Home » Fox News Interviewed Me About Electric Cars And It Went Way Better Than I Expected

Fox News Interviewed Me About Electric Cars And It Went Way Better Than I Expected

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Fox News. Search it on the web and you’ll find a number of anti-EV articles and stories slanted a certain way. Despite this, when Fox News Digital reporter Megan Myers emailed me to ask a few questions about my experiences with EVs, I immediately agreed to it. This, I thought, was a great opportunity. Fast forward a week or so, and Myers published the article with the title “EV owner and car enthusiast says all electric push was ‘foolish,’ predicts hybrids will be better transition.” It’s a somewhat misleading headline, but I’m still thrilled I did the interview. Here’s why.

First things first, let’s talk about the headline. It states that I think America’s EV push was foolish, when really I was saying that ignoring hybrids to the extent that many automakers did was foolish. Hybrids represent a great way to get as many people driving efficient vehicles as quickly as possible. And yet, companies like GM decided to skip them in favor of EVs, only to backtrack as EV growth started to slow. I’ve discussed this ad nauseam before, so I don’t need to cover old ground, but the point is: Ignoring hybrids was not smart, and we need more good ones.

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But let’s move beyond the headline, because the interview was about a whole lot more. In fact, you can watch the whole thing right here; to Fox News’ (technically Fox Business’) credit, they let me talk. They didn’t do much cherrypicking and they didn’t interject their own thoughts — they just ran it like I said it:

OK, now let’s look at the actual written article. The story’s lede is:

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The rapid push to adopt electric vehicles (EVs) as the primary mode of transportation in American society is slowing and one auto expert and car enthusiast predicts hybrid vehicles will be the way forward.

OK, this isn’t quite what I was saying. I think pushing for EVs as the primary mode of transportation is still happening; it’s just that the growth of EVs is slowing (it’s still growing quickly, but not as quickly as before). But I do think hybrids are a great option, especially to skeptics. This is hardly a novel or controversial view.

Let’s keep reading:

Tracy said he is a proponent of EVs, but also described himself as a diehard gasoline car fan, and was candid about the upsides, as well as the downsides, to owning an EVs.

This is exactly what I was going for when I took the interview. I know that many people who read Fox News are not fans of EVs, and may love gas. So do I! There’s nothing like rowing through my Jeep Wrangler’s five-speed manual and listening to that four-liter engine under the hood. I’m not here to push an agenda, I just happen to own a few EVs, and I’m going to tell you about their upsides and downsides — I’m going to keep it real. The story continues:

Tracy said the practicality of an EV depends on an individual’s circumstances, what kind of driving they do and where they live. He believes it will be a long time before the U.S. has the infrastructure and consumer compliance to completely switch over to EVs, especially because one of the biggest barriers to EV adoption is charging availability. For drivers who don’t have access to an EV charging station where they live, for example, he said a hybrid is the way to go.

Then they quote me:

“I think, ultimately, the push is to reduce CO2 emissions,” Tracy said. “That means independent of whatever method you use to get there, we’ve got to reduce emissions. So some automakers are focusing on hybrids, some automakers are focusing on electric cars. The overall goal, though, is to reduce emissions through whatever means necessary.”

Then Fox says that I think more hybrids are coming soon because “the marketplace has spoken.” I think that’s mostly true. The story goes on:

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“The interest in electric cars is still there, it’s still growing, but it’s not growing as fast as it did before and that indicates that people want hybrids,” he said. “A lot of automakers…they said ‘No, we’re done with hybrids, we’re going straight to electric cars.’That, I think was a bit foolish. People are not ready.”

So that’s where that quote from the headline comes from. The piece continues:

“Not everyone’s ready to go fully electric, and everybody knows that,” he added. “But offering hybrids, I think is where we’re going in the near term and it’s going to be a combination of fully electric cars — and for many people that’s a great solution — and it’s going to be hybrids. I think between those two, it’s going to eventually converge to electric, but you’ll have hybrids in the interim as the infrastructure builds up.”

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The article then says I own eight cars (which is what I came up with off the top of my head; I might actually own more — things have gotten out of hand), including a Nissan Leaf and a BMW i3. Then the story mentions many of the advantages there are to EV ownership, quoting me:

“They’re great on maintenance, they’re fun to drive, they’re cheap, and you can get them cheaply because of federal rebates,” he said. “If you have a place to charge, they’re fantastic. Now, some of the downsides, of course, the infrastructure isn’t perfect, and especially if you don’t own a Tesla, there’s some planning that you’re going to have to factor into any trip. If you want to buy a new one, even with rebates, they’re a little bit pricier, but they’re basically getting there in terms of cost parity.”

Note that by “they’re cheap” I meant cheap to operate. Still, their prices — especially on the used market — are dropping rapidly.

The article is quite long, and I suggest you all read it, but I’m just going to include a couple more quotes in here:

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Tracy said it is important that people weigh factors in their lifestyle, including the EV infrastructure in the community and the type of driving they do, before they buy an EV. But, he argues that an EV is a great option for people simply commuting to and from work every day.”

The story includes a quote wherein I say the public charging experience really should be broken into two groups: Tesla and non-Tesla, since the former’s experience is generally much smoother due to the Supercharger infrastructure. Then there’s this quote about maintenance:

You don’t have to do an oil change ever, you don’t have to even do brakes pretty much ever because it uses the motor as a regenerative brake, so it slows you down using the motor instead of the actual brake pads…there are some challenges, but man, there are some real benefits, too.

[…]

You won’t have dumb things like [dealing with] the transmission failing and camshaft position sensors failing, it’s just that much simpler to maintain.

Finally, I want to share this quote, which I know assuages some fears that many EV skeptics have:

“If you don’t feel like doing it, if you don’t feel like driving an EV, no one’s taking your gasoline car away,” he said. “That’s not going to happen. You may find that the new cars at the dealership, more or them are going to become electrified. You might have to choose a hybrid, which you will like, by the way, I guarantee it. If you’re going from a gas car to a hybrid, especially if it’s an automatic transmission, they’re great cars these days, so… it’s not really going to feel like a hit as long as there’s a hybrid option.”

(Note: I wish I had acknowledged that California’s 2035 rules are indeed rather strict, though again, they apply to new cars, and don’t involve ripping your existing gas cars from you, and they do allow for some number of plug-in hybrids — not all BEVs).

I am thrilled that Fox let me talk, and didn’t try bending my words. To be able to have a reasonable discussion about EVs — to extoll their virtues without much slant or pushback, and to be able to speak candidly about their drawbacks — on Fox News is huge. I reached a large and new audience of mostly conservative readers/viewers, and I was able to tell them positive things about EVs on a website that often includes somewhat unfair anti-EV slants. This is a big win in my book.

I have received a bit of criticism for going on Fox, but talking with the news outlet was a chance to reach a crowd that may spend much of its time in a bubble. Lots of us live in our own internet bubbles/echo chambers; it’s a huge problem with the world today. Branching out beyond those borders can yield great things.

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But beyond that, I remember being a reporter for a heavily politically-leaning media company (Gawker), so I know that not everyone at a given outfit thinks the same way. And it turns out, my line of thinking ended up being true, because — aside from the headline, which, like I mentioned, doesn’t really represent my views — Megan’s article about my experiences with electric cars is fair. In fact, as a result of Fox running what I said without slanting it, anti-EV folks are posting comments ripping on me, but luckily there are EV — most likely Tesla fans — in there fighting the good fight. Just look at this:

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Still, of course, Tesla fans are going to Tesla-fan, and plenty wrote some equally absurd comments as the EV skeptics:

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Ah, the ol’ classic all-or-nothing argument that just leads to lots of people continuing to drive gas-guzzlers instead of fuel-sipping hybrids. Can’t win ’em all.

Still, the comments aren’t as bad as you might think they’d be on Fox, and the fact that my thoughts were fairly relayed to the news outlet’s audience without being spun (other than a bit in the headline) — that’s just awesome. I’ll admit, I was a little concerned about that at first.

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Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
24 days ago

I would love to see what a liberal leaning news site would have done with the story? Maybe find out they actually bend further than Fox. I mean the headline? I’ve seen them everywhere that due to size or creating buzz is less than 100% Even here.

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