Is CT ready to have electric cars on the roads?

(WTNH) – Chances are the car you’re driving right now is the last gas-powered car you’ve ever owned. Automakers are scrambling right now to put hundreds of thousands of electric cars on the road soon.

Is Connecticut ready? The answer is: not yet.

Glastonbury’s Naveed Tahir is loving his first electric car.

“I love the fact that I never have to go out in the cold and put gas in it,” Tahir said.

Its electric Porsche is the top of the range, but all the major automakers are currently in the process of switching to electric cars.

Bradley Hoffman is the co-president of Hoffman Auto Group. He says the demand for electric cars is already high and will increase further.

“The next decade is going to be heavy, electric heavy,” Hoffman said.

Right now, there are pros and cons to owning an electric car. They are better for the environment, the power grid here is cleaner than most and getting greener. Electric cars are also cheaper to drive.

Going electric will save you between $6,000 and $10,000 over the life of the car. About half of this comes from using electricity instead of gas, and the rest of the savings are related to maintenance.

If you hate the hassle and cost of things like oil changes, radiator flushing, belts and hoses, EVs have none of that. No drips, no leaks and very low maintenance costs.

“There is no interview. The app on the phone tells me it will be May 2023 before it gets an inspection,” Hoffman said.

There are downsides, including electric cars costing more. New electric cars cost 10-40% more than gas-powered competitors. There are tax incentives to reduce that number, but the main reason people are reluctant to buy an electric car is something called “range anxiety.” People worry about where they are going to charge their car.

More than 90% of current electric car owners do most or all of their charging at home, and the average driver drives only about 49 miles a day.

“It’s more like charging your iPhone. You want to plug it in at night when you’re not using it, recharge the battery so it’s ready to go the next day,” Katie Dykes said.

Katie Dykes is the Commissioner of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. It’s his job to build the state’s car charging infrastructure and there’s still a long way to go.

Right now, there are only about 450 charging stations in our state, which is nowhere near enough to handle the 150,000 electric cars the state wants on the roads by 2025. But help is coming.

About $53 million from the federal government’s infrastructure bill is coming to Connecticut to install electric car chargers.

Currently, it takes at least 20 minutes and sometimes more to start. Companies see this time to kill as an opportunity.

“I hear from business owners all the time how excited they are to have EV chargers in this mall, near this restaurant, because it’s a real draw for customers,” said said Dykes.

Tahir says worrying about the load is something you get over quickly.

“I drove it all morning. He says there are about 170 miles left. If I had a petrol car and it had half a tank in it, I wouldn’t worry,” Tahir said.

Look for another battle in the state legislature this session over the king of electric cars: Tesla. You can’t buy a Tesla in Connecticut because they don’t use dealerships and it’s against the law in that state. Tesla tried to change the law and failed.

If they don’t win this time, seek them out to try to make a deal to sell Teslas on one of Connecticut’s tribal reservations.


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