In a week filled with bickering over the feasibility of electric cars, it is apparent how things are viewed from each side of the pond. Somewhat ironically, given its position on the “right” of the Atlantic, Patrick McLoughlin, the UK Transport Secretary, progressively gushed over electric cars this week. A stark contrast to those at the New York Times who slagged off Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) and started a war of words with its founder Elon Musk.
McLoughlin, announced that the Transport Ministry would be ponying up £37 million for the installation of more charge points throughout the UK, the government will be taking on 75 percent of the costs, a large chunk of which will come from a fund that has been allocated to increase the take up of “ultra low emission” vehicles.
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Mr McLoughlin said that electric cars were “fantastic.” “They’re not town cars at all, they are fantastic cars. They’re built to a very high specification. Take one out and drive it,” he said.
“Buying a car is expensive, but I think if you look at the overall time and money you save by not having to put fuel in them, they are very serious competitors,” Mr McLoughlin continued while noting that it took consumers years to come to grips with unleaded gasoline.
Nissan’s sizable investment in the LEAF and future forays into fully electric cars as well a as Toyota’s RAV4 EV show that a number of major automakers believe that Mr. McLoughlin may know what he’s talking about. This sits in high contrast to the war raging between Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) and The New York Times Company with others piping in with their two cents.
For those unfamiliar here is a sampling of the quotes to come from the test drive of the Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) Model S, the 2013 Motor Trend “Car of the Year.”
New York Times’ reviewer John M. Broder fired the first shot when he said he had “creeping range anxiety” during his entire drive, and believes the cold weather is what ultimately doomed his trip before he could arrive at his final destination.
CEO of Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA), Elon Musk, claimed this was nothing of short of “bogus” and “ridiculous” while pointing out that the car’s telemetry shows excessive speeding by Mr. Broder as well as an unplanned “detour” through downtown Manhattan that left the reviewer out of electricity before his arrival.
CNN’s Peter Valdez-Dapena then got in on the act by repeating the test drive and live tweeting the event. His words were somewhere between those shared by Musk and the NYT.
“That 200 mile stretch between Newark, Del. and Milford, Conn., seems needlessly sweat-inducing,” Valdes-Dapena said after his test drive. “It also limits flexibility, reducing the system to simply a way of shuttling cars between two distant points.
“Adding more Superchargers will allow drivers a little more leeway to, perhaps, take a side trip every now and then. (There actually are some really beautiful spots in New Jersey, you know.) Tesla says it’s working on getting more Superchargers up and running.”
He makes a good point there are only nine Superchargers presently operating in the whole of the U.S.
“It’s easy to exploit fears or doubts if you are threatened by a disruptive technology like the electric car, whether in the U.S. or anywhere else,” Paine said. “People are skeptical about buying technology they don’t fully understand, especially when it is a big purchase like a car. For some (including myself) one test drive experience is enough to convince you. For others, it takes longer or you just don’t want to change from what you know and love (even if it runs on imported oil). It’s not an overnight transition as makers of horseless carriages discovered a hundred years ago.”