Getting charged up about electric vehicles

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By Kev Kurdoghlian

Signal Staff Writer

Don’t let the silence fool you. Electric vehicles (EV) may not make a lot of noise, but they do pack a lot of fun.

That’s according to David Jay. The Canyon Country resident started driving his Tesla Model 3 three years ago, after waiting two years for his new car to arrive.

“It’s been worth the wait,” Jay remembered thinking after receiving his first electric vehicle in 2018. “I mean this car is amazing.”

Jay said the Model 3 is fast — a point he uses to explain the benefits of driving an electric vehicle to others.

“All I have to do is give them a ride in my car and they’re sold,” he said, noting that his passengers are impressed by the car’s torque. “There’s some people who say ‘I like the growl of an engine,’ and then I give them a ride in my car and they’re all ‘screw the growl of the engine.’”

Maintenace, Jay said, or rather the lack of it, is another benefit.

“The only maintenance that it has is like windshield wiper fluid, tires and brakes, and that’s it. There (are) no oil changes, there (are) no smog checks. It’s zero maintenance,” he said.

Transitioning to sustainable transportation is important to Jay, too. He said he has solar panels and Tesla batteries on his home, which allows him to charge his Tesla without relying on a polluting non-renewable energy source.

“I grew up at a time, in the 70s, when I went to elementary school and … they would actually cancel recess and they would have recess inside because of third stage smog alerts in Los Angeles,” he said.

Recalling memories of brown skies making it difficult to breathe and blurring views of the downtown Los Angeles skyline, Jay said he’s glad emissions standards have improved.

“Over the years emissions have gotten a lot better, but zero emissions are way better,” he said.

Reaching zero emissions has recently gotten attention at the national level.

President Joe Biden announced this April “a set of initial steps on the path (to) the President’s goal of a national network of 500,000 chargers to support convenient and affordable travel by drivers of zero emission vehicles across the whole country.”

Sales of hybrid electric vehicles, which use both gasoline and electricity for power, have climbed from 9,350 cars in 2000 to 400,476 cars sold in 2019, with a peak of nearly 500,000 cars in 2013, according to data from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Plug-in electric vehicles sales, meanwhile, have grown from 17,763 cars in 2011 to 326,644 in 2019, with a peak of 361,315 cars sold in 2018. California alone makes up 42% of all registered electric vehicles in the country, as of Dec. 31, 2020.

Jay is part of that growing community, which has local support in Santa Clarita. He’s a member of the Santa Clarita Electric Vehicle Group, a Facebook community answering questions and sharing information about electric vehicles and working to add more electric charging stations.

As of Aug. 1, the Tesla Owners Club of Santa Clarita Valley became an officially sanctioned club by Tesla, thanks to Jay and six others. Jay said the group is holding its first EVs and coffee event on Sep. 18.

“It’s not going to be for Teslas only. We’re going to welcome all EVs, because it’s our main goal to promote EV adoption and accelerate the transition to sustainable energy,” he said.

Frontier Toyota has played a significant role in that transition since the first Toyota hybrid vehicles arrived at the Valencia dealership in 2000.

“We were early adaptors, if you will, and it’s been great to watch,” said Bob Corson, the general manager of Frontier Toyota. “It’s amazing technology.”

Corson said he currently carries several hybrid models, including the Prius, Corolla, RAV 4, Camry, Highlander, Avalon, Sienna and Venza.

“Up until now, the demand for the hybrid seems to be the prevailing wish for a customer because of the fact that they weren’t completely reliant on electricity only,” he said. “But now that demand is starting to shift a little bit more toward all-electric vehicles.”

Corson said all-electric vehicles have become more acceptable, noting Santa Clarita has been ahead of the curve in accepting hybrid and electric vehicles.

“We’re expecting — hopefully more than a few options — full electric vehicles within the next year,” he said.

Nationally, the hybrid Toyota RAV 4 alone made up nearly a quarter of hybrid vehicle sales in 2019, and the Toyota Prius Plug-in Electric Vehicle was second only in sales to the Tesla Model 3.

“The technology is very well tested and true Toyota was the first to come up with hybrid technology,” Corson said. “It’s extremely safe, extremely reliable and extremely efficient.”

Learn more about the electric vehicle community in Santa Clarita by searching for Santa Clarita Electric Vehicle Group (EV) on Facebook. The Tesla Owners Club of Santa Clarita Valley is on Facebook @TeslaSCV and Twitter @TeslaOwnersSCV.

Frontier Toyota is located at 23621 Creekside Road, Valencia, CA 91355. They can be reach online at or by phone at (877) 599-9961.

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