Neil A. Carousso produces and co-hosts WCBS Newsradio 880’s Small Business Spotlight series with Joe Connolly. Click here to watch the weekly video segments featuring advice for business owners on survival, recovery and growth opportunities.
  • Electric vehicles are coming soon. Here’s what it means for the future of driving.

    By Joe Connolly and Neil A. Carousso

    DEEP RIVER, C.T. (WCBS 880) — The Biden Administration has set an aggressive target of 50% electric vehicle sales by 2030. That has car companies scrambling to meet demand and build the charging infrastructure necessary to handle this rapid adoption.

    Viking Equipment of Deep River, C.T. primarily serves car dealerships and repair shops. When it became clear EVs were the future of his industry, owner and president Joe Shomberg shifted his team’s focus to where business is heading.

    “Keep up or get out of business,” Shomberg said of his business philosophy on the WCBS Small Business Spotlight, sponsored by Dime Community Bank.

    “The same way it’s going to affect my customers’ business and that they’re not going to do oil changes anymore, I can’t sell them the equipment to do oil changes anymore. So, I need to grow where they’re going to grow and that’s my plan.”

    He estimates over 100 electric car models on the market by 2025.

    Viking Equipment is now installing three levels of EV chargers for homes, dealerships and gas stations across the country. Level one chargers, Shomberg explained, are 10 volt chargers for the home that are adequate for slow charging and local driving, but it could take days to fully charge an EV. Level two chargers are 220 volts and provide a full charge within hours. Level three chargers are D.C. power units for gas stations and rest stops where drivers can get a recharge within 10-20 minutes.

    “The vast majority of the charging is going to be at your house,” said Shomberg. “You’re going to come home at the end of the day, you’re going to plug your car in, and in the morning, it’s fully charged and ready to go.”

    He said level two chargers cost $400 to $500, but it will cost extra for an electrician to install the unit.

    “Depending on what state you live in, there are incentives both from the federal government and from your electric company to put these chargers in that can cover the cost either all of or part of the cost to purchase the charger, and all of or part of the cost to install the charger.”

    Shomberg said his company is also redesigning dealerships with new car lifts to accommodate EV chargers.

    He even purchased an electric vehicle for himself so he can experience the issues and limitations of EVs first-hand.

    “For the month of August, I drove it exclusively,” Shomberg told WCBS 880. “I had exactly one time that I visited a fast charger, a level three charger. Other than that, all of my charging was either at home or I have a charger at work and I charge it at work.”

    One week in September, he switched back to his gas-powered car and found himself at a gas station three times within the week.

    “A battery electric vehicle actually got (sic) a lot of advantages to your lifestyle,” said Shomberg.

    He believes EVs will likely replace hybrid cars in the future.

    “The biggest issue is this range anxiety that people need to overcome,” Shomberg said, affirming that a fully charged EV can travel from the New York Metropolitan Area to Maine without needing a boost.

    There are also mobile applications such as PlugShare, which has a map of more than 610,000 EV charging stations where you can plug-in. Other apps calculate the distance one can travel before needing a recharge.

    See more on the rapid adoption of electric vehicles, EV charging, and how life and business will change on the WCBS Small Business Spotlight video above.

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