Driving Green: Thoughts from a Midwestern Mom

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Employees who drive electric cars

It’s easier for North Kansas City Hospital employees, as well as patients and visitors, to charge their electric cars on the hospital campus thanks to Kansas City Power & Light. In June, two employee charging stations (four ports) and four public stations (eight ports) were installed. The charging stations provide electric car owners with one […]

Electric vehicle charging stationIt’s easier for North Kansas City Hospital employees, as well as patients and visitors, to charge their electric cars on the hospital campus thanks to Kansas City Power & Light. In June, two employee charging stations (four ports) and four public stations (eight ports) were installed. The charging stations provide electric car owners with one more option to keep their cars on the road.

I am one of those employees using the charging stations. This year I purchased a 2017 Chevy® Bolt and now have surpassed 2,500 miles.

Why the Bolt?

In 2008, I attended a seminar where I was asked to pick my dream car. My answer was an electric car that could go 500 miles on a single charge.

Why an electric car?  First, I care about the environment, and I am committed to minimizing my carbon footprint. However, prior to the Bolt, only a Tesla could give a fully electric experience, where I could travel round trip from home to work on a single charge. A Tesla was not in our family budget.

I was hooked on the Bolt since I saw Mary Barra, General Motors CEO, unveil the Bolt at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show. I read every article and then was disappointed to learn the Midwest would be last to receive the Bolt. Not entirely discouraged, I continued to work with every local dealer to buy a Bolt. Then, out of the blue, I received a call from a dealer in Lawrence, KS. One of the two Bolts they were receiving was exactly what I wanted. I signed my commitment to purchase with no firm delivery date, no test drive, and I agreed to pay sticker price. Yes, I am an expert negotiator!

Space Matters

Charging station for electric vehicleOne thing that appealed to me about the Bolt was the amount of space. Chevy went out of their way to optimize interior space, which allowed me to get a child in and out of a car seat without hitting his head or my head every time. My son’s standard size car seat fits well with plenty of room for passengers.

In addition, the car has ample storage, but it is different. My sunglasses, for instance, do not go above my head, but in a small pocket under the Infotainment Center. My trunk is amazingly well organized, because I can use the vertical divisions created by the sub-trunk. It’s the appearance of an empty trunk.

Home on the Range

For my peace of mind, I charge every night despite a 75% battery life at the end of most days. Frankly, I find it no different than charging my cell phone each day. I bought a Level 2 charger because Level 1 charging is too slow for my needs. It cost approximately $600 for the charger with garage installation ranging from $300-$1,000.

Data Devotee

Electric car motorOne of my favorite things about the Bolt is the amount of data available. If you like data, this car is for you! From the moment I started driving, I was mesmerized by the constant flow of information. These data points include, but are not limited to:

  • Estimated miles remaining in current charge
  • Kwh used while driving
  • Average miles per kwh
  • Percent of battery depleted due to climate control use, terrain, controllable driving factors and weather
  • Battery regeneration rates during slowing/braking
  • Average speed

With all this data, my driving style has changed. I typically don’t exceed 70 mph on the highway. I slow down less aggressively, so I can use one-pedal driving and come to a complete stop without braking, when possible.

The Gifts of Time and Safety

I realized if I could fuel my car when it is passively sitting somewhere, like a garage, it would save me time. In addition, as a busy mother, I am even more sensitive to the time demands of gas and maintenance stops.

With my son in the car, I am also more aware of my surroundings. Before I had the Bolt, every time I stopped at a gas station, I was hyper aware of my surroundings. Being alone with a small child is one of the most vulnerable situations for a woman. Passing the gas station gives me peace of mind.

With my son in the car, I am also more aware of my surroundings.

Final Thoughts

I would love to be an all-electric family one day, but the Midwestern infrastructure is not ready, so we do drive a Honda CRV for long trips. I love my new Bolt and so far I don’t regret my purchase. On the contrary, my experiences have reinforced that this is the right car for me and my family.

Lisa Larson-Bunnell

Lisa Larson-Bunnell

Lisa Larson-Bunnell is a healthcare attorney and the hospital’s associate counsel and compliance director.

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