Point of View: My Normal Self, and, of Course, EVs


Point of View: My Normal Self, and, of Course, EVs

June, 2023


For those of you who might have noticed that I haven’t been my normal self lately, I thought you deserved an explanation. Seventeen years ago I had a heart valve replaced. I was told at the time that the new valve would last between 15 and 20 years. Right on schedule it began to fail this year.

In the meantime, I began to have an irregular heartbeat, unrelated. When it rains it pours. 

My doctor and I decided to fix the irregular heartbeat first and I had two abrasion treatments, which were basically outpatient procedures, and they ‘fixed’ the heartbeat issue. At least, so far. It has to remain ‘fixed’ for a year. We shall see.

In the meantime, the pesky valve continued to fail and the result was that I was extremely tired and out of breath all the time. However the good news was that technology marches on, and whereas the replacement two decades ago was a major open chest procedure, today it can be done with a catheter and one can go home the next day. Therein turns the tale.

The procedure went well, and I was home walking the dog the next day. I felt great. 

Last Wednesday an infection hit me like a ton of bricks. The symptoms were like those of a stroke, mostly in my cognitive abilities. I couldn’t understand others and when I spoke I made no sense. I know, how did they tell the difference? 

So it was off to the hospital and a week’s course of antibiotics which worked out of the blocks. Fever gone and feeling great. However, the docs were concerned about the new valve and further infection so I’m now on a six week course of heavy-duty meds including a pump I carry around to keep the drip going.

I don’t recommend a week in the hospital. You can’t “do” anything. I must have seen 30 episodes of “Friends” and read four books. The staff was terrific, even when they woke me up four times a night to check my blood pressure. Many thanks to the folks at St. John’s Medical Center in Santa Monica. I might not be here without them.

I’m definitely on the mend and expect to see blogs and columns issuing forth shortly. Thank you to all those who sent words of inspiration and support.

As I was playing catch up reading through Astrid’s Park News, I find that nearly every other article focused on EVs, is mostly on charging. I’m not entirely sure what that means. GM is killing off the Bolt but setting up a company to build a charging network. There are a number of articles comparing EV and ICE vehicles. Plus, there is an interesting piece on the fact that at least half of the drivers of both EVs and ICE cars have range anxiety when it comes to EVs. Hmmmmm.

I was particularly intrigued by the last one. During my sojourn at the local hospital, I had an interesting conversation with a med tech. He had an Audi EV and simply loved it. His wife had a Tesla. The only problem he saw was range and charging. They took a trip from LA to Mammoth this winter and drove the Tesla (it had a longer range, he said.) Nevertheless, he was grousing about the number of times they had to stop to charge (on the 400 mile trip) and how it extended the travel time – although his next sentence said how much he ‘loved his EV.’

That conversation seemed to back up the article. I might also add, from looking out my window, my neighbor down the street has a Tesla, but also hosts two, count’ em, two ICE SUVs. Now this fellow is as green as it comes, with solar arrays on his roof and barrels to collect rainwater. However, he still has back up.

An aside – when I got home from a week away, my car’s battery was flat. I had left one of the doors slightly open and the interior light was on. I simply called AAA and within an hour I was jumped and on the road. By the end of my trip, my battery was back to normal, and all was right with the world. I wonder how long it would have taken to get an EV in the same situation back to normal? At least with today’s technology you can’t call someone to bring a bucket of electrons if your battery is flat. Just Sayin’.

I go back to an article I read recently –  EVs will never compete with ICE vehicles until they can compete on a feature by feature basis, and that means speed of fueling, cost, and range between fueling. I commented before that automobile companies advertising  EVs on the Super Bowl were hawking their beautiful cars, but were selling features found on ICE vehicles. Except for commenting that they were electric cars, the benefits of electricity weren’t mentioned. Could it be that the EV part was a negative rather than a positive?

Everyone I know who has an EV, and they are legion, cannot stop telling me how much they love the vehicles. When they talk about range, like my med-tech friend, they talk about how wonderful the cars are for bopping around town, you know, short 10 mile trips. They just love them. When pressed on longer trips, they change the subject. 

The med-tech’s travel to Mammoth was not hampered by lack of charging stations. Elon Musk has solved that problem for Tesla owners. However, he STILL had to stop every so often, at least three or four times on the round trip, and spend time charging. His frustration wasn’t from lack of chargers, but from having to stop for over half an hour at a super charger, while those driving ICE vehicles stopped for 10 minutes, filled their car once, and that was it. 

Considering all this, I wonder if charger availability is the solution. Will EVs become the way to go when technology catches up? Time will tell.

Article contributed by:
John Van Horn
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