E-vehicles boosted by high gas prices

Posted at 4:44 PM, Mar 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-11 18:46:42-05

Since the gas crunch of the 70's drivers have been riding the roller coaster of gas prices, at the whim of things like war and OPEC.

For drivers who have had enough of all that, an e-vehicle may be for you. But if it is — hurry.

Fear over the war in Ukraine has led to a massive spike in gas prices, and in turn, an increased interest in electric cars.

Fairly Reliable Bob's has been selling used e-cars for the past five years, accounting for a modest 10% of their business.

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"Well, we expect we're going to sell out pretty quickly because there's such a limited number of electric cars in this area." said Bobby Petersen of Fairly Reliable Bob's.

But then the war in Ukraine began.

"We try to get every one we can get, but we still only have about 12 in stock. So they're going to go pretty quick." said Petersen.

He says the most popular used electric cars sell between 12 and 25 thousand dollars.

And the biggest concern among prospective buyers is used batteries.

"We've seen a lot of Chevy Volts with well over 100 thousand miles on them and they're still performing great," Petersen said. "If they are less than five years old, you don't have anything to worry about."

Meanwhile, the biggest surprise is performance.

"They can't believe how fast they are." he said. "The acceleration. That instant torque that comes from electric cars almost everyone smiles and at least giggles when the car takes off because it takes off so quickly."

But if you can't afford an e-car, there is a cheaper way.

Modern e-bikes are highly capable. All you have to do is hop on, pedal a bit, and in no time you're up to 20 miles per hour with almost no effort. Range for e bikes is anywhere from 30 to 70 miles on a 6 hour charge.

Matthew Claxton owns Synergy Cycles in Boise. He says e-bikes — especially the level 3 bikes which have a pedal free top speed of 28 miles per hour — can be a good substitute for a car.

"We've had riders who replace their secondary car because their commute is close enough at 15-20 miles and they can eliminate car payment, insurance, gas, parking fees and hop on an e-bike and get to work," he said.

E bikes start at around a $1,000 and go up from there.

And they're legal on the greenbelt and sidewalks up to 20 miles per hour.

Claxton says starting with an e-bike is a great way to get used to the quirks of an electric vehicle. "You learn how batteries work and how to charge and maintain them," he said, "And from there I can see people look to e cars as an alternative because they're familiar with the e bike sitting in their garage already."

A new car may cost a lot more but you do get a 75-hundred dollar tax credit.

So far, congress hasn't settled on a credit for e-bikes.