The growing EV market and the companies leading the charge
There is a movement afoot and it will drastically impact the way you live, think and move.
Not since the emergence of automobiles, slowly putting horse travel to pasture, has such a potential of change challenged the social factor of life.
The revolution started slowly well over a decade ago when car makers sought alternative methods of fueling American’s need to travel from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’.
It picked up drastic speed when billionaire Elon Musk formed a company in 2003 called Tesla.
Tesla Motors released their first car in 2008 — a completely electric roadster. In company tests, it achieved 245 miles on a single charge, a range unprecedented for a production electric car. In addition, the roadster could accelerate from 0 to 60 in less than 4 seconds, putting it on pace with many gas powered sports cars.
The lightweight car body was made of carbon fiber. The roadster produced no tailpipe emissions, as it did not use an internal-combustion engine. Tesla found that car attained efficiency ratings equivalent to 135 miles per gallon when compared to combustion vehicles. The electric motor was powered by lithium-ion cells—often used in laptop-computer batteries—that could be recharged from a standard electric outlet. Despite a federal tax credit of $7,500, the $109,000 price tag made it a luxury item.
But the Tesla move opened the eyes of traditional car makers across the globe. More powerful batteries were needed. People had to be convinced that electric motors were the future.
For Tesla, the objective was to produce a better car, with better milage and reliability. That came in 2012 with the Model S sedan. The battery pack was moved from the front of the vehicle to underneath the floor, which gave extra storage space in front and improved handling because of its low centre of gravity.
The Model S came with three different battery options, which gave estimated ranges of 235 or 300 miles. The vehicle gave an acceleration of 0 to 60 miles per hour in slightly over 4 seconds and a top speed of 130 miles.
What good were electric vehicles, even those with 300+ mile ranges, if drivers needed to refuel on longer trips. Also, just how long would a driver wait to be charged?
Tesla began building an infrastructure of charging ports across the U.S. and internationally. The build-up was slow with only promises of an electrified future for drivers
The auto industry had to waylay fears by slowly moving from all combustion engines. Oh, sure, the history of what was described as a ‘hybrid’ vehicle stretched back over 100 years. A vehicle that combined the traditional gasoline engine, paired with an electric engine. Gasoline was cheap and no one knew anything about milage and pollution factors.
In the 1960s, the United States congress introduced legislation that encouraged greater use of electric vehicles in an attempt to reduce air pollution. Over the following decades auto manufacturers spent billions of dollars only to discover Americans were not ready to give up gas.
By 2000, the Toyota Prius gave a boost to the hybrid market and had an impact by passing the million sales mark, and by 2012, a plug-in model was introduced. Prius became the benchmark for those buyers deemed environmental savvy drivers.
Hybrids indeed were the middle ground for the jump to pure electric and the jump will undoubtedly take time, but the numbers are now growing fast.
Both federal and state tax incentives, moving the buying or leasing public towards both hybrid and full electric vehicles, have helped fray the higher costs of hybrid and all electric vehicles.
Also state and federal programs enticing the installation of both free and pay-for-charger ports have seen a move towards electrifying America.
In Wayne County, the Village of Sodus was the first municipality to install free charging ports. According to Village Mayor David Englert, the Village took advantage of incentives in 2017. The idea behind the ports was to bring people into the Village for shopping, or eating at local businesses, while their vehicles charged for free.
Englert said the only requirements that the Village had was to supply were in-kind services for installation and upgrading the municipal building electrical service, which is something the Village was going to do anyway. The free chargers are located in the back parking lot of the municipal building.
Newark-Wayne Hospital has now also installed free universal charger ports at the eat side parking lot of their facility.
The only Wayne County car dealer currently selling and servicing electric vehicles is Van Bortel Chevrolet on Route 31 in Macedon. Owner Kitty Van Bortel opted to add the separate general motors franchise when she took over the dealership in 2012. She also sells the Ford electric vehicles at her dealership in East Rochester. The dealerships also offer free charger ports at their facilities.
Jim Colacino, of Colacino Industries in Newark was enticed to drive a Tesla upon urging by some friends. “I absolutely fell in love with it”. He opted for the higher end Model S Tesla with extra features, including incremental software updates. It has an all-electric range of 370 miles on a full charge.
“Drivers suffer from ‘range anxiety’, according to Colacino. Range anxiety is the fear of running out of power. Colacino stated that most drivers don’t realize that the average driver only travels 50 miles, or less in a day. He also said that with charging stations and faster charging times, he never frets over and range anxiety.
The newer commercial chargers can half charge a vehicle from completely empty to half full in about 15 minutes. A full charge in about a half hour. The new generation of super chargers, especially on the west coast, are popping up at restaurants and convenience/coffer stores and shops, where drivers plug in and shop, or eat while their vehicles charge
The more affordable Model 3 Tesla has a range of 310 miles with a starting price tag of $30,815, before any federal and state tax incentives.
For the average driver, there are now a number of choices from American and foreign car manufacturers. Chevy has the Bolt with a 238 mile range on a charge. It currently sells for $ 24,150 Chevy, federal and state tax incentives.
Nisson has the popular LEAF at about $32,124, with a 226 mile range, again before and tax incentives being offered.
Rick Slavinskas, fro Van Bortel said he has driven both the 2017 and 2019 Chevy Volt, a electric/gas hybrid and since getting the 2019, has never bought a gallon of gas. “Once you go electric, you never want to go back.”
Matt Farnes, the electric car guru at Van Bortel Chevrolet said the new Chevy Bolt goes from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 6.5 seconds “People don’t realize how fun they are to drive.” The all-electric vehicles not only save on rising fuel costs, but also require far less maintenance.
Eastview Mall in Victor has a number of free chargers for Tesla vehicles and the New York State Thruway has them at every rest stop/facility.
In New York City, as well as Rochester and numerous other municipalities throughout the State and across America, both commercial pay per charger and free chargers are popping up all over. There is an interactive map available that can be downloaded, showing the availability throughout the state and across the U.S. .
Many tourist and hotels and destinations also offer free charge ports as a courtesy to their visitors.
Homeowners have the option of plugging in their vehicles through a standard 110 line, that now charges at a rate of 4 miles+ per hour, or upgrading their electric service to a 220 and currently charging at a rate of 15-20++ miles per hour.
Companies are offering a variety of vehicle charges with various charging speeds.
Electric busses, pick up trucks and 18 wheelers for cargo hauling, are already in use in the U.S. and Europe, with sales off all-electric vehicles climbing at outstanding rates.
Volkswagen has already stated that within a few years, they will have 20 all-electric vehicles in their showrooms.
With more improvements in milage and costs dropping, are you ready to be electrified?