Driving an electric car in Oradea

 Driving an electric car in Oradea

It’s been almost a year since the company I work for decided to reward me with the latest version of a BMW I3 full electric car. That’s when I started my journey in the eco-friendly driving world. I also began to discover the opportunities and the challenges you face while being an early adaptor for an electric car in Oradea.

First of all, in all honesty, it is a privilege to work for a company that embraces technology and sustainability in all possible aspects, encouraging employees to live a healthy and sustainable lifestyle with a significant focus on supporting the local community.

I was so excited when I received the car, but the joy was even higher when the company decided to install five charging stations for electric vehicles free of charge in the company’s parking lot. For a few months, I forgot all about petrol stations. I just had to go to work, and when I left the job with my batteries empty, a fully charged car was waiting for me in the parking lot.

After a while, I had to take a trip to Timisoara, and that’s when I realized that I needed to plan and consider some stops for charging. A quick search on the internet solved the problems. I immediately identified enough charging stations on the way. I quickly downloaded the necessary apps to be able to use the stations, and I carefully planned my trip, considering the autonomy of the battery of my car.

However, things may never go as planned because nobody prepares you for the real deal. Charging stations might look great from a distance. Still, when you want to use them, that’s when the challenges begin: some of them don’t work at all, some of them have technical issues, and you need to reset them several times until they work; some of them don’t offer customer service, so you need to figure out by yourself how to use them, how to reset them, and the list goes on and on. 

What I wish I had known before driving an electric car

It was the first time I’ve experienced range anxiety, the fear that my vehicle has insufficient range to reach my destination. It was the beginning of March, and I started to turn off all the unessential consumers in my car: phone chargers, heating, and I turned all the board screen lights at the minimum level possible. We finally reached the destination and managed to charge the car with a regular plug.

My first lesson was clear: to drive an electric car, you need more than just a car, a charger, and a power source. It would be best if you had way more than that: a charged phone, internet connection (charging stations apps don’t work without internet), a minimum of two charging apps on your phone for safety, a charger compatible with your plug, and of course, a lot of patience.

Immediately after this experience, I set my next goal: make sure this will not repeat. That’s when I set my priority to discover Oradea from this point of view. I had to have a charging plan when I could not charge my car at work. My research came immediately with many positive findings. Oradea is indeed a city that not only has many charging stations, but you can find quite a few that are free. 

Some of them are sponsored by the Oradea City Hall (placed in the two new underground parking lots in the city), others by retailers such as Lidl and Penny. And let me share a secret with you: when you drive an electric car and experience range anxiety, you start to charge your car not when the battery is low but whenever you find a convenient charging station.

A not so funny confusion

When I thought I’d solved my problems of adapting to this lifestyle, I faced another issue that might take way more time to be fixed: people’s mentality. I will explain what I’m referring to in just a few words: people confuse charging stations with parking slots

Unfortunately, such people around us ignore the signs and block a charging space while they are shopping. They do not realize that for electric car drivers the slot is vital to reaching their destination. It’s not a “privileged, reserved parking slot.” I would raise a few eyebrows if I parked my car in front of a gas station and went shopping, but some people don’t realize they do the same thing when they park in the charging stations’ places. I’m sure this problem will be solved when people have higher awareness and be more mindful of others.

The best part of driving an electric car

I don’t want to end this article without pointing out a few of the current most significant advantages of electric cars: no air pollution, no noise pollution, and huge cost saving. Wondering how much I saved? Well, I can tell you that I’ve spent less than 500 RON for 10000 km so far. And I think that’s one of the main reasons the investment is worth it.

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