Thinking of Getting an EV: Any Recommendations?

Discussion in 'General' started by SouthernDude, Jul 18, 2019.

  1. SouthernDude

    SouthernDude New Member

    I live in the south east and nearly all of my driving for both work and vacation is around Alabama, Georgia, and North Florida (rarely Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina)

    I work as a consultant, so my driving schedule is inconsistent and unpredictable since I must meet my clients onsite. The vast majority of my long distance driving is for work and my work driving needs greatly exceed my Vacation/Holiday/Recreational needs. I can't put an exact number, but at least 30-40% of the time (in a busy year) I have to drive above 200 miles a day and occasionally up to 400 miles a day (or in one trip like when I had to drive the whole panhandle of Florida to the Georgia coast o_O).

    Don't have a super big budget - maybe around $20-$25k. Could go to the $30k, but I don't want to spend a ton on a car (I'm young and I need to save for retirement). Used doesn't bother me battery degradation does (for obvious reasons lol).

    Soooo. What do y'all think?
  2. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

    For your requirements, I'd recommend pretty much any used, plug-in hybrid:
    • 2015+ BMW i3-REx - 72 mi EV + 2.3 gal gas engine, 150 mi range. You'll be able to charge and run on cheap electricity every morning and gas the rest of the day as needed. This is my backup car for our 240 mi, Tesla Model 3. However, tires last about 30-35k miles and expensive.
    • 2016+ Chevy Volt - 50 mi EV + 8 gal gas engine, 420 mi range. Discontinued earlier this year, they are heavily discounted.
    • 2016+ Prius Prime - 25 mi EV + 11 gal gas engine, 640 mile range. It has Prius +55 MPG mileage and a 640 mile range. It was our backup for the BMW i3-REx until I traded the Prime in, $18.3k, for our Tesla Model 3.
    Let me suggest these resources:
    • Use "" to see your J1772, CCS, and RV park NEMA 14-50 charging options. Many are free or affordable but read the charging comments to determine if they are live.
    • Carry 'camping' gear to nap in the car on a charger. The electric A/C will keep it nice inside.
    • Use "" to find the completed sale prices for these cars. Avoid first model year as not all of the infantile problems were fixed.
    • Join free forums for the cars you're interested in. They are very helpful to newbies and with the VIN lookup tell what the car has.
    • A little pricier, buy from a dealer who can certify everything is OK and often a 30 day, limited warranty. They also know how to process the paperwork.
    Bob Wilson
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2019
    Domenick likes this.
  3. SouthernDude

    SouthernDude New Member

    Thanks for the reply.

    I'll start by saying that I've considered BMW i3-REx before - I like that it has a lot of electric range. I've heard rumors that the REx is a little weak and can give out on steep hills, which really isn't a problem in the Southeast. I didn't realize that about the tires either. Getting new tires every two years doesn't sound like something fun to do.

    I've heard that the Volt isn't comfortable to drive for long periods of time. Don't know how true that is.

    I haven't really considered the prius because the electric range is pretty small.

    I've had the plugshare app for years. I can technically make it everywhere with a Bolt, but the general lack of DC fast chargers makes it daunting.
  4. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

    My first drive home, my first BMW i3-REx drive, was from Charlotte NC to Knoxville TN via I-40. I had to climb a pass.

    Bob Wilson
  5. SouthernDude

    SouthernDude New Member

    Oh cool. It didn't really give out or unexpectedly slow down right? I kind of wonder if this is just a rumor that it happens.
  6. Domenick

    Domenick Administrator Staff Member

    For that sort of driving -- 200 miles on the regular -- you need a car with both long range and fast charging. The only vehicle that would really work for you is the Model 3, but the long-range version is way above your budget.

    So, if you really wanted something with a plug, I would go Honda Clarity, Prius Prime, or Chevy Volt. Bob mentions the BMW i3 but its range is still short, even with the range extender, so (IMHO) I don't think that's a great choice.

    I think you could probably get a better deal on a Volt than the Clarity (cheapest one a quick search on shows is $23,500).
  7. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

    Just to clarify, the BMW i3-REx has a 640 cc, motorcycle engine and ~2 gallon gas tank. It will easily maintain 70 mph on an Interstate and like any other motorcycle, refuel every 1.25 hours, ~80 miles.

    My drive home was 463 mi and my wife and I have driven +600 miles to Stillwater OK and returned to Huntsville AL. On gas, it only gets about 40 MPG at 70 mph burning premium or plus. It is common to find fast DC charging port, CCS. However, few consider this to be 'normal' but I've been cursed that way for most of my life. <grins>

    Bob Wilson
  8. SouthernDude

    SouthernDude New Member

    Thank you for your input. Teslas are certainly great cars. However, like you said, they are out of my ideal price range. I do think that an i3 should be adequate for most of my drives, considering that there's enough gas stations around. I'll be honest, I've also thought of getting an i3 and then jerry-rigging a gas can to fuel it as I drive. lol Probably not the safest idea, but it would cut down on stops.

    I may consider a Volt or a Clarity because they have longer electric ranges.
  9. SouthernDude

    SouthernDude New Member

    I knew the i3 had a motorcycle engine, but I wasn't sure how much it affected the performance. That's great that the range extender is that efficient. If I go with the i3, I will make significant use of that range extender, so I just want to be sure.

    DC fast chargers are certainly becoming more common, but there aren't enough in the areas I drive :(.
  10. ab13

    ab13 Active Member

    You should try to get something with dynamic cruise control, which will help long highway drives. How much irs tax credit would you qualify for?
  11. MajorAward

    MajorAward Active Member

    I would say the Honda Clarity is a good way to go, if you can find one. There are a few 2018's left in the Southeast, but act fast if you want one. Another bonus, if you qualify is the $7500 federal tax credit on a new (not used) Clarity. I love mine. 40-60 miles EV, then 40-45 mpg in HV mode, depending on your driving style. One negative, is the small (7gal) fuel tank. Good luck with whatever you choose.
    Bender likes this.
  12. Teslawannabe

    Teslawannabe Member

    There is a brand new Clarity last time I checked @ Coconut Point Honda, base model and were willing to drop the price to $26,200. If they still have it , they may take less. It is green, however.

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