2017 will always be remembered as the year we became an EV family.
I had been interested in electric cars for years, ever since Tesla’s original Roadster proved that a full electric car could be fast, fun, and outperform even the nicest sports cars on the market. The Roaster was niche, of course, priced way beyond my budget, but it sparked the hope that one day I might drive an electric car.
This was nearly 10 years ago when the infrastructure for EV charging was almost non-existent. Owning an electric car was still considered more of an environmental statement than a sustainable lifestyle, but Tesla was slowly changing the game with their network of Superchargers and the introduction of the Model S and Model X, which put a high-end EV in the same range as most luxury sedans or SUVs.
Other car companies followed suit, and the Nissan Leaf was on my radar as a possible everyday car for the future. When Volkswagen settled their diesel lawsuit, we had an opportunity to take advantage of a buyback offer for our Jetta wagon, a hefty sum that I decided should go toward an EV.
I was already eager to decrease our reliance on fossil fuels, but that diesel mess made up my mind for good. Nothing like finding out the car you use to transport your infant son is spewing toxic emissions way beyond what’s considered normal! It was time for a zero emission vehicle.
We test drove a Leaf in early 2017, and while it seemed nice enough for a commute to and from work, it was not impressive enough to justify the price tag. Tesla had recently announced the Model 3, and even the base configuration at $35k would be so much better that I couldn’t look at the other affordable electric cars with any seriousness.
I put in a reservation for the Model 3, securing my place in an already long line of people hoping to receive a car sometime in the next 18 months, but we also visited a Tesla store to ask questions. This led to our first test drive of the Model S, which my mom fell in love with, and about seven weeks later we had a our first EV parked in the driveway.
The S quickly spoiled us for driving any non-Tesla vehicles. Autopilot made interstate traffic far less stressful, the backup camera was huge on the 17″ touchscreen, and the responsiveness was thrilling, even with the smallest battery Tesla offered. The car is fast, and that certainly adds to Tesla’s appeal. Their cars are fun to drive.
We put our extra car seat in the Model S so that my folks could take our older son on day trips, and it wasn’t long before they took him on a long road trip to visit family in Virginia. That long drive, punctuated by Supercharger stops and hotels with Tesla Destination Chargers, was so much better than previous years in a large gas-guzzler.
When they got home, my dad raved so much about the trip and the ease of the drive that we decided to trade in our family minivan for a Model X.
It’s been almost six months now since we ditched gasoline engines and we couldn’t be happier. Although EVs have grown in popularity and will continue to eat away at the traditional auto market, we still get questions from strangers when we’re out with the car (especially if we have the doors open) and while we’re several years late to the EV lifestyle, in the long run we may still be regarded as “early adopters”.
That just means we have a story to tell, sharing the good and bad of these early years of EV growth, and giving you a glimpse into life with an electric car, from the short trip to the grocery store, to the multi-day family road trips.