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I-95 fiasco raises issue of survivability of electric cars

Thousands of unhappy drivers were given such an opportunity – including at least one member of Congress – on Jan. 3. Commuting into Washington, D.C., they got caught up in a 24-hour-plus delay on Interstate 95 leading into the city. It happened after six tractor-trailers crashed in Virginia in a heavy snowstorm, which left them stranded. Many motorists ran car heaters to stay warm, were without food and hampered by vehicles abandoned on the roadway. They were left to await the clearing of numerous road bottlenecks before being able to proceed, assuming they still had enough fuel to get to a gas station. Fortunately, there were no injuries or deaths caused by the delay.

Due to numerous cars that did run out of gas, fuel had to be transported to them or else they had to be towed to a fuel source.

This incident comes at a critical time. President Joe Biden has put us on a course to increase electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing while reducing manufacturing for internal combustion engine (ICE) cars. Supported by the United Auto Workers (UAW) union, Biden announced a combined target of 50% EVs, including plug-in hybrids and fuel cell models, by 2030. All government vehicles are to be EVs by 2050. While Tesla, having produced its first EV in 2008, has built more EVs in the U.S. than any other automaker, it has done so without UAW labor.

The major car manufacturers are already onboard. Chrysler announced that by 2028, it plans to go completely electric. It seeks to embed in its vehicles an artificial intelligence (AI) software system powered by a battery capable of traveling 350 to 400 miles per charge.

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