Ditch your gas guzzler and rev up your electric car, urges this gung-ho manifesto.
Sydney, a technology trainer and editor of the Sustainable Transport Club Newsletter, sidesteps discussion of climate change from automotive greenhouse-gas emissions and instead bases his brief about electric vehicles on the prospect of rising gasoline prices. After a wide-ranging, cogent but somewhat disorganized look at the spiraling costs of oil production, he turns to electric vehicles as a surefire liberation from “the tyranny of the price at the pump.” His statistics make an eye-opening case for the cost advantages of electric cars; the high sticker price, he says, is balanced by superefficient electric motors with very low fuel costs. Much of the book is a love letter to the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid vehicle, which has the range of a conventional car, gets up to 1,700 miles on three gallons of gas, deploys the torque of a Camaro and holds its own in a drag race with a Porsche and a Mustang. Sydney acknowledges the pitfalls of EVs, which require a paradigm shift from an “ICE [internal combustion engine] mindset” to an “EV mindset” of constrained mobility that, he makes clear, represents a significant lifestyle commitment. EV drivers, he counsels, must be pervasively aware of weather, terrain, traffic and other factors that shorten range and may need to own or rent ICE vehicles for long hauls. He narrates several California road trips whose itineraries are strategically planned around access to still-rare—and slow—public charging stations. Overall, the book’s prose is rambling and occasionally awkward. However, Sydney’s technical explanations are lucid, and he brings a wealth of understanding and contagious enthusiasm to his subject that make the book an absorbing read for gearheads and novices alike.
An informative, infectious introduction to the joys of electric vehicles.