8 things only EV drivers know...
Posted by Emma: Nov 12, 2018 • 4 min read
James McKemey is back and this time he's got a list of 8 things you’ll only know once you become an EV driver...
The transition to driving an EV can feel daunting. There seems to be a lot of changes, a lot of potential compromises. But for the most part once you’ve made the transition, not only do you find the grass immeasurably greener - you become aware of things you wouldn’t have thought about before.
1) The difference between a kW and a kWh - and what they both mean
Chargers are rated in power output, i.e. in kW. Batteries are rated in energy capacity, i.e. in kWh. Not only do you start to understand this difference intimately, you start to know what the numbers mean - 50kW? Your common rapid charger. 1kWh? About 3.5 miles of range (for e.g. a new LEAF).
2) ICE cars are less exciting to drive
I was once very enthused that my engine had variable valve timing. It gave a boost of acceleration high in the rev range. Now I drive an EV that all seems rather embarrassingly quaint. ICE cars, almost universally, feel dismally slow for road driving, those tiny differences overwhelmed by the step change in performance that EV brings. And that’s ignoring the other drawbacks like uneven weight distribution, the crazy waste that is non-regenerative braking and the insanity of sitting astride a tank of explosive that catches fire 300 times a day in the UK alone.
3) Time taken to charge is almost always irrelevant
“Must be terrible waiting to charge” - Maybe it would be. But I’ve seldom done it. The car’s usually full when I get back to it and if it isn’t it’s almost always got more range than I need. The only times I’ve had to wait have been at rapid chargers on a long drive (NB: the McKemey rapid charge paradox - the faster the charger the more time you spend watching it charge). It is quite hard to explain the significant step forwards this represents in terms of convenience. Even my rapid charge visits have coincided with a fairly organic break, some have lasted 10 mins extra than I’d like to have stayed, but 30 mins a year to not have to detour to petrol stations? Game changing convenience.
This is less understood in non-EV discourse, and you see ICE drivers looking at EVs very concerned about charging times. In time you realise charging is not a disadvantage compared to refuelling, it is your car filling itself with very inexpensive fuel while you sleep/work/play.
4) Rapid chargers are absolutely critical to full motoring freedom - you’ll just hardly need them in practice
If your real world range is <120 miles, this is likely not the case, the 50kW charger is a relatively frequent destination, but for the larger range BEVs (>200 miles) which will imminently be the norm, you’ll easily go months at a time without using a rapid charger.
5) You don’t go somewhere to charge - you charge where you were going anyway
Even on the long journey, you need to stop for a break and a coffee every 3-4 hours. Charge then. Otherwise the game is about chargepoints being available everywhere you park - home, work then topping up wherever you can at your other destinations.
6) Want me to care about energy efficiency? Make it easy to see. Better yet, make it a game
If we want people to understand efficiency and carbon reduction then we need to give them easy visibility of their consumption. EVs typically have just this is as some kind of measure of how efficiently you’re driving and trying to get the “best score” can prove addictive. In a curiously benevolent way.
7) At home and work you really don’t care when your car charges, so long as it’s as charged as you need it when you return
There is a lot of flexibility in charging your car. Most of the time your car is plugged in it’s either finished charging and/or awaiting a scheduled charge. This profoundly relaxed state is what makes smart managed charging viable. It may sound draconian and disruptive on the surface to an ICE driver, but it’s really no biggy to an EV driver.
8) Nothing makes you smugger than abandoning your scraper.
Pre-heating, and cooling for that matter, is probably the most significant little win of EV ownership. You’ll be smugness personified.