After 18 months and 23,000 miles on our first EV1, why did
we get the second one?
The Obvious Answer...
it works for us!
Less Obvious Answers...
And yes, let's not forget that it's really a fun car to
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) about the second car:
- Who gets to drive the new car?
Since the first car was technically Jean's (her name
was first on the lease), technically the second one
is Dave's (first on the new one), but in practice
most of the miles on the first car were carpool
miles and we took turns using the EV1. The second
one will now be used in the same way. We've been
regularly swapping cars and plan to
continue to do so, at least until the novelty wears off.
- People who know us well (at least they thought they
did) ask: "Why did you pick
RED for the
The first consideration was that we wanted to get a
different color. For the EV1, that leaves green and
red. Initially, we decided to go for green, but
when we went over to actually check out the car, we
decided, knowing we're really bad about keeping our
car clean, that the green would be too much work to
keep looking decent. So... that left red!
- Why didn't you get an EV+ or other electric vehicle?
This question has a multi-part answer.
First of all, the only other car from a major
manufacturer which is currently available to the
public is the Honda EV+. If you haven't seen it, it
looks like an oversize version of our Honda Civic
station wagon, which is no longer made.
One of the reasons we didn't get the EV+ is because
we don't need another 4-seat vehicle with large
cargo capacity. That need is filled with our
station wagon, and that can't be replaced with an
electric vehicle until EV's get good enough to do
things like drive from LA to Colorado in 3 days,
despite snow and lots of uphill driving. (Besides,
we don't need another vehicle that drives like our
Honda station wagon!)
Right now EV's are not practical for long distance
trips because of the battery capacity and recharge
times. If you are never in a hurry, this might work
for you, but we are always in a hurry to get to the
other end! When hybrid electric vehicles become
available, we will definitely consider them.
The other reason we did not go with Honda, despite
the fact that we really like Honda vehicles (5
previous cars), is that like the other
manufacturers (except for GM), Honda does not appear
to be truly committed to bringing an electric
vehicle to market. The EV+ is leased in limited
quantities from limited dealers, and we just don't
pick up much real enthusiasm from the official* Honda
effort which signals a serious commitment.
* However, the unofficial Honda effort (the drivers)
is just as enthusiastic as EV1 drivers!
- How do the two cars compare?
Because both cars are from the same first production
run (the first is #124, built in Oct. 1996 and the
second is #372, built in Dec. 1996), we didn't
expect any real differences, and in fact, there is
nothing greatly different. However, the two cars do
have their slight variations. For example, the new
car seems to have a lower-pitched, and slightly
louder hum to the motor, which I actually like a bit
The other small difference is that the new car seems
to fit together a little better (more airtight
sealing of the doors and solid trunk closure). We
take this to be the normal gradual "tuning" of the
manufacturing process. Over the course of a larger
volume of cars, we hope to see this achieve the
level of Honda's cars, one of the features which
really attracts us to Honda's products.
- How are you going to manage charging two cars?
If you imagine that the two electric cars will sit
side-by-side in our garage charging, then charging
would be a problem because our electrical panel
won't support the current we'd need to run two 240V
chargers at the same time.
However, most of the time, we carpool most of the
way to work, then pick up a second car at our
business office location, and drive separately the
rest of the way to work. So for the electric cars,
this works out just right. One car charges in
Cerritos, and one charges in Orange County. In
addition, Jean's company (Vixel) finished installing
a private charging station just two days before we
got the second car, so we will have no problems
managing the charging situation.
In the future, however, it seems obvious that to
support a two-EV household, GM or someone else will
have to come up with a charger to support two cars.
Perhaps one charger which can automatically switch
between two charging paddles will do it since a car
doesn't take all night to charge. In the mean time,
if we absolutely have to charge both cars in one
place, there is always the 120V charger.