This post is part of a series of EV Driver Spotlights that shine a light on why people choose to drive electric. Drivers, want to be profiled? Tell us your EV story.
The Morgan family is taking its Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan on road trips all over California and the U.S. See how this eco-friendly family got started on the EV path!
What EV(s) do you have?
Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
Where do you live?
Elk Grove, CA (near Sacramento)
What do you do for work (and fun)?
I’m a wedding videographer and Commercial/Corporate Filmmaker. My wife Julianne is a Special Ed Teacher. Our kids Coraline (6) and Leland (4) provide the entertainment.
What made you decide to drive electric?
We bought electric for a few reasons. First and foremost, our previous family vehicle was a GMC Sierra 1500, and while we loved that truck, we were getting around 13-14 mpg on it, and filling it up was getting pricy: over $80/tank at one point! We love taking long road trips as a family, and just got back from a three-week long one that took us all the way out to Mount Rushmore, into Yellowstone, up to Montana, down through Utah, to Disneyland, Ventura and back home. The cost of fuel for the truck would have just killed us!
With the federal, state and local incentives, and the fact that we’d save a lot of money with a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan and its features and awesome technology caught our eye when it was announced in 2016. Plus, we love that we’re doing a little bit more to help the environment. Our next stop is solar on our roof!
How did you decide which EV(s) to buy?
When we heard about the Pacifica PHEV, we knew it checked a lot of the boxes we wanted out of our next vehicle, particularly with it being a plug-in hybrid. Unfortunately, the all-electrics that met our space needs ended up being along the lines of the Tesla Model X, or something else well over our budget. The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid really hit the mark on being a large enough vehicle with long range for our family trips, while still allowing us the efficiency and functionality of driving all electric when we’re at home doing our daily routines.
Do you charge at home? What charger do you use?
Currently, we are using the supplied Level 1 power cable, however our utility company, SMUD, gave us a free Level 2 charger for our home that we plan on getting installed here in the next few weeks.
Do you charge at work? Did that influence your decision to get an EV?
I work from home, and Julianne works at a school. When she has the van, she doesn’t charge at work, but she doesn’t work far from home. Typically she’ll use up about 30% of the range going to and from work.
What’s your favorite thing about driving electric?
We don’t have to worry about high, fluctuating gas prices. Plus, with SMUD's new time-of-day rates, we know that we can charge for cheap! There are also a lot of great places around town for us to charge while we’re out and about, with some of them being free.
Tip: See if your local utility has time-of-use rates or EV charging rebates: find home charging incentives.
How much do you estimate you’re saving on gas?
Probably about $300/mo.
What are some of the challenges about driving electric, or what’s surprised you?
One challenge is that we’re limited to Level 2 charging (because DC fast isn't available for the Pacifica). Sometimes it would be nice to access the DC fast chargers that are popping up all over town and would fully charge our van in about 30 minutes compared to Level 2, which takes about 2.5 hours. Still, we enjoy being able to top off a little bit at the Level 2 chargers around town and on trips!
How did you decide to promote your EV lifestyle on social media? How has the response been so far?
We decided to promote our EV lifestyle on social media partially because of our road trip. We went quite a long way, and saw a lot of beautiful places! Our Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid was the key to our trip. With me being a videographer, and Julianne also being a bit of a photographer, we found Instagram was a great place for us to highlight those awesome moments for our trip, as well as promote some of the great features of our vehicle, some of the awesome services out there such as ChargePoint, and bring awareness to the fact that you can have an awesome electric vehicle and travel as a family without compromise.
We’ve had great responses, especially from the companies we’ve tagged and promoted such as ChargePoint, Chrysler, SMUD, and ClipperCreek! It’s also been a lot of fun beginning to engage in the EV communities. Our social media even got one of our friends to buy a Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid a week after us!
What’s your favorite place to charge? Where would you most want a charging spot?
Lately our favorite place is at one of the parks in our town. The city building next door has a bank of 6 free public charging stations, managed by ChargePoint! Though, our newest favorite place is Disneyland! We head to Disneyland several times a year, and now being able to charge up our van while we enjoy the park is a huge benefit!
Have you been on an electric road trip?
We recently went on a three-week-long road trip that took us all the way out to Mount Rushmore, into Yellowstone, up to Montana, down through Utah, to Disneyland, Ventura, and back home. The Pacifica was an awesome vehicle for the trip. We spent far less on gas than we did on our last trip with our GMC Sierra last year, and we were able to find several places to charge, including a ChargePoint station at the Aviary in Salt Lake City (pictured above).
What’s one thing you think people should know about driving electric?
There are a lot of options out there, and different vehicles that fit people’s needs and price points. You don’t have to worry about vehicles that can’t handle the day-to-day, or even the out-of-the-ordinary day, because the technology has gotten so good, and charging is becoming more widely available.
What do you wish you’d known before you chose to drive electric?
I think I would have studied a little bit more about the different levels and types of charging. While I know that Chrysler doesn’t make a DC fast or Level 3 charging option for the Pacifica Hybrid, it would have been great to know all the differences. Now I'm aware though!
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