A Chat with an EV Convert: “Getting an electric vehicle saved me money”

Meet Lori Coons, director of community engagement and development at the Living Coast Discovery Center, one of our community partners and an organization focused on environmental and wildlife education.

Lori’s primary role is connecting people who care about the organization’s mission and encourage them to contribute through volunteerism and philanthropy.

As someone who is passionate about the environment, she felt inspired to make the switch to driving electric.

“Every day at the Living Coast we educate kids and visitors of all ages about what they can do in their daily lives to make a positive impact on the environment,” she said. “I wanted to do my part.”

We met up with Lori to chat about her recent switch to driving an electric vehicle (EV) and what she has learned along the way. Having now owned her EV for less than a year, she excitedly shared why getting an EV was the best choice for her.

What made you decide to get an EV?

I have a 60-mile roundtrip commute from North County to Chula Vista, so my expenses for gas and the FasTrak lane were very high—almost $500 per month! Buying an EV allowed me to take part in reducing emissions as well as save money on gas and FasTrak expenses.

What are some benefits to driving electric?

The obvious benefits are the amount of money I save on gas and the FasTrak access, but it also saves on time by no longer having to wait in long lines to get gas! And at the end of the day it feels great knowing that I’m reducing my carbon footprint.

Did anything surprise you after you got the car?

I was surprised to find how easy it is to own an EV. I can keep up with my usual driving habits even though I now have a ‘range’ that I can drive on one battery charge. I thought I’d be limited or have to curb my driving to accommodate the battery range but that hasn’t been the case. 

What would be your advice for people thinking about making the switch to electric?

Make sure to check insurance rates with your provider – for EV’s like the Tesla, the rates can be pretty steep. I’d also consider installing a home charger – having a level 2 charging station in my garage makes it convenient to charge and it was not very expensive to purchase – I charge the car overnight during off-peak times (on a timer) and when I wake up in the morning, it’s fully charged and ready to go! 

Have you ever worried about running out of battery while driving?

I have pushed it a couple times but in San Diego, you’re never too far from a charging station.

Have you noticed a price savings by going electric?

I am definitely saving on car maintenance and gas, however, still figuring out how to manage my electric bill. 

Do you utilize any of SDG&E’s EV pricing plans?

I am on a TOU program and will be switching to an EV plan as soon as I am able to change my plan (the current plan requires one year).

And… anything else you would like to share?

There are so many EV models to choose from now that I think there’s one for everyone, and every budget. I couldn’t be happier with my sporty e-Golf!

The Living Coast Discovery Center is a nonprofit zoo and aquarium that provides environmental education on coastal resource conservation in Chula Vista. It has been one of SDG&E’s Environmental Champions, a grant program that support environmental education, community engagement and stewardship in the underserved communities of San Diego and southern Orange County.

Learn more about all the benefits of driving electric at www.sdge.com/ev.