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Are EVs energized enough light up a boomer's smile?

Columnist Loren Else asks can an old boomer be taught new tricks? Apparently some can.

Boomer Grandpa — Loren Else column sig
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It’s not often that a newspaper article makes me laugh out loud, but this story did. So here is the headline: GM Plans $300,000 EV Cadillac.

The article was written by Wall Street Journal reporter Mike Colias, who specializes in writing about the automotive industry. The new $300,000 Electric Vehicle will be called Celestiq. I can’t find the word in the dictionary, so I’m not sure what the word means. Possibly it means ‘Are you kidding?’ in French.

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I’m unsure how to pronounce the new vehicle name, but Mark Phalan from the Detroit Free Press indicated he likes Sell-ess-STEEK. Sounds classy, but not $300,000 classy.

Cadillac never has blue-collar workers in mind when designing and building their vehicles. I’m getting off track here, as my point is how boomers feel about the surge of electric vehicles on the market now and for the rest of our existence. Many vehicle ads are about EVs and how they can light up your life, home, campsite, business, and the universe.

I sent out an informal poll to around 20 boomers asking if they have bought, would buy, or were considering purchasing an EV in the future. The answers were varied as some said no and some said yes.

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I’ll start out with some concerns. The Minnesota winters and those 40-below-zero mornings provide some uneasiness. It is a reality that EVs lose range under these conditions.

Some will consider an EV as the technology improves – more range, improved charging access. The median range for EVs in 2021 was 234 miles.

The ability of the power grid to manage increased EVs and charging was a concern in the responses. The California power grid struggles make us all a little nervous.

Some boomers said they are driving their last vehicle, and an EV is not on their bucket list.

To balance this column out, I have a friend who is a happy owner of a Tesla and a Nissan Leaf EV. Paul Johnsen is an electrical engineer and one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. He has owned the Tesla Model 3 since 2018. He will never go back to internal combustion engines.

Paul & Loren - Tesla.jpg
Paul Johnsen, left, show off his Tesla Model 3 to the Boomer Grandpa himself, Loren Else.
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Paul has made road trips across the country and has had few issues with charging. As we talked on the phone, he decided to drive to my house to let me drive his Tesla. Paul pulled into my driveway, and that Tesla was sharp looking.

I got in the driver’s seat, which was like sitting in a spacecraft. There were no knobs or buttons on the dash. One computer touch screen controls almost everything. I drove around for a brief time and was amazed at some of its features, including power.

I can’t dive into all the goodies of an EV like performance, technology, environmental impact, or other facets like autonomous driving and the experience itself, but I can tell you Paul loves his EVs. He feels as supply issues resolve, prices will drop, and a cheaper used market will develop.

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He told me he worries more about the car rusting than the battery life. Driving an EV would require a whole new frame of mind to plan your road trips around charging stations. This has not been an issue for Paul, and he has taken some long journeys. The breaks are nice and lead to less driver fatigue for Paul.

I think many will slowly but surely make this change to an EV but not at crazy pricing. A Cadillac Celestiq is out of the question. Options in vehicle types will be needed along with moderate prices, range improvements and easier charging access. I believe all that will come.

The other day, despite years of oil changes, my Troy Built gas-powered lawn mower started blowing oil everywhere. Last rites were given. I thought, hmmm, is my inner voice telling me something? I bought a new Ego 21” 56-Volt Lithium-Ion cordless mower. It is quiet, mostly plastic, is made in China but so far, so good. My first electric vehicle.

Each of us will make decisions regarding this titanic shift in the technology in our world, motor vehicles, and other everyday equipment. Some will embrace these changes, many aren’t ready, and some will not.

That is the beauty of our country – we have the power to choose.

Loren Else lives in Rochester and also writes the Post Bulletin’s “Day in History” column. Send comments and column ideas to Loren at news@postbulletin.com .

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