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I can’t get charged up about electric vehicles

I was on my way to Savannah recently and made my usual pit stop in Metter where, as you know, everything is better. I pulled in to get coffee and gas up at Parker’s then noticed a row of electric vehicle charging stations at the rear of the lot. Not one but two Teslas were plugged in, drawing their life blood in order to continue along I-16. The Teslas were sleek, generally good looking vehicles. I looked around trying to identify who might be driving the contraptions but no one fit the bill. A weathered old gentleman was sweeping up around the place so I inquired after the charging operation. ’We see more and more of those damn things,” he replied, hawking a long string of tobacco juice onto the curb. Asked about the drivers, he reported they plug in the cars and then walk to a nearby restaurant or call ‘one of them there Ubers’ to take them into greater Metter to dine. I inquired about how long the charging process took and he replied 45-minutes to an hour, depending on how dead the batteries are. ‘I think I will stick to gas,’ I commented to which he replied ‘Smart boy’ and went back to his broom. I continued down the interstate, my SUV belching carcinogens, while I reflected on Ray and Chesley, high school acquaintances who lived not 50 miles as the crow flies from the charging station back in the day. Ray and Chesley were what they called back then ‘good with their wrenches’. They both had Road Runners they tinkered with all the time in order to make them faster. Both Plymouths had giant, gleaming carburetors that the hoods of their vehicles could not contain. When the rest of us were at the pool, rafting the river or dating, Ray and Chesley were in barns tuning those machines. They were more comfortable on rolling dollies than they were standing erect. Grease, oil and other mechanical detritus were permanent parts of their hands and the skin along their arms. Then, on Saturday nights, they and those like them would race. The boys would close off some country road and run quarter and half mile drag shows. RuPaul was nowhere to be seen. These shows were all testosterone and top end speed. There was no thought of conserving fuel. ‘When I stomp down on this thing, the speedometer goes up and the fuel gauge goes down,’ Ray would chortle. That was 50 years ago. Times have changed. A friend bought one of the first hybrid cars. I drove it one day. When I stopped at a red light, the thing just shut down. I thought I had killed it. If the Roadrunner died like that, you had to hope you were on a hill for, if you were, you could put it in neutral, push to gain speed then hop in, drop it in gear and pop the clutch. The Plymouths would fire up every time. I don’t suppose that would work with an electric car. Jumper cables would also be useless. There is also the matter of battery disposal. We have battery backups on computers at the office. When one dies, we have to get permission from Al Gore himself to dispose of it. Will electric car junkyards be hazardous waste sites? Ford has an electric Mustang concept. It is pig ugly and the comparison is an affront to pigs the world over. The electric F-150 concept at least looks something like a pickup, if an emasculated one. I think Ray and Chesley are with me when I tell you I am going to stick to gas. Pardon our exhaust.

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