Thoughts on electric cars

Electric cars, politics and reality

Re “Wright State installs 4 charging stations,” Aug. 6: I hate to disappoint Todd Brittingham, but he is really driving his electric car on coal. We generate electricity in Ohio using coal-fired generating stations. The coal-fired turbines spin the generators, which make electricity which must be stepped up to a high voltage (energy is lost to atmospheric heat since nothing can be 100 percent efficient) which is distributed through power lines and when it reaches Brittingham’s charging station, must be stepped down in voltage to a usable level. This step-down process loses energy to the atmosphere also. Once stepped down in voltage, it must be converted from alternating current to direct current, and this process causes more energy loss. Brittingham’s electric car versus a small gas car creates a significant amount more of carbon dioxide gases.

Now let’s say I was to buy an electric car because it only costs me one dollar each day to charge. I would need a 220V charging station in my garage so it wouldn’t take eight hours to charge my car. Since most all residential garages do not have 220V service I would need to call an electrician to wire my house and then buy the charging unit. That would be expensive — thousands of dollars. And since my car’s batteries have a limited life of about five years, it would cost me $3,000 to $5,000 to replace the batteries every five years.

If an American family owns an electric car, they most certainly also own a gas car since we the people want to go on driving vacations. America is vast in area unlike Europe. If a single gas car family wants to go green, they cannot trade in their gas car for an electric car. They must have both.

Every action the human species takes has an unintended consequence (it is a law of nature). It may turn out good or turn out bad. We usually don’t know beforehand, but it’s always lurking in the shadows.

I’m not an accountant. I’m only an engineer who thinks there is more than one way to spell a word, but I have arrived at a conclusion that this whole electric car business is based on political thinking and not reality. —TERRENCE TUCKER, CENTERVILLE

The show after sunset

Re fireflies: We have had thousands out here in West Alexandria; starting the last of May. They are much fewer now, but early this summer I was going outside shortly after sunset every evening to enjoy the show. They are not yet endangered in Preble county. — DON STONER

Constant flash of fireflies

We have lived in Harrison Twp. in the Shiloh area for 35 years and every summer from June through July, including this year, our backyard and the neighbors’ are filled with hundreds of lightening bugs. For two weeks or so, there are so many, it’s constant flashing and something to see. If it rains and is humid, they are especially thick! We look forward to them every year! We have many mature trees and a creek out back so I assume we have the perfect conditions. On CBS’s Sunday Morning I saw a place in California, away from all the cities, where people arrive on buses with their lawn chairs to watch such a show each year. So it’s pretty cool we’ve got a very similar thing in our own backyard in Dayton, Ohio, houses away from Main Street. — KAREN ZUERCHER

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