After owning two and leasing one gas-powered car, a few months ago I leased my first EV, a 2020 Chevy Bolt EV. I have been teaching in schools about climate change since 2013. What made me interested in getting an EV was seeing the 2011 documentary “Revenge of the Electric Car.” The movie told the story of different car companies producing EVs. I also attended National Drive Electric Week a few times and talked with EV owners. I was especially excited about an EV owner who charged his car at home using electricity from his rooftop solar panels. Recently, I attended an online webinar with EV advocates and owners.
The barriers I faced when leasing my EV were not understanding what EV ownership entailed and the price of leasing a car in general. The advice I have for people is for before buying, during buying and after buying. Before buying, do some research about the climate crisis and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Look at a list of all the toxic chemicals that an ICE vehicle emits and that an EV does not. Look at how much fossil fuel industry lobbyists contribute to the politicians who turn around and give subsidies to the fossil fuel industry. Find out about the EV incentives from state governments. Find out how much money an EV owner saves by not needing gasoline, oil changes, or other maintenance. Find out about the Costco Auto Buying Program for possible discounts. Get the ChargePoint app to see a map of charging stations. ChargePoint customer service is helpful. Find out which charging stations are free and which you have to pay for. The other advice I would give is to research which car companies are offering free charging or discount charging.
During buying, find out what the process is all about before signing on the dotted line.
After buying, understand the policies of the parking lots where the charging stations are. One time I parked in a medical facility parking lot and charged the car for free on a Sunday when the building was closed. Twenty minutes later, the app said the car was unplugged and was no longer charging. I biked back to the parking lot, saw the car was gone. I called the police and they said the car had been towed. I assume the property manager had my car towed. I biked to the towing company and paid them $160 in cash to get my car back. The German shepherd in the office was enormous, but I got out of there OK. The other advice I heard and am doing more now is to plan my trips in advance so I know how much I can drive on a charge and if there are charging stations where I will be. Today I drove to a business district and put money in the meter to park because I had looked up ahead of time and did not see any charging stations on the app. After I put the money in the meter, just out of curiosity, I checked the app again and saw that in fact there was a free charging station in another part of the parking area where I was, so I moved the car and got free charging and free parking while I went shopping. Some of the charging stations charge quickly and others not so much. I asked my employer to look into the idea of installing a workplace charging station. He was pretty overwhelmed by matters related to the pandemic to make any promises.
My next plan is to ask my landlord to consider installing a charging station at the apartment building. In conclusion, I am glad I switched to an EV. I taught my first son how to drive on a stick shift. It was fun, but when my second son learns to drive I am looking forward to him learning on an EV.