Opinion: It’s Not All About Tesla

At times it might seem as though the only EVs getting any attention are Teslas. Sometimes, especially recently, for the wrong reasons, but it occurred to me on a short drive yesterday evening that there were a lot more EVs on the road than just Tesla ones.

Short Trip

I was heading out for what was less than a two mile round trip (in our EV, a 2014 Mercedes B Class Electric Drive) to pick up some Chinese food for dinner. Along the way, I saw a Chevy Bolt, a Nissan Leaf (an older model), a BMW i3, a VW e-Golf and a Fiat 500e. Unusually, I did not see a Tesla of any kind, although all four models (including the original roadster and the new Model 3) can be spotted on the relatively small island where we live. We also see a few Smart Electric Drive cars, the odd electric Kia Soul and an increasing number of the battery version of the Honda Clarity (we also have a neighbor with the fuel cell version).

I digress. In the space of that two mile round trip, including our car, there were six different non-Tesla EV models. Soon, I strongly suspect I will be seeing new EVs from all the major manufacturers around the island. And that will be a good thing.


Another change I observed recently was that during an NBA basketball game, Nissan were advertising the new Leaf. I honestly think that is the first time I have seen an ad for a pure EV on television.

I’ve heard stories of people going into dealerships here to ask about EVs only to have the salesperson react as if they don’t have such a thing. Indeed, my own experience was that the sales person we spoke to for the B Class admitted he generally tried to steer people away from buying an EV.

Given the dearth of advertising, and the lack of interest dealerships showed in selling them, it is amazing there are so many on the road. Just imagine what will happen over the next year or so as major manufacturers step up to the plate and start trying to sell EVs, rather than just including them in their line up for compliance, hoping few people will discover them.

Fun To Drive

We bought the B Class used instead of leasing a new one when my last lease was up, with the intention of switching it out for one of the new EVs coming from Jaguar, Audi or Mercedes over the next 6 to 18 months. It was a good entry into EVs, would allow us to keep the mileage down on the car my wife had just bought, save some money on fuel and help the environment. I was not expecting to enjoy driving it as much as I do.

I’ve seen it said in a number of places recently that driving an EV is less stressful. To be honest, I never found driving my other cars that stressful (and all three of the roadsters I’ve owned managed to put a smile on my face as soon as I got in them). Oddly, the EV does that too, in what is otherwise a relatively ordinary family car. And have I mentioned the acceleration? Without even trying, pulling away from traffic lights usually leaves the ICE cars far behind.

If you’d been thinking that an EV meant a Tesla, get out and test drive some of the other options on the market. There are plenty to choose from right now, and in 12 months time there will be even more.

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