October 13, 2022

Evansville's electric vehicle cruise is a different kind of car show

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Article origination WNIN
Attorney Neil Chapman chats with a visitor near his Rivian RT1. - Tim Jagielo / WNIN

Attorney Neil Chapman chats with a visitor near his Rivian RT1.

Tim Jagielo / WNIN

Following a successful inaugural car show Sunday, organizers of "EVs for EVV" or, "Electric Vehicle Event for Evansville," are already planning on a show next year.

Organizer Caroline Nellis of Tri-State Creation Care, said they’re shooting for September 23, 2023, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Nellis feels like they’ve also made some history with their car show, and maybe even some electric converts.

“This is the first electric vehicle cruise that Evansville has ever had," she said. "So I'm hoping that this will be the first of an annual thing. It'll become like the frog follies became for Evansville.”

The day of the show, the EV side is a little quiet compared to the typical hot rod side; the only sounds are enthusiasts talking about features, and the occasional mechanical whirr of automatic doors or seats.

Hundreds strolled through the EV show featuring a range of vehicles — from the demure and cheerful-looking Nissan Leaf, to the brawny Tesla Model X and the Rivian truck, owned by attorney Neil Chapman.

“It's got four motors — one motor on each wheel. 872 horsepower, which is absolutely necessary for getting a gallon of milk from Schnucks (or a) Starbucks run,” he said with a laugh.

Attorney Neil Chapman chats with a visitor near his Rivian RT1.

A favorite feature is the large compartment accessible from the outside, located behind the cabin for storing a variety of equipment. Most of the EVs were open for the public to sit in. Several children crawled through this compartment for photos.

Chapman said he bought a Tesla back in 2012. “I just liked the attention frankly, and and being cutting edge.”

Chapman brought the electric motorcycle, a Harley Livewire, which drew the attention of Ron (last name withheld) from Evansville. He said it feels strange. “That's the first e-bike I've sat on,” he said.

The EV section ends with a Chevy Volt, and just beyond, the regular classic car show picks up with a Chevelle SS 396.

There are also European models like Vince Anderson’s 1965 Jaguar E-Type — not "E" for “electric,” of course.

Like several classic car owners WNIN spoke with, he’s not interested in an electric vehicle. He said he would need the range of a gas tank and the charge time of a lunch and bathroom break.

“And then also the fact that you can't ignore that the electricity that they use generates global warming too, so they're not zero carbon emission vehicles,” he said. “So I'm an engineer by background, and I used to work in environmental things.”

Anderson isn’t totally wrong. Electricity, especially around southwest Indiana, does come from coal-fired power plants. But University of Southern Indiana mechanical engineering professor Brandon Field said an EV is still far better for the environment.

“The fossil fuel that you're burning is being used to produce electricity much more efficiently than your car motor is burning the fossil fuel to make the car go.”

Regarding range, Field says many EVs can hit that average “gas tank” range of 300 miles.

EV owners like Lance Seaton of Fort Branch, say range and recharging aren’t a problem.

Lance Seaton holds his People's Choice Award in front of his Kia EV.

“I only go to gas stations if I want to energy drink or need to use the bathroom," he said. "Other than that, I just plug it in tonight and I have a full tank every morning.”

His sharp, black Kia EV-6 GT won “People’s Choice” award. He’s married with three children and he still has a gas-powered van. But, he said he’d go all-electric for his family fleet.

“Really, we just need more charging stations every so often. If they could do one every 100 miles, that's more than enough.”

Seaton arrived with his battery at about 90-percent, and he said after three hours of powering the EV show PA system, it’s still near 90 percent.

This Kia EV is powering the car show PA system.

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