Choosing An EV That Works For You
Development and Innovation Factoring in your commute, charging options, and planned trips will ensure you find the right vehicle.
MP What kind of research went into your purchase? Did you utilize any specific resources?
RC: I did extensive research — online, at car shows, and had test driven the Tesla Roadster. The Roadster was compelling but not practical, whereas the Model S does everything one could ask of a car, 365 days a year. I have an engineering background and could see that Tesla was doing everything right to create the world’s best car.
PC: I researched the internet extensively, and most importantly I have a co-worker who had purchased a Volt eight months prior to my purchase. He served as a great resource in getting to know the ins and outs and also let me take his Volt on multiple test drives.
SM: I have been following the development of electric vehicles for nearly twenty years. I remember seeing the first Toyota Prius at the Metro Convention Centre in 2001. Over that time I’ve actively poured over manufacturer’s specifications for hybrid electric (HEV), plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV), fuel-cell electric (FCEV), and full battery electric (BEV) vehicles, plus EV enthusiast blogs, and any automotive reviews or road test results I could get my hands on.
MP The Ontario government recently promised an investment of $20-million into EV infrastructure — are you optimistic about what’s to come?
RC: Ontario’s infrastructure is growing by leaps and bounds, which is great. The charging infrastructure that is most important to most users, most of the time, is that for charging at home or at the office. The Ontario government’s program to assist EV purchasers to install a charging system at home is an excellent one. However, the infrastructure program is also a good one. I would like to see most of the money spent on Level 3 or Level 4 high speed DC chargers on the main highways, and the balance on Level 2 chargers for multiple unit dwelling or office locations.
PC: I’m still not convinced on super chargers, mostly because very few EVs on the market today use them, and they have their disadvantages for battery life. Rather than supporting superchargers off the highways, I would like to see more support to install charging stations in metropolitan, shopping, and walking areas. If I’m going out to dinner, I’ll be there for an hour or two, and during that time if my car is charging I’ll likely get enough charge to get home so the way I look at that situation would be my car is working/charging while I’m relaxing/eating — I would love that!
SM: The EVCO project will be a tremendous confidence booster for existing EV drivers and those considering making the switch from gasoline engines. To get commuters on board, there need to be convenient quick-charge facilities at places like ONroute stations, but also at parking lots where people leave their vehicles during the work day. From what I understand, a rigorous needs analysis was conducted that will inform the strategy behind the charging station locations, and types. With vehicle ranges increasing to over 200 km on a charge, even a few key charging stations strategically-placed would mean a significant savings in fuel costs for many commuters.
MP Who would you recommend purchasing an EV to?
RC: Everyone who cannot get by with a bicycle and transit, and doesn’t require a truck for cargo purposes. EVs are simply superior in driving performance, efficiency (about six times as efficient as comparable gasoline powered cars), convenience, cost of energy, maintenance, safety, comfort, and environmental impacts. At a minimum, each two car household should have at least one pure EV for use for local trips and, unless a Tesla is an option, should consider plug-in range extended models such as the Volt and BMW i3, or any of the expanding range of plug-in hybrids as their primary vehicle.
PC: Virtually anyone, and I have. People at work are sick of me talking about EVs. Seriously though, one drawback I often hear about EVs is they are too small. So, those with families with kids less than 4–5 years old — it’s not so great. But, for those that commute 40–100km/day and have a place at home or at work where they can charge — EVs are a great choice. Also, car/tech junkies should appreciate the complexity of EVs. I would have never imagined when I first got my driver’s licence in the 90s that I’d be driving such an advanced vehicle a mere 20 years later.
SM: If you are a family with two or more vehicles, and not everyone commutes out of town, making the switch is now feasible — both practically and economically. Be sure you understand what your requirements are for a second car, and select the right model with the appropriate range. The government purchase incentives also apply to leasing and they are very attractive. Once you drive an EV, you’ll never look back.