Why It’s Time For Me To Find Another Place To Plug In

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Winter Testing the Volvo C30 Electric

Winter Testing the Volvo C30 Electric

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Later on today, I will hit the publish button on my final article as a full-time writer at Green Car Reports, turn off my computer, and officially end my time as an automotive journalist. 

Today, I start the transition from automotive writer to electric car advocate, a role I’ve wanted for many years, but--as many will attest--one which rarely pays the bills. 

You see, while I’ve only been working here at Green Car Reports for a few years, my love affair with plug-in cars started way back in 1984.

I had just turned five, and my two elder sisters--10 and 15 years my senior--received a weekly encyclopedic magazine in the mail called The Tree Of Knowledge

Every week, the magazine would arrive with teen-friendly articles on everything from cell division to the basics of thermodynamics, the evolution of classic music, and how bones repair. 

And so, after my sisters had read it, the precocious Mini-Me would sneak into their bedroom, and sit on the floor, cross-legged, looking at the pictures and trying to figure out the words. 

It was then that it happened: I encountered my first electric car.

Staring back at me from the pages of the magazine encyclopedia was a cutaway diagram of a 1976 Enfield electric car, showing its physically big, yet underpowered motor, its massive 48 Volts of lead-acid batteries, and a sweeping, electrically-heated front windshield. 

1974 Enfield 8000 Electric Car

1974 Enfield 8000 Electric Car

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It was bright red, about the same size as a Morris Mini-Minor, and made perfect sense to me. 

I was in love. 

From that point on, I was fascinated by everything electronic.

In between hours of music practice, school work, and the occasional bit of helping out on the farm, I tinkered with radios, motors, and eventually, computers. 

But it would be another 21 years, after graduating as a professional musician, that I would start to pay close attention to electric cars again. 

My 1965 Morris Minor--a car I purchased a few years after graduation, in the ultimate pursuit of a childhood fantasy--had started to suffer from years of neglect and poor servicing under the care of its elderly former owner.

Its replacement, a roaring 1.8-liter Morris Minor hot-rod woody wagon from 1962, drank gasoline like a fish, and it wasn’t as fun to drive on everyday commutes as I thought it would be. 

Morris Minor Hot Rod

Morris Minor Hot Rod

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In fact, I sold the very car I’d purchased to beat BMW M5s on the freeways around my hometown just a scant few months after I bought it. And I kept the '65.

And then it hit me. 

Gasoline was rapidly approaching £1 per liter, and it was running my bank account dry. It was smelly, and my slowly-rusting wreck was leaving oil everywhere.

I wanted something simpler, cheaper, easier.

So I started the strip-down of my beloved car, removing its interior by hand, selling off its old parts, and using a cheap Chinese electric scooter as my main form of transport. 

But the 40-year old car was rusted through in places I knew I couldn’t afford to fix. I had to scrap her.

In the interim, my passion for electric cars was well and truly ignited. By this point, I’d found a cheap, three-wheeled neighborhood electric vehicle to drive around in: the City El. 

City El NEV

City El NEV

Enlarge Photo

With a top speed of just 35 mph, crude handling, and a range of 30 miles on a good day, the City El wasn’t easy to drive. 

It was electric, and that’s all I cared about. 

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Comments (19)
  1. We'll miss you, Nikki! Thank you so much for turning the GCRs into the exciting site I visit every day and good luck in your new role. I hope you'll change the world!

  2. I first came across Nikki as one of the hosts of EVcast. Her professional style and knowledge of electric cars really elevated the quality of the show and I always appreciated that. So while EVcast has ended, TransportEvolved nicely fills that space.

    Her writing on GCR has been fantastic. As much as she tried to be objective, you could always tell in her heart she was an EV girl and believed in the subject she was writing about (sadly not true of a lot of "green" writers"). There was never any doubt that Nikki was on the side of EVs, even if she had to point out a weakness or two.

    I don't know how GCR will ever fill that void.

  3. Thank you John -- and thank you for your years of polite messages pointing out the occasional typo!

  4. A fond farewell Nikki and best of luck in all you do. I will certainly miss your writing here. I spend so much time looking at downright biased and substandard journalism that your work and all the writing I find here at GCR is something I trust and derive enormous benefit from.

    I'm finding resistance to EV's is dropping. For heaven's sake, I bought one! The time is coming but we do need people to communicate because the major car companies, in bed with the oil companies, are still not behind this revolution and are actively holding it back at times.

    So good luck and well done for jumping!

  5. Nikki, your voice will be missed!


  6. I'm very sorry to hear that your leaving, I have enjoyed your articles very much. I myself am a long time car enthusiast who is ready to give up exaust notes for EV silence, and all the perks of plugging-in. So I wish you and your wife all the best, keep up the fight for EVs.
    Thank You, Chris (CDspeed)

  7. Nikki,

    Best of luck in your new position of EV advocacy. The world needs more people like you!


  8. Good Luck on your journey. I agree that for EV's to be successful, they have to be as down-to-earth, nuts-and-bolts, default-option as possible. We'll know we've won when a single working Mom can drive home from her Walmart job in an EV.

    It's been a pleasure reading your work. Take Care.

  9. Nikki I first "met" you on Priuschat about 5-6 years ago and followed your exploits with your plug in Prius. I will miss you here but I am sure our paths will continue to cross elsewheres,

    Wish you and yours the very best and keep fighting the good fight!!

  10. @Nikki,

    We will miss you and best of lucks!

  11. Best of luck Nikki, you will be missed! However I'm sure we haven't heard to last for you! Be well!

  12. Thank you Nikki for your hard work here at GCR. I've learned so much through your informative posts, and I will miss your contributions. I wish you the very best, as you continue to educate and open the world's eyes to the benefits of plugging in. You're appreciated!

  13. Thanks for all of the wonderful artices Nikki and good luck in your new position.

  14. Good luck!

  15. Good luck Nikki! Your passion for EVs has been an inspiration to me. Best of luck to you and your family in the future! Mark Higley

  16. Great to hear about some of your background (especially as an electronics enthusiast myself.)

    All the best for your new role! It sounds just right for you.

  17. After the hurricane page, GCR is the next site on my browser, which is largely Nikki's doing, inspiring me to bring a Leaf from south London to Jamaica. I'm sure we will be following you in the future too.

  18. Congratulations Nikki, I can't think of a better candidate for your new job.
    Good luck.

  19. The voice of a "true believer" where plug-in vehicles are concerned will certainly be missed on this blog. Advocacy is needed though in a world that takes an increasingly sceptical attitude towards plug-ins and I'm sure you can make a difference in the regard in your new job, Nikki.

    Maybe things are not as bleak as they seem though for plug-ins, it's news like this that might yet prove the sceptics wrong:


    It's always darkest before dawn!

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