The future is here

By Eric Hinkle, Central Valley Motorsports

It’s almost 2020. We don’t have flying cars as predicted in books and film, but we do have something more realistic. The future of automobiles is here today. EVs or Electric Vehicles are becoming a more common sight on local roads. We all have seen and know about the Tesla Brand. Tesla has some impressive models—some that are even self-driving. At over $100,000 each it is not a car that most of us see ourselves driving.

The idea of electric cars has always intrigued me so when I saw an advertisement in the paper last winter for the Fiat 500e starting $99 a month, I had to check it out. After some online research and a trip to the local dealership, I drove off the lot with a vehicle that 20 years ago was something that I thought would never be possible.

The benefits of moving away from fossil fuel dependency make sense to me. With more and more cars on the road every year, we are going to see a real problem with poor air quality resulting in future health problems that we cannot afford to treat. I have two young children and I want them to enjoy the same clean air that I grew up playing in. It scares me to see pictures of major cities around the world choked by smog, realizing that it will be the same here if something doesn’t change. I am not naive to the negative impact that manufacturing batteries has on the environment, but I believe that it is a step in the right direction.

I have been driving my EV for almost six months now and my family and I have really enjoyed it. One of the biggest standouts has been the performance. The acceleration from the instant torque is very surprising and puts a smile on my face every time I put my foot to the floor. The Fiat also handles very well and is a blast to take on guilt free Sunday drives with the family, exploring the foothills and surrounding communities. The ride is a different experience since there is no engine or exhaust noise, just a slight hum from the electric motor. It takes a while to get used to the transmission not shifting. It is a lot like driving a really fast golf cart.

Everyday driving around town is no different than any other car other then consuming zero gasoline and taking advantage of the clean air vehicle preferred parking at most shopping centers. A major advantage of an EV is I haven’t been to a gas station in almost six months. I drive by the crowded pumps and realize that some day they may be few and far between just like pay phones. Another advantage of an EV is that the drive train has less moving parts resulting in little to no maintenance cost. Our electric bill has increased about 30 percent but the savings over purchasing gas are still in the hundreds of dollars.

The long-term future of gasoline-powered cars is uncertain. Manufactures are constantly coming up with ways to reduce emissions and extend miles per gallon. Maybe the answer is a combination of both electric and gasoline, which is already in production. Time will tell and in the mean time I will continue to enjoy the car hobby that I have always loved and my passion for driving will never go away regardless what is pushing my car down the road. If you are looking for a new vehicle for what ever reason I recommend at least taking a test driving in one of the numerous electric vehicle models offered by almost every major car manufacturer.

June 17-19 Pismo Beach Car Show
June 18- Clovis Park in the Park
June 18-19- Los Angeles Roadster Show
June 26- Cars & Coffee Fresno
July 2- Coarsegold Veterans Car Show

If your club or organization is putting on a car show or motorsports event we are always looking for interesting cars, people and events to share. You can reach Paul Hinkle at or call (559) 970-2274 or Eric Hinkle at Be sure to follow us on Twitter@clovisparknpark and on Instagram@clovisparkinthepark.

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