Tuesday, March 19, 2013

1 year, 100% Reliability

It's been a 1 full year with my ActiveE.  14,500+ miles.  225+ daily commutes.  Not a single electrical or mechanical problem.  Every weekday morning, I wake up, unplug, hop in and go about my 55 mile, round-trip commute.  On the weekends I drive in what seems like larger and larger concentric circles running errands and playing taxi driver for my teenager.  The other night, as my wife and I got ready to go out to dinner she said: "We can't take my car because it needs gas."  As if that was even an option!  I was charged up and ready to go.

I feel sorry for my fellow Electronauts who have suffered from various ailments from splining to full motor failures.  There are others who have elected to return their car because it didn't meet their expectations. As a test car, these types of issues are bound  to happen.  With a nascent technology, we have to deal with hardware and software errors.  We also have to understand the limitations of the technology.  In fact, I got in trouble recently when I said that driving electric is not for everyone because you have to "think more".  I wasn't implying that those in earshot were not smart enough to drive an electric car, but that given the current limited range and, in the Boston area, the sparse infrastructure outside of the city, you simply have to plan your trips differently than you do using an ICE vehicle.

But it can be done.  In the past year, I have plugged in at Boston's Logan Airport where the 6th floor has plenty of Chargepoint options that are never ICEd.  I've also leveraged the Clarendon garage downtown where the friendly attendant moves the big SUVs out of the cramped spaces to let me charge.  But my favorite spot is the Chelmsford (MA) Public Library.  Here you can plug in and get online, both for free!  Even though the chargers are in the far corner of the parking lot, the library's WIFI reaches out there.  It's a great place to get some email done while waiting for weekend volleyball practice to finally end.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my first year of driving electric.  There are many things I would like to see in a future, affordable, electric vehicle (greater range, more consistent winter vs. summer range, continued no-noise options, colors other than white, etc.).  While I figure out what's next, I am looking forward to another year of 100% reliability (knock on wood!).