The power of the press

1912 Detroit Electric car

1912 Detroit Electric car

Or why we need to think for ourselves

Dr. Benjamin Chapman joined the Duval County Medical Society in 1920. At first, the new physician could not afford an automobile so he rented a horse for 50 cents a day to make housecalls.

When he was 95-years-old Dr. Chapman said, “Patients were poor. They would say, ‘Doctor, I haven’t got any money to pay but I’ll give you a piece of ham and a half-dozen eggs now, and I’ll pay you later’. The people were always pretty good about paying you later”.

Finally Chapman’s practice earned enough for him to buy  his first car, a Maxwell.

He ran out of gas on his first housecall.

“When I bought the car,” he said, “Nobody told me I had to buy gas too”!

The segment above is from a web page title “Jacksonville’s Motorcar History“. The page is found on John Cowart’s Web Page titled “The Rabid FUNdamentalist” and we will not get into a discussion of that here.

In 1920, the automobile had been in existence for many years. As can be seen in the illustration above, the electric car was around earlier than 1920, in fact much earlier, and it outsold gasoline vehicles for quite some time around the turn of the century. We wrote an article about the history of the electric car last year.

So what brings all this about? A post in the My Nissan Leaf forum by a forum member had talked about their experience of running their LEAF out of battery power last month. Inevitably, as do many things on the internet that stir controversy, the content made its way to other blogs, including Jalopnik. While Jalopnik is not first-tier press, apparently they are read by staff at USA Today, which has one of the most widely read newspapers on the planet. USA Today’s headline had this to say yesterday “Some Nissan LEAF electric car owners left stranded“. We are trying to leave a comment on the USA Today site, but the site refuses to send us our membership confirmation link. In any case, what we are curious about is why USA Today did not write the following headline “1, 375 internal combustion engines run out of gas, while only one electric vehicle ran out of electricity”. While we made up the number of gasoline vehicles running out of gas, you get the idea. When someone runs out of gas, it is not news. Sometimes we just need to think for ourselves.

(PS: Taking inflation into consideration, the cost of renting that 1920 horse today would be $5.51 per day. When we get our LEAF, we will be able to recharge it (from empty) for less than $2.00. We’ll take the LEAF – no mess to clean up after.)

This entry was posted in Driving Experience, Driving Range, Industry News, Is the Nissan LEAF right for me?, LEAF 101, LEAF Information. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.