Cindy Circo is sliding behind the wheel of an electric vehicle and documenting her experiences for the Clean Charge Network.
Cindy Circo is the public affairs manager at KCP&L. Her long-term commitment to supporting Kansas City includes stints as Mayor Pro Tem, City Councilperson and Board member of Visit KC.
With my job, I get to do some pretty cool things – and this ranks up there. I’m going to jump right into the drive electric revolution and document my experience (positive and negative) along the way. Now, I’ve driven an electric car before, but only for a test drive. For this, I’m going all in.
So, here we go. Today I was handed my KCP&L Clean Charge Network Get Started pack along with keys to a 2018 Chevrolet Bolt. My review is not on the Bolt, specifically, but I’m very happy to learn about its 200-plus-mile-range. I figure that can get me anywhere I need to go. You know how it feels when you unbox your new smartphone? Sliding into the driver’s seat of an electric vehicle feels a little like that. It’s familiar and unfamiliar at the same time, and I feel both excited and a little nervous.
My electric car starts with the push of a button. One enormous difference I notice immediately is what I hear when turn on the car. Quiet. There is no “turning over” noise I associate with a car starting, and that’s something to get used to. Sometimes I forget I’ve started the car! The dashboard also looks a lot brighter and more vibrant than the ones I’m used to.
Something that’s very different for me: paddle-shifters on the steering wheel. There are still traditional foot pedal brakes breaks (whew!) but the paddle-shifters are growing on me. I’ve generally seen them on high-performance sports cars, so it’s cool to use them here. One thing is for sure – I LOVE the heated steering wheel.
I’ve heard it takes about two weeks to get used to driving an electric car after being behind the wheel of a gas car my whole life. That feels about right. The first couple of days, I’m not sure of myself at all. A few days in, I’m realizing most things are pretty intuitive. I know I’ll be discovering new features for months and learning how I’ll have to adapt my behavior.
It’s the first big weather event of the year — schools closed, work let our early. I must admit, I was nervous to drive an electric car in bad weather for the first time. Why was I nervous? Seriously, WHY? It handled great, with no slipping and sliding on icy roads.
Can you say below-zero? It’s a real test for this EV today. I had a longer trip to Lawrence on my agenda and was feeling good about it. This car has plenty of range and my destination has charging stations. It’s been chilly over the past few weeks, so I’m already familiar with the drain on the charge that happens with the heat on full blast. But I’m not sure I had really factored in this degree of cold outside.
I make sure I’m bundled up and – because KCP&L talks safety 24/7 – I also bring water and an energy bar. You know, just in case Google takes me off-roading and I get lost driving around the country roads of Lawrence. I’m prepared for anything. In the EV, I’m feeling toasty. Seat warmer, check. Steering wheel warmer, check. Heat on high, check.