06.25.2013 - by Plug In America
EV Drivers Telling It Like It Is

A funny thing happens when someone gets a plug-in car for the first time. It’s more than the EV grin that shows up the first time someone drives a plug-in car. Owning (or leasing) an electric vehicle or a plug-in hybrid brings that thrill every single day. It builds up inside, until finally it spills over and the driver just has to find ways to express what they’re experiencing, so that others can share in the satisfaction and the joy of driving on electricity.

We become EVangelists. We proselytize. We make ourselves available as a resource to the public, the press, and our peers in ways that we’ve never done before with other cars.

Think I’m exaggerating? There are so many examples in many formats print, film, video, blogs, etc. The fact is, happy drivers have served an invaluable role in spreading the truth about plug-in cars while we wait for the auto companies and especially car dealers to catch up with our enthusiasm.

Darell Dickey was one of the first with his EVnut.com blog, where he shares detailed information about his experience with the GM EV-1, Toyota RAV4-EV, Ford Ranger EV truck, and now a Nissan Leaf. Especially during the last generation of EVs, Darell was an invaluable resource to many of us who were EV newbies.

Chris Paine’s 2006 film, “Who Killed the Electric Car?” arose from his own experience with an EV-1. He followed that entertaining and moving documentary with a sequel that warmed all of our hearts in 2011, “Revenge of the Electric Car”, about the dawn of the current generation of EVs.

My own unexpectedly intense delight from leasing a Ford Th!nkCity EV prompted me to write my first book in 2007, “Plug-in Hybrids: The Cars That Will Recharge America.” It remains a good historical narrative leading up to the current generation of EVs. Beyond that, it’s out of date and now out of print, but watch this space for a possible updated e-book version within the next year.

Tom Moloughney became one of the first East Coast drivers in the new era of production EVs when he leased a BMW Mini-E, and he quickly began sharing his experience online. He has moved on to a BMW Active-E, which he chronicles on his blog.

Just this year, Floridian Chris Sharek turned his enthusiasm for his Chevy Volt into a 58-page e-book, “The Electric Vehicle Revolution,” which he sells on his website (Kindle edition only) for $5. Much of the information he shares can be found online, but his Florida-specific examples may be of interest to drivers in that state.

As soon as we had a YouTube, plug-in car drivers started posting brief videos of our cars and our EV grins. But some took it to a higher level, producing slick, professional-looking videos. Chevy Volt owner Jeff U-Ren is a good example. Check out his YouTube channel “PlugIn Car Fun.” Two of my personal favorites are “If You Can’t Plug Your Car In” and “Chevy Volt Noise.”

And as plug-in car drivers found each other, we made it easier for us all to tell our stories and to share what we know with each other and with a wider and wider audience. Your support our support of Plug In America is a prime example. If you haven’t been to Plug In America’s YouTube channel lately, treat yourself. Our “Drive Electric PSAs” are some of the best videos you’ll find anywhere on the topic, and they’ve now been seen by millions on Hulu again, because your support made it possible. If you’re not yet a member of Plug In America, please join us.

Today, social media make it even easier to connect. On Facebook alone, pages for Plug In America, Chevy Volt Owners, and multiple Nissan Leaf owners pages (such as SF Bay Area Leaf Owners) attract hundreds of pictures and posts from new, happy drivers. Online discussion forums such as MyNissanLeaf.com facilitate questions and answers from drivers and wannabe drivers.

If you’ve got a resource that we should know about, leave a Comment, and maybe we can add it to Plug In America’s annual “Definitive Guide to Plug-in Vehicles.”

We, the drivers, remain the best resources for getting good information to future EV drivers, and getting them behind the wheel.

Posted by Sherry

5 comments on “EV Drivers Telling It Like It Is”
  1. Sieg says:

    HI, all you lucky people in the USA. Why? because you have available the largest range of EV/Hybrids.

    However we in Europe can already test drive the BMW i3.

    There are plenty of test done by professionals out there but I would like to mention a few points from an ordinary drivers point of view.

    As mentioned in these reviews it drives beautifully, smooth, quick, seamless acceleration, quiet.


    I am 6’1 and my wife 5’2 could not sit behind me without giving up my preferred driving position and moving the seat 2 notches forward.

    Anybody sitting in the back can feel every bump and unevenness in the road making it essentially a 2+ 2 car at best.

    The question must be asked why could BMW not have made the car 5″ longer it would have cost very little. Do these car designers not realize that the human race is getting taller?

    Also we did they not install adjustable shock absorber to compensate for generally pockmarked city streets.

    Two small additions to a not exactly cheap car would I believe get them many more customers. I for one will, despite have looked forward to buying one, not go ahead as I do have to sometimes carry 4 people. But, maybe it is only meant to by a commuters car.


    1. Chad Schwitters says:

      Hi Sieg, thanks for your thoughts on the i3. I hope you are able to find something more suitable in your area. I have heard many people wish the i3 was a little larger or different in some way. Personally, my kids are grown and I currently drive a small 2-seater with a very tight suspension, so the i3 would be big and soft enough for my commute (I think; I haven’t been able to sit in or drive one yet), but it clearly is not for everybody. That is unfortunate, but I think the good news is that BMW plans to build several plug-ins in the “i” line, so I hope that over time they will have something for everybody. It is just unfortunate that it takes so long! I suspect in the specific case of the i3 BMW already had plans to introduce a smaller car than their current offerings even before they decided to make it electric; design work was already underway so it was the first one they completed.

  2. Russell Russ says:

    I live in Central Florida. I drive 65.5 miles to work one way, charge and drive home. I wrote a little funny article in CurrentEVents which is an Electric Automobile Association’s monthly publication. “Turning over a New Leaf” is the title of my article.

    I am not a great writer but I feel my commute is uncommon and some with my drive or shorter would be interested to imagine what might work for them. Also, I bought my Leaf used. The numbers worked for me. Now with the prices lowered, the numbers will work even better. All those leases will be turned in and sold at great prices.

    I agree that after you own one, you come out of a shell talking to others about it.

    Let me know if any of this interest you and I will forward my articles to you. (I also have a second (follow-up) article I wrote for my little hometown publication.


    Russell Russ

    1. Laura Lotito says:

      We just bought a LEAF this weekend.—in the Ft. Lauderdale area. We totally dig it! However, it does not seem like our dealerships “expert” was one at all. I am interested in your articles and any other info —-for instance the installation of the home charging station. He told us the trickle charger would work “just fine”. The purchase was impulsive—I intended to return my Maxima lease and get an Altima. So, I have no clue about the ins and outs of the vehicle. Thanks for your help.

      1. SB says:

        Laura, congratulations on your new Leaf! You’re exactly right — the lack of expertise so far among dealers is one of the main reasons that Plug In America members need to help each other.

        Here are some resources that you might find useful:

        – Plug In America’s webinar on “Everything You Wanted to Know about Charging Stations but were afraid to ask the salesperson”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXKjxHX7tvc&feature=youtu.be

        – Other Plug In America webinars, including “Common EV Questions” and one that you might want to share with your dealer on how to sell more EVs! http://www.pluginamerica.org/webinar

        – Or, post a specific question on Plug In America’s Facebook page and ask our members to answer: https://www.facebook.com/pluginamerica?ref=ts&fref=ts

        – Specifically for the Leaf, there’s a great community of drivers in an online forum with archives that can answer any question and drivers ready to talk about new questions that you might post: http://www.mynissanleaf.com/

        – I see there’s also a Facebook group for South Florida Leaf drivers: https://www.facebook.com/groups/275547595806577/

        Good luck! I hope you’ll join Plug In America (if you haven’t already) so that we can continue helping drivers help other drivers. You can join here (it’s only $25): https://org.salsalabs.com/o/2711/shop/shop.jsp?storefront_KEY=524

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