Editor's note: Crystal Marie McDaniels works in marketing at Duke Energy in Charlotte and took us along in her electric vehicle as she ran errands one Saturday with her son, Naz.
I wake up with a to-do list. It’s Saturday, so my full-time marketing job with Duke Energy is replaced by my full-time job as a mother to my 14-month-old son, Naz. We’re getting ready to run errands in the car.
My electric vehicle (EV) is in the parking garage, and its level of charge hasn’t crossed my mind once. I charged it three days ago – it gets up to 260 miles and I’ve never run out of battery.
I feed Naz and glance at my phone app to check the charge on my Tesla Model 3. I have more than 180 miles left. I see if there’s an open charging station at Harris Teeter at Morrocroft Village where we’re going later. Yep, two green dots on my screen show that two charging stations are free.
I’ve never had a problem finding a charge in Charlotte. The stations are particularly concentrated in the center city, where I work, and in the SouthPark area, where I live. While my home charger can charge 4 to 6 miles per hour, many public stations can charge 100 miles in 15-30 minutes.
Scooping up Naz and my keys, I head out. Convenience is key for me. Living in a city where I don’t have to worry about charging my EV is so easy.
When I bought my EV, I was pregnant. I was concerned about car trouble on the road, but I’ve had this car for a year with zero issues. Besides, AAA and Tesla Roadside Assistance are available.
Naz and I drive to the gym, then to Freedom Park. We roll out my yoga mat to sit on, and pull out a book that Naz likes. Of course, he’s more interested in playing with my T-shirt and watching the dog-walkers go by.
A sense of balance washes over me. As someone who regularly works out and eats pescatarian on weekdays, I’m grateful to have a mode of transportation that reflects my healthy lifestyle – it’s healthy for the planet. And my car is simple and intuitive to drive.
Time to charge! At the supermarket, I back up my car to a charging station. This stop is one example of a location I naturally frequent that has charging stations. I plug the charger into the port, lift Naz out of the car and grab my reusable bags. We check out all of the colors in the produce aisle. Naz gets curious about the squash, while I ponder what I’m going to make for dinner (I love cooking at home).
After shopping, I unplug my car. “We are all charged up!” I tell Naz. We have one more adventure stop: the library. Naz lights up when he finds a crate of books.
Our last stop is lunch with my husband, Eskias, at Dilworth Neighborhood Grille (have you noticed I only charged once today?). Clearly my charge lasts longer than Naz – he’s asleep in the backseat before we arrive. I’m ready to order a wrap and a salad to recharge my body.
Really, I’m not a car person. I’m a planet person, and a family person. I choose to lead a healthy, sustainable lifestyle with my son and my husband on a healthy planet. Driving an EV just helps me make it happen.