I got a kick out of this news piece. My local station ran it this morning.
The story is about Derek Costello, a Canadian man who converted a 1938 Jaguar to an electric vehicle for $15,000. Costello gets 125 miles out of a charge and says that batteries that would allow him to drive in winter would cost an additional $7,000.
Right after that, the news reporter Lindsey Clark asks, “So why are car companies not building electric cars?”
Lindsey: I’m not sure if you’ve been watching the Tour de France coverage this year, but Nissan has sunk some advertising into its new all-electric vehicle, the Leaf. Also, GM is getting ready to roll out the Volt. And, a simple Google search on ‘electric vehicle history’ will turn up plenty of information about tried and failed attempts to produce and sell electric vehicles.
Instead, Lindsey offers this answer:
The critics say it’s because the oil companies are putting up roadblocks because they fear they’d lose revenue. And governments are dragging their feet because they would lose tax dollars.
It annoys me when journalists say things like “critics say”, “experts say” or “some say”. I like to do my own research, so I would appreciate if reporters started being more specific on their sources. I’d like to know who said that and when? I like to do my own research to see what evidence or reasoning they use to arrive at their conclusions.
Next, I’d love just one example of a roadblock that an oil company has put up to prevent the development of electric vehicles. Just one.
I would also like an example of how governments are dragging their feet. What specific action has any government taken to block electric vehicles? Governments can easily add taxes to our electric bills to cover road construction, just like they tax gasoline now.
This article is a great example of biased reporting. A fair and balanced reporter, in addition to offering the above improbable explanation without specific examples of such actions, may have additionally said something like:
It may also be a matter of basic economics and consumer preference. Not many people have the income, parking space or desire to spend $15,000 on a car that cannot be driven in the winter and travels 125 miles on a single charge if you “take it gently”, when there are vehicles available that cost the same that can be driven all year and can regularly go 300 to 400 miles between refueling.
Notice how I didn’t use an abstract reference like “some say”? I used facts Lindsey provided in her article and well-known facts about existing vehicles. But such facts don’t seem to fit the narrative folks like Lindsey want to present.
Another way Lindsey could have brought balance to her report would have been simply to go out on the street and ask a few people getting out of their gas vehicles if they have considered purchasing electric vehicles and why they haven’t.
Rather than a balanced report, Lindsey presents her case as if it is axiomatic that there are no trade-offs to electric vehicles versus gas vehicles and people would prefer to buy electric vehicles if it weren’t for the efforts of oil companies and governments.