GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A Gulfport man who owns not one, but two electric cars said he's spending a third of what it costs people to ride around in gasoline powered vehicles. After years of driving a hybrid, Dr. John Watts decided he was ready to hit the road on an electric car. That's why he bought a 2012 Chevy Volt.
"So this car has 25,0000 miles on it. The oil has been changed once," said Watts. "Not because the oil life was exhausted but because the computer called for an oil change. In 25,000 miles, this car has used 77 gallons of gasoline. That's a 321 mile per average gasoline mile."
He was so impressed, he next purchased a 2014 BMW i3.
"The biggest two pros are the cars are very quick because of the torque of the electric motor, so from zero to 50, they are very fast. They're very quiet," said Watts.
As for the i3, Watts said, "It has a range on the electric charge of about 38 to 40 miles, and it has about a 300 mile gas backup range. Where a gasoline motor drives the generator and that drives the wheels. It's a fairly sophisticated car as far as the electronics, but it's a very usable car as far as your only car for the family."
Watts admits there are downsides.
"The negatives are you have to plug them in. You probably need to invest in a home charger that's a rapid charger if you're going to have an electric car," Watts said. "That probably represents an expense of maybe $1,000. Beyond that, I can't think of any negatives. They don't require much service and they're great cars."
With no tailpipe emissions, Watts feels good about driving an electric car, although its popularity has yet to take off.
"The internal combustion engine and gas powered cars are so ingrained in America as a nation that there's just not the economic incentive to convert to electric cars at this time," said Watts. "The cars cost about a third per mile to operate as a gasoline engine, but it's very difficult to convince yourself to change when gasoline is so cheap. In the future, who knows?"
Watts said the Chevy Volt costs about $38,000 and the BMW i3 about $45,000, but he pointed out that there's a $7,500 federal tax rebate for those who buy electric cars. He said since purchasing the vehicles he noticed an increase in his electric bills of $5 to $10 a month.