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Good energy: EV use increasing exponentially

According to the Oregon Department of Energy, in 2010 there were 148 electric vehicles registered in Oregon. By 2020 there were nearly 32,000.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Electric vehicles have certainly come a long way.  

Ten years ago, there were two models of electric vehicles to choose from. Today there are dozens and they are merging into society faster than many even expected.

Courtney McRae-Alston makes a living driving. She drives rideshare for Lyft and drives deliveries for Amazon and Instacart. Her mode of transportation is a Chevy Volt.

"It's a really fun car to drive," she said.

More than that, the electric vehicle uses zero gas which translates to big savings.  

"When I first started driving, I started driving as a rideshare driver and I was driving about 300 to 400 miles every day and I was spending $250 to $300 a week in gas. It was so much money and I said, 'There's got to be a better way.'" 

Courtney made the choice to go electric two and a half years ago.

She bought a used car for $25,000 and saved about that amount in just over a year.

"For someone just driving to work, you're not going to see it that fast but still you're not going to be using gas, it's much cheaper to charge," she said. 

"Switching to an electric vehicle is one of the best things you can do for the environment, for climate change." said Jeff Allen, executive director for Forth Mobility. The organization advocates for electric and smart transportation. "In the Northwest, it's the equivalent of driving a car that gets over a hundred miles per gallon."

EV use in the last decade has grown exponentially.

According to the Oregon Department of Energy, in 2010 there were 148 electric vehicles registered in Oregon. By 2020 there were nearly 32,000 zero-emission vehicles on the road.

"Nationwide, in February, electric car sales were double what they were last February and nearly 4% of all cars sold in the country which is pretty remarkable growth," said Allen.

Unlike years ago when the cost of getting an EV may have been a deterrent, nowadays, it's much more attainable. EV prices are going down as the cost of battery manufacturing decreases and production is scaled up.

You can now get a new EV for about $30,000 and a used one for less than $10,000. Plus there are rebates and tax credits.

"At the federal level there's a $7,500 tax credit available on most models and at the state level in Oregon we have a rebate of up to $5,000," said Allen.

The bottom line, EVs are only going to get more popular and more affordable.

"I love talking about driving an EV because I think that it's such a benefit to so many people," said McRae-Alston. "I think that it really is the future."