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The world of driving is rapidly changing. The best way to understand that is to do what we did - personally see and experience what EVs are like.

I have been an electric vehicle enthusiast ever since my wife, Jan, and I first took a test ride in a Tesla a few years ago. The car was quiet, fast, really fun to drive, and expensive.

So Jan and I waited until the low cost Tesla Model 3 came out and bought one a year ago. What has it been like? Amazing!

Yes, EVs are quiet, fast and fun but also less stressful, more enjoyable and safer. All of sudden driving is something we look forward to. Is that a good thing? It can be.

We loved driving our 18 year old Prius around town but never enjoyed taking it on trips. Now I look forward to driving to Oakland to see our daughter instead of flying there. It's actually relaxing to drive.

What about charging? Not a problem. There are apps that take into account how much range your car has and will plan out a trip showing you where to charge and how long it will take. We have never had a problem finding enough chargers along the way to accommodate our trips. Using the fast chargers from both Tesla and Electrify America charging doesn't take long at all. By the time you've taken a bathroom break you're ready to go.

Although locally most of your charging will be done at home, I also was pleasantly surprised to find out that there are more EV charging locations (15) in Lake Oswego than gas stations (11). Check out the list at losn.org.

EVs are also inexpensive to operate. Charging with electricity has cost us around 3 cents/mile vs. 8 cents/mile putting gas in our Prius. And, the only regular maintenance for our EV is to rotate the tires. I estimate that our total operating cost is 70% less than with the Prius.

Safety is a big plus for EVs. With batteries in the undercarriage there is a low center of gravity and without an engine in the front there is less chance of being impaled from a front end collision. Data from the National Highway Safety Administration confirms this. Our Tesla Model 3 received their highest Five Star safety rating and their data shows that the Model 3 has the lowest probability of injury of any car they tested.

So after a year I am totally hooked. Jan and I think this is the best car we have ever owned. And although I am partial to our Tesla Model 3 there are over 40 EV models available in Oregon many with longer range, increased capacity and at more affordable prices than a year ago. Two of the hottest new EVs are the Hyundai Kona Electric and Kia Niro EV. Both are small SUVs with a range of 250+ miles and qualify for financial incentives of $10,000 placing their net cost in the mid $20,000 range.

All of this is catching on in Lake Oswego. Local EV registrations were up over 30% here last year. The city has purchased several Chevy Bolts and offers charging at the Maintenance Center at rates below what you would pay at home. Indeed our research has shown that switching to EVs is one of the best things Lake Oswego citizens can do to help both with climate change and to significantly reduce air pollution.

The world of driving is rapidly changing. The best way to understand that is to do what we did — personally see and experience what EVs are like. To help you out the Lake Oswego Sustainability Network will hold its second Electric Vehicle Fair on Saturday, Sept. 21 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Oswego Heritage House, 398 10th Street in Lake Oswego. Come see, ride and even test drive some of the dozen or so EVs that will be there. Talk to other owners about their experience and then consider why purchasing an EV will not only be fun for you but a contribution to the quality of life for our community and planet. Hopefully you will be hooked too!

Duke Castle is a co-founder of the Lake Oswego Sustainability Network.


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