Going electric

© 2018-Mendota Reporter

A taste of the automotive future on display at Farmers Market

Left, Nick Spolec of Schimmer, Inc. shows Julie and Don Kessel of Sublette the trunk space of a Ford Fusion Energi, Sept. 30. The display of plug-in hybrid cars ran in conjunction with the Mendota Farmers Market Saturday morning. Other models available to view were the Chevrolet Volt and Hyundai Ioniq. (Reporter photo by Jennifer Sommer)

MENDOTA – Nick Spolec of Schimmer, Inc. spent Saturday morning answering questions about three hybrid cars on display downtown at the Mendota Farmers Market.

Although answers varied depending on the make and model, consumers mostly wanted to know how long it takes to charge the battery, how far can they drive, and what is going to be the savings.

“I think people’s biggest concern is not knowing what they’re going to get out of the battery,” commented Spolec.

After getting the idea from another farmers market, Bryon Walters, Mendota Farmers Market manager, organized the Sept. 30 car showing to give the community an opportunity to view and ask questions about electric cars.

On display were three plug-in hybrid vehicles: Ford Fusion Energi, Chevrolet Volt, and Hyundai Ioniq, but the list of electrified vehicles is much longer. Because of their benefits, more and more automakers are going electric.

Hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) and plug-in electric vehicles (PHEV) can help increase energy security, improve fuel economy, lower fuel costs, and reduce emissions, states the U.S. Department of Energy.

In 2015, the United Stated imported about 24 percent of the petroleum it consumed, and transportation was responsible for nearly three-quarters of total U.S. petroleum consumption, their data center reports.

Using HEV, PHEV, and electric vehicles (EV) instead of conventional vehicles can help reduce U.S. reliance on imported petroleum and increase energy security.

For the consumer, HEVs and PHEVs have better fuel economy and lower fuel costs than gas-only cars. These vehicles have the benefit of flexible fueling, but as EVs continue to grow in popularity, charging stations for all-electric vehicles will be more readily available.

For example, Tesla stated in July that they are making Supercharger stations a priority for their car owners. They have committed to expanding their charging networks in convenient locations such as supermarkets, shopping centers and downtown districts.

Although current purchase prices can be significantly higher for EVs, HEVs, and PHEVs than their counterparts, prices are likely to decrease as production volumes increase.

The HEV and PHEV models also can have significant emission benefits over their gas-only models and several automakers are on the path to zero emissions with their all-electric vehicles.

Already there are several electric vehicles (EV) that are making headlines. U.S. News & World Report rates the following as some of 2017’s best models: Fiat 500e, Nissan Leaf, BMW i3, Ford Focus Electric, Hyundai Ioniq Electric, Volkswagen e-Golf, Chevrolet Bolt, Kia Soul EV, Tesla Model X, Tesla Model S, and Tesla Model 3.

Just Monday, General Motors announced that it plans to roll out 20 new all-electric vehicles by 2023. “General Motors believes in an all-electric future,” said Mark Reuss, General Motors executive vice president of Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain in the Oct. 2 press release. “Although it won’t happen overnight, GM is committed to driving increased usage and acceptance of electric vehicles through no-compromise solutions that meet our customers’ needs.”

This comes on the heels of Volvo announcing in July that every vehicle launched from 2019 will have an electric motor, placing electrification at the core of its future business. Volvo will introduce a collection of electrified cars across its model range – fully electric cars, plug-in hybrid card and mild hybrid cars, the company stated.

Other automakers promising to offer multiple electric models in the next 5-10 years include Mercedes, Volkswagen and Nissan.

GM also recently introduced SURUS, a heavy-duty truck frame that is driven by two electric motors. SURUS could be used as a delivery vehicle, truck or even an ambulance – all emissions free.

The push toward all-electric vehicles comes from automakers worldwide to transition their production away from internal combustion engines requiring gasoline. “Electrification is all the rage in the auto industry,” said GM’s Reuss.

The U.S. Department of Energy offers several resources on their website to answer questions on costs, fuel economy, recharging stations, and tax credits on EVs, PEVs, and HPEVs.

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