- One stressful road trip in an electric car isn’t scaring me away from buying an EV someday.
- Chargers are abundant in the Northeast, and most trips I’d take are short.
- I’d buy an EV for the fun factor alone.
First impressions can be tough to shake.
But one nerve-racking road trip in an electric car isn’t enough to turn me off from ditching fossil fuels someday.
Long story short: a drive from New York to Vermont in a 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E Ford culminated in a few hours of panic as the car’s battery level plunged far more quickly than expected — all without a charging station nearby.
But I eventually managed to plug in and charge up. And once the Mach-E got used to my driving habits and environment, its range estimates were stellar. Over hundreds of miles of driving the rest of the weekend, I never experienced the same anxiety-inducing battery drain that I went through on that first drive up north.
The whole experience, stressful as it was, isn’t scaring me away from EV ownership.
Most trips aren’t road trips
It’s human nature to plan for the least likely outcome. That may help explain why so many people buy pickup trucks — because they may need to haul a bunch of stuff or tow something someday.
But the fact of the matter is that most car trips are relatively short — well within the capabilities of an EV with decent range. Chargers aren’t nearly as abundant as gas stations, so a long trip in an EV can be daunting, sure. But how often am I realistically going to go on a six-hour, 300-mile drive? Not all that often.
Fast charging doesn’t take that long
As long as there’s a DC fast charger on your route, refueling doesn’t add all that much time to a long journey. Traveling between New York and Vermont meant stopping to charge for around 30 minutes each way — really not much of a hassle given that I’d probably spend nearly that long getting gas and snacks anyway.
Having never charged an EV before, I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly the Mach-E could recoup energy when plugged into a high-powered charger. It can take 40 minutes or less to charge from 20-80% battery — but you typically don’t need to wait that long to be on your way.
There are plenty of chargers if you know how to find them.
Plugs are plentiful in the Northeast, but you have to be deliberate about finding them. If you leave with only a loose idea of where to charge, you’re bound to have a bad time.
But if instead you do a quick Google Maps search for chargers along your route, locating a place to plug in isn’t that difficult, I found. Better yet, there are dedicated services for EV owners to search multiple charging networks and plot the quickest route to a destination, chargers included.
Ford has its own such offering called FordPass, which took the guesswork out of finding nearby chargers during my week with the Mach-E.
Recharging a battery pack requires more planning ahead than filling up on gas. But that’s just the trade-off you sign up for when you buy an EV.
EVs are fast and fun
The Mach-E’s instant, forceful acceleration — a signature feature of all EVs — made driving it an absolute blast. Plus, it’s whisper-quiet at any speed, which made long drives surprisingly relaxing.
What’s more, EVs can offer conveniences that conventional cars can’t. For example, the Mach-E’s frunk — located where an engine would normally be — is a perfect spot for dirty gear you don’t want in the cabin.
All this is to say, battery-powered cars deliver a slew of advantages over gas-fueled vehicles that have nothing to do with the environment. Their fun factor and practicality alone could make me overlook any charging difficulties and make the switch from fossil fuels.