Opel Corsa-e

My first year as an EV owner

Today the EU parliament voted to ban the sale of new cars powered by fossil fuels, starting from 2035. Coincidentally, today marks the anniversary of my purchase of a full-electric Opel Corsa-e.

I still feel good about my purchase, and would definitely do it again.

I thought a lot about going full electric last year, analysed costs and features, looked at incentives, similarly-priced alternatives etc. – In the end, the math didn’t lie. It was just the best option.

It’s not all nice and dandy, however. There are downsides to owning a BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle), but ironically almost none of those relate to the actual car.

Charging is of course the main suspect. I cannot charge my car at home, which would probably be a deal-breaker for many people. This means I have to rely on the infamous public charging network, with all its nuances and unpredictability.

In this part of Italy, however, we are relatively lucky. As a matter of fact, I have charging options available both close to where I live, and at work.

Long-distance travels are a different beast entirely. Range anxiety is real even after a while, even if you know there will be stations potentially available.

I say “potentially” because you never know whether or not that spot will be occupied by someone who’s not charging. This made my life difficult (and very frustrating) a few times, and it also made me wish I had a tank instead of a stupid hatchback. Alas, this can only be solved by having more chargers and fewer selfish assholes. While I have some trust in the first possible solution, I expect nothing from the latter.

The car itself is awesome. I can listen to audiobooks during my commute, drive with only one pedal, relax during start-and-stop traffic. It really took a significant chunk of stress out of commuting.

I understand people who miss the engine sound. At least some of them. I would not want to hear the engine “sound” of a Panda anyways, so I might as well have nothing and focus my attention on something else. But for those of you who own an actual sports car, I feel you.

It is the right decision to ban the sales of new cars powered by fossil fuels however. People can argue about many things, but for private transport, you don’t need fossil fuels. Yes of course you can keep a weekend petrol car for fun, that won’t be an issue, but for day-to-day, electric is the answer, especially in big cities. I, for one, cannot wait to be able to finally breathe in while crossing a street.

The EU has made their move. We have 13 years. Plenty of time to get the charging network up, get people comfortable with the idea of owning a BEV, and slowly eclipse ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) cars.

Even for small niche constructors, like Dallara, Ferrari, Lamborghini etc. this will be a massive change. They’ve been trying so hard to keep the ICEs alive, and now we will see who will be able to dominate the supercar industry from the ’30s forward. Though, at least, these companies are used to deal with ever more stringent regulations.

The Germans might be in a good spot. Porsche has learned a lot with the Taycan, and can rely on the full weight of the Volkswagen group behind them. Lamborghini might continue to put their own badges on rebranded Audi SUVs while they try and develop a BEV supercar. I’m curious about what will be Ferrari’s strategy going forward. Their new CEO seems very competent however, and a step in the right direction.

I’m confident about Dallara as well, not just because my eggs are firmly in that nest. Dallara knows about how to build light and safe race cars, which undoubtedly will give them an advantage when dealing with the weight of a battery. We are also heavily involved in the Formula E program, of course, so there’s that.

I’m sure a lot of automotive C-level heads are suffering from heavy scratches at the moment. At the same time, a lot of consultancies are sharpening their PowerPoint claws, hoping to get a share of the inevitable billions which will be thrown around in the next years.

The EU has thrown the gauntlet. Let’s now see who will be able to pick it up and run away with it.