In the Know column: Electric vehicles will bring big changes

Most automakers are planning to be all electric or mostly electric in the next dozen or so years. Some smaller automakers are planning on that as soon as 2025.

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A new electric vehicle charging station was placed at the Simonson Station Store in south Alexandria. The ribbon cutting event included a demonstration of how to charge different models of electric vehicles and a discussion surrounding the effects of electric driving. (Jasmine Johnson / Echo Press)

By John Stone

Electric vehicles and emission standards for other vehicles seem to have become a political focal point in this year’s Legislature.

The state has implemented standards through the rulemaking process that would essentially copy the regulations established by the state of California, something done by 14 other states. Others would like to see those regulations made by the legislators.

Perhaps one of the bigger issues is requiring dealers to carry a certain percentage of electric vehicles as a part of their inventories. From what I am reading, this is an issue that will probably take care of itself.

Most automakers are planning to be all electric or mostly electric in the next dozen or so years. Some smaller automakers are planning on that as soon as 2025. And they are not just talking about small cars, they are talking large cars, luxury cars, pickup trucks and even delivery vans. One company has orders for electric semi tractors.


Auto suppliers and others are gearing up for the same change. So it makes sense that maybe we all need to be thinking about changes that will be coming over the next decade.

In a lot of ways electric cars are less complex. Yes they have complicated electronics but they don’t have internal combustion engines, transmissions (some might have simple ones), emission equipment to clean the air like catalytic converters, gas tanks or radiators. That means less maintenance.

Changes in using gasoline will change gas stations, there will probably be fewer of them and those that remain will be different. If it takes 20 to 40 minutes to get enough charge to get to the next station, they might have lounges or places to sit inside.

Actually, most people won’t have to go to those stations at all unless they are on trip, they will charge their cars at home at night at off-peak electric rates.

States will have to figure out how to collect money for highways since gas tax is paid by the gallon. Will we pay per mile of driving? Oil companies will need to transition to different types of energy. I suspect fossil fuels will be needed for many years for farm equipment and other heavy equipment but the overall volume of fuel needed will drop.

Tied in with that is the corn crop, a significant percentage of which goes to making ethanol which is blended with gasoline. How will that impact farmers to see that market change?

None of this will happen tomorrow but it will happen. Fuel burning cars won’t be gone in 2035, the most recent models will last for a couple of decades. And, over the next decade, battery technology, which will increase electric vehicle range, is sure to improve. Vehicle range is probably the biggest concern about electric vehicles for most of us, we’d like a vehicle we can recharge in minutes on a trip, just as we do now with a refill of gasoline.

Remember 9/11? Of course most of us do. The full date was 9/11/2001, nearly 20 years ago! Time flies, 2035 is only 13.5 years away!


John Stone is the former mayor of Glenwood and former publisher of the Pope County Tribune and Starbuck Times. In the Know is a rotating column written by community leaders from the Douglas County area.

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