Lawrence native Katie Lundmark started getting excited about the idea of driving electric after seeing news of chargers being installed along I-70 and at Rock Chalk Park. After doing her research, she had her heart set on owning a small yet spunky Chevy Spark EV.
Katie learned a lot about shopping for electric vehicles on her journey, but ultimately found what she was searching for: a used 2015 Spark EV with fast-charging capability, which she chose for its low cost and compact size. Katie recently married her husband Mike in June, who has a 2017 Chevy Bolt. Together, they use the Spark to zip around Lawrence and the Bolt for longer range trips. Congrats to the happy EV couple!
Where do you charge up?
I charge up mostly at home in our garage, and occasionally charge at the Hy-Vee here in Lawrence. If I travel to Kansas City or Topeka, I use the chargers along I-70 and inside of those cities, if necessary. My Chevy Spark EV has the capability to fast-charge, so that eliminates the worry of running out of charge completely. Overall, I spend less than one-third of the money to charge my electric car than I used to on gas.
How has driving an EV changed your approach in how you get around?
I never have to worry about trying to find a gas station, which is fantastic. I used to drive my gas car until the gas light turned on, which made me a little stressed every time, especially if I was on my way to work. Now, I make sure to plug in after I get home. I have noticed that I am always aware of how much range I have left, how much my battery has regenerated if I am driving downhill, and how the weather is affecting my battery range. The graphics on my EV's display are distinctive, with the battery turning from green to yellow to red when it is running low, and large numbers. My last car was an '05 SUV gas guzzler, so the features are like night and day.
What would surprise someone else about driving an EV?
Electric cars are SO FAST! My little Spark is zippy and fun to drive. I think I surprise other drivers when the traffic light turns green and I speed past everyone else. Electric cars are also incredibly quiet. It is strange and exciting to turn on the car and have it sound exactly the same as when it was off. I still forget to turn the car off sometimes — thankfully, the car beeps at me when I do that. Driving in L (low) mode is great too, so I don't have to hit my brake nearly as often. With the Bolt, L mode totally allows for one-pedal driving, which takes some getting used to but is really great.
Why is driving electric important?
Driving electric is leaps and bounds better than using gasoline. Using a fossil fuel for machines is incredibly wasteful, inefficient, and harmful to our environment. Using electricity has a vastly smaller impact, and it will continue to get smaller as we improve our infrastructure by collecting energy from renewable resources such as solar, wind, and water (hydroelectric). If more people drive electric, there will be less of a demand for nonrenewable resources.
What do you think the biggest hurdle is for electric vehicle adoption today?
Speaking from my own experience as a Kansas resident, it was hard to find a Chevy Spark EV with fast-charging capability for sale in our region. It was looking like I was going to have to ship a car from California or Arizona. Thankfully, one became available in Smithville, MO after three weeks of constant searching. That will change, though, now that the demand for EVs is slowly rising, and the charging network has created an incredible amount of travel options.
Any used EV shopping tips?
Get a photo of the dashboard while the car is turned on so you can check the battery’s health. Also, a Carfax Vehicle History Report can provide valuable information about the history of the battery and its warranty. I contacted Chevy directly and they looked up the VIN for me.
What do you like about the EV community?
I like the enthusiasm and passion that the community has for EVs. At the two car shows that I went to before purchasing my own EV, the owners were always friendly and informational.
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