Electric cars may be the future for the technologically savvy and the environmentally conscious.
Recent reports show that a lot of car companies are moving in the direction of electric. Local residents, Ace and Laurie Martin, have joined in on the trend by purchasing an electric vehicle of thier own.
Mr. and Mrs. Martin are currently the only people in Benewah County who own a registered electric vehicle. They currently own a Model X Tesla SUV and Mr. Martin says that cars like his are the way of the future.
“Hybrid cars aren't good, electric is where the industry is going,” Mr. Martin said. “Things are going to be very different in 10 years.”
Mr. Martin purchased the vehicle in July 2019 from a dealership in Seattle. He said that he and his daughter flew to Seattle to pick up the car. They immediately took the vehicle on its first long range trip.
He said that the charge lasted a long time and that they only had to stop at two Tesla supercharge stations between Seattle and St. Maries.
Mrs. Martin said that charging the car hasn't been an issue. She said that since the vehicle is practically a computer on wheels, it's easy to plan a route where they will be able to make it to supercharge stations. She said that using Tesla's Supercharger stations usually take under 20 minutes to get a full charge but their Model X is compatible with other charge stations, the charge times just take a little while longer.
“The car will plan a route to the destination based on where there will be charge stations and how long the battery will last. The car lays it all out for you,” Mrs. Martin said. “It's a wonderful car to drive and it makes trips to Coeur d'Alene much easier. They are great cars and have less impact on the environment.”
The couple also have the capability of charging their Tesla at home, thanks to Mr. Martin's background as an electrician.
“Ace put in a dedicated line at our house for charging our car,” Mrs. Martin said. “We plan on taking our first long trip to California to see our kids. The car has a 320 mile range on a full charge, and on longer trips it will even turn off certain features using up battery when you start to get low on charge.”
This reporter had the opportunity to ride with Mr. Martin in his Tesla Model X and the vehicle was as high-tech as they come.
Driving down the road, the Tesla X is silent and from a passengers perspective, it felt like the car was floating over the road.
The car also features a 17” touch screen that allows the driver to plan a route via Google Maps and also control many aspects of the car such as how high or low the suspension is.
The car also features 12 censors around its perimeter that map out upcoming hazards and road signs. The car will also brake automatically as it senses upcoming stop signs. The car also uses autopilot technology. Mr. Martin was able to briefly take his hands of the steering wheel and the vehicle was able to detect and steer around corners on the highway.
“I usually still keep my hands on the wheel in this mode, sometimes you do have to guide it,” Mr. Martin said.
Mr. Martin also showed this reporter the horse-power of the Tesla Model X and its no horse drawn wagon.
Mr. Martin's Tesla Model X is able go from 0 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds, and it feels like taking off in a silent rocket ship.
“This car is definitely a lot more powerful than my old BMW,” Mr. Martin said.
The topic of electric cars is becoming more and more mainstream than ever, with companies like Volkswagen, Ford, and Volvo following in the footsteps of Tesla Motors.
Those interested in owning an electric car of their own can expect some extra costs when going to register it.
Benewah County Assessor Donna Spier said that electric car owners can expect to pay an additional $140 on top of their regular registration fee, which varies depending on the year the car was manufactured in.
“The reasoning for the extra fee is that electric car owners don't pay gas tax,” Ms. Spier said. “Since those car owners still use the same roads, legislation was passed to add a fee, and the money from that fee still goes towards maintaining and fixing roads.”