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Dear non-believers, I was once like you. I did not understand how important it was to switch from an internal-combustion engine (ICE) car to electric. This year marks my fifth anniversary of driving an electric car in Los Angeles. There were no changes in my lifestyle, I saved lots of money and I am safer and better off.

I see a few pain points from people that I try to convince to drive electric. They don’t like the looks of EVs. They can’t see the damage they are doing. They have range anxiety. They think EVs are expensive. Let me ease the pain.

Ugly is in the Eye of the Beholder

When my neighbour saw my 2016 LEAF SL he said with a grimace on his face, “That car is ugly,” to which I replied, “I don’t care.”

I care more about air quality than looks. I added a unicorn face, a black LeBra, flowers, pink slipcovers and other decorations to make it absolutely adorable. It makes a statement that EVs are fun.

Today, new electric vehicles are some of the most beautiful cars on the planet. Plus, electric cars have great acceleration with instant torque. Electric cars also have more space because they’re being built on skateboard platforms. Today, electric cars now come in all shapes and sizes.

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Seeing is Believing

When the Spanish settlers came to Southern California a few Indians were living in this basin. Their burning fires created thick smoke that could be seen. It was called the Valley of Smokes. Later, when freeways and ICE cars arrived, came smog that was thick and cloudy. Through regulation, automakers cleaned up the exhaust. Cars are still polluting but we cannot see the pollution. Some people have to see something to believe it.

To illustrate our climate warming to soon-to-be former President Trump, Wade Crowfoot, California’s secretary for natural resources, showed a chart of temperatures in California. Later Crowfoot Tweeted ‘It actually won’t get cooler, Mr President’.

I was nearby when the BobCat fire started. Some of my friends evacuated. In San Francisco, the fires that burned near the city turned the air orange at night. 

According to CalFire as of November 15 in 2020, there were 7,602 fires with 1,493,622 acres burned.

The American Lung Association finds that a widespread transition to clean electric cars and transportation in the U.S. would prevent approximately 6,300 premature deaths and prevent and more than 93,000 asthma attacks and 416,000 lost workdays per year based on emission reductions in 2050. It would prevent climate-impacts valued at up to $113 billion in 2050. The city that would benefit the most by electrifying is Los Angeles, California.

Snow is on the surrounding mountains, hopefully dampening the ability to catch fire. However, even just walking my dog in the morning, the air quality level is dangerous. While writing this article on Monday, a quick check of the PurpleAir map showed bad air quality for sensitive people.

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Range Addiction is So Last Century

Range anxiety is unrealistic. It depends upon what you believe. During the Battery Show, Naoki Matsumura, Lead Engineer, Intel Corporation, who lives in Silicon Valley, thinks a hundred is enough. Celina Mikolajczak, Panasonic who drives a Tesla Model S, with an over 200-mile range, says it is fine. Mark Kaufman Global Director, Electrification at Ford Motor Company believes that Ford’s decision for a 300-mile range is better. Lucid Motors believes that a 500-mile range is the best.

Meanwhile, most people continue to drive less than 40 miles a day, so if you have a charger at home there is no problem.

I charge at home, which is much cleaner than handling the filthy gas pump. Sometimes when I go to the beach, I know where there is an electric charger. I plug-in and, by the time I come back to my car, it’s fully charged. For CES, I rented a car for five days to go to Las Vegas, which cost far less than what I save driving electric.

Changes Only for the Better

My life has not changed in any major way since I’ve been driving an electric car.

Since I gave up an old clunker that polluted eight times more than a newer car, I have much better safety features including side airbags. I love the surround-view camera. The rest of the world will be happy because I did not realize until I had the 360° surround-view camera that I had been parking crooked for years. Now when I back up, I see what’s around me. The car makes a beeping sound and pedestrians stop and wait.

I’m less likely to die in an accident due to the improved brakes and safety features of driving a newer car. Cars made before 2000 have been proven to have higher death rates in accidents. Yes, my electric car is safer and cheaper than most older ICE cars.

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Going Green Saves Your Greenbacks

Consumer Reports finds owning a new electric vehicle will save the typical driver $6,000 to $10,000 over the life of the vehicle compared to owning a comparable gas-powered car. Fuel savings alone can be $4,700 or more over the first seven years. EV owners pay about half as much to maintain and repair their cars as people with gas vehicles. Owners of EVs 5 to 7 years old can save twice or three times as much.

Electric cars may seem too expensive. The good news is the state of California has many programs for low-income people to replace that old pollution spouter with incentives up to $9,500 towards an electric car. Utility companies are also paying back up to $1,500.

With our new president-elect, there will be even more incentives for people to give up their old fossil fuel guzzlers. We are now at a point where going electric is not about the money it’s about breathing and living better.

The bottom line is the difference between me and most drivers is that I have done something. There’s not much we can do as individuals to stop global warming. I am happy knowing that I made a decision that I was not going to contribute to climate change when I drive.

Now it’s your turn to change the planet – one EV at a time.

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