I have had so much fun in October. It is a big birthday year for me and I decided to treat myself to a spot of fun by test driving 4 EVs that I have had my eye on for some time.
I chose to test drive;
- Tesla Model 3 Long Range
- Volvo Polestar 2
- Kia EV6
- Ford Mustang- mache
How do you book an EV test drive?
Well, the good news is that sales agents don’t seem to be that pushy when it comes to test driving an electric vehicle. I don’t know if it’s because they don’t know much about the vehicles or if the waiting times for an electric vehicle make them bottom of their priority list when it comes to car sales BUT the sales staff tend to keep their distance.
The Tesla was the easiest to get my hands on. I completed an online form and picked my test drive time, date, and location and that was about all I had to do. I got an automated confirmation along with a reminder a few days before to upload my driving license details.
When I arrived at the Tesla garage I was given a very brief introduction to how the car worked and I was free to leave with the Model 3 for an hour. I would suggest downloading the Tesla app before you take a test drive. There are lots of videos on introductions to various aspects of the car and I think if I had been more informed before my drive I would have been able to fiddle a little more with the space ship like controls.
The Polestar was also very easy to book online. I picked a time, date, and location and then validated again uploaded my driving licence prior to the test drive.
The Polestar test drive was different in that it felt more like an event than just a test drive. I turned up at the car park of a health spa/sports center as directed. There were 5 Polestars all lined up and 4 people waiting to test drive them. A previous group had just come back and the staff were sanitising and cleaning the inside of each car. (which I was quite impressed by)
We set off in a convoy of 5 Polestars all heading up the motorway towards a pre-selected destination programmed into the route planner. It felt quite exciting and extremely well organised. I managed to fall behind the group but it was fine as I just followed the map in a giant loop back to the start point.
Kia EV6 and Ford Mustang-mache
Both the Ford Mustang and the Kia EV6 I booked by contacting my local dealer. I was given around half an hour with both vehicles and all I need was my driving licence as proof of identity.
Is there any difference between driving an electric car to a traditional car?
Yes, is the simplest answer. Some of the car companies have obviously tried to make the transition as simple as possible. They have made the cabin controls look and respond like a traditional combustion car but there’s no getting away from the fact that it is different.
The way an electric car accelerates is different as there are no gears. Some car manufacturers are calling their electric cars automatics but they aren’t automatic, they are better! They should really explain the difference to customers as this is a major selling point for me.
To use the Telsa as an example just sitting in the car with the keycard or your Tesla mobile app on your phone automatically switches the car on. There is no sound but it’s on! To pull away there is NO handbrake and you don’t need to hold the vehicle in place with the brake pedal, it just holds! So if you get in your car on a slope, you simply push up a lever (similar to the indicator ) select drive, and press the accelerator. You won’t roll back even with the car in drive and no brake on!!
Continuing with the Tesla, as an example, as you approach traffic lights if you take your foot off the accelerator the car almost instantly responds. The speed just reduces so quickly that there is usually no need to apply the brake. When at the lights you DO NOTHING. There is no need to apply the handbrake or hold the car with the brake pedal. It automatically holds until you next accelerate!! This is called one-pedal driving.
One pedal driving.
All the new electric vehicles are capable of one-pedal driving but to make people feel like they are driving a traditional combustion car you can select a different driving mode. On the Ford Mustang there is a creep mode. So when you take your foot off the pedal the car moves forward. It responds like a traditional car. I would suggest asking to try the one-pedal driving on your test drive. It really is worth giving it a go. I laughed hysterically the first time I did it. It felt like driving a dodgem car at the funfair.
Just be aware these electric cars are so new I found some of the sales agents (Kia) had no idea what one pedal driving is. The car was obviously set in a traditional driving mode but there is a way of changing it. So do some research first so at least you will know how to use the car even if the dealership doesn’t!
If you are on the fence about buying an electric car you can do a comparison between the running costs of your current car and any new electric car HERE.