Electric car owners review what’s for sale in Alabama

Porsche. BMW. Volvo.

April. Hyundai. Ford and Chevrolet.

pickups. charters. sedans. School buses and Teslas too.

They were all electric vehicles side-by-side at an Earth Day event on Saturday’s North Alabama Drive Electric in Huntsville, where the slogan was, “Your kids may never ask for fuel money again.” Diversity of options was the point of the show.

“Anyone who has felt pain at the pump with rising gas prices this spring has probably considered an electric car,” said Michael Staley, co-sponsor. “But the majority of Alabamians have never sat inside an electric car. This is why the EV Show is so important today, because we have real electric car owners talking about how they use these vehicles every day.”

Staley is the president of the Alabama Clean Fuels Alliance. He noted that Hyundai recently announced plans to build its Genesis GV70 electric car and a hybrid version of Santa Fe in Montgomery. Mercedes will begin rolling out its all-electric SUV from the Tuscaloosa assembly line later this year.

Ray Millen of Madison brought his Porsche Taycan to the show. “I was thinking about a Tesla, and I had been discussing it for a long time,” Mellin said. “I finally decided to pull the trigger.”

Owners of electric cars, trucks and even buses in Huntsville smiled Saturday at a display that highlights the diversity and range of electric vehicles used by state residents and businesses.

Millen searched for a Porsche, liked what he found and bought a black one. The family recently drove her from Huntsville to Disney World, and Melin said, “It was easy.”

Since the country’s recharging infrastructure isn’t quite where you’ll be soon, Mellin said you need to do some upfront planning for charging stations. He recommended PlugShare and “A Better Routeplanner” apps. Between the two, 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 Kia Galaxy electric car. “They had four and sold one right before we got there. We bought it. It was more than a $10,000 sticker.” However, she said, it’s affordable and very fast to recharge.

Mink loves the Galaxy design, and she loves it, “I could put the old English Bulldog tractor in the back.” She also loves it, “She can pretty much drive herself. She’s got a lane keeping. It doesn’t just bounce you back; it actually tracks along the lines.”

She also likes that it has three driving modes: Eco, Normal and Sport. And she likes to track recharges back and forth across all three.

One of the most popular cars at the show is the Rivian electric pickup truck with four electric motors. One of its most common features was the side-to-side stowage space on the truck body. The owners said that storage in places you wouldn’t expect is a common feature of electric cars.

Alabama A&M University brought in an all-electric bus from the campus fleet, and A&M Director of Transportation Marshall Chimoidze said the buses cut fuel costs by more than half.

“We quickly discovered that electric vehicles have power,” Chimoidze said. “Our campus is filled with hills, and the electric buses have more torque than the buses we had before. This is one of the things we really liked.”

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