The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Crash Test

It appears that some conservative commentators and right-wing media sources look for any reason to criticize electric vehicles. The narrative follows one of a number of memes: they’re underpowered and unattractive, they’re too expensive, the public doesn’t want them, they’re nothing but government subsidized golf carts, their range is insufficient, and most recently, they’re unsafe because a few car fires have occurred.

None of these claims stand up to scrutiny and that's why it's quite odd that some conservatives have such a violent reaction to EVs. After all, if adopted in meaningful numbers, EVs will reduce our dependence on foreign oil, particularly from countries that are clearly not our friends. EVs will also reduce pollutants into the air (because EVs emit no pollutants and have no tail pipe). EVs will create American jobs and in some cases, EVs are close to 100 percent American made in American factories.

Most recently, a car fire that occurred after a violent NTSA sanctioned collision test of a Chevy Volt has the right-wing blogosphere aflutter. In reality, the car was purposely crashed into a pole, which destroyed the car and cracked the battery casing. It was towed to a wrecking lot and three weeks later, it caught fire.

According to :
After news of the fire, both Chevrolet and the NHTSA independently replicated the crash test and subsequent vehicle rotation procedure. In neither case could they reproduce the conditions under which the battery pack ignited.

Months later, the NHTSA doesn't appear to view the fire as terribly alarming. It has given the Volt a five-star safety rating, and the IIHS designated the Volt a Top Safety Pick as well.

“Based on the available data, NHTSA does not believe the Volt or other electric vehicles are at a greater risk of fire than gasoline-powered vehicles," the agency said in a statement today. "In fact, all vehicles -- both electric and gasoline-powered -- have some risk of fire in the event of a serious crash.”

It will take decades, but EVs will become a major segment of the automotive fleet. The Right’s unthinking resistance to these 21st century vehicles is antithetical to any attempt at energy independence.