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My Six Months in an Electric Car

On October 20, 2012, I became the proud owner of a silver 2013 Ford Focus EV. In case you don’t recognize the name, that’s an all electric car – no gas tank, no oil, no internal combustion engine. Before bringing it home I had a level 2 240 volt charger installed at my house. Since that day, I’ve been to a gas station once, while driving my wife’s car.

So why did I make the leap to electric and how have the first 6 months been?

Photo of Matthew D. Dubin with his electric car

First the why?

Of course, I try to be as green as I can. We are committed to recycling in the office, and we recently had 10 trees planted in a national forest. Driving an electric car, especially here in the Northwest where the bulk of our electricity comes from hydro, certainly supports my commitment to preserve a clean planet for my son.

But there are lots of ways to help support a clean environment. The most exciting thing for me about an electric car is that it’s new and fun. I love hitting the gas (accelerator) and shooting ahead with the single speed transmission. I love pulling out of a parking space without making a sound. I love squeezing every last mile I can out of that battery and then trying to do better.

The bottom line is that I love new gadgets and I love to win. My Focus combines those two passions. It is a very new gadget (I haven’t seen another one on the road) and it lets me compete with myself and with other drivers on Ford’s social network to drive more efficiently.

I preordered my car almost a year before it was delivered and I haven’t regretted it for a minute.

So how has it been?

In a word, fun! My round trip commute to work is 16 miles so I could drive as aggressively as I want. Despite this, while I love the pep and responsiveness of the car, I find myself always trying to cover the same mileage with less electricity than the last time.

For a while I was afraid that I’d get home and forget to plug it in, but that hasn’t happened yet. Even if it did, the car gets about 75 miles on a full charge so I could easily get back to work the next morning, where they have 4 level 2 chargers in the garage. I’m covered.

As an added (and totally unexpected) benefit, I find myself driving safer. I accelerate and brake more gradually to save electricity, and as a result I am much less likely to be rear-ended or have to suddenly slam on my brakes. In my line of work, I am all too aware of the dangers of the road, and while I always try to drive defensively, I have no doubt that going electric has made me a better driver.

Certainly this car is not for everyone. Even a round trip to Federal Way can be scary with the limited range, and there’s not a ton of storage space. But if you need a city car, enjoy driving and gadgets and like to be on the cutting edge, this car might be just what you’re looking for. It certainly works for me.