Electric Road Tripping, Or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The EV

Illustration for article titled Electric Road Tripping, Or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The EV
Photo: David

One of the common things I’ve noticed while writing this series is that most people writing me still rely on an ICE car or two to help them get around. After all, the charging infrastructure in the US is still very much a work in progress, and range anxiety is a real concern for a lot of buyers in the sprawling suburb-oriented layout of America. However, this week’s featured EV owner, David, isn’t here to make compromises on any front with his garage.

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Welcome to EV Ownership Stories! Every week, we’ll be posting an interview with an owner of an electric vehicle. We’re here to show that people have been living with EVs for longer than you’d think, in stranger places than you’d imagine. If you’d like to be featured, instructions are at the bottom of the article.

David has been a Jalop since birth, as many of us are. His dream in high school was to own a Porsche 993 Turbo S, and his first “fun” car after college graduation was a stickshift Volkswagen GTI VR6 - definitely a blessed vehicle. As he approached his 30s, he reached two milestones simultaneously. He was finally financially ready to purchase a Porsche, and he and his wife adopted their first son. His mindset changed around this time, understandably. As he explained:

I starting thinking more about the world and our planet and my son’s future. I didn’t suddenly become a hardcore environmentalist, but I accepted that [anthropogenic] climate change was real and that the cars I love were contributing to this change. The first EVs were hitting the market, and instead of dropping a lot of money on a sweet looking EV from a brand new startup (Tesla Model S) I decided to lease a 2013 Nissan Leaf as a daily driver and buy a Porsche Cayman S as a weekend toy.

A 2013 Leaf is clearly a far cry from the vastly faster, more luxurious contents of his current garage, but the Nissan sold David on the idea of EVs as more than economy-minded penalty boxes. I’ll let him expound on the hatchback that hooked him: “The Leaf was surprisingly enjoyable. It’s ugly and isn’t very fast by any metric, but it was so easy to drive, required zero maintenance for the three years we leased it, and had extremely low running costs.” He also installed solar panels on his home and his electric bill went to $0, making the Nissan free to drive.

Around the same time David leased that first Leaf, Tesla’s Model S was proving that electric cars could be honest-to-God performance machines that were capable of long-distance travel. The possibilities kept expanding, and he was loving his first taste of the EV experience.

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Illustration for article titled Electric Road Tripping, Or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The EV
Photo: David (Other)

Fast forward a few years, and David’s garage had come to contain a Tesla Model X 100D, a BMW i3, the aforementioned E-Tron, and another Leaf at various points in time. In the same period, he’d also had a Cayman S and several Porsche 911s, including an ‘18 GT3. With the introduction of the Taycan, the choice was clear: It was time to add an electric Porsche to the stable. With his wife driving the E-Tron, that meant he’d have an all-electric garage, while still getting to own a Porsche. The Taycan Turbo S more than lives up to his expectations for the marque he loves; I’ll let him explain:

[Porsches] all feel similar at a certain level. Move from a Cayman to a 911, the balance moves around a bit and the extra horsepower plants you in the seat. Jump up to a GT3 and suddenly the steering becomes crisper and the front end moves telepathically. Every new iteration feels like a slightly improved version of the previous, but when you drive a Taycan Turbo S, you start questioning everything you knew about a Porsche. It doesn’t feel like the next iteration of a Porsche, it feels like it jumped 5 iterations.

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I personally only recently got to drive my first Porsche, an ‘80 911 SC, and it was absolutely incredible. I cannot imagine what 41 years of development and an all-electric drivetrain would do to one, but the specs promise an absolutely mind-melting experience: 2.6 seconds from 0-60, delivered via two monstrous AC motors putting out a combined 751 horsepower. Clearly, the Taycan is a machine that demands to be driven hard. And David uses it as it was meant to be used, taking it on thousand-plus mile road trips, including road rallies chasing Ferraris through the mountains of Colorado.

Illustration for article titled Electric Road Tripping, Or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The EV
Photo: David (Other)
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I asked him about the constraints of having to find chargers while out in rural stretches and mountain passes, over such long distances, and he gave me an interesting perspective on it:

No doubt EVs take more time to complete a long road trip. Anyone considering an EV needs to consider how often they take road trips, where they expect to drive, and then understand the charging infrastructure along those routes. It takes more research and planning compared to an ICE vehicle. But honestly the planning makes it fun in a way. It forces you to really think about your road trip, where you are stopping, and the route you plan to take.

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He additionally pointed out that the charging infrastructure is improving very rapidly, and although Tesla’s charging infrastructure is still the best, Electrify America is catching up. The process of planning out road trips with an EV will get easier and easier as time goes on and the infrastructure to support them is built.

Illustration for article titled Electric Road Tripping, Or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The EV
Photo: David (Other)
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But even the current charging network is plenty to indulge in the fun driving experiences the Taycan can provide. On his Colorado touge expedition (which he wrote about extensively, with details on the charging planning and routes) he covered 1,251 miles of rural mountain roads and spent $11.40 on electricity, all while keeping up with a half-dozen of Italy’s finest gasoline-powered steeds. Not bad at all.

As a result, he hasn’t minded having only an EV-based garage one bit. His wife primarily drives the E-Tron, and he drives the Taycan “as much as possible”, and they both feel that “...the day to day driving experience is superior to ICE vehicles.” Their future plans drive this home: they have a reservation for a Rivian R1S launch edition to replace the E-Tron. They’re both excited to own a more off-road capable EV to take camping, and it looks like they’ll be EV devotees for the foreseeable future.

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It seems trite to point out, but it turns out you can have fun and give up gas at the same time. The electric future we’re looking towards won’t be the end of automotive enthusiasm as we know it; instead, as David showed me, it could be the birth of an even better era. Thank you so much for sharing your story, David, and I wish you many more fun road trips!

We’d love to hear from more readers about their EVs, modern or classic, factory or otherwise.

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We want:

Your name

What car do you own? (If you owned a car in the past, let us know what years!)

Where do you live with it?

How and where do you charge it?

How was buying it?

How long have you had it?

How has it lived up to your expectations?

A photo of your car

If you want to be interviewed, please let us know an email with an re: EV Ownership Stories to tscott at jalopnik dot com!

Collectrix of Vintage Hondas and High Priestess of the Church of Slam It On Wats. Freelancer at Jalopnik. she/her

DISCUSSION

gcodori
gcodori

That Leaf that cost you $0 to drive - good thing you don’t have to pay registration. Or insurance. Or *lease payments*

And that solar roof was free as well? If you paid no money upfront, you have *lease payments* on it. If you purchased it outright, you’re either making loan payments or paid for that “$0 driving costs” ahead of time.  Math is difficult.

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