Going Electric

As we prepared to leave on our Caribbean trip we sold our Mini and we talked, in passing, about the possibility that we might have just sold our last petrol/gasoline car (henceforth – “fossil car” ) We liked the Mini, but it had issues and the local dealer was useless and so we were not sorry to see the car go, but the idea of an electric replacement seemed a long way off.

I am a “car guy”  I like small sports cars, turbocharged engines, hot hatches etc but over the years I have become more and more concerned with the fossil cars impact on the environment. We have a rule that we don’t drive the car for one errand and we try to walk or cycle when it makes sense, but even with this reduction in use, our little Mini racked up some serious miles while we commuted to Kingston and back while we prepared for our boat.

Living off the grid on our boat gave us an appreciation for how little energy we really needed and a lot of experience managing a large battery pack.  This has translated into less “range anxiety” and a more analytical approach to looking at our needs.

While we were on our trip I casually kept an eye on the electric vehicle (EV) market and wondered if any of the current cars would meet our needs. Range is a big factor but needs and wants are a very personal matter. One data point we have is Ottawa, where we live to Kingston where one of our kids lives. This is about 196 km on highways and about 176 cross country. The Kia Soul EV seemed like a close fit, but with 150km range, seemed like too much of a compromise.

In early February, the Government of Ontario announced a new EV incentive program that raised the subsidy on an EV to as much as $14,000.  This subsidy is enough to put the cost of an electric car at the same level as a fossil car.  Ontario is seeding the market to drive the uptake of plug-in cars.  Tandemed with programs to rollout more charging infrastructure, Ontario is committed to make this work.  They are trying to crack the chicken vs egg issue and turn it into a hotdog vs bun issue.

At about the same time, Hyundai and Volkswagen announced new EVs each with 200 km range.  The Ioniq and the e-Golf represent a stepping stone between slightly lower range cars like the Leaf, Focus Electric and Soul EV and long range cars like the Bolt and the Tesla Model 3.

We had seriously considered a Golf TDI a few years ago, only escaping the Diesel scandal by not making a quick decision to buy one when we went shopping.  The e-Golf seemed to meet our requirements and the price was right so we came up with a plan:

The plan:  Buy an EV, use it for local trips and set a budget for rental cars when we want to take a road trip.  This plan went right out the window within days of buying the car, but more on that later.