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A Day of EVs, Ice Cream and National Grid

By Suzanne Lee

Recently, I spent a beautiful summer day driving an electric vehicle to some of my favorite seasonal spots in Massachusetts! I teamed up with National Grid to experience the comfort of using an EV and the ease of finding charging stations throughout the state.

Before this trip, I knew very little about EVs, and it was enlightening to hear about National Grid’s initiative to build a smarter, stronger, cleaner energy system that will create a stable and reliable charging infrastructure in our state. Massachusetts is on a mission to have 200,000 EVs on our roads by 2025, but there are still only about 25,000 currently on the road today.

Image of EV charging

After only one day of driving an EV, I’m already wondering how long it’ll be before I make the switch. It was fun to drive, and the car felt much sportier than I’d imagined. I was grateful for a tutorial and test drive before getting on the road by myself since some features take a little getting used to if you’ve only ever driven a gas vehicle—including how quickly the EV stops when you take your foot off the accelerator. I had to adjust my lead time for slowing down, as the EV allows for a more abrupt stop than a traditional vehicle. Highway driving felt more similar to driving my own car, so that part was easy to handle. The main difference I noticed on the highway was the incredible pick-up when accelerating. It was much more powerful than I thought it would be.

As I planned my day, I started researching charging stations along my route because I was worried I might run down the battery and get stuck. I didn’t know the EV’s battery life was so long or that it would only use a small percentage of its charge during my hour-long drive. I knew there were multiple charging stations in my town—I’ve noticed them more over the last couple of years—but I’ve never had a reason to use one.

Photo of Suzanne posing with National Grid baseball cap

I was unsure if I’d be able to find a charging station in Chelmsford, the town I was planning to visit. A quick internet search provided all the details I needed, with plenty of charging options available at hotels, restaurants, public parking lots, and businesses in the area.

After driving to Chelmsford for lunch and a visit to Heart Pond Beach, I was ready to top up the EV battery. The charging station was intuitive to use but needed to be turned on by the hotel manager. The manager informed me that guests generally used this charger overnight, which charged more slowly than some other stations. I didn’t realize there was a difference, which was interesting, and I found out there are other “supercharging” options in the area as well if I needed a faster charge. The station itself and the EV had blinking green indicators to let me know that it was charging, which was very helpful.

Photo of  EV charging in a parking lot

Once topped up, I felt ready to indulge in one of the joys of a true Massachusetts Summer: ice cream. I visited Simply Sweet in Newburyport, Massachusetts, where I was lucky enough to gift $500 from National Grid to treat customers for the remainder of the day. For me, it was a tough choice with all the tempting flavors, but with the help of my friends voting on Instagram, I indulged in a coffee Oreo ice cream in a waffle cone! It was the perfect wrap-up to a day of adventure and learning about EVs.

By the end of the day, I had fully adjusted to the difference in technique needed for driving the EV, so it felt a little strange getting back into my own vehicle…which, although relatively new, suddenly felt like an outdated dinosaur! Overall, learning about EVs with National Grid was fun and fascinating, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the clean energy mission continues to develop throughout Massachusetts.