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Living with an EV

Life without an EV…

Well, I haven’t updated this page in a while…life has got in the way, with work and helping to start a new business I just haven’t had the time!

It has now been just over 6 months since I sold my beloved Mitsubishi i MiEV…

Why did I sell it?

Well it wasn’t because I didn’t like it!

We had moved to a rural village which was further from town. Hypermile as I might, there was no way to get into the city and back on one charge. I was reaching town with 40-45% battery left, and I had to find a charging opportunity to make it home. This was not insurmountable, but was annoying.

Secondly I found myself unavoidably doing nearly all of my driving in the work vehicle, a Hilux. The i MiEV wouldn’t tow my trailer or hold my tools so I was left with no choice.

The poor i MiEV found itself sitting in the driveway going nowhere most of the time, and I could no longer justify the expense of keeping a depreciating asset and paying registration and insurance on something that was not getting used…so very reluctantly I decided to sell it.

I found a lovely couple to take it on, who live off grid on solar and micro hydro power. I couldn’t be happier with its new owners. They plan to fit a new battery pack to rejuvenate it back to full range, and use the old pack as extra storage in their off grid house.

I owned the i MiEV for a little over two years and drove over 40,000 kilometres in it. Mine was the 2010 model, so its batteries were among the oldest in any i MiEV in Australia. I also used it hard, living at the edge of its range and very frequently cycling the batteries below 20% charge while always charging it right to the top every day. This is the worst case scenario for a battery EV, basically equivalent to starting your petrol car from cold each morning and driving straight onto the freeway at full speed….basically I was the sort of person who wouldn’t normally be buying an EV and would push it to the edge of the envelope. Even so, when I sold it on the batteries were still almost 80% of their new capacity…putting the lie to predictions like Jeremy Clarkson’s comment that EV owners would need to replace their batteries every 3 years! If I wasn’t living so far out of town it wouldn’t have been an issue…and if I lived in the city I would never have noticed any drop at all!

So…what’s next?

Well, I won’t be EV free for very long…

My needs are for a work ute as my primary vehicle, and we have a family need for a people mover. Neither are available as EV in Australia yet…so a conversion (or two!) will be on the horizon! The world of EVs is fast changing, but I have been doing my research on what components I want to use and I have a rough outline of a plan……. There is a very good chance that I will do a simpler conversion first, and to that end I have available to me a very nice motorcycle with an engine that didn’t like being pushed beyond redline…the cost of repair was more than the value of the bike so I will most likely electrify that first as a practice run before the greater expense of a ute or people mover conversion.

My Mitsubishi i MiEV is up for sale!

After two years of trouble free motoring, we have decided to put my beloved Mitusbishi i MiEV up for sale…

I would dearly love to keep this car, it’s fun to drive and cheap to run and all the rest…but a combination of reasons means that I am letting it go.

Firstly, it is a small car and I have a growing family and frequently find ourselves carting extended family or friends, so often we find ourselves using the Hilux for a family trip because of its extra seat…then there is the fact that most of my driving these days is for my work, which requires towing a trailer so the poor i MiEV can’t do the job, hence the Hilux…

We will get much more value out of an electric work ute than an electric runabout that is mainly used for shopping locally, so the plan is to convert a ute to electric which is not going to be cheap because I need a decent range and tow a trailer, so plenty of batteries will be required! I can’t afford to do that AND keep the i MiEV…

I have listed it for sale on Gumtree and it is on display this weekend at the Hobart Sustainable Living Festival if you are in the area and want a look!

Offering for sale at $25,000 negotiable.

Call 0406 905 116 to discuss or arrange a test drive!

Two years on, living with an EV everyday

I have been trying to think of what to put here, to show what living with an EV is like…

Really, it is just so easy to live with.

It just works…

So, it is now two years to the day that I have owned an electric car.

The first few weeks were interesting, getting used to the silence at traffic lights, getting used to people’s reactions when they realised it was actually an electric car, getting used to the conversations and friendships that spring from random passers by…

After a few weeks though, you stop noticing that it’s silent when you stop. You get used to being asked questions about it and how it works. You get used to plugging it in when you get home and never going to petrol stations. You get used to smooth, effortless, instant torque with no gear changes.

It becomes normal, routine, unremarkable…

Then you get into a normal petrol car again…all of a sudden you are hyper aware of the noise, the smells, the vibration, the inconvenience of having a narrow power and and having to change gears all the time (or the annoying slip of a torque converter and auto shifting itself…) and you think just how much nicer the EV is to drive!

So, what have been the highlights of two years of ownership?

Going to car shows along with my wife and her i MiEV and setting up a little display was pretty cool…

Driving together in convoy was pretty cool in itself!

I have made several new friends through having an EV, people who have approached me with curiosity and who I have remained in contact with since.

The first time I calculated my running costs and realised just how much I was saving was pretty sweet…

For the first few months after I finished work I would just drive…pick a direction, explore little back roads, drive until the battery gauge was on half, then turn and head for home. It was liberating to be able to do that knowing the total cost was half of what I would have spent in petrol just going to work and back in my old car!

The thrill of driving past petrol stations and knowing I don’t need to stop there…except once in a while to check the tyre pressures! It has become so routine that we don’t even think about it now…

Trips out to visit family and friends, made on the spur of the moment because the cost of fuel just isn’t an issue…

The downsides……once in a blue moon I will push the envelope and get a little nervous about making it home…but I’ve always made it to home or a friend’s for a 15 minute top up to get home. All except the very first time I pushed too far when I just got the car…I made it within 500 metres of home that time!

Being a small car designed for the city, the i MiEV isn’t quite as at home in the bush as a big rough tough beast of a car would be. The local roads are rough, corrugated gravel or narrow bumpy potholed tarmac. Between my wife and I we have had three tyres destroyed by large potholes, as well as two bumpers and a headlight which fell victim to the local wallabies (a small kangaroo…resident here in plague proportions!). Having said that, I have lost two bumpers and a grille to wallabies over the years on Volvos and damaged tyres are not rare around here in general…so the little Mitsubishi is holding its own pretty well despite being way out of its comfort zone!

Being in my wife’s i MiEV when it was rear ended at a red light was a low point too…it was such a beautiful little car! I was quite impressed with how it held up to the impact.

The biggest downside, is that it is too small to tow my big trailer which means that I have to keep a petrol work vehicle for my work as a landscape gardener…nobody is making electric work utes just yet, so I’m stuck burning dinosaurs for a while yet. I think I may need to convert a ute to electric…when I have time!

Almost 39,000 kilometres travelled, almost $6,000 saved in running costs, here’s to the next two years!

His and hers EVs

A few months after I bought my Mitsubishi i MiEV, my lovely liked it so much that she tracked down a 2012 model demonstrator and bought it, making us as far as we could tell the only his and hers couple with i MiEVs each.

It was wonderful having two EVs in the family, and the poor old Hilux hardly ever got fired up any more. I sold the Volvo 244 I had been using (actually I swapped it for a couple of cameras…) as it wasn’t getting used either. I was a little sad to see it go, as it was a very early model in very nice condition, but it went to a good home!

Both of us were not scared to push the limits of range, and we have each run out of charge once in the early days when pushing it to the limit!

Greg with his new i MiEV
Greg with his new i MiEV
2010 and 2012 model side by side.
2010 and 2012 model side by side.
Rachel with her i MiEV
Rachel with her i MiEV

Why an electric car?

So…..how did a confirmed petrol head wind up being an electric car fanatic?

i grew up in the bush, son of an early Holden enthusiast, total car tragic and petrol head….with a passion for engineering.

When I was about ten years old or thereabouts, I read an article in Popular Mechanics about the General Motors concept car IMPACT. I fell in love…

I watched the whole saga unfold with the IMPACT morphing into the production EV1, then the sad tragedy that was the recall and crushing of these lovely beasts…

I read every book the library had on electric cars, conversions, anything I could lay my hands on.

When I got internet access I trawled the web for anything to do with EVs.

When the first EV hit the Australian market I drove the demonstrator, and wished I had the $50,000 plus that it cost. Then I drove a Leaf, and was now a fully confirmed EV addict.

Picking up my new i MiEV, with only 375 km on the clock!
Picking up my new i MiEV, with only 375 km on the clock!

When the chance came to buy a 2010 Mitsubishi i MiEV demonstrator for less than $20,000 I leaped at the chance, and I have driven electric ever since… My wife drove it and was addicted at once, so she tracked down and bought a demonstrator as well, the updated 2012 model. Ever since we have been spreading the word and signing up fresh addicts to the EV fold!

Living electric

Rachel here, with a few words on living electric.  First point I want to make is this: electric does not have to cost a bundle.

After driving Greg’s all electric i-miev I found one for sale in Sydney.  I had it delivered and registered all for under $22,000.  That was 18 months ago.

Why so cheap?  The i-miev is a four seater.  When Nissan brought out their five seater interest in the i-miev declined, bringing down the cost and putting them within reach for the average Tasmania.

Does size count?  I found the i-miev big on the inside.  The girls and I managed to pack for a weekend road trip with space to spare.  And if you’re wondering how far away an all electric getaway can be, we travelled 120km over mountains, stopping at a playground to plug in for an hour’s top up.

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