After driving internal combustion engines for decades, I've been peering at electric cars for a while.

We test drove the third generation Smart ForTwo ED, but as much fun as it was, it wasn't really practical. It had a small (~75 mile) range, and slow charging due to only a 3.3Kw onboard charger.

We test drove the Chevy Spark EV, which had a slightly longer range, 4 seats, but wasn't really that much fun to look at. The 2nd year, they added actual colours, but reduced the battery size (!)

We test drove the Fiat 500e, and it was fun, and had the same sub 100 mile range as everything else of that generation, but Fiat's statements about the car only being for compliance reasons made is seem like it'd go the way of the dodo as soon as they could get away from it - not exactly a long term prospect, and we tend to keep our cars for a long time.

We test drove the BMW i3, and were pretty close to getting a range extended one - the hacks and compromises meant I didn't think Vic would totally get on with it though, and she's the one that mainly drives it.

We'd looked at the Tesla Models S (really big and expensive) and 3 (almost as big, and expensive if you want to start adding any options).

We test drove the Chevy Bolt, and both liked it. It's big enough to do most of the stuff we want a car to do (we have the van for carrying bales of hay), it has great range (supposedly 238 miles) and is fast, quiet and all those other things I like in a car.

Due to some aggressive discounts, and the end of the GM $7500 federal rebate on April 1st, it made sense to buy a new rather than used one, and here we are. After getting everything organised by phone, I flew Vic over to Woodland, and she drove the car home while I flew back to Lincoln. We decided on the Premier because we wanted the roof rails, overhead camera view, and we actually decided that the leather seats might be a good idea after having to clean the seats in the Jeep.

It's taken a bit of getting used to, but we've even turned down the charge state so it charges to 85%, meaning the regenerative braking works the moment you start it - the range is always showing over 200 miles when charged.

For the first 18 months, we were only charging it at 120v in the garage. I eventually got a 50A OpenEVSE charger and plugged it in to the dryer output - we're only charging at 24A (because it's a 30A circuit), but that's 4x what the stock charger would do (assuming you've set it to 12A from the stock 8A.) We can go all week without charging most of the time, especially since the COVID.

The 2020 model came out after April, and had another 10% battery power (66KW/h) getting 259 miles of range. That doesn't really bother us that much, as so far the only time it's needed a charge en route was going down to San Luis Obispo for John's wedding. Because of the times I travel, I've taken it to and from San Francisco without even stopping to charge - the HOV lane access is nice, and I'm going to miss that when it times out.

There's a battery recall that doesn't affect us - ours is new enough that the batteries were built by GM in the US, rather than LG in Korea. There's an update for the battery software so it matches the new 2022 Bolt, but that's not a big deal. Supposedly it'll fast charge better when cold, but, uh, we live in California, so we don't notice.