Correspondent Tim Levin business Insider Experience driving multiple electric vehicle models on different roads. Therefore, they also experienced both the joy and trouble of traveling by electric vehicle.
This year, he took two 800km driving trips, once with the Japanese electric SUV Toyota bZ4X and once with the Korean electric SUV Genesis GV60.
Driving any vehicle will have advantages and disadvantages, he said. But with gasoline cars, all the usual troubles at the gas station will be solved. Because there are very few errors in this refueling system and rest stops along the way. In addition, the habit of driving a gasoline car has been formed for a long time, and estimating the time of refueling is more efficient than charging.
As far as electric cars go, they can be a lot of fun while traveling, but there are also many concerns: limited range, lack of charging stations, long charging times. The height of frustration for many people is when they walk into the station and find a broken capacitor.
Having driven the Toyota bZ4X and Genesis GV60 twice, he has gained some experience driving electric vehicles over long distances.
Choosing the right car is very important
With Toyota bZ4X, Tim Levin went from New York to Washington, DC (USA). With the Genesis GV60, he traveled from New York to Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Both have about the same range (according to the EPA), traveling about 500 miles, requiring two charging stops in between and charging once upon reaching the destination. But one brings a fun experience, the other is quite… impatient.
Whether the car can be charged quickly depends largely on the power source. With a Toyota bZ4X charging capacity of 100 kW, the Levin takes 45 minutes for the first charge and 1 hour for the next charge.
Levin describes the charging sessions as long and boring. A Toyota spokesperson said that bZ4X sometimes reduces the faster charging speed to reduce wear on the battery pack and increase longevity. Fortunately, upon returning in the afternoon, having found the correct charging capacitor, Levin was able to quickly charge it in 15 minutes.
In contrast, with the Genesis GV60 with a charging capacity of 230 kW, the Levin only takes 12 minutes to charge for the first time, 35 minutes for the next charge, and there is no “speed loss” phenomenon like bZ4X.
From there, Levin concludes: Charging speed is more important than operating range. For those who are “impatient”, a car like the Genesis GV6 would be better. But 100 kW charging plugs are more common.
Cold weather greatly affects electric vehicles
Apart from the choice of vehicle, the major differentiating factor between the two trips is the weather.
The trip with the Toyota bZ4X took place in April, when it was still quite cold. Estimated operational range reduced from 283 km to 201 km. Turning on the heater consumes a lot of electricity, requires more charging stops and takes longer journey times. Therefore, Levin decided to go the whole way (stopping to charge only 2 times as originally planned) and drove in “unstable” conditions.
If a gasoline car is used, in the same conditions, Levin does not feel too cold, because a side effect of the internal combustion engine is to radiate heat.
The trip with the Genesis GV60 took place in July. Therefore, they used air conditioning. The air conditioner consumes less battery, so you don’t have to worry too much about unplanned charging stops.
If you drive an electric vehicle, don’t skip regular charging
“I’ve learned that regular charging while parked can make long-distance electric vehicle trips more convenient,” Levin wrote.
When he reached Washington the battery of the Toyota electric car was only 6%. Therefore, Levin needed to be fully charged before returning to New York. The disturbing thing is that there was no charging point at the place where he stayed for the night, even if it was a regular charger. So the next morning, he was forced to find a fast charging station and plug in the car for an hour.
He wrote, “It’s not the worst inconvenience, but going on vacation is about enjoyment, not wasting time trying to keep the car from stalling.”
The journey by Genesis’ electric car was easy, as there was a power outlet at the place where he stopped. Charging is still very slow, but at least you don’t have to worry about finding a charging station and take advantage of the time when everyone can go sightseeing.
It is true that gasoline cars face the same problems as electric cars. For example, an electric car worries about battery drain while a gasoline car worries about battery drain.
But perhaps due to “ingrained” habits, situations are much easier to handle with a gasoline car.
At the very least, you don’t have to worry about the gas station breaking down (an extremely limited possibility), you don’t have to worry too much about using the heater or air conditioner, you don’t have to stare. There is no remaining battery capacity, and no need to carefully plan stops (unless going to really remote locations).
But the world is changing, according to Levine, so the best approach is to “try new things and turn them into habits” over time. At the time, electric cars were just like gasoline cars today.