When Zachery and his parents discussed what kind of car he might drive, the fuel-efficiency, gas station-free lifestyle and environmental benefits of a plug-in were significant draws. “The biggest advantage I saw was not spending money on gas,” Zachery said. Because electric vehicles are safe, efficient and require minimal maintenance, they are becoming an increasingly popular choice for new drivers. Zachery’s daily commute to school is about 25 miles, and with his Chevrolet Volt he can get everywhere he needs to go with a single charge. He mainly charges overnight at home, though he loves visiting a Clean Charge Network charging station when he goes shopping or to the movies. He’s relied entirely on the car’s battery so far, never needing to fill up with gas. And without having to pay for gas, the money he earns with his part-time job as a soccer referee goes much further. (He’s saving for college.) Zachery learned to drive in a gas-powered car, and enjoys the smoother ride and silent acceleration in his Volt. Like many EV drivers, he’s found that seeking high efficiency is an entertaining challenge. “It’s fun to see how the charge usage changes if I use my air conditioner or travel on the highway,” he said. “It’s become a game for me to drive more efficiently than the day before.” He often tells his friends that electric cars are the future. He hopes to see more charging stations at schools to encourage more young people to opt for EVs. “I am so thankful my parents decided to purchase a plug-in,” he said. “No money on gas and I get to help save the environment? It just makes sense. I really think everyone should embrace new technology; it’s the future of transportation. My mom has already said her next car will be electric.”
Electric vehicle drivers generally have a story about transitioning from a gas to an electric-powered vehicle — what delighted them, what surprised them and what they had to get used to. For Zachery Andresen, there will be no such story; a plug-in hybrid is the teen’s very first car.