May 11, 2020 – (by Jason Bohrer)
With the pandemic inducing a near world-wide lockdown, people’s lives have changed in too many ways to count. We are confined to our homes, unable to visit friends and family, and although we may not be “bored” in the traditional sense of the world, a lot of people are suffering from the monotony that comes from a routine that (if you are lucky enough to still have a job) sees you get up in the morning, sit in front on one screen, and then, after the end of your work day, look at another screen for entertainment. It led to a resurgence of board games, puzzles, and books—but the inability to get out of the house wears at you.
One thing that I noticed was that my wife and I began to take more and more random drives. It’s one way we could get out of the house and change up our routine. About a week or so after we took our first real “quarantine drive”, we were really racking up the miles and it hit me that we hadn’t had to buy gas—which especially at the beginning of the lockdown, when we were uncertain about contagiousness, was kind of terrifying. And I’d be lying if I said I never turned on the Tesla’s “biohazard” filter system.
Then one day after returning from about a hundred-mile drive on a Sunday, I realized how having an electric vehicle subconsciously changes my approach to driving, and my relationship with my car. When you never really have to worry about the price of gas, it is a lot easier to jump in the car and all of a sudden “something to do” becomes “driving”. I like to drive and listen to music. A hundred-mile drive—at 25mpg—still costs nearly $10, just for the privilege of getting out of the house and not going stir crazy. And that’s not in my wife’s Jeep with the tricked-out stereo which I would have otherwise driven. Driving an ICE vehicle “for something to do” is a noticeably more expensive option than sitting in the basement and listening to music. I learned that never having to buy gas changes that thought process.
I also learned that for all the hate it gets, Diver Down’s original songs are as strong as anything Van Halen ever released. Take the three best songs off Diver Down and stack them up against the best three of any of their other albums, and see what I mean?
Anyway, much of the focus of EVs has been on infrastructure, electricity and car makers, but what this has taught me so far is that there are going to be some unanticipated sociological changes that come along with widespread adoption of EVs. For me, that includes being a lot more willing to leave the house and go for a (nearly free) ride when my other options are so limited.