The first thing is actually the driving experience. An EV is quieter, smoother and simply easier to drive. It is more restful and more confidence inspiring. When you press the throttle things happen. No thinking about it, no downshift, no roar, just movement. Now of course the Teslas are no slouches and so the comparison is somewhat unfair to my current daily driver but, when I mashed the pedal on my gas car to overtake another car, I seriously thought something had gone wrong with it at first. I now miss that immediacy of response – quite a lot in fact.
On the topic of regen, sometimes it is nice and sometimes it is not. During the trip I had the opportunity to drive a car converted with the HPEVS AC51 system. This vehicle had been wired with a switch to select between ‘standard’ or ‘economy’ modes. In economy mode the power is limited but also so is the regen. This can be switched at any time and so I experimented a little. What I found was that the standard mode was nice in town and the economy mode was nice on the highway. Why? The regen is great in traffic where you are concentrating and doing a lot of stop-start driving as you don’t have to ‘tapdance’. On the highway this actually can become tiring (without cruise control) as you are constantly ‘balancing’ the throttle. In economy mode you can reach the top of the hill and just let it coast down the other side using gravity to build the momentum while you take a brief rest from the throttle pedal. If the hills are a bit tight then just flick the economy switch back to standard mode and take advantage of some regen instead.
Cruise control in an EV is amazingly steady. The speed will not vary no matter what hill climb or descent is presented to you. The always available torque and the regen will take care of it all for you, instantly. If your donor vehicle has cruise and you can make it work then I very much advise you take advantage of it.
So, that was my takeaway lessons from 2 weeks on the road. I have a bit to do on my own car still but I am enthused, if a little hamstrung by the effects of a house move, and ready to finish it up.
Happy New Year.