Does anyone drive an electric car?

I took my 11 year-old diesel Clio to the garage yesterday to get an intermittent fault with the crash sensor fixed. The mechanic who looked at it made noises about it being an old car and not worth paying for the part (~£200). This seems like an indication that I should start thinking about replacing it in the not-too-distant future. Given that the sale of new diesel and petrol cars is going to be banned in the UK in 2030, and that cars in general are an environmental disaster, I was considering going electric. Has anyone got any experience on that front?

P.S. No, none of that back story was necessary. Soz :laughing:



We don’t have one yet… however…

Things to consider:

  • can you charge at home
  • can you charge at work
  • how much do you drive what kind of distances
  • budget

The first car my partner says comes to mind comparable to a Clio… would be a Nissan Leaf.

He also mentioned if you can get a used BMW i3 if you can find one with a range extender.

I drove a Prius for a time while in the US and really like it. It is a small hybrid and I had to fill the tank twice in two months and no charging necessary. If you can get one Tesla Model 3–again my partner says his colleague is very happy with that one.

Ps once we are back home from traveling I can probably interview him in more detail on this topic of there is interest (he has worked in automotive industry and has an interest in cars in general also we have been debating electric cars and our next one will be one for sure )


A colleague of mine has one and went for a Kia e-Niro.

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We could get a charger installed at home, and there’s some at the office (one of my colleagues drives a Nissan Leaf)

Distances would mostly be ~30 miles each way commute 2-3 days a week, with occasional longer-distance motorway driving.

Cost is the main thing putting me off. The price of a new one is a lot - my current car cost £5k second hand, and I’ve had it for 7 years. I need to do a bit of research on whether used is a good option, or perhaps leasing.

I drive a Ford Focus EV (Ford’s demo vehicle, actually). I’m not sure they make them any more, and I live in the US, so I don’t know how helpful my experience will be.

But… I like driving it more than any other car I’ve ever driven. And I’m lead to believe that other electric cars don’t have some of the stupid design decisions.

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Some friends of ours have a Chevrolet Volt and seem to like it well enough. I believe the maintenance costs are a lot less overall as well.

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I’d love to go all-electric, but…my typical car use is not “drive for ten minutes or half an hour to do the shopping or an hour to go to work” but rather “drive for four or six or eight hours to a convention”. This means I care a lot about ranges and recharge times, and they really aren’t up to the job yet.

(Also, where do I put the car for the weekend? I can’t leave it on a charger; there aren’t enough of them, and there won’t be one in my hotel car park. So I have to take time out of the convention to move the thing between car park and charger.)

There exists a technology whereby battery electrolytes can be pumped out and replaced, and that would get recharge times down to something like the time to refuel an internal combustion car, but (presumably because most of the market doesn’t drive the way I do) this hasn’t been widely deployed.


I have been driving a NIssan Leaf since 2011 until yesterday when we bought a 2022 Chevy Bolt EV.

I have a Level 2 charger at home and a 20-mile commute. I’m fortunate in that my employer has a dozen charging stations for us to use. The Leaf only gets 30 miles of range nowadays, so I was still able to use the Leaf for the couple of weeks I was going into the office post-lockdown and pre-Bolt.

We we are in the mind to take a road trip, we take my wife’s car (a 2013 Corvette). The electric is for commuting, shopping, and trips around town (which is 95% of our use cases). The Vette was getting more use because of the limited range of the Leaf, but the Bolt will fix that.

I find the electric car (either one) very relaxing (and the Vette very stressful) to drive. No engine noise. No vibration. No exhaust. Minimal maintenance (basically just tires and wiper fluid). Electronic braking just feels better than friction-braking (once you get used to it). When I’m sitting at a stop light or in stop-and-go traffic on the freeway, I’d want be to be in no other vehicle.


Is it a 2011 Leaf? This is my main concern with buying second hand.

Yes, I got the first production run of 2011. I could get 100+ miles for the first couple of years. The Leaf was particularly prone to range degradation due to poor battery cooling. I wish I had swapped them out when it was only $4k instead of 3x that amount, but I kept hoping for a viable third-party solution.

So long as you can inspect the car and turn it on with a full charge, you can tell right away what the current range is.


I don’t, but my best friends’ wife was heavily involved in electric cars when she worked at DfT.

My commute is perfect for an electric car, but I live in a terrace, am rarely able to park outside and don’t want to run a charger cable across the path.

No other advice, but good luck

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I’m really hoping to get an electric as my first car (I’m 42 years old). My partner bought a VW Golf in 2006 (Diesel, but before VW did the “Look How Clean Our Diesels Are Oops We May Be Lying A Little” scandal). Southern Ontario is pretty spread out, though, and I bike to work for most of the Spring-Summer-Fall (I start biking when the snow/frost melts, and stop on the first sub-zero day… biking on ice is possible, but I am not smart, coordinated, or attentive enough to do it), so I would only really need the car for rainy days and the winter… which isn’t enough to need a new car when the Golf is still operational.

Plus, ain’t nobody got the money for an electric, especially since our fother-mucking incompetent Conservative government (by far the worst government we’ve ever had in the province, which is a statement because the last Conservative government we had in the province was bloody awful and resulted in dozens of deaths due to cuts to water inspection and regulation) decided to stop the subsides for buying an electric vehicle. Hopefully the next government reinstates them and isn’t as blitheringly stupid (in so many ways) as the current one.


This is the issue for me. I can replace my car for £5k, but an electric worth having is at least 3-4x that. I haven’t got the capital


Fixing an existing car is almost always cheaper than buying a new one. Unless there’s a collection of problems, serious rust, or something else catastrophically wrong with it, the repair is going to be cheaper than a single month’s car payment. You might want to cast about for a mechanic that understands that and who works on old cars willingly. (your guy might be okay, and he’s just grumbling, or providing you with cover for the decision to buy something new. When I was turning wrenches, I had some customers who wanted to be told their car should not be fixed, so they could get a new(er) one. Others were thrilled to fix them, because a $500 repair every few months is still cheaper than a car payment.)

From an ecological standpoint, there’s lots of embodied energy in a car, and running it as long as possible is a much better plan.

Neither of those are answers to your question, so here’s another reason to keep the existing car for a while: electric cars are getting better, and the sales numbers are going up. In a year, the new stuff will be better, and the used stuff will be more available (and, on average, newer than what you can get now, so a year’s improvement in tech there, too.)


Definitely not planning on rushing out to buy a new one right now! More like expecting the repairs to get progressively more expensive and frequent from here, and wanting to have worked out what I want to do when something does go catastrophically wrong.


I currently lease a car and have done so for the last 10 years or so. I find the reassurance that things are new really helps the tension I get from seeing people stranded at the side of the road.

I’m looking at electrics but living in a terrace house means the infrastructure is way more critical to me and I’m not sure it’s there yet to feel comfortable. I’d be closer to considering a hybrid but they generally come in bigger and feel like they’d be more expensive and be more complex if things went wrong.

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From an engineering aesthetics point of view a hybrid feels like the wrong answer: you have to carry and accelerate a petrol engine nearly as heavy as the one you had before, and the heavy batteries. (Diesel-electric would make rather more sense, but diesel is currently regarded as worse than petrol so that’s unlikely to happen at any scale.)


From a scientist point of view, a Hybrid is the worst of both worlds: when you’re driving the gas engine, you’re actually charging the battery at the same time, which means the gas engine is actually driving both parts (if you drive 100km on the battery and then 100km on gas, the gas engine “pays” for 200km of driving).

The upside is from engineering: you can build a gas engine that is very efficient in a very narrow band. Normally low speeds is where a gas engine wastes the most power and is least efficient, so by having it charge the battery at higher speeds (where there is less waste), you get a net improvement over a pure gas engine.

And, yes, I am aware of brake-charging, but thermodynamics states that the energy to charge your battery has to come from somewhere, and if you are charging through braking, you are converting kinetic energy (from the gas engine) into potential energy (in the battery) at a loss at each step.

Anyway. Yeah. Hybrids. Not great designs from a theoretical standpoint, but still almost as efficient as my diesel car without having to run on diesel, so there is that.

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If you don’t put the energy from baking into a battery, you throw it away as heat. Putting some of it back into a battery is a big win.

Hybrids also can have a much smaller IC engine than they would otherwise require, because peak power can come from the battery, while the IC engine produces something approximating zero or constant power, which maximizes efficiency.

In the domains where they make the most sense, which is mostly things involving lots of stopping and starting, the efficiency gains can be tremendous. (some delivery applications report 40% reduction in fuel use.) For domains where it doesn’t make sense, there can be a net increase in consumption.

it also makes a lot of sense where some of the electric power can be provided by the grid.