I’m celebrating my three-year anniversary of driving purely electric and I’m proud to say that once you go electric you can’t go back. I’ve also become an EVangelist, let me explain why.
When I first encountered electric vehicles and I heard that the average electric vehicle at the time only had an 84 mile (135 km) range, I thought it wasn’t enough because I didn’t do the math or the research.
When I moved to Pasadena, California in 2001 the summers were bearable and the lily bulbs in my front yard would bloom in April. In 2015 the lilies bloomed in January. This summer the temperature reached 114 (°F) 45.5 (°C) causing half the leaves on a 100-year-old ash tree to fall off and drought-tolerant foliage on other bushes to burn.
The research that fuelled my electric car conversion
One of the major causes of global climate change is transportation which contributes carbon dioxide (CO2). Every gallon of gas burned creates twenty pounds of CO2 or every litre of petrol produces 2.3035 kgs of CO2. But that’s not all, the burning of gasoline produces NOx, hydrocarbons, sulfur dioxide and other aromatics that can cause asthma, lung cancer, respiratory diseases and premature deaths.
Before buying a used electric car, I attended many electric vehicle events. Driving an electric car is just like driving other cars except the electric engine is more responsive, making it more fun to drive.
When I took the time to calculate it, I pay about $0.05 a mile (1.609344 K) or about a $1.25 for a gallon (3.7 litres) of gasoline.
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, my 2013 Nissan LEAF charged with electricity with my utility produces about as much global warming pollution as a gasoline vehicle getting 126 mpg (53.568106956 km/l). The Union also found that electric cars, no matter where the electricity is produced, are cleaner than gas vehicles. Since most electricity is produced locally, I am not dependent upon foreign oil prices.
When I talk to other electric vehicle owners we are proud that we are able to do something about climate change.
Quirks & Perks
There are both perks and quirks about driving an electric car. One nice perk is that electric cars don’t require servicing and maintenance as much as fossil fuel vehicles because they have fewer moving parts.
The quirks of driving an electric vehicle are really not that bad. But sometimes it can get a little nerve-wracking when I’m down to a few miles left on the battery.
I once arrived at the Dickens Festival in Riverside, California to discover someone dressed as a 19th century Pickwick Papers character wearing a vest and waistcoat parked a truck in the EV charging spot. A Fiat 500e owner was screaming at him and he continued to park there anyway. I tried to get the police to help, however, they were helping someone who had fallen. I finally was able to get someone from the Dickens’ Festival to locate the owner who moved it. Otherwise, I didn’t have enough charge to get home. EV drivers hate being ‘ICEd'(Internal Combustion Engine in the EV spot).
In general, there are not enough public EV charging stations. I can’t always count on them being available. The free chargers are usually busy at prime hours after work. The chargers in densely populated business areas can be very busy. I always have to plan ahead using EV charging locator apps or web services. If I’m going far such as to Las Vegas Nevada for CES, I plan ahead and rent an economical car.
Many electric car drivers worry about the batteries. It’s not that bad, I have lost one bar out of the 12 bars on the Nissan Leaf but since I work at home I seldom ever worry about the loss of going from 84 miles (135 km) on a full charge to 72 miles (115.87 m) on a charge. Personally, I average less than 20 miles (32 km) a day.
An added bonus for living in the state of California is that, just for owning an electric car, my utility company sent me a check for $200. I have a special sticker that allows me to drive the ‘carpool’ HOV lane, which allows me to go faster, but since driving faster uses more energy, I usually don’t bother to use it.
Amen to that!
The main reasons to go electric:
• Zero emissions help prevent climate change.
• Great instant acceleration.
• Economical – cheaper to run than petrol.
• Guiltless – most of your ecological guilt is removed.
• You are no longer co-dependently entwined with foreign oil.
• You get to join the EV community and become an EVangelist.