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Here Come The Electric Vehicles to Central Illinois

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E electric SUV is shown at the AutoMobility LA auto show in Los Angeles, in this Nov. 21, 2019, file photo.

You may not see a lot of them on the road in central Illinois but electric vehicles are coming.

“It’s a matter of technology,” said Brett Bergman, business manager at Mike Murphy Ford in Morton. “As technology progresses, you’re going to see a lot of different things,” he said.

Bergman, who has been in the business of selling cars for 19 years, the last four at the Mike Murphy dealership, recalled previous changes in his industry. “I remember my father, who was also involved in auto sales, wondering why photos of cars had to be included on dealer websites when the internet was taking off,” he said.

“Right now, electrics are a little more expensive than gas-powered models. As technology grows, you’ll see more and more electrics,” said Bergman.

Most of the established car brands have announced plans to phase out traditional gas-powered engines in favor of electric and hybrid models over the next decade.

Companies like General Motors, Ford and Volkswagen are spending billions of dollars into the production of electric vehicles. GM has stated plans to phase out production of fossil-fuel vehicles by 2035 while Ford plans to go all-electric in Europe by 2030.

Europe is already buying electric vehicles at a record pace, having overtaken China as the world’s biggest EV market.

Here in the United States, more electric models will hit the market this year. Bergman said that one model that’s already causing excitement at his dealership is the Mustang Mach-E, an electric version of the sports car that Ford launched in 1964.

“We have a Mach-E here at the dealership that customers can come and test drive,” he said. Bergman said orders are being taken for a car with delivery expected over the next several months. The car has a base price around $43,000.

“Next year Ford will have three all-electric vehicles—the Mustang Mach-E that’s available right now, the Ford Transit van and the all-electric F-150 pickup truck,” he said.

Bergman said technology was addressing one of the concerns people have over electric vehicles—range anxiety, the fear of being stranded or delayed by a dead battery.

“The Ford Pass app helps with range anxiety by providing information to help you navigate where you’re going, where charging stations are in your area or where you’re going. It tells you what kind of charging station it is and the costs involved,” he said.

Bergman said while home charging stations now are readily available, it wasn’t a requirement for electric-car owners. “You can get 58 miles of charge in 10 minutes on an 110-volt outlet,” he said of Ford’s electric Mustang.

As for a timetable when the sale of electric vehicles will take off in the U.S., Bergman said a number of factors were involved including the price of gas.

Look for the country’s commercial sector to also embrace electric vehicles. E-commerce accounted for 21 percent of all U.S. retail sales last year, according to Chicago-based Digital Commerce 360. That’s up from 15.9 percent in 2019.

As noted in the Wall Street Journal, "vans are the shovels in this gold rush." Companies like UPS, DHL and FedEx have all committed to reducing carbon emissions and electric delivery vans will help them do that.

Normal-based Rivian has a contract with Amazon to provide 100,000 electric delivery vans by 2030.

Last year, the e-commerce giant announced that it expected to have 10,000 vans on the road making deliveries “as early as 2022.”


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Steve Tarter retired from the Peoria Journal Star in 2019 after spending 20 years at the paper as both reporter and business editor.