“I’d never driven an EV before this trip—and never seriously considered owning one.” | A first-hand experience of driving an EV long distance
A little about the author, TJ:
I grew up in the American Rust Belt on the south shores of Lake Erie - wedged between the home of US automaking in Detroit and the birthplace of Rockefeller’s Standard Oil in Cleveland. My family was in the business of Diesel locomotives and tractors. Our entire economy relied on internal combustion, right down to my hometown having an internationally renowned ¼-mile drag racing strip. So, it probably comes as no surprise that I’d never driven an EV before this trip - and never seriously considered owning one. They seemed somehow less engaging than a fossil fuel vehicle, not to mention all the misinformation about range and performance. And before this trip, I had no plans to switch.
TJ borrowed a Tesla Model Y and took it on a distance of over 1300 miles.
Taking an EV to Peat bogs
I wanted to go and visit Flow Country ever since I listened to a podcast about how vital peat bogs are to protecting our climate. Peat bogs are rare - only about 3% of the earth’s surface. But they cover about 20% of Scotland, which makes the UK super important for stopping climate change.
Peat bogs are unique because they’re huge carbon sinks, and they’re the single most effective terrestrial carbon sink we have. But, they don’t get a lot of attention because all the carbon is below ground. When we see a forest, we see how the carbon is stored. It’s not so apparent with peatland.
Ironically, it was trees that caused catastrophic damage to peat lands in Scotland, back In the 1980s. Fortunately, some amazing UK scientists worked tirelessly to show us how vital peat bogs are and how full of life they are as well, now Scotland’s peatland is a thriving wetland ecosystem. And the Scottish government is working to restore 600,000 acres of peat bogs to their natural state by 2030.
I wanted to see Flow Country because it’s such a special place - not only for the climate, but as a defining aspect of this really beautiful island we get to call home. There aren’t many places you can just drive to see peatlands. But, I also knew it didn’t make much sense to drive a fossil fuel car to go appreciate Scotland’s role in protecting our climate. Thanks to the Tesla and the ease of charging an EV now, I did it at a fraction of the cost of petrol and with no tailpipe emissions.
Driving and charging an EV long distance
Driving the Tesla was kind of unbelievable, to be honest. Once upon a time, I spent too much (far too much) money trying to make my Ford Mustang perform better. Now, I’m driving a Tesla with heated seats, a giant touchscreen, and that has acceleration we couldn’t even imagine 15 or 20 years ago. And it has room for four, with luggage.
The driving experience is incredible, and it’s matched only by how dead simple it is to find a charger and top-up. There’s not even any thinking involved. Put your destination in the satnav and the car calculates which chargers you need to visit. It automatically preps the battery for fast charging to get you on your way faster. I barely had time to properly enjoy my salt & vinegar crisps (the superior flavour choice).
This Model Y had 330 miles of range. I was honestly never worried about making it to where I wanted to go. After more than 1300 miles of driving, and I needed to stop more than the car did.
One thing I discovered is that you don’t realise how many chargers there are until you drive an EV. They are everywhere. Even in the most remote villages on Scotland’s north coast, I found multiple high-capacity chargers. Having the Octopus Electroverse takes so much of the hassle out of the process. No worrying about finding a charger or having the right network account. Charging just wasn’t a concern.”
Your EV experience
TJ thoroughly enjoyed his experience of driving an EV and it hugely changed his perspective. The question is, has it changed yours? You can find more about owning an EV in our EV Hub. And you can browse some of the best EVs on our cars page.