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February 4, 2023

Worthy to Print Column | No Hurry to ‘Go Electric’

Have you been down to the local electric car dealership to compare the prices between gas and electric? If you haven’t, I might be able to save you a trip. The fancy looking Tesla runs in the neighborhood of $66,000. There are cheaper ones; if you buy a hybrid, you can knock a few thousand off, but I wouldn’t be in such a hurry.

Yes, I’m aware that our “half a governor” is demanding that we all have electric cars by 2035. (I call him “half a governor” because he is spending half of his time spending money in order to run for President.) 2035 is going to get here before you know it, so having the right information can help you save money no matter which car you buy. 

Of course, I don’t have the right information; you’ll have to get that from the governor’s office or your local automobile dealership. No need to hurry, I doubt if they know any more than you. I haven’t gotten serious because I may not be here in another 13 years. However, if the Good Lord allows me to be here to see my children, I already have a choice on how I’ll follow the rules; I’m going to convert my pickup to all electric.

I don’t know if you know this, but the wrecked Teslas are being stripped at the wrecking yards and their electric motors and batteries are placed in another car. The car they put the electric motors in didn’t have to be an electric car when they were sold. They even race them out in the desert.

It costs about $16,000 to $18,000 to make the conversion, but in the end you have a fully electric car. But let’s get real here. There is absolutely no way that this state is going to be able to make every car in California electric. I don’t mean that they won’t be able to make the cars. Since more and more folks are looking for electric cars, there are lots of car makers making hybrids. These are the cars that run on gas and electric. They can give you about 50 miles per gallon when you run them with gas and electric.

The real problem with this governor edict is that we won’t have any place to charge our cars. The politicos can strut around talking about how we are cleaning the air, but if it takes two hours in line to get the car filled with electricity plus another hour after you get to the front of the line, it might infringe on your appointments for the day. 

I’ve seen lines of folks waiting to get to the front down in LA, and they didn’t seem to be very happy. You could, of course, have a charging station in your home, but of course that adds another $2,000 to the price. When the battery begins to go bad, and they will go bad, you will have to pull another $8,000 bill to replace it.

But all the conjecture out of Washington may also be a problem. These batteries are assembled with lots of rare earth and other secret compounds, and Biden is selling all the places where most of this rare stuff is mined. His favorite son, the smartest guy in the room, is still in a little hot water because he arranged a deal where cobalt (whatever that is) is being mined by China.

Perhaps we will have a new set of politicians after the November elections and some of these folks that are destroying our way of life will be down at the local unemployment office seeing about another profession to get into. 

You know I remember when Elon Musk was first getting into the electric car business. He had first designed and built a sports car that was all electric. There were articles in all the car magazines because this car was supposed to travel at 280 miles per hour. It looked pretty cool being low slung with an open cockpit. He sold a few of these before he bought the Ford plant in Milpitas. I would sure like to have one of those because they are probably worth about three times what they sold for back then.

I don’t know if I have ever told you, but my brother Roger and I built an all-electric racing bar stool when I got back from my last tour in Vietnam. Well, it was built mostly by Roger, but I helped. OK, a little. What he did was take a bar stool and trade the chrome legs and seat support material and replaced it with solid steel. There was a plate of steel on the bottom and there he put a 12-volt car battery. 

It had a tiny little steering wheel and a couple of plates to put your feet on. The steering wheel was between your legs. The car battery was connected to a chain, kind of like a bike chain, but built a little tougher. You sat on the stool and put you feet on the plates. This was where you held the steering wheel between your legs.

We put a couple of starter buttons under our feet and left or right foot it didn’t matter because as soon as you touched that starter button the stool was immediately running at about 15 miles an hour. Now that might not sound very fast, but you had nothing to hold on to, and until you learned how to tap the buttons you usually got thrown on your derriere. It was humbling learning how to ride. 

We used to have races on the 100 block of Main Street just outside my gun store. Of course, this was quite a few years ago. The 100 block of Main Street in Salinas was quite a bit different than it is today. There was one day I hired this company that came around and had faux gunfights, it was really cool. No permit was required and they did it in the middle of the street. 

The folks that lived or hung around the 100 block were a special group. I loved that little stool and had to store it at the house of a so-called friend of mine when I went to Alaska, and now he won’t give it back.

I might build another one if the mood strikes me. I would then challenge Elon to a race. Probably not, but I can think of the fun we used to have on that little stool.

God Bless.

George Worthy
Gonzales Columnist

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