David A. Windham thumbnail

It’s Electric

We got a new car a couple weeks ago. It’s an electric BMW i3 1. and we nicknamed it ‘toasty’. In an attempt to humblebrag, I’d say my main motivation for sharing my experience with it, is that I think everyone should drive electric cars. I have a buddy who’s a car guy and he said to me “I didn’t think you’re a – green – guy” to which I responded “it’s not just about being green”.

I recently read that Britain and France will both ban the sale of all Gasoline and Diesel automobiles by the year 2040 2.. Norway kinda spurred the issue when they said they would heavily tax fossil burners by 2025 3. and India is shooting for 2020 4.. Volvo announced they will only produce electric vehicles by 2018 5.. Meanwhile in the U.S. we’re in the process of… I won’t go into it, but I will say you don’t have to be ‘green’ (or a science denier) to consider driving electric. It’s safe, it drives great, it’s quiet, you can ‘fill er up’ in your garage, it’s comfortable, and it can be a good value for transportation.

What does ‘green’ mean anyway? Yeah, I know… we recycle, compost, and are generally considerate of the environment regarding our actions and purchases. Regardless, we put a lot of other considerations into this purchase that just make sense on so many other levels that I thought I share those that may be making the same decision in the coming years. We started looking for this car about eight months ago. We finally found a lease trade in with under 8,000 miles on it. We have two other vehicles, a 2014 BMW 328d Touring and a 2004 Nissan Frontier Pickup Truck. The truck… well because I can’t seem to get rid of it and everyone needs a truck. It’ll easily run another 100,000 miles of dragging a trailer, picking up mulch and random DIY stuff from the hardware store. The wagon is a diesel and I had been following along closely on the diesel-gate issues with Volkswagen when we started considering electric options. The main issue we have is that is much as we’d like to think we’re out on the highways getting 50mpg @ 80mph with a 500 mile range between fueling, we were starting to rack up the miles just running around town and we want to preserve the wagon for our road trips because it’s perfect for just that.

And now we’ve found the perfect ride for around town. Anytime I take someone for a ride or let them drive it, they are always smiling. For those of you whom never driven or ridden in an electric vehicle, do yourself a favor and go test drive one. This car is roomier and drives better than any other car I’ve ever owned. It took just a couple days of getting used to while driving. It’s one pedal driving. When you remove your foot from the gas it decelerates to regenerate power. It’s great in that I rarely every use the brakes anymore. I installed a 220v charger in the garage and it only takes 3 hours for the full 100 mile change. It’s the REX model and has a little scooter engine to extend the range another 100 miles if needed. I ran it dry one time just to test it out and I’m guessing we’ll ever use it, but it does give you a little comfort if you’re stretching it on a day trip. I pegged it at the top speed one afternoon to see how it handles it and I’m completely comfortable on the interstate with it. The acceleration in the 40-80mph range is superb. What I like most is how connected I feel while driving it. The windows are huge and it’s quiet. There is something about pulling into a parking lot or out of our driveway without any noise. It just one less jarring thing in your life. Honestly, I haven’t yet found one single complaint about the car and I’d recommend anyone who’s even slightly considering to take the plunge.

1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BMW_i3
2) https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/31/opinion/britain-electric-cars.html
3) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plug-in_electric_vehicles_in_Norway
4) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_vehicle_industry_in_India
5) https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/05/business/energy-environment/volvo-hybrid-electric-car.html