My Top 5 Tips for People Considering an EV

August 19, 2023
5 min read

It started with a fair amount of research and test drives. After over a month of hunting, there was only one EV on my list left to try: The Ford Mustang Mach-E. I won't recant the story of finding one again, but after finally trying out the Mach-E, we bought one. It became our introduction to EVs. After over a year of EV ownership behind us, I have 5 recommendations for future EV purchasers.

A picture of Sally, our Ford Mustang Mach-E EV.
Allow me to reintroduce myself. My name is Sally.

EV recommendation 1) Install a charger at home

This is probably the most obvious recommendation, so I'll start here. Because I wasn't expecting to find a Mach-E as soon as we did, we didn't have a charger installed at home at the time of purchase. That made purchasing at Sunset Ford even more convenient because we could stop by and charge the car any time we needed to, free of charge. We did that for a few weeks, driving the car to Sunset Ford, plugging it in, and then walking home. I'd walk back after the FordPass app notified me the car reached the desired state of charge, and then be on my way. It wasn't as convenient as having a charger at home, but it was convenient enough. The worst part was leaving the car baking in the sun.

A picture of Sally, our Ford Mustang Mach-E EV at a charger with my daughter Fiona.
Fiona joined me for our first charging experience.

I soon purchased a home charger, a Juicebox 40 by enelx, and scheduled installation with our usual electrician. We needed to upgrade our panel to 200 Amp, and we also had a sub-panel installed in the garage so we could add a second charger or a future owner could use the garage as a workshop. After a lengthy installation day, we were ready for the convenience of home charging.

A picture of a JuiceBox 40 EV charger and a electrical sub-panel in our garage.
Juicebox 40 and the sub-panel before I moved the hanger for our cleaning supplies.

The ability to charge at home is a game changer. Not having to plan a trip to the gas station for daily commuting needs is incredibly convenient. You can leave your home with a near full charge at almost any time. Most manufacturers recommend charging to 80 or 90% regularly.

EV recommendation 2) Install Charging Station Apps

This recommendation isn't as evergreen as number one with the Tesla SAE J3400 becoming the standard that most everyone appears to be moving toward. That said, one of the best ways to be prepared for road trips or any lengthy EV driving experience is to install the most common EV Charging Station apps. While Tesla app access and integration is the easiest, I recommend having CharePoint, Electrify America, and EVgo installed on your smartphone at a minimum.

Picture of an iOS folder with EV apps.

Create an account for each and make sure you have payment information saved. If you really want to be prepared and you have any of these charging stations near you, drive to one and do a quick charging session. That will help ensure you're prepared for the time you're under the gun on a road trip.

EV recommendation 3) Install Trip Planning Apps

For all of the things I don't like about the Ford Sync 4 UI, I'll give Ford credit. Their built-in trip planning functionality is solid. Tesla's has been mostly fantastic. Volvo's seemed nice when I test drove those. Apple CarPlay in any EV that has it makes Google Maps, Waze, Apple Maps, and other trip planners readily available.

It's also helpful to have A Better Route Planner on your smartphone or CarPlay capable infotainment. It's a handy app that can calculate charging times and provide more detailed route planning based on your specific EV model.

Picture of A Better Route Planner route.

EV recommendation 4) Don't worry. Do plan

While apps like A Better Route Planner make this an easy task, my next recommendation is don't let range anxiety prevent you from purchasing an EV. Sure, there are exceptions to that recommendation. If you live in a state like South Dakota, where infrastructure and incentives are pretty much non-existent, range anxiety would prevent me from recommending an EV.

If you live anywhere that infrastructure and incentives are plentiful or your usage is predominantly commuting, then I strongly recommend an EV. If road trips are your thing and you are careful about planning, I also recommend an EV.

We have three kids. We have to make pit stops on every trip, whether we're in an EV or a gas-guzzler. Now we plan our trips around charging stations in areas where we can grab a quick bite to eat and top off. While the actual charging takes more time than filling a gas tank, the time you typically spend at a gas station on a road trip stop isn't that much less.

EV recommendation 5) Enjoy the drive

Before we purchased our first EV, I hated driving. My car, our cars, were a means of getting from point A to point B. Sure, I wanted to have the latest tech in the car because that's my thing, but I still hated driving. Purchasing the Ford Mustang Mach-E and then a year later a Tesla Model Y changed all that. I love driving now. I volunteer for almost every carpool opportunity. I've started renting EVs on trips when I used to rely predominantly on ride-sharing services.

I don't think I'll ever tire of the instant torque and acceleration. I love the ease of passing on the highway. I nerd out on the tech in the EVs. I love watching something on Netflix while sitting at a car charger or waiting for for one of the kids to get done at a practice or whatever. I even started getting more into cars in general, all because of my experience with EVs.

What am I missing?

I wanted to keep this list short and sweet. If you're following my blog, you know brevity is rarely my cup of tea. For this rare occasion, I stuck with 5 tips. What did I miss? Any big ones? Let me know.

Tagged: electrification · ev · Ford · planning · tesla · tips

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