Time to switch to an EV

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In a weird way I got lucky.  Fifteen months ago, two things happened:

  • an inattentive driver smacked into the back of my ICE car, totaling it (and thankfully not injuring anybody), and
  • a client of my firm that had left some bills unpaid for a very long time happened to pay its bills rather unexpectedly.

I then paid cash for an electric vehicle. Yes, the state where I live paid a generous rebate on the purchase price of this car.  Yes, there are generous federal tax credits on most EVs.  Yes, when I installed an EV charger at my home (pictured above right), there was a generous federal tax credit that helped to pay for the EV charger.

Oh, and I ended up donating the carcass of the totaled car to a charity.  So in a weird way, the charity also benefited from this inattentive driver.  

In the fifteen months since then, I have not had to do any oil changes.  No tune-ups.  No lube jobs.  No maintenance.   The only consumables have been:

  • windshield wiper fluid, and
  • one new set of wiper blades.

Yes, I now am not very much affected by the price of gasoline.  Yes, I see all of the headlines in the newspapers where people complain about high gasoline prices.  I don’t buy gasoline any more.

When I use the EV charger at my house, sometimes the electricity comes from the local electric company.  When that happens, the equivalent value for gasoline works out to maybe $1.20 per gallon in terms of how many miles I can drive per dollar spent on electricity.

The electric company where I live is migrating to time-of-day pricing for electricity.  The EV charger at my house is configured to do charging at the times of day when the electricity is the cheapest, which is after 7 PM on weekdays or all day on weekends.  Or there is a way to override this and tell the EV charger to go ahead and do its charging even during non-cheap time if for some reason I am in a hurry.  (When you are shopping for an EV charger for your home, be sure to pick one that can be configured to pay attention to time-of-day pricing from your electric company.  The one you see in the photograph above (web page) is very good this way and it can also send you an email to let you know when the car has finished charging.)

Sometimes I charge up at one or another of the free EV chargers in the county where I live.   When this happens, it is like going to a gas station and being told that the gasoline is free today.  So these days, the free gasoline is maybe $4 per gallon.  Sweet!

Sometimes I charge up using the 54 solar panels on the roof of my house.  When this happens, yes.  The marginal cost of that electricity is, yes.

So yes, I don’t much notice the price of gasoline these days.  Well, yes, I do sort of notice the price of gasoline these days.  Schadenfreude.

I wish I could say that my situation is because I am somehow smarter than everybody else.  But it was actually because of an inattentive driver of a car behind me at a stoplight, fifteen months ago.  And because of a client of my firm that rather unexpectedly paid some long-overdue bills.  Sort of weird dumb luck actually.

What I can say is, if you have a way to install an EV charger at home, now is the smart time to do exactly that.  (That is, if you can find an EV charger that is not on back order, and if you can find the circuit breaker that you will need since it will probably also be on back order.)  And if you can buy an EV, now is the smart time to do exactly that.  Except that most EVs these days are also on back order.   You can put down a deposit now for an EV, and depending on which make of EV you pick, maybe you will be able to get the car in 2023.  Or maybe not.

Do you have an EV?   Do you charge at home?  Please post a comment below.

6 Replies to “Time to switch to an EV”

  1. We do not have an EV at the moment, but are looking to this for our next car. We propose to get an EV charging point installed at our home, but our main concern is that an EV makes perfect sense for our shortish journeys round our home locale (particularly short trips into town) – the big concern for us is that we make long journeys to France (by ferry) to visit my parents who live in a very rural area in North West France and I do not know whether it is possible to find any EV charging points in their location.

    However, we plan to visit soon and so we can see whether things have progressed in their area and EV charging is a possibility. Otherwise, we are thinking a ‘hybrid’ vehicle may be a better solution for us.

    1. My first cross-country trip with my then-new EV was a trip to visit a relative who lives in a somewhat remote area. I had planned ahead for EV charging along the route, but the last couple of hundred miles were going to be a problem. Indeed there were no EV charging points within a hundred miles of her home. The only way I was able to make the trip work was to install an EV charger at my relative’s house when I got there. So I shipped a Level 2 EV charger there ahead of time, along with the needed 50-amp 2-pole circuit breaker and six-gauge cable. I arrived at her house, installed the EV charger, and charged up my car. It was a very satisfying sequence of events.

  2. I bought a Tesla a few months ago and love it. We had an EV charger installed as well. Tesla, and I hear all EVs, are so fast I feel like I am losing nothing from having a nice sports car. Now, these gas prices are just another number.

    1. Yes. If you are driving any EV, no matter what make, and you need to accelerate quickly, you will be able to do so. Suppose you are on a two-lane highway and need to pass some other car. You will always be able to accelerate fast enough to pass that car. This is the case with any EV.
      If you were at a traffic light and somebody with a hopped-up gasoline engine were revving their engine to taunt you into a quick little testosterone challenge when the light turns green, you would have no difficulty leaving that driver in the rear-view mirror. (Not that I would ever actually do that!) This is so with a Nissan Leaf or a Chevy Bolt or a Tesla or any other EV. They all have a low-end torque that wins out over any ICE vehicle.

  3. I love my EV, it’s great to drive and we got a bunch of financial subsidies from the state (Vermont) and the local power company. But when we bought our Chevy Bolt around 6-7 months ago, we got 280+ miles when fully charged — right now, it maxes out at 133 miles with a full charge. And that’s if you don’t turn on the heat! The dealer says this is in part because of the battery recall, so it might be better once the new batteries arrive (not holding my breath), in part for the cold weather, and in part because of the way we drive (that last one makes no sense to me). I had to rent a (gas-powered) car to take my son to an airport 3 hours away because we would have had to stop and charge along the way at least once, maybe twice. So if it’s just used to drive around town or on shorter trips, or even on longer trips that aren’t time-sensitive, it would be perfect. Thanks for the post, Carl, love the blog!!

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