Paul Anderson from Tremonton bought a hybrid car in California because it was the only place he could find a car that fit his needs.
LOGAN – With gas prices getting higher and higher and social pressure being applied to the energy industry there are more electric vehicles, or EV’s, and hybrids being seen on Cache Valley roads and highways.
At the end of 2019, Paul Anderson, a resident in Tremonton, bought a Honda Clarity – a hybrid car – in California because it was the only place he could find the car he wanted. His research told him the hybrid car would go 55 miles on one charge. The Clarity was only sold in California. Later the hybrid was only sold to people with a California address and then production was terminated.
“I drive on electric until the charge runs down and then I switch to gas,” he said. “I hadn’t seen other hybrids with the range my Clarity had. The Clarity was discontinued by Honda.”
Anderson could drive to Logan, where he works as a radio engineer for the Cache Valley Media Group, then back home and uses 70 to 80 percent of the battery. The range for all-electric cars can only go to the next charging station.
“I think hybrid’s plug-ins are the best compromise,” he said. “If you have a gas-powered car the gas cost more. If you just have a plug in you can only go as far as the battery stays charged.”
A hybrid electric vehicle is powered by an internal combustion engine and electronic motors that are powered by batteries. Some Tesla all-electric vehicles can travel anywhere between 270-400 miles on one charge.
Anderson said going to work would take two gallons of gas. With the current cost of gas in Logan on June 1 at 4.79 a gallon it would cost over $9. Anderson’s electric car only costs him 50 to 75 cents to make the same trip.
“Even with cheap gas there is big time saving with a hybrid,” he said. “Right now, you have to find the ones that give you an electric charge for a good distance to be practical.”
Winters are another issue with EV’s. Low-range batteries loose power in the winter. Instead of 55 miles per charge Anderson said vehicle gets closer to 38 to 40 miles per charge in the cold.
“Right now, the plugin networks are not flushed out across the country.” Anderson said. “Tesla has plug-in stations all over the country, even Tremonton.”
Tesla is working with Walmart to put in charging stations in the parking lots of their retail establishments. All the major automobile manufacturers are coming out with their own versions of EV’s and hybrids.
More EV’s and hybrids are finding their way to Cache Valley car dealerships.
Chris Baugh, a salesman at Murdock Chevrolet, said the Chevy Volt is in high demand right now. He said he gets a call for EV’s every day.
“With high gas prices, there’s demand for all brands’ EV’s right now,” he said. “Chevrolet is rolling out EV’s in every category of their inventory next year, even an electric Silverado and a Humvee electronic version.”
Travis Jensen, of Heritage Dodge Jeep Ram of Logan, said E-Jeep Wranglers are their big sellers.
“Everything we get gets sold. With gas prices on the rise sales are going to increase,” he said. ”Yea, I would buy one with gas prices the way they are. I have to fill up more often and gas is getting more expensive.”
There are companies converting automobiles with internal combustion engines to electric motor driven vehicles. The Utah Department of Environmental Quality has a conversion to alternative fuel program that gives grants to businesses that convert vehicles to natural gas or electric power.
AutoPacific, a future-oriented product research and product consulting firm, reported last year electric vehicle sales reached almost 500,000 and this year that number is expected to rise 37%, reaching 670,000.