Electric Vehicle Story: David Wadsworth

This spring and summer we bring you “Electric Vehicle Owner Stories,” a series of interviews with northeast Iowa EV owners.

Name: David Wadsworth (Wadsworth Construction)
Vehicle 2023 F-150 Lightning XLT with extended range battery, which is rated for 320 miles.
Purchased on: Dec. 1, 2023

How many miles do you drive annually?
Approximately 25,000 between work and personal use, and the truck will serve both.

Thinking back to when you first considered an EV, what were your biggest concerns? Have those concerns lived up to what you had anticipated?
Range and towing capacity and towing range were far and away my biggest concerns.

Now that you’re an EV owner, are your concerns different?
Since I’ve had the truck, I’ve since learned what to expect in range for various scenarios and the effects of weather, what being towed, etc.

As you’ve adjusted to driving an EV, what have been the biggest headaches? Trip planning, towing, getting someplace when it’s really cold, lack of charging or time spent charging, or something else?
All of that! I’m using the truck as my construction company’s primary project vehicle. I really have to sit down and plan out where we’ll need to stop and how that fits with our work schedule. And of course making sure the truck is completely charged before we leave town is huge. Charging is usually done at Level 3 fast chargers to eliminate having to spend more time than necessary sitting around with employees who are on the clock.

Are you a two vehicle household, and if so, is your second vehicle gas powered?
Yes, we’re a two vehicle household and the second vehicle is gas powered.

Are there certain things you rely on the gas vehicle for?
No, I bought the Lightning to be a full replacement for what my old gas truck did.

What’s the longest trip you’ve taken in your EV and what planning considerations came into play?
Muscatine, Iowa. I’ve found EV planning to be pretty much the same, regardless of the distance we’re traveling. There are certain things you always have to be prepared for, like location of level 3 stops along the way and charging within walking distance of where we’re staying.

Is cold weather driving different than summer driving? Is there anything about winter driving you’d like to share?
To be honest, I’m not quite sure yet. Keeping it plugged in overnight allows the batteries and cabin to be conditioned so that I’m ready to go in the morning, without drawing on the battery. And I do not have a garage, so the truck sits out. 

Disregarding upfront costs, has your cost of ownership been what you had expected? Are you saving money?
Costs are what I expected. It is an expensive, yet very nice vehicle. It is not the Platinum trim package, but still a fancy truck for this guy. This is the first new vehicle I’ve ever owned. I certainly spend a lot less on fuel. I was spending about $500/month on gas, now I’m spending about $100 on electricity. I have solar at home and was producing more than I used, so I’m able to use that up now, no problem.

As you see it, what are the biggest limitations of driving an EV? On the flip side, what’s been the biggest plus?
The only limitations I see are having to make longer stops to refuel and potentially having to take a slightly different route based on charger availability. But these factors are improving every day as new charging stations come online. A plus is that the truck is always charged and ready to go first thing in the morning, and I can do that at home using fuel from my solar panels.

Have you used public charging? If so, what has that experience been like?
Yes. Sometimes it’s quick, easy, and free. Sometimes it’s slow, frustratingly complicated (I use maybe 6 different apps?), sometimes chargers don’t work, and public charging can be expensive. 

Given what you know now, are you glad you made the transition to an EV?
Definitely. It is not for everyone, at least not yet. It comes with a set of challenges that I was prepared for and am good with.  

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