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The Down Side to Charging my Electric Car

I recently got myself a phev, or plug-in hybrid vehicle, a Kia Niro.

I decided on the plug-in version over a fully-electric option because I often do cross country drives in one big 12-hour drive session. I didn't want the range anxiety and headache of stopping for an hour + every 200 miles or to recharge. My phev gets 32 electric miles before the hybrid system kicks in, and I figured that would be plenty of electric range as I tend to either do short trips running errands, or monster road trips. The other factor I banked on was being able to recharge at public charge stations that I've seen everywhere. That is where my frustration starts.

The problem with public charging stations are that they are: expensive, not available, or just not functioning.

My first issue: running on electricity is sometimes not cheaper than gas

I have figured that I pay about 2.5 cents per mile of range when I charge at home @ 7.5 cents per kilowatt hour. Based on gasoline costing $4 a gallon, it equates to an approximately 155 mpg equivalent. Assuming my car consumes approximately 333wh/mi, the math adds up, trust me. What I've noticed is that the charge stations do not offer the same price per kWh, but are much higher, sometimes over 7x the price! At my local Ikea, they charge .19$ per kWh, which puts me around the 60mpg equivalent, not terrible. However, at Fred Meyer, it is a whopping .49$ per kWh which barely puts me over the 20mpg equivalent mark! Financially, it would be better for me to simply run my car as a hybrid at 48-53 mpg vs. charging at a public station. This is so strange to me. I have yet to hear someone speak on the fact it's not much cheaper to drive an electric vehicle if you charge publicly. My take, charge at home for the best value.

My second issue: charge station availability

90% of the time, any available charge stations are occupied- if there are any to begin with. There simply isn't enough infrastructure still for reliable charging. Most times there is a single charge station in a giant parking lot. The worst part is seeing a charge station with a car parked in front of it that isn't even charging, especially if it's a non electric vehicle, c'mon are we animals!? You either get that, or an entire bank of Tesla charging stations that are mostly or completely empty, but not able to be used by non-Tesla cars.

My third issue: finding a functioning charge station

Lastly, what I've noticed is that charge stations are oftentimes damaged or just simply don't work. Either the screen is so scuffed that you can't read the prompts, or it won't power on for some reason, or I've even seen charge cables that have been severed completely. 😬 In my short experience, I would say 30-50 percent of stations have been inoperable. ☹

Overall, I would still do it again. I love the idea that I am not supporting big oil and instead I am supporting technology. I like not emitting tailpipe emissions for 95% of my rides as well. If you are thinking about buying a plug-in electric car and plan on doing a lot of charging while you are out and about, I really recommend visiting your usual stores and look for the nearest charging station. If they have one, check to see if the chargers are operable and functioning.

If you want to read an interesting article on how much electric cars pollute, check out the report that Volvo/Polestar put out a few years ago. It really shows the importance of why you should charge using green energy vs. coal, etc. if you really want to make an environmental impact with your new electric car ✌️✌️✌️

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