Early on in my car buying days, I bought the first Hybrid available in Canada – a Honda Insight.
. Why? I remember in grade 3 or 4 our teacher telling us that “‘in 20 years we’ll run out of oil”. Obviously that hasn’t happened, but in those 20+ years, we have also improved (a little) as a society with various environmental initiatives and more fuel efficient cars. We have also gotten better at finding/extracting oil. Still, I think we should continue to do more to reduce our wasteful consumption. Why inefficiently burn oil so we can transport ourselves, when we can more efficiently use electricity to do the same thing (with the added bonus that the option exists to generate electricity from the sun/wind/hydro)? I’m not anti oil – I just think we should minimize our waste of it, so we have ample supply for plastics and everything else it can do for us.
That Insight wasn’t a fantastic car, I could have gotten a better car for the price, but I wanted a car I felt good about driving. I moved from that to a Toyota Prius. However, I found those early hybrids were still quite a compromise, They still used some fuel, they weren’t very good in our winters (didn’t warm the passengers up quickly), and lacked performance.
I actually moved away from Hybrids as I could afford slightly more expensive cars, because the features/performance I could get was not readily possible in a hybrid – but I felt guilty about driving when I stepped on it and heard the engine come to life. I at least got my wife driving Hybrid vehicles – not too difficult, as she just wanted no hassle transportation.
About 2 years ago I again started looking at options for a more eco-friendly vehicle. The Chevy Volt seemed great on paper – no range anxiety, and it could run on pure electric for short distances (ie my daily commute). Then I found out that in winter, it would always cycle the gas engine, so I excluded it. The Nissan Leaf would eliminate gas entirely, but the range was just a bit too short for me as a daily commuter for some of my longer trips – and it certainly would limit my ability to do long distance road trips.
The Tesla Model S was the perfect option – with one glaring exception. It actually could do road trips, and owners were saying it was great in the winter. But that price! And, as good as it was in the winter, it wasn’t AWD (at the time). Still, it seemed like the best bet, so I started saving. I figured I could either treat myself to some vacations or other indulgences, or I could take that money and ‘treat’ the environment to a more friendly car (and support a company I was beginning to believe in). When the AWD variant was announced, I put in my order.
I’ve been (extensively) driving the Model S for just about a year and a half (hit 50,000km the other day). It truly is an amazing car, even for our winters, and it seems to me to be the future of transportation.
The cold hasn’t had a tangible impact on the car (yes, range is reduced, but it has so much range, that the reduction isn’t really an issue). In fact, the car is the best winter car I could imagine. Instant heat for the occupants, no issues with starting on the coldest of days, and you never have to stand outside in a winter storm to fill up with fuel at the gas station.
The first summer of owning the car, we did a road trip to California, and had zero issues/concerns with charging or range anxiety – so long distance travel is a reality (so long as the Supercharger network exists where you want to go, for me, it does).
I am switching my electricity provider so I can purchase solar energy (and support that industry), while I further investigate and save up for solar panels on my roof.
The car really addresses everything I wanted in a car, and has actually exceeded my expectations. The fact that the car can essentially drive itself, that it gets updates and improvements over the Internet, and that it is the safest car ever tested. It is truly a wondrous vehicle (oh yeah, and it is darn quick to boot!).
And then there is the price. Yes, it is expensive. Thankfully, the Model 3 is ‘just around the corner’, and with over 325,000 reservations in a short period of time, it is evident that many others think EVs are the future, so long as they aren’t limited by range, and have a more modest price tag. Even my wife put in an order for a 3 on her own accord, and without getting into another story, that proves to me that the EV revolution is about to take off.