Saturday, August 10, 2013

Electric cars to be displayed during Summerfest

A rare Tesla Model S will be one of several electric cars on display the Saline Summerfest’s Electric Car Show from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.
For those interested in making their next car an electric vehicle, organizers from the Michigan Electric Auto Association will be on hand during the Saline Summerfest showcasing electric cars from area dealers.
Fest-goers will be able to test drive electric vehicles during the event from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday on Hall Street. Some of the models on hand will be the Chevy Volt, Ford C-Max, Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i-MiEV.
Saline resident and MEAA member Bruce Westlake says they will even have a rare Tesla Model S, one of about 10 in Michigan right now.
Westlake says it’s more challenging than people think to convince motorists about the benefit of owning an electric automobile.
“It’s pretty hard to make the leap for a lot of people,” says Westlake. “What we try to do at these events is try to get people more familiarized with the new cars, people are able to test drive. We will have people there who own the cars and dealers.”
The cost of owning an electric or hybrid car is a common misconception. Westlake says you can lease an electric car right now for anywhere from $190 to $250 per month and a lot of that is made up quickly in fuel costs — or rather lack thereof.
“Basically what we figure is an average person travels about 12,000 miles per year, and driving an electric car could save right about $120 per month minus your electric costs,” Westlake says. “I’ve met and talked to probably 400 to 500 electric car owners at this point, and everybody i’ve talked to has been satisfied with their purchase.”
The other issue for electric autos is the charging station, which is not as complicated as one may think says Westlake. There will be several portable charge stations at Saturday’s show.
Westlake and his family have gone 100 percent electric and hybrid over the past few years and he has three, level three charging stations at home. He says the small issue of setting up a charging station is far outweighed by the many benefits of driving a non-fuel based auto.
“The pros of owning an electric car include being happy not to know the current price of gas, never having to worry about being late because you forgot to fill up...not having to worry about service except tire rotation, and electricity costs are dependably constant — we always know what it will cost us to drive our cars. They are quiet, comfortable, green and economical,” says Westlake.
This will be the third year MEAA has participated in the Summerfest and this year the group is expanding their presence. There will be three dealerships demonstrating new vehicles. Briarwood Ford will have hybrids like the C-Max, and Fusion; Crispin Chevrolet will have Volts and Ann Arbor Automotive will have the Nissan Leafs.
The Michigan Electric Auto Association has been organizing EV shows for the past six years. they are a non-profit organization with a budget of about $500 per year