Singing the Praises of the Electric Car

Singing the Praises of the Electric Car

Lynne Peeples
Published: 12/14/2009

I will soon be flying home to Seattle—one of five cities chosen for a major trial run of the electric car. Within two years, at least 900 Nissan Leafs are expected to be (silently) cruising the region's hilly backroads and highways, and recharging every 100 or so miles at one of 2,500 stations. Data on how often the cars are driven, and where they are charged, will "help governments figure out how to build a charging network across the continent," according to The Seattle Times.

Especially if they are parents, some Leaf owners may find themselves driving to the latest beat from the band, They Might Be Giants. (You may remember them from their hit 1990 album featuring "Birdhouse in Your Soul".)

Let's take a ride in an electric car
To the west side in an electric car
How can you deny an electric car?

Other carbon-free alternatives have been showing great promise too. So why was the electric car chosen to carry the animated giraffe, cow and owl in this popular new children's music video? Perhaps "biodiesel" or "hydrogen" simply sounded less catchy. That, or the band knows someone inside the auto industry with an eye down the road.

"We're seeing a lot more electric cars than we have in the past," Jamie Kitman, a National Magazine Award-winning columnist for Automobile Magazine, told NPR from the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year. Kitman also happens to be the manager of the Grammy award-winning They Might Be Giants.

But some experts do 'deny', or at least question, the future of the electric car. One full charge at most of the anticipated Seattle stations will take about 8 hours. Will that be practical? And few can forget the century-long struggle of the electric car against oil companies. Electricity was the preferred method of propulsion for cars at the beginning of the 20th century before gasoline power won the market. (The electric car briefly regained popularity in the 1990s, but quickly crashed. Many accused the auto industry of deliberate sabotage.) To get out of our oily mess, can we return to the electric car's early success?

Electric car on roads so dark
To change the end, rewrite the start.

While the recycled cardboard car featured in the music video is less sleek than the new Leaf, it has the added benefits of stretching into a limo—when you need to accommodate the barn animals, of course—and driving underwater.

Not diesel, steam, or gasoline…
Happiness resides in an electric car.