The White House has declared this week the inaugural “Energy Week,” and what better way to mark the occasion than by driving electric cars?
Cars that plug in to use grid energy for travel are a great catalyst for reducing energy consumption and reducing our use of fossil fuels.
Now one reporter who took the plunge and leased a 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV has shared 10 lessons he learned from his ownership experience thus far.
Owning an electric isn’t all that different to owning one powered by an internal combustion engine, says Brookings Institute author Timmons Roberts. Here’s what he’s learned, along with some direct advice.
One: it’s simple to avoid gas stations altogether, and Roberts says the Bolt EV has been viable for “99 percent” of his trips.
Two: most of the Bolt EV’s charging has been at home. Roberts found the EPA-rated range of 238 miles to be totally sufficient, all but negating the need to search for charging stations.
Three: buy a 240-volt Level 2 charging station to install at your home. It’s roughly a $600 investment (and may fall in the future), but it made life much easier for Roberts.
The standard 120-volt trickle charging provided by the Bolt EV’s charging cord added only about 4 miles per hour to the battery, while the Level 2 charger entirely recharged the battery overnight.
Four: download the ChargePoint app and sign up for an account. (We’d also advise downloading the even more comprehensive Plugshare app, which lets owners share info on the latest status of individual public charging stations.)
The apps map nearby charging stations should the need arise, and it subtly reassure owners and passengers that they really do exist—since most consumers are unaware of charging stations in general.
Five: the quiet nature of an electric car is incredibly relaxing.
Six: lease your first electric car rather than buying it outright, since battery technology is changing rapidly and it’s likely that future electric cars will have longer ranges and cheaper prices even three years from now.
That’s the typical lease term, and it lets consumers keep moving on to better electric-car technology.
Seven: Roberts highly recommended the Bolt EV for its technology and driving range.
Compared to other electric cars on the market, there isn’t another vehicle-—save for pricey Teslas starting at $70,000 or more—that comes close to what the Bolt EV offers.
Eight: Roberts believes electric cars are the most direct way to combat climate change today. They aren’t perfect, but they help cut emissions tremendously.
Nine: consider the ancillary effects of burning fossil fuel to move yourself around: 53,000 people are estimated to die each year due to vehicle exhaust.
Ten: Roberts urged consumers simply to stop buying products that keep fossil-fuel companies in business and hugely profitable.
That’s easier said than done, but it’s true: if consumers keep buying gasoline, there’s no incentive for oil companies stop producing black gold.