When picking up my first electric vehicle, I was nervous and excited at the same time. I had done a lot of research online and listened to a lot of podcasts, but nothing replaces real life experience. The nerves were from the fact that I was about to walk into a Kia dealership to take possession of my new Kia EV6.
This was my first electric vehicle as I had only owned gas-powered cars before. While I consider myself a “car guy,” I hadn’t had this feeling before. Well, except for when I got the opportunity to get behind the wheel of a real Shelby Cobra worth a couple of million dollars, or a 1967 Ford GT 40 also in the millions. I get to drive a lot of fun cars for work, but this felt different. This was new. It felt exciting, and I was nervous!
Watch the Kia EV6 walkthrough here!
My first electric vehicle – Kia EV6
I imagined what it was like in the Henry Ford days when someone got to drive their first automobile instead of riding their horse. Was that the feeling I was feeling? I snapped myself out of the trance and realized that, unfortunately this feeling wasn’t the same as that.
Why was that? This is basically a car just powered by a battery instead of a gasoline engine. I realized that I wasn’t going to experience something as magical as going from a horse to a car when I walked into the dealership. That said, I was about to experience something many have never experienced – owning my first electric vehicle.
I laid eyes on my electric car as they had it out front, and I was immediately enthralled by the look of the Kia EV6. Sexy, with sharp lines running along the doors and up the rear quarter panels, it has a very distinct look.
After signing all the paperwork, and a very long explanation of all of the tech on the car, I was ready to drive it home. I wasn’t just going down the street, no, I was going to take it 300 miles away! That story is for another article, but these are the 5 things I learned that you should know before you pick up you first electric vehicle.
Tip #1: Check if the car comes with a level 1 charger
Does your new EV come with a level 1 charger? You might be thinking, “of course it does.” Well, the Kia EV6 did not! Some of the newer Teslas also do not. This caught me off guard, and the dealership didn’t have one to sell to me. Luckily, Amazon Prime saved the day with a level one charger delivered to my house the same day I picked up my car. Plan ahead to make sure you have all your charging needs covered.
Tip #2: Download lots of apps
This might be overkill, but I recommend downloading and setting up a bunch of charging apps to make sure you will be able to charge wherever you are. I didn’t have them downloaded before I took possession of my first electric vehicle. Therefore, I had to do it all while sitting outside the dealership.
It took a lot of time to setup each one. Luckily, I was in an area with good cell service. You will be less nervous about charging if you create accounts and get them setup ahead of time. I recommend downloading: ChargePoint, Electrify America, PlugShare, A Better Route Planner, Blink, EVGO, ChargeHUB and of course, your vehicle-specific app.
Tip #3: You might know more than your dealer
A lot of dealerships have not sold a lot of EVs yet. Ask questions of your salesperson by email before you pick up your first electric vehicle so it gives them time to research your questions and get answers. For example, asking ahead of time was how I found out that the EV6 didn’t come with a level 1 charger.
Tip #4: Check for a rebate from your energy provider
Look up any rebates your energy provider might be offering. I was able to get a rebate on a home charger that they approved ($500). They also lowered my electricity cost from 11pm to 6am to incentivize me to charge my vehicle during non-peak electric hours. Be sure to do this before installing your home charger.
Tip #5: Plan to be at the dealership for a while
You will spend a lot more time at the dealership picking up your first electric vehicle (non-Tesla) than you would if you were buying a new gas-powered car. Don’t rush the process. There are several things you can do to ensure a smooth ride home.
For example, make sure the app for the vehicle is setup and synced before you leave. The app is critical to set charging levels, stop and start charging cycles, etc. Also, make sure you understand how the charging port works, and have the dealer show you how to plug it in.
If you have a long trip home, ask for the vehicle to be at 100% charge when you pick it up. That way, you don’t have to worry about range anxiety the second you pull out of the parking lot. The car is a car, but with a lot more technology and nuances. Make sure you feel comfortable before leaving.
Picking up my first electric vehicle
These were 5 lessons I learned as a new EV owner picking up my first electric vehicle. I hope you find them helpful for your own EV-buying experience. Stay tuned for future posts on lessons I learned from driving the Kia EV6 home on a 300-mile journey.
I will say, it will feel strange pulling off the lot with 100% charge and watching it slowly tick down, something you have never experienced or felt with a gas-powered vehicle. There is no reason to panic. You got this, and charging is a lot easier than you may think. Congratulations on getting your first electric vehicle!
Post written by Bryant Kolle, Advisory Board Member of EV Universe