Joe Inglisa, Vice President of Business Development at SemaConnect, has always been a self-described “car guy.” His love of sports cars and new technology was evident from a young age – from his Hot Rod magazine subscription to his in-depth knowledge of engines in high school. It’s not surprising to anyone who knows him that Joe has spent more than ten years in the automotive industry.
What may be surprising is his departure from traditional muscle cars and his transition to electric vehicles (EVs). Joe was definitely an early adopter; he leased his first EV in 2013. “I really believed that the technology would take off,” he explained. At the time, Joe worked in the field as a direct salesman, so he chose the Chevy Volt because it was a plug-in hybrid. With early battery technology providing a limited range, he needed the gas backup for his commute. “I would plug in my car every night, but I would blow through the electricity all the time,” he recalled.
A Perfect Lifestyle Fit
Despite regularly exceeding his battery range, Joe saw his maintenance costs virtually disappear. “I basically only needed to get my tires rotated,” he said, “in all three years that I had my first Volt, I spent a little over $100 in total for maintenance.” On top of gas and maintenance savings, Joe simply enjoyed his car. “EVs are just fun to drive,” he said, “they perform like sports car and the instant torque is great.”
He liked it so much that he bought his next Volt outright when his lease ended in 2016. Between federal and state rebates, Joe was able to purchase his new car for around $24,000 – cheaper than many comparable gas-powered cars. “It was such a great investment,” Joe expressed, “the car has been bulletproof.” In the past five years, his motor and battery performance have been exceptional. “I’ve only had one problem with the Volt,” he explained, “and it was a quick fix.”
Now that Joes travels less for work, he rarely runs out of electricity, even with an older EV. SemaConnect offers free EV charging as an employee benefit at its headquarters, so he can charge his Volt at home overnight and top off at the office during the day. He will sometimes go for long stretches without filling up his gas tank at all. “In this market, electricity is getting to the point where it costs a quarter of what gas would cost,” Joe described. “Between fewer maintenance costs and the low rates of electricity, it’s been a win-win.” He said he is strongly considering buying a fully electric car as his next vehicle.
EV or Plug-in Hybrid?
Joe did acknowledge that full EVs may not be for everyone, and that a plug-in hybrid may be a better choice depending on a person’s lifestyle. He suggested that anyone thinking of going electric look first at their commute and travel patterns. If someone regularly exceeds current battery ranges – about 225 miles – and public charging isn’t easily accessible, Joe would recommend a plug-in hybrid. However, this situation doesn’t apply to most people.
Range anxiety (the fear of running out of electricity without a way to recharge) is common due to EVs being new technology, but Joe believes it’s largely a misconception. “I think range anxiety is overblown because a majority of charging is done at home,” he said. “Most people don’t drive 225 miles without refilling their gas tank, so it’s not always a realistic issue.”
Joe ended by emphasizing the performance of EVs and how enjoyable they are to drive. He suggested anyone in the buying or leasing process test drive electric cars. “I just love the way EVs drive,” he said, “and I think a lot of other people will too.”
So, what’s Joe’s verdict?
Car guy-tested, car-guy approved.