Electric car observations

I’m writing this while visiting my daughter and her family in a suburb of Seattle. The township where I live in NJ has a Tesla dealer, so I am accustomed to seeing an occasional Model 3 on the street. Last Saturday night, I went out to dinner with the family in Bellevue, WA. The restaurant was on the main street of downtown Bellevue, and we had a sidewalk table, so a good view of passing traffic. I was surprised to see that roughly every third car was a Tesla, most being models I’ve never seen at home, Model S and Model X. I’m wondering why the higher percentage of electric cars here than in NJ. My speculation is that the demographic here runs a bit younger (30’s, 40’s,), and many of the residents work in Big Tech. What do you folks think?

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Could be big Tech but also range and charging network. Feels like I see more Tesla’s on the road here in Olympia since the model 3 and model Y came out. I know a fair number of EV owners which range from the Leaf and the Bolt to the guy who’s been preaching the EV gospel for years with a Kia Niro EV, which was exceeding his expectations for range when he picked it up back in November, Couple years ago you could only find Tesla charging at a couple hotels here in town, now you have public chargers with the right plug.

I think it is just the socio/politico make up of that area. And all the greenies.

That and the cost of electricity, NJ is almost twice as expensive WA
NJ 16.2 cents a kWh
WA 9.7 cents a kWh

I see quite a few Tesla’s in the Boston area. And more and more charging stations

I don’t think cost of electricity is a factor.
I don’t know if this is still true:
A few years ago I saw a study that compared the initial cost of a battery to the cost of electricity to recharge it over its life.
In every case of the major battery types (lead acid, nickel, lithium) the battery cost was higher, not even counting the battery management system needed with lithium.

Quick example:
A 50 amp-hour 12V deep cycle lead acid battery charged & discharged 25AH for 1000 cycles over it’s life.
About 0.3 KWh (12V X 25AH) per cycle, 300KWh over its life at 10 cents per KWh is $30 of electricity.
Add 20% for charge/discharge losses and you’re at $36, still a lot less than such a battery would cost.

Unleaded regular averages 13 cents less per gallon in NJ than WA. The difference may have been larger in the past few of years.

I think folks in their 30’s dropping $70k on a Tesla model S (and a million $ on starter townhouses) are not buying these because of fuel savings.

Make that $90k.

Here in my East Central Indiana community, I know of one Tesla owner. There was a Chevrolet Bolt parked in a place with a charger at the University gym when my wife and I would go over and do our fitness walking in bad weather, but I haven’t seen the Bolt for over a year.
The only other EV I have seen in our community is a Citicar that used to come down my street. The Citicar is from the 1970s and is not much more than a glorified golf cart. I have never seen a Nissan Leaf in my community.However, our Nissan dealership went out of business.

maybe it caught fire or is still waiting on new battery modules

GM temporarily stops making the Chevy Bolt after latest recall (msn.com)

It’s not necessarily fuel savings in dollars, but fuel savings in gallons of gas. Hybrids are also quite popular in the Puget Sound region, because they use less gasoline. That’s important to a great number of people there. So important that many people are willing to spend more dollars to use less gas. It’s a lifestyle choice. I don’t buy into it myself, but I respect the choice.

I lived in the Puget Sound region from 1987 to 2016. When I left, the average home price in King County was over $600,000. Friends of mine divorced, had to sell their house. He ended up in a 2bd apartment for $2600/month, she bought a 1100 sq ft bungalow for $470,000. $70,000 for a car is just another monthly expense like groceries and daycare.

But if you do want to look at economics, Washington State has one of the highest gasoline taxes and among the lowest electricity rates. So electrics may make more sense there than somewhere else.

Also, Teslas are neat cars that are fun to drive. Nothing like a 61 Sedan DeVille, but still fun. And if you can afford it, why not?

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My daughter thinks my 62 Caddy is a " monstrosity". She is glad it’s gone.

I read an article about 45years ago that if everyone drove VW Beetles, there wouldn’t have been the problems with oil.prices, the contrived oil shortage, and the pollution problem.
Now I am not sure how much of this is really true. I was appalled when the 1959.model cars came out when I was a senior in high school. Many of the cars were larger on the outside, but had less passenger compartment and trunk space. Nobody seemed to care about how inefficient some of the automatic transmissions were, especially the Buick Dynaflow and Chevrolet PoweGlide. When I could afford a better car than the gas guzzlers I had been driving, I bought a manual.transmission 6 cylinder Rambler. The Rambler was replaced with a Ford Maverick. What is interesting to.me is that my present Toyota Sienna with much more passenger space gets far better mileage than either the Rambler or the Maverick.
I drive a minivan because I frequently transport musicians and their instruments. If there was an EV that fit my needs, that is what I would own.
I.did consider buying a battery powered Citicar for around town use. The Citicar I was considering was available at a good price because it needed batteries and in those days the batteries were lead acid. I.was going to calculate how much I could save in around town driving.with the Citicar over the Maverick. The Maverick would be used for out of town trips.

Buying a vehicle is an emotional and rational decision.

From the emotional side, for the younger buyer who grew up clamoring for the newest Tech, CPU, game consol or Apple phone, an electric vehicle like a Tesla is more prestigious than it’s gas equivalent.

Offsetting that are the rational problems of initial cost, range limitation and charging availability.

So it’s hardly surprising that EV’s would become adopted early in a younger demographic, tech savy, high income, suburban areas. More emotional benefit with fewer rational limitations. It’s fertile ground, which is probably why Tesla is locating their dealerships there.

Doesn’t explain my area, lots of older people driving Tesla’s, charging stations near the local watering holes.

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Might be that some buyers of EVs are simply virtue signalling. Same reason the Prius got the nickname Toyota “Pious.” Allows the driver to look down thier nose at every SUV or Bro-Dozer while showing their eco-superiority.

EV owners are as easy to identify at a party as a Harley or Corvette owners… 'cause they will TELL you they drive an EV even though you didn’t ask…


Tesla’s of all types are quite numerous here in Silicon Valley. I’d guess the first 4 in the order of “make” popularity here is Lexus, Honda, Toyota, Tesla. I think a good part of the reason folks buy Tesla’s here is they are employed at a company that provides free charging stations.

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It is a monstrosity. But in a good way.


You know the difference between a pineapple and a Prius?

With a pineapple, the pricks are on the outside.