The Owner/Driver

Name: Eric Wilson
Occupation: Director of Sustainability and STEAM Initiatives
Location: Thousand Oaks, CA

The Vehicle

Year/make/model: 2014 Tesla Model S and 2018 Chevrolet Bolt
Type: Both fully electric
Range: 208–262 miles (Model S, depending on battery size); 238 miles (Bolt)
MPGe: 89–95 (Model S, depending on battery size; 119 (Bolt)
MSRP: $69,900–$119,000 (Model S, depending on specifications); $36,320 (Bolt)
Years owned: Purchased Model S in 2014 and leased Bolt starting in 2018

The Experience

What made you decide to go electric and how did you decide what car to get?
I vowed never to purchase another Internal Combustion Engine vehicle. At the time, the Model S was the only viable long-range option. Supercharging was a big selling point for the Tesla back in 2014. The fact that we live in CA and it was manufactured here, that it was the safest car on the road, and that we could seat seven (with the two rear-facing seats) all helped seal the deal – in addition to the obvious electric powertrain. We were living with family, so our overhead was low. Although it was, and still is, out of our price range, it was important enough to make the transition to electric. Last March I got rid of our other car, a Toyota, and leased a Bolt while we try to figure out what we’re going to do more long-term.

How has the cost of purchasing and owning your EV compared to the cost of purchasing and owning a conventional car?
It’s difficult to compare. The Tesla required a pricey service plan. We have had no maintenance cost on the Bolt, but we’ve driven the Tesla nearly 115,000 miles and driven the Bolt 10,000 miles.

What have been the biggest challenges of going electric?
Infrastructure. We have charging at my work – which I oversee – and at my wife’s work. Her employer put in 50 charging stations but started ramping up the pricing to the point where it was prohibitive for her. We put in a 100 Amp subpanel at the house where we were living when we first bought the Tesla, and then put in a 50 Amp circuit for charging at the home we ended up purchasing. Several people have adopted EVs at work, which is great, but requires juggling people’s charging requirements.

What are the biggest misconceptions of going electric?
That it’s impractical. Going electric may require more planning, but it’s not a huge inconvenience. It’s particularly doable for families with multiple vehicles, since you can just replace one car with an EV for short-range trips and keep a conventional vehicle for longer excursions.

Describe one of the farthest/coolest/most ambitious trips you’ve ever taken in your EV.
From LA, we’ve driven to San Francisco, Monterey, and Las Vegas, but I’d really like to do a cross-country trip.

Do you have any good stories about your experience as an EV owner?
Other owners have almost entirely been friendly. About 10 months in, I met another driver at a charging station in Buellton, CA, who put 47,000 miles on their Model S in just over a year. That’s pretty cool. We’re approaching 115,000 miles in 4.5 years. I’m proud of that, though I’d really prefer to not have to drive at all.

What is the number-one thing you think could be done to encourage more people to go electric?
Expose people to the technology. People are often most afraid of what they don’t know.

The EV&Me blog was created by Hannah Safford and is now managed by Cassidy Craford, student assistant for the UC Davis Policy Institute for Energy, Environment, and the Economy.  The original post is located on the UC Davis Institute for Transportation Studies web page. Browse on over for instructions on how to submit your EV story!

EV owners/drivers wishing to be featured in an upcoming EV&Me post can self-nominate by filling out this form. Note that the blog is not limited to Davis residents. Nominations are welcome from all over! EV drivers and owners are also encouraged to share their stories using the hashtag #EVandMe.

For more information about electric vehicles and rebates, check out the Cool Davis Drive Electric web page.