It’s happened. The full evolution from kid who listened to Rush Limbaugh in the UMKC parking lot to grown man who owns an electric car has finally happened. I may have missed out on the opportunity to grow my hair long, but I’m one Phish concert away from becoming a full-fledged hippie.
Let me explain. For years, I’ve been driving a hybrid car that had enough of an electric charge, that I could drive 25 miles before the gas engine kicked in.
Living in North Kansas City and, at most, having to drive to Parkville, this served me very well. However, occasionally, I would have to drive to Topeka or Wichita, where I’d need to buy gas. But only once every six weeks or so. A far cry from the early days of filling my car up to and from Cerner once or twice a week.
With the pandemic, my IT-based job became fully remote, so there goes the commute gas. And you know the drill about gas prices lately, so I considered an all-electric car as a way to avoid the filling station for good.
So earlier this month it happened. I went with a fully electric Kia. Electric seats. AM/FM radio. The whole works. Even has cup holders. But what they don’t tell you is that there is a learning curve with driving an EV car.
First off, they don’t brake like a normal car. EV’s can re-charge simply through magnetic somethingorother. And when you want to slow down, you just let your foot off the gas and that magnet thing kicks in slowing down your car. It actually is pretty neat, but you also need to train your foot to use the brakes about 75% less than you would in a normal car.
The next thing is bigger. If you want to travel more than about 200 miles in one drive, you need to plan a place to charge your car. Now, we’ve been stopping to fill up our cars on road trips for years. And there are thousands of EV charging stations around the country. But there are only a couple hundred EV Fast Charging stations in the states of Missouri and Kansas. And you want a Fast Charging station to charge your car in 20 minutes instead of 8 hours. So this means you need to plan your trip.
I went on a road trip the first week I got the car to Wichita, and I did not plan my trip. I stopped in Emporia thinking there was a fast charging station there. Instead it was a car dealership where the man mistook my Kia for a Tesla and said “Naw, that crap’s broke.” Nice enough guy.
So I learned about inching down the road in “turtle mode” (yes, there’s a giant orange turtle on the screen when you’re out of electricity) and limping to a charging station.
The final learning curve I didn’t expect is that I no longer have as much reason to go to QuikTrip. I’m not filling up my car anymore, so should I still be allowed to go into QT to get roller food? (Spoiler alert: I still do.)
All learning curves aside, I love the thing. It has as much 0-60 speed as any car I’ve driven and it hums like a bird along the road. Don’t ask me how it all works, I just know that I need to keep it charged, and to stop at QuikTrip now and again to make sure I use that cup holder.
I’m ready for my Grateful Dead t-shirt.
(Get more EV tips and tricks from Chris Kamler on X, the app formerly known as Twitter. You’ll find as @TheFakeNed)