Electric Vehicles

Copied from the Inverness Oran since we can't link to news papers anymore.
Columns and Letters
Letter: First-hand EV owner's experience
Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 February 2024 14:53
February 28, 2024
Dear Editor,
I am writing in response to a letter in the February 14th publication entitled, “Benefits of Electric Vehicles.” My husband and I drive a 2021 Long Range Tesla Model 3. My hope is to shed some light on what it is like living in Inverness County with an electric vehicle.
For a bit of context, I am not your run-of-the-mill naysayer. We’ve been driving an EV for the last three years, we are organic farmers, we lived in a fully off-grid, solar powered home for eight years, and we attended that big Greta Thunberg inspired climate change march in Halifax back in 2019. I feel slightly embarrassed about sharing this so publicly because I truly feel that we got duped by clever and persuasive EV/doomsday marketing. After reading Paul Strome’s letter, featuring all those key marketing points, I felt compelled to write in. Here is our electric car experience:
2021 – Rosy new car: Wow! This is great!
– The car was more expensive up front, but it only costs about $14 to “fill the tank” and we can conveniently charge with our Level 2 charger at home whenever we want. That will more than make up for the initial cost over time, considering the price of gas!
– No pesky oil changes and Tesla’s titanium shield under the car means no repairs due to rust! Great – more savings!
– When going to Halifax, we need to recharge at the Enfield Supercharger. Recharging takes 18 minutes, but no big deal: bathroom break, stretch your legs, get a coffee; just minor adjustments to how we drove with a gas car.
Not-so-nice realizations from year one:
– The undulating, electric hum while the car charges for seven hours permeates our entire home and yard. Is that healthy?
– Needing to exit the vehicle for 20 minutes at the Supercharger because it feels very unhealthy to be in such a high voltage environment while it’s charging. Rain, shine, snow or sleet – Everybody out!
– Learning that every time you recharge the battery, the battery life decreases. It actually can damage the battery to charge to 100 per cent and it is advised that you don’t charge more than 80 per cent for day-to-day use.
2022 – One-year-old car:
– Can still make it to Sydney and back, but we shouldn’t make many detours if we want to make it home again. Having to stop in Baddeck for two hours to “juice up” just to make the 40-minute journey home doesn’t make much sense...
– Can still make it to the Enfield Supercharger when going to Halifax, but no detours. Stick to the highway or else.
Christmas 2023 – 2.5-year-old car:
Heading to the Valley Christmas Eve (outside temperature is -5oC).
– “I don’t think we’re going to make it to the Supercharger...” “What the heck! We’re definitely not going to make it!” The whole family, plus two dogs, wandered around Truro for 1.5 hours, in the cold twilight while charging just enough to make it to the Enfield Supercharger.
– With everyone’s spirits low, we wander around the Enfield Big Stop parking lot in the cold while the car charges for 35 minutes. Can’t bring the dogs into Timmy’s and staying in the car while it’s charging feels like every hair on your body is getting charged up too.
– Charge up again at the New Minas Supercharger, just in case, because the wall plug at Grandma’s takes days to charge the car and we can’t believe how poorly the car is performing.
Coming home after Christmas:
– Leave Middleton. Stop at the Supercharger in New Minas for 10 minutes to add some charge. Everyone out into the cold!
– Leave New Minas. Stop in Enfield to fully recharge for 35 minutes. Everybody out into the cold: Kids, dogs; everyone. It’s windy and half raining/half snowing. How wonderfully modern and convenient it is to drive an EV!
– Make it back home with six per cent. Phew!
January 2024 – 2.5-year-old car:
– 10oC, but dropping, so range is dropping too.
– Husband arrives at Enfield Supercharger. Relief!
– Enfield supercharger is down. Neither the car nor Telsa phone app notified him; 9:00 p.m. on a Sunday. No indication of when/if the charger will turn on again. Car is at three per cent. Not enough power to keep the heat on, let alone drive to a motel. Other EV drivers there are all cursing their cars and their decisions...
– After an hour of being stranded, the chargers come online again.
– 60 minutes to recharge after going so low and it being so cold out. Two hours, stuck at the Enfield Big Stop!
February 2024 (last week) – 2.5-year-old car
– We are driving home from the airport. I’m driving my 2012 Toyota Matrix (680 km/tank). I have to go pick up the dogs from the boarder, just outside Antigonish. It’s too big of a detour for the “Long Range” Tesla to handle.
– Even with that detour, I make it home first. The Tesla took 60 minutes to charge in Enfield. It takes longer to charge a cold battery, but surely they should be home by now...
– My husband finally made it home. He crawled home, with the heat turned off, because he was trying to conserve power. Made it home with six per cent.
We’ve looked into it: There is nothing wrong with our car. This is just the natural diminishing of an EV battery over time, combined with fairly mild NS winter driving.
This is what range anxiety looks like! It is not, as Paul Strome so kindly put it, “for those drivers who have trouble paying attention to their fuel gauge.” Range anxiety means constantly paying attention to your fuel gauge and crossing your fingers and toes, hoping you’re going to make it! It’s leaving home with a “full tank” to go 290 km and worrying about not arriving!
The February 14th letter features all of the dealership, government, and activist talking points. None of it is based on the real life experience of a rural EV owner. The “official range” of EVs is not based in reality. Only on the first day out of the factory (if it’s sunny, with no wind, temps between 15-20oC, on a straight stretch road with no hills) would our car ever live up to its range expectations.
Speaking as a former climate change activist and current EV driver, I can only see EVs working if you live in a big city and never plan on leaving that big city. The last thing we should be pushing for is to phase out internal combustion engine vehicles by 2035 in Canada. Yes, we absolutely have to take better care of our planet, but EVs make zero sense in the real world.
Hilary Mueller