Back to the future?
A soon as the words “electric vehicle” are uttered, inevitably the question arises: “What's the range?” Undoubtedly, this question plagues every manufacturer boardroom once an EV release is planned. No one wants to be stranded on the side of the road while their gas brethren zoom by.
While manufacturers have devised a way to prevent this from happening through customer screening (stringent background checks of where you live, how far you travel to work, that sort of thing) before the purchase of an EV even happens, it seems the question still arises.
The thing is, it's not just about range anymore, but about overall liveability. And that's where we decided to come into the whole EV debate.
With three EVs lined up and ready to go, Matt, Mike and Miranda set out to live a day in the life of an EV owner. Granola-chewing, hemp-using, planet-saving, greenie jokes aside, we wanted to see whose electric vehicle could stand up to the onslaught of a typical day of running errands, going out for lunch and doing a little sight-seeing later in the afternoon. You didn't think we'd do this without a little bit of friendly competition, did you?
With Mike behind the wheel of the Nissan LEAF, Matt piloting the brand new Ford Focus Electric and Miranda bringing up the rear in the Chevrolet Volt, we began our test... a week before we got the cars.
You see, we discovered that a major part of owning an electric vehicle isn't just thumbing your nose at gas-guzzlers, it's planning. From calling various malls and restaurants to enquire about charging stations to calculating distances throughout the city, we needed to ensure our cars really could do what we wanted them to do. And we wouldn't be remiss to do the same if we actually owned the vehicles we were driving.
Owning an electric vehicle isn't just about changing your driving habits, it's often about changing your routine as well. Always shopped at a specific mall? Well, what if they don't have charging stations, but another a town over does? Chances are, you're going to change your routine and go to the other mall from now on so you can charge while you shop.
So, from city driving (which included a bit of highway) to plenty of stop-and-go routes, as well as hill climbs galore, and a final stop in the park to feed the squirrels (read: sea gulls) we took our EVs a total of 80 km (free of A/C, sans radio tunes and with the windows up for optimal drag reduction) throughout the day with only two charging station stops: one for approximately 1.5 hours at lunch, and another for 25 minutes in the afternoon.
Whose car rose to the position of top EV? Read on to find out.
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