Electric vehicle owners showcasing their high-tech rides at Mardi Gras Park

Published: Sep. 25, 2023 at 9:52 PM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - It is National Drive Electric Week -- an opportunity to educate the public on EV’s and plug-in hybrids. The Bay Area Chapter of Drive Electric Alabama was doing just that Monday evening with the EV Showcase at downtown’s Mardi Gras Park.

“This is my first EV. I was looking at EVs for some time and decided to pull the trigger on this one,” said Steve White, owns Ford Mustang Mach-E.

EV owners -- like Steve White -- were there talking up some of their car’s coolest features.

“Definitely the coolest feature is similar to the one on the Tesla is -- that’s the self-driving capability. So if you get out on the interstate or you’re going for a long drive -- you turn on self-driving -- and it has a bunch of sensors, cameras and the side view mirrors -- there are sensors on front bumper to detect what cars are there -- what size the cars are,” explained White.

David Gross has owned two Tesla vehicles in 9 years. He likes the low-cost charging -- but says another huge selling point is they’re virtually maintenance free.

“Just tires, windshield wipers, and wiper fluid -- there’s not that much to them,” said Gross.

He also demonstrated how to open and close his car’s cool fly away doors using his cell phone.

We also got up close to a Rivian R1T -- an electric pickup that definitely turns heads.

“Most of my friends who grew up with me would not think I’d be an EV owner. So having one now -- we’ve seen the other side of it. They’re impressive vehicles -- this vehicle here -- 850 horsepower, 0 to 60 in three seconds -- this thing is lightning fast -- it’s like a super car,” said Justin Vance.

Vance liked the Rivian R1T so much -- he bought his wife the SUV version. His kids favorite feature -- the “frunk” -- front end trunk.

“So check that out -- obviously there is no motor there... When we go to get donuts Saturday morning -- they’ll open the front end and put them in -- and people will look and be like what are you doing there,” said Vance.

“Really it is a computer on wheels,” said Mark Bentley, Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition Executive Director.

Bentley hasn’t stopped at the gas pump in two years since purchasing his Tesla in 2021.

“We’re not selling a thing -- we are trying to answer questions and being proactive in terms of taking myths off the board,” explained Bentley.

One of the biggest misconceptions -- range anxiety. Bentley explains while most people charge at home -- there’s work underway to put more charging stations along Alabama interstates -- but says there’s plenty already out there.

“I obviously came down from Birmingham -- I have the 300 mile range -- I stopped in Greenville and just topped it off and in about 15 minutes picked up about 110 miles,” said Bentley.

Most of the cars alert you where to charge. Mary Rosenau -- took her SUV cross country with her best friend. During the 11 day road trip they hit Niagra Falls, Boston, New York City, and D.C. -- just to name a few.

“It was easy and convenient and honestly -- really, really nice,” said Rosenau.

And while the initial cost of an EV may be higher than a gas-powered vehicle -- they tell us the total cost over the life of the vehicle offsets this premium due to lower fuel and maintenance costs. EV buys may also qualify for up to $7,500 in tax credits through the Inflation Reduction Act.

According to Bentley -- this year there are about 10,000 registered EVs in the state of Alabama -- up from 2,000 -- about three years ago.