Farewell to McLaren's car guy as EV avalanche arrives: Andrew Frankel

“I’ve driven hundreds of electric cars and I don’t like the person they’re turning me into”

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For the first time in my life, a month has passed in which I clocked up more miles powered by electricity than fossil fuels. So while I have driven dozens and possibly hundreds of EVs in the past, it’s only now that I’m beginning to feel like I’ve lived with them too. And I don’t much like the person they’re turning me into.

Sooner rather than later the International Classification of Diseases is going to identify and categorise a new condition it will call ‘rangeophobia’, and it will use me as its archetype. I have become obsessed with (my family might claim possessed by) the remaining range of any EV I drive. If I charge a car overnight and the claimed range is less than at the same time the previous day, I want to know why. If I have to pop outside the house while a car is charging, I’ll just have a peek through the screen to make sure evil spirits haven’t come and switched off the supply.

I’m even worse on the move. Until I started driving EVs I liked to consider myself fairly tolerant of my passengers. Not any more. “You want to put the seat heater on? Are you mad?” I look suspiciously at reading lights illuminating behind me, avoid standing water on motorways not because it’s safe to do so, but because I don’t want the drag on the tyres. I’d need to be in the Panamanian jungle before I’d consider using air conditioning again. If the car has driver selectable regeneration modes I’ll always choose the most severe, even if it feels like the car’s slamming on the brakes every time I back off the gas. I will even keep my eye on the range even if the journey can be easily completed, because I’m always mindful of when I’ll need to drive it again and how long it will take to recharge between trips.