Electric Cars are a Good Daily driver...under certain circumstances

Hello people of the internet. I'm Nico and today I will be explaining why objectively there is no reason to not have an EV as a daily.

2w ago

Firstly, I want to start off saying that Electric cars aren't perfect, I will cover the flaws of EVs throughout this piece and depending on the infrastructure of the place you live in it will make more or less sense to have an electric car as your daily driver. Secondly, my argument is based mostly off of my experience driving the VW E-Golf, partially riding along in the Tesla Model Y, to get around town so I can't speak for other EVs like the Nissan Leaf, but I would figure that the experience will be similar.

Charging Concerns

There is the concern that if you don't have a garage where you can charge your car overnight then it doesn't really work and depending on where you live this is not necessarily a big problem. Firstly, while the infrastructure isn’t on par with that of gas stations, charging stations are quickly popping up across the country, admittedly faster in some areas like California, and so when you go to the grocery store you can easily plug in your car and let it charge while you buy seven jars of peanut butter. There are some reliability issues with these charging stations admittedly but for some this is avoidable.

This does require a garage with the charging cable but as 63% of American homeowners have a garage or carport, according to the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, the majority of Americans can charge an electric car at their house, negating the issue of having to find a charger somewhere in town. It will just become another appliance that you charge at the end of the day like a cell phone or laptop. And you will definitely want to charge at the end of the day as generally electricity is cheaper towards the end of the day, not that it matters much as it is still far cheaper than refueling a car with gasoline. The average cost of electricity in California is about $0.18 per kWh, meaning that charging something like the Nissan Leaf with a 40-kWh battery will cost roughly $7. Even using the Tesla Supercharger is around $0.25 per kWh so charging a Model X P100D would be $25, which is far cheaper than the gas prices of today.

Now, if you live in an apartment complex, because obviously you won't have a garage of your own to charge your car, you will then have to use one of the aforementioned charging stations. In that case you will just have to park your car where there are chargers, which admittedly is a bit inconvenient, especially if your destination doesn't have a charger for you to use while you go off about your business. This is where your location will really come into play because here in California you can often find charging stations at various companies which will make charging hassle free as you can charge the car while working and then drive home on a full battery where you didn’t have to pay for the electricity. Unfortunately, this won’t work everywhere as places like Alabama simply are not up to snuff on the whole electrification process, but improvements are being made and charging points will become more readily available…eventually.

Driving Experiences

Interestingly, the driving was the smallest jump I’ve come across as it was exactly like driving an automatic ICE car, the only real differences being the sounds, or lack thereof, the feel of the acceleration, and its highway driving (I’ll get to that later). As expected, electric cars are quiet, they don’t have an engine that is constantly making explosions to keep running, and the weird whirring sound they make is far quieter than what an ICE car makes. Even as a car enthusiast that doesn’t want to let go of his shitbox Jetta Wagon, I have to admit that driving the E-Golf is quite fun. No, its not a manual Miata but the ability to just stomp on the gas and go is exciting in its own way as the pickup is ballistic. It isn’t necessarily fast, but its quick to react and the “wheeeeeee” from the electric motor makes the E-Golf feel very eager. I encourage anyone that hasn’t driven an electric car to drive one if you get the chance, its hard to say if its better but it will be a new experience with its own perks.

Not every EV will be the same, especially when you compare to Tesla, but the smaller EVs like the Leaf and E-Golf are far more familiar to the average driver and so the jump between an ICE and EV will be less drastic in those cases. A jump to a Tesla will take more getting used to but if you are comfortable with tech then it won’t be much of a learning curve.

There is one major shortcoming to the E-Golf, and other electric vehicles, and I’m not referring to the infrastructure, though it does play a role in this. I am talking about how poorly electric vehicles perform on the highway. I’m not referring to getting up to highway speeds or the noise or anything like that, what I’m getting at is how quickly electric cars lose range at high speeds. As I stated before, there is science behind it that I won’t be explaining but know that the way an electric motor works causes it to use a lot of energy to drive at high speeds.

As a result, this is where the “range anxiety” kicks in as EV drivers cover long distances and feverishly watch their range drop faster than Lizzo falling off a cliff. For longer travels, I would still choose an ICE car as the current infrastructure can comfortably support the journey and I won’t see the range drop by 10 miles every time I blink. For that reason, I say that under certain circumstances, if you have a garage/carport and you use it for your regular short trips to work or the grocery store, then an electric car is a great choice, and I would highly recommend looking into getting one. I am, however, aware that not everyone’s living situation can accommodate an electric vehicle and so I can understand people still choosing ICE cars as there are certain infrastructure and vehicle characteristic issues that need to be addressed before the larger population feels comfortable switching to an EV.

Thank you all for reading! If you have any other questions about my experience driving the E-Golf or playing around with the Tesla Model Y infotainment then leave a comment. I wish you all good luck, god speed, and that the Force may be with you in all your endeavors.

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Comments (11)

  • EVs are the perfect daily, especially for non enthusiasts. Which is most of the population. My girlfriend has a Leaf and she loves it. She never has to go to the gas station, almost zero maintenance and a quiet smooth ride.

      15 days ago
    • Agreed, my girlfriend drives the E-Golf whenever she's home and vastly prefers it to the 2005 Toyota Sienna that she otherwise drives

        15 days ago
  • Great article. From what I've heard and experienced the Nissan Leaf (1st gen at least) and ID3 are very similar.

      15 days ago
    • I read up a bit on the Leaf and was surprised by the range that it offers, so I would expect that to be a better purchase as the range anxiety won't be as large of an issue

        14 days ago
    • I'm not sure how the range compares with the e Golfs, but my families Nissan Leaf 30kWh has plenty of range for 90% of our journeys

        14 days ago
  • Interesting article, Nico. You raised some good points. I personally think the concept of the electric vehicle is brilliant, but in practice leaves much to be desired.

    I recently drove the new BMW IX for an upcoming review. I'd still prefer a gas-powered BMW but the raw and instant power of the electric motor was like nothing I have ever experienced with an automobile.

      15 days ago
    • I agree with the EV concept, good idea it just remains to be refined. I can't wait to hear your thoughts on the IX!

        14 days ago
  • What about the Zero Bike?

      15 days ago
    • I had never heard of them but they seem to be pretty impressive on paper. I'd like to ride one first

        14 days ago