Thursday afternoon, Josh sent me an email with a link to a CraigsList ad for a car. It was an all-electric car, a Chevy truck that had been altered to run on an electric motor and batteries. They were asking $9500 for it. Since Josh sends me all kinds of ridiculous links when he looks for cars, including old convertibles that don't run and military jeeps lacking speedometers or roofs, I didn't take it very seriously. Just one more goofy car being sold on CraigsList that some other poor woman will have to tolerate.
But the next time I saw him, he asked if I'd looked at it. Apparently, he was serious about it, which just goes to show that you can never underestimate how crazy your loved ones are. I told him that I found a couple of the specs to be troublesome. For one thing, this was seriously a truck that had been modded by some guy. Sure, Chevy made the body, but the motor was put together by Some Guy. Did Some Guy offer a warranty? Secondly, because it ran on batteries, it had a range of fifty miles. So he could drive his nice electric truck anywhere he wanted, as long as it was within 25 miles of home. Then he'd have to come home and plug it in.
I pointed out these incredibly sensible objections, and he got very mad at me, saying that I hated electric cars. He did not say that I hated Mother Nature, nor did he call me a peon of the oil companies, but he may have thought it. He then said that he could just go get a loan on his own if he wanted the car. I thought about how I was going to be marrying this lunatic who could not tell the rational from the irrational. It suddenly occurred to me that when your spouse makes a bad decision, and I was pretty certain that buying this truck would be one, you have to live with the consequences of it. This fact never comes up in romantic comedies.
But I could tell that this was important to him, so I said, hey, call the guy up and we'll go on out to Carrboro and have a look. Saturday afternoon, that's what we did.
Some Guy turned out to be at the beach, but we talked to Some Guy's Nephew, who knew a lot about the truck and also drove around a VW Rabbit that had been converted to electric. He popped open the hood and explained everything inside. There were something like twenty batteries stashed here and there - under the hood, under the truck bed where the gas tank used to be, in a toolbox in the bed. He was clearly an evangelist for the electric car. He talked about how being a mindful driver made driving a much more fulfilling experience. He compared it to having a kid, which probably would have offended me if I had any children.
Josh had asked about extending the range by adding more batteries. That's possible, but because the batteries are so heavy, each additional one (around $100) only adds about 2.5 miles. There are better batteries coming out on the market that are more lightweight, but to switch over all the batteries in the truck would be an additional cost of $3500.
As we drove back home, I did not say anything, so as not to be accused of hating the electric car. But Josh picked up that I was still pretty much against buying this truck. I thought Some Guy's Nephew seemed like a nice and knowledgeable guy, and I honestly felt reasonably confident about buying a car off of him, even a rigged old Chevy. But a car that won't go more than 50 miles without having to be plugged in for 12 hours just doesn't fit our lives.
I have nothing against electric cars. I don't care how a car works, honestly. But if it doesn't function as a car, meaning it doesn't get me where I need to go, it's no good to me.
I left it alone and just hoped that he heard my point and recognized it as good sense. That night, he started looking again at CraigsList, at boring old gas-powered Toyotas and Hondas. He did show me a cherry picker that he thought was cool. Sunday night, when he told his dad about the electric car, the way he told the story was that he was a crazy person with a sensible girlfriend who helped him see the light. It was a pretty funny story.