Y BUY GAS: Talking Electric Vehicles with Deb Chisholm, Waterways Manager

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As the effects of climate change are becoming more and more difficult to ignore, many people are eager to find ways to be more environmentally friendly in their own lives. Driving electric vehicles, which have long been touted as the car of the future, is one way to do just that. By dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions, an electric vehicle (EV) is an effective way to reduce your carbon footprint. To learn more about what it’s like to have an electric vehicle, we sat down with Nashua’s Waterways Manager, Deb Chisholm. Deb is a long-time Nashua resident who bought a Chevy Bolt in November 2019.

 

Q: What motivated you to buy an EV?

A: It had always been rolling around in my head that it would be cool to own an electric vehicle, but I always assumed I couldn’t afford one. The thing that really got me going, though, was in November of 2018 when I started my job with the City, I was the staff person who was in charge of the Environment and Energy Committee, and it was very exciting to finally be around people who drove electric vehicles or plug-in hybrids. We eventually got a group of high school students involved in the committee and their main focus was electric vehicles and charging stations, and that is what really got me thinking, “I think I can do this!” So that was it.

Q: What is your favorite thing about driving an EV?

A: Knowing it is the right thing to do for the environment. It is the right thing to not use gasoline in my car anymore. I love knowing that someone isn’t sitting behind me with the exhaust from my car going into their face. It is challenging to find something individuals can do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollution, and this definitely a major one that I feel on a day to day basis. I get the feeling that I am making a difference every time I drive. I also know I don’t ever want to go back to going to the gas station!

Q: What would you say to someone who is thinking about buying an EV but is worried about the cost?

A: Price was the original deterrent for me. Then I met someone else who bought a Chevy Bolt and I asked him what he paid for it. I realized for an extra hundred dollars a month from what I was currently paying to lease my car, I could lease an EV. I figured I might actually save that hundred dollars just in gasoline. I had in my head this myth that electric vehicles are really expensive, but they’re really not.

Q: It’s common to hear people worry about the range of EVs. What has your experience been like finding places to charge your car?

A: It certainly something I had to switch my brain into doing more planning about where I was going and the route I was going to take, but there are plenty of apps out there that will tell you where the charging stations are. I am now also always conscious when I am walking around where I see charging stations and make a note of it.

Q: Where do you charge your car around Nashua?

A: There are three charging stations in the parking garage adjacent to City Hall, so it is very convenient for me to put my car on the charger while I am at work. I’m working from home lately, but I can plug into a standard outlet which charges my battery fully in about 2 days. I treat my car like my phone and put it on the charger at night before I go to bed. There are also DC fast chargers at the Pheasant Lane Mall where I can charge my battery in about an hour, so I can just go there and walk around the mall or read my book.  There are enough near me to make it very convenient to charge my car. Even a year into ownership I haven’t bought a faster Level 2 charging station for my house.

Q: What do you think is the biggest misconception about these vehicles?

A: Sometimes people think that the only people who drive EVs are super crunchy, “granola,” tree-huggers who drive 55 mph on the highway to get better gas mileage. But that isn’t the case. My electric vehicle is very powerful—it is surprising to me how quickly my car takes off. It is fun to drive!

Q: Anything else you would add?

A: I wish more people would drive EVs. I honestly think it is the wave of the future. For some people, they may need to wait a bit and slowly step into it. If you are driving a big suburban, you can think about making the step to a smaller vehicle or maybe a plug-in hybrid. Those take out the extra anxiety because if you run out of battery, you can always slip back into the gasoline mode.

 

Interested in learning more? Visit the Livable Nashua dashboard’s page devoted to electric vehicles. You can also find charging stations near you using Plugshare. Still have questions? Email Deb at chisholmd@nashuanh.gov.

 

More Resources:

Drive Electric event EV Owners Panel: Why You Should Drive Electric organized by Monadnock Sustainability Hub and Clean Energy NH 

NH Department of Environment Services

Drive Change Drive Electric 

Drive Electric NH