Electric cars enjoying a jolt of popularity

Many counties in west-central Illinois are beginning to see registrations for electric vehicles, with 23 electric vehicles in Morgan County.

According to the Illinois Secretary of State, there are a handful of vehicles registered in each county.

Adam Groyan, owner of an electric vehicle, said he was beginning to see more and more electric vehicles in the area.

“I’ve had my Tesla for a little over a year and there weren’t many in the area,” Groyan said. “I see a few in town now.”

Grojean has a Tesla that he charges at home and in his office on West State Street.

Although Grojean said the car is hard on the tires because of its weight, there are many more pros than cons.

“I don’t have to try to find a gas station,” Grosjean said. “Then I don’t have the cost of having to pay for a gas or oil change.”

He said he had driven about 35,000 miles on his Tesla in the first year, and although he had to change tires more often, he had no other problems maintaining the car.

Although he said it was a higher price for a vehicle, it was comparable to many luxury vehicles and it saved money in other ways, Grosjean said.

The price of Tesla varies depending on the model, with the brand new models from 2022 ranging from $ 47,000 to $ 100,000.

Gas savings are something that has partly led to an increase in the purchase of electric vehicles.

Brown County has one EV registration, Cass has one, Green has three, Jersey has 23, Macoupin has 33, Madison has 471, Pike has six, Sangamon has 420, Schuyler has three and Scott has seven.

Grosjean said he felt he had saved a lot of money in the long run.

“I’m driving from Springfield, so I’ve traveled many miles,” Grosjean said. “I save on gas every month, so I think it’s worth it.”

While his electricity bill initially increased, Grojean said it had risen by only about $ 100.

He said he was also happy with his higher safety rating. Tesla received a five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2020.

Safety is something the Jacksonville Fire Department is looking for.

Fire Chief Doug Sils said there was little difference in the department’s response when an electric car was turned on due to fears of battery damage, as well as how to safely remove people from an electric vehicle involved in an accident.

Sils said the department has conducted training on how to respond to electric car accidents because some precautions need to be taken.

Sils said electric car fires are not very common, but can be more complicated when they occur.

“EV engineering is pretty safe,” Sils said. “When the batteries are damaged due to debris or overheating, there are problems.”

Thresholds said that when an electric vehicle is involved in an accident, one of the first things is to inspect the batteries for any injury that could cause a fire from the thermal escape of the batteries.

If an escape fire breaks out, Sils said it could be harder to put out and take much longer before the vehicle is considered safe and can be moved.

“We usually have to monitor the batteries for at least an hour,” Sils said.

The extractions are also slightly different. The department has access to a database of safety manuals depending on the model of vehicle they are using to avoid cutting the vehicle in the wrong place. The manuals available to the departments have outlines of where the high voltage systems are.

“We are training on them, but we want to play catch-up,” Sils said. “There has been a lot of collaboration with manufacturers creating these resources for us.”

Although generally considered safe, one small drawback is that any maintenance that needs to be done requires a trip to Bloomington or St. Louis or waiting for a technician to come to your home, Grosjean said.

Grojean said the vehicle was also cheaper when it came to travel.

For his Tesla, the vehicle’s GPS will chart the course with points where they need to stop to recharge and how long it will take to charge, which can add time to the trip, more than it would take to fill a gas tank. .

“It adds a little time, maybe about an hour, depending on the trip,” Grosjean said. “But saving $ 300 for a gasoline trip is worth it.”

Due to the planned route, Grosjean said he had no problems charging his car while traveling, even if the number of refueling stations was less than the number of petrol stations.

The state of Illinois is looking to install charging stations along many of the state’s major roads to encourage the expansion of electric car use.

“They’ve added two more to our area since I took mine,” Grosjean said.