Electric cars hitting the road in Virginia

By Andrew Freiden - bio | email
Posted by Phil Riggan - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - There's a new wave in transportation coming -- the all-electric car. Think a hybrid, but with no gas engine.

Don't buy an electric car if you don't have good people skills: this electric car draws a crowd.

"You have to be a very patient person to own one of these," said Russ Beyer, who owns an all electric car.

"'What was the miles per gallon again?' And you'll tell them, there's no gas tank, it doesn't even apply."

Russ thinks it's one of only a few dozen all-electric cars in Virginia.

"It's a commuter, and errand runner, and for all of those things where you only need one seat," he said.

And it's best for short trips. It can break the speed limit but it can only go 30 miles on a charge.

He stretches that out by charging up whenever he can during his day. His newest charge spot? the New Kent County rest stop on Interstate 64.

"The other end is just a standard cord, you open it up and plug it in...beep."

VDOT and Dominion joined forces for the first charging station in the state. Russ says it's a big help, extending his vehicle's range.

"If you can take 10-15 minutes along your route, it makes a huge difference," he said.

He calls it "opportunity charging." It's like topping off the tank.

Russ will soon have to share the spotlight. The Nissan Leaf, and the Chevy Volt will be available next year, and you can order a car like his right now from Meyers Motors -- with a range of 60 miles.

But is it safe?

"It feels safer than riding a motorcycle because people see you and slow down," Russ said.

And that helps get the word out.

"Good in getting the message out that there are alternatives available. The quicker we can get ourselves off other countries for gas, the better we're gonna be," he said.

Russ says on the West Coast, these charging stations are all over the place. And now Virginia is getting on board.

Myers Motors is in Ohio and a new version of Russ's car will set you back $30,000.

If you are interested in learning more about Electric vehicles on the road now, Here are some of Russ's favorite spots on the web to learn more:

Hymotion.....one of the Prius conversion companies: http://www.a123systems.com/hymotion/products/N5_range_extender

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