Charging up alternative transportation
Meet the guy putting a charge into alternative transportation in Sarasota County
Sarasota County resident Chris Sharek is a self-described “car guy” and vocal advocate for alternative transportation, particularly Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (EVs). In this Sustainability Spotlight, we sat down with Chris to talk about the EV’s and the future of alternative transportation.
How did you get started with Electric Vehicles?
“My decision was based on economics. In 2011, I went to Iceland to visit a friend. I paid $8 a gallon for gas and $1,000 to drive the Ring Road around that beautiful country. That was when I really started thinking about the future of transportation. As an engineer, I was intrigued by what GM was doing with hybrid technology. So, I bought the Volt when it first came out. In 2016, I went all-electric, buying a Tesla and passed the Volt on to my son. He loves that car. It has 100,000 miles on it, the battery is still strong, it’s required almost no maintenance, and he puts gas in it twice a year.”
What was your greatest challenge when considering an EV and how did you overcome it?
“My greatest challenge was psychological. I went from a 470-hp Jeep, which was super-fun to drive but got 11 mpg, into the Chevy Volt. Basically, I traded in a muscle car for a hybrid – the salesman thought I was crazy! But as soon as I stepped on the accelerator and felt the torque in the Volt, I knew I made the right choice. Hybrids and EVs are a blast to drive and I’m paying a lot less to have so much fun.”
What advice would you give to someone considering an EV for the first time?
“Do your homework. Go online and check out social media to see what people are saying. Come to the annual Sarasota County Plug-In Day and talk to people who have been driving EVs and Hybrids in the real world. Come to a free class on EVs and Hybrids hosted by Sarasota County Sustainability. Forget the hype and the sales pitches; take the time to learn what these cars can really do. Probably one of the biggest misconceptions about EVs and Hybrids is that they are low power, boring to drive vehicles. In fact, the opposite is true!”
What do you think the future holds for Electric Vehicles?
“I think plug- in hybrid technology will continue to be the most popular pathway to all electric at least for the next few years. Gasoline has been our standard fuel supply for generations and I think currently it still has a place in our society. That being said, I think once the Chevy Bolt and Tesla 3 become available nationwide at that $35,000 price range, we’ll start to see a shift in attitudes about hybrid and electric vehicles. My expectation is that most people will start like I did, with a plug-in hybrid and eventually move to all electric.”