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The Politics of Electric Vehicles

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The Politics of Electric Vehicles

Old 11-08-20, 06:45 PM
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The Politics of Electric Vehicles

So, while discussing the election, we got sidetracked as I mentioned one of the things I have a real disagreement with the Democrats on is mandating electric vehicles (prohibiting the sale of new gas fueled cars).

I think that the California mandate is too soon. The infrastructure (enough charging stations in all locations - including remote locations in the middle of nowhere like the lone gas station on the highway) just won't be there in 15 years . 25 years? Maybe. But not 15.

And the cost of electric cars is prohibitive to all but top wage earners now. You can still buy a new gas powered/fueled car for $18k or less. The bottom electric cars run around $25k. That's a fairly significant percentage difference, and it's not likely to change any time soon (the batteries for electric vehicles are insanely expensive, raising the cost of those vehicles).


The question becomes, is it even legal to block the sale of new gas fueled cars? Will that hold up in court?

It's certainly going to be harder on people in the lower income brackets, which seems to be at odds with what the Democratic party says they're all about. It's like a regressive tax that hurts the poor the most.

Sure, you'll still be able to buy used gas powered cars, but maintenance costs (repairs) make that impractical for anyone who drives much. And those cars are only good for 150,000 - 250,000 miles, so within 5 or 6 years it will be nearly impossible to find a decent used car in California.

So is the Democratic Party in California putting the environment above the needs of people in lower income brackets?

(And is there really a net improvement on the environment, since most electricity to charge electric cars comes from power plants that emit pollutants?)

What is your take on the politics of electric cars?
Old 11-08-20, 06:58 PM
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Re: The Politics of Electric Vehicles

I was going to say this in the other thread, I know you can't afford an EV today. Hopefully, in 15 years, it will be cheaper than cars today. That said, EV save a TON over ICE cars. I know the initial cost is higher, but my insurance isn't that much more (at a car at 2x the cost, and is an EV) and I pay zero maintenance. I am in CALIF. too.

15 years is a long way off to worry about cost of a EV vs ICE.
Old 11-08-20, 06:58 PM
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Re: The Politics of Electric Vehicles

In the interest of full disclosure, I don't have an electric vehicle. But the same kind of pushback has happened with virtually every technological advance that has occurred in the automotive industry. People fought against seatbelts. They bitched when the speed limit was lowered to 55 on the highway in the 70s because of the energy crisis. They did these things even though seatbelts save lives and slower speeds save fuel. People like to bitch, what can I say.

The corporation I work for is in the energy industry. Most of what they do involves infrastructure--power plants, water treatment facilities, offshore liquid natural gas terminals, etc. We have charging stations in the parking lot at my office, although everyone's been working from home since March and will most likely continue indefinitely according to company chatter. The corporate culture where I work is heavily into sustainable solutions, safety, and environmental consciousness.

Renewable energy is coming into its own. President Windmill Cancer may have tried to slow it down, but it's coming. Fossil fuels aren't sustainable. As more people adopt sustainable sources of energy, costs will come down. That's how it works. Most of the coal and natural gas plants currently being built are in the third world, not the United States, and I don't see that trend reversing anytime soon.

Also, it's not as if the government is going to have some law that says everybody has to dump their petroleum cars on December 31 and adopt electric ones January 1, with no warning at all. It will be phased in, and probably way too slow for the tastes of the earthy-crunchy crowd. Will I get an electric car? Sure, but not until the system to facilitate owning one is farther along. I'm not "lower income" but I'm not rich either. I'm 12 years from retirement so I can understand anxiety about what's coming, but it's just time marching on.
Old 11-08-20, 07:09 PM
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Re: The Politics of Electric Vehicles

Originally Posted by Vibiana View Post
In the interest of full disclosure, I don't have an electric vehicle. But the same kind of pushback has happened with virtually every technological advance that has occurred in the automotive industry. People fought against seatbelts. They bitched when the speed limit was lowered to 55 on the highway in the 70s because of the energy crisis. They did these things even though seatbelts save lives and slower speeds save fuel. People like to bitch, what can I say.

The corporation I work for is in the energy industry. Most of what they do involves infrastructure--power plants, water treatment facilities, offshore liquid natural gas terminals, etc. We have charging stations in the parking lot at my office, although everyone's been working from home since March and will most likely continue indefinitely according to company chatter. The corporate culture where I work is heavily into sustainable solutions, safety, and environmental consciousness.

Renewable energy is coming into its own. President Windmill Cancer may have tried to slow it down, but it's coming. Fossil fuels aren't sustainable. As more people adopt sustainable sources of energy, costs will come down. That's how it works. Most of the coal and natural gas plants currently being built are in the third world, not the United States, and I don't see that trend reversing anytime soon.

Also, it's not as if the government is going to have some law that says everybody has to dump their petroleum cars on December 31 and adopt electric ones January 1, with no warning at all. It will be phased in, and probably way too slow for the tastes of the earthy-crunchy crowd. Will I get an electric car? Sure, but not until the system to facilitate owning one is farther along. I'm not "lower income" but I'm not rich either. I'm 12 years from retirement so I can understand anxiety about what's coming, but it's just time marching on.
Yes, but it's the mandate that I have a problem with.

Need a new car? Can't afford an electric vehicle? Too bad, so sad - fuck you, you would be polluter!

OK, that's an exaggeration and tongue in cheek, but that's kind of what it feels like. Newsom is a rich man. Everyone in Sacramento making this decision is rich. They don't get it.

And I firmly, FIRMLY believe that the cost of these batteries will never go down enough to make these cars truly affordable to people on the lower end of the income spectrum. They'll go down, but a gas powered car will always be cheaper.

So why set a mandate before you know for a fact that certain NECESSARY goals are even in the planning stage (let alone in place)? Enough charging stations. Cars affordable to lower income brackets. Enough charging stations NATIONWIDE. I don't want to be a prisoner of California because there aren't enough charging stations in neighboring states (and currently there are not, not everywhere they would be needed).

Newsom jumped the gun. But, "Like it or not," he's got his agenda and he's not wavering, regardless of who gets hurt.

In this case, the market should decide, anyway, as it is with EVERY technology. I'm a CD/DVD/Blu ray supporter. I prefer physical media - but the market has spoken and physical media is slowly dying. I don't like it, but that was the market's decision.

Why can't the market decide which technology is best? If electric cares are REALLY that great, shouldn't they be able to catch on on their own?

Do we really need the nanny state telling us what we can drive? Gas powered cars are MUCH better on emissions now than 30 or even 20 years ago. They can get even better.
Old 11-08-20, 07:12 PM
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Re: The Politics of Electric Vehicles

Originally Posted by Chrisedge View Post
15 years is a long way off to worry about cost of a EV vs ICE.
For me, it seems like the last 15 years went by in 5.

15 years goes absurdly fast when you're over 40. Over 50, like me? It's a virtual blink of an eye. I have to plan ahead. I have to get ready - especially if the worst case scenario comes true.

And yeah, I'll save on gas - but my electric bill is going to be through the roof! And it will come all at once, rather than $15 at a time 20 times a month. It's easier to pay little bits at a time when you get paid every two weeks than as one $400 payment.
Old 11-08-20, 07:23 PM
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Re: The Politics of Electric Vehicles

Originally Posted by B5Erik View Post
For me, it seems like the last 15 years went by in 5.

15 years goes absurdly fast when you're over 40. Over 50, like me? It's a virtual blink of an eye. I have to plan ahead. I have to get ready - especially if the worst case scenario comes true.

And yeah, I'll save on gas - but my electric bill is going to be through the roof! And it will come all at once, rather than $15 at a time 20 times a month. It's easier to pay little bits at a time when you get paid every two weeks than as one $400 payment.
I'm 56. I have a Tesla. I am horrible on cars, I had a Nissan Maxima before this. Within 5-7 years, EV's will be in that $20K range, with 200 mile range or more. And I bet within 10 years, plugs will be everywhere (everywhere, your work, your home, etc). I already have zero range anxiety, and have done desert trips from So Ca, and Vegas as well. I would take it almost anywhere, on any road trip.
Old 11-08-20, 07:27 PM
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Re: The Politics of Electric Vehicles

Originally Posted by Chrisedge View Post
I'm 56. I have a Tesla. I am horrible on cars, I had a Nissan Maxima before this. Within 5-7 years, EV's will be in that $20K range, with 200 mile range or more. And I bet within 10 years, plugs will be everywhere (everywhere, your work, your home, etc). I already have zero range anxiety, and have done desert trips from So Ca, and Vegas as well. I would take it almost anywhere, on any road trip.
How long does it take to charge? I can fill up my tank in 5 minutes, including payment.

I would imagine you're talking about 15-20 minutes at least.

Which would bring up images of the gas lines around 1978 - waiting half an hour, down the street in line to get gas. If you don't have charging stations at work (and most won't - that's a big expense for the employer to take on, adding the stations, and then paying for the electricity) there would be long waits to get to a charging station if most cars are electric by then.

Oh, and $20k is out of my price range now. I can pay $17k-$18k (before trade in) right now, but I have to have a new car under warranty because of the mileage I drive. That, and then the astronomical electric bill I'll have is going to be problematic.

If you don't have a 6 figure salary electric vehicles aren't feasible.
Old 11-08-20, 07:32 PM
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Re: The Politics of Electric Vehicles

Originally Posted by B5Erik View Post
I have a real disagreement with the Democrats on is mandating electric vehicles (prohibiting the sale of new gas fueled cars).
Can you provide a source for this? I'm not familiar with the specifics of the policy (or specific policy proposals) coming from that side, so I'd like to catch up. I'm actually surprised you didn't put a link in the OP, to be honest, because it's not clear (at least to me) exactly what it is they're proposing. As a jumping off point, it's not good to start from a place where the core information isn't being provided.

Old 11-08-20, 07:33 PM
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Re: The Politics of Electric Vehicles

Originally Posted by Dan View Post
Can you provide a source for this? I'm not familiar with the specifics of the policy (or specific policy proposals) coming from that side, so I'd like to catch up. I'm actually surprised you didn't put a link in the OP, to be honest, because it's not clear (at least to me) exactly what it is they're proposing. As a jumping off point, it's not good to start from a place where the core information isn't being provided.
https://www.npr.org/2020/09/23/91620...e-cars-by-2035

And like I said, it's really simple - it will be illegal to sell new gas powered cars in California starting in 2035.
Old 11-08-20, 07:37 PM
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Re: The Politics of Electric Vehicles

Electric cars are still mostly a niche, which makes prices higher. California is a huge state so if they donít move away from this, by itself it makes them less of a niche, and will drive prices down.
Old 11-08-20, 07:39 PM
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Re: The Politics of Electric Vehicles

Originally Posted by Chrisedge View Post
I was going to say this in the other thread, I know you can't afford an EV today. Hopefully, in 15 years, it will be cheaper than cars today. That said, EV save a TON over ICE cars. I know the initial cost is higher, but my insurance isn't that much more (at a car at 2x the cost, and is an EV) and I pay zero maintenance. I am in CALIF. too.

15 years is a long way off to worry about cost of a EV vs ICE.

Pretty much. I'll be close to retirement age by then, but I'm good with spending 5K on a couple of beaters from now until then. My normal commute is 1.0 miles from work anyway. EV's are still a luxury item, IMO.
Old 11-08-20, 07:39 PM
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Re: The Politics of Electric Vehicles

Originally Posted by Ginwen View Post
Electric cars are still mostly a niche, which makes prices higher. California is a huge state so if they donít move away from this, by itself it makes them less of a niche, and will drive prices down.
But the manufacturing costs will always be higher than for gas powered cars (due to the cost of the batteries), so the prices will never be as low as gas powered cars.
Old 11-08-20, 07:40 PM
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Re: The Politics of Electric Vehicles

I'm not an electric car expert, but how much damage to the environment is done when mining and manufacturing these giant batteries and how are they disposed of at the end of life? How much electricity created to charge these cars are from dirty sources? I'm leaning towards a hybrid, but I'm also wanting a luxury vehicle so my options will be limited to Lexus over Acura or Mercedes who don't seem in hurry to add electric to their models.
Old 11-08-20, 07:43 PM
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Re: The Politics of Electric Vehicles

Thank you for starting a new thread to discuss this.

I do think the cost of electric cars will continue to come down. When you think about it, once the cost of batteries come down (and it already has by a lot since I bought my Model S five years ago), you are actually talking about a much cheaper car to produce. No Engine, no transmission, no cooling system, no exhaust. There's a reason that the little Toy RC cars you buy are electric and not gas-powered.
And the cost of ownership is much, much, much less. No oil changes, no belts and hoses to change, no transmission fluids, brakes last much longer because of regenerative braking.
Old 11-08-20, 07:45 PM
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Re: The Politics of Electric Vehicles

Originally Posted by PerryD View Post
I'm not an electric car expert, but how much damage to the environment is done when mining and manufacturing these giant batteries and how are they disposed of at the end of life? How much electricity created to charge these cars are from dirty sources? I'm leaning towards a hybrid, but I'm also wanting a luxury vehicle so my options will be limited to Lexus over Acura or Mercedes who don't seem in hurry to add electric to their models.
Those are great questions, but most people on the left in support of electric vehicles rarely answer them.

I don't know the answers myself, but I have heard that due to the manufacture and disposal of the batteries, and the dirty power used to charge the cars, it's net zero gain for the environment. I don't know how accurate that is, but it can't be far from the truth.
Old 11-08-20, 07:53 PM
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Re: The Politics of Electric Vehicles

Originally Posted by B5Erik View Post
How long does it take to charge? I can fill up my tank in 5 minutes, including payment.

I would imagine you're talking about 15-20 minutes at least.

Which would bring up images of the gas lines around 1978 - waiting half an hour, down the street in line to get gas. If you don't have charging stations at work (and most won't - that's a big expense for the employer to take on, adding the stations, and then paying for the electricity) there would be long waits to get to a charging station if most cars are electric by then.

Oh, and $20k is out of my price range now. I can pay $17k-$18k (before trade in) right now, but I have to have a new car under warranty because of the mileage I drive. That, and then the astronomical electric bill I'll have is going to be problematic.

If you don't have a 6 figure salary electric vehicles aren't feasible.
My car is charged at home. I wake up with it full. I don't have to think about it, because you just plug it in at night. I pay about $2.50 to go from less than 20% charge to 90%. That will realistically get me 200-220 miles. Just imagine always having your gas station at home.

If the difference of a zero maintenance car at $20k, against a $17k car that needs oil, transmission, radiator, fluids, as well as brake pads, on top of MUCH more expensive fuel, is going to prevent you from buying one, I can't really help you...
Old 11-08-20, 08:05 PM
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Re: The Politics of Electric Vehicles

For those who live in apartment buildings and park on the street, I don't really know what they will do. Overnight parking in your garage with a 220V outlet certainly isn't an option for everyone. I do imagine most workplaces will have chargers in their lots however.
Old 11-08-20, 08:15 PM
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Re: The Politics of Electric Vehicles

Originally Posted by B5Erik View Post
https://www.npr.org/2020/09/23/91620...e-cars-by-2035

And like I said, it's really simple - it will be illegal to sell new gas powered cars in California starting in 2035.
Thanks, I appreciate it. So 15 years before new car sales are prohibited, but sale of used cars and trucks can continue. And this appears to only apply to passenger vehicles (makes sense, as that's what 99% of us drive anyway), but it's worth pointing out that it would not apply to commercial vehicles, at least based on the verbiage of the executive order. I agree that it's... an ambitious goal... and I'm not sure they'll manage to make it work. In fact, I could see that 2035 due date getting extended to 2040 or 2045 once they realize the infrastructure isn't up to snuff yet.


Originally Posted by B5Erik View Post
But the manufacturing costs will always be higher than for gas powered cars (due to the cost of the batteries), so the prices will never be as low as gas powered cars.
Do you have stats on batteries? Specifically in regard to reliability, how many times they can be charged, and cost/kwh over time?
I can't seem to find very robust statistics on this, but it's all very important in figuring out how they stack up against ICE cars/trucks.

To be clear, I'm absolutely not behind the entire EV train at this point; I think there are hurdles -- both mentioned here and those that haven't yet been discussed -- that will make any sort of transition a long and arduous process. I think instead of mandating no-more-sales dates, there should be better promotion and demystifying of EVs. Tackling lies, etc. Personally, I'm not sure I'd ever own one (unless I have no choice, at which point I'd probably grumble, then accept it.).

One thing to note... in the other thread, I think it was you who mentioned you drove 150 miles per day. I'm fairly certain most EVs can handle this without issue. A quick search shows ~250-390 miles per charge, depending on the car and battery size, naturally. Still, I'd be concerned about unforeseen issues (getting stuck in traffic on your way home... hurricane evacuations... the odd road trip that goes beyond these limits...)

A separate -- but equally political, IMO -- issue is the battle around proprietary charging infrastructure. It seems most (all but one) EV companies have joined into a single standard, and the one that hasn't is, of course, Tesla. I think that topic needs to be revisited at a national level. Not necessarily that Tesla should be forced to come into the fold, but that their role in that should at least be examined. Unlike Apple and other tech companies, we're not talking about $10 charging cables. There's higher stakes in EV, and I'm not sure Tesla has made a reasonable case for being the only outlier, despite their "trailblazing" history in the market. But I'm sure Tesla owners are happy with the fact that they don't have to charge their EVs with all the other plebs... for now anyway.
Old 11-08-20, 08:27 PM
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Re: The Politics of Electric Vehicles

Originally Posted by Dan View Post

A separate -- but equally political, IMO -- issue is the battle around proprietary charging infrastructure. It seems most (all but one) EV companies have joined into a single standard, and the one that hasn't is, of course, Tesla. I think that topic needs to be revisited at a national level. Not necessarily that Tesla should be forced to come into the fold, but that their role in that should at least be examined. Unlike Apple and other tech companies, we're not talking about $10 charging cables. There's higher stakes in EV, and I'm not sure Tesla has made a reasonable case for being the only outlier, despite their "trailblazing" history in the market. But I'm sure Tesla owners are happy with the fact that they don't have to charge their EVs with all the other plebs... for now anyway.
Telsas can easily be charged by any standard charger. There is an adapter you use and plug it in. I do that almost every day at work.
In addition, however Teslas have a proprietary network of Supercharging Stations that can fully charge the car in an hour or so and get you a half charge in a matter of 15-20 minutes. This enables you to drive long distances with only a brief stop or two. That is their big advantage over all other EVs which use a standard 220V charger and charge at a rate of about 30 mile range per hour.
Old 11-08-20, 08:49 PM
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Re: The Politics of Electric Vehicles

thanks for the clarification, Decker. I thought the main EV network or home chargers had the capability for their own version of super charging, but I'm obviously not an EV owner and haven't looked that deeply into it. my main desire would be to be able to pull up to a roadside station to do some kind of super charge if needed. Is that just not an option at all (except for Tesla's stations)?
Old 11-08-20, 08:54 PM
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Re: The Politics of Electric Vehicles

Yes, there are some options. Not many now but that will likely increase over time.

https://www.evgo.com/
Old 11-08-20, 09:41 PM
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Re: The Politics of Electric Vehicles

Originally Posted by Dan View Post
One thing to note... in the other thread, I think it was you who mentioned you drove 150 miles per day. I'm fairly certain most EVs can handle this without issue. A quick search shows ~250-390 miles per charge, depending on the car and battery size, naturally. Still, I'd be concerned about unforeseen issues (getting stuck in traffic on your way home... hurricane evacuations... the odd road trip that goes beyond these limits...)
Yeah, I hadn't thought about that - it's not just the disatance/miles, but also the, "Idling," time. No, electric cars don't idle, but you are running the stereo and AC/Heater, so in heavy traffic you'd get far fewer miles out of a charge. And that would be a huge problem for me since I drive 60 miles each way to work.

And there's about a 20 miles stretch with only 1 gas station in the middle, and it's tiny (no room for electric charging stations). If my charge ran out there I'd be screwed. And that would be true for anyone with a long commute that has multiple congested traffic spots like mine.

Which only confirms that the 2035 date isn't particularly wise at this point. It kind of sums up one of my issues with the Democratic party - a, "Full speed ahead, consequences be damned," attitude.

Like the freaking High Speed Rail system that drained about $100 Billion in California, but produced no viable results. The Governor was so dead set on a bullet train from Los Angeles to San Francisco that he didn't consider if anyone really wanted it, or if it were financially feasible (it wasn't). So all that money was wasted. It could have gone to things that actually benefitted Californians rather than a small group of companies that overcharged the state and delivered almost nothing.

So this electric vehicle mandate just reminds me too much of that. Governor Newsom signed the order, regardless of whether or not we'll actually be ready for it when that time comes. The infrastructure isn't there, and there aren't any concrete plans to get that infrastructure ready. This is being done ass backwards. Typical of California Democrats. (But what do they care? They've got a majority for life. They can do what they want without any consequences.)

This just seems WAY premature to me. If a need for this legislation/regulation will ever really exist anyway. If electric cars are better, and they're just as cheap, let the market decide. People love new tech. If they live up to the hype in 10 years, this would have happened on it's own. If the infrastructure isn't there, or the prices don't come down, then this mandate is going to hurt a lot of people.
Old 11-08-20, 09:56 PM
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Re: The Politics of Electric Vehicles

Originally Posted by Chrisedge View Post
15 years is a long way off to worry about cost of a EV vs ICE.
Pretty much this. The 15 year deadline is aspirational, but certainly subject to change. The idea that it's an iron clad law is a bit misguided. But a lot can change between now and then, so it's difficult to even project how a lot of things might be. I wouldn't worry about it too much.
Old 11-09-20, 02:09 AM
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Re: The Politics of Electric Vehicles

Originally Posted by Decker View Post
No oil changes, no belts and hoses to change, no transmission fluids, brakes last much longer because of regenerative braking.
Think of the mechanics who will be put out of business! And the Autozones that will close up!

They'll be the new coal miners in the next decade, the blue collar workers whose jobs have been rendered useless by technological advances.

I would feel sorrier for these types of people if they didn't cheer when jobs like cashiers got taken away by self-checkout stations.

Old 11-09-20, 02:13 AM
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Re: The Politics of Electric Vehicles

Originally Posted by Decker View Post
For those who live in apartment buildings and park on the street, I don't really know what they will do. Overnight parking in your garage with a 220V outlet certainly isn't an option for everyone. I do imagine most workplaces will have chargers in their lots however.
If we want to switch over to electric cars, then we're going to have to subsidize the infrastructure needed to keep them charged and running.

And I don't have a problem with that, but it's going to be a Herculean task for a lot of places.

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