I’ve joined the EV community – here’s what my first week was like: 

Good Bye, Patriot… Hello, Kona

If you follow me on Twitter, I’ve made a few posts about this now, however with the amount that I drive, I decided that it was time to jump ship, and move into the EV world. Trash them all you want, but at least hear out my experience, and then proceed to pass your judgement as you see fit. I didn’t realize it at the time, but this past January was the last contest with the Patriot Rover, and now must redesign from the ground up. I’ve been looking at EVs for a little over a year, and after getting to test drive a couple. I knew either way that my next car was going to be electric, but I decided that with the skyrocketing gas prices now was the time to make the jump. The dealer was turning these vehicles over so quick that I missed an opportunity for three new ones and wound up purchasing a 2021 Hyundai Kona EV. This car is a WHOLE LOT smaller than I’m used to, sitting only slightly taller than the average sedan, it’s labeled as a CUV, or Compact Utility Vehicle.

With a range advertised as 258 miles on a full charge, meaning a little over 200 miles sitting at 80% where it’ll maintain its charge to on a day-to-day basis, it has plenty of range for me – and with a stop for lunch at a quick charger, could get to most places I travel annually. Some of the numbers I use below may be a little off as it is Tuesday/Wednesday of the following week as I’m writing this, and I’m going from memory as I didn’t take detailed notes. 

Purchase Week 

I test drove on Monday and walked out when the dealer was trying to price gouge, but I really liked it, so I did some window-shopping Monday night and stopped back on Tuesday a stack of listings of the same car for thousands of dollars less. We haggled over the price for a little while and settled at a comfortable spot – after a few text exchanges, the sales guy called me with a final number the dealership would come down to, and I put a deposit down. Wednesday night I took a last little tool around with the Patriot and cleared it out, unmounting antennas I had just gotten squared away before winter hit and picking up the new ride on Thursday on the way home from work. 

Off the Lot Impressions 

It’s different. The lack of road noise, the “hum” of the drive system, for me even an automatic transmission with power windows is a 180 from what I’m used to, but this is a big change. The get-up-and-go of just hitting the gas and peeling away is taking some getting used to, but it makes it fun to drive even just to work. 

Day 1 
I drove it off the lot with a little less than an 80% battery, either someone took it for a joy ride before my picking it up, or they unplugged it a little early, but no big deal, I still had about 155 miles on the charge. I live 34 miles from the dealer, and took the long way home, which was about 40. I still pulled in the driveway with about 130 miles estimated charge, meaning that regen braking, and my drive style made up for some of that distance. I took it around so the family could get a turn driving it for something different, and then went home and plugged it in for the night.  

Day 2 

I plugged in around 8pm the previous night at about 60% charge but was working from home… at least for the morning. The battery had fully recouped to 80%, estimating about 180 miles running climate controls, and around 200 without. I had to go in to do some equipment repairs, so wound up taking the ride in the get to learn how the car functions best. The assistive cruise control, blind spot detection, and lane departure are all cool features (as is Apple CarPlay). I drained about 60 miles in my 75-mile trip to and from work, again, taking the long way home again. I had run the battery down to around 50% according to the status bar. 

Day 3 

Saturday, I went to the gym in the morning, it had only regenerated about 10% overnight and throughout the day… and the weather went from 60 and sunny to 20 and snowy, so I had a little ice buildup on the charge port. The scraper wasn’t doing it (at least with how delicate I was trying to be on the paint), so led to me having to sit there with a blow dryer for a few minutes to melt the ice off it to get it to close. Not a big deal, especially on a Saturday. I decided that I’d run over to our local Dunkin Donuts that has a free charger, sit for a little bit with a coffee, and recharge for a half hour or so. I plugged in, received a charging indicator, and ran in for a coffee. When I came back out, I noticed it wasn’t charging! I still had plenty of charge left and figured something was up with the station, so I just moved on.  

We took a trip up to Rochester in the evening, and of course it was in the middle of some of the worst blowing snow that we’ve had to date – I was fully impressed. The weight distribution allows for retaining a lot of ‘get up and go’ even when there’s no pavement in sight. After our round trip I was left with about 23% battery. Upon getting home, I wanted to just check the charge settings to see if there was something I messed up, and low and behold, the lessee that had the car before me had entered a charging schedule for only between the hours of 12am and 9am – meaning I messed up my charge at Dunkin earlier by not noticing that setting.  

Day 4 

Sunday from about 10pm when I plugged in until 9am when I unplugged to go to the Gym, really only 10 hours because of Daylight Savings, I only regenerated about 5-7% power – getting the battery up to about 60 miles of charge. It’s worth noting that I’m not charging via a 220v outlet, just standard 110v. So, when I went to the gym, I decided to park about a block away at one of the charge stations. The two close ones were full of course, and only one was an EV, the other was someone not wanting to park in elsewhere in the 90% empty parking lot. So, I pulled around to the other set of chargers, and after I figured out the JuicePass app that our local stations use, which wasn’t until after I’d already wasted 20 mins, and caved to just using the WebApp, I started walking to the gym. I wanted to check my status and refreshed the page – I only got about 3 kWh of power before the refresh interrupted and ended the charge.  

I decided to go back to Dunkin and try what I had messed up yesterday, but the same EV that was plugged in when I was at the gym had moved over there and plugged in. Luckily, I didn’t have anywhere to go the rest of the day, so it would stay on the charger about 12-18 hours at home, which would give me plenty of charge to get to work and home if need be. After tooling around town a little bit, I had about 40 miles left on the charge when I plugged it in at 1pm or so. 

Day 5 

I left home with about 110 miles (with climate control on) on the charge, not a problem though, it’s a 70-mile round trip with two charge stations at work, right by my office. I pull up, go to plug in, and one of the chargers is down. If course, in the other one there’s a car that’s been parked there plugged in for about 10 hours. I report the broken charger on the app but leave my car there and keep watching the app for the person to move their car. After about two hours they come out and move their car, so I run out and plug in. These are Level 2 AC stations, so they’re pushing much more current. In 4 hours, I’m back up to 100 miles, and since there’s a 4-hour time limit, I go out and move my car. It has about 135 miles on the charge, sitting around 60%. I drove home realizing my ride home is slightly more efficient, averaging 4 mi/kWh, and that for the 34-mile ride, I only took 21 miles off my charge. Another day where after I plugged in, I had nowhere to go, so it would likely be up to about 70% by the morning. I took this night to go direct to an outlet instead of into a short extension cord to see if that helped with charging speed, voltage drops can really hurt things like that, but no dice. 

Day 6 

I left with about 160 miles on the battery, 140 when I turned climate control on and the fans to high –this time I didn’t need to plug in at work, so I parked in my usual lot, and it was just like a normal drive in to work. When I got home, I needed to run down to check on my maple sap buckets so I loaded the empties into the car – for such a small hatch, I can still fit five buckets standing up in the back with no problem! This was another 60 miles round trip – when I pulled in the driveway to plug in for the night, I had 85 miles left on the battery. The status indicator stated 23%, and that it would take about 22hrs to get to full charge… Yikes! This was still almost double what I needed to get to the office in the morning, but I let it go overnight. 

Day 7 

I had some hardware installations to perform, so I was at work by 5:30 – meaning the battery got about 11 hours to charge overnight. This took the charge up to about 115 projected miles, and when I got to work it had 88 left, luckily nobody was in the charge spot that works this morning, so I plugged in and topped off to 180 projected miles, which was just about 80% of a full charge in the 4 hour max allotted time. When I drove home I really had nowhere else to go, so left the cord plugged in to trickle charge, and kept it topped off through the weekend. 

The Math 

Time for the boring part, but for me this was fun to figure out for all the EV hating people in my life. If I were just charging at our local stations, which cost about $0.17/kWh, I’m looking at about $8.70 for a fill up to 80% of a charge – $10.88 for a 100% charge. But 80% is where it’ll sit for max battery life longevity – based on this, I’ll need 1.5 fill ups per week, but let’s round up to a full two charges to provide the biggest possible margin. This means we’re looking at $17.40/week in ‘fuel’ costs, which works out to about $904.80 per year. My gas equivalent, only considering only a tank and a half, again to provide a margin – looking at $3.50/gallon gas (which has been a few weeks since we’ve seen that), it cost me $45.50/tank with the same fill up interval was $68.25/week, which equates to $3549/year. Net fuel savings per week equals $50.85, or $2644.20/year. At present prices, $4.50/gallon, or $58.37 per tank. Adding up to $87.56 per week, or $4553.12 per year – this means a net savings of $70.16/week, or $3648.32 per year. What is the gasoline per gallon equivalent of this at a more costly charge station than just topping off at home? $1.12/gallon.  

Summary 

After a few weeks and having put a little over 1000 miles on this car, I have to say that I’m loving it so far. I need to get the radios in yet (new antenna mounts were delivered this weekend), but it finally feels like it’s mine. I’ve taken a longer trip with it now too, about 250 miles round trip, and did not need any charging stops, but at the same time did not have any issue building out a route that added them in (most rest stops in NY have them at a minimum). We’ll revisit this in another few months after taking a vacation that requires a little more driving, and needs a stop or two built into it, but as of right now I’m glad I made the leap and have no regrets about ditching the standard ICE car in favor of an EV. 

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