6/29/20 – Koch Industries, Wichita, Kansas
Today was a travel day. Sunride, not able to operate with a blown rear tire, was carried through Kansas. One of the stops I’d hope to make in Kansas was at Koch Industries in Wichita. I called ahead to Tammy Hernandez in the public relations department at Koch and told her about Sunride. She suggested I talk to Chris Graham in the government relations department. I was excited to talk to Chris, his job must entail talking to Senators and Representatives of state legislatures as well as Congress. Koch gave $60 million to Trump’s 2016 election campaign. Chris’ schedule didn’t permit a meeting but we went there anyway just to see the place.
It’s a gorgeous new facility that reminded me of the Nike campus in Beaverton, Oregon. We weren’t going to get past the gate so we walked up to take a photo at the entrance sign. A guard came running out telling us we were not allowed to take photos even of the sign in front of the entrance to the corporate headquarters. I asked if we could come in and we were told no, not without an appointment. I had been told the same thing at the Tesla Gigafactory.
So, now I have the dubious distinction of having been turned away by both the Gigafacory, representing clean energy, the energy of the future, and by Koch Industries, representing conventional energy sources that have served us well in the past but are destined to be anachronistic since we’ve learned the downside of burning fossil fuels. Koch is a great big company, doing lots of good things, with the power to influence policy and make the world better, which is part of their legacy and their mission statement. What I would have said to Koch is look to the sun, seek new and better ways to use the sun’s energy to make your products and create new ones. If the number of cars in the world will double form 1 billion to 2 billion in the next ten years as stated on your website, do all you can to see these cars are electric, and the electricity comes from the sun, just like with Sunride. Use your influence with policy makers to promote bike trails throughout the nation like in Denmark, where half the population gets from point A to point B on bicycles, more and more of them electric, powered in that country by wind turbines like the ones all over Kansas and the other Great Plains states I’ve been riding through. Charles Koch, CEO, if you hear me, you know I’m right.
The time is fast approaching when people will choose electric cars because they are so much cheaper to operate. If a car or truck gets 20 miles per gallon and a gallon of gas costs $2 then it costs 10 cents per mile to drive. If an electric vehicle gets 4 miles to a kilowatt hour and a kWh costs ten cents then it only costs 2.5 cents per mile, one forth. Gasoline would have to go to 50 cents per gallon to equal the fuel cost of an EV. But then there’s oil changes and routine maintenance gas powered cars have to bear that EV’s simply don’t. My Tesla has now passed 100,000 miles and I haven’t spent a cent on maintenance or fuel because 100% of the electricity comes from my rooftop solar array that has already paid for itself in less than five years. I get to drive for free for the rest of my life, well except for tires and insurance and license renewal fees, but everybody who drives has to pay for that. Yet another reason to get an electric bike.