By on March 17, 2020

Self-isolation and social distancing — it’s all the rage these days, though your author hopped on that bandwagon long before it was cool. Lonely nights lead to fewer viruses, the thinking went. A strategy that’s panned out over time.

As you digest that completely unnecessary and frankly uncomfortable information, you may as well ponder something that’s crossed my mind repeatedly over the past few days. Perhaps you can come up with an answer.

Governments the world over are telling us to have as little contact with other human beings (and things they’ve touched) as possible. Stay indoors, they say. Only go out for essentials. Okay, so if you’re not infected with COVID-19, the outdoors still holds some promise — and your personal vehicle some purpose.

It’s hard to say how long these measures will be necessary, though we’re clearly in for a decent spell of anxious, lonely moments. But many will still need to go to work, while others will need to leave their home for essentials on occasion. One type of vehicle, however, is capable of eliminating a certain contamination/infection scenario: the electric car.

Simply, electric vehicles can be charged at home, leaving no need to visit a gas station, expose yourself to other drivers and/or the clerk, and punch your debit code into a virus-laden keypad. Just plug in when you arrive home at your well-stocked abode.

On the other hand, gas is ridiculously cheap right now and, even though there’s few fun places to go, an internal combustion car can quickly go whatever distance the driver asks of it, and for whatever reason. They’ll just have to expose themselves to a greater degree.

Right now, with your life and responsibilities, and for the reasons stated above, would you happily drive an electric car until this crisis passes?

[Image: Tesla]

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42 Comments on “QOTD: Pleasure Cruise for the Isolated?...”


  • avatar
    NoID

    I’d happily drive an electric car before, during, or after this crisis.

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      Same here. Nothing wrong with electric propulsion, and not having to stop at gas stations is an added bonus.

      • 0 avatar
        dont.fit.in.cars

        However stopping at a charging station for hours is….ummm…ok.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          Just don’t stay for hours then. A quick charge at the maximum rate (which is temproary) for a Model 3 is 75 miles in 5 minutes. Just add what you need to get to your destination with some padding. That’s typically what I do.

          With 300+ mile range cars you might be driving for 3 or 4 hours. If I’m on a long trip and have been driving that long, a 30-minute break while charging isn’t such a bad thing.

  • avatar
    redgolf

    Absolutely! To infinity and beyond! ;-)

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Sure, as long as I didn’t have to pay for it, but electric or gas driving has always been a pleasure for me even more so now that it’s about the only thing left to do safely

  • avatar
    dougjp

    If the car was free, why not.

    However with a little advanced planning I think the risk of filling up a gas car, which is the only difference in this example, can be eliminated. Just wear a loose filling pair of gloves all the time at a gas station, leave a door open in the car when going in to pay if you have to (assuming nothing left inside the car, in the unlikely event anyone else is around), pay with a credit card using tap (sorry Americans I don’t believe many places have that yet). Then on return to the car, shake the gloves off your hands onto the floor. Leave them there just a few days because I read the virus can’t live long on any surface.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    I like to think I’m a realist about this, and I am working to limit my interactions with others, working from home, not shopping except for essentials, etc.

    But the gas station is probably the last place I’d expect to catch anything. I’m out of my car for 3 minutes, touch 2 buttons and a card reader, and am 10 feet from anyone else at all times. Do we even know if the virus can survive more than a couple minutes outside on plastic or metal surfaces? And even if it can, gloves are cheap and easy.

    You won’t get me to give up my gas car that easily.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      You don’t even need gloves, every pump has paper towels right next to it. Grab a towel before you grab the nozzle

    • 0 avatar
      EGSE

      @jack4x – “Do we even know if the virus can survive more than a couple minutes outside on plastic or metal surfaces?”

      Good question. I hunted around and found this at the U.S. CDC:

      “Based on what is currently known about the novel coronavirus and similar coronaviruses that cause SARS and MERS, spread from person-to-person with these viruses happens most frequently among close contacts (within about 6 feet). This type of transmission occurs via respiratory droplets. On the other hand, transmission of novel coronavirus to persons from surfaces contaminated with the virus has not been documented. Transmission of coronavirus occurs much more commonly through respiratory droplets than through fomites. Current evidence suggests that novel coronavirus may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials. Cleaning of visibly dirty surfaces followed by disinfection is a best practice measure for prevention of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses in households and community settings.”

      “Fomites” are surfaces such as clothes, furniture etc. (had to look it up)

      Useful info re cleaning/decontaminating at the source website.

      Link to source: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/cleaning-disinfection.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fcommunity%2Fhome%2Fcleaning-disinfection.html

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        “On the other hand, transmission of novel coronavirus to persons from surfaces contaminated with the virus has not been documented”

        ” Current evidence suggests that novel coronavirus may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials”

        This makes no sense, it’s sounds contradictory. Which is it?

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          they’re not really contradictory. they’re saying the virus doesn’t immediately “die” (for a definition of “alive” which fits a virus) on surfaces, but they don’t think that’s an easy way to transmit it. you might pick up a few on your fingers, but they still have to find a way into your soft tissues.

          the scary thing is that what they’re seeing is that early in a person’s infection, the virus is reproducing so damn fast in the respiratory soft tissues that enough shedding is occurring just by *breathing into the air.* You don’t have to cough or sneeze, just exhale close to someone.

        • 0 avatar
          Jon

          @ Lies

          It just confirms how little they (CDC, WHO, etc) know. Just refrain from licking your hands after you touch a surface…

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            I’m sure you think you have it all figured out.

            Please, do tell me more.

          • 0 avatar
            Jon

            JimZzZz, it was a joke. Maybe a bad one, but still a joke.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            Poe’s Law.

          • 0 avatar
            Jon

            If “licking your hands after you touch a surface” or “…” isn’t a “parody of extreme views so obviously exaggerated”, then i suggest the following:

            From now on, when responding to you I will state my intention in parentheses before or after my statements. Will that suffice to clear up things? (mild sarcasm with genuine question)

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            how about just not respond to me at all? Thanks.

          • 0 avatar
            Jon

            Oh Jim… Not engaging those i often disagree with is no fun.

            Plus, in reading many of your comments, it seems as if you thoroughly enjoy belittling and/or insulting those who you disagree with (straight face). So i doubt you could resist applying your request to my comments. I wouldn’t request it anyways. I welcome opposing opinions no matter how insulting.

            So for future discussions between you and I, I ask that you tell me if you feel insulted or belittled and i will apologize and remain silent towards you for the remainder of the discussion (genuine request).

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        Thanks for finding that.

        I still don’t think I’ll be licking my fingers after touching something, but its reassuring to know there’s no history of transmission at least.

        • 0 avatar
          SSJeep

          If licking your hands after you touch a surface is wrong, I don’t wanna be right…

        • 0 avatar
          SPPPP

          I wouldn’t be reassured by that lack of documentation. It appears that many, perhaps the vast majority, of people with the virus don’t even know. What kind of weird edge case would it be for someone to get tested and confirmed that they had the virus, then have some way to confirm that they have never been exposed to anyone who has it (bearing in mind that almost anyone could have it at this point), and also remember and list all the objects they touched, while the testing agency is also somehow able to examine all those objects, test them for the virus, and somehow confirm that the object is the method of transmission, rather than something that was contaminated by the sick person being examined in the first place?

          It’s basically impossible for there to be any documentation of this method of transmission, unless you deliberately isolated someone and exposed them to virus-contaminated objects on purpose. I don’t think they will do that.

          I would put more stock in the counter-example of the virus running rampant through cruise ships where everyone was supposedly confined to their cabins except for short exercise periods. People still got the virus, so there’s a good chance it was spread by contaminated objects or simply through the air.

  • avatar
    Boff

    No.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    As long as I can get to and from work on a charge I don’t have a problem with driving an electric. That is a 35 mile round trip.

    As yet they would never be my primary car. At least until they make a long range, quick to recharge minivan.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      @Flipper35: I’ve been doing a frequent 100-mile round trip commute for almost 6 years and 96k miles in an EV. Work location has 50 charge ports powered by a Bloom Energy Solid oxide fuel cell. With my next car, I’m thinking about doing all of my charging at work.

      • 0 avatar
        Flipper35

        I don’t think there is any car out there that wouldn’t meet my range requirements, even with harsh winter temps so I wasn’t worried about range. We don’t have any where to charge here currently, but again 35 miles round trip is minimal. Some hybrids will do nearly that on electric only.

        For a road trip car with the family it is really hard to beat a minivan, and they don’t make one of those currently.

  • avatar
    redgolf

    Also quit picking that nose!

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Ironically, an EV is my daily driver, but now I’m stuck working at home. A pleasure drive is being planned – good idea!

  • avatar
    MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

    We put the majority of our miles on a Volt and have for years, so yup. Lifetime average approaching 200 MPG.

  • avatar
    Nedmundo

    I’d love to have an electric, but the COVID-19 situation has required more range than electrics can conveniently provide. Yesterday, I drove nearly 600 miles to help my South African niece move out of her college dorm in Upstate NY, pick up and drop off some of her stuff at my parents’ place in CT, and drive back to Philly, because we couldn’t stay with them due to the virus. Any electric other than the longest-range Teslas would have been a real hassle, and even one of those would have required two charges to complete the trip: one in NY to get to CT, and another in CT to get to Philly. It was fairly cold yesterday, which means I might have needed another charge to make it from Philly to her college (270 miles).

    I don’t expect another day like that for awhile, but with elderly parents 135 miles away and no good chargers near their place, I don’t think an electric would be best right now. The 2010 TSX with 122k miles gets the job done just fine.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    ?? I’m supposed to lick my fingers after touching the gas pump nozzle ??

    No thanx to the electric car, I enjoy driving too much and sooner or lter they’re going to force us into them .

    I’m going to Death Valley , looking forward to it .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    redapple

    NO to BEV.

    Commie girlie man crap.

    OOOOOOOh. I m so cool. I drive a tesla!

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      “Commie girlie man crap. OOOOOOOh. I m so cool. I drive a tesla!”

      Quicker and better-handling than almost anything else on the road, and American-made. Have it your way.

  • avatar
    pwrwrench

    First thing I did when it was necessary to pick up at the pharmacy (yeah I know, get it delivered, but that takes a while to switch over) was to get some of the blue heavy duty paper towels. Fold them, soak in alcohol, and put in zip lock bags. Then anything I need to touch, gas pumps, shopping carts, etc, can get wiped down. Most places I’ve been since Sunday are out of the usual ‘cart wipes’. Also wipe down my hands, steering wheel, and shifter, after going anywhere, before driving.
    Sure, gimme a Tesla. I’ll charge it at home. Don’t need to drive much as Governor has told, all that can, stay home. A Leaf or that unpronounceable Mitsubishi would work also.
    Now the streaming service is playing up. ACKK!

  • avatar
    Dan

    I’d feel more comfortable with 600 miles in the tank than 200 in the battery.

    I’d feel even more comfortable keeping 600 miles in the tank and using the other car with the battery so long as the lights at my house stay on.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    I have a pair of very used, blackened, yellow leather gloves from work. They are now my “keep my hands germ free” gloves. NO way I’ll touch my face with them they are so dirty. So grocery cart handles, gas pumps, no big deal, just grab ’em. They are kind of big and loose so I can get the gloves on and off with out touching the exterior leather. I still thoroughly wash my hands when I get home, but having a barrier around my hands is certainly an extra layer of safety.
    And yes, I have been just going out for pleasure drives to get out of the house, sometimes stopping at isolated places for a walk too. I do consider and treat the steering wheel as contaminated.

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