On the road with the EV brotherhood

Ensto’s Brand and Communications Director, Pia Hänninen, leased a full electric vehicle in April 2018. Over the summer she logged more than two thousand kilometers. She’s a bigger EV fan now than ever, and this is what she learned.

I’ve been an EV driver since April 2018. This summer in June and July I logged exactly 2,216 kilometers in my Nissan Leaf. I’ve loved most every minute in my EV – the silence of the engine, the incredible torque, zero emissions while driving, and of course the fact that it costs much less to drive EV compared to a conventional combustion engine car!

Before I leased my EV, I read everything I could find on EV driving. But this summer on the road I learned three new things:

  1. Educate yourself about your EV. Dealers may not know everything about EVs.

    Buying or leasing an EV is currently focused on the car itself and not the driving experience – after all, most of the car salesmen are still from the combustion engine era. The EV driver will find herself in need of information about services: the charging process itself, the apps you need, who are the operators, what it costs to maintain the car, to charge in public places, the nearest charging point to your home or work. Luckily, an extensive warranty deletes common worries of a battery life cycle and replacement costs.

    Dealers certainly could and should do a better job of preparing EV drivers, but keep in mind that they’re new to the EV game, too, as I was. Be prepared to educate yourself and figure things out on your own. Social media is full of people to help you getting started.
  2. EV drivers must plan ahead. Way ahead.

    Unlike with conventional automobiles, EV charging stations aren’t everywhere. Sure, more are being built all the time, but there’s no guarantee that the charging station you need will be available when you get there. In my experience, there were almost always two EVs wanting to use the same charging station. Make sure you budget in some waiting time when planning your itinerary. But – the situation will be much better in the future when the charging network gets better.

    Also, never assume that at the end of the day you’ll be able to get a charge. Most hotels aren’t yet equipped with proper chargers, and a regular electrical outlet wasn’t enough to give my car a full charge even when plugged in overnight. This problem is quickly being remedied, however, since many hotel owners are now discovering that it’s a great idea to have a charger in their courtyard – and it’s a source of profit, as well.

    Finally, when it comes to planning, here is one amazing thing I didn’t count on: EV drivers normally get the very best parking places in parking halls, since the chargers are located very often near the mall’s entrance.
  3. Embrace the EV Brotherhood.

    One of the coolest aspects of EV ownership is meeting other EV drivers. I found them to be always ready to share information, and even willing to surrender their place in the charging queue if you’re in a hurry and only have 10 kilometers of range left.

    On my road trip, I met an Estonian gentleman with a brand new EV straight from the dealership. He had not charged it even once, and so I helped him download the appropriate app for his phone and showed him how to work the charger. He was overjoyed, and I took great pleasure in helping out a fellow road warrior. EV owners truly are a special breed!

by Pia Hänninen