Let’s make one thing clear from the get-go. When it comes to
electric vehicles, Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola definitely has a
dog in this fight.
The city is working on getting federal grant money
to install an electric vehicle charging station in the downtown
area. City officials — Coppola in particular — believe the amenity
will entice visitors from Seattle who own electric cars to venture
over for a visit.
Coppola, who also writes automotive reviews for a number of
publications, recently got the chance to test drive a Mitsubishi
Innovative Electric Vehicle or MiEV. When he invited me to
accompany him on a spin about town, I hesitated, not wanting to
appear party to an infomercial. But I’ll admit I was intrigued.
Electric vehicles are still enough of a curiosity that I thought
checking out Coppola’s loaner would have adequate general interest
to justify at least a blog post. Fortunately for Coppola,
Mitsubishi and the electric vehicle crusade in general, my editor
It was a boxy little thing. Its 110 volt electric umbilical
chord was deceptively shaped like a regular gas pump. Coppola
simply unplugged it before taking off. The outlet was located
inside a garage at city hall. Coppola said it takes about eight
hours to charge the car using 110 volts; a 220 volt connection
would charge it in half the time. The amount of electricity used is
equivalent to an evening of television watching, he said.
“You can plug it in when you get home at night, plug it into
your standard outlet, and in the morning, you’ve got a full tank,”
The car’s range is 100 miles, ideal, Coppola said, for
commuting, say, from Port Orchard to Bremerton and back. And it has
plenty of get up and go.
“I was surprised at how powerful it is. I didn’t expect that,”
he said, adding it can easily reach 70 miles per hour on the
highway, should one be so inclined.
Coppola’s driving was conservative as we navigated around town.
But the car had plenty of power to make it up Dwight Street.
This particular car had the steering wheel on the right, so it
was easy to get things backwards. Like Coppola, I more than once
went to hit the blinker and ended up turning on the windshield
Coppola said he wasn’t sure if or how quickly electric vehicles
will be embraced by folks in Kitsap County. He sees the most
immediate benefit for Port Orchard in the Seattle tourist
Coppola, who has driven some honking big gas guzzlers in the
course of his automotive review career, said he took temporary
possession of the car with an open mind, prepared not to be
automatically sold on it just because of the EV charging station
venture. In the end, he found more to like about the car than he
“After driving it, I’m more convinced now than ever that they’re
going to be popular,” he said.
My question to the general readership is, “Have you considered
getting an electric vehicle? If so what are the deal breakers for
you, price, range, convenience or lack thereof in access to
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