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Future of Transportation

The Green Living Guy Talks Electric Vehicles

Photo: Courtesy of Ileana Garcia Jacalow

Electric vehicle expert and green living activist Seth Leitman sees environmental and financial benefits to EVs.

Electric vehicles (EVs) aren’t the future — they’re already here. Six major carmakers — BYD, Ford, General Motors, Jaguar Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo — have pledged to phase out gas- and diesel-powered vehicles by 2035, and several states have passed laws banning the sale of internal combustion engine vehicles by 2030.

Seth Leitman — aka Green Living Guy — thinks the only barriers to a transition to renewable energy on a national and global scale are pretty fundamental ones. “Political will,” he says. “Also, people listening to me — I mean that.”

Living green

Leitman, an electric vehicle expert and president of the Greater Hudson Valley Electric Auto Association, has been known as the Green Living Guy since 2005, when he began his media empire focused on sustainability.

“I realized how international institutions were basically screwing the environment for energy,” he says. “I believed in solar and wind but knew I needed to do more. I became Green Living Guy when I was leaving a partnership with an energy company. A buddy of mine suggested I create a ‘Green Living something’ brand. I said, when working for the New York Senate and talking green, some people would say ‘uh oh here comes that guy.’”

Benefits of EVs

Leitman is bullish on both the financial and environmental benefits of EVs. “Electric cars take only two years to go carbon negative, assuming 12,000 miles per year of travel,” he notes. “Gas cars and even fuel cells today don’t come close!”

In fact, EVs produce about one-third of the carbon dioxide per mile as a traditional car with an internal combustion engine. And EVs are cheaper to maintain. “The maintenance costs for EVs are really next to nothing,” Leitman says, noting the exception of the car’s tires, which are comparable in price.

The lower-cost maintenance means that EVs are cheaper to own over time despite typically higher purchase prices. However, that initial investment can often be offset since EVs qualify for federal tax credits of up to $7,500 as well as potential state and city incentives.

Leitman describes the EV industry as “cutthroat,” but sees great potential. “When collaboration gels, there’s nothing like it — greatness happens.”

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