EV1 Chronicles
Why we decided to get the second EV1...

What's New?

EV1 Club
Web Page

Charger List

More EV Links

Home Page

Home Page

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 drive!

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 second car?"

    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 better.

    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.

Copyright 1997-1999 by Dave & Jean Kodama Email: kodama@alumni.caltech.edu