Driving to a protest rally and participating by yelling with like-minded citizens against the oil industry is relatively easy. It’s much more difficult to make a concerted effort to cut down on using fossil fuels to tell the oil industry “you’re not interested.” Speaking out is important, but I believe it is more important to be a doer than just a sayer. That’s why in 2015 I bought a fully-electric mitsubishi i-MiEV and have been driving it ever since.
The i-MiEV holds an interesting record. Since it hit the market in 2010, it has consistently been the worst selling car in the U.S., sometimes struggling to break triple-digits in a single year. We cannot dismiss this as a general lack of interest in Americans for electric cars; in 2015 Nissan sold 17K fully-electric Leafs. It may be the i-MiEV’s other record-breaking characteristics that has lead to its sluggish sales: its 16 kWh battery makes it the lightest, most efficient, and shortest running electric car in terms of distance – 67 miles per charge.
The car’s unpopularity was glaringly apparent when I discovered in 2015 that there was only one i-MiEV in all of New England available for purchase. I admit, when I picked up my i-MiEV from the dealership in Walpole, MA, I was a bit nervous at the thought of my 140-mile drive back to Portland, ME. Luckily, drivers are not left to fend for themselves. Several companies have developed Apps that will lead you to charging stations during your journey. I chose Plugshare for my first trip, and it worked great.
Still, the thought of running out of juice every 67 miles was, and is, stressful. However, myself and your average driver only need to go a few miles each day to get to work and back. This makes the i-MiEV the most efficient vehicle you can buy for the vast majority of your driving needs. You might also be thinking the i-MiEV is too slow for your highway commute because of a lack of power – you know, it’s not a real car. Actually, the i-MiEV is the first modern mass-produced highway-speed electric vehicle and I can tell you from experience it does fine at over 70 mph.
The benefits to driving an i-MiEV are numerous. Besides the obvious – cutting down on fossil fuel – it happens to be the smoothest driving car I have ever driven. Many people find it unsettling how quiet electric cars can be, but once you get used to the absence of clanging and revving, it can be quite peaceful. Plus, you can listen to the radio at a lower volume since it does not have to combat the ambient noise of a loud car. Last, I cannot stress enough how nice it is not having to deal with oil changes, mysterious odors, or gas stations. If you want to up your game even further you can install solar panels at your house to charge your i-MiEV without the use of any fossil fuels whatsoever.
If you take the plunge and purchase a Mitsubishi i-MiEV, you’ll quickly notice the small, but growing, community of electric vehicle owners in your community. Your neighborhood charging stations are akin to the office water cooler and EVers are excited to talk shop and share experiences.
Stay tuned for our follow up post in which we’ll focus on incentives for EV owners and tips for making your drive easier.