Porsche. BMW. Volvo.
Nissan. Hyundai. Ford and Chevy.
Microphones. Compacts. Sedans. School buses and Teslas too.
All were side-by-side electric vehicles at Saturday’s North Alabama Drive Electric Earth Day event in Huntsville, where the motto was, “Your kids may never ask for gas money again.” The variety of choices was the point of the show.
“Anyone who felt the pain at the pumps as gas prices rose this spring probably thought of an electric vehicle,” said co-sponsor Michael Staley. “But the majority of Alabamians have never even sat inside an electric vehicle. That’s why today’s EV showcase is so important, because we have real EV owners talking about the how they use these vehicles on a daily basis.
Staley is president of the Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition. He noted that Hyundai recently announced plans to build its electric Genesis GV70 and the hybrid version of its Santa Fe in Montgomery. Mercedes will begin rolling out all-electric SUVs from its Tuscaloosa assembly line later this year.
Madison’s Rae Millen brought his Porsche Taycan to the show. “I was thinking about a Tesla,” Millen said, “and I had just been debating it for a long time. I finally decided to pull the trigger.
Millen researched the Porsche, liked what he found, and bought a black one. The family recently drove him from Huntsville to Disney World, and Millen said, “It was easy.”
Because the country’s charging infrastructure isn’t quite where it will be soon, Millen said you need to do some pre-planning for charging stations. He recommended the PlugShare and “A Better Routeplanner” apps. Between the two, he says, it’s easy to find a path to the chargers you need.
“We had no intention of buying this car,” said Rachel Mink of Madison, sitting in her new electric Kia Galaxy. “They had four and sold one just before we arrived. We bought it. It was $10,000 more than the sticker. Even so, she says, it’s very affordable and very quick to charge.
Mink likes the style of the Galaxy, and she likes that, “I can put my old English bulldog Dozer in the back.” She also likes that, “He can drive himself, pretty much. He’s got lane keeping. It doesn’t just bounce you; it actually follows along the lines.
She also likes the fact that it has three driving modes: Eco, Normal and Sport. And she loves that it tracks three-way recharge mileage.
One of the most popular vehicles at the show was the Rivian four-motor electric pickup truck. A side-to-side storage area of the truck body was one of its most popular features. Storage where you don’t expect it is a common feature of electric vehicles, owners said.
Alabama A&M University brought in an all-electric bus from its campus fleet, and A&M Transportation Director Marshall Chimwedzi said the buses have cut fuel costs by more than half.
“We found out quickly that electric vehicles were powered,” Chimwedzi said. “Our college campus is full of hills and the electric buses have more torque than the buses we had before. That’s one of the things we really liked.