Electric Cars and Excessive Fiction

Whose Streets?

Dear Editors,

I was pleased to encounter a new installment of Dan Albert’s decennial check-in on the state of electric cars and electric car discourse (“Electric Cars: An Update,” Issue 38). But I was less than pleased to discover that the future of electric cars is more or less the same as the future writ large: underplanned, way less utopian than promised, and controlled by Amazon. The essay was helpful in contextualizing recent events in the automotive space, like Elon Musk’s ascension to the richest person in the world and GM’s announcement that it will go zero-emission by 2035, but it left me wondering if the final depressing months of the Trump era hadn’t stifled Albert’s inner Jimmy Carter. I can’t argue with Albert’s key observation—the irony that we’re finally getting mass-produced electric cars that are “bigger and more powerful and less electric car–like than even some of their gasoline equivalents”—but I do find the absence of the state in his account to be a little . . . neoliberal? The words “Green New Deal” don’t appear anywhere in the essay, and Albert seems to take for granted that the enormous investments in infrastructure necessary to prop up the new mobility dispensation will come from Amazon and not from Pete Buttigieg’s DOT. But why? Or at least, why not both?

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