Plug-in Electric Vehicles (PEV) are becoming increasingly more popular especially in California and in Santa Cruz. Numerous local residents drive PEVs because they significantly reduce greenhouse gases, save money on gas and maintenance, and they are fun to drive.
The following are brief profiles on local PEV owners:
Morgan Vetter, Electric Motorcyclist, Energica SS9
A Monterey Bay native, Morgan grew up in a motorcycle family. The younger son of motorcycle industry pioneer, Craig Vetter, he learned to ride shortly after he could walk. In 2017 he shifted the focus of his life to electric motorcycles and figuring out how to maximize their potential by improving things like charging rates and thermal management.
Since then he has rigorously tested almost every electric motorcycle firsthand and is able to talk about the strong points of each brand and model, and which ones are suited to people’s individual needs. In 2019 he sold his Zero SR to purchase an Energica SS9 and immediately put over 10,000 miles on it. He does not own a car and rides year round, rain or shine.
Electric may not be for everybody, but if you love motorcycles and the idea of an electric one is appealing, there are few people more qualified to speak from experience about all the brands and models in existence.
“I don’t ever want go back to gas”
Owner Profile, Chevy Volt & Tesla Model 3
Micheal Saint has been a resident in Santa Cruz County for 31 years. Micheal retired from the airline industry five years ago after 41 years of service. He lives in Aptos with his lovely wife Elizabeth and son Matthew.
Micheal purchased his plug-in 2013 Chevrolet Volt in 2016, which travels 40 miles on battery and has a range of 350 miles with the gas turbine generator as backup. He also owns a Tesla Model 3 with 310 miles of electric range.
Mr. Saint is an avid EV enthusiast who has volunteered at Ecology Action for the last four years, doing test drives at EV shows and helping with EV webinars. He also provides guidance to the community with education on EV options, and guiding them through the process of purchasing an EV.
Micheal states, “I feel going electric has been one of the best decisions I’ve made. It helps the environment, saves me money, and is so fun to drive. I will never return to a fossil fuel car.”
Owner Profile, Used 2012 Nissan Leaf with Battery Replacement
Patricia Damron with her used 2012 Nissan Leaf. Battery was replaced in 2016. Her used Leaf came with the battery replacement and a drive-over charging pad. Cost: $4800
Patricia Damron lives and works mostly from Santa Cruz, driving to her company’s office in Los Gatos one day/week. She has dreamed of owning an electric car for years, but EVs seemed out of her price range. Then, in December, her friend purchased a 2012 Nissan Leaf EV for $4200. It only had 45k miles and goes 50 miles on a charge. And it was really nice to drive!
“I suddenly realized that an EV was in my price range after all, and since I have a small pickup truck I can use for longer trips, it made sense to do what my friend did. So I found a 2012 Leaf on Craigslist for $4800 with a replaced battery, all the bells and whistles, and a drive-over charging pad so I don’t even have to plug in to charge! And it’s a pleasure to drive!”
Her 2012 Leaf gets 70 miles per charge with a newer battery from 2016. The car rides like a dream and is more comfortable than the VW Golf SportWagen she had been driving. She lives north of Santa Cruz and can drive to Watsonville and back, Scotts Valley or Los Gatos as needed without having to charge. The Leaf came with a high speed charger in case she wants to take longer trips.
“Since 95% of my driving is local, it made sense to buy an EV with a low mileage range, which made it affordable.” Her friend installed a used 240V charger for her at her home, for a total cost of $200. Thank you Craigslist!
Living out of town, she now feels no guilt taking that extra trip to the store, to visit a friend or to do other errands. “I can drive to town and back a few times before even having to charge. I love how the car handles, and I LOVE that I’ll NEVER take it to a gas station!”
Owner Profile, Ford CMAX Energi
Scott Roseman has lived in Santa Cruz County for 36 years, making his mark as the co-owner of the thriving New Leaf Community Markets local grocery stores. Scott and his wife Jasmine Berke have a busy family life with 4 grown children and 4 grandchildren. Last November, Scott purchased the Plugin Hybrid Electric Vehicle Ford CMAX Energi which travels some 21-miles on battery only mode.
Scott is able to drive mainly on battery power as he travels from home and work as well as run errands from his downtown office. Overall he averages about 1,000 miles per month driving the CMAX Energi. Charging the Plugin is easy with convenient and free electric vehicle charging stations at the City of Santa Cruz’s Front & Soquel Street parking garage as well as charging at his home. At home Scott charges his CMAX from a standard 110 volt outlet that replenishes the battery overnight.
Since the CMAX Energi is a plugin hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) it does also run on gas but with mostly battery only around town trips, Scott is able to drive 700 to 1,000 miles before refueling at a gas station.
“I like the feel of driving the vehicle, especially in EV mode, plus knowing that I am not using gas,” explains the local grocery store owner, who adds “The car drives well, has good pickup and handling, is comfortable to sit in, and good views of the road, unlike my previous hybrid.”
Owner Profile: Nissan Leaf
Joel Kauffman is a native of Santa Cruz who lives on the westside of town with his wife and their baby girl. The Kauffmans recently purchased a 2013 Nissan Leaf which is the best selling all electric plugin electric vehicle (PEV).
The Kaufmann family drives the Leaf approximately 110 miles per week for shopping, chores and surfing. Joel loads up his surfboard in the surprisingly spacious hatchback to seek out waves from Waddell Beach to Moss Landing. The Leaf allows Joel to enjoy his water passion with significantly reduced negative greenhouse gas emission caused by gasoline cars.
“Way better all around car then I hoped – beats my previous owned hybrid by far for handling, visibility and ergonomics,” stated Joel, who also likes using less energy, not ever pumping gas, and getting most of his car power from the sun.
For longer vacation trips the Kaufmann’s rely on an older gas car for those infrequent journeys.