We recently decided to jump into the ev ownership world. After many months of reading, video reviews, and test drives, my wife and I decided to trade in her 2014 Toyota Highlander for a 2019 Audi E-tron Edition One... and we've never looked back!
I think the first thing I would like to address is I don't want to get into a brand war of sorts. I know there are other brands of ev's out there and they are all nice in their own respect. We like this one. It feels like more of a driver's car and we were searching for more of a "stepping stone" ev rather than a massive departure from our old ice car. Not to say the other way is bad, not at all. This is just the route we wanted to go.
RANGE- Let's jump right to the big one... range! I think the car does a great job for how it was advertised. I know there are other ev cars out there that have more range but we rarely travel more that 50-60 miles a day. We plug in every night so it works just fine for us. Warmer weather gives us about 216 miles. Colder weather brings it down a tad to 198. I've noticed that the range indicator in the car is very accurate. I like that, very predictable, no guessing.
PEDAL DRIVING- I know that there is one pedal driving and basically the rest. For now, I really like the old way of two pedals (gas and brake). Not that one pedal is bad. I have hydrostatic drive equipment that I've had for years and I like how easy those drive also, basically the same method as one pedal. One thing the etron does a little different is that it gives you some paddles on the steering wheel. The minus (-) paddle will slow you down with 2 stages of braking recuperation (like downshifting) and the plus (+) paddle will let you coast again. Another feature is that using the regular brakes do not engage the brake pads to the rotors until you reach about .3 of g-force. Until then, it's more recuperation braking. This feels more natural...to me. It also lends to a more sporty or touring driving experience, once again to me.
HOME CHARGING- I would say that 98% of our charging is done at home. For the first 2 months, we used the charger that came with the car. It is very nice and high quality but wanted to keep it with the car. I also picked up a bundle of 240v plug adapters so we could plug into just about anything, anywhere. I bought an after market charger for the garage and installed it. It is a 40 amp unit serviced by a 50 amp circut breaker. With the car down to about 15%, it takes 7 or 8 hours to charge... basically while we sleep. Most days, we only need a few hours to get back to 100%
LONG DISTANCE- We were excited to travel our first long distance road trip. Our destination started in the northern panhandle of Idaho, over through Spokane, Wa., then south via 395 to Kennewick, Wa., then east along I84 to Boise, ID. Total trip was just shy of 500 miles. Audi gives 1000 kwh with your purchase to use at Electrify America charging stations. There are 5 stations along this particular route, ranging from 80-120 miles apart. I stopped at all of them, just to be on the safe side. We could've skipped one or two, but I was still learning about the car and how everything works. One great thing, charging time is fast. Very fast. Most stops took us longer to use the restroom and grab a snack than it took the car to charge to 80% (at 150kwh). Even after 80%, it was still quick (75kwh). The charge stations were nice. There were a couple single chargers that didn't communicate first off. I called the helpline and the EA staff was some of the best customer service folks I've talked to in a long time. It was very refreshing and instilled confidence in the network and even our purchase choice.
OVERALL- I think it would take a month of Sunday's to go over all the options of this car in detail. I will just say that the build quality, fit and finish and how the car drives is second to none. The features this car has are amazing and work extremely well. It is very quiet. It is void of squeaks or rattles. Power and ride quality are very nice. Everything that Audi is known for is present in every way. So far, our ownership experience has been great. No breakdowns or problems. Most folks who purchase one of these will be extremely happy.
I'm one of those mythical North Americans who live in the country, far
from cities, in a northern climate, and actually have to drive. The
common disinformation out there is that EVs do not work for such people.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
I bought my Bolt in October 2018. For that, I had to go 1,300 km away
from where I live in west central British Columbia, Canada (latitude 55
degrees, like the southern tip of the Alaska Panhandle). No local dealer
wanted to even talk to me. I caught a ride to Vancouver, paid my money,
and drove away.
There was a bit of planning required to line up the few charging
stations outside southern B.C., but I made it home in two days, just
like I usually would. And I paid $0.00 for the 1,300 km.
At home, I had built a solar array of 36 panels. That produces on
average 28 kWh per day through the year. On really good sunny days it
goes up to 65 kWh/ day, while the panels make nothing at all when there
is snow on them. BC Hydro, our public utility, allows net metering. They
credit energy fed into the grid 1:1. That means that for every kWh I put
into the grid I get a credit of 1 kWh, over the whole year. There still
is a $7 monthly charge for the grid connection. So far it looks like the
solar system makes just enough for our household and the car. It's like
having an oil well, a refinery, and a gas pump out in the field. But
there is no noise, no emissions, and it's free once built. In 40,000 km,
we have paid less than $50 for fuel.
The car works very well in the winter. Of course there is less range,
but it's plenty sufficient. I can start the car remotely, while it's
plugged in, and it heats up immediately because it does not depend on
waste heat from an engine. It's excellent on ploughed snow and ice
roads, of which we have many. Due to its small wheels, it does not like
The fly in the ointment is the lack of public charging infrastructure
here in the North. Prince George is the nearest city with 70,000 people,
and it's 400 km away. There are only Level 2 chargers between there and
here. If I want to go at 105 km/h, that means that I have to spend a
good hour in Burns Lake or Houston. At least there is a nice coffee shop
in Burns Lake. There are plans to build Level 3 chargers here, but it
goes slow as molasses. Cities like Terrace and Prince Rupert have just
deplorable public charging - Prince Rupert nothing at all, and no plans
to change that. No plans of which I know exist to build chargers on the
highway to the north, even though a high voltage transmission line was
built up there by the public.
This might look different in a year or two, but it's frustrating right now.
Otherwise, all in, our family thoroughly enjoys driving the car (it goes
like stink), and the savings of $400 in fuel costs each and every month.
Vehicles: 2017 Nissan Leaf, 2019 Tesla Model 3 LR
I bought the 310m dual motor, AWD 3. I wouldn't do less for cross country road trips. It is smooth, secure and, exactly when you want it, very fast.
I love this car. And as a person with climate guilt (which I think should be consuming us all ) it helps. As our grids get cleaned up, the energy to move these things is cleaner.
I used to have a 2011 Subaru Forester - exceptional mountain vehicle. snow, lite off road, good seating, power up hill, good ride. However, it also burned gas and polluted the air. I bought a 2017 Nissan LEAF for the benefits that electric vehicles have: no gas, oil changes, maintenance for most things. Also, and the big one, no carbon guilt and cleaner air in the neighborhood. A little while after I bought the LEAF, I installed a 220 charging station at home. 110v regular household current worked ok, but it made the car more flexible to charge at 25miles an hour.
So the big "why" to go EV for us is that the climate crisis is an emergency and most everyone stands around with their hands in their pockets.
I recently bought a Tesla. Yes, it was a stretch, but when it's an emergency, you do what's right. I travel to see family and I try not to fly. I had the car on its first road trip this week end. So far so really good!
Vehicle(s): Zero DSR, Chevy Spark EV, Chevy Bolt EV
While Nissan Leaf got the EV game really and truly going in the modern era of cars. They got something absolutely wrong, and something absolutely right.
What they got right? – People want EV’s
What they got wrong? – They made “Save the Planet” the reason to get the Leaf.
My first EV is the Zero Motorcycles DSR. It’s a motorcycle that is light like a 600cc motorcycle, but has the setting to perform like a 1000cc superbike. Nothing about the Zero brand says “save the planet”. It’s all about the motorcycle and riding and enjoying the motorcycle. It’s about the sheer exhilarating swift shiftless zero to 80 mph performance, and the extremely economical way of riding, in eco mode. In eco mode my DSR gets 11.9 miles per kW! That means It costs 0.7 cents a mile to ride, second only to walking or riding a bicycle. As features go for the Zero DSR it is pretty plain jane with very little to offer. I am very partial now to the “trunk” where the “gas tank” normally is though.
My second EV is the Chevy Spark EV, which replaced a Prius C. Dear Spark EV, you had me at 327 ft/lbs! The car is ridiculously quick. It is just an absolute a blast to drive. Eighty miles range for city living driving is about double what I need, so yes!
My third EV is a Chevy Bolt EV, you had me when the dealer said punch it, but I was like ummm, no it’s an eco car. Then I did at 25 mph, the tires squealed, the traction control came on, it squealed again, the traction control said, now now now, again. And then I was going 50 mph, in like 2 seconds, I squealed, he squealed, we all squealed. I shopped for a nice used one, and love that every day the car is full. I think the Spark has a better display than the Bolt. I don’t like Android Auto or Apple Car play, both are fine but I don’t like “hooking up my car” every time I just want to go to taco bell. The Sparks app link, plays Pandora so my stations and thumbs up / down work. I don’t need all the other apps that Android and Apple put in. I traded my 3rd Gen Honda Insight for the Bolt EV. As soon as Honda says all EV, I’ll go back.
As long as car is focused on why we have high performance cars and trucks, they will thrive. Europe is getting all the good stuff like the Honda E and the ID3. We keep getting way overpriced things with weird interiors from Tesla. I’ve tried both S and X and hate them, they are terrible interiors, ESPECIALLY for the price! Honda, VW, Renault (3rd Gen ZOE!) are all producing the EV’s the market wants, which is simply a good normal car – that happens to be EV powered.
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.