Author: Zack Hurst
Vehicle: 2016 Chevy Spark EV
I’ll admit it, I’m an EV nut. I’ve been interested (and more recently, obsessed) with Electric Vehicles for a few years now. And for a while, I’ve dreamed of the day that I’d be an EV owner. However, despite all the research that I’ve done, there were still quite a few important things that I’ve learned since buying our car.
Here’s what I think are some important things to know about owning and driving an EV:
1) They can be really affordable. I bought a used 2016 Chevy Spark EV and after adding up the car payment, the (small) increase to the electric bill, and insurance, I'm still spending less than what I was spending on gas and maintenance for my gasoline vehicle. Charging stations in my area are mostly free, so I’ve actually saved money since buying the car because I'm not buying all that gas.
2) Range isn’t important. The Chevy Spark EV has a stated range of 82mi. which isn’t a lot (even though I can stretch that to 100mi in some situations) and as far as electric vehicles are concerned, that’s not a lot at all. Most EV’s that are being build these days have much more available range to work with. Even so, with this car, there have been days where I’ve driven over 200mi around town and when I needed to “fill-up” I just drove over to a public fast charging station and in about 20-30min. I was back on the road for another 80mi. No big deal. At night, I’ll plug the car into the wall electrical socket and the next day (usually) the car has a full charge. What can be better than that?
3) Range is actually REALLY important. A lot. Ok, so it really is. Having an EV with such a small range, I’ve felt what is called “range anxiety”. That’s the feeling of, “oh crap, I’m not going to make it to where I’m going.” I’ve even taken the car down to 1% on the battery (which is really bad for it) in order to get to a working charging station. Those days where I drove 200mi? It would have been really great to save myself the trouble of having to charge the car so often. Now, that being said, I was using the WRONG tool for the job. I got THIS car because it was super affordable and I didn’t realize one very important factor: I’ve been driving it a lot more than I thought I would be. What’s important to think about when looking for an EV to buy is how much you drive on a regular basis. If your commute is just 40mi round trip each day (like the majority of people in the US) then a car with an 80mi range might be great for you! However, if you go on longer trips or drive a lot like I have been, then I’d really recommend a car with at least 150-200mi of range that can utilize a fast charger.
4) They’re super quiet. More quiet than you realize. I know, you’ll miss the engine and exhaust sound of your gas guzzler, right? Well… not really. I’ve found new sounds that I like. The slight whine of the electric motor for example. Plus, now I can listen to my music without having to turn it up so loud. Also it's super fun pulling into parking spots silently… I’m not sure why that’s fun, but it is.
5) It’s quick! Torque feels good. The gas car I spoke of is an upgraded VW GTI. It’s plenty fast and super fun to drive. The Spark EV? Well, below 50mph it’s faster. It responds instantly to a push of the accelerator and pushes you back into the seat. I’ve spoken with a lot of other EV owners and they agree about how fun these cars are to drive. Want a super high performance EV? They’re out there. Want a really efficient city car that still will spin its tires and pull away from the lights like a super-golf-cart-rocketship? Yeah, that exists too.
So, with all that being said, even though I had a really good idea of what we were getting into when we got an EV, I just didn’t realize just how much I’d actually love driving, and owning one. My next car will be an EV, and the one after that too… never looking back.