the second-highest cost? Anyone….Ferris…. Bueller? Yes, transportation. So let’s attack that too by investing in EV charging infrastructure and encouraging more purchases of new and used EVs on Kaua‘i.
The state is considering a $2,500 tax rebate to on new and used EVs, by the way. New FF vehicle sales have been falling worldwide, and EV sales are starting to accelerate. This has been happening for the last two years, and is getting faster.
As a result, new FF car sales are needing more and more incentives to sell, and used FF cars are starting to lose value, and that depreciation will speed up. So please consider these things, as it will affect your finances personally either in a positive or negative way.
This principle is called the “Osborne Effect,” should you want to follow this a little more closely. When consumers understand a new, better product is just around the corner, they will stop buying the old and will wait for the new, better, safer, cheaper, cleaner option.
In closing, I want to encourage you to use this info to personally save money and to help hold our leadership accountable to act. Also, no judgment here, you have to work within the bounds of your personal world. My family still has a mid-sized FF SUV along with our plug-in hybrid, but we are committed to never buying a new FF vehicle again. I encourage you to do the same.
Steve Parsons is a resident of Wailua.