12 things I've learned after driving an electric car 9000km | Auto Expert John Cadogan

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I’m about to clock over 9000km in the Hyundai Kona Electric EV. Here are the 12 things I’ve learned about using an electric car as my primary means of transport.

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1: RANGE & RECHARGING

I’ve learned not to worry about range or recharging - especially if you have off-street parking. It’s rare for me to drive more than 430 kays in a day, and that’s what the Kona EV delivers, fully charged. The onbord range estimation algorithm is dead accurate, too, so I know you can trust it.

I got a single-phase 32-amp charger installed. It’s weather-proof, and it’ll re-charge the Kona in about eight or nine hours - so even if you come home dead flat, you just sleep on it, and you’re fully charged again in the morning.

2: SILENT BUT DEADLY
I know some of you are thinking ‘ seconds 0-100 is mediocre at best’. Yeah - it is - it’s middle of the road. But I don’t do that in traffic very often. Cuz I don’t want to immolate my licence.

You do, like, 0-40, 0-50, in traffic. That’s pretty common. And in that context, the Kona Electric is a weapon. To use one of my favourite things - a good ‘fart’ analogy. The Kona Electric is silent but deadly from 0-50.

Internal combustion is pretty compromised getting off the mark. It’s not something internal combustion does especially well. Just look at the engineering countermeasures in place to overcome this compromise.

The Kona just hooks up and goes - partly because electric motors make their peak torque at stall speed - like, zero rpm. So they’re already poised for peak performance just stopped at the lights. And partly because there’s a single-speed transmission, with no slip (such as from a clutch or a converter).

3: ECO TYRES
There’s no getting around this: Eco tyres are rubbish - from an owner’s point of view. Carmakers fit them because range is a big selling point and the low rolling resistance characteristics of eco tyres add a small amount of range in official tests.

Eco tyres are therefore great for the marketing department, but they’re lousy to drive on - especially in the wet. When I got the standard eco tyres changed over for a set of high performance Michelin Pilot Sport 4s, everything changed about that car’s dynamics.

The Kona just became a heap more composed - like, it’s less likely to lift the inside wheel and spin it if you nudge it hard out of a corner. It just hangs on better - especially in the wet. And it’s more predictable at the boundary of grip and slip - even though the threshold is higher.

On a stack of Superman comics (I’m an atheist - to me this is the same as a stack of Bibles) I can swear I didn’t think I’d enjoy driving an EV this much. That’s after changing the tyres.

FOUR: BOWSER BLUES?

I don’t miss re-fuelling. At all. I’ll never be nostalgic about that.

However, it’s a self-deluded fantasy to think that owning an EV means you’ve divorced hydrocarbons. That’s just you spending the big bucks to weaponize your confirmation bias. If you own an EV, you are just as dependent on hydrocarbons as some guy in a big, fat diesel 4X4.

If you took hydrocarbons from your life there would be no house to live in, no food in your nonexistent refrigerator, no clothes to wear, no pharmaceuticals, no steel to build the car from, and no roads to drive it on - among other things.

They’re called ‘facts’. You don’t have to like them.

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