Engagement Coordinator Daniella Niddery recently sat down with Vicki Jewt — millennial business woman by day, Environmental Defence outreach staffer by night — to understand what it’s like to own an electric vehicle (EV).
Vicki, why did you decide to purchase an EV?
I’ve wanted an EV for years.
During my undergrad, I found out that the Toyota Prius, a hybrid electric car, was (at the time) one of the best vehicles for low carbon emissions.
So, I promised myself I’d eventually get a Prius. By the time I was serious about purchasing one, there were more options, including fully electric cars.
I noticed the Tesla on display at Yorkdale Shopping Centre and I simply fell in love!
Which Tesla model do you own and how long have you been driving it?
I’ve had mine for two years. It’s the Model S 85, which means it has an 85 kWh battery and a range of approximately 426 km per full charge. The newer models have a 100 kWh battery giving them a range of 539 km.
But, the range of each model depends on other factors such as speed, the size of the wheels, the outside temperature and if you’re using A/C or heating.
What I really love is the 17 inch touchscreen. It allows me to control most of the car’s functions and it has lots of room to show me everything I need to see, from the amount of charge left to GPS maps.
What’s the process of charging your car?
I live in Scarborough in the Malvern area and the closest supercharger is about a 20 min drive from my house. As a frequent driver, I charge it once every three days. On a supercharger, it takes 20-40 min. to charge my car depending on how much I need — and there’s no cost.
It’s also possible to charge at home on a regular 120v outlet. It’s a slower charge but good for a simple top-up. My car came with a range of adapters making it easy for me to plug-in anywhere, really.
With the Tesla app I’m able to remotely monitor my car’s charge with my phone. I can control how long I want my car to charge and receive an alert when it’s ready to go.
Do you ever get range anxiety?
Never. For regular city driving, there is almost always enough charge for the trip. For longer drives, if you put your destination in the GPS, the car tells you if and when you need to charge, where you can charge, how long you need to charge for and how much you need in order to continue your trip.
Worst case scenario, if you need to make an emergency stop to charge you can plug into any outlet.
Did government incentives help spur your decision to by an EV?
Yes. I purchased my EV in 2015 and received an $8,500 rebate deposited directly into my account a month after my purchase. Now I hear the incentives are even higher.
What are the cost savings of buying an EV?
I save on gas and maintenance. I don’t have to pay for gas anymore. I don’t need to have oil changes. It doesn’t come with all the ongoing maintenance costs you have with a conventional vehicle.
With an EV, you may pay more upfront but you see the cost savings over time.
Is there anything about driving and owning an EV that has surprised you?
Yes, the conventional way of driving changes.
You have more options with an EV that you don’t get with a conventional car. My Tesla is loaded with sensors — it can essentially drive itself. For example, it can tell if a car two cars ahead of mine comes to a sudden stop and warns me of a potential collision.
On the highway, I can use autopilot and the car can switch lanes, slow down and accelerate when it’s safe to do so. I still need to pay attention to the road but I don’t actually need to be in full control.
What advice would you offer to someone who might consider purchasing an EV?
Do your research, ask a lot of questions and definitely do a test drive.
That’s what I did and it put my mind at ease.
I have yet to hear of any EV owners — especially Tesla owners — who regret their purchase or say they’ll go back to a conventional vehicle. I certainly would never go back.
Test drive an EV and learn more about Ontario’s incentive program, visit https://plugndrive.ca/