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The Time Had Finally Come – I Was Buying an EV.


The circumstances weren’t ideal as I had just found out my hybrid needed to be junked, but I was nonetheless thrilled to finally join the ranks of EV ownership. I knew that there would be challenges along the way, but I was emotionally and mentally committed to making it work. 

After a fair amount of research, I found the EV that made the most sense for me; a 2024 Nissan Leaf. Simple car, no bells and whistles, average battery range, agreeable price point. Just what I look for in a vehicle. As I had been driving a hybrid for 4 years, I was accustomed to managing my estimated fuel range and so figured transitioning to an EV’s battery range would be a simple matter. 


A Little Background About My Driving Habits


I am a high mileage commuter. I average ~25,000 miles annually and I love to cruise! There is nothing more liberating than hammering down on the pedal, feeling that punch of speed with the radio cranked to full volume with the heat at max capacity (I am always cold) and just tearing up a long stretch of highway. Bliss! …and probably why my hybrid needed to be junked at 100,000 miles. 

As this was an emergency purchase, I did not have time to have a 240 Volt outlet installed at my home dedicated to charging prior to purchasing the Leaf. I am lucky enough to work for a progressive employer that has charging stations on site, which made me confident that I would be able to make the commute without issue. 

I made an appointment to meet with the dealer on a chilly Saturday afternoon in Raynham, MA and had a commitment in Worcester later that day and would then need to drive home to Warwick, RI in the evening. I didn’t actually expect to leave the dealership with the Leaf that day, but as luck would have it, I found myself driving to Worcester at 4PM in my brand new EV.


The First Ride


As a responsible EV owner should, prior to leaving the dealership, my 15-year-old daughter and I started to work out the travel logistics for the day. The trip from Raynham to the Worcester DCU is 59 miles and 50 miles from the Worcester DCU to Warwick. If the Leaf battery range is 180 miles, then we would be able to make it home with battery range to spare. The math works! An excellent plan! 

We hit the highway in our new ride and I quickly hit optimal cruising speed. And I mean quickly – these little EVs are punchy! It was chilly (I am still always cold) so heat gets turned on full blast. I am feeling the groove, loving the ride, me and the kid are downright giddy.

Then I look at the battery range. And I had my first EV “oh crap” moment a mere 15 minutes after leaving the dealership. The battery range had reduced almost 25% in the first 15 minutes of highway driving. Not good. I switched to the middle lane and reduced speed which seemed to help a little. I then turned the heat off and noticed something curious – the battery range jumped up 10%. 

At this point my mind was racing. There was no way we were going to make it home without charging. That was my first thought. Beyond that was a nagging dread that this is my new reality, driving slowly while cold.


What Have I Done?


First things first, I put the kid to work with her phone and had her look up charging stations in Worcester. There were enough charging stations near our destination that I felt reasonably confident we could make it work. Next, I had to make sure that I was driving the speed limit and using the heat sparingly…as in only when my hands went numb. My anxiety was through the roof as I watched the clock tick closer to our meeting time and the battery range drop. I did not enjoy my first road trip. 

Upon arriving in Worcester, I dropped off my daughter and downloaded the first EV charger app that populated in the Play Store. I was directed to a charging station 15 minutes from the DCU and hoped that I would have enough time to charge and head back to the DCU to watch my daughter perform. 

As a first-time user of an EV charging station, and being what I would consider to be a reasonably bright woman, figuring out how to get my car to charge was less intuitive than one might think. More anxiety ensued as I watched the clock tick closer to performance time and my car not charge. After fussing about for a bit I finally managed to get the car charging.

Important note here: what I quickly realized from this experience is that there are many proprietary apps that will only direct you to charging stations within their network. ‘Plug Share’ is an excellent resource that I discovered after this venture which will show you all charging stations in your vicinity. 


First EV Crisis Averted


I headed back to the DCU just in time to watch my daughter perform (brilliantly I might add) and then headed home. With the lessons of road trip one fresh in my mind, I quickly adjusted my driving habits and we made it home without incident…albeit frozen to the core of my being. 

I arrived home exhausted, cold, and frustrated. There was still that nagging in the back of my mind that I had made a terrible mistake. After a solid night of sleep (under a pile of blankets) I awoke refreshed and more committed than ever to make this work. 


Overcoming Obstacles of the First Ride


First challenge: the heat situation. I dug through my drawers and found my Snuggy, which is now the car Snuggy. Problem solved.

Next challenge. I turned on the Eco Mode in my Leaf which improves overall efficiency to extend battery life and engages the regenerative braking. Second problem solved.

The biggest hurdle of all: behavior modification of my driving habits. Would I really be able to change 25 years of bad habits overnight and just slow down?

Surprisingly, the answer was yes. And now that I was driving slower, I could turn on the Snapshot feature in the Progressive app and save money on my car insurance (not a car insurance plug- actual truth). 

As I was driving to work Monday morning wrapped up in my fuzzy Snuggy, driving in the middle lane of the highway, going five miles over the speed limit, I began to reflect on my new driving reality. 


Typically, by the time I arrived at work I would be anxious and road weary from what I was beginning to realize was a self-induced hectic ride into the office. But now? I had found my Zen – perhaps not my Bliss – but certainly a serene state of mind from slowing down and enjoying the ride. 


One Week Later


All of my nagging doubts about my decision to join the ranks of EV ownership are gone. I am still working on the home charging situation but that will come in time.


I have even become so endeared to my new car that I was able to name it , “Flow Rydah”. 


One Month Later


The ENE EV team was a great consulting resource to me in preparation for the electrical upgrade I would need to do at my home in order to reliably charge my car. Ray S advised me on how to prepare for the electricians visit and saved me ~$300 by pointing out that my car came with a Level 2 charger!

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