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Ask Indy: Why Drive An Electric Vehicle?
After years of innovation, electric vehicles are officially more than just a trend. Car manufacturers are investing in new electric models. Governments around the world are incentivizing EV production, and more and more people are choosing to go electric.
From gas prices to climate concerns, there are many reasons to trade your old, gas-powered ride for a high-tech electric vehicle. But it’s not always easy to make the switch! Electric cars come with their own quirks and inconveniences, and an all-electric vehicle may not work with your lifestyle. So, why drive an electric vehicle? And is it worth the investment?
In this Ask Indy feature, we sat down with Michael Durr—a local Hoosier who thinks EVs are changing the way the world moves.
Michael is a photographer, videographer, and editor who lives and works in Indianapolis. He owns and operates Ripple Media Productions and works in partnership with Kevin Raber of PhotoPXL.com as a video producer. During the pandemic, Michael and his wife Lindsay also purchased the Broad Ripple Magazine, an Indianapolis publication that promotes local businesses and covers stories in the community.
Q: For starters, what do you love most about living in Indy?
A: My wife and I first moved to Indianapolis with our son in September of 2017. Before then, we’d had a condo in Chicago, so we were excited to move into our new home with a yard and space to raise our family. Our second son was born in 2019, and over the years, our family has really enjoyed everything Indy has to offer.
Our house is in Meridian-Kessler, which gives us easy access to both the highway and the Indiana State Fairgrounds. We can quickly get to Broad Ripple or Downtown Indianapolis from the Monon Trail, or we can hop over to Butler University for some nice bike riding. We’re very fortunate to be surrounded by incredible neighbors, and I love the small businesses in the neighborhood.
Q: Indianapolis is a really walkable city, but it’s still smart to have other options for longer trips. How do you usually get around the city?
A: Between my wife and I, we’ve only ever owned one vehicle. In fact, while we were living in Chicago, we went three years without having a car. With public transit and the ability to bike around, it was never worth the expense of maintaining a vehicle or paying to park.
Even now, with two children, we still walk and bike a lot as a family. We own an orange e-bike that we nicknamed Orange Juice, and in the warmer months, we ride that bike all across Indianapolis. My wife and I use it to bring the kids to and from school. We cruise down the Monon Trail and past the Fairgrounds, and we’ve even gone as far as the Indianapolis Zoo—which is about an 8-mile ride from our home.
Q: What do you think is the greatest advantage of driving an electric vehicle?
A: My first time behind the wheel of an electric vehicle was actually not that long ago. A close friend of mine purchased a Tesla, and he let me take it for a spin. I was immediately hooked! Obviously, our family wasn’t going to suddenly substitute our minivan for an electric vehicle, but it was on my mind if we ever needed a second car.
Then, I was introduced to Motor—a business in Indianapolis that lets you drive electric cars through a monthly subscription service called Motor Drive. I was very intrigued about the service and how it could help us transition to an electric vehicle. We ended up trying it out for a month, and it was a game changer!
We chose the Mustang Mach-E, and we were blown away by how quickly it became our main mode of transit. The best part about driving an electric vehicle is that you don’t have to worry about buying gas, while lowering your carbon footprint. The Mach-E was also just a really nice ride. I personally have never liked driving; I’m a Point A to Point B kind of guy. But for the first time in my life, I found myself just wanting to hop in the car for a drive.
Q: Why do you think Indy is the ideal location to drive an electric vehicle?
A: While the IndyGo bus service is a reliable way to travel, electric vehicles are a much more convenient way to get around the city. EVs are quiet, comfortable, and better for the environment than gas cars.
Indianapolis is also a (relatively) easy place to park. In some instances, you might need to park a few blocks away. But as someone who used to walk over a mile to work, it’s not a big deal for me to park where I can and just take a short walk.
I also appreciate that the city and the state are embracing renewable energy and investing in the right areas for a sustainable future. With services like Motor Drive, I hope Indy becomes a trend-setter in EV adaptation.
Q: Based on your experience, was driving an electric vehicle a good fit for your lifestyle?
A: Honestly, our family is perfectly suited for an electric vehicle. My wife and I both work from home, and most of the traveling we do is within the Indy region. A single charge is enough to get us to and from wherever we need to go, and then we charge it up at night so it’s ready to go the next day!
We didn’t even have a Supercharger installed, and we still managed to keep the car charged with just the standard outlet in our garage. However, I would definitely recommend getting a Supercharger if you’re planning to drive your EV for longer distances. We’re looking into getting one installed and seeing if it would be possible to install solar panels to run the charger.
Q: Describe your experience with Motor Drive. How did they help you adjust to an electric vehicle?
A: The onboarding experience was incredible. The website was extremely easy to navigate, and we had one of their staff members deliver the car to our home. He walked us through the car’s functionality and gave us some pointers on how to best use it. There was something incredibly satisfying about seeing under the hood and finding nothing but a windshield wiper fluid tank.
He also showed us the PlugShare app to help us find charging locations and even offered assistance if we needed to do a long-distance trip. Throughout the entire experience, Motor was personable, accommodating, and knowledgeable. And they gave us a number to call anytime if we had questions or concerns about the car.
Q: What are some of the factors you need to consider when you’re traveling with an electric vehicle?
A: For us, it was incredibly easy to finish all of our trips during the day and then charge up the car at night. Long-distance trips do take more planning, since charging locations are more sparse than gas stations. You definitely don’t want to run out of battery power on the highway, which means you’ll need to plan ahead before you go.
In that first month, we never took the vehicle farther than 200 miles out, so we didn’t have to worry about charging locations all that much. We used the car for things like work, school, and groceries—and it was truly a game changer for getting around town. I even volunteered to pick up friends, so they wouldn’t have to pay for gas! It was also a great chance to show off the vehicle and impress them with everything it had to offer.
Q: At first glance, EVs may seem expensive, even with subscription models like Motor Drive. How does buying an electric vehicle compare to other cars?
A: It does seem pricey at first, but when you think about it, driving an EV makes sense. Especially with rising gas prices and worsening environmental issues, it’s well worth the money spent. Even as a second vehicle, you end up saving quite a bit of money on gas—to the point where it comes close to breaking even.
Motor Drive is especially nice because it’s a low-risk monthly subscription. Through their service, the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Bolt are only about $650 a month, including registration, insurance, maintenance, 24/7 roadside assistance, and all taxes and fees. When you factor in all of those expenses over time, the monthly cost seems a lot more reasonable.
Motor Drive also offers more flexibility, which might be valuable depending on your situation. For example, if you have a job that sends you out of state for weeks on end, you could simply cancel the subscription until you return.
Q: Now that you’ve done a test drive, do you think you’ll buy your own electric vehicle?
A: We’re absolutely considering how to make this a more permanent mode of transit for our family. In the summer months, we use our bikes a lot. But in the colder months, it makes sense for us to have another vehicle.
We only planned to be a one-vehicle family, but now, we have two children and jobs that require more and more travel. So, we’re very interested in continuing our Motor Drive subscription—wherever that may lead us in the future!