Monday, September 29, 2008
From an article by Craig Spychalla in the Portage Daily Register:
When Karl Kindschi pulls his car into a gas station, he has a tough decision to make when it comes to his morning fill-up.
To get the most bang for his buck, should he go with sugar or cream in his coffee?
Gas-guzzling vehicles are parked in front of pumps where the prices can skyrocket in a day, but Kindschi pays no attention to the prices on the sign. His electric vehicle already has its juice for the day.
"About the only time we go into a service station is to clean the windshield and get a cup of coffee," he said.
During a summer when gas prices hovered around $4 a gallon, terms like biofuels, scooters and hybrids were everywhere.
But a new option for a few area communities has yet to really take off.
Electric cars are still a rare sight in most small towns around south-central Wisconsin. Kindschi says he's the only one he knows of in Portage to have one.
He and his wife Mary Ann purchased it earlier this year, four days after Portage passed an ordinance allowing the vehicles on city streets.
Since December, when a state law allowed communities to legalize "neighborhood electric vehicles," the state has licensed fewer than 100 in the first eight months of the year.
But that has not stopped the Kindschi family from being pioneers in the electric car community.
"We've been (using) one family car for over two years," Mary Ann said. "Since we both work in town, we didn't want a typical gas-powered car."
NEVs have been around for years, but seem to be more popular in warmer states.
Earl Huebner, who does market research for Columbia ParCar in Reedsburg which builds NEVs, said the company builds more than 300 a year, but doesn't sell many in Wisconsin.
"Larger numbers are being sold to institutions - colleges, utilities," he said. . . .
The Kindschis say their 11 miles a day put on the car will cost them about $69 in electricity for the year.