North Haven Clean Energy Task Force: Electric Cars: Cheap, Easy and Fun
This is the first of a regular report from the North Haven Clean Energy Task force to share everyday ways to improve energy efficiency and save money while helping the planet.
I’m not a car geek wanting the newest, coolest vehicle. I just wanted a car with no emissions that I could manage easily, without fuss or hassles. That’s how I ended up with an electric vehicle (EV) for the last six years—first a 2015 Nissan Leaf, and then a 2018 Chevrolet Bolt.
You might have thought about getting EV, too, so I’ll share my experiences in the hope of making it less mysterious and maybe answering some questions you might have.
Overall, I’ve been very pleasantly surprised for several reasons.
EVs are cheap to operate. They cost more up front than standard cars, but remember you won’t ever need to buy gas. Charging your EV at home, plugged into a standard, three-prong outlet in the garage, is what owners do most of the time. It draws about as much power as a refrigerator. EVs, unlike traditional cars with internal combustion, convert almost of their power to movement with very little lost to heat, making them very efficient. You just plug it in when you get home and that’s it. In the winter (or ever), an EV doesn’t need to warm up. You just turn it on and go. Charging overnight is typically enough charge to give me plenty of range, even if the battery is not fully charged.
EVs are easy and cheap to maintain. No oil changes, no transmission fluid, lubrication, gears, spark plugs—ever. No catalytic converter either. EVs have far fewer moving parts than traditional cars (about 200 compared to more than 1,000 in standard cars) so there’s much less that can go wrong. You will still need to some items, like tires and windshield wiper fluid.
EVs are fun to drive. Really, really fun. That was the biggest surprise. They are responsive, accelerating powerfully and smoothly, and they are silent. It takes a bit of getting used to, without most of the traditional cues about when you are going fast, but before long I’d completely adjusted to the feel of an EV and now it feels normal. When I drive a conventional car these days, my first thought is ‘What’s wrong with this car—it’s so clunky and noisy?’
So, consider an EV for your next car lease or purchase. There are more options every year as the major auto companies invest in the new technology, even offering larger EVs and even pickup trucks that do not contribute to harmful emissions.
To learn more about Connecticut incentives for EV ownership, visit ct.gov online and search for “EV incentives.” Watch for a future report on the topic of EV range and the expansion of charging stations across the country.