Vehicle: 2014 Nissan Leaf, Eevee
My first impression of the Nissan leaf was that it was an ugly car. I mean, the Nissan Leaf certainly isn't going to win any awards for being the best looking car out there, but I wasn't buying it for the looks, I bought it for the savings on monthly maintenance and fuel (or lack there of). Now, after 5 months of owning it, I certainly don't miss those trips to the gas station! I had a 2017 Honda Civic before, and while it got 40mpg or more sometimes, nothing can compare to not having to pay for gas at all.
Years ago, I had read about the original Tesla Roadster, the 2 seater sports car developed from the Lotus Elise platform, and from that point on, I was hooked. The idea of a high performance car that didn't cost gas money was certainly appealing. Ever since then, I've wanted an EV of my own.
I finally decided on the Nissan Leaf (named Eevee), not because it could be considered a high performance car (which it certainly isn't) but because it was a practical choice for what I need. It has plenty of range for around town, and lots of tech features that I love. But, what I love most IS how responsive it is and how rapidly it accelerates when I touch the "go pedal". Sure, it's not the most efficient use of electrons, but it sure is a blast to drive!
Typically, I use the car every day, I average 65 miles a day but usually not all at once. I go to work a 30 mile round trip and then charge for a little bit when I get home while eating or whatever then usually go back out with a mostly full battery... Level 2 chargers are a must! The most I've driven in a day was probably around 160ish miles, which is easy with all of the level 2 and quick charging options around the city.
While there are a lot of charging options around the city, typically I'll charge the car at home. I used a level 1 (standard wall plug) for around a week before I got my level 2 charger installed. The difference is enormous. From 15ish hours on a level 1 charger to 4 hours on a level 2. There are also a number of DC fast chargers around here that are working, quite a few that aren't as well though. Always check plugshare.
All in all, EVs are great and it has definitely been what I was looking for, but they aren't for everyone yet. If you make your expectations realistic enough, you'll be fine. For instance it wouldn't make sense to get an EV that has an 80 mile range if you have an 80 mile round trip for work or even a 60 or 70 round trip it's important to leave room for error and plan your trips. Although if you can afford a longer range EV it's no problem.
I'm definitely an EV convert now. My next EV will probably a Tesla model 3 or the new Leaf Plus... because they both have that sweet, sweet range.
Vehicle(s): Chevy Volt, Chevy Spark EV, Kia Soul EV, Ford C-MAX Energi, Tesla Model S
What vehicles do you or have you owned?
I own a used long range BEV. I’ve driven mostly electric since 2012. I bought a brand new 2013 Chevy Volt and as my family changed, so did the family fleet. I added a 2014 Spark EV when I got married. I traded the Volt in for a Soul EV when my son was born. The Soul had some problems and after many angry conversations with Kia, I traded that in for a Ford CMax Energi. My family and I moved to DC where we traded the Spark EV and Ford in for the 2013 Tesla Model S that I currently have. That whole fleet saga took place in DC, Seattle, West Texas, and DC again.
What was the buying experience like?
Overall, my buying experiences exposed a lack of knowledge by the sales staffs. I was always the expert in the room.
How did you come to decide on the vehicles that you did?
My vehicle choice factored in price, drive anywhere capability, long range, cargo carrying capacity of the car, safety, and nationwide and even some international serviceability.
What are your impressions after owning and driving an EV?
I was hooked on electric driving the day I bought my Volt. I love the seamless power delivery, the torque, the quiet operation, the almost zero maintenance cost, the relative cleanliness of vehicle operation, and the reduction of foreign oil use.
What would you recommend to the EV curious person who hasn't bought one yet?
That answer would depend on the type of person. Different aspects of EVs appeal to differently to different types of people. I sold the idea of EVs to some conservative gear heads in Texas by out accelerating almost anything they drove with my little Spark EV.
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.