When a bricks-and-mortar (“real life”) friend or an online friend buys an electric car and leans on me to go and do likewise because that’s good for the environment, I tend to skip the usual questions such as how far can you drive, how fast can you drive, and do you have to map out the locations of charging stations before you go anywhere?
Since I’m “supposed to buy” an electric car to “do my part” in reducing climate change, my first question is “are you charging up what car with good electicity or bad electricity?”
“But electricity is neutral,” they say. “It has no agenda.”
“Okay,” I respond, “but if I’m to help fight climate change with my electric car, I’m not making much of a dent in the problem if my–let’s call it ‘bad’–electricity comes from fossil fuels, right?”
Some people look like deer in the headlights. “I hope that’s not where my power comes from?”
“Odds are, it is. Look at these statistics: 60% of our electricity comes from fossil fuels, that is, petroleum, coal, and natural gas.”
“I thought we were going better,” they say.
“We are, but not better enough. Do you have solar panels on the roof of your house?”
“They might help reduce the amount of bad electricity,” I say.
“They would. Maybe I’ll do that some day.”
I have these conversations all the time when new owners of electric cars suddenly become disciples even though they were driving a gas-hog car the day they saw the light and went all electric, car-wise. Maybe we need cars with solar panels. Until then, I’m going to want to know where that electricity is coming from.