Driving school

High fuel prices drive increased interest in electric cars

LEWISTOWN, Mo. (WGEM) – With fuel prices and the cost of gas continuing to rise, more and more people are interested in investing in electric cars.

Lewis County Rural Electric Cooperative member services manager Travis Mathes has owned an electric car since 2019.

Mathes said in recent months he has been increasingly asked about how electric cars work and the pros and cons of owning these vehicles.

Before charging, Mathes said there are some things people should know.

First, Mathes said electric cars lose their charge faster in winter because the heater draws power from the battery.

Second, he said it was important to use a Level 2 electric car charger instead of a regular wall outlet to charge the vehicle.

Mathes said a regular plug only charges a car at a rate of about 3 miles for every hour plugged in. Tier 2 chargers will pump out 25 miles of charge for every hour spent charging.

He advises against level 3 chargers due to battery degradation that can occur over long periods of time.

According to him, one of the last things electric car owners need to know is that it is important to plan the travel route.

“Depending on how you ride it, it makes you very aware. You don’t do these real quick starts and real quick stops, you kind of have to learn to ride one of these in order to be more efficient in your daily driving,” Mathes said.

Some tips on efficient riding include using engine break-in and rolling to a complete stop instead of slamming on breaks. Both of these steps help regenerate the charge and can extend vehicle mileage.

He said electric cars aren’t really the type you take on a long road trip because charging infrastructure doesn’t exist everywhere. However, he said the cars are ideal for short-distance daily trips and can save money.

“On average, over the 50,000 miles, we spent just over 3.3 cents per mile to drive this car. Compared to what could currently be 19 to 25 cents per mile with fuel prices,” Mathes said.

This fact is echoed by Lewis County School District C1 Superintendent John French.

French estimated that over the past year the electric bus has cost the district 14 cents per mile, as opposed to the propane bus at 21 cents per mile and the diesel bus which has cost up to 50 cents per mile .

The Lewis County Rural Electric Cooperative provides information on electric vehicles here.

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