Recently, CleanTechnica published my article about old age and electric vehicles. It got a much bigger response than I expected, so I thought, why not share some of the other stories people sent me about their experiences with EVs as they enter the third age. Many thanks to those who contributed stories and ideas from CleanTechnica and from Facebook. Concerns raised were: Can you get your walker in the boot? Does your grey hair clash with the colour of your car? Can a Tesla Model 3 replace a pacemaker or play cupid?
Let’s start with an electric romance. Turns out an EV is good for the heart. Hugh Sykes met Margaret MacDonald through their shared love of EVs. They are both over 75 and love to promote EVs through community presentations (Rotary, PROBUS, and the University of the Third Age). They were married in 2022 and were interviewed on Australian television about their modern-day romance. “We were not interested in personal publicity but were keen to spread the word about the benefits of changing to EVs,” Hugh tells me. Watch the video here (also embedded below). Love the pickup line from the ’50s — “Would you like to come for a drive in my car?”
Hugh and Margaret have been on many road trips and are still together. She drives a 2019 Hyundai Kona Electric and he a Tesla Model 3 Long Range.
“Because I’m an old fart, I called my M3LR ‘SilentButDeadly’. If you’ve ever pulled up in the inside lane next to me at the lights, young fella, you’ll know why ….” Don’t need a pacemaker to keep the heart racing.
“I’m 72 and had one of the first-generation Nissan Leafs on Wellington, New Zealand. I ran it for 7 years and 80,000 km just going backwards and forwards to work. It more than paid for itself. Then 2 years ago I moved to the Coromandel but still had to go to Wellington regularly, so I bought a 2nd generation Hyundai Kona. So far I have travelled 54,000 km in it. Both cars have been absolutely faultless and I love them.”
“My 91-year-old father drives a Polestar. Mind you, he also writes his own computer code to create games to amuse himself.”
“As an over 60, I realised if I didn’t get an electric car now, I may not get a chance to drive one, so I bought a BYD Atto 3. My daughter (mid 30’s) wants to wait another 10 years to see how the technology improves and if prices go down. I don’t know what I’ll be like in my 70’s as far as driving ability and confidence. I didn’t want something that I needed to subscribe to or something so minimalist that I am constantly fiddling with the screen. A reasonable price also helped.”
“I bought a new 40 kW Leaf in February. I am in my late 60’s and found very little change needed for transition. Love e pedal driving past petrol stations.”
“When we collected our Tesla we were the only 60 plus couple collecting. Mostly younger families with their excited children. All actively on phones and in front seats investigating their new cars’ screens and capabilities. A family event. Once comfortably in the know, away they drove.”
“I am 75 and we have had our BYD since January. Love it, and I love the acceleration when I take off. I’m sure I don’t use as much of the technical stuff as I could, but that’s life.”
“Hmmm … ‘older people’? Older than what? We’re two folks nearing 70 who drove Perth-Melbourne-Sydney and back in our Kona EV. Always happy to chat about that experience.”
“Our Atto 3 will probably see us out, as we’re early 70s. Love it! We don’t stream music or watch Netflix or use Sport mode, but we enjoy the clever features we do use!”
“I am 62 and bought my Atto3 to soak up some of the power I get from my solar panels. I easily get 420 km from a charge and I am using my car to drive for Uber. I am constantly complimented on the car with about 1 in 5 passengers saying the car is like a spaceship. I wish it came with a spare. I still can’t get over the amazing economy and efficiency of the vehicle. 60 kWh costs me $18 for my 420 km. My feed-in is only 10 cents/kWh, reducing this to $6 for 420 km. In summer I export plenty of power at 5 cents/kWh, reducing a full charge cost to $3. I wish someone would work out a cost effective way to run my house off the car battery at night.”
“In 2022, both 75, my wife and I bought an Ioniq 5, to put our money where our environmental mouth was. It’s definite, you can just drive it, without worrying/understanding all the techno-stuff available. After a few months, we did learn how to use the smart cruise control, which we love on our occasional highway trips. Also, you can just drive it without worrying about a lot of maintenance. We’ve rotated the tires (at our local long-time friendly independent auto service shop) a few times, and that’s it. Electrics are definitely great cars for us old folk.”
“We’re in our late 60s with a 2019 Leaf. We’ve driven several times from Sydney to Adelaide, Melbourne and Brisbane. We have the time and desire to travel slowly, and to explore the country on our trips, which makes regular stops for charging enjoyable. Our only difficulty is the batteries overheating after long distance driving and 2-3 fast charges in a day. We love driving it around the city — quiet, responsive, and easy to park.”
“I think tech-savvy is a better predictor than age of EV acceptance. Younger people tend to have grown up with computers, but then again, I’m 64, retired from a career in IT, and I love our Tesla.”
“I have a 2018 grey import Leaf and love it. I estimate I will have saved between $5000–$8000 in fuel this calendar year. Coming out of your pension it’s a lot of money. Because I’m retired, I can charge the Leaf during the day from the solar panels, cost $0. I find I’m driving less so the range anxiety is finally getting under control too.” Good for the heart and for the wallet.
“Older people probably don’t drive enough to make EV worthwhile. If you’re spending $700 a year on fuel, a $40k-plus EV isn’t sensible.”
“I’m in my mid-60s, and I think there are several features of EVs that IMHO make them particularly suitable for older drivers and in particular may enable people to drive longer, eg: simplicity of driving (including predictability) — you can concentrate more on the surroundings; quietness — can hear outside noises more easily, and refinement — much less tiring on long drives.”
“Most of the people I know in their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s built their first EV’s decades ago. But I hang out with strange crowds, that like to tinker.”
“As an octogenarian, I opted to buy a performance Model 3. That was 4 years ago. An outback road and farm stay north-west of Broken Hill and many other road trips later I’m totally hooked. We bought a caravan to successfully prove EVs definitely don’t ruin your weekend. Must say it definitely beats the AMG (literally). My wife, also an octogenarian, drove a 25 year old Mitsubishi Magna. Recently she bought an 11-year-old Nissan Leaf. With an 80–100 km range she says it’s perfect for ‘tootling off to the shops’. The Leaf beats the RAM driven by her much younger sisters to pick up the kids from school. We enjoy sharing our knowledge and love of EVs with younger generations.”
“The older I get the more I want to avoid doing oil and filter changes. Also, regenerative braking should reduce the number of times I have to go in for new brakes. And finally, if I die, the wife would be much better off with an EV, because vehicle maintenance is not her strong suit. The point being, being older makes me more likely to want an EV, not less likely.”
“Lots of fun and so easy to adjust to the differences. No trouble at all and many of the features are much safer for older people. My reflexes may not be as fast, but my car has fast reflexes. I can see all the cars around me without even turning my head. The blind spot screen and the tilt screen on my Tesla S is a definite benefit for older drivers. Love being able to charge at home. Been mugged twice at gas stations and we are targeted as we are older and slower. I don’t have the full driving features but will probably add it next year. Even the partial auto drive is great. I went on a trip from Dallas to Galveston 5 days after getting my Tesla S. So go for it! Many years over 65. I think it is wonderful that all these changes have occurred during my lifetime and I am going to take advantage of them. No horse and buggy for me.”
One reader suggested that I should ask the question: Are you too young for an EV? Put a 16-year-old male driver in a Tesla Model S Plaid and stand back. Might be an article in that! Stay tuned!
I don’t like paywalls. You don’t like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don’t like paywalls, and so we’ve decided to ditch ours.
Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It’s a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So …