The following is a lightly edited transcript of remarks made by Ashley Nunes during a Newsweek podcast debate about EVs being the future of transportation. You can listen to the podcast here:

Electric vehicles seem like a good idea, because we are often told that they’re cleaner to drive and cheaper to own. But when you dig a little deeper, a different truth emerges. Are EVs cleaner than existing alternatives? Not in China, or the United States — where major auto markets derive the bulk of their power from coal.

Are EVs cheaper to operate? Yes, but only if you hold onto those cars for a longer period of time, because they have higher upfront costs. Proponents of EVs say that things will get better over time, because they’ve become cleaner, and costs have dropped. But past performance is certainly no guarantee of future return. I’m not saying that driving gas guzzlers is the way to go; I just think that we should be honest with the public about what EVs can and cannot do, particularly when public funds are used to back climate policies.