A pothead's guide to electric cars
By Johnny Mumbles
Prices at the pump are really high. And so are you. Going green is appealing but all the decisions seem so hazy. Incentives are back with the Inflation Reduction Act, and EV articles are popping off. So, you know, I had to act up with a little exhalation to reduce inflation, or is that inhalation to reduce inflammation. Uh oh, here we go. This is the pothead’s guide to electric cars.
Let's set up a quick glossary. Light that joint and hear me out for a second. A gas car goes vroom. A hybrid goes vroom better. A plug-in hybrid (also known as PHEV) can vroom or zoom. And a full electric goes zoom zoom, no vroom. Gas cars and hybrids go to gas stations, electric cars (also known as EVs) go to chargers and plug-in hybrids can do both.
I think the best place to start the conversation is where you don’t want to end up—out of range. Range anxiety is a real thing. Think of it this way: you just bought a bag of weed and you are feeling great. But slowly you start smoking through that shit and finally end up with one joint left. Now you gotta figure out where to get more weed before you run out. And you can’t just run into your dealer’s spot, grab a bag, and roll out real quick. You have to go in there and smoke a joint and be chill about it. You need to ration till then. But then you remember that one type of plug has nothing to do with the other, and you see a charger at the grocery store you are walking into. So you charge your car while you have an existential crisis over all the options in the granola aisle. That shit is nuts!
Now you have plenty of mileage but you are already thinking about charging again, the bars slowly receding into inevitability. You join EV subreddits and get recommended articles on optimizing your battery. All this talk about overcharging or fully discharging the battery or not charging in the heat or cold—it’s all true, but the reality is the battery access is often limited in a way as to reduce the owner error factor. Don’t sweat all that, if these batteries all start shitting the bed, we will be dealing with a whole other situation. You should just approach it with the same stoned mentality as everything else—make it into a game so you don’t forget to do all the important stuff.
And yes, charging a car in the world is very much like a video game. The different challenges are trying to catch one of the chargers at the mall or an open supercharger on the highway. Finding a charge in public is like when your lighter dies and you are just looking for a light. You keep showing up to spots and all they got is matches or there is a crazy long line. Fortunately, chargers are becoming more accessible. But keep in mind there are a bunch of different charger companies with different plugs even if they are supposed to be standardized. I feel like we are going to see chargers advertising pure energy and organic sourcing, the best electricity for your battery. This kilowatt was born from the first ray of light over the Rocky Mountains. Put that shit in your pipe and smoke it. Or rather, put that in your battery and don’t make any smoke at all.
Currently, the most convenient means of transportation is a gas car on a highway full of gas stations. Charging a large battery just takes time with the current technology and the infrastructure isn’t fully in place for national electric car charging. We are getting there but let's take a step away from all of that for a moment. Take another bong hit and let’s lighten things up a little bit.
There is a golden rule of cannabis that I think should permeate the driving culture. Chill! Make no mistake, I’m not saying to get stoned and drive, quite the opposite. It's crazy out there and we all need to be alert, focused and working together to get home safe. Driving is a cooperative effort, not a competitive one. We need to realize that missing that green light isn’t the end of the world. That it isn’t worth your life to respond to that text or get around that stopped bus. Once we relax the timeline then incorporating car charging into our schedules seems more reasonable. Stopping every three hours for 30 minutes may seem like an inconvenience when speeding down the highway, but maybe it's the solution.
Let’s talk about using the battery for a minute. Understanding your routine use is essential. If you are only driving to the bodega twice a day to get more blunt wraps, while you convince them you are at maximum efficiency working from home, then you don’t need a 500-mile battery with wheels on it. You would probably be okay on a bike. It might even help. The point is, you may realize that you only drive 20 to 40 miles a day and then return home to a potential charging source. That is the normal range of a plug-in hybrid, which makes them so appealing, especially in urban or suburban areas where destinations are only 5 to 10 miles away. Then when you get on the highway the car goes from zoom to vroom with great gas efficiency.
That is the option we chose, the Honda Clarity, the granola car full of granola bars. Fifty miles on the battery, which we charge using the solar panels on our house. A seven-gallon gas tank that takes us 300 miles. I’m not getting paid to promote it, but I am a pretty big deal on the Clarity subreddit. We have a level 2 charger on the house, so charging it just takes a couple hours, instead of what feels like forever on a normal 110 outlet. When we get on the highway, we gas up and go far at almost 50 miles per gallon. I’m not trying to brag; I’m trying to be a reefer role model. I see plug-in hybrids as a transition point between technological eras. An artifact I plucked out of the timeline as electric cars take over the highways. The crossroads of history where everyone looks at fossil fuel powered transportation and says we need to figure this out.
For the purpose of this discussion, suppose you have taken the plunge and gone full electric. Feeling like a boss walking into the two-car garage and the plug is still on the wall, the car battery is empty. “Shit,” you say to yourself with a disappointed sigh. Or more emotionally excoriating you hear from the other room, “Honey, did you remember to plug in the car?” If your car is fully electric and you forget to charge it, you can’t go anywhere, for like hours. You have a paperweight that looks like a car. I wonder what the statistics of Tesla owners and divorce rates are? Want to bet who’s getting the car? All I’m saying is keep your joint charged and you won’t have anything to worry about.
On the topic of Tesla: Tesla owners are a special breed, and a lot of them are my good friends. My buddy considers his Tesla a giant toy and feels that he should be able to play with it whenever and however he wants to, at any speed. He was complaining how regulations are making it so he can’t play video games on the screen while the car is in motion. “I, er, the kids, have to play video games on my phone while I’m driving. Who do these youngn’s think they are?” Fortunately, the karaoke is still available.
For argument’s sake there are three types of cannabis users: stoners with a constant buzz and dead cell phone, high functioning potheads who set a timer for 4:20 pm, and all the rest of us who just don’t like being labelled, yo. If your phone is always out of battery, a fully electric vehicle may not be the best choice. Perhaps a plug-in hybrid would be a better option. For high functioning potheads looking to make a positive impact, go full electric, go full hydrogen. Hell, maybe just take the bus. Just keep in mind one gem while you go forth and forage tax rebates and dodge dealer mark-ups. There is no feeling like driving past a gas sign for 5 dollars a gallon and not giving a fuck.
Listen on Spotify
Whether you are riding dirty or rolling green, you won't stop bobbing your head to this playlist. These are all of the songs Johnny Mumbles turns up when he is cruising silently down the street. One of the best things about going electric is these joints bump even harder. Just don't forget to enjoy the ride.
Follow Johnny Mumbles on Instagram here: @johnny.mumbles
Johnny mumbles made a cannabis comic called the Phytos. It's a pot edu-tainment chromic about cannabinoids and terpenes. Check out the project at The Phytos. New comics and swag are coming soon!