By Kenneth G. Johnsen, D.D.S
My son Stephen Johnsen gets the credit for stirring my interest in electric vehicles. In long discussions with him I changed from my belief that hydrogen would eventually power our cars to the firm commitment that electric propulsion is the only practical way. Through Stephen I met Jeff Thomas and purchased a 1998 Chevrolet S-10EV truck in 2005. I drove that great little truck to work every day for over five years. It was a wonderful first EV. In early 2011 I purchased a Nissan Leaf which extended my range and creature comforts. By that time, though, I had my eye on Tesla’s Model S Sedan. Its production was still a couple years away when I put money down on one. I drove the Leaf for a year and a half and then took delivery of my Model S in December of 2012. The Model S is basically a rocket on wheels, a sports car disguised as a sedan. When I drive it, speeds of over 100 miles per hour are not unusual. I have never enjoyed a car as much as I am enjoying my Model S. I still have the S-10EV and the Leaf–can’t bear to part with them–but the Tesla is the car of the future. With its 300 mile range, my driving is not confined to the Seattle area anymore. I love it!!
I am a strong believer that the United States should kick the petroleum habit. I have had a solar energy system installed on my office building in Kent which produces more than enough electricity to charge my electric vehicles. Because it is solar, it is clean energy. So my transportation needs are met with clean, unending perpetual energy from the sun. Yes, there is a high initial cost for the car and the solar energy system. But there are great tax credits and other incentives which lower the cost. In eight years my solar system and Leaf will be paid for through the savings. If everyone in the United States did this, we would not need to fight any more Mideast wars and we would not be held in servitude to the petroleum companies. Clean electric transportation should be one of our country’s highest priorities.