More rambling about electric vehicles

I don’t know why my brain keeps on fixating on EVs. I already have my Leaf SL, and I’m really happy with it all in all. I try to be excited about future tech and this usually manifests in me starting to think about what car I’d buy next, which then starts to feel like me planning to buy another car, even though I really don’t need to.

Anyway, a lot of my thoughts about the current cars worth mention have changed since that last article, and here’s my current thoughts on things.

Nissan LEAF

The LEAF is still a great car, especially if you’re able to charge at home. The CHAdeMO downside is still an issue, but for most people and most driving it’s not really that much to worry about. CHAdeMO and home charging is more than sufficient for 99% of all driving; it’s just that last 1% that’s a doozy.

Recently my parents visited me and we wanted to take a couple of longer day trips. 100 miles round trip of range (in my 2018 SL) would have been pushing it too much. My parents rented a hybrid car. It was disappointing that I couldn’t show off my car as an everyday vehicle, and also the sorts of driving my parents do probably wouldn’t quite fit with a Leaf, as they still do a lot of long-distance driving.

The current-generation LEAF is an amazing car, especially in its SV trim with the 212 miles of range.

I’m not a huge fan of the cargo capacity characteristics. It’s Fine™ but for example it doesn’t make it easy for me to transport my drum kit around.

If they’d just add CCS charging I’d be a lot more willing to recommend this car as a new purchase. It’s still a totally reasonable purchase even with CHAdeMO, though. It’s just something to be aware of, is all.

Hyundai Ioniq 5

I finally got to see one in person a couple weeks ago, and I was surprised at how small it was. And in fact, it’s only slightly larger than the LEAF. The big advantages to it are that it has much better battery life, it has much faster CCS-based charging, and that it has significantly more total cargo space due to a more efficient interior layout. It also has a lot of nice creature comforts inside.

It’s a bit expensive though (at around $45,000, and there’s no tax credit).

It’s probably the car I’d get if I needed one Right Now™ and money were no object.

Hyundai Ioniq 6

Previously I was pretty negative on this car, for being basically an SUV footprint but with sedan storage. But now I’ve seen a few in person, and holy cow are they cute. I certainly wouldn’t mind having one! Also, apparently its total cargo capacity (with the rear seats down) is comparable to the LEAF, although the actual shape of the space makes it way less useful than on the 5.

But I totally get the appeal to the car. Whereas the Kia EV6 looks way uglier in person than online, the Ioniq 6 looks way cuter in person than online.

Pricing-wise it’s slightly cheaper than the Ioniq 5. It’s still on the spendy side. But it looks like a fun car to drive.

Kia Niro EV

One of my choir friends has the Niro EV. They like it a lot. It looks kinda weirdly squat to me. Their partner has a powered wheelchair which fits in back just fine. I suspect it’s like a TARDIS inside.

It’s classified as an SUV but it’s actually only a bit larger than the LEAF and Ioniq 5.

Starting at $33,000 (no tax credit available) it’s fairly affordable.

Hyundai Kona EV

The Kona is classified as a full-on SUV but it’s actually smaller than the LEAF. It also gets way better distance and has way more interior cargo space. I still think it’s cute. I don’t think it’d actually improve my ability-to-transport-drums situation at all vs. my LEAF. If I needed to upgrade my LEAF and money were an object, this would probably be my choice. It doesn’t charge as fast as the Ioniq 5 and it doesn’t have as much range but the greater range and charging speed/availability makes it handle, like, 99.99% of all driving.

I do wish Hyundai would bring back the two-tone look. They looked a lot cuter that way.

At $33,500 it’s slightly more expensive than the Niro, which is to say, still fairly affordable.

Kia EV6

Even though I feel like this car is ugly it also has improved cargo space and performance over the Ioniq 5. So I mean, I’d consider it too. It just isn’t my first choice.

It’s one of the more expensive “compact SUV” EVs, though, starting at close to $49,000 (although its base trim seems to be closer in comparison to the Ioniq 5’s midrange trim which costs about the same).


Bolt EV and EUV were interesting cars, being basically Chevrolet’s version of the LEAF. CCS instead of CHAdeMO, but they’re still fairly slow to charge, but they have enough range that they’re still better for more calibers of driving than the LEAF.

But Chevrolet has discontinued the Bolt line entirely, and they’ve made some unfortunate decisions with their replacement cars (Blazer and Equinox), going back to proprietary-ish (Android-based but not CarPlay/Android Auto-compatible) infotainment systems that they can charge subscription fees for. Also I’m not a fan of how their L2 self-driving also requires a subscription and actively-updated mapping data, rather than onboard optical sensors like everyone else does. Doesn’t local lane-keeping and adaptive cruise control deserve to work everywhere, without a cellphone connection?

Silverado will be interesting for folks who want a pickup truck that isn’t an F150, but like most modern pickup trucks it tries too hard to be a passenger car and not enough to be a cargo truck. And it’s stupidly big and unsafe for everyone around it. But it also has substantial towing capacity, fairly fast charging, and incredible range, making it a pretty good vehicle for people who want to do a lot of travel and tow an RV (although that also vastly cuts the electric efficiency, although it should still be more environmentally-friendly than an ICE car doing the same thing).

The Equinox is one of the more affordable options (at around $30,000 before credit, $23,000 after). Otherwise they’re kind of meh.


Mustang Mach-E still seems like a pretty nice vehicle. Interestingly it’s only slightly larger than the Ioniq 5 on the outside, although the Ioniq 5 has significantly more cargo space.

F150 Lightning at least tries to be a pickup truck, but it does this in addition to being a passenger car, so it’s stupidly gigantic and is part of the arms race that continues to make streets unsafe for pedestrians and bicyclists and anyone else who isn’t in the size race. But like Silverado it would be a great host vehicle for towing an RV.

Ford also gets the tax credit and that’s the main saving grace for them. But even with tax credit, the Mach-E still costs way more than the Niro (which has comparable specs), so take that with a grain of salt.


Seriously, fuck VW. In addition to what I ranted about last time, I recently learned that VW also uses its Electrify America platform to sell carbon credits against the people who are using EA chargers to refuel their vehicles. Which means that, in effect, refueling at an EA station means that you’re still dumping just as much equivalent emissions into the environment.

And they’re only even doing this to begin with because the US government forced them to! They didn’t even have the decency to scam the public through greenwashing themselves!

So fuck VW, and fuck EA1.

A rant about car classifications

Pretty much everyone agrees that the Nissan LEAF is a compact hatchback.

The Hyundai Ioniq5 is practically the same size as the LEAF, but it’s classified as an SUV.

Kia Niro and Hyundai Kona are around the same size as the LEAF, but they are classified as an SUV.

The Mach-E is only slightly larger than the LEAF, but is an SUV.

VW ID.4 and Nissan ARIYA are the same size as each other (and have the same ugly squat design), and slightly larger than the LEAF, but are SUVs.

The Ioniq 6 is longer than the Ioniq 5, but is a sedan.

What the hell is even meant by an SUV anymore, anyway? The Chevy Blazer and Rivian R1S are the only EVs I know of which seem properly like an SUV.

Historically, the SUV classification came about because of CAFE standards, which were intended to bring down fleet-level emissions and fuel consumption on a per-class basis; the idea was that sedans and other passenger vehicles would be in a lower consumption class than “light trucks,” and SUVs were (somehow) classified as light trucks. So this allowed car manufacturers to just shunt all of their manufacturing over to things they could claim to be SUVs.

And we see this with other things as well; in the ICE world, for example, the Mazda CX-3 and CX-30 (both classified as “compact SUVs”) are around the same size as the Mazda 2 and 3, respectively; the 2 was a compact hatchback, and the 3 is a compact sedan/hatchback. CX-3 and CX-30 were really efficient by SUV standards but average by passenger car standards. But they mean that Mazda’s fleet-wide SUV efficiency was a lot better.

I suspect that a huge reason why so many new EVs are also classified as SUVs is so that they can further improve the CAFE standards for the manufacturers' respective ICE lines. Very few car companies are even bothering with passenger cars anymore (Mazda being the notable exception, as they still sell the 3 and the MX-5/Miata). They’re all just gaming the system here.

CAFE standards should, IMO, count EVs entirely separately from ICE vehicles. It makes absolutely no sense for a Humvee to be classified the same as an Equinox, and for their average consumption and emissions to contribute equally to GM’s CAFE compliance.

Either that or make CAFE standards apply to all passenger vehicles equally. Can it seat four or more people? It’s a passenger vehicle, end of story. I mean, in all practical terms, very few people are even using their F150 (Lightning or otherwise) as a cargo vehicle.

Vehicle classification seems to be a form of ecological gerrymandering, and the only people who win are the car companies. They sure as heck haven’t been doing this for the consumer.


I really should just be happy with my fucking LEAF. It’s absolutely fine for the driving I actually do.

  1. by which I mean Electrify America, but fuck the other EA too 


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