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Is there anything that’s holding you back from starting to drive electric? Are you unsure which of the current EV offerings would best suit your needs? Some people are hesitant to switch to an EV due to unfamiliarity with the technology and uncertainty about how it might affect their autonomy and day to day activities. Some also find it difficult to know which questions are most important to ask when considering a new technology, like an EV.
In order to help our readers gain a general familiarity with the ins and outs of everyday EV use, we’ve interviewed a local EV owner, Doug, who has been driving electric for more than four years and has owned three EVs, including two of the best-selling EV models. After finishing a two-year lease on a first-generation Nissan LEAF, Doug now owns a 2016 LEAF as well as a Chevy Bolt. Continue reading to hear Doug’s perspective on driving electric for over four years.
DENC: Are there any general comments you’d like to make about your decision to begin driving electric and long term EV ownership?
Doug: In general, I fully appreciate that 95 percent of average driving is about 30 miles per day. EVs are a good fit for the average person. I’ve driven a LEAF for about four years, two years of a leased LEAF and then bought our latest LEAF about two years ago. The 86-mile range has been enough for most of our driving, but we have grown children that visit and need transportation to and from the Denver airport. Further, there are other trips to the mountains, Boulder, etc. that require 200+ miles of range. That led us to buy the Bolt. We have been very happy with the added range.
We continue to be a two-EV family. We also have two paid-off gas cars. One is a 16-year-old Yukon XL that is semi-retired. We only use it to tow a camper or move cargo. The other gas car is a Subaru Outback. The Outback is mostly used by the kids when they are visiting so that Mom and Dad have EVs to drive. Though, our kids also love the EVs (See DENC’s blog about Doug’s daughter driving electric).
DENC: What led you to purchase an EV in the first place?
Doug: I’m fairly green-minded. I fully support the global need and effort to end our dependence on fossil fuels. I have a wife, Joan, and four children that are also very supportive of the planet. We installed Solar PV on our roof about eight years ago. When we leased our first EV, I called it our “Sun powered LEAF”.
After digging into the data, I was convinced that EVs would likely make a lot of sense for the long-term transportation needs of just about everyone.
DENC: How would you rate your overall satisfaction with the LEAF and Bolt?
Doug: Very satisfied. They are very well-designed EVs that cover the vast majority of our family driving needs. They are very quick, quiet, clean running, and incredibly easy to maintain!
DENC: Have there been moments, even brief, with either of them that have made you want to switch back to a gas-powered car?
Doug: I would not return to a gas-only car situation for my family. 95 percent of our driving needs are handled incredibly well with EVs. The remaining 5 percent is for things like towing our trailer, hauling large cargos and long-distance family vacations. I believe that 100 percent of my family’s driving needs will be covered as the EV market evolves.
DENC: Are there any important differences between the LEAF and Bolt other than range?
Doug: As I mentioned already, both EVs are designed well. They each have some unique features but the range is the real standout for me.
DENC: Was range the only consideration in your decision to buy the Bolt? Would you have preferred to stick with a LEAF if they offered a longer-range version?
Doug: Range was important so I decided to buy the Bolt since they had that key feature today.
DENC: Do you think the Bolt’s range is sufficient for all use cases, or would you consider switching to another manufacturer’s EV in two years if they offered appreciably longer range within the same price range?
Doug: Today’s battery and charging infrastructure will still need to improve to completely cover 100 percent of my family’s driving requirements. Competition is a good thing in my mind. It is how gas-powered cars evolved and now we will see the same thing with the EV ecosystem. As a teaser… my next EV will likely be when the unique features of our Yukon XL are available in an electric-only solution. This also means that the charging infrastructure needs to charge up that EV in less than 10 minutes.
DENC: Do you feel any loyalty to Nissan or Chevy or are technical specifications all you care about?
Doug: I have loyalty for excellent car manufacturers like Nissan and Chevrolet. Our next EV will need to not only cover our driving needs from a range and feature perspective, but also must be well built with safety, styling, and low total cost of ownership.
DENC: Other than moving cargo or towing, do you think you could operate as an exclusively EV household without any inconveniences?
Doug: To a vast extent, yes. As I mentioned earlier, as the battery and charging infrastructure improves, the range and charging times will get to a point where all aspects of our driving could be more easily be covered with an exclusively EV household.