For many years, electric cars have been in a niche for nerds who have dealt intensively with the topic. In many cases, they were idealists and were ready to accept all the side effects that running a car outside of the mass movement brings with it. It’s over. The registration figures for electrified cars are skyrocketing, fueled by subsidies, which not only critics are wondering how long this can be sustained at this level.
If a concept is to leave the outside world and appeal to the mass of car users, it must inevitably appeal to those who are not passionate about the topic, but simply want to get from A to B by car. A lot has happened in this regard, both in terms of electric vehicles themselves and in terms of infrastructure. How do the drivers feel about it? Heise / Autos talked to two newcomers and a long-time e-car driver about it.
As the father of two kindergarten children and one elementary school student, Felix has been driving a Seat Mii electric for a few months. Christin lives alone and has a car subscription: she drives a Fiat 500e Icon for 13 months. Bernhard also lives in a house for himself. He owns two e-cars: a VW e-Golf from 2014 and a Tesla Model 3, built in 2019.
They are united by the fact that the conditions for them could not be better. Above all, this includes the option of being able to charge at home. At the same time, the three villagers have no alternative to the car: local public transport rarely touches their place of residence. Everyone uses their vehicles to get to work. Only Bernhard drives longer distances in one go. Felix and Christin only use their car for short distances.
Felix, you have been driving a Seat Mii electric with 61 kW since April 2021. Why did you buy an e-vehicle?
Felix: For me it had ecological reasons. In addition, the financial incentive due to the funding was a decisive factor in the purchase. The possibility of filling up with electricity from your own roof still fascinates me.
You have three children. Why did you choose the little Mii electric?
Felix: I drive 17 kilometers to and from work every day. I can take two of my children to kindergarten by car without any problems, the older one takes the school bus and no longer needs me as a chauffeur. The Mii is completely sufficient for my needs in terms of size and equipment.
The Mii turned out like this; he was just available. That cannot be taken for granted with cars of this class. Before that I had a Skoda Fabia, built in 2007, that had covered almost 200,000 kilometers. He still had TÜV for a year, but increasingly we had to have small things repaired, which cost money. We weren’t really looking for a new vehicle. But because the Mii had just offered, my wife and I accepted.
Christin, which model did you choose? And why?
Christin: I drive a Fiat 500e Icon with 87 kW. And that only since July 7th, 2021. Before that, I had an Opel Corsa, built in 2002. It was already quite rusty and would not have received a new TÜV sticker. Getting him fit for two more years was no longer worthwhile.
Bernhard, you have two electric cars. What are they exactly?
Bernhard: I’ve had a first-generation e-Golf for seven years. In 2019 a Tesla Model 3 Long Range was added. I was enthusiastic about electric driving from day one.
With the e-Golf, you were one of the first to drive an electric vehicle. Why did you take it
Bernhard: Yes, I was probably one of the first private e-Golf owners in southeast Bavaria and the lady at the registration office told me that it was the very first electric vehicle for her when she registered. In 2011 I was initially interested in an electric smart. Then a few more years passed and it became the e-Golf. It’s a little bigger and more comfortable.
At the beginning with an extension cable
I always wanted to own a car that could run on electricity from the photovoltaic system. I initially only had one on the roof of my house and initially I ran an extension cord from my house to the car to charge it. Sometimes the backups didn’t go along with that. A year later I built a carport with a solar roof and wallbox.
In 2019 you bought the Tesla Model 3. Why?
Bernhard: I had already pre-ordered the Tesla Model 3 in 2017, but it took another two years before it was also available in Europe. Up until that time I still had a VW bus as a second vehicle and to be operated with a trailer. Since the Tesla has a trailer hitch, I sold the bus and now drive purely electrically. This also has to do with my concept of life: I enjoy living as self-sufficient as possible. Just as I enjoy harvesting food from my own garden or collecting rainwater, I like generating the energy for my mobility myself.
No problem with the range
It looks like the vehicle batteries are also quite long-lasting. After driving 170,000 kilometers, the range of the e-Golf is now 100 to 140 kilometers, originally it was 130 to 190. That’s enough for my short trips to shop and work. The Tesla has a range of over 400 kilometers and due to the large battery capacity, a mileage of more than half a million kilometers can be expected here.
Are you satisfied with your electric vehicles?
Bernhard: Yes. The cars are very reliable and largely maintenance-free. That’s one of the reasons why I would choose an electric car again. I’ve only had a few minor repairs on the e-Golf over the past seven years: a defective wheel bearing, a broken spring and the lock on the tailgate. Once he needed new brake discs, the old ones just rusted. Recuperation means that the brakes are rarely used.