“No no no, you have to put your foot on the brake and then hit the start button,” I remember screaming into the phone. My wife was trying to start my car while I was out of town with little success. “If you hit the start button without your foot on the brake, the car goes into passive aggressive mode and just turns on the radio and laughs at you. No engine activity.” After a few false starts we got it going. But such is the joy and pain of owning an electric car. What follows below is a list of the great and not so great aspects of owning an electric car.
You Only Need One Tank of Gas
When I picked up my first rental car on my trip to Kansas City, a Kia Rondo, I accidentally mistook the gas gauge for the clock. I had been spoiled. The Prius has ten vertical bars representing the gas level, and each bar stays lit for about an hour at a time. Sure I get passed frequently, but I make half as many pit stops so it feels like I’m getting ahead.
It Feels Like You’re Driving A Skateboard
Pressing the gas pedal hard to the floor moves the speedometer from 40 to 42 miles per hour in ten seconds. Sometimes it sounds like there are two gerbils having a fight under my hood. I’ve come to accept that there’s no pickup in the model, just a limitation of the current electric engine technology. Hopefully if I keep buying electric cars one will be fast.
The Technology Is Ahead of Its Time
It feels like I’m sitting in a space capsule. Not only is the dashboard inset deep into the car and reflective but the main monitor shows me graphs of my energy usage, miles per gallon, and a little graphic of the car’ electrical system that I can stare at while I’m driving. It’s like watching baby Einstein at 60 miles per hour.
It’s Got the Wheel Base of a Brick
You know how most cars have the wheels in the middle? Well my electric car has wheels at the corners of the frame. Considering the hatched back trunk feature this makes it difficult when going in reverse. When parallel parking it feels like I’m trying to back a triangular rear end into a square space, leading me to hit the curb regularly.
Everything on It Lasts Forever
I just replaced my first set of tires on the car after 80,000 miles or so. Not only that I was able to keep two of the tires since they were in pretty good condition. My brakes look like their barely used, but that could be my driving style. Even more impressive is the oil change schedule, which requires some work every 5,000 miles but I’ve been getting away with 10,000.
Snow? Get Ready To Walk!
We’ve had a few bad storms in Northeast America lately, and I’m sad to say that my electric car hasn’t plowed through any of them well. If you park my car on an ice cube it gets stuck and you have to spin your wheels for a few hours to get out.
Nothing is perfect and electric cars are no exception. Overall they’re a really great step in the right direction for us as a species but if you buy one prepare to deal with the down as well as upside!