Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Wall Street Journal Features Me in a Series about Electric Cars

The chart above is a representation of an entire day in my life driving the MINI-E. Mike Ramsey from the Wall Street Journal contacted me a while ago and told me he was doing a series on electric cars. He said it was his intention to show all sides to EV's; the positives and the negatives and he wanted to talk to people that had both points of view. He asked me if I felt OK with being chosen to represent the pro-EV side.

That both a great feeling and a little scary. I have been in the news quite a bit lately but this was still a great honor since the Wall Street Journal is such well respected paper with world wide distribution and out of all the electric car advocates there are, Mike sought me out to be the example of how and why people do like electric cars.

Since Mike writes out of Detroit, we did the interviews over the phone and even a little through email. He had the Journal send a photographer to my house one day at about 9:00am and spent the entire day with me. He left his car in my driveway and came with me to work and drove around with me anytime I used the car, finally returning home with me at 10:00 at night. The purpose of this was to take pictures and record my use of the car for one entire day. They wanted to show the state of charge the car had, the miles, my average speed and outside temperature to make the graphic posted above. If you click the link below to the complete article you can enlarge the graph and see additional information.

The series of articles in the Journal did have more of an anti-EV slant, with Mike concentrating more on the roadblocks and issues that EV's may have than the positives. I'm a little disappointed that he didn't print more of what we talked about because I think a defended electric cars admirably and offered reasons why people are going to embrace them instead of focusing on their shortcomings. We talked about how the early cell phones were so expensive, had terrible range and were huge and cumbersome but somehow, despite the problems of the early models they prevailed and are now a part of just about everyone's life.

I got a lot of emails after the article ran and a couple "well done" messages from a few electric car advocates. You never know how an article will be written when you give an interview. Although I would have like to see a little more about the reasons I gave for why I think EV's will be a success, overall I think Mike was fair and didn't misrepresent anything we discussed. You can read the whole article by clicking on this link.


  1. I read the article on Monday when it came out. I agree it it clear the author is decidedly anti-electric car. Most of the points he brought up in the other articles can easily be argued, but you don't get the opportunity to do so in the newspaper business.
    He used quotes from a Honda executive that is particularly annoying about not being able to take your sick child to the hospital. Give me a break. As you stated above, I wish he allowed you to respond to some of the rhetoric that was printed. Instead he printed it all like it was just fact, bad job Mr Ramsay!

  2. I like the graphic display they made for the article. I was wondering, are there days when you are limited by how far you can go? I see on this day you returned home with 30% of the battery capacity remaining. How low do you typically get each day?

  3. The closer we get to the Nissan Leaf and Volt becoming a real consumer option the more anti EV hit pieces I have been seeing. The wall Steet Journal has had a disproportionate share of them. What can you expect from a paper who's in the back pocket of big oil. Expect to see the anti EV rhetoric heat up in the weeks to follow.

  4. Sarah: I have written extensively on how the 100 mile range really doesn't limit my use of the car. For daily driving the 100-120 mile range is usually more than enough, however I can also charge at work if necessary. At work I have a 50amp 220v EVSE so if the car was completely out of charge it would take me about 3 hours to recharge to full capacity, thus allowing another 100-120 miles. Usually I only need to plug in foe a hour or so to "top off" if I need to drive far on any particular day.

    Anonymous: Yes, you are correct and we will see more and more anti EV rhetoric now for sure. I don't think this particular author is in anyone's pocket though, but you never know. Mike and I talked a few times, and for a long time going back and forth on the value and virtues of electric cars as well as the shortcomings. I only wish he incorporated more of what we discussed into his articles.

  5. In my humble opinion electric cars will take a few years to really gain acceptance. Many will be unwilling to be the guinea pigs and will wait and watch their friends and neighbors drive EV's and ask them how they like them. If the early electric cars like the volt and the leaf are good, reliable cars then they will pave the way for many others that follow.

    I'm betting this is going to be a big deal, a revolution of sorts.

    Tom, this blog has been a shining beacon of light for those of us that want to see electric cars become mainstream. Your experiences, opinions and thoughts have reached many people. Keep up the great work!

  6. I read that article on WSJ. I love how you have embraced the MINI EV and that it works for people like you. I believe a good majority of Americans can benefit from a person who never thought of driving an EV. I'm saving up money to buy an EV in the next 2 or 3 years. -Reader from California.