My auto mechanic said it might be time to stop fixing my 2006 Tucson. I promised myself years ago that I was never going to buy another combustion engine automobile, so I honored my self promise and got a 2019 Chevy Bolt EV.

Hitting the power button feels like turning on a video game — no loud engine noise. I called a friend with an EV, and he said that driving a combustion engine car would soon feel weird. I hoped so.

If you run out of battery in an EV you are looking at a tow to the nearest charger, so you have to plan longer trips, which can be stressful. If there is any doubt, you have to search for a convenient place along the way where you can eat or shop while the car charges, just in case. What if the charger is being used when you get there? I once got takeout at a favorite restaurant, drove the short distance to a mall with a charger and ate in the car while the battery charged. Eating in a parking lot instead of with family was a price I paid for being a bit ahead of the curve.

I do love driving the car though. It feels great knowing that almost 20 per cent of my fuel is already from clean, renewable sources like wind and solar, and that percentage is going to constantly rise (Massachusetts has committed to raising it to 80 per cent in 2050). Chevy says the car does zero to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds too. (I will neither confirm nor deny this.)

It is cheaper to drive an EV than a conventional car. Burning gas at three dollars a gallon at 30 miles per gallon is 10 cents a mile. The EV gets about 3.5 miles per kilowatt hour (4.5 miles/kWh in the spring, 4 miles/kWh when the air conditioner is on in the summer, and 3 miles/kWh in the winter with the heater on — it’s a big drain). My average electricity bill is 24 cents per kWh this year, so that’s seven cents a mile. The price of electricity will be much more stable than the price of gasoline over the long term, too. There are no oil changes, and maintenance costs overall will be lower (there’s no exhaust system, and even the brakes don’t get used as much because the car regeneratively brakes by recharging the battery in addition to using the standard brake pads).

It’s nice to not have to pull into gas stations. I had planned on charging the car by plugging it into a wall outlet on the side of my house overnight, but the polar vortex came to town the day after I got it, and that’s when I learned that the heater really drains the battery — to the point where I couldn’t charge enough overnight. I had to install a so-called level two charger at my house that can charge the battery in eight hours. Typical public chargers that are level three fast chargers can charge 150 to 200 miles per hour of charge; some super-fast ones could potentially charge a car in 10 minutes, but there are no EVs that can accept a charge that quickly right now. At one mall there was only one active charger and I had to wait to use it, but there were a dozen new ones that were not yet turned on. Chargers are rapidly becoming more common.

After several months with my car I’m beginning to wonder why there aren’t more electric vehicles. The VTA is going all-electric — why not the school buses? How about ferries? Washington State just announced that they are converting their largest ferries from diesel to diesel-electric hybrids (with the possibility of going all-electric after that) because it is going to save money.

The cycle time for the U.S. car/truck fleet is at least 15 years. The advantages of EVs (cost, climate) are increasing, and their disadvantages (range, charge times) are decreasing. A majority of cars and trucks in the U.S. might be all-electric in 20 years.

All this fits well with the developing vision of the Island’s energy and climate coalition that emphasizes a 100 per cent renewable, sustainable and resilient future for the Island. The groups involved include the town energy committees, the Vineyard Sustainable Energy Committee, the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, Vineyard Power, Island Climate Action Network (ICAN) and Elders Climate Action (ECA). EVs are a key element of that vision.

I’m glad I decided to go with an EV instead of adding another combustion engine to the 15-year cycle. My friend was right — within a couple of weeks it felt weird to drive a combustion engine vehicle.

Ron Dagostino lives in West Tisbury.