fb-pixel Skip to main content

The electric vehicle acid test

An electric car charging station was positioned outside the Science Museum where Virginia state senators met for their 2021 legislative session, in Richmond, Va., on Feb. 18, 2021.Steve Helber/Associated Press

The problem is not the cars — it’s the public investment

It’s hard to build support for electric vehicles when publications like the Globe keep tearing them down.

In her Jan. 15 Ideas article, “My road trip revealed that electric cars still have a long way to go,” Joan Lukey described her attempt to take a 1,000-mile road trip from Boston to Savannah, Ga., using her EV. Few drivers would try to make such a trip in a single day with a gas-powered car, yet Lukey seems disappointed that it took two long days to make it all the way.

Rather than examining how many people actually want and can afford to make such treks, she says that her inability to do so means that “EVs still are primarily for people who want, and can afford, both a ‘home’ car and an ‘away’ car.” To her credit, Lukey largely blames the lack of charging-station infrastructure and concludes that the government needs to invest more to make EVs more accessible. However, this thoughtful conclusion is largely overshadowed by a headline that blames the cars rather than the infrastructure.

I fear that readers will conclude that EVs are not worth their time rather than that we need to pressure our elected officials to do much more to make an electrified future a reality.


Ian Evans


Before you take off, tank up on app research

Joan Lukey writes that “you need a smartphone app to find the non-Tesla charging stations” if you go on a road trip.

Well, yes. What’s hard about that?

There are multiple apps, such as A Better Routeplanner (ABRP) and PlugShare, both cited in a recent Globe article. The EVHotels app shows hotels with Level 2 chargers, where you can recharge overnight, often at no cost. (Know any hotels that will give you a free tank of gas?) And Tesla says it will make its network of more than 7,000 Level 3 fast chargers available to other makes, though that will require an adapter.


Few trips exceed the range of a typical EV. But when you need recharging on a road trip, a combination of built-in technology and related apps can get you there, Lukey’s glass-half-empty narrative notwithstanding.

Michael A. Sandman


Tesla set the path. Now other carmakers need to do more to build out charger network.

Joan Lukey writes about her experience driving a new Kia EV and discovering that charging a non-Tesla electric vehicle is hard given the dearth of Combined Charging System, or CCS, chargers along her 1,000-mile route. Her proposed solution, however, is to force Tesla to open its chargers to all vehicles rather than force the other EV manufacturers to invest in a charging network.

Tesla invested in those charging stations to make its cars easier to live with, while the major auto manufacturers scoffed at Tesla as an upstart that would never succeed. Kia could direct a portion of its revenues to building out some chargers. The only other major auto company to have built chargers is Volkswagen, as part of its settlement over its diesel emissions scandal.

In the meantime, Lukey should repeat the trip in a Tesla and write a rebuttal of her previous experience.

Henry J. Feldman