From the EV Driver's Seat: Why Bruce Westlake is all in on electric vehicles

Tuesday, September 8, 2015Paula Friedrich


This story is part of a weeklong series on electric vehicle drivers leading up to National Drive Electric Week. Join us at our Ann Arbor event at the Whole Foods on Eisenhower parkway to meet EV drivers and try one out for yourself.

It was a movie that finally convinced Bruce Westlake to get in an electric vehicle almost ten years ago. He’d been considering making the switch for a while, but after watching “Fuel,” a documentary that traces the political and economic power of fuel companies, he and his wife started on a journey towards oil-free transportation.

“What we’re aiming for is totally oil free because it’s three times more efficient and doesn’t support the agenda that’s being followed by the oil companies,” he explained.

Today, Westlake is the president of the Michigan Electric Vehicle Association. He and his wife, Linda TerHaar drive a C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid and a Ford Focus electric. They’ve previously owned other EVs, crossing over at a time when electric cars (and charging opportunities) weren’t mainstream.

But Westlake said even then, the transition wasn’t difficult. He said we’ve internalized the bothers that come with driving a gas-powered car, so we don’t even think about it anymore.


“When I get up in the morning I don’t think: ‘Where’s the cheapest gas today? Do I need to go get gas? Do I need to modify my trip to go past a certain gas station?’” he explained. ”With an electric car you get up in the morning and it’s always full. You just plug it in the night before and you don’t really think about it anymore. It’s always full.”



As an early adopter of EVs, Westlake said he was on “the bleeding edge” as far as costs went, but he’s since learned a lot about making driving an EV affordable. His advice for prospective EV owners? Don’t get more than you need. A Level One charger is sufficient for home charging and a 24,000 mile lease is enough for the average EV driver.

Westlake also emphasized that prices for EV leases are evening out with many other models-- cost is no longer a prohibitive factor for many people.

“There’s so many reasons to [make the switch],” he said. “And so few not to do it.”

Interested in learning more about EVs (and test-driving one yourself)? Meet Bruce and other EV drivers at the Drive Electric Week Ann Arbor Car Show . Local EV drivers will be ready to answer your questions, and show off their cars, from 10 am to 3 pm in the parking lot of the Whole Foods on Eisenhower Parkway.

Published on September 8, 2015