Hagerstown-based global engineer says electric vehicles are just around the corner

Maryland

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — Whether we realize it or not, we may be on the verge of a transportation revolution. Electric vehicles are about to dominate our driving habits, a Hagerstown engineer predicts and it could very well be here in the very near future.

Even though he is based in Hagerstown, he has a global reach. He’s a veteran of the Silicon Valley high-tech boom. He has worked with Steve Jobs at Apple, but now he’s back in Hagerstown where his family roots are, doing worldwide consulting on the engineering of electric vehicles. Mike Sokol said revolutionary new technology is bringing to market cars and trucks that can charge for 500 miles.

“That takes away the thing called ‘range anxiety’ where people worry – ‘I’ve only got 75 miles’ or ‘I’ve only got 100 miles,’ what am I going to do?” he said.

Sokol is partnering with Tuscon, Arizona-based Mark Hatchett, CEO of Atlis Motor Vehicles, who envisions electric vehicles powered for day-long road trips with just one 15-minute charge.

“You can pull in, plug it in and 15 minutes later you drive away,” said Hatchett.

Another revolution in the works that Hatchett sees with EV’s is the payment structure. No more “pay at the pump.”

“You would have a flat monthly rate like you do for your phone,” Sokol explained. “Unlimited minutes on your phone for like $50.00 a month, right? Forty dollars month, whatever. He’s saying unlimited miles per month for a flat rate.”

That’s quite a lifestyle change. Sokol predicts the market for EV’s will be like that for flatscreen TVs: new on the market at prices that quickly become affordable. All these government incentives may not even be necessary.

“The same thing could happen with electric vehicles where there’s going to be an obvious advantage to them,” said Sokol. “The price will come down. I don’t know that mandates are needed.”

All government subsidies would do is change the marketplace at a faster pace, Sokol said. These vehicles will be available as early as next year.

Sokol predicts that electric vehicles will be so popular that the market for them will copy the demand for the Model-T Ford generations ago. Engineers and entrepreneurs, Sokol says, will make electric vehicles “far, far superior” to gasoline and diesel.

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