Opinion | Summit sustainability coordinator: Let’s embrace electric vehicles | SummitDaily.com

Opinion | Summit sustainability coordinator: Let’s embrace electric vehicles

Michael Wurzel
Summit County sustainability coordinator

Electric vehicles are clearly the future of transportation, and banning them in Summit County sets a bad example. The internal-combustion engine vehicle is going the way of the horse and buggy. Tesla is clearly the leader in electric vehicles, but GM, Ford, VW, Toyota and other global auto manufacturers have all announced billions of dollars in investments in electric vehicle manufacturing and battery technology. GM has committed to ending the production of internal-combustion engine vehicles by 2030. Surely, many others will follow suit.

The reason for this pivot to electric vehicles is that they are clearly superior to internal-combustion engine vehicles. Traditional vehicles have a 100 year head start on electric vehicles in terms of technology and manufacturing, yet the best gas mileage they can muster is 39 miles per gallon of gasoline. Electric vehicles regularly get 100 miles per gallon of gasoline-equivalent with electricity, and that number will improve dramatically as battery technology advances rapidly. It’s impossible for an internal-combustion engine vehicle to compete with the fuel efficiency and lower fuel costs of an electric vehicle. Not to mention, electric vehicles are faster, more powerful, less noisy, more technologically advanced and more reliable than internal-combustion engine vehicles. Best of all though, electric vehicles can be charged at home at electricity rates that are significantly cheaper than gasoline.

FuelEconomy.gov estimates the fuel cost to drive a 2021 model vehicle 100 miles is:

  • $2.76 for a Tesla Model 3 all-wheel drive
  • $18.96 for a Ford F-150 4×4
  • $12.40 for a Subaru Outback all-wheel drive

Driving electric sounds like a good deal to me. How would you like to start off every day with a full tank of gas? An electric vehicle offers this convenience. Like a phone, you plug it in at night and start your day with a full charge. Xcel Energy’s electricity will be 80% renewable by 2030, so most of the electrons flowing into an electric vehicle battery will come from clean, wind or solar energy produced on the eastern plains of Colorado. Lastly, electric vehicles have zero tailpipe emissions, which means carbon dioxide and exhaust particulates won’t pollute our communities’ fresh air with their toxic fumes.

Sure, electric vehicles are more expensive than internal-combustion engine vehicles right now, but the total cost of ownership of an electric vehicle is cheaper than a similarly equipped internal-combustion engine vehicle. Also, the costs of electric vehicles are dropping steeply as global manufacturing and supply chains ramp up and used electric vehicle markets mature. There are not as many all-wheel drive and 4×4 electric vehicle models available for our needs in the High Country, yet these models will become widely available soon. Tesla already has a nationwide network of electric vehicle fast chargers, including in Silverthorne, while gas stations and commercial businesses, such as Walmart in Frisco, add electric vehicle fast chargers for shoppers and travelers.

Electric vehicles are here, and they are here to stay. Banning electric vehicles from parking is the wrong approach for our community. Summit County governments, businesses, resorts and lodging should strive to be electric vehicle friendly because our residents and visitors will be driving more and more electric vehicles, and they deserve safe, reliable parking for their vehicles.

Michael Wurzel

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Now more than ever, your financial support is critical to help us keep our communities informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having on our residents and businesses. Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.

Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.