Electric Cars

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me_little_me

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The Chevrolet Bolt has "one pedal driving". One-pedal driving uses highest available level of regenerative braking, which captures otherwise lost energy from deceleration and sends it back to the Bolt EV battery pack. I
When the Leaf first came out, we thought about getting one as a second car. So when the salesman bragged about the number of miles, I asked him to let me know if he could drive to Greenville, SC and back (45 miles or so each way) in summer or winter without a problem - and told him if called me and showed me he did it, I'd buy one.

The problem of course is we lived in the mountains and it's downhill all the way to Greenville. Thus, the car is always charging to Greenville but there is no place to put the energy once the batteries are full and that wouldn't take long. On the other hand, coming home was uphill and with heat in winter and A/C in summer, there wouldn't be much left to push that car uphill for 45 miles and falling short would be a disaster especially since there were no charging stations outside of town.
Batteries are much better now but the declared distances are only good if you are on flat ground or go uphill first (as you can always turn around and go home if you can't make it as you'll always be charging).
 

Exvalley

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The Leaf was definitely a compliance car and not a practical car.

One side note: Heat reduces range much more than air conditioning. This is especially true for the Bolt because it has a resistance heater rather than a heat pump. The advantage is that the Bolt’s heater works well in extremely cold temperatures. Where I live that’s important.
 

PVD

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I agree that level 1 charging might be adequate for many users, but proper practice is using a separate circuit. First choice would be a J1772 extension cord, extension cords between the receptacle and charging service unit are not something manufacturers will usually sanction, and honestly, most people would not spend the money for an appropriate cordset either from an ampacity or possible need for GF protection.
 

PVD

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Unfortunately, I live in an apartment building, and although I have my own parking spot (and an individual electric meter), there's no plug-in for an electric car. I know I'm far from alone in facing this. I'd like to see landlords given incentives to install plugs.
I don't know where you live, in NY NYSERDA has EVSE incentives....
 

PVD

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The Leaf was definitely a compliance car and not a practical car.

One side note: Heat reduces range much more than air conditioning. This is especially true for the Bolt because it has a resistance heater rather than a heat pump. The advantage is that the Bolt’s heater works well in extremely cold temperatures. Where I live that’s important.
There was a major upgrade to range on the later generation (2018 forward) Leaf. One of the best deals was the closeout deal a few years ago where PSE&G had a deal with Nissan to give 10,000 dollars back on a 2017 Leaf. Couple that with the Federal incentive, and the car was half price. If the range was not an issue, it was a steal. They wanted to clear out all of the 17's, the 18's were much better.
 

Devil's Advocate

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When the Leaf first came out, we thought about getting one as a second car. So when the salesman bragged about the number of miles, I asked him to let me know if he could drive to Greenville, SC and back (45 miles or so each way) in summer or winter without a problem - and told him if called me and showed me he did it, I'd buy one.
I'm kind of disappointed he didn't strip the interior and pump up the tires to make it happen. This guy is giving car salesmen a bad name.

Batteries are much better now but the declared distances are only good if you are on flat ground or go uphill first (as you can always turn around and go home if you can't make it as you'll always be charging).
Why did you think a first generation Leaf would be appropriate to your situation? The original model was among least practical cars around and was only useful in rare situations. As PVD mentioned it's gotten a lot better over time and later revisions are much more functional.
 
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PVD

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NYC has a bunch of them. For folks like building or fire inspectors and other workers that use a car, but drive very few miles in a day they are excellent. When they bring them back at the end of the day they plug them in and the next morning they are good to go.
 

me_little_me

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Personally, I think the whole electric car implementation concept was not done right. From the very beginning, there should have been two focuses of electric vehicles.

1) Small trucks not used for long distances but primarily start/stop. USPS delivery trucks would have been an example. Looks would have been less important than utility. Overnight central charging facilities.

2) City taxis in regulated environments (e.g. NYC). Again, utility could win out over looks. Taxis would be required to remain at stands on chargers. A central number would dispatch the taxi or someone could walk up to the stand. When the taxi dropped off the passenger, they would have to proceed to the nearest stand with an available charger but could be moved by dispatcher to places where more taxis were needed. Separate, non-electric taxis would be used for "out of town" drop-offs. No roaming taxis permitted. Admittedly, this would be a major change to NYC's "medallion" stupidity and would require government funding of charging stations and subsidy for the taxis which might be leased to drivers. A single central dispatching system would be used and the whole concept would be like a contracted or city run Uber with individual cab ownership, customer ratings to insure standards compliance. Costs could be recovered as a percentage of the fare.

A lot more complicated than my simplified explanation but the result would be good testing of electric vehicles; maximum use with no problem of insufficient electric distances; big improvement in central city air quality; quality testing of vehicle and battery reliance.
 

jiml

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I beg to differ about EVs never being cheap. Despite an MSRP of about $44,000, my lease is only $199 per month with no money down. 10,000 miles per year - which is definitely sufficient since the vehicle isn't used for long trips. My local electrical utility gave me a free $500 Level 2 charger and a $1,500 check. Maintenance and fuel costs are a fraction of what I would pay with a gasoline car. So I have found EV ownership to be cheap.
That is an incredible monthly rate. Your vehicle must have a very attractive buyback. I did a couple of tests of similar-priced vehicles on manufacturer websites and, even with 0% financing in one case, could barely get a bi-weekly lease rate that low. Was there some other government or manufacturer incentive applied to the sticker price? I want to buy my next car where you live!
 

MARC Rider

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For those interested in electric cars, here are two books:


The guy drove a Tesla (with a trunk full of electrician's equipment) from Texas to Panama. There was pretty much no EV charging infrastructure, but he made it.


This is a sort of sociological study that discusses why internal combustion cars prevailed over electric cars. Electric cars are nothing new. A hundred years ago, they are all over New York City serving mostly as taxicabs and delivery trucks. Somehow our society decided that having internal combustion cars that could go longer distances was more important than taxicabs, delivery trucks and "city cars", even if, at the time, internal combustion cars were mostly a toy for rich people. An interesting study on how sociological and cultural conditions interact with engineering and technological capabilities.
 
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RichieRich

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Since they couldn't sell an EV (at actual cost) without the Incentives & Subsidies....where does the money come from to produce Incentives & Subsidies???
 

drdumont

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Who here owns an EV? I leased a Chevrolet Bolt for my teenage son. I absolutely love it.

Some thoughts in no particular order:
1) It's an absolute blast to drive. 0-60 in 6.5 seconds is nice, but what's really nice is the instant torque. It is incredibly zippy. YES!
2) I love never having to go to a gas station. Just pull into the garage and plug in. Or plug in lots of convenient places.
3) It's a perfect second car. I doubt that I would make it my only car. Longer trips can be done, but there is a LOT of downtime and I really don't want to have to deal with range anxiety. Mmmm... Not so much. Make the trip in an ICEV then in an EV. Try it in the winter - standing by a pump in the blowing cold, or sitting in the car toasty warm ...
3) The range takes a big hit in the winter. We go from about 260 miles in the summer to 160 in the winter. If you don't use the heat you can get about 180 miles. But I always use the heat. I live in USDA Hardiness Zone 4b. You have the smallest battery. Your numbers are close, but do you use the best power management? Heated seats vs cabin, run on RECIRCULATE for best economy, and a couple of other tricks.
4) It's nice to have instant heat in the winter. No need to wait for the car to warm up in order to get heat. And instant cool in the Summer. Parked in the sun, it gets over 120 inside. ten minutes before I want to leave, I turn on the climate control (works on cooling OR heating). When I get to the car, it's comfortable cool or warm.
5) The Bolt was surprisingly affordable. We leased it for $199 per month with no money down. The Bolt is a nifty car for commuting and running errands. Affordable, too, no contest there.
6) Maintenance is so much cheaper. No oil changes is a big plus. No oil changes, antifreeze, serpentine belts, transmission and fluids, emissions testing, waaayyy less brake use with one pedal driving, filters, und so weiter.

I must say that I am sold on EVs, and there are a lot of new models about to be released. I got ours because I was looking for something cheap for my son to drive. Now I want one for myself! Yes, contagion is an issue.
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My comments to the quote are in RED above. If you want the Readers' Digest edition rather than slogging through the details below, then just ignore the FUD. Do some CURRENT research. You Tube, Tesla forums, Showrooms, ask someone who has real experience. It's like Election Year. Make an informed choice, don't just pick up a rock and follow the crowd.

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If you've made it this far, thanks! Here we go...

Once this thread gets going, stand by for a food fight. It will get there, I rest assure you - as Cajun Pete would say. Both sides are absolutely convinced they are on the right track and the rest of the world has split a switch.
REPENT AND BE SAVED! It can get ugly.

ICE lovers who rant about the horrors of EVs are generally misinformed, have never properly experienced an EV, and are convinced that the other side has fallen under the spell of the worst snake oil salesmen ever. If you fall in this category, and are truly interested in learning something, then ask someone who owns a true EV. Like a Tesla. One which will run for over 80 miles without a charge. Or better yet, do as I did: Read, read, read, research, ask questions. There are any number of You Tube episodes with everything from how-tos to ride alongs. Kind of like AMTRAK and railroad enthusiasts post. Go to ABETTERROUTEPLANNER.com. Plan a trip. Take a gander at TESLAMOTORS.com. That is a congenial site not unlike this one. Informative. opinions, lots of folks with genuine information, not the Dumpster fire that is Quora.

Then check out TURO.com, and rent a Tesla for a weekend trip. I needed to go to Abilene from Dallas, and couldn't have picked a better weekend for a real world test. Good weather, bad weather, freezing, high winds, no Supercharger in Abilene, about 200 miles each way . Armed with the foreknowledge I possessed, I not only discovered free chargers in Abilene, but haven't had as much fun since the Chief Master at Arms fell down the forward torpedo room hatch.

I purchased mine online the next day. Installed a high speed charger that week, and silly me, two weeks later, took my wife of 50 years, the absolutely least techie person in Christendom to pick up the new ride. "Oh, aren't those blue ones pretty"... rinse and repeat several times for the rest of the day... A few shots across the bow... Then next day at breakfast came the Big One. The 16 incher: "I wonder what they would give us for the Cadillac...". So now we have EV The Good Ship Venus (Red) and EV The Blue Bunny (Blue).

As to the dreaded "Range Anxiety"... We make long trips all the time. We plan a route, just as always, and the car's software as well as ABRP tell us where the fueling stops are. There are "Level 2" charging places all over the place as well. Check out "Chargepoint" and "Plugshare" and "Chargehub", to name a fewy. And of course, you CAN charge a Tesla from an ordinary wall outlet, dryer outlet, RV campgrounds, the possibilities are endless. No, there's not a gas station on every corner. However, comma, compared to 6 years ago, there are tons of options, and more every day.

My "fuel" costs have dropped by at least 75 %. The daily commute went from $8-9 to about $1.25. Even less if I get the space next to the outlet at the office. I got the big battery for my car, so we ru a couple of hours, pull in, plug in, and walk away. Average charge time is about 20 minutes. At my age, that's time to visit the facility, grab a coffee, walk back, unplug and go. And the Collin Street Bakeries in Texas give you free coffee if you show your card key or phone app.

As to suitability of purpose, the EV is totally suited to mine. Maybe it is not to yours. I don't tow anything, move furniture or go four wheeling. (although I have essentially 4WD, I stay on paved roads). If I want to tow something, pull stumps, carry a refrigerator or whatever, I rent something suitable to the purpose. I haven't drunk the Full Self Driving FlavRAde, so I spent the money on the bigger battery. The car is too much fun to drive to let Beta software in a computer scare the pants off of me.

Now the other side - Not everyone lives where charging is convenient. Our News Director lives in a highrise, charges once a week at the Supercharger while visiting the stores or grocery shopping. Works for her. Some employers set up charging stations. But that takes a little thought. Sometimes, the equation just doesn't balance. So you still have choices. Hybrid, Plug In Hybrid, Gasoline or Diesel. And I say Happy Motoring! Enjoy!

There are some folks for whom an EV just won't work. So ICE vehicles are fine. No issue there. They're not crazy, nor am I, in spite of the rants and raves of the zealots.

You can go several ways - Sporty, state of the art, reasonable price - the Model 3. Seats 4. New Model Y - a little bigger a few more bucks. Or the Model S - the Saloon. More "deluxe" interior, electric doors, air suspension, lots of goodies. Gonna set you back $100K. Or the Model X SUV. Model S goodies and size, gull wing doors, can seat 7. $120K minimum. You can tow with an X or an S or a Y. But why would you want to? But if you do, you can.

Entry level Tesla is gonna set you back about $42K all in. Comparable to many mid range vehicles. Not all have that in their budget. If you can deal with <100 miles of range, and slow recharging, then there are several good options, from GM and others. Got a 30 mile commute? There you go. If you want to go on a trip and can't make AMTRAK work, then rent something. EV or ICE, the choice is yours.

OK, Doc - time to get off your soapbox.

My point is not to sell Teslas or Hybrids or ICEs. The point I am trying to make is that there are a lot of zealots out there, broadcasting doom and gloom for anyone not agreeing with them. And quite a lot of FUD. Exploding batteries, 8 hours to charge, yuh gotta replace the battery at $15K a pop, generating stations pollute more, ad nauseam. I could spout the same FUD about ICEVs - pollution, exploding fuel tanks, CO poisoning, rinse and repeat.

Think of it as election year. Each side is going to tell you the worst about the other side. Each side has a reason for their opinion, rational or otherwise. Do some research. Ask those in whose opinions you can trust. Look, touch, feel, and then experience.

Then when the current panic is over, take a nice AMTRAK trip.
 

Devil's Advocate

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I'm hoping for a new sedan between a 3/Y and S/X with a long range battery, driver side display, full size spare, and iOS support. That would be absolutely perfect for me. If that doesn't happen I may have to make do with a 3/Y since the S/X are just too much money relative to the amount of driving I do. As previously mentioned I'm not impressed with intermediate autonomy software. When the car can be trusted to drive itself from start to finish with no human handover, no clumsy hesitation, and improved safety while I sleep in the back seat let me know. Until then it's just not worth the asking price.
 
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railiner

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Full autonomous driving isn’t coming as soon as most people think. Getting to 95% of the way there has been relatively easy, albeit expensive. The last 5% is proving to be a huge challenge.
It seemed like it was almost there...but a couple of accident's, blamed on some test vehicles, set the whole program back considerably (as it should)....
 

Ziv

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The price of an electric vehicle has in large part been driven by the cell price of the battery. In the 2008 to 2010 timeframe the cell price apparently dropped from $1,100 to $1,000 per kWh. Most plug in cars will give you about 3.3 to 4.0 miles per kWh at highway speeds so you either needed 100 kWh packs to get you a range of 330+ miles or you needed a smaller pack PLUS a gas genset for driving after the pack was exhausted. Tesla chose the former route with Model S and Chevy chose the latter with the Volt.
If Tesla had built the Model S in 2010 it would have cost them $100,000 for a 100 kWh pack, plus around 33% for the thermal management system. So at that time a truly long range BEV was ruinously expensive, whereas a Volt with a 16 kWh pack that used 10.3 kWh gave 38 miles of AER and then could drive all day on the gas genset.
So Tesla started with a premium sports car in 2008, the Roadster, that was efficient (it had decent range from a 53 kWh pack), small, sporty and could justify the relatively high price. The S came along in 2012 and the less expensive 3 arrived in 2017. But the reason the 3 was able to sell profitably in 2018 was the fact that the cell price had dropped from $1100 per kWh to right around $145 per kWh and the TMS cost a bit less, as well.
No one knows the exact figure but cell prices now are probably right around $125 per kWh for Tesla and a bit more for everyone else. As the cell prices get closer to $100 it will be easier for legacy automakers to make reasonably good BEV's with longer range and faster charging. Cell prices have been steadily dropping since 2010 and appear to have at least a few more years of price reductions in store.
Interesting days.

Are EVs as cheap as a Mitsubishi subcompact? No. But you’ve moved the goalposts with that argument. EVs, with incentives, are often cheap, even if they aren’t the absolute cheapest possible new vehicle. Of course that depends on incentives. Fortunately, incentives are plentiful, often embarrassingly so. But it would be nice to get the MSRP down. I agree with you there. However, keep in mind that the lower cost of ownership makes up for some discrepancy in MSRP.
 

Devil's Advocate

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As the cell prices get closer to $100 it will be easier for legacy automakers to make reasonably good BEV's with longer range and faster charging.
Legacy automakers still have no legal or financial incentive powerful enough to disrupt their core business by making an attractive electric vehicle at a low price with long range. Which is probably why they mostly build short range compliance vehicles which fail to interest most consumers.

Full autonomous driving isn’t coming as soon as most people think. Getting to 95% of the way there has been relatively easy, albeit expensive. The last 5% is proving to be a huge challenge.
Imagine someone admitting they cannot reliably handle unmarked roads, bad weather, sharp curves, busy intersections, direct sunlight, surface reflections, disorderly pedestrians, obscured markings, aggressive traffic, or routine construction while also claiming to be nearly self-sufficient. In my view 95% represents an excellent driver that makes a mistake now and then but is able to recover on their own, whereas current self-driving technology is like a careless child who can handle simple tasks with a parent next to them but still has no business driving on their own and would probably wreck the car if given the chance.
 
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Qapla

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Legacy automakers still have no legal or financial incentive powerful enough to disrupt their core business by making an attractive electric vehicle at a low price with long range. Which is probably why they mostly build short range compliance vehicles which fail to interest most consumers.
While many assume that the automakers profits come from new car sales ... this is not actually the case according to some programs I saw on TV and information on the Internet. Much of the profit that automakers glean come from the service done by dealerships. They make quite a bit of their profit from the very things EV's eliminate:
  • Oil changes and filters
  • Air filters
  • Brake jobs
  • Transmission repairs
  • the list goes on.
So, until the EV's can replace the automakers real profits - they will still drag their heals. Like DA said, they have no real incentive to make EV's affordable and commonplace.

They use the "advanced technology", like auto-drive, as an excuse not to make simple, efficient, everyday drivers like they offer in ICE vehicles.
 
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leemell

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Honda Clarity PHEV I have found is the best overall PHEV around. Reliability gets the specs it is advertised at. Except for two long (460 Miles) I have not used any gas since I bought it about 8 months ago. And that for for a total of 9 gallons for both trips. Before that I had a Toyota Camry Hybrid for 11 years. Use wall outlet for charging.
 

Qapla

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Here's a question ... if you have a hybrid that you tend to never need the gas engine - does the gas go stale like it does in a lawn mower?
 

leemell

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Nope. The gas tank is specially pressurized to slow that. In addition the car will eventually fire up the engine to burn some off to require new gas be pumped. At least a year.
 
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