EV owner and car enthusiast says all electric push was 'foolish,' predicts hybrids will be better transition

The former auto engineer said the marketplace indicates hybrids are a more practical option than EVs right now

The rapid push to adopt electric vehicles (EVs) as the primary mode of transportation in American society is slowing and one auto expert and car enthusiast predicts hybrid vehicles will be the way forward. 

David Tracy, a former auto engineer and co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Autopian, a car enthusiast website, told Fox News Digital that the future of electric vehicles lies with hybrids because they provide users with both an electric and gas-powered option at any given time. Tracy said he is a proponent of EVs, but also described himself as a diehard gasoline car fan, and was candid about the upsides, as well as the downsides, to owning an EV. 

Tracy said the practicality of an EV depends on an individual's circumstances, what kind of driving they do and where they live. He believes it will be a long time before the U.S. has the infrastructure and consumer compliance to completely switch over to EVs, especially because one of the biggest barriers to EV adoption is charging availability. For drivers who don't have access to an EV charging station where they live, for example, he said a hybrid is the way to go. 

"I think, ultimately, the push is to reduce CO2 emissions," Tracy said. "That means independent of whatever method you used to get there, we've got to reduce emissions. So some automakers are focusing on hybrids, some automakers are focusing on electric cars. The overall goal, though, is to reduce emissions through whatever means necessary."

In the coming years, he predicts the auto industry is going to be pushing more hybrids because "the marketplace has spoken."

California electric vehicle owner

David Tracy, a car enthusiast and electric vehicle owner, said hybrids are the future.  (Fox News / Fox News)


"The interest in electric cars is still there, it's still growing, but it's not growing as fast as it did before and that indicates that people want hybrids," he said. "A lot of automakers … they said, 'No, we're done with hybrids, we're going straight to electric cars.' That, I think, was a bit foolish. People are not ready."

"Not everyone's ready to go fully electric, and everybody knows that," he added. "But offering hybrids, I think, is where we're going to go in the near term and it's going to be a combination of fully electric cars — and for many people that's a great solution — and it's going to be hybrids. I think between those two, it's going to eventually converge to electric, but you'll have hybrids in the interim as the infrastructure builds up."

Tracy owns eight cars, two of which are electric, a first generation Nissan Leaf and a BMW i3 with a gasoline range extender built in. 

"They're great on maintenance, they're fun to drive, they're cheap, you can get them reasonably cheaply because of federal rebates," he said. "If you have a place to charge, they're fantastic. Now, some of the downsides, of course, the infrastructure isn't perfect, and especially if you don't own a Tesla, there's some planning that you're going to have to factor into any trip. If you want to buy a new one, even with rebates, they're a little bit pricier, but they're basically getting there in terms of cost parity."

But, he admitted that "there's no question there's still some work that needs to go into making sure that charging stations are operating and available."

Electric vehicle

David Tracy nearly got stranded in his Nissan Leaf after he took it to a charging station where most of the chargers were broken.  (Fox News / Fox News)

"I wasn't really concerned because I live in the L.A. area where the infrastructure is not that bad. It's actually pretty decent relative to the rest of the country," he said. "Once you really arm yourselves with the right [charging locator] apps, you can actually not only know where pretty much all the charging stations are, but what is their reputation for uptime."

"If you live in a place where gas costs are high, it's great to not have to pay $5 a gallon or even $3, nobody likes paying for gas, so that's great," he added. "If you can charge at home like I can or at work, man, having an electric car is a godsend, especially here in California where gas is over $5 … It's a such a great thing." 


He said that experience changes if you live in an apartment, for example, and you don't have a place to plug in consistently. 

"You could go to a public charger and plug in once a week and try to remember to do that, and some people do that, [but] it depends on where you live, that may not be something that really works well for you," he said. 

Gas prices in California

High prices at a gas station in Los Angeles on April 2. (Eric Thayer/Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Tracy said it is important that people weigh factors in their lifestyle, including the EV infrastructure in the community and the type of driving they do, before they buy an EV. But, he argues that an EV is a great option for people simply commuting to and from work every day. 

"I live in Los Angeles, where a 50-mile commute takes like 2.5 hours, so on any given day of the week, I'm not really driving more than 50 miles and I have a place at home where I can charge," he said. "An electric car for me is perfect, and it's actually way better than a gasoline car for someone in my circumstances, but that may not be the case for everyone."

Tracy said that for a road trip, for example, drivers have to break the EV camp into Tesla and non-Tesla models "because Tesla's infrastructure is so far beyond that of really anyone else's."

"Luckily, Tesla is starting to share that infrastructure with automakers," he said. "You can do road trips in Teslas, it's not a big deal, they charge pretty quickly. You have to plan it more than if you had a gas car, but it's not really a big deal." 


"If you don't have Tesla's supercharger capability, you have to plan it better," he added. "You have to make sure you're using your [charging locator] apps and, yeah, it's a game of planning and some people don't have the patience for that."

Tracy also discussed how maintenance is "much easier" when it comes to an EV. 

Tesla automobile plugged in and charging a Supercharger rapid battery charging station for the electric vehicle company Tesla Motors, in the Silicon Valley town of Mountain View, California, August 24, 2016.

A Tesla automobile gets charged at a Supercharger rapid battery charging station in Mountain View, California, on Aug. 24, 2016.  (Getty Images / Getty Images)

"You don't have to do an oil change ever, you don't have to even do brakes pretty much ever because it uses the motor as a regenerative brake, so it slows you down using the motor instead of the actual brake pads," he said. "There are some challenges, but man, there are some real benefits, too." 

"You won't have dumb things like [dealing with] the transmission failing and camshaft position sensors failing, it's just that much simpler to maintain," he added. 

Tracy said he is aware many Americans aren't ready to make the jump to an EV, which is one of the main reasons he thinks hybrids are an even better answer. 

"If you don't have a place to charge it every day, the idea of having only an electric car, there are lots of people who are kind of just not ready for it yet," he said. "They're skeptics and I think a hybrid is a great transition for those people."

Despite the EV push and the hybrid demand, Tracy said America is a country that was built around gasoline cars and products and he recognizes that many consumers aren't eager to make the switch to an EV. 

"If you don't feel like doing it, if you don't feel like driving an EV, no one's taking your gasoline car away," he said. "That's not going to happen. You may find that the new cars at the dealership, more of them are going to become electrified. You might have to choose a hybrid, which you will like, by the way, I guarantee it. If you're going from a gas car to a hybrid, especially if it's an automatic transmission, they're great cars these days, so it's like it's not really going to feel like a hit as long as there's a hybrid option."