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Charging ahead: Inspiring stories from long-term EV owners

In the world of electric vehicles, real-life experiences often speak louder than statistics. For some of you, it may feel like EVs are just becoming popular. And although we are still in the early adoption phase in the US, there are EV owners who began their journey more than 10 years ago!

 These long-term experiences speak for themselves. Join us as we meet three EV owners as they share their stories, tips, and insights.

Meet John and Ellen: a dynamic father-daughter duo, EV conversion pioneers, and passionate advocates for sustainable living.

“Driving electric has brought back the love of driving and travel to our family. Environmental and energy consciousness fits well into an EV lifestyle. Driving efficiently and making a difference in the climate crisis have kindled a new joy of driving and adds excitement to trips we take.”

 Flashback to California in 2009 – a whopping 15 years ago. Ellen and her dad John were dreaming of owning an electric car. But in 2009, options were scarce, and Tesla was still in its infancy. So, Ellen and her dad got creative: “Given our skills and backgrounds, we realized we just might be able to make our own electric car!” Sure enough, 2 years later they had converted a gas-powered Toyota into an electric one. It marked the start of their EV journey.

Over the years, they have expanded their EV collection, and daughter Ellen now drives a trusty 7-year-old Chevy Bolt.

“We love the electric car community,” Ellen says. “EV drivers are fun to chat with while charging at fast chargers. We don’t mind the longer breaks.” They mainly charge at home with a level 2 charger. “When possible we charge during off peak hours, which for our area is from 12 midnight until 3pm,” Ellen explains. “This is when electricity is the cheapest and there is the least demand on our grid. We also have solar on our home!”  

One of the biggest advantages of driving electric is how incredibly affordable they can be to charge and maintain. Ellen explains: “They don’t require engine oil changes, don’t need to pass smog tests, rarely need brake maintenance, and there’s no worry about catalytic converter theft.”

Ellen breaks down the costs: “Our maintenance costs for the Bolt have been approximately $150 over the past 4.5 years. We estimate that our charging cost has been approximately $600. The cost is low in part because we have solar on our home which helps offset our electrical costs. We pay about $1,500 in insurance per year for the Bolt.”

Ellen and John want to keep their 7-year-old EV for as long as possible. “Hopefully for many years and many more road trips,” she says. 

 Make sure to check out their Drive Electric Community on Instagram


Meet Praveen from Virginia: a driven advocate for decarbonization and the positive impact of electric vehicles.

“I have always wanted to create an impact. I am passionate about decarbonization, new technologies and looking for ways I can have a multiplier effect to impact other people’s lives.”  

 Praveen has been driving electric for 5 years. Praveen’s EV experience has been overwhelmingly positive. He finds joy in eliminating the need for fossil fuels in transportation and sees it as a crucial step in shaping the future for the next generation.

 “We talk a lot to our kids about climate change. My kids know that their family has prioritized that choice to not burn fossil fuels directly for transportation,” Praveen says. “Before we got our first EV, every couple of weeks, we would stop at the gas station in our neighborhood. I didn’t want to raise a generation where stopping at the gas station is the norm.”

Praveen currently drives a 2016 VW e-Golf, which he purchased, used, 5 years ago with only 8,000 miles on it for about $20,000. “There are some great deals out there for used EVs that are only a few years old,” he notes. “And with the advancements in technology, even older EV models can still offer a fantastic driving experience.”

My e-Golf was a low risk affordable starter EV. We just needed something to get around town. My commute is only 5 miles each way, so even though the e-Golf only has 85 miles, it made sense for us.“ Praveen adds, “I used to drive a VW GTI in my youth, so as a dad it’s great to still have this sporty feel of a zippy car”

Charging their EVs is a breeze for Praveen’s family, as they almost always charge at home with a level 2 charger installed in their driveway. Praveen explains, “Our driveway is at the back of our lot, so when we got our first EV, we needed to lay a circuit and a trench through our backyard.” A little more work than the usual setup of a driveway or a garage, but Praveen adds: “It makes sure we have a full tank every time we leave home.”

For those considering purchasing an EV, Praveen offers some advice. “My advice would be to research and find the best fit for your household,” he says. “With the variety of EV options available now, there’s something for everyone. And if you have the ability to charge at home, it makes incorporating an EV into your lifestyle incredibly easy.”

Motor has helped hundreds of EV drivers with pre-purchase consultations to help them determine if an EV, and which one is right for them! Feel free to reach out here and check out  our incentives tracker to find the best deal in your area. 


Meet the “All Electric Family” – Speed-seeking adventurers, tow-hauling trailblazers, and EV enthusiasts who take RVing to the next level

“We love driving electric. In 2020 we started towing with our Tesla. We were going to go on one towing trip, just to prove we could, and then never tow with an EV again. Turns out, we prefer towing with an EV!”

Katie, Steve, and their three kids are the All Electric Family – a family of 5 that tow their camper and go on many adventures – in their electric cars. They currently own a 2024 Rivian R1S and a 2013 Tesla Model.  

“We have had at least one EV in our household since 2017,” Katie says. Being asked why they got their EVs in the first place, she prompts: “For the technology and speed! We love trying new things and got our first Tesla when there weren’t many EVs on the road.” 

Katie states that over the past 7 years of driving electric cars in Colorado, EV ownership has become easier and more accessible. “There is more charging, faster charging, and more of a variety of EVs on the road,” she explains. “Usually, we charge at home with our level 2 home charger. On road trips we charge at DC fast chargers or at the campground we are staying at.” 

When they started towing with their Tesla Model X they owned in 2020, they thought it’s gonna be a one time event just to prove it out. “They’re so stable going down the road towing, the regenerative braking is wonderful when you’re towing, and we found we arrive at our destination less exhausted because we are forced to take breaks along the way. We actually prefer towing with an EV!”

For someone new to EVs, Katie recommends investing some time in research and “know that there will be a learning curve.” She clarifies: “If you set out on your EV adventure with your expectations low, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is. If you set out thinking it will be exactly like a gas vehicle, you’ll be disappointed. Have an open mind and you might find you prefer an EV, even for road trips. For daily driving you’re going to love it!”


Looking ahead – What can we learn from long-term EV owners for today

As we conclude our exploration into the lives of these long-term EV enthusiasts, it’s clear that their stories echo a common sentiment: driving electric is not just a mode of transportation but a lifestyle filled with excitement, sustainability, and community. 

From the DIY conversion projects of John and Ellen to the advocacy of Praveen and the adventurous spirit of the ‘All Electric Family,’ each journey reflects the growing appeal and accessibility of electric vehicles. 

What are the main take-aways for someone buying an EV today

 It’s incredibly affordable to drive an EV, and becoming more so every day. 

One theme we heard over and over again from these stories is how much you can stand to save by driving electric – from charging habits to maintenance costs. With options like off-peak charging rates, or home solar systems, you can take control of your EV experience and optimize its affordability. 

Looking at the larger market, battery prices are coming down through a variation of different chemistries and battery raw materials,  as well as an increase in production volumes.  This means that EVs are going to become even more affordable. And as we’ve heard, there are more used electric vehicles on the market than ever before, with more coming every day! 

You’re saving dollars while lowering your carbon footprint.

While not universally true, one of the biggest motivating factors for these drivers to choose electric was a desire to make a direct positive impact on the climate crisis. It’s one of more empowering choices a consumer can make. These owners aren’t just cruising – they are making a positive impact on the environment and their communities.

While you personally can make a difference by charging your EV from your own home solar system or other renewable sources, overall, efforts are being made to make the electricity grid cleaner. This will make the use of EVs even cleaner in the future. And importantly, ongoing initiatives in recycling is looking to address the environmental impact of battery disposal, making sure that the lifecycle of EVs remains sustainable and eco-friendly.

Not only is it good for the environment, it’s a lifestyle choice

Who could have imagined that towing a camper with an electric car would not only be possible but also elevate the adventure for a family of five? Or that you could create a close community with strangers you meet at the charging station? It’s a testament to the remarkable power of EVs. 

In under 10 years, we’ve gone from an e-Golf with just 85 miles of range to a Rivian RIS with over 300 miles of range and the capacity to tow a camper. We’ve seen exponential growth in public charging infrastructure, and a community of drivers that has broken through from a niche group to more and more of the vehicles on the road. Imagine where we’ll be in another 10 years!