It can be called “a quiet revolution,” as electric cars are so noiseless — especially when compared to their roaring, internal-combustion grandfathers.
But make no mistake about it, these whispery clean machines are on the way, in massive numbers.
So said Paul Hirt, a professor at Arizona State University’s School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies.
“There may be a million electric cars in Arizona by 2035,” said Hirt.
“This is going to be a huge disruption. There’s going to be winners and losers.”
Hirt and four others spoke at “Good Year Plugged In,” an electric vehicle forum and expo held Nov. 14 at Pebble Creek, the 55-and-older community in Goodyear. The Conservative Alliance for Solar Energy and the Phoenix Electric Auto Association hosted what was billed as “the first electric vehicle (EV) event of its kind for retirees in the West Valley.”
They didn’t just pick Pebble Creek out of a hat, as this is a very “woke” retirement community: The community has 1,650 solar homes or 33% of the total Pebble Creek homes.
Two Pebble Creekers, Joe McEnerney and Dru Bacon, joined Hirt on a panel included Jim Stack, president of the Phoenix Electric Auto Association and Diane Brown, executive director of Arizona Public Interest Research Group (AZ PIRG).
“Electric vehicles boil down to three things: Cost, choice and charging,” said Brown.
While electric vehicles might be slightly more expensive than gas-guzzlers, Brown believes they are a great savings option, in the long run.
“Over the course of the life of the electric vehicle, $6,000 to $9,000 is what you can (expect to) save,” Brown said.
As for choice, Brown said “expect 100 different models of electric vehicles, including 20 minivans, by 2022.”
A few days after the Pebble Creek expo, Ford had the auto industry buzzing when it unveiled an all-electric Mustang SUV.
As for juicing up the EV’s, Brown said, “charging is becoming easier and easier.”
Hirt agreed with Brown’s points, adding safety, longevity and resale value as reasons to go electric.
While he granted early models of electric vehicle batteries were relatively short-lived, “the new lithium batteries are light-years ahead. Elon Musk (founder of Tesla) is claiming his batteries will last 300,000 miles.”
McEnerney, a retired engineer, tailgated on Hirt’s assertion, electric vehicles add safety. Removing a combustible engine “creates a crumple zone” in electric vehicles, he asserted. “And the gas tank goes away— that’s a major fire hazard.”
The forum was inside the Pebble Creek clubhouse. Outside, in the parking lot, a dozen vendors showed off futuristic-looking sports cars and even a rugged golf cart-meets-Jeep vehicle.
Goodyear Councilman Brannon Hampton gave opening remarks. His city is an electric vehicle endorser. Hampton noted Goodyear has “three electric vehicles an electric motorcycle.”
According to Corrine Holiday, Goodyear spokeswoman, the three electric vehicles currently used by Goodyear are two 2019 Nissan Leafs and a 2019 Chevy Bolt. The Bolt cost $38,474, slightly more than the $36,600 Leafs.
All three went into service over the summer.
Holiday said it is too early to look at operational costs. “The city will analyze the first year of operations to determine cost savings,” she said.
Coming soon to Goodyear: An all-electric Zero Motorcycle, to be used by the Goodyear Police Department.
“The new electric vehicles are a wonderful example of what we’re doing to invest in the city’s future,” said Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord. “The council is committed to making smart and sustainable decisions to enhance and improve the city for generations to come.”