Electric Cars: The Logical Choice For Homes With Two or More Cars


One of the biggest gripes I hear in the US about fully electric cars is that they aren’t practical because they don’t have enough range. But, what’s strange about this is, according to the 2001 US Department of Transportation National Household Travel Survey (NHTS), the average person drives their personal vehicle less than 23 miles a day—a number that is more than sufficiently covered by the 100-mile range of most upcoming mass-market electric cars.

So, if the average person drives a quarter of the distance an electric car is capable of going in a given day, why do people still say that they aren’t practical? It certainly isn’t a feeling based in how people actually use their cars. No, it’s more of a feeling based on our obsession with risk aversion—trying to avoid potential problems even if those problems don’t crop up during 95% of the rest of our lives.

The gut feeling that electric cars are impractical is based on the “what if?” fear of needing to drive hundreds of miles on short notice. On the surface I can fully understand that fear, but it’s a fear that is only truly justified if your household has one car. If you’ve got two or more cars, I can’t think of any reason why an electric car wouldn’t be the perfect substitution for one of your gas cars. The electric car would be your short trip or commuter car, and your gas car would be your long trip vacation car.

In fact, I think it’s crazy that the auto manufacturers who are planning on blitzing the US market with fully electric mass-market cars starting next year—including Nissan, Mitsubishi and Ford—haven’t made this their rallying cry. I’m imagining a slogan like “If you’ve got two cars, make one of them electric” or a “Make One Electric” advertising campaign.

For a two car family—in lieu of robust and reliable public transit—having one electric car seems like the most practical transportation solution possible. It’s a veritable goldmine. From reduced energy costs to saved trips to the shop for regular maintenance to the environment, it’s a slew of benefits that I can’t imagine passing up.

And there are lots of two-car households out there. According to the 2001 NHTS, 92% of all US households have vehicles. Of those households, the majority have more than one vehicle. In fact, for the first time ever, the 2001 NHTS found that US households had more vehicles than drivers. If your home has more vehicles than drivers and you’re not considering buying an electric car to replace one of them, I implore you to think again.


Nick Chambers

Not your traditional car guy.