Recap of the Attempted Price Gouging
(Skip for actual information, keep reading if you’re interested in hearing about how I negotiated lol)
Okay, it’s 11 months, but at this point I think we can summarize the (almost) year of driving in a fully electric car. March 1st of last year I decided to start looking at new cars – with the price of gas, and driving 80-100 miles a day, I was initially looking for something just a little more fuel efficient than my 23-25 mpg Jeep Patriot. I really liked that car, and finding anything new in a standard is next to impossible, so after some research I decided to place an order with Ford for the new hybrid, compact pickup truck Maverick. After going through the process and not seeing the ability to order that had been there a few days prior, I called a Ford dealer, and they informed me that Ford was so backlogged on orders that they stopped taking them. I decided that I could swing a larger down payment, and would cave and just order the next step up, the full electric Lightning… also backordered and no longer taking any new orders… back to the drawing board!
I started doing some research on manufacturers that were making new, in my price range, electric vehicles and came across the Hyundai Kona EV – and there were some new (and used) ones in stock locally! On my way home from work one day, I stopped at a Hyundai dealership and test drove the 2021 Kona EV on the lot as it was the only base trim one available at the time. I got back, worked through some numbers with the sales guy, he was trying to gouge me and get me to pay almost $5k over the sticker price of a new vehicle (which they had on the lot). I grabbed the paperwork he drew up, my Patriot keys, and headed home. I pulled sticker prices of that same model year car with comparable mileage from other dealers, printed them out, and the next day went in and talked to a different sales guy. He drew up some better sales figures, I told him I’d stop tomorrow with a decision.
After I got home I saw that they had new ones on order set to hit the lot in the next 24 hours at their other location, so I called and said that I’d like to put a deposit down on one of the new ones – they were all sold before they hit the lot, they just had to be posted to the site… so I called the other dealership I’d been working with and put a deposit down on the one I’d test drove immediately. Trade in value was actually only $3000 less that I had paid for the vehicle four years previously, and I’d put over 100k miles on the car with virtually no maintenance issues.
Learn the Networks, Learn to Route Plan
I’m not going to go too into detail with my experiences with all sorts of different networks, how they work, what I’ve used, I’ve detailed some of that in the past. Electrify America, ChargePoint, EVGo, Ivy, Flo, PetroCanada, Shell Greenlots, there are so many of them. Not to mention they’re all fragmented (well, not Flo necessarily, but that’s for another time) requiring different apps, independent payment configurations, different password requirements, I’m honestly surprised they haven’t started diving into preferential rates based on type of car you’re plugging in. What I would like to just talk about here is more focused to planning a trip beyond your daily commute. I took about 5 trips beyond the range of my vehicle this year, the EPA rated range of the Kona EV is 258 Miles – I took a trip that was 340 miles, a few that we’re 250, and one that was 300. With this I learned that there are chargers at just about every point that you may need them – there may be an issue with them being full, they may run a little slower than advertised, but they’re there. Just be patient. “Range Anxiety” doesn’t really need to be something you let happen – the charging infrastructure is getting there, and at the moment, the EV purchases are out pacing the charger installation. Plan accordingly, travel at off times, and allow yourself some extra time to get where you need to be, and there should be no worries. The best part of all of this is that most charge stations are being placed in parking lots of Grocery Stores, Malls, or just general points of interest. Stop for lunch, grab a coffee, and you’ll have a full charge when you’re done! Is a 30 min stop really the end of the world?
Amateur Radio in an EV
I’m sure you figured that I’d touch on this, in fact I did a write up on my installation a few weeks after I bought the car – I moved my exact same mobile radio setup from the Patriot to the Kona, only difference being how I mounted everything. I kept both the Yaesu FTM-400, and the Icom ID-5100 mounted, I tied them in to the accessory battery, installed a Lido Seatbolt Mount, used two lip mounts on the hood (one NMO, one SO239) which was also the same as the Patriot. As far as HF goes, I quite frankly haven’t tried, however after the VHF Contest in January I left my 7100 in the car for an extra day, and drove around doing a sweep of the HF bands – without an antenna hooked up on the outside and in operating position, I won’t say definitively that there was NO noise, however from that one-off experiment, I can say that there doesn’t seem to be any. I’ll play around with this another day properly to judge.
Winter vs. Summer Range
Frankly, this one will be short and sweet – I notice no difference between my EV and my last ICE car. Along the same lines as my Patriot, the mileage tanks in the winter. In my last ICE car, during the Summer my 13 gallon tank was enough to give me around 300 miles, which was about 23 MPG however in the Winter it would drop to between 225-250 miles, which equated to around 19 MPG max.. For contesting weekends, 175-200 was my maximum mileage, or 15.4 MPG, due to engine idling to keep the battery up to snuff for the radios, and to keep some heat running. In the EV, this is about the same – my summer range is between 258-275 Miles, dependent on range – I could potentially hit 300 miles depending on terrain, speed, etc., however for this example, I’m just going to use what I’ve experienced. I peaked at 260 miles projected in ideal conditions, and while I’ve never taken a vehicle down to the end of a fuel source (Gas or Electric), I calculated this based on usage estimates and when I stopped to charge on a trip, etc.. In the winter, 217 has been the top projection I’ve been able to make, which falls in line with what the car projects as well. Both of these instances are assuming a 100% charge, something I only do if taking a long trip – typically the battery is not charged beyond 80-90% on an average day.
In contesting I did have one advantage over an ICE Vehicle – when I parked, I put the car in what’s referred to as “Utility Mode,” this engages the Emergency Brake, disables power to the motors, and routes power to charge the accessory battery and powers the electronics and environmental controls within the vehicle. Meaning as I sat operating, I didn’t need to run the engine to boost the battery, or run the heat, I was simply charging the battery and running the heat directly. In the time in which I would have burned off 25-40 miles (based on last January’s contest range) which equated to 12.5-20% of my tank of gas, I only used about 5% of my vehicle’s battery, or 10.85 Miles of Range.
I haven’t sat down to look month to month, but that’s going to be a long process requiring a few spreadsheets just due to the rising energy costs, however with that being said, I’ve noticed a $100/month increase in the winter, we have some electric heating in the house, and Christmas lights always increase everything, and noticed about $25-50 through the rest of the year. I drive a lot compared to most people, teetering between 70-90 Miles a day. With the costs of gas rising, I was dumping close to $400/month into my tank, whereas I’m spending an additional $50-100 (a little more if we’re roadtripping somewhere) per month in electricity. My car payment went from $275 to $500 per month, so net savings is +/- $175 per month after all of that. I’ve done an in-depth write up on this as well tagged here.
Quite frankly, I love it, and I don’t foresee myself going back. Would I? Potentially, but the sheer convenience of always waking up to a topped up tank every morning alone is enough to say I never want to. I’m looking on to my next vehicle as I’ve wanted a pickup for as long as I can remember, and the new Ram Revolution is catching my eye, but we’ll have to wait and see what the final sticker price is on that, plus it never hurts to wait a generation or two to help workout the kinks in the batteries that they’re using. Hyundai had their own hiccups in 2019 and 2020, but seem to have hit a stride finally. I do worry that some car companies that have been partially invested in the EV market with Plug-In Hybrids seem to have issues bringing their battery technology to scale. In theory, they’ve have EV designs for years, how hard is it to just scale it up? But I digress. Thanks for reading, and catch you in the next one!