Tom Fries, electric vehicle driver

“The Technology Sold Me”: The Story of One EV Convert

Editor’s Note: The number of electric vehicles in California has crossed over the half million mark! According to the latest EV sales statistics compiled by the nonprofit Veloz, California has 512,717 EVs on the road, as of Dec. 5, 2018. About 33,500 of those clean air cars are in our service territory, which encompasses San Diego County and South Orange County. Among our employee ranks, more than 520 have switched over to driving electric. One of our most recent converts is Tom Fries, our aviation services manager. Below is a first-person account of why he made the switch.

If you are thinking of making the switch to driving electric, mark your calendar for the San Diego International Auto Show, Dec. 27-30. We will be hosting the Eco-Center – a large display of EVs inside the Eco-Center section of the Auto Show.

“The Technology Sold Me”: The Story of One EV Convert
By Tom Fries, aviation services manager at SDG&E

I’ve been eyeballing electric vehicles (EVs) of late because EVs are the future of transportation, and my car was sending expensive signals of life on borrowed time. The cost of my last trip to a mechanic put me over the top. It was time to stop gawking and start testing driving.

I admit, technology is a big part of my life. It’s at the core of everything we do at SDG&E. We make it a priority to be up to date on the latest tools and techniques because it is the most efficient way to provide safe, reliable and clean power for our customers. We’ve come to expect the best in tech at the office, so is it any surprise when we start to seek it out at home?

Who can argue the upside to making the switch to EVs: cleaner air, federal and state rebates and time-of-use rates for cheaper charging? I could make a case for purchase from any one of these benefits. But for me, the biggest selling point is still technology. I was looking for something cutting edge, yet user friendly. I found everything I was looking for in the Tesla Model 3. All driver controls are available on one touch-screen and you can use your smart phone as a key. It is equipped with the latest safety features. Autopilot technology anyone? Even with all these high-tech features, it is surprisingly simple to drive. Even the level of responsiveness of the car is impressive. When I press the pedal, it goes. Quickly.

Range is still a concern for some. My thoughts on range:

  • Range is increasing. My car can go over 300 miles on one full charge. Other models are expanding their range as well.
  • How much do you really drive per day? Most San Diegans drive 30 miles or less per day. Think about how much you actually drive each day and you will likely find an EV model that meets your needs. Keep in mind that you can plug in each night and wake up to a fully charged car.
  • More charging stations are popping up. More apartment buildings and businesses are starting to install EV charging stations (thank you, Power Your Drive) for their tenants. More public charging stations are planned up and down the state. My EV can even tell me where the closest public charging station is in case I get low on charge.

So, I made the switch. There’s no buyer’s remorse here.

I can only imagine the technology that will be available the next time I’m in the market for a car. And, as I already said, working at SDG&E keeps my technology bar set pretty high. Life is good for this EV convert.