GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — As gas prices increase, car dealerships are seeing an increase in demand for electric vehicles.
Supply remains an issue as manufacturers work to catch up following disruptions caused by the pandemic.
David Kolean, the sales manager of Betten Imports in Cascade, said it has had dozens of calls asking about electric vehicle since gas prices spiked over $4 a gallon.
The Volkswagen ID.4 electric SUV is considered one of the more affordable electric options.
“The ID.4, we have over 25 orders in the system right now,” Kolean said. “People can place those orders anytime and so that will increase.”
Because supply is limited and demand is high, everything has to be ordered, but the dealership has electric demo models customers can test drive.
“In the ID.4 it’s roughly eight to 12 months. The Volvo it’s four to five months,” Kolean said.
Mike Wall, an auto industry expert with S&P Global, says while there are many advantages of electric there are still challenges.
One of the biggest is cost, but manufacturers have been getting the cost down and some vehicles are eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit.
“When you start getting north of $4 a gallon that calculation certainly starts to swing much more in favor of battery electric,” Wall said.
The range may not meet the expectations of some drivers, but manufacturers are working to address that with longer range models.
The number of charging stations are also being increased, and Wall said on a typical day most driving scenarios fit well within the available range of many models.
The variety and capabilities of electric vehicles are also expanding.
“2022, that model count is roughly around 60 … models sold in the U.S. that are battery electric, back in 2020 it was about 20 models, by 2026 we’ll be close to 200,” Wall said.
Shannon Heads says her future no longer involves filling up the tank. She picked up her new Ford Mustang Mach-E on Friday just before gas prices in Grand Rapids rose to above $4 a gallon.
“Now every time I drive by a gas station I just think, ‘See you later, I’m going to keep going.’ So yeah it’s really nice to not even have to think about that chore anymore,” Heads said.
She plugs the vehicle in at home overnight using a level 2 charging station that provides a much faster charging rate than a standard outlet.
Getting the vehicle did take time with high demand and manufacturing delays caused by the pandemic. The process took her 11 months from ordering to delivery.
“First it was the paint color that we were having supply chain issues for. I originally ordered it in silver and then got to change to red,” Heads said. “Then second, of course, I got stuck with the chip shortage.”
Heads says she is very pleased with the experience of owning an electric vehicle and thinks more people should consider the option in the coming years.
“Looking at alternative means of getting around — whether that’s biking, walking or electric — the less you can be beholden on to others. The easier your life can be,” Heads said.