EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Business

June 9, 2013

Andover man makes electric cars work

(Continued)

First, while watching traffic, he realized how many of us drive more car than we need.

“I counted 100 cars. Ninety-five of them had no passenger,” Art recalled. Clearly smaller cars were sufficient to transport a driver alone, creating less roadway crowding and congestion. Pushed by that realization, he bought his first Smart in 2008. In 2011, he traded up to a convertible version of the Smart. That was the car guy at work: “I’d always wanted a convertible,” he explained.

He went electric after recently test-driving a Leaf, the Nissan all-electric automobile. Dan Enxing, a neighbor who owns Subaru of Nashua in New Hampshire, loaned Art the Leaf for a two-week trial. The Smart Electric Art purchased in May was the first model registered in Massachusetts, he believes.

I think electric drive appeals to Art’s penchant for self-sufficiency. He can plug in at home to recharge and never have to stop at a gas station. Even better, right now he’s finishing the installation of solar panels on his house, to make electricity from sunlight. That could eliminate electric bills while putting homemade energy in his Smart.

“When I plug my car in, I can say I’m being powered by the sun,” he said.

For Art, the Smart Electric isn’t an ideological statement, it is simply practical. Accordingly, the practical solutions he applies to overcome the limits of all-electric automobiles can be a model for other ordinary drivers to follow, which could make electric drive more popular.

For example, he is having a fast-charge station installed in his garage, so he won’t have to wait long for a full recharge of the Smart’s batteries. And naturally the Smart Electric serves only for personal use and only within a limited area. Art’s family owns other, conventional cars for times when the Iworsleys need to haul more passengers or cargo than the little electric can manage, or when they want to travel farther than the Smart Electric’s 60- to 70-mile range per battery charge can carry them.

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