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Hi all, help me?

I'm curious to go EV, but I'm not entirely sure. Found this forum and I'm loving the different opinions.

I'm worried about range, worried about charging. What if I hate it? Looking at the EV experience company to maybe rent one for a few nights but I'm not sure that'll give me the 'true' in-life EV experience.

What made you choose an Electric vehicle?
What doubts did you have and what were you most surprised about?
What are your biggest challenges?

Would really appreciate some understanding around what convinced EV drivers to move into the 'future' and ditch the fossil fuels (or maybe you have both?).

Thanks in advance!
CG
 

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You need to look at your usage first to see what range you need, bearing in mind that published figures will be maybe 20-25% lower in winter. If you only do long trips rarely, renting an ICE for these might be an option.
Being able to charge at home is a must-have.
You will love the actual driving experience.
 

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I purchased my first EV, a Leaf, back in 2013. I bought it as a second car for local journeys given electricity is far cheaper than petrol or diesel. As it happens I've rarely used the ICE car since (though I still have it.) The 'Electric Highway' opened around that time so managed to do intercity trips in the Leaf despite the lowish range (circa 50-60 miles sometimes.) It meant stopping to charge on route. Now with a longer range EV those needs to stop to charge on route have largely gone.
Overall the EV gives a much better driving experience, you wouldn't want to go back!
 

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Had a Honda Insight, was fascinated by being able to run 1 mile or so without petrol (seems ridiculous now!) and got hooked. Bought an Ampera, can now do 25-45 miles of effortless silent gliding along. Love it. Hate running on ICE now. Luckily I can do 75% of my mileage on electric. 90% of this is via E7 tariff which gives a high smugometer rating. We also have an ICE but driving around in that now feels like being in a tractor with a duff exhaust (only a slight exaggeration!). Would never go back to a pure ICE only. Depends on your mileage pattern though, if you do a lot of long journeys then it’s a different matter. I’m thinking of buying an Ionic. Because of my mileage pattern I’ll hardly ever need to charge away from home. I’ve done a few virtual long routes on ABRP and it does seem a bit of a shambles what with Ecotricity jeopardy and ICE’ing. Having to detour to chargers off route doesn’t greatly appeal.
 

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I'm worried about range
If you are expecting to do this on the cheap - probably best forget it for a few years. Unless you really are only going to be doing short/local trips you need range and that is only going to be available with newer and thus more expensive cars. In a few years some of those will trickle into the used market and be more available.
The running costs are low but the capital cost of a big battery is high.
 

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On the assumption that you are genuinely thinking about this rather than looking to prove that all EV drivers worry about range please can you share the typical journeys that you do, whether you own your own house and have off-road parking, whether you'll retain access to an ICE, and what price bracket you are looking for a car in?
 

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I worried about many things before buying an EV. I don’t miss dinosaur fuelled cars at all when driving EV. We are a 2 car house and still have a Dino juice powered people carrier. It’ll be gone as soon as we can afford to get a second EV we hardly ever use it.
 

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If you are expecting to do this on the cheap - probably best forget it for a few years. Unless you really are only going to be doing short/local trips you need range and that is only going to be available with newer and thus more expensive cars.
though if you do a lot of miles, the running cost savings may still make it cheaper overall. More so if ULEZ/Congestion charge etc. are a factor
 

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Best thing to do is see if you can test drive a Leaf or similar over a weekend.

Or look at hiring one to try it out.

It takes a bit of getting used to, but generally they’re all great to drive.
 

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There are a lot of "depends"es. Do you have a sense of adventure, a love for 'new tech' and actually enjoy experiencing early adoption even with its little quirks (this is mostly me). Do you do a lot of long distance driving. Do you mind the occasional inconvenience. Are you okay with planning a bit and having a bunch of apps on your phone. Do you live in an area with decent charging (check zap map and filter for rapid) or are you stuck in a charging desert like Northern England or Wales. Do you have the monthly budget to lease the latest and greatest which is the best way to own an EV with them changing so fast at the moment or do you (like me) not have that kind of money and are looking to dump 4 to low-5 figures into a used one and try to keep it for a while (but, to be brutally honest, feel like you're making do with an old banger by comparison with the latest EVs once it's about 4 years old)?

I can only really relay my own experiences and what I use one for...

I live in South Cumbria and have a late 2015 Zoe 22kWh (22kW AC charging) which I picked up just under 2 years ago for £6.9k plus £50/month battery lease (£60/month really after excess with the amount I drive it but they might not charge the excess). This works out fine for me as that's about what I was paying in fuel doing short distances in my old fairly inefficient petrol car anyway. There's an extra but manageable expense in the form of extended warranty (a faulty EV can get expensive).

For 99% of my journeys it's great. Most journeys are within range and I either plug in at Tesco at the weekend and go do some shopping and walking for 2-3 hours (while the free chargers there are way under-utilised - 4 bays and usually just me there - once demand increases I'll change habits and only use them while in Tesco itself) or just spend the 2 seconds to plug it in at night at home and go to bed, so everyday charging is either zero hassle or minimal depending if I want to save a couple of quid. Most journeys further out are Southbound on the M6 to Lancaster, Preston or Manchester and there's a good enough charging infrastructure along the way that it's worry-free. I'm not a frequent long distance driver and when I do it's not super long, so stopping for 40 minutes once or twice (depending how far, whether there's destination charger, time of year affecting range etc) is something I actually see as a positive unless tight for time. Tend to need the rest anyway. Further afield (more than say 100 mile radius) I'd honestly just get the train.

Driving a 22kWh Zoe presents its challenges if you want to do longer more frequently though. A 60-70 mile winter range up North with a spotty infrastructure (particularly going somewhere other than the M6) and with AC charging that the rest of the EV community is campaigning hard to get removed from rapid chargers can lead to bouts of range anxiety off the beaten track. A newer EV with a 40kWh+ battery and CCS would be preferable and a lot more practical but then you're looking at much higher purchase prices (un)comfortably into the 5 figure zone or £300+/month plus deposit on a rental basis. Either you have and can justify the money or you don't..

Because range is quite tight with this small a battery you don't have masses of flexibility for spontaneous changes of plan. You can't rock up to meet people with 10 miles left and then "right shall we go for a quick meal at soandoso 20 miles away before it closes?", you have to go to the nearest rapid that you probably planned using on the way home first so it can cause little inconveniences and delays on that odd occasion.

Public charging is still mostly fiddling with apps. This involves standing by the front of the car with your phone out for a few minutes prodding at it and mumbling obscenities about the Polar Instant app (for example) while your family/friends look at you inquisitively from the car. Either you can tolerate that or you can't. The growing Instavolt network does away with that if you can use it (Zoes can't). But again depending on your driving patterns and how big a battery you get this might not even be that often.

What made you choose an Electric vehicle?
Largely environmental / sustainability. Even if you deny there's a human-caused problem with the climate or that driving around in EVs is the answer to it, there's still the much less deniable problem that fossil fuels are running out and involve a lot of mess (both literal and geopolitical) to extract. I'd rather move forwards and didn't want to spend a whole new 5-or-so-plus car ownership cycle on petrol.

But also an excitement to be an early adopter of something new. It's an adventure complete with all its little difficulties and stories to tell the... okay I likely won't have kids/grandkids myself, but younger generations down the pub or whatever sometime in the future assuming we get there. And that's an opportunity I never expected to have on a pretty low income so it's one I grabbed with both hands upon seeing the price of used Zoes. Even with it being a cheap EV it's more than I'd usually spend on a car, but you only live once and I wanted some excitement.

What doubts did you have and what were you most surprised about?
I did a lot of research first so not a lot really. The surprises haven't all been positive, if I'm honest. I somehow missed the controversy over AC (which my car requires) existing on rapid chargers and the future challenges I'll face getting around unless I find the funds to upgrade, so that was the kick in the nuts doozy of a surprise. On the flip side I've been fairly pleasantly surprised at progress of charger installations even if I can't use them all. Generally the rapid progress of EVs surprised me, and I can see the point people have about leasing new ones if the monthly budget fits.

What are your biggest challenges?
Travel in directions other than directly South or North up/down the M6, and worries about managing any long-ish journeys if/when AC disappears from motorway services. The biggest challenge to date has been the 100 mile journey from my home in the North West to relatives in the North East and back. If you look on Zap Map there's not exactly much charging across the Pennines, I'd normally have Kirkby Stephen as the halfway point making it easy but currently someone has smashed the AC plug and it's the only charger along the route. (If I'd not looked on Zap Map in advance, I'd have got there and needed recovery). Rapid chargers without a second one next to them as backup is my biggest pet peeve and they're everywhere. As I knew in advance I just went up to Tebay and charged then took the bridge over the motorway to the other side and back down. The way there was fine. The way back I charged to 90% at Scotch Corner thinking I was leaving plenty of safety margin and barely even made it to Tebay due to the combination of long uphills and strong headwinds, in winter, at night. This is the challenge of a 22kWh car - it's less forgiving if a charger is down. Bigger battery would be less worry and more plan B options.

Get what you can afford. If you can manage a 40+kwh battery and CCS (or possibly chademo i.e. Leaf which gets Instavolt support for now but I'm not sure that'll continue expanding for many more years either) then do so and it'll all but eliminate the negatives I've mentioned unless your expectations are "zip 400 miles up and down the country every other day" :)
 

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Speak, Eevee!
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This is guy is doing a university thesis. Top marks for approach.
It's rather disingenuous of them if they are, but not seen any evidence of such?
 
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In other news a Nokia phone user is wondering whether to get a smartphone - or will he miss flipping open the lid?
 

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Had a Honda Insight, was fascinated by being able to run 1 mile or so without petrol (seems ridiculous now!) and got hooked. Bought an Ampera, can now do 25-45 miles of effortless silent gliding along. Love it. Hate running on ICE now. Luckily I can do 75% of my mileage on electric. 90% of this is via E7 tariff which gives a high smugometer rating. We also have an ICE but driving around in that now feels like being in a tractor with a duff exhaust (only a slight exaggeration!). Would never go back to a pure ICE only. Depends on your mileage pattern though, if you do a lot of long journeys then it’s a different matter. I’m thinking of buying an Ionic. Because of my mileage pattern I’ll hardly ever need to charge away from home. I’ve done a few virtual long routes on ABRP and it does seem a bit of a shambles what with Ecotricity jeopardy and ICE’ing. Having to detour to chargers off route doesn’t greatly appeal.
Similarly, I started my journey in the first Prius in 2004. Once I experienced silent electric running (albeit only a few meters in the Mark 1 Prius) I wanted more. Went through the next two gens of Prius, then got an Ampera as company car in 2013. Absolutely loved it but also hated running on petrol when the juice ran out. In 2016, made the leap to a new Leaf 30. Kept our Prius for longer journeys.

Rather surprised ourselves by choosing the Leaf pretty much every time even for long journeys. Ended up doing 30k miles in 3 years and selling it for only £500 less than we bought it (albeit got a good discount new on a cancelled order). Ordered a Kona on the day it came out - first time I had ordered a car without trying it first. We have never regretted it - truly superb car that has covered 23k trouble-free miles in 9 months.

Each time we have bought one of these vehicles, it has felt like we have been taking a risk as early adopters. Fortunately each time the vehicle has exceeded our expectations by some distance - a testament to the designers and engineers. To some degree we have had to adapt our driving habits to suit the vehicle but we have never felt that was a big hurdle and have enjoyed the experience and the community that goes with it (SpeakEV has been a massive help). We could never go back to an ICE now.
 

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What made you choose an Electric vehicle?
What doubts did you have and what were you most surprised about?
What are your biggest challenges?
They are real cars now, performing as well as or better than ICE Cars. The monthly running costs of my AMG without monthly payment where higher than the cost of my Telsa with the monthly payment ! And its a faster and better car to drive. After just 1 mile of test driving an model 3 all ICE cars felt obsolete.

I was worried about charging and developing range anxiety, charging could not be simpler over night and no more stopping at hateful petrol stations. By ignoring estimated range and recharging when the battery gets to a certain % level I always have at least 50-75 miles of range left so after a couple of weeks 'range left' ceased to be thought about.

Keeping my licence lol I have never driven a car that can enter the lined out zone of a speed camera travelling at the speed limit and be in ban territory before the lines have finished :D Apart from that its no different from using any other car apart from no more petrol stations !!
 

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Being able to charge at home is a must-have.
Speaking as the only driver in a one car EV only household with no off-street parking I would say that it's possible without charging at home (I do have a three-pin "granny" charger and regular socket behind my front door, however I've yet to need it in 8 months EV ownership).
 

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This is guy is doing a university thesis. Top marks for approach.
I can see why you are sceptical.

@CuriousGeorge Can you allay Ken's fears with more info on what car you currently drive, commute, typical journeys, family?, etc.
 
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