EV…or Not EV
If you are like many people I know, you may have asked yourself recently, “Should I trade my car in for an electric vehicle?” You see them gliding around town more and more. Maybe you know someone who owns one (can’t stop talking about it) but wonder, “Is it right for me?” Are EVs really ready for prime time? Are they practical? Affordable? Are they fun to drive? Safe? Powerful? Will they get you where you need to go, and back home again?
Yes. Yes it is.
I’ve begun this new blog series with a goal of convincing more of my friends and neighbors that the answer to all those questions is “Yes!”
I will go into detail on these topics and more in later posts, but first, I want to tell you how I got to this point, where I am “All in” on electric vehicles.
Until quite recently, I drove a Jeep Grand Cherokee every day. The first car I bought with my own money years ago was an Acura Integra. My wife’s last car was a Subaru WRX (a turbo-charged sport car). Our first “family” car was a Volvo turbo wagon. Before that we owned a Wrangler and a Jetta VR6. In short, I have always loved cars, and I especially love cars that are fun to drive.
As a young child, I spent hours with my Matchbox cars. In my teens, I devoured my monthly copy of Motor Trend as soon as it arrived in the mail. I kept renewing that subscription through college, my 20s, grad school, marriage, kids, and I still read it today.
Growing up, my dream cars were similar to most boys. Porsche 911. Lamborghini Countach. Ferrari Testarossa. Corvette. Muscle cars like Mustang 5.0s, Camaro SS, Buick Grand National GTX. Basically, anything that was fast, loud, and had lots of attitude.
But something changed as I got into my 40s. I started paying more attention to what was going on with our planet. Global warming. I became convinced that it was bad, I began to worry that I wasn’t doing my part to fix the problem.
And so, I started looking at hybrids. Problem was they weren’t all that impressive to me. Sure, they were more efficient than regular cars, but they were more expensive, and they still burned gas. And they didn’t seem all that fun to drive. I kept driving my SUV, but I was starting to feel guilty.
It all came to a head when my wife’s WRX developed engine trouble. It was going to cost us several thousand dollars. We started shopping for a new car. And, we decided to bite the bullet and focus only on more fuel efficient cars. We were ready to sacrifice, though not especially happy about it.
At first, we were looking only at plug-in hybrids. It just seemed like the most practical thing to do. We had “range anxiety” — the fear that a full electric car would not be able to get us through a work week, to the kids’ sports events, or to weekend getaways.
We test-drove many cars, but nothing really grabbed us. The drive quality was ho hum. The acceleration…yawn. The all electric range on some of the plug-in hybrids…unimpressive.
After test driving a Chevy Volt hybrid, and not finding that it fit our needs, we decided to test drive a Bolt EV that was also in the dealership.
Neither of us expected much as we climbed into the car and got a quick overview of how to drive the car from the salesman.
It was eerie as we silently pulled away from the dealership. Besides the lack of engine noise, however, it felt solid, like a real car. Then, just for fun, my wife mashed the accelerator down.
WOW. Instant acceleration. It pushed us back in our seats. Wide smiles. Laughing. What a surprise! This little Chevy electric car was fun to drive. Actually, it was a blast.
It took a few more weeks of deliberating, but we wound up buying the Bolt, and never looked back. The more we drove it, the more we liked it. Several months later, we bought a second one. We kept the Jeep for long trips, but the Bolts became our daily drivers, and with 240 miles of range, it can go many days between charges.
Now, two years later, the Jeep mostly just sits in the driveway. I’ve driven the Bolt to Middletown CT and back, and also to Nauset beach and back, with no problems. It does well in the snow, and drives like a much bigger, more powerful car on the highway. I still smile when I drive my Bolt. I can’t see owning anything but an electric car now.
I still lust after Porsches, Lamborghinis, and other exotics. But now, it’s the Porsche Taycan EV, the Lamborghini Terzo Millennio EV, or the absolutely ridiculous Rimac Concept One, with a claimed top speed of 220 mph! While I’ll never be able to afford those all-electric dream cars, it makes me happy to know that our electric future will be anything but boring.
So yes, it is time for you to get an EV. As even the editors of Motor Trend now admit, the future of driving is electric. We’re on the cusp of an automotive revolution. Come on down off the fence…y’hear? Water’s fine! The EV’s on sale today are REAL cars, and they’re a blast to drive. And, it’s only going to get more interesting from here.
The Needham EVangelist is a blog by Stephen Frail.