The EV Collection

2013 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive Cabriolet

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I have always been a convertible fan, and I have owned a good number of them — all Volkswagens. The last one was a 2014 TDI Beetle Convertible (6-speed manual). I really did love the car, I had waited for a diesel cabrio in the US for a very long time. But, this car was a lemon: the top leaked on day 3, the driver seat had to be replaced, I went through 4 or 5 multimedia modules and at least two radios — with the issues persisting. Eventually the car couldn’t sit more than 4 or 5 days without killing the 12v battery. I filed a lemon law claim with VW, which came after the #Dieselgate scandal broke. When we got to arbitration, I plainly put it: “You can’t replace the car with the same model because their sales have been halted by the company’s willful violation of US Federal law. A gasoline model is not a comparable replacement. Given the former facts, I cannot sell the vehicle because it’s lost over 1/3 of its value. The only fair option, given that a factory rep has been involved in the troubleshooting, is to buy back this car.” I won. It helped that the Bluetooth acted up again in the car, and the arbitrator felt it hadn’t been properly repaired. On Friday, April 1, 2016 I gleefully handed the keys to the car back to Leith VW of Raleigh. On Monday, April 4, 2016 my little Gopher arrived from New Hampshire on a semi truck. I watched the little car hit 9,000 miles on my drive home. I have a little over 36,000 as of this writing. I love this car, more than any car I’ve owned before. I have taken it to Myrtle Beach in a proof of concept experiment, and I tow with it on a regular basis.

2014 BMW i3

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In July 2016, my parents asked if they could buy the Mazda 5 “microvan” off me. My grandfather, who moved in last year, was having a hard time getting in and out of their cars. I agreed, and inherited by dad’s 2001 Passat in the deal. I drove the Passat directly to Global Imports BMW in Atlanta and traded it for my ugly duckling. I will go on record right now, I hate the color of my car, but when you buy used you don’t get much choice in the matter. However, I could live with the beige as long as the car worked. The salesman was confused as to how I planned to get the car home to Raleigh from Atlanta, and I told him: “I plan to stop every 60 miles and refill the generator. That’s what it’s there for.” He didn’t think I could make it. Little did he know the 400-mile journey home was only the start of this i3’s road trips. Our single longest trip was to Western Maryland for a Wedding, when we realized we were 45 minutes to Fallingwater, we had to go. This weekend excursion was 1,055 miles total. A few months later my buddy rented the i3 via Turo and drove it 2,700 miles to and from Naples, Florida averaging 44mpg and using $0 in fuel while he was down there for a week. He only polluted on the highway – and I’m OK with this as a short-term solution. In 2017 I started to microblog my trips on Twitter so others knew that a single EV could be their only car. Below you’ll find the final trip reports:

2017 Zero SR ZF13.0

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Three days after Gopher came home, my spouse decided to buy an electric motorcycle. We had been planning this for a while, and at one time thought the Zero would be our first EV. I took him in the electric car to pick up his electric motorcycle, and I’ll never forget how exciting that felt. Sadly, our 2015 was not reliable. However, Zero made it right and gave us a great incentive to upgrade to a 2017 with the Level 2 “ChargeTank.” This was an accessory that our 2015 lacked, and it’s essential for some of the trips I take with the bike. ChargeTank fully recharges the bike in 2.5 to 3 hours. While this seems like a long down time for some, I’m an inexperienced (~4000 miles as of this writing) rider. I’m OK with riding 2 hours and waiting 2 hours for the bike to charge. I took the bike to Myrtle Beach in 2018, and I’m planning a Charlotte trip for later this summer.