From ‘Star Trek’ to Wheeling
Local Pastor Energized by Electric Vehicle
WHEELING — Pastor Alan Flaitz most definitely believes in the power of prayer. He also has put great faith in the power of his EV — electric vehicle.
Rev. Flaitz is the pastor at Fourth Street United Methodist Church in Wheeling and Pleasant Hills United Methodist Church near Sherrard. A year ago after much study into the idea of an electric-powered vehicle, Flaitz took the plunge and purchased a new Chevrolet Bolt. He is one of only about a dozen West Virginia residents who drive such a vehicle, according to state registration records.
After scouring local dealerships, Flaitz was able to locate a dealership that had a “10 Bolts” on the lot.
Flaitz and his daughter took a test drive and were sold immediately on the power, handling and quiet operation of the car. The color of the car is the only thing dark about the vehicle.
“People ask me all the time, ‘How far can you go until you run out of a charge?’ I ask them, how far can you go until you run out of gas?” Flaitz said.
He said Chevrolet states the range is about 280 miles per charge. However, in warmer months, his Bolt tells him he has 320 miles on a charge.
“That’s because it doesn’t take much to air condition the car by rolling down the windows,” he quipped. “In the winter months, it takes more electricity to heat a car, then the range drops to 260.”
As for charging his vehicle, Flaitz said since the coronavirus has kept himself and others at home, he has not put a lot of miles on the car. However, his daily trips between his Woodsdale home, his churches in downtown and Pleasant Hills, have been completed on one charge. He then plugs his vehicle into his 120 house current on Sunday and the car is brought back to a full charge overnight.
Flaitz says his savings since driving the electric car have been adding up. He said from July 2018 through July 2019, he was driving a four cylinder, stick shift Chevy Heritage High Roof and spent about $1,600 on gas, oil and filters.
From July 2019 through early this past summer, he said he forked out $420 in electricity costs. Since the vehicle is electric, there is no need to buy gas, oil, tail pipes or engine-related parts. His only expenses, other than registration fees and electricity, are tires and tire rotation, windshield wipers and wiper fluid.
“I didn’t buy this car to take on long trips. It’s possible if you map out all the places where you can stop and recharge. There are apps for that — ChargePoint and PlugShare,” Flaitz added.
He explained that there are three electric currents that can be used to recharge the car. They are the standard household current, the 220 or the 400 high voltage. The higher the voltage, the faster the charge.
Locally, there are two level one charging stations, one at The Highlands and another at Oglebay Park. However, there are no high voltage charging stations in the local area and few charging opportunities in West Virginia as compared to other areas of the country.
Flaitz attests to the quietness of the vehicle and is quick to note all of its modern bells and whistles including smart phone capability, collision alerts, lane assist and more. He concludes that going electric is not for everyone, and most likely will never replace gas-powered vehicles. However, automakers Jaguar to Kia and everyone in between have specific electric and hybrid vehicles to offer. Just check with your local dealerships for more information.
As for Rev. Flaitz, it’s not difficult to guess which car is his. His license plate reads “Warp Corps,” a reference and tribute to the all-electric Enterprise spaceship on “Star Trek.”