SEATTLE — The first thing I notice when I start the electric car for the first time? I have no idea if I started it. "It's completely quiet," says Leslie Myers, Puget Sound Energy Community Outreach Manager.
Myers encourages me to put the pedal to the metal in the electric vehicle. Or, if you're cool, you call it an "EV."
"Wow, did I just peel out?" I say. "Yes, that was you," she responds.
And indeed, I did burn rubber, unintentionally of course. "They are really fast. Yeah it's kind of amazing. And that's the experience you can't really believe it until you do it. And that's one of the reasons why PSE is doing these test-drive events so that people will get that experience. Learn they are fun. They're really zippy."
She's talking about PSE's community electric car events, one of which is this weekend. They hope to help drivers overcome the biggest barrier to using an EV, the test drive. "It's something that's new. Once they get behind the wheel, they realize, it's just like any other car, it just uses a different kind of fuel. You might be surprised about is how high-tech they are. Great screens. They plug into your phone, everything happens. It's just like any other super-modern car. The only thing that's different is that you plug it in at night."
And The Evergreen State is at the forefront of the EV movement. "Washington had a goal of having 50,000 EV's on the road by 2020. And we've already exceeded that."
Leslie got an EV recently. She says she doesn't miss a thing, except "I see a gas station now and I'm like, 'Not for me!' The other thing you'll never have to do again is an oil change. That is one of the things, as far as the lower cost of maintaining these cars? You don't have to do those average, everyday things you'd have to work into your system."
PSE also hopes to allay many common EV fears, like "range anxiety."
"The batteries in electric cars are getting better every year. For even the lower-priced electric cars, right now you can go about 100 miles or more on a typical battery charge. That's plenty for most people to drive every day, to run your normal errands, to do your complete commute. It's enough."
Leslie adds that EV could also stand for "everybody."
"There are a ton of makes and models now. And every year the manufacturers are coming up with new versions. There are different sizes, everything from a minivan to a little compact hatchback, to a family-size sedan. There's an electric car for pretty much any family situation."
New last month, Washington state residents can take advantage of a tax incentive of up to $2500 on new EV's under $45,000 and up to $1600 on used EV's under $30,000.
If you'd like to take an EV for a spin, find PSE at Capital Mall in Olympia Saturday, Sept. 14 from 10a to 3p.
Thanks to Paramount Motors NW for providing our test-drive vehicle.