Picking a Car

Deciding to go electric is a big step. At first, you’ll be hyper aware of how different the driving experience is, and how you never have to stop for gas, or get into a cold car. Then, soon, most of the time, you won’t notice anything different at all! But sometimes, you do have to adjust to the EV lifestyle and make some adjustments, such as taking a road trip or picking up your kid during winter break in Canada. Here’s what the pro’s say:

“Sit down with an EV owner and ask them all your questions and take one for a ride. But talking about their ‘fears’ and questions is really the thing. The misinformation out there is unimaginable for someone who really knows EVs.”

Do your research so you know what to expect - both in terms of the good, and the bad. 

“Spend time researching and learning about EVs before you commit, and once decided on a vehicle, look for Youtube video reviews of that car before making the purchase.”
“The most common cause of buyers remorse is lack of knowledge.”


When it comes to EV anxiety, range is the big one. The best cure is research and experience - we found that once drivers make the switch, range anxiety does drop off. But don’t take it from us!

“Don’t be obsessed with range, you don’t need the range to get to your destination, only to the next charger. It is faster to make three three stops and add 25% [each time] than to make one stop when you are down and add 75%.”

You should know that like in a gas car, your range will be lower in cold or very hot weather, going uphill, or carrying a lot of weight. But unlike in a gas car, you will get better range at lower speeds and in stop-and-go driving than you will at highway speeds on the open road.

“Bought a used Nissan LEAF with the idea that it gets us around the area and the shorter range is not an issue. We do have a second car for longer trips, and find, after 4 years of owning the LEAF, that we drive it 99% of the time, and prefer it. Battery and range have stayed nearly the same.”

On the other hand, since EV drivers do tend to love their cars, another owner recommends splurging on the bigger battery - if you can - since you may never want to go back to your gas car. 

“I always say ‘buy as much range as you can afford.’ Batteries degrade and will always lose range over time. The most common regret I hear from fellow owners is not getting the bigger battery.”

Battery Anxiety

Although battery failure is a black swan event that is worth avoiding (such as with Recurrent Reports), in most cases, there is not much to worry about. And, if there is, chances are it’s covered by a generous manufacturer’s warranty. 

“It's extremely rare to replace a battery. Especially considering Teslas [and all new EVs] come with an 8 year battery warranty [or more!]. Also, when buying a new ICE car in the past, I don't ever remember pausing to think about what it might cost to replace the engine and transmission, for the same reason. It would be extremely rare to have to do so. Only the nay-sayers talk about such things.”

Home Charging

The cool thing about EVs is waking up every morning with a “full tank.” Well, realistically, most vehicles should only be charged to 80%, but the spirit remains. 

“Charging is often equated with going to a charging station (like a gas station) when most EV owners charge at home most of the time. It's easier and certainly cheaper than gas stations or fast charging.”
“I think a lot of people still think you charge in public like you get gas. Explaining that you do 99% of your charging at home is a big wake up for many.”

A lot of new EV owners rush out to buy the newest and fastest charging equipment for their home, but we suggest trying out regular old level 1 charging first, to see how many miles of range you really need to add each night. Here are some other tips from seasoned drivers. 

“Don’t overpay for a home Level 2 charger. 40 AMPS is plenty if your car is going to sit idle overnight, and the charge management functions on the pricey units seem redundant compared to what came on your car itself.”
“If your dryer circuit is in or near your garage you can use that to get 24 AMPS and save the cost of installing a dedicated 50 AMP circuit. It will deliver 20 miles of range per hour, more or less, depending on ambient temperature. That’s probably enough for most people. Obviously, you can’t run the dryer and charger at the same time.”

If you decide you really do need to upgrade your charging situation, check with your car company, local utilities, and state Department of Transportation, since there may be incentives or perks available. Then, 

“Have an electrician check out your electrical panel and advise you on installing your home charger.”

This is probably not the best time to flex your DIY muscles.

Charging on the Road

While range and battery anxiety may disappear as soon as you start driving your EV, on-the-go charging at public chargers is a new lifestyle for most. It requires a bit more forethought and planning than charging at home, too. Luckily, most drivers use public charging less than they anticipate, but almost all will eventually plug-in on the go. 

“If you plan to travel, identify the most robust charging network and be sure your vehicle can use that network for charging. If it is mainly for local travel this is less important as you will primarily charge in your garage.”
Apps you should have on your phone:
  • Plugshare - has most of the charging locations and info on them
  • A Better Route Planner - very good trip planner that will map out your charging options for longer trips.
  • If you frequent specific charging networks you may want their apps as well (ChargePoint, Electrify America, Blink, …)”

Other Driving Tips

  • The 20 inch wheels on a Tesla are terrible if you have pot holes (hello New York drivers)
  • Enjoy the car but try to be easy on the pedal, your tire budget will appreciate it. If you like to drag race every stop light your tires will wear out much faster.
  • Your first time at a public charger, make sure you actually start the charge! “My very first time charging at a public charger, I thought I could just plug it in and walk away. I didn't realize I had to initiate…”
  • Try the one pedal driving for at least a couple days before giving up on it. You will probably not go back once you use it for a while.
  • Use caution if you need to go back to an ICE: “There have also been plenty of times I've been in rental cars, stopped, put it in park, and got out of the car, forgetting that I need to actively turn its engine 'off'"

Read more Things I Wish I Knew