Vicki and Vic Wyant look over a 1969 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia converted from gas to electric by its owners. About 30 electric vehicles were on display at the car show in Mill Creek hosted by Snohomish County Electric Vehicle Association. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Vicki and Vic Wyant look over a 1969 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia converted from gas to electric by its owners. About 30 electric vehicles were on display at the car show in Mill Creek hosted by Snohomish County Electric Vehicle Association. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Electric car owners enjoy kicking the dinosaur fuel habit

The number of Washington drivers plugging in is growing, but the upfront cost of electric vehicles is high.

EVERETT — You might have Bill Trueit envy next time you’re cringing at the pump.

No more dinosaur fuel for him. He just plugs his electric Hyundai Kona into a JuiceBox charger.

What’s up with that?

“It’s really convenient to put on your slippers, go in the garage and fill up your car,” he said.

The future is here for electric vehicles, known as EVs.

The EV industry got a surge on Monday with the Biden administration’s $3.1 billion plan to bolster battery production in the United States.

Over 68,000 electric cars were registered in Washington in 2021, with more than 19,000 added so far in 2022, according to data.wa.gov.

Of these, 10,144 EVs are in Snohomish County. King County has the most, with 49,009. Island County has 1,126.

In 2016, the statewide total was a mere 14,597.

Electric Ford Mustangs are lined up for viewing by their owners at a car show in Mill Creek hosted by Snohomish County Electric Vehicle Association. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Electric Ford Mustangs are lined up for viewing by their owners at a car show in Mill Creek hosted by Snohomish County Electric Vehicle Association. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

The feds give a tax credit of up to $7,500 for some vehicles. The state collects $225 in electric car fees on annual car tabs. But it will cut some of you a break on sales tax.

Upfront cost of these plug-in wonders?

Trueit, a Jackson High School teacher, bought his Hyundai Kona in 2020 for $38,000.

Base price for a Nissan Leaf is $37,400. A Ford Mustang Mach-E starts at $43,895.

Tesla Model 3, which accounts for half of the Teslas statewide, ranges from $46,990 to $62,990, which is the starting price for Model Y. The Model S starts at $99,900. A base Model X is $114,990. (The way to remember the Tesla models is “SEXY,” but instead of an E it’s a 3.)

At a recent car show held by the Snohomish County Electric Vehicle Association, an owner of a Tesla Model X demonstrated how the falcon-wing doors flap up and down, making them dance to music.

The 30 cars on display at the show in a Mill Creek church parking lot included Polestar 2, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Rivian R1T and Trueit’s Hyundai Kona.

The shows are a way for people to learn about EVs and for owners to share their passion, said Trueit, the group’s president.

Like many other EV owners, once you go to charge cars, there’s no going back to the gas station rigmarole.

“It’s a feeling of breaking away from chains,” he said.

His Hyundai Kona goes about 250 miles on a charge. EV ranges vary by make and model.

The charging port for a Rivian R1T truck at a car show hosted by Snohomish County Electric Vehicle Association. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

The charging port for a Rivian R1T truck at a car show hosted by Snohomish County Electric Vehicle Association. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Trueit said there are over 110,000 public outdoor charging stations nationwide. “That doesn’t take into account people like myself with a Type 2 charger in our garage,” he said.

With a Snohomish County PUD $500 rebate, his home’s JuiceBox charger cost him $50. The install was $700.

He recently did the first scheduled maintenance when his EV’s odometer hit 10,000 miles. It consisted of a tire rotation and air filter. The bill was $80 at the dealership.

EV buyers have a variety of options.

“Between now and 2024 and 2025, many of the automakers won’t have just, ‘Here’s our one electric vehicle, hope you like it,’ but will promote this line of vehicles,” Trueit said.

The dancing Tesla might have been the loudest in this crowd of quiet cars at the show in the church parking lot, but it wasn’t the only star.

Electric SUVs and pickup trucks are the hot new thing.

Tony Torzillo’s $75,000 Rivian R1T truck finally arrived a month ago. He ordered it in 2019.

“It feels like a tank and a missile had a baby together,” he said. “It does 0-to-60 miles per hour in 3 seconds and it weighs 7,100 pounds.”

The Rivian R1T has a four-door cab, built-in air compressor and goes 300 miles per charge. It has eight modes, four for the road and four for when it ends.

“I’ll be using it to haul my jet skis and my toys,” said Torzillo, an Edmonds network engineer. “This vehicle was really designed with the adventurer in mind. I will be now. I’ll find some rivers to cross.”

Even with the badass Rivian and the sexy Tesla on the lot, the car shown by Jason and Missa Kelsch held its own.

Their bright-orange 1969 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia was made back when EVs were a figment of the sci-fi imagination.

The Woodinville couple promote the sporty car on their T-shirts and social media.

They bought the Karmann Ghia five years ago and ran it on gas before getting an electric conversion kit in 2018 from a California company that did the hard engineering.

The couple took over from there.

“It took us about six months. This was all done in our driveway under a canopy. Up on jack stands. No lift,” Jason Kelsch said.

“No divorce,” added his wife.

Andrea Brown: abrown@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3443. Twitter @reporterbrown.

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