I’m a newbie in automotive journalism, but I’ve noticed that the electric vehicle conversation can seem a bit, um, one-sided. Most of the electric car tests we’ve seen have taken place in major metropolitan areas. In places like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Atlanta, most driving trips are short and public transit is abundant. But not all American roads look like that, and most cities and towns don’t work that way. So to get a sense of what modern EVs are really like to live within a rural or suburban setting, we’re borrowing a bunch of new ones to test in the Midwest.
After reading dozens of reviews and regularly scrolling a Twitter feed full of car writers, I feel like the downsides of EV ownership too quickly are hand waved away. If you have a charger at home and your daily drive is under 100 miles, yes, adopting an EV would be pretty painless in 2021.
Well, I think it’s time for us to have that come to Jesus moment. What does EV ownership look like for someone who, say, isn’t an upper-middle-class homeowner, able to charge quickly at home? Or what does EV ownership look like for someone who doesn’t live in a trendy neighborhood in the big city, rife with roadside public charging? Like many straddling the line between Gen Z and Millennial, I’m saddled with debt, single, and I rent. Oh, and I don’t live in a big city. I live in the midwest, in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio, specifically.
Columbus is a medium-sized city. Home to The Ohio State University, the greater Columbus area is about 2.4 million people, including its suburbs. Columbus isn’t as expansive as, say, Houston or Atlanta, but it’s still fairly wide and flat. Car ownership is necessary and traffic is never that bad. Driving here is easy, distances driven are somewhat long, but the time it takes to get to your destination is relatively short. I live in a suburb, and regularly trekking to the city in my gas-powered cars has never been an issue. I drive about 300-350 miles over the course of a week, including meeting with friends, shopping, running errands, going to the gym, and generally living my life as a young, post-college, single 20 something.
Can an electric vehicle work for someone like me, even though I live at least a mile from the nearest Level 2 public charger?
For the next few weeks, we’ll run through a fleet of new EVs on loan to us from their respective manufacturers, plus a Model 3 we’re picking up from Turo. Here’s the list:
- Hyundai Kona EV
- Polestar 2
- Volkswagen ID4
- Ford Mustang Mach-E
- Tesla Model 3 (Single Motor, Standard Range)
I’ll be evaluating each of these cars on their own and comparing them to each other. But most importantly, I’ll be experiencing how each of them interacts with the local charging infrastructure and what they’re like to live with in America’s heartland.
Stay tuned to a whole bunch of stories about all of the above, and don’t be shy in the comment section if you’ve got questions about any of these cars! We’ll do our best to answer as we move through evaluations.
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