One Year Living With An EV
By Chris Haak
My wife considers herself an environmentalist. She’s a big-time recycler, she actually looks forward to picking up litter, we never throw away edible food, and we try to generate very little waste. We’re not zero-landfill, but our norm is one bag of garbage per week with a huge quantity of recycling.
That being said, we’re not perfect environmentalists. I like to eat meat. I also really like cars; at one point, we owned three cars that had a combined 22 cylinders (V6 Toyota Sienna, V6 Cadillac CTS, V10 Audi S8) and each of those gasoline-swilling cars averaged between 17 and 20 miles per gallon. Today, we are down to six cylinders and two cars. While driving two 3-cylinder cars may also get me to 2 cars/6 cylinders, we actually got there by my giving up two gasoline cars for an electric car. Since February 2020, I have owned a 2019 Audi e-Tron.
The national average commute is about 20 miles, but my commute is 60 miles. It’s ok; I love my job and look forward to getting there to see my coworkers, and look forward to getting home again to see my family. I found myself spending a considerable amount of money on tolls (can’t help that, even with an EV) and gasoline.
My first solution was to get a cheap commuter car –I put 28,500 miles on a new 2016 Chevrolet Sonic in 15 months. The Sonic drove me crazy, though; the gas tank was so small that I had to stop for gas every other day (I could do five 60-mile trips on a tank, but I only wanted to stop for gas in the morning, not on my way home in rush hour). It was also small and uncomfortable, and we became concerned about safety in a car that small, especially when we hauled our kids in it. I will say, however, that every photo I’ve seen of a Sonic that suffered a serious accident always successfully protected its occupants). But eventually, I upgraded to a preowned 2017 Audi Q5.
The Q5 was extremely comfortable –better stereo than the Sonic, more room, all-wheel drive, great seats, and it got similar mileage to the Sonic. I drove it about 30,000 miles before considering an EV. I researched EVs and learned that they were getting much, much better. (In a prior life, I had a chance to drive several EVs, including a Ford Focus EV, BMW 1-Series ActiveE, and Mitsubishi i-MiEV. The Mitsubishi I drove was a Japanese-spec model with right-hand drive –talk about an adjustment!)
I eventually decided to go all-in on an EV, trading two Audis (the aforementioned 2017 Q5, plus my baby, a 2013 S6 that I had owned for five years, but which was getting older) to get an e-Tron that had previously been used as a demonstrator. The deals were great in February 2020, and the trade-ins covered about two thirds of the cost of the nearly-new e-Tron (it had about 5,000 miles on the odometer).
First, while I miss my S6 (who wouldn’t miss the rumble of a twin-turbo V8?), I am happy with my decision one year later. Prior to our offices closing for COVID, I commuted in the e-Tron for about a month. It’s impossible to fairly compare 2019 and 2020 commuting costs, since I don’t really have any commuting costs at the moment, but I am very spreadsheet-oriented, so I was able to draw some conclusions.
It’s very convenient to “fill” your vehicle with fuel (in my case, electrons) inside your garage. My wife’s van is a plug-in hybrid minivan, so we share a single 220v charger in our garage, but we have never wished we had two chargers. Her van fully charges in under two hours, and my Audi takes nine or ten hours to charge from a nearly-empty battery. However, home charging with 110v household current is intolerably slow –almost unusably slow. The van takes about 12 hours to charge, while the Audi would take several days, if I ever tried to do it. I don’t plan on it.
I don’t really feel range anxiety in the Audi. Its published range is 204 miles, but that’s almost a midpoint of what I have seen, with huge variability based on outside temperature. During the summer, I see a range of 225+ miles, but when it’s below freezing outside, the range is around 165 miles. This is easy for us to manage –when we go more than 75 miles in one direction, we almost always just use the van. I have plenty of range available with my commute (remember, 60 miles), so I always arrive home with miles to spare. Plus, I am able to charge at work for free, which I take advantage of. It’s theoretically possible to use my Audi on longer-distance trips, but the VW/Audi Electrify America high-speed DC charger initiative isn’t nearly as widespread as Tesla’s SuperCharger network. My e-Tron came with a few thousand miles of free EA DC charging, but I haven’t had a need for it. It’s just not really a road trip car in my mind, but perhaps when the network is built out further, it will become an option. The one time I connected it to an Electrify America DC charger, it was as expensive as gasoline –which is breaking the economics of my driving an EV.
The Audi e-Tron is the most comfortable vehicle I have ever owned –it has an extremely solid structure, the heft of its 95 kWh battery below my feet keeps it planted on the road, and the comfort and tech features are excellent. I’m a particular fan of wireless Apple CarPlay (though it’s glitchy at times) and the massaging seats. A software update a few months ago broke the ability to start the massaging seats from the MMI menu, which I thought was stupid, until I realized that I can start them by pushing the massage button on the side of my seat. Who’s the stupid one now?
As an EV, it obviously requires no oil changes. Tires will probably wear out faster than an ICE-only car because they’re supporting a very heavy vehicle. I suspect that the brakes will last a long time thanks to regenerative braking, which uses the motors to slow the car, while returning energy to the battery as a generator. Still, Audi suggests the same 10,000 mile maintenance intervals that my other Audis have had.
The e-Tron is no sports car. It’s heavy, and weight affects performance. You can feel the heft when you accelerate or steer. But the strength of an electric powertrain is instant full torque from zero RPM. The perceived acceleration is strong, even if it’s actually more than a second slower 0-60 than my old S6.
I wish that I had kept better records of gasoline usage in the past. I was able to piece together some of the data, but the pre-COVID and during-COVID comparison isn’t apples-to-apples. What I do know is this:
- My wife drives mostly local mileage in her PHEV van, and about 75% of our 25,000 miles in that van have been EV miles
- I am stopping for gas zero times per week on my commute
- Charging at work is free
- Charging at home costs me $0.065/kWh
- Charging the Audi e-Tron from 0 to 83.6 kWh (its usable capacity) would cost $5.43,
- Filling a 25 mpg gasoline equivalent crossover at $3 per gallon would use 8 gallons to travel 200 miles and cost $24
- Assuming e-Tron efficiency of 2.44 miles/kW (which is what is required to travel 200 miles), I am using 24.59 kwH for the 60-mile commute home from work, which at $0.065/kWh costs me $1.59
- The free charger at work essentially makes my energy into the office free
- That same commute in a 25 mpg crossover at $3/gallon would use 4.8 gallons of gasoline, or $14.40 worth
In real numbers, my family’s gasoline bill was around $4,000 in 2019. In 2020, it was around $800. We still drove from the Philadelphia suburbs to Virginia Beach (pre-COVID), the Finger Lakes, and to the Outer Banks last year using mostly gasoline, but it’s obvious why our family’s gasoline bill would be dramatically lower, even if I was commuting.
Our family electricity expense in 2019 was $2,016.94, and in 2020, it went up 20% to $2,420.47, an increase of $403.53. Part of that was charging an electric car –which we used whenever we could –but we were also spending everyday at home, rather than in school or in the office. I expect that it will go up further when we get back to normal patterns –but I think my commuting costs have dropped permanently. Now, if only I could do something about the bridge tolls to leave New Jersey.
Electric vehicles are the future of personal transportation. There are just too many advantages with EVs –no local pollution (and no pollution if the power comes from wind or solar), fewer (and cleaner!) maintenance, and easier performance upgrades. With EV adoption relatively low in most of the world, EV residuals are poor –but that’s an opportunity for those considering a used EV. I frankly think they are nearly perfect cars for young drivers: they’re cheap, clean, easy to drive, and can’t go more than 70 miles from home (speaking of first-generation EVs). I know I will be looking at EVs, among other cars, for my teenage son soon.
- September 22, 2022
The 2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E is sporty, timeless, and innovative. This EV beauty is everything you want and more in a sports car.
- September 7, 2022
The Jaguar F-Type delivers the sporty Jaguar look and feel that you know and love without sacrificing the details of luxury. Check out the Holman inventory.
- August 24, 2022
From shredding the slopes to sleeding with the kiddos, the Lexus RX450h makes every adventure possible. Join us in the family-fun!
- August 10, 2022
The Jaguar F-Pace delivers the sporty Jaguar look and feel that you know and love without sacrificing the details of luxury.
- July 27, 2022
Where does your road begin? Whether it starts with a drive to the office or a trip up a windy hill for a day of adventure, let Land Rover lead you there.
- July 13, 2022
Dive into the details of the 2022 Lamborghini Aventador SVJ, a technology-focused super sports car designed for high performance.
- July 11, 2022
Follow these guidelines to protect your vehicle from the high winds and water of hurricanes.
- June 29, 2022
Built for the road that never ends the 2022 Porsche 911- is driving with the highest level of capability possible. Check out the walk-around and discover what makes it so iconic.
- June 15, 2022
Ready to venture off for your summer road trip? Not so fast. When was the last time you performed a thorough check on your vehicle? Use this vehicle summer checklist before you hit the road.
- June 14, 2022
Bentley introduces a new Continental GT and GTC S focused on driving pleasure.
- June 1, 2022
Nowhere to go and everywhere to be? Cruise into town in the Cadillac XT4 luxury compact SUV. Stylish and sophisticated and so much more. Let’s check it out.
- May 18, 2022
Don’t pass up the opportunity to get behind the wheel of the 2022 Ford Maverick- it’s the perfect road companion for where ever your adventure takes you.
- May 11, 2022
Holman achieves over 30,000 used retail unit sales across 30 dealerships in 2021, ranking at #18 in the Top 100 Retailers list.
- April 8, 2022
Annually, the nation’s leading automotive industry publication, Automotive News, releases a list of the top 150 Dealership Groups in the United States. This list ranks the largest auto retail groups according to their total new vehicle sales for the year. It is a great pleasure to announce that Holman has ranked #22 in the 2021 Automotive News list,…
- March 25, 2022
The organization and its integrated automotive service divisions are now simply Holman MOUNT LAUREL, NJ (March 28, 2022) – Holman Enterprises, a global automotive services organization, announced today the company has unified its various business divisions and companies under a new, singular global brand, Holman. After nearly a century in business, Holman has long been…
- March 15, 2022
Toyota, one of North America’s largest automakers, sells tens of thousands of cars, trucks, and SUVs each year but recently, they marked a significant milestone in their storied history when the company sold its seven millionth certified pre-owned (CPO) Toyota. And much to our surprise, the seven millionth CPO Toyota – a 2019 Toyota Camry…
- February 28, 2022
Holman Partners with Artist Aaron Ricketts to Showcase Today’s Hottest Vehicles from His Unique Perspective
Aaron Ricketts, a celebrated visual artist from Philadelphia, is best known for his surrealist-inspired photography that challenges perception, condition, and context. Traditionally, his work features human subjects juxtaposed against the reality of their environment to create mystifying imagery. But in this truly unique collaboration with Holman, Aaron turns his creative eye towards some of today’s hottest…
- February 11, 2022
Global Semiconductor Update As projected, the microchip and semiconductor shortage that began mid-2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, has made its way into yet another year. Globally, the demand for products that require microchips continues to outpace production, causing a ripple effect of delays, cancellations, and a host of other complications. Within the…
- January 19, 2022
You may not be able to stop Jack Frost from nipping at your nose this winter, but you can certainly keep him from nipping at your electric vehicle. When the temperature drops, so does the performance on your EV and you should expect to experience reduced range in the colder weather. Your battery becomes less…
- December 17, 2021
In the words of Peter Nogalo, host of our monthly podcast, MOTIVE, powered by Holman, “Have you ever wondered what it would be like to cruise down Rodeo Drive in a Rolls-Royce or Bentley, race through Monaco in a Bugatti or Lamborghini, or live out your James Bond fantasies in a specially equipped Aston Martin?”…
- November 16, 2021
Check this list of precautionary tips to prepare yourself and your vehicle for winter driving conditions.
- October 11, 2021
When you’re looking to buy a new car, chances are that you’ve considered shopping around at local dealerships. However, did you know that buying a car online can be totally stress-free, save you time, widen your selection range, and is now easier than ever? During the pandemic, many dealerships transitioned to a digital sales environment,…
- October 6, 2021
The Event The 24th annual Radnor Hunt Concours d’Elegance weekend kicked off on Friday, September 10th. Founded by a group of automobile enthusiasts, the Concours d’Elegance is a three-day premier event filled with activities, culminating in a showcase and competition of some of the greatest classic and sporting marques in the auto world. Bugatti, Chrysler Imperial,…
- October 5, 2021
According to Distraction.gov, distracted driving is any activity that could take your attention away from the primary task of driving. These activities are not just limited to cellphone calls or texting, but also include eating and drinking, grooming, talking to passengers, adjusting a radio and more. Of all the different activities or devices that may…
- September 29, 2021
What happens when a four-legged social media star hits the road in the MINI Cooper SE? Through a series of social posts in partnership with Kingsley, his dads, and our friends at New Life Animal Rescue, viewers were given a unique tour of the latest all-electric MINI.
- September 20, 2021
School’s restarted, and often teachers kick things off by going back to the basics. What’s the foundation of all we’ve learned, and where do we place our building blocks to ensure strong, growing knowledge? Let’s take that same approach with driver safety. There must be at least 8 basic lessons we learned in Driver’s Ed…
- September 14, 2021
Buying a car is a big decision that can feel overwhelming at times. Should you buy new or used? Should I purchase or lease? How big of a car payment can you actually afford? Throw in a pandemic and a global microchip shortage that has caused the supply of cars to dwindle and you’re left…
- September 13, 2021
A AC – Alternating Current – A charge of electricity that periodically changes direction. It is the source of power that comes from the grid. ACES – Autonomous, Connected, Electrification, and Shared – Refers to innovation and disruption in the automotive industry. AER – All-Electric Range – The range any EV is able to…
- August 10, 2021
As the world continues to rebuild post-pandemic, many people are starting to establish a new, more permanent schedule. For most, that includes a revised work situation that could mean more long-term work-from-home policies. Now that the dust has settled, how does this revised work and travel schedule impact your automotive decisions? It might be time…
- July 30, 2021
Imagine an area the size of Los Angeles being razed by wildfire. That’s the Bootleg Fire in Oregon – more than 476 square miles, and it remains 75% uncontained. Meanwhile, with more than 70 other wildfires raging in 11 other states, the U.S. is at its highest alert level, with more than 17,000 firefighters and…
- July 20, 2021
So you’ve been looking at an electric vehicle (EV) as your next vehicle investment. But the question remains: How will you charge it? The idea of “fueling” your car right in your garage or driveway can seem so distant to many, but innovations in EV technology have made at-home charging more accessible than ever. It…
- July 7, 2021
It’s officially summertime, and that means ice cream runs, day trips, long road trips, and vacations! Don’t let vehicle trouble break down your plans for summertime fun. Kick up your flip-flopped feet and read through this A to Z list of smart vehicle prep tips, designed to ensure all you have to remember before hitting the…
- May 28, 2021
May 2021 was an exciting time for Ford and F-150 lovers everywhere, as the company revealed its highly anticipated F-150 Lightning, an all-electric pick-up that’s powering the country’s drive toward an electrifying future. Ford’s F-150 Lightning is a 563 HP workhorse that takes the F-150 you love and adds the top tech on the market…
- May 24, 2021
Holman’s Mercedes-Benz Van Center is an innovative new branch in the Holman brand that provides commercial customers across the area with specialty vehicles that work for them. Located in Maple Shade, New Jersey, the Mercedes-Benz Van Center features an inventory unlike any other in our region, and we’re giving you an exclusive look. The 18,000-square…
- May 20, 2021
You cherish your vehicle for the good times it gives you, but you also rely on it to be there for you in times of trouble. That may include the “get the heck out of Dodge” moments that could pop up during this year’s Atlantic hurricane season. The storm season officially starts on June 1…
- May 18, 2021
Author: Holman Insurance Services Just like there are lots of kinds of insurance, there are lots of ways to buy insurance as well. Here’s a look at the three most popular ways and the unique benefits of each. Exclusive Carrier Agents These are folks who work for the big name insurance companies. They are limited…
- May 6, 2021
It’s an understatement to say we’re excited about the return of the Ford Bronco after a quarter century of dormancy. We’re hearing stories of strangers approaching owners of the Bronco Sport (available today!) to ask them about their vehicle. If you want to latch onto that Bronco magic today, head to your Holman Ford store…
- March 31, 2021
At some point you’ve probably played the license plate game—but have you ever ranked which states’ plates are the best looking? Across The US there are hundreds of plates, each one representing the unique aspects of its own state. Some proudly display their landscapes and national landmarks, such as Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, while others simply,…
- March 29, 2021
By Chris Haak My wife considers herself an environmentalist. She’s a big-time recycler, she actually looks forward to picking up litter, we never throw away edible food, and we try to generate very little waste. We’re not zero-landfill, but our norm is one bag of garbage per week with a huge quantity of recycling. That…
- March 28, 2021
Learn more about the exclusive Alpina B7 and Alpina XB7 models sold at select BMW dealerships.