I recently thought of how little I knew when I first leased the Nissan Leaf — a snap decision after years of trying to drop my gas car for a bicycle and pedestrian life. Considering the impulse of my choice and the risk involved, I’m happy I was right on. Having support and conviction from my oh so well educated family members helped me know I could trust the decision. If your family is not filled with clean air EV advocates, climate hawks, and early adopters, I thought to make this list for you. Below are 10 things to do to get ready for your 1st electric car.
1. Test drive many different kinds of electric cars. Nothing replaces experience, and there’s a lot of variation in the options.
3. Get to know the EV Language — from kWh to “state of charge,” there are a handful of key differences to understand about electric vehicles. (Perhaps an “EV 101” article would be useful here.)
5. Get to know the most important features you are willing to pay for. My list was:
A) I was interested in a car that mitigates motion sickness as much as possible. Some in my family are prone to carsickness, and the back seats and powertrains of cars vary quite a bit in how much they stimulate motion sickness. Of course, the driving is a factor as well. We felt the Nissan Leaf to be the best in terms of the EVs we test drove. The Tesla was okay. Perhaps with the autonomous features, it would be helpful in mitigating motion sickness. But it was outside of our price range anyway.
B) Consider well what you actually need a car for. Do you need a long-distance car or simply a car to get to work and back every day (a city or town car for jaunting to dinner, stores, the theater, and urban errands)? The Nissan Leaf I choose is an ideal urban car for jaunting around the city.
I like traveling by public transit and rail. Thus, I believe visiting cities far from mine can often be done without a car. So long-distance travel by car was not the first priority for me. If it had been, perhaps I would have gone with the Volt or C-Max Energi.
In the end, I didn’t feel a need for 100+ miles of range or a gasoline range extender.
C) I was interested in completely avoiding gas stations and oil changes. I wanted ALL ELECTRIC — nothing less.
6. Understand the costs and prices. Really come to terms with what dealerships do when you lease or buy. Take your time. I decided too quickly to look for the best offer. I do believe I may have found a better one had I taken more time.
7. To make sure that you don’t start with that mystery “range anxiety” (that you hear so much about), get familiar with apps such as ChargePoint, PlugShare, ChargeHub, Greenlots, and EVgo that help find charging stations easily. Check them out online if you don’t want to download apps. Many people can relieve range anxiety simply by checking out the options in your town and surrounding towns. I did this after the fact. Doing it before is easy and will cure fear of the unknown.
8. Get the charging cards for the charging networks you think you’ll need.
9. Talk to EV owners or lessees. For the most part, I believe EV drivers are often willing to engage in short or long conversations.
10. Remind yourself that you are doing this for your children, your grandchildren, and their children, It is too long a time we have rationalized oil dependency.
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