Driving towards an electric future

Paul Scott, a longtime advocate and expert on electric vehicles, spoke at Santa Monica College about some of the latest developments and technology regarding electric vehicles last Tuesday, May 3. "Why Your Next Car Will Be an EV," was the latest lecture by SMC's Center for Environmental and Urban Studies Environmental Lecture Series held at the Bundy Campus.

"What I always like to say when I introduce Scott is that he went one year by spending in his entire energy budget just forty four dollars," said SMC Professor William Shelby, who teaches Environmental Studies at SMC.

Scott, who starred in the 2006 documentary "Who Killed the Electric Car?" is presently working on promoting and selling the Leaf automobile for Nissan in Santa Monica. "I've never sold cars before–but when I drove this one, I had to go to work selling these, because they're such remarkable cars," Scott said.

A Nissan plant in Tennessee is set to open in 2013, where the aim is to build 150,000 Leafs per year in order to meet the increasing demand, according to Scott. Newly produced electric cars from the other major car companies are slated to come out within the next two years.

Scott raised the economic issues affecting the future of electric vehicles. He remarked how we've never had a war over electricity; he also shed a light on the amount of money being spent on oil, including the military where $75 to 80 billion dollars are being spent each year on oil.

The lecture pinpointed dependency of oil as the main vice, causing the potential for an epic economic battle for control over oil. "We're going to be coming up against China when we need more oil because there's not much here," said Scott, "Saudi Arabia is starting to tap out, and so many other regions have peaked."

"Oil companies just corrupt our political process with their money—your money. Every time you buy gas, you give them the power to run this country," Scott said. The point made was that when we buy an electric car, we free ourselves a great deal from dependence on oil.

Currently, the Leaf sells for up to $35 thousand and the Chevy Volt sells for $41 thousand. Scott indicated that both of them qualify for a $7,500 federal tax credit. Scott informed about the plan for more EV chargers to be installed at grocery market lots, and many will be free.

"Gasoline is only going to get higher, and electric vehicle prices will always fall," said Scott, "That's the trend you want to look at. Don't look at your next paycheck, look at 10 to 20 years from now and prepare for that," Scott encouraged.

Sofia Yohannes, a student from Sweden, didn't know much about electric cars before she came to the United States. "When Scott was talking about it, how much money you can save, and how easy it actually is, I got really inspired to get one sometime in the future," Yohannes said.