Gary Rome understands the appeal of electric vehicles. Start with the long-term fuel savings. At a time when gas still costs around $3.50 per gallon, he said an electric charge might cost around $1.25 for the same number of miles.
“It’s a good deal for someone who drives a lot,” said Rome, owner of Gary Rome Auto Group, which has a Hyundai dealership in Holyoke and a Kia dealership in Enfield, Conn. “As gas prices continue to be as huge as they are, the interest in electric vehicles is not going to wane.” In addition, “the technology on the car is advanced. The performance is spectacular, and the response, the acceleration, is far superior on some of these electric vehicles as compared to ICE [internal combustion engine] vehicles.”
So, what — besides an initial sticker price higher than the average gas-powered vehicle — might make consumers hesitant to go electric? In many cases, it’s uncertainty about where they’ll power up. “The infrastructure is still very immature; it needs to be developed,” Rome said. “There’s a lot of money out there from the federal government to support this, but it’s not happening at a rate we would like.”
The issue, for most electric-vehicle (EV) owners, isn’t charging at home; even level-1 chargers running overnight in the garage, at about four miles of range per hour, will give most drivers what they need to get around the next day, and Rome said local utilities are offering financial incentives to install level-2 chargers, which offer more than 30 miles of range per charge hour. No, the big question, for many, is where to charge when away from home. And that landscape is improving, if not quite at the pace Rome and others would like.