Switching to electric cars can take some new learning and a fresh look at your transportation needs. If you’re already driving a plug-in, congratulations on reducing your reliance on fossil fuels. Please share any hints on how you made the switch in comments below.
From the Pump to the Grid
Relying on an electric car for local transportation is no harder than charging your cell phone. Mainly there’s the decision on where to park it near a home outlet. The bigger learning curve, like with a cell phone, is researching what to buy. Reliable Consumer Reports can start you off, but first it helps to take a closer look at how you drive.
1. Identify Local, Trip, and Hauling needs
Think through the vehicle needs of you and your household. Actually tracking mileage for a week can show some unexpected patterns. Research show that 95% of car trips are less than 30 miles one way, well within the range of most plug-in electrics. New 2020 models promise ranges from 250 to 400 miles, maybe stretching what you consider local. If you’re in a household with more than one vehicle, the electric car often becomes the “local car”.
2. Learning to share cars
For suburban and rural lifestyles, it’s been pretty common in the past for each adult to have their own car. Especially for those commuting daily to work, it’s become expected that you can slide into “your car” in the morning and have the seat and audio settings the way you like them. Sharing different vehicles for different uses can be a big change if you’re identified with personal car.
3. You may not need charging stations.
If you live in a house, you will need a place to park in reach of normal 120 v. outlet. Those living in apartments and condos do the same but need to find out how your share of the usage gets billed. Overnight charging starts you off fully charged in the morning. You can ignore the need for outside charging stations unless you’re using that car for long distance or are in the car all day long.
4. You are likely to save money.
No matter what you pay for electricity, in most regions it will be less per mile than using fossil fuels. In addition, once you start checking costs you may end up using public transportation or ride-sharing for predictable longer trips. One of my friends added several bus rides a week not only to save money, but to have time to get her book group reading done.
These are just considerations for your personal choices even as our overall sources electricity move away from fossil fuels.
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