It’s Electric!

So… I’ve gone to the dark side… which really should be what more people are at least thinking about when talking about purchasing new cars…

Electric cars are apparently the wave of the future, mainly due to their efficiency and what I mean by this is ability to build in mass, ability to harness technology of today’s age and where a lot of car manufacturers are moving towards.

Why not hydrogen fuel cells? Good question, ever since I heard about this back in high school 2004 ish I believe it was the Honda Clarity which was a hydrogen fueled car and emits H20 from the engine and accepts hydrogen to refuel. I don’t recall the range, but I do recall the amount of money it cost to actually install a refueling station which was astronomical. The quote much smarter people than myself (i.e. Elon Musk and many other brillant minds) hydrogen fuel cells are just inefficient, the cost outweighs the good and we just don’t have the technology to build at a reasonable cost.

So onwards to electric. I love myself a good V8 internal combustion engine (ICE), but can’t help but take a brilliant mind like Elon Musk not seriously… hearing a few different podcasts (Joe Rogan Experience) and some other Ted Talk and or Q and A. Just hearing the inherent issues and lack of adoption for alternative and renewable resources makes me want to become an advocate for the movement to electricity.

Okay so I’ve decided to purchase a daily driver, which is electric. Some call me a geek, but I’ve listed out a rough Google Sheet which has all the electric car options within a 100 mile range of where I live (Chicago, IL) things like how many miles I’ve driven my Focus ST in the past 5 years I’ve owned it (roughly 50,000 miles so 10,000 miles a year) average price for premium gas (guestimate) gallons used (averaging amount of mpg (24 in this case) so end up calculating I spent around $6875 on gas in the past 5 years so $1375 for the year or roughly $114 per month for gas. Now this is a rough estimate so bare with me using the average cost that Tesla calculates around $658 to drive their cars 10,000 miles or $55 a month. So it saves around $59 a month in switching from gas to electric. This doesn’t include reduced maintenance, typically lifespan of brakes will be longer and no oil changes. Haven’t heard much about other maintenance items to the electric engines. So I can’t really comment on that, but will look into at a later date. Essentially, tires would be the first thing that would need to be replaced on an electric car.

So cars in my “neighborhood” Nissan Leaf, VW eGolf, Tesla Model 3, Chevy Bolt/Volt. I went out tested them within the span of a couple of days. My overall thoughts and rankings would be essentially pretty close to the pricing so… maybe you get what you pay for in this situation.

  1. Tesla Model 3
  2. Chevy Bolt
  3. VW eGolf
  4. BMW i3
  5. Nissan Leaf

Overall, the Model 3 had by far the best fit and finish in terms of interior quality and features. The Bolt was overall great, the interior was less impressive, but undeniable the range and cost it ended up being around $16,500 cheaper than the Model 3, which is a huge deal of money. The eGolf was fine, the ride was a bit rough, but it’s a small car so expected and was definitely not as smooth as the rest of the cars even on eco tires and small wheels. The i3 was fairly comfortable, but the ride was pretty harsh, I know contradictory statements, but the large 20 inch wheels almost made this car less comfortable than the eGolf. It road surprisingly soft for the large wheels mainly because the suspension is very soft. The driver dynamics in the i3 were super sketchy and never really gripped the way I thought it would probably due to the thin tires and it made an obnoxious noise (range extender converts gas to power the electric motor and runs in the back of the car like a little lawn mower or fan). The Leaf overall had a lot of little things like heated steering wheel, heated seats front and rears and auto-dimming homelink which was nice for the minimal price. The driving experience though was just like driving a boring small sedan, just very uninspiring, not a lot of directness in the steering and the ride is super soft which is very comfortable. The “go” pedal didn’t have much to give me even with being a “torquey” electric engine. All the other cars had much more pick up and go. 

So… what would I buy with all of that said. Well, to be frank, I’d have the Model 3 if I had a large budget. The fit and finish of the Model 3 was just surprisingly good for the first iteration and utilizes space so well. Now since I will actually be making the decision to purchase what am I going to do. Why would I research the Tesla if it wasn’t in my price range…? Well it technically is, but my logical brain has to look at what the cost analysis is and since I only spend a minimal 10,000 miles if even that in a car driving a year. So my choice was the used VW eGolf. Why? Because for $16,000 obviously this would have to fit your need from a range perspective, if any of those are an issue you need to look at a Tesla, Bolt, Ionic, New Leaf, or Kona EV.

If I still needed to make a choice, I’d break it down even further to the type of commute. If you’re in the suburbs like me and drive through minimal traffic than purchase anything but a Tesla because I don’t think the cost outweighs the benefits of a car that can “self-drive” some of the times. I fear, I would become reliant on the system and it would possibly run through stop signs or red lights if I became reliant which is kind of a bummer. However, the tech. is really cool and intrigues a person like myself, makes me wonder if I could take the daily commute out of my day would life be worth that extra $16,500 which I could spend on another car for that matter. Weird to think about, but I’m lusting after that Tesla the autopilot is a bit of a gimmick, but it’s just so damn cool and would very likely alleviate any driving in traffic. So I’d say if you do have a commute that is full of traffic or if you drive over 15,000 miles I think it is probably worth the extra premium. 

That said, I think I’ll be lusting after the Model 3 for awhile and definitely looking at the used market within the next couple of years. Just looking for the day I can upgrade… huh maybe I should just buy the damn car. I’ll keep you posted 🙂