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Social Change, Curmudgeons, & FAQs for EV Owners

By Paul Wildman and David Waterworth, who answer the same questions about EVs over and over and over … and over.

These ideas grew out of conversations we had with people who cannot seem to accept the fact that electric vehicles are here, and that they are at least a partial answer to the climate crisis, thus turning some EV owners into Curmudgeons and Termagants. (Disclaimer: most people who ask questions are genuinely seeking information.)

The art of “infinite regress.” It doesn’t matter how cheap the vehicle is, or how long the range, there will always be a margin to moan about. This is epitomized by the neighbor who wants to be able to tow his caravan over the top of Uluru all the way from Adelaide to Darwin on one charge. You wonder if some of these people ever stop to urinate.

The truth is that we do need a reasonable range and towing ability, but most people use their cars most of the time just to commute to work. We need to make sensible choices that fit with our lifestyles and budgets, no matter what drivetrain we use.

Curmudgeons and Termagants

Lots of Questions!

The infinite possibility of a battery fire. “What if” the batteries catch on fire. This is a real risk. However, it is far more likely that a petrol car will catch on fire. Media has fanned the flames of this one.

FUD bombing. As one resolves one issue of concern regarding EVs, other arguments are constantly advanced, thereby shifting the locus of focus from them to EVs, and ultimately to our inability to know everything about EVs. Google it!

Astro-costing. “EVs cost soooooo much that its best not to bother. If I do, I will blow a bunch of money.” (Like you have!! hehe). This one shows that the questioner failed at mathematics because he/she can’t work out the weekly cost of petrol/diesel and add it to the cost of the car. (Beyond that, there are dozens of EVs currently selling for significantly less than the US national average transaction price, which reached $47,077 in Q4 of 2021.)

Trolling. For instance, “why is it that EVs don’t use safer forms of electricity that won’t cause sparks?”

Curmudgeons and Termagants

Really good questions!

Catfishing. Here, a person creates a persona that expresses interest in EVs yet then denigrates them, thereby upsetting and belittling us and decrying the relevance of EVs today.

Monkey branching. Can be positive, whereby someone is mainlining fossil-powered vehicles yet will dabble a bit on the side with EVs yet remain publicly a solid fossil fuel vehicle supporter.

Taking the EV orange pill. Celebrating the freedom of petrol vehicles — “we can fill up anywhere” … “what if the grid goes down?” This person always seems to forget that petrol pumps run on electricity.

As we slowly turn into curmudgeons at the end of a day after answering hundreds of questions (actually, usually only a few questions, hundreds of times), we find ourselves exhibiting frustrated pushback as curmudgeons and termagants (i.e., “curmudgermagants”). For example, I got a bit sarcastic and told a couple they better stand back, as the car exploded every few days and the battery burst into flames! Sadly, they believed me and reacted accordingly!

We are sure we’ll be answering these questions again at the upcoming EV expos in Gympie and Goomeri. We’ll try to be patient.

We are searching for the EV kairos moment — a key moment in time at the start of the ascension of EV uptake. The ancient Greeks came up with the word “kairos” for a specific type of momentary conjuncture where futures (plural) are up for grabs and everything hinges on which potential future (future of EVs, hybrids, etc.) is grasped as an opportunity to be actualized. Might it be possible to claim that moment as this?

Let’s collaborate on sharing repeated instances of FUD regarding EVs we have come across. We will include your experiences in the next list. It might help us all to deal with them better.

Dr Paul Wildman: Wildman is a retired crafter and academic. He was director of the Queensland apprenticeship system for several years in the early 1990s and is enthusiastic about demonstrating the importance of craft, peer-to-peer manufacturing, collaboration, and “our commons” in social, economic, and technological innovations such as EVs. Paul is long on Tesla and trying to prove a Fox Terrier can be trained. See Paul’s crafter podcasts here.

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David Waterworth is a retired teacher who divides his time between looking after his grandchildren and trying to make sure they have a planet to live on. He is long on Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA].


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