Is CT ready to have electric cars on the roads?

Is CT ready to have electric cars on the roads?

(WTNH) – There is a pretty good chance the car you are driving right now could be the last gas car you ever own. Carmakers are scrambling right now to get hundreds of thousands of electric cars on the road soon.

Is Connecticut ready? The answer is: not yet.

Naveed Tahir of Glastonbury is loving his first electric car.

“I love that I don’t ever have to get out into the cold and put gas in it,” Tahir said.

His electric Porsche is the high end, but every major car manufacturer right now is transitioning to electric cars.

Bradley Hoffman is the co-chair of Hoffman Auto Group. He says the demand for electric cars is already big and going to get bigger.

“Over the course of the next decade, it’s going to be heavy, heavy electric,” Hoffman said.

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

Electric will save you between $6,000 and $10,000 over the life of the car. About half of that from using electricity instead of gas and the rest of the savings is maintenance.

If you hate the hassle and cost of things like oil changes, radiator flushing, belts and hoses, electric vehicles have none of that stuff. No drips, no leaks, and very little maintenance cost.

“There is no maintenance. The app on the phone tells me that it’s going to be May of 2023 before it gets an inspection,” Hoffman said.

There are downsides, including electric cars costing more. New electric cars cost 10 to 40 percent more than gas competitors. There are some tax incentives to bring that number down, but the biggest reason people are reluctant to get an electric car is something called ‘range anxiety.’ People are worried about where they are going to charge their cars.

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

“It’s more like charging your iPhone. You want to be plugging it in at night when you aren’t using it, topping up the battery so it’s ready to go the next day,” said Katie Dykes.

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

Right now, there are only about 450 charging stations in our state, not nearly 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 as part of the infrastructure bill is coming to Connecticut to install electric car chargers.

Right now, it takes at least 20 minutes and sometimes longer to get rolling. Businesses see that time to kill as an opportunity.

“I hear from business owners all the time about how eager they are to get electric vehicle chargers in that strip mall, near that restaurant, because it’s a real draw for customers,” Dykes said.

Tahir says worrying about charging is something you get over quickly.

“I’ve driven it all morning. It says there is about a 170-mile range left. If I had a gasoline-powered car and it had half a tank in it, I wouldn’t worry about it,” 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 that’s against the law in this state. Tesla has tried to change the law and failed.

If they don’t win this time, look for them to try to cut a deal to sell Teslas on one of the tribal reservations in Connecticut.