24 months of driving electric

1.13% of all cars are plug in hybrid/electric.  I was part of that 1.13% for the past two years.  Electrics are great in congested, traffic calmed cities.  However, once you leave and enter “America”, electrics are little smug mobiles that are hindered with short range (at least the affordable ones).

Where electrics make sense
I live in San Francisco, where the city government actively makes it difficult to drive a car.  From not fixing the potholes and cracks and diverting the money to bicycle lanes, speed humps and stop signs on every block to active Traffic Calming measures such as prohibiting turning, backwards diagonal parking, removing traffic lanes and timing traffic signals to turn red, thus creating congestion, San Francisco is the master of screwing up traffic.  Driving here, especially in the Downtown core, is an exercise in not moving.  If you’re in an electric, when you’re not moving, you’re not using energy.  And when the traffic does go and stop, you creep along eventually creating enough energy to regenerate your battery, a mile at a time.  In this environment, electrics win.

Aaaand where electrics don’t
Unfortunately for electrics and the liberals that like them (with taxpayer subsidy), most of America is not like San Francisco.  America is long distances between cities, moving at high speed and where there is copious free parking.  Its people cherish their freedom to drive untethered from range anxiety or lack of DC fast chargers.  In this environment, electrics are at a disadvantage because at freeway speed, range disappears quickly and regeneration does not increase range at the same rate you lose it.

Electrics are best for car unfriendly cities.  If you sit around a lot in traffic and drive short distances, electrics are for you.  If you do a combination of city and non city driving over longer distances, a (plug-in) hybrid works best.  And if you drive a lot on the freeway, get yourself a gas powered car.  A lot of the new cars get 35+ MPG which is pretty darn good.   I spent a week in Dallas and didn’t see one electric car on the freeways.  I did see a lot of practical sedans that got good highway MPG.  And this is the lesson I learned after two years with an E-Golf.

Read about the daily issues of driving electric here.

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