7 I'm Scared to Buy A 100% Electric Vehicle

I'm in the market for a new car and have been looking at all the options that are available in Canada. There are 3 types of vehicles I could pick from: Hybrid, Plug-In Hybrid or 100% Electric. I have kind of ruled out Hybrids because based on the type of driving I do I don't believe I will fully benefit from having this type of car. I would spend the majority of type in gas mode not battery mode. Plug-In Hybrids are at the top of my 'want' list but as I have researched more I have learned that not all models are created equal. There are the traditional Plug-In Hybrids and then there are those that have extended battery range. In some cases double or triple the range that the traditional plug-in hybrid gets.  With this scenario I would be driving in battery mode for all but 5km of my drive each day. 

And then there is the coveted 100% electric vehicle. I want one, I really do. But I am scared to buy one. There are a million 'what if's' going through my head and I don't have answers for most of them.

What if there is an accident on the highway and I have to take a detour that makes me go over what my battery will allow?

What if we are going on a road trip? Do we stop every 150km to charge for 2  hours or do we have to rent a car or do we take the truck and pay more in gas.

What if I can't find somewhere to charge?

What if I find a place to charge on a trip and then what do I do? Chill at a public parking lot for 2 hours? Get someone to pick me up take me where I was going and drive me back when the car is charged?

What if I get stuck in traffic? How does that affect the battery range?

For short trips, where we go most there are a few charging stations on the route. Most however have hours of operation and are at car dealerships. A high percentage of them are specifically only for the Chevy Volt. 

The furthest point on the shaded area of the map is just under 80km away which means with a 100% electric vehicle we can not make a round trip on 1 charge. We would have to charge somewhere along the way or at our destination. For those instances where it is impossible to charge at our destination it means a 1 hour trip becomes 3 hours as we wait to charge the car enough to get us back home. 

For my day to day driving...driving to work, running errands etc I would not have any problems with waiting until I am home to charge. It is those "other" instances (that occur on the regular) that make me pause and question if a 100% electric vehicle is feasible for us.

I didn't realize becoming not dependent on gas would be so nerve-racking. Having additional local infrastructure would ease this burden but I realize that this is years away. Especially when you look at stats like this...the number of cars purchased in Canada in 2012.

Mitsubishi i-MIEV - 22
Nissan Leaf - 94
Chevy Volt - 210

I realize that I am part of the problem right now. I'm not jumping in with 2 feet and helping to push the industry to ramp up the product and services offered. But seriously guys, I'm scared that even though I am ready for a 100% electric vehicle, the country isn't ready to support those who are buying them.

Do you have a sustainable vehicle? What drove you to make the decision on what to buy?

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  1. Look at the Tesla-S lots of range!

  2. They are also very expensive. In Canada they start at $78,000 for the 60kwh battery (320km driving up to 88km/hr)

  3. The EV conundrum! I so get your concerns. Between my worry about range (curtailed at very low temperature) and battery life (shortened at very high temperatures), we finally went for a high-efficiency clean diesel: at 45mpg highway, I see the gas station once a month. And no, it neither throbs nor smells nor belches black smoke like the old diesels. It does pack serious torque.

    For an EV, if you're stuck in traffic the battery won't run down unless you run AC or heat. But you do need to plan for the longest detour you might have to make on your daily local trip, since the infrastructure is just starting to get built. And obviously, an EV is not for cross-country trips.

    However, Honda just lowered the lease rate on its Fit EV, making it very attractive indeed, dollarwise, if you drive enough miles. The surprisingly large trunk makes it an option for families with up to two children. Nissan also slashed the price on its Leaf EV.

    BMW's imaginative loaner program (pilot now ongoing in Leipzig) is designed to assuage worries about occasional long trips: if you buy one of their EVs, they will loan you a gasoline car for your longer holiday trips. (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-17/bmw-electric-car-service-plan-to-include-gasoline-loaners.html). A BMW EV might not be for everyone, but perhaps you can sweet-talk your local dealer into a similar setup. A solution like this seems too good not to copy!

  4. Thanks for all the info! I have no problem with the day to day travel in an EV but it is those trips to visit family etc that would push the limits.

    Unfortunately, a lot of the cars that are available in the US are not yet available in Canada. The 2013 Leaf is not available until next month. We don't have a Fit EV, but we do have the hybrid plug in, but it only gets 24km/charge. We do not have any BMW EV's available. Very very limited options here :(

  5. I'm surprised: I would have expected Canada to be closer to Europe, where governments keep tightening the emissions standards. That is really the place to look for an example. Push your government.

    At the same time, push your dealers. If enough of us get informed, and demand more fuel efficient cars, eventually they have to listen.

  6. I don't think it is the dealers...I think that people just aren't "ready" for them yet.

  7. We had a hybrid for a few years. The Honda Insight used a tiny amount of gas and had a hatchback with plenty of storage. We have used bicycles for the last few years, renting a car a few times a year for longer trips.