High gas prices boost electric car sales

John Martinho
John Martinho

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

KAILUA (KHNL) - High gas prices are driving one business, not down, but up. You may notice more golf-cart looking cars on the roads, particularly in Windward Oahu. A fleet manager there says more and more drivers are going electric.

They've been around for at least a decade, but a spike in sales didn't come around until a spike in gas prices.

"At the beginning of the year they were selling between two to three gems per month and now we're about seven to ten vehicles per month," said John Martinho, Fleet Manager at Windward Dodge, the only dealer in the state authorized to sell global electric motorcars, or GEM's.

"The GEM vehicles, you can plug into any 110 volt outlet that's in your home then in plugs right into the front right here," he said.

A single charge of six to eight hours gets you 40 miles.

"You don't have to pay gas, you don't have to pay meter," said electric car driver, Kenneth Gramburg.

Parked on Uluniui Street in Kailua alone are three electric cars, all exempt from plugging the parking meter.

"Yeah! Works really well in Kailua, but not a good vehicle to go riding in town because it can only go 25 miles an hour," said Gramburg.

"The disadvantage of owning one of these is that you can't drive them on a road that has a speed limit posted more than 35 miles per hour," said Martinho.

Still, Martinho says their inventory has ballooned from three to eleven gems within just the past three months due to growing demand.

He says they expect sales to climb even higher, as more drivers try to maneuver around record gas prices.

GEM's are also environmentally friendly.

Because they run on batteries, electric cars have zero emissions.