EV Life: 2 week update

Even though we were delivered our Niro EV with barely above 10% charge, after using a DC fast charger once there were no further range issues. Even on 110V charging (which takes 59 hours to 100%) and normal commuting, my wife had no problems at all with keeping the car charged. Her commute varies wildly between 40 - 100 miles per day.

After installing a 220V outlet and a (removable) charger it looks like we’ll be charging her car about once a week, which is about how often she filled up with gas in her Versa. The car is set to only charge to 80% and only during off-peak hours.

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My wife loves the car and her only complaint is the reduced visibility compared to her Versa. (This is where a dumber version of myself might make a joke about the state of the hubcaps on her Versa from constantly hitting curbs, but I’m clearly much smarter than that) We had to switch sides in the garage due to the location of the charger and we’re both still adjusting to that after about 10 years of parking on the opposite side.

Due to the adjustable regen (no one-pedal driving like the Leaf, unfortunately), the difference between Eco, Normal, and Sport driving modes is large. You can set what each mode does with options for climate control and regen strength. I’m partial to Sport mode with no climate and max regen because I’m weird and I like how different it makes the car feel from what I’m used to. My wife leaves the car in normal mode all the time with regen set to 1 out of 3. You can get a level 4 regen temporarily by holding the left steering wheel paddle and that will bring you to a complete stop. It’s interesting, but it’s an on/off switch so it’s nearly impossible to use smoothly. If it was my car and I drove it more often, I’d try to master it. The Leaf’s “e-pedal” mode is a superior implementation, though. There are also “auto” settings for regen, but they’re terrible because you never know how the car will behave when you lift off the gas.

Driving it fast with low regen is fun and easy. Good balance and instant torque makes for a nice (sporty? kind of.) daily driving experience. However, I’m having fun cranking up the regen and attempting to drive fast. It feels like you’re driving around in 1st gear except that there’s no redline. It’s challenging but rewarding to lift off going into a corner and letting the regen slow you down then easing back onto the power as you approach the apex. FWD and instant torque means you better not get on the power too early. If my wife ever lets me take her car to an autocross, you’ll be the first to hear about it!

When I tell people that we bought an EV, everyone here in the PNW assumes it’s a Tesla and gets pretty excited to hear more. Then I tell them that it’s a Kia and they don’t seem to have any followup questions. That’s for the best because most of my conversations about cars with Normal People are pretty awful. The last one was “what’s the point of washing your car in the winter? It’s just going to get dirty again.” Sigh.

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Sorry this got a little long, but it’s been fun having an entirely new car experience. This weekend we’re taking the car on a 150 mile (one way) trip to Portland and back. I usually drive my STI for that trip and it’s pretty miserable in traffic, so I’m looking forward to it.

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