EV Driver Spotlight: Kati’s Active, All-Electric Family

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Meet EV Driver Kati

Meet EV driver Kati

This post is part of a series of EV Driver Spotlights that shine a light on why people choose to drive electric. Want to be profiled? Tell us your EV story.

What EV(s) do you have?

I drive a Chevy Bolt EV—aka “The Lightning”—and my husband drives a Ford C-MAX plug-in hybrid—aka “The ElectroCruiser.” My husband got his C-MAX about a year before I got my Bolt. Once, I drove his C-MAX, used up all the electric range and had to put gas in the car. My husband was totally dismayed—he’d been trying to drive the car all-electric for as long as possible and had never even used the gas engine! It didn’t seem like a big deal to me at the time, but now that I have my Bolt, I understand how he feels much better.

Where do you live?

San Jose, California.

What do you do for work (and fun)?

I work in marketing for a high-tech company. I have two kids and a dog who help dictate the fun: parks, museums, movies, crafts… you name it.

How long have you been driving electric?

I just started in November 2017 with the Bolt.

What made you decide to drive electric?

I’ll be honest, I coveted a carpool lane sticker. Even though the lanes are getting more crowded, I like the option to use them. With the sticker, my commute is about 30% faster in the morning, and 10% faster on the way home. Now that I’m driving electric, I see many additional benefits, but that sticker is what got me here.

How did you decide which EV(s) to buy?

I did a lot of online research in car magazine websites and consumer reports. I negotiated prices via email with a few dealers. There were other cars I considered like an eGolf, but the dealers wouldn't come to a price that I wanted. (Remember that my goal was a carpool lane sticker!) By the time I test drove the Bolt, I knew that I wanted it because the price was right and the reviews were good.

Do you charge at home? What charger do you use?

I occasionally charge at home but we only have a Level 1 charger, the one that came with the car. We plan to eventually install a Level 2 but just haven’t had the need yet.

Do you charge at work? Did that influence your decision to get an EV?

Yes I do, and yes it did influence my decision. (Don’t laugh, but my company only provides standard “wall” or “dryer” plugs for us to use. We bring our home charging cords and plug in to these big electric boxes that they installed in the parking lot. There are maybe 20 boxes of six plugs per box at work, and they are all full all the time.) Knowing that I could get the free electrons at work definitely influenced my decision. I will say, though, that if my company installed Level 2 or DC fast chargers that we had to pay to use, I would use those as well, as needed.

Knowing that I could get the free electrons at work definitely influenced my decision.

What’s your favorite thing about driving electric?

As much as I love the carpool sticker, I really love how quiet the interior is. I had no idea how much quieter it would be, especially on the highway.

How much do you estimate you’re saving on gas?

Probably $60-$80/month.

What are some of the challenges about driving electric?

For my day-to-day driving, I really have no challenges other than being irritated at the carpool "cheaters." I thought charging would be more of an issue, but with the Bolt’s 250-300 mile range in our mild climate, I have not had any problems.

Kati drives a Bolt EV

What’s surprised you about driving electric?

What’s surprised me is how fast the acceleration is, and how fun it is to drive. When people ask me how I like the Bolt, I say, “I love this car in a way I have never felt before.”

What’s your favorite place to charge?

Other than work, my favorite place to charge is the Campbell Community Center, where I go for my son’s drum lessons. I’ve used the charging stations at the Saratoga Library as well but the DC fast is expensive and doesn’t seem to work very well.

Where’s the best place you’ve taken an electric road trip, or where would you like to take one?

I haven’t taken one yet but am going to Napa in May.

What’s one thing you think people should know about driving electric?

Charging stations are everywhere (at least in Silicon Valley). You don’t see them until you start driving electric and noticing them. Charging the car is not nearly the problem that I thought it would be.

Charging stations are everywhere (at least in Silicon Valley). You don’t see them until you start driving electric and noticing them.

What do you wish you’d known before you chose to drive electric?

Using the heat in the car really reduces your mileage, so investing in warm driving shoes and a lap blanket helps your battery life. The community of EV drivers is incredibly helpful. I’ve found several groups on Facebook that are very generous with their knowledge. Also there are lots of apps that help you find nearby charging stations (of course the ChargePoint app was the first one I installed!).

Thanks for telling us your EV story, Kati! If you want to be profiled, drop us a line.

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