After driving home, running a quick errand, and driving to a parking garage downtown, I’d traveled 51.4 miles and used up 55 miles of indicated range, giving me another 45 miles until the battery would die. I charged up for free at an Ann Arbor parking garage and got an additional 49 miles of electric range, bringing the total range on the funky LED readout to 91 miles. That was plenty for me to complete my 45-mile commute back to our office the next morning, again driving just as I would in any other car while using headlights, the radio, and the heated driver’s seat. I suffered none of the much-hyped “range anxiety” we’re told afflicts EV drivers.
-Jake Holmes, associate Web editor
While on paper an electric vehicle may seem like an efficient and logical way to simplify the daily commute, the reality is there is a level of added stress with all electric vehicles. Charge up overnight, charge up in the front row at work, and never stop for gas in between. This concept is enticing until put into practice. Need to run some errands on the way home? Then you’d better make sure to count the miles and use the heater sparingly.
-Sandon Voelker, videographer
Like Jake, I commuted in the 2015 Kia Soul EV as if it were any other car. On my way home from work at night, it was rainy, cold, and dark, which required using a heavy load of electronics including the headlights, windshield wipers, and climate control. I also turned on the heated seat and heated steering wheel, and I listened to the radio. As indicated by a screen in the Soul’s EV menu, these electronics put a fairly significant extra load on the battery pack. This meant that my 44-mile drive reduced the battery from 100 percent down to 43 percent, using up 68 miles of the indicated 107-mile range I started with.
With the gauge cluster showing 39 miles remaining, I knew I wouldn’t have enough juice to make the same commute the next day. Luckily, Ann Arbor has many free charging stations, and I plugged in the Soul EV at a garage near my house for 2.5 hours and brought the battery back up to a 97 percent charge, giving me an indicated range of 97 miles.
-Joey Capparella, associate Web editor
-Todd Lassa, executive editor