Sunday, June 1, 2014

We WA, We WA, We WANT!! aka; The Compliance Car Battle Cry

WA State has done a lot to promote green living. Years ago, they mandated that State fleet vehicles use alternative methods of transportation wherever feasible to reduce emissions and oil consumption. This lead to WA adopting the hybrid concept (aka the Prius) much faster than most other states. It was through force feeding the car to the masses.

First, a state worker signs out a car from the motor pool. The good cars are gone and the only thing left is that weird looking Prius. Now the pre 2004's were also a bit clunky along with weird but thankfully the state did not have a lot of them. Most are actually 2006's and up due to a huge shortage the State did not get all the Priuses they ordered, but eventually they came in.  Now, the car did ride a bit different but not overly so and well, I guess its ok but can this be real?? Am I really getting nearly 50 MPG?? How can that be?

Well, that is how it started. People were exposed to the Prius by force... but the damage was done. Soon, they were looking at their own personal cars and it did not take them long to realize that their department's gas budget had really taken a dive which was a good thing and right when the price of gas was escalating (First fill up on my 2004 Prius was July 1, 2004 and it was at $2.129 a gallon. Later that year it dropped below $2 but also went over $3)

Fast forward a decade.  Now we have EVs and the State just announced they have leased LEAFs for the first time ever.  Leasing solves a lot of issues with EVs. The high sticker price is no more, the worry of degrading batteries is no more.  It was really a win-win for all.  Best of all, it has local ties for me which really hits home, literally.  It involves the city I live in and the dealer I got my LEAF from but it likely would not have happened if WA had not mandated alternative fuel requirements AND adjusting those requirements as technology evolved (something they have not done very well! Check out the edit portion of the link at the bottom of the link)

So far so good, right!! So lets go shopping... Oh, wait. Is this it?  A LEAF or a Ford Focus (which is not available in sufficient numbers  ANYWHERE in WA to satisfy fleet requirements) Hmmm, Tesla is here!! Oh wait, that "might" not go over well with the tax payer although I would be ok with tooling around in one for work!  I guess there are plenty of half-assed EVs aka The Volt (sorry, I actually like Volts because they are a great solution for some, just not for me. Its like drinking tea in WA, simply not what we want!)

Well, ok so I guess I understand Olympia's decision making process in getting the LEAF... because there were NO OTHER CHOICES! The Focus is not really an option as fast charging is really the only way to insure the car is able to meet state fleet requirements and besides; they are already here.  Now, if there were EVs with longer ranges, L2 charging could be justified.

One of the biggest goals of EV manufacturers is exposing the masses to the EV driving experience. Test drives aside (I did all that was available and found that a 10 minute "drive around the block" experience meant little to me.) one of the easiest ways to do it is to do what Olympia has done and that is force its employees to drive them.  But again, we look at the "out clause" for the state mandate where the car must fill the need of the department in question.

There are cars out there that can do it. The RAV 4 EV has the sufficient range and the ability to recharge fairly quickly on L2 to meet the needs of many state fleets but its not available here.  We need to change that.  WA has done so much to create a friendly environment for EVs but have missed a HUGE part of the process. Compliance is a bad word. It forces the free market to be a bit less free. Not a good thing for capitalism for sure but then again; Corporations tend to put our needs a "bit" down the list. Well, its time to put our needs on page one.

WA, it is time to become a Compliance State. Give us choice!


  1. I don't think Gov Insley is really into EV's. Washington seems to be way behind Oregon in building out its part of the EV Highway and I noticed we did not sign on with the other states recently in promoting EV adoption. Myself, I haven't gotten a response from him on ways we could use current state park resources to charge EV's. Not even acknowledgement of the ideas. Maybe he and our national rep, Herrara are drinking the same water.