I know before I got to drive an Electric Car, I had a lot of simple questions about what it was like. I hope to serve up some nice, bite-sized answers here. This will be a work in progress.
• That clean feeling you get knowing that even if you’re buying 100% of your electric from a coal-fired powerplant, you’re contributing only a fraction of the greenhouse emissions you would be in a gas-powered car.
• Sounds – I didn’t expect this, but I can hear so many more things now (kids talking at the bus stop, birds at an intersection, people on the street, etc.), and in places I never could before. I can keep the radio volume tuned lower, yet still enjoy the music. It just makes me feel more connected to the space around me.
• No stopping on the way home – with a 90-mile commute, my gas car requires a fill-up every 4 days or so. Nothing big, but I seemed to always have to stop when I could least afford it (“Gotta get home to coach practice by 6:15pm”, “Got an early-morning meeting…”). I haven’t been to the station in a week now, and that’s nice.
• Quickness – because an electric motor reaches peak-torque almost immediately, and at all speeds, the responsiveness is great. MINI had to put a damper on this because – as one of the factory guys explained to me – they were worried that the frame of the car might be damaged (it being originally designed for a gas engine), but it’s still a satisfying experience.
• One-Pedal Driving – the regenerative braking system means that the accelerator becomes a de-facto brake pedal. Sounds simple I know, but the reality of it is an unexpectedly fun way to drive.
• It takes 35+ hours to fully recharge from 0% with the 110v cable. For me that means I could only drive it to work 2 days out of 5. Luckily this will go away completely with the High-Voltage cable and I can recharge every night in 4 hours.
• “Range Anxiety” (love that term) – having to calculate if you can make it somewhere based on all the variables that impact your battery capacity. With gas you can always fill-up somewhere, and so you don’t need to plan.
• No cruise control – I understand why MINI pulled it out of the E (this car is all about optimizing for battery capacity, and putting a constant drain at the same speed isn’t good for the batteries). I understand, but I still miss it.