We bought an EV

Man, it was only about an hour and a half between when I wrote that I wouldn’t be going anywhere last Saturday and when my day got really busy away from the house. We did wind up going to see Dune, which was incredible. We saw that in IMAX, which is how I would suggest seeing it (try for the biggest, loudest option you can find). Dune is an Epic in every way. The movie is utterly spectacular in how it looks, and they nailed the music, as Hans Zimmer often does when asked to go big. It was great.

That’s not my news, though. After the movie, we continued what had become a free-time obsession at our house—hunting for a new car. Christy and I at this point drove a 2006 Rav4 and a 2007 4Runner, respectively. Our cars are great, run well, but they are not new. And the Rav4 is really beginning to look it. It has this clear coat thing on the paint that is wearing away, and it looks like shit. We have even tried looking into a fix, but that ultimately goes down the road of new paint job, which is surprisingly expensive. So, we began several months ago to realize that a new car is probably going to be necessary soon, and we should probably not mess around with a gas-powered one.

The truth if it is that we don’t need another gas car. We have one with a long range and plenty of room. A trip that needed a vehicle like that has one, so we’re fine there. An EV would be a killer thing for us to own. We almost never are out at the same time in separate cars, except for the workday. So the idea that we have a smaller car to use first whenever we leave the house, while never having to fill that car up with gas or get an oil change, became the obvious solution here. We were going to buy an electric car next.

Three weeks ago we went on a trip over to Palisades National Park near Hollister, California. We visit national parks with another couple (Yellowstone, Joshua Tree, Yosemite—how did I not write about all these?) and they bought a Tesla in December. They offered to drive, so we were about to get a full EV travel experience. That’s what convinced us we were ready to do this. The trip was different. You have to stop more often for longer, but the charging network was smooth. All of the Tesla stops we used also had other chargers available. Granted, this was the Bay Area, so grain of salt and all that, but the ease of charging and managing the trip was apparent.

A dark blue crossover SUV sits angled with the front wheels slightly turned ina fully white room.
The 2024 Kia EV6 in Gravity Blue. This is the car and color we got. Photo from kiaevforums.com.
The trip kicked us off into a major search immediately upon getting home. But here’s the thing. I’m not buying a Tesla. I don’t have a huge issue with someone who does, but that’s a place to send money that I have no interest in sending money to. I know I’ll have to once the charging network changes pick up next year, but I’ll hold off as long as I can. Anyway, that search, which for our family almost always begins and ends with Consumer Reports ratings being cited, landed us on the Kia EV6.

I have been taking note of Kia’s evolution in the US market for a long time. They consistently rate well among all cars for dependability, and their warranty is very good—particularly on the car battery (10 year/100k miles). The fact that this is a regular car made by a regular car maker that just happens to be powered by a battery is a huge draw. Maybe eventually, but I’m not ready, and in fact I hate it, to go to a full touchscreen dash. I bought an Apple CarPlay compatible stereo a couple years ago for my 4Runner, and I love it except that there is no fucking dial for volume. To have to divert my attention to turn the sound up or down is annoying and dangerous. I want regular stuff on the dash, and this has it.

The range is right where we need it to be. I began working the mapping apps to see if we could drive it on our most common road trips. Basically, every interstate is covered well. I might have to get creative with some more remote roads, but the options are there, and again, next year Tesla chargers should come online for the rest of us, which should ease anxiety on some of these trips. For instance, we regularly drive to Ashland, Oregon for a weekend. We drive through Susanville, California, which is the only real town before we get to Interstate 5 at Mount Shasta, California. Susanville has Tesla Superchargers, but no other network has a DC fast charger. There is a charger at a casino we could use, but it’s slower. We’ll probably plan to have lunch and take our time there because we’ll have to in order to ensure we’re fine getting to Mount Shasta. That’s what makes these trips different. It will likely add an hour or more to the normally 5.5 hour trip, but it will cost about a third in fuel (and I’ll be doing it in a new car). I can manage that.

If you haven’t bought a new car in the past decade, do not look at what they cost. That’s all I can say about that. So far, this thing is really cool. We got a Level 1 charger, which we can take on the road to trickle it up when staying with friends or something. We may get a Level 2 installed, but we’ll see if that’s necessary. The campus where I work has charging stations in the parking garages, so they can be a resource as well. Car dealers also suck. The day can not come soon enough that we can bypass that horseshit business model and buy directly from the manufacturers. Tesla does a very nice job of this, but again…

At the end of the day, it’s a new car with a new car cost. But knowing that I’ll never have to pull up to a gas station to drop $75 in this is pretty nice.

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March 07, 2024
Tags: ev | electric | kia ev6