By on June 2, 2013

2014 Fiat 500e Under The Hood, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

If you’re just now reading this series, here’s what’s going on. Because reviews of electric vehicles (my own included) seem to be 1/4 review and 3/4 whining about EV related issues, I decided to divorce the review from the “EV experience” and post daily about driving a car with an 80-95 mile range. You can catch up by going to Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 before coming back to the saga. Don’t worry, we’ll wait for you. Day three ended with my battery at 15% because I drove the orange creamsicle Fiat we have named “Zippy Zappy” over 175 miles. I don’t have a 240V charging cable at home so the car told me it would be 24 hours until the car was charged at 120V. Good thing day four was a Saturday.I woke up and debated whether I should shirk my weekend chores and head to the beach. After all, I had discovered the beach was equipped with a 240V station. No dice, I looked up the station online and it was occupied, probably because charging is free in Capitola By The Sea. Looking at the ChargePoint station map it’s obvious to see how the landscape has changed in a year. The SF Bay Area now has 781 public charging stations on the ChargePoint network,  172 on the Blink network, 23 DC “Fast Charge” stations that deliver 90 kW (nearly 14x faster than the onboard charger in Zippy Zappy or the 2014 LEAF). Of course Fiat hasn’t signed onto the CHAdeMO bandwagon yet leaving the LEAF and iMiEV the only cars capable of sucking down electrons at such a speed. No, I haven’t forgotten about Tesla, we’ll talk about that later.

In addition to those stations there another 980 private 240V chargers in the Bay Area that are part of PlugShare, a deal where you let random EV people charge at your home using your juice. Last time I had a LEAF, I decided to use a PlugShare station, so I looked one up and followed the directions. I texted the guy who was sharing his station and he told me to just drive up and plug my car into his station in his driveway. I was so blown away by thig I interviewed him. He told me he thought of PlugShare as”EV random acts of kindness.” How sweet. Let me ask you all a question to put this in perspective. How many of you would sign up for “GasShare.com” a place where you keep a 5-gallon gasoline can in your driveway so you can share it with your fellow neighbors? Anyone? I suspect that as EVs become more popular and the charge rate increases fewer people will be willing to let strangers park in their driveway and suck down $10 worth of electricity.

2012 Nissan Leaf, Exterior, charging connector, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

About that Tesla. The charging standard situation  is like a VHS/Betamax battle with only one player on the Beta side: Tesla. I do understand the logic with the new charging connector, it is without a doubt superior into the J1772 that every other EV and plug-in hybrid uses. It is also better than the CHAdeMO DC charging plugs on Mitsubishi and Nissan EVs. Finally it’s way, way more attractive than that funky SAE combo connector the society is pushing.

How is Tesla’s cord better? First off the connector is smaller. I’m not convinced this is a big deal since every car has a fuel door and so far nobody has  told me they hated their fuel door because it was too big. But the electrical side of the connector? Tesla rocks. J1772 started out with a 30A max draw, later amended to 80A in 2009 (although I have yet to see an 80A capable station). If your car supports J1772 AC charging and CHAdeMO quick charging, you have the ginormous connector above shown above ( on the left of the J1772 connector). It’s HUGE. Now we really do have a size problem because  you can’t hide the two of them together behind a normal fuel door. Tesla went another way and (we can only guess at some of this because they haven’t shared their charging standard with anyone) and combined the AC and DC charging onto the same pins. (You can see the Tesla connector below.)Even though the Tesla connector is smaller it’s just as beefy with a Model S drawing 80A if you buy the 20kW charging option. That’s over 330% faster than a LEAF, Focus EV or Fiat 500e. The only problem being that your home needs to support that and my home has only a 100A service so I would have to choose between charging my car and using the oven. If that’s not fast enough you can stop by a Tesla “Supercharger” station and suck down power at 100kW (400 volts at 250 amps) 10kW faster than CHAdeMO.

The problem with this charging superiority is that it’s exclusive to Tesla. With the adapter that comes with every Tesla model S, you can use the 1,933 J1772 charging stations in the Bay Area, but you can’t share your home station with a LEAF driver. If you’re a multi EV family with a Model S and a 2013 Toyota RAV4 EV (powered by Tesla ironically), you will need to either use a J1772 station and deal with the slower charge in your Tesla or have two stations at home. (You know, aside from the fact that you’re going to be nearly maxing out your 200A service.) More vexing than that is DC quick charging your Tesla. Yes, I freely admit CHAdeMO is an enormous chunky plug, but there are already 23 CHAdeMO stations in the Bay, 28 in Tennessee, 18 in Portland, 6 in Seattle, 19 in Phoenix and several in Southern California. (Not to mention hundreds in Japan.) Right now there are only eight Tesla Supercharger stations in the USA growing to some 50+ stations by the end of the year. Great. But as of now you can’t charge your Tesla from the existing CHAdeMO stations and you can’t charge your CHAdeMO car from a Tesla station. If we cared about the EV landscape and wanted EVs to succeed, we need to use the same connector. How would it go down if Honda came up with a new Accord and used an all-new and all-sexy fuel filler neck that was incompatible with anything but a Honda gas station unless you used a funnel? A comparison to Apple is usually drawn here, but even Apple has always used industry standard NEMA power cords.

socket4, Image from blog.widodh.nl

This this is all about Tesla vs Nissan? Think again. There is so much indecision in the industry over what charging standard to support that most manufacturers do nothing, which is probably worse. That means you can’t fast charge your RAV4 EV, a car that really needs it, or your Focus, 500e, Fit EV, Mini e, A3, Active e, iQ EV, fortwo, Spark EV, or Transit Connect Electric. What do the car companies say? “We are waiting for a standard to emerge.” Funny, I’d call the hundreds of DC stations already installed in America a standard that has emerged.

After 15 hours of charging, the wee Fiat was ready for a trip to civilization as we had a party to attend. We pre-planned and carpooled with some friends so we could leave Zippy Zappy plugged into their garage outlet for a few hours. There was zero range anxiety this time with an 84% charge. The EV Fiat proved amusing to drive quickly on the winding mountain roads we traversed. EVs add a fair amount of weight to any conversion like this, but because the battery pack is positioned low in the vehicle, it improves the centre of gravity and weight balance when compared to the gasoline 500. Four hours of partying later, the 500e was a minor celebrity with all manner of people wanting to see it/sit in it/ride in it. Even though you see EVs driving around all over the place in N. CA, they still have a novelty factor that makes people interested. Saturday was a slow day with only 49 miles going on the Fiat and an estimated time to a full charge when we rolled in of 9 hours even at 120V.

Looking for the other installments? Here you go:

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

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100 Comments on “Living With an EV for a Week – Day Four (can we get a charging standard please?)...”


  • avatar
    NormSV650

    “Gas share”, piceless! Best review/rant yet on owning a battery car.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      Eeeh Gad….

      Can you actually imagine a “multiple EV family”. Poor things.
      I recommend two aspirins, a good nap, and see me in the morning.

      —————–

      • 0 avatar
        Weapon

        Depends on what kind of EVs they have. I know of a few families with multiple Tesla Model S cars and they are pretty happy.

        • 0 avatar
          Fordson

          Owning nothing but plug-in EVs makes no more sense than owning nothing but 2-seat supercars, or nothing but body-on-frame SUVs, or nothing but ’57 Chevys.

          • 0 avatar
            Weapon

            There is nothing wrong with owning nothing but EVs. If the EVs account for all your driving needs, what does it matter?

          • 0 avatar
            Fordson

            So you’re car-centric enough to have several cars, but you never, ever have to be two states away by this time tomorrow – ?

            I think most people would like to own vehicles with complementary capabilities, not duplicative ones. I love my GTI, but if my wife wanted to get rid of her minivan and get a GTI also, I would discourage that.

          • 0 avatar
            Weapon

            If I have to be that far away by this time tomorrow, there is this magical thing called an airplane. With that said a Tesla Model S has more then enough range to travel 2 states or more on a single charge (at least where I am). And there is always superchargers near by anyways.

            And I think most people will agree that neither you nor I are qualified to speak on their behalf. Everyone’s situation differs.

            Statistically speaking though:
            4.3% of trips are over 100 miles.
            0.1% of trips are over 200 miles.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            I’ve known many families that had nothing but BOF SUVs, or at least SUVs, though many have traded at least one for a sedan. One did trade their CX9 for a Leaf but kept their Sequoia, despite the fact that they were on their second set of head gaskets on the second engine.

            I also know people who either have an EV as their only car or have 3 or more EVs. Everyone’s needs and desires are different.

          • 0 avatar
            Fordson

            “If I have to be that far away by this time tomorrow, there is this magical thing called an airplane.”

            Go buy a ticket today for a flight that leaves today – let me know what that cost you. My point is I can get into my ICE NOW, on the spur of the moment, and go practically forever.

            “With that said a Tesla Model S has more then enough range to travel 2 states or more on a single charge (at least where I am). And there is always superchargers near by anyways.” If you live in CA, no, you don’t have the range to travel to at least 2 other states on a single charge. If you live near either the DE or CT locations, you can (New England states are very small). But then the nearest OTHER location is 3,000 miles away.

            I live in New York State – a pretty populous state. Right now the closest Supercharger location is 400 miles from me. By this coming winter, it is projected to be 200 miles from me. By some time in 2014, it will be 40 miles from me.

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    I would guess that the range of this vehicle is approximately what 97 percent of all cars are driven in the average day.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      You may be right for your area, but the national statistics are that a ~78% of people drive less than 40 miles roind trip to get to work.

      That’s how they sized the battery of the Volt:
      http://gm-volt.com/2007/12/06/how-did-gm-determine-that-78-of-commuters-drive-less-than-40-miles-per-day/

      I travel 5-10 miles during my daily routine, and 20-30 miles per day if I need to make a couple if trips to the hardware store on the other side of town.

      So, my charging routine would be far less interesting than the author’s: drive home and plug it in.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      We could save money on emergency services by the same ‘logic.’

  • avatar
    Ned Funnell

    $10 worth of electricity? I don’t think so. The 500e has a 24kWh pack- electricity is $0.09/kWh in my neck of the woods, so it’s more like $2.16. Even with a 15% efficiency hit at the charger, you’re still at $2.53. That’s if you arrive at the poor fellow’s house from 0 to 100%. I’m guessing you cost him under a buck when you visited.

    • 0 avatar
      Toshi

      Thanks for the math fact-checking. I was going to post such a thing if anyone hadn’t already.

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      I wasn’t speaking of the 500e precisely and my electric rate is 0.23/kWh. Fully charging a Tesla with the large battery would cost me $19.55. As EVs with larger batteries come out the “risk” gets larger.

      • 0 avatar
        Ned Funnell

        Yes, I suppose if the PlugShare member was paying 0.23/kWH, you could suck down that many dollars with the 85kWH Tesla- a little more, $21.25, actually, accounting for the onboard charger’s 92% efficiency. Since it would take you 14 hours to do so, I would guess you would have already talked to the plug’s owner about your unusual fill-up’s impact on his life.

        I don’t know that it’s likely to contribute to the downfall of plug sharing. I’m going to guess that Level 2 plug sharing will predominantly be less than 3 hours. At a more normal rate of $0.12/kWH, nobody’s going to be using more than $2.38. As you’ve noticed, many EV drivers foam at the mouth with enthusiasm for their motoring choice. I think most will be as happy as your interviewee was to share their plug- especially considering they may enjoy someone else’s juice later.

        • 0 avatar
          Alex L. Dykes

          That is what will be interesting. When EVs turn more mainstream, will there be as much altruism?

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            It’ll end about the time EV enthusiasts start being replaced by cheapskates on one’s lawn.

            Think of it this way. A cup of coffee costs about $2.38. Most of us would buy a fellow car enthusiast a cup of coffee to keep a conversation going. But this is better, since it keeps both the conversation and the car going.

            But, as soon as the people showing up are just people looking for a free ride, then most people won’t share.

            In other words, it’s not really about altruism to begin with. It’s about being an enthusiast and demonstrating the existence of that nationwide charging infrastructure that people keep asking about.

      • 0 avatar
        Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

        If you own an EV in CA, you’re likely to get onto a TOU plan that brings the cost per kWh down pretty dramatically… For PG&E:

        http://www.pge.com/tariffs/tm2/pdf/ELEC_SCHEDS_E-9.pdf

        Off-peak summer charging down to 0.03855/kWh in the mixed tariff (single meter for house and EV charger(s))

        Me, reading that PDF gives me a headache. My local power coop charges a flat rate with no tiering or TOU plans, works fine for me.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      @Ned – thanks for the math work.

      The irony is that CA has the highest cost for electricity, yet that’s where EVs flourish. In western PA I pay only $0.054/kWh. That $10 of power would run my Leaf for 3 weeks.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        That’s where the irony comes in, where lots of folks think that there’s zero costs involved with these cars, be it environmental impact or pure energy cost.

        I know that for me, I still want to be able to drive anywhere, anytime. In the future, if Honda produces an Accord Plug-In Hybrid with leather and sunroof availablity that will provide equivalent performance of my new 2013 V6 model on a full charge (and will still provide adequate power in normal traffic, or the ability to climb a moderate grade in mountainous terrain at prevailing traffic speed, at zero charge), with a compact battery that won’t eat half the trunk, and at a price within, say, $2K of the equivalent ICE model, I’d be all over it! An EV for the commute would be OK if I had the garage space, charging ability, and the $$$ to support two cars! ;-)

        (Please no flames for this list! I realize we don’t have this now, but I have every confidence that we will see this in the not-too-distant future, given the march of technology and encroaching CAFE and other regulations.)

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    Tesla wants their supercharger to be incompatible with other EV’s since they are not set up to accept payment and don’t want to pay for you to charge other EVs heck unless you buy the top of the line model free fast charging is not included, you have to pay an additional $2000 or $2500 if upgraded later on the lesser version, so it really isn’t free after all it is more of an all you can eat buffet with a early bird special.

    The EV enthusiasts I know do have multiple chargers. One family has an original RAV-4, Roadster, and Leaf. Since there are only two drivers and the Leaf can be told to delay charging the standard 200a service suits them fine.

    The other has a Model S, Leaf, converted S10, Converted Fiero and range trailer between 2 drivers, The S10, Fiero and trailer share a charger since he can only drive one at a time so there really isn’t a problem having a fully charged EV ready to go so no problem with their 200a service either.

  • avatar
    Scott_314

    I know you paid 49 cents per kwh on Day 2 but it’s a bit dishonest to talk about “$10 worth of electricity”. In many states electricity tops out at 12 cents per kwh. How much money’s worth did he actually give you?

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      That depends on his rates and how far over his baseline he was. If I had charged at home it would have cost me $4.60 for that charge and I did it two days in a row.

  • avatar
    Toshi

    The author writes that he has yet to see an 80A Level 2 EVSE. Well, they do exist: http://www.clippercreek.com/uploads/ClipperCreek%20CS%20Series%20Public%20EVSE(1).pdf

    Clipper Creek CS-100. 100A breaker, 80A draw.

    That said, most all of the commercial L2 EVSE out there are 30 or 32A.

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      Oh I’ve seen them “on offer” I just haven’t seen one in the flesh. So far ChargePoint and Blink don’t allow you to search for 30A vs 80A charging points so I can’t say how many exist, but I haven’t run across one.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    One hell of a nice go cart you got there Alex.

  • avatar
    ZoomZoom

    Some locales have higher rates during daytime hours. Maybe not $10 worth, but still more expensive.

    I could live with a 200 mile range car but only if there were charging stations available at gas stations, and only if I could get to 80% charge in 15 minutes or less. EV makers need to step up their game.

    Why can’t we have exchangeable battery modules? I would seriously consider one of these cars then, even if the only place I could exchange the battery would be at home in my garage. Not a great solution, but at least I could swap battery packs and still keep driving that day.

    For that matter, why not allow me to carry a spare or “extended range” module already plugged into the car for a wider range, even if it adds a couple hundred pounds and reduces available cargo space inside the car?

    I always have spare batteries when I take my cameras anywhere. I used to carry spares with my laptops 10 years ago, but now laptops easily get me through a half-day or more of activity, so I don’t bother. But I do have a spare external USB battery that I use to charge my iPhone and iPad. It won’t fully charge the iPad but it will get me through the day, even if the iPad was under 10% SOC.

    In the absence of plentiful (and FAST) charging stations, these car manufacturers need to figure out how to get me closer to 300-to-400 mile range, which would be more like an average tank of gas (about 8 gallons when I fill up from near “E”) on my Prius.

    That stuff would be a good start. But I suspect that many will not be very serious about EVs until they become “doable” for a cross-country trip. That means 8+ hours of operation, with some 15-60 minute breaks interspersed, and a full charge within 6 to 8 hours; the amount of time I might spend sleeping at a motel.

    • 0 avatar
      Weapon

      Well the Tesla Model S is 265 miles range and lets you recharge 150 miles in 20 minutes. You also do not need chargers at gas stations. Most of charging will be done at home, you will always start the day with 100% charge. But when you travel, Tesla will have evenly spaced superchargers that are free to use.(over 200+ by the highways).

      If the Model S is too expensive, Tesla will have 200 mile Gen III in 3-4 years. If people really need more range, Tesla will have a 500 mile model s around that time as well.

      Also, your serious about swapping an over 1000 lb battery yourself? Battery swap is not going to work. Based on their patents, Tesla is looking at Aluminum-Air battery/Lithium battery hybrid system. The Aluminum-Air batteries will act as a range extender.

  • avatar
    jimbob457

    Great article that illustrates, among other things, that the best choice of prime mover depends on the task at hand. For railroad locomotives, diesel-electric hybrids almost 100% market share. For cars, gasoline-electric hybrids about 3.5% market share with gasoline at $4 USD per US gallon and massive government subsidies. For pure plug-in EV’s about 0.5% market share under similar conditions.

    California is actually far from the cheapest place to build a distribution system for charging plug-ins. In the so-called Sunbelt almost every residence has some form of 240 volt service to power their air conditioners. Home recharging looks a lot better. Every commercial business is about one electrician’s visit away from being a station.

    There are plenty of charging stations, at least in metro areas in Texas. Significantly, at least to me, the entire state of New Mexico has but one. Los Alamos boasts exactly none. I have trouble imagining how the current generation of EV’s would make any sense for anybody in a place where distances matter like New Mexico.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      There are not massive gov’t subsidies for Hybrids any more, there were for a few years but those were limited to a certain number per mfg. My state used to offer a sales tax exemption but that too only lasted about 2 years.

      I don’t know of any house built since the 40′s that doesn’t have 240v going to it. A duplex I own that was built in the 40s did have one leg going to one side and the other leg to the other unit so there was only a 60a 110 service. I since rewired and each side now has 200a panels.

      • 0 avatar
        jimbob457

        Maybe 220 volts might be more accurate. Where did I get 240 volts? I have not added up all the gov’t subsidies for hybrids, but they include BOTH tax credits for buyers and financial incentives for manufacturers. Some of it comes from non-US governments.

        Ain’t Socialism grand. Gonna make everything OK. We just gotta believe.

        • 0 avatar
          Alex L. Dykes

          110/220 115/230 120/240, it’s the same thing. Utilities are allowed to deliver power from around 110 to 126 so it really just depends on where you are. Everything in the USA is designed for this range. At home my voltage runs around 121 and at work it’s low at 109. It’s a po-ta-toh po-tae-toh thing.

        • 0 avatar
          probert

          Well we live in a near oligarchy but next time I run into a Swede or a German I’ll ask how things are going.

  • avatar

    Liberty Science Center has a parking lot covered with solar panels – probably the best possible layout for solar since you get shade in the same space you get electricity. They had chargers for EV’s but not a single EV around to use them. I believe the socket was J1772

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqU1Yv1SlDg

    Tesla owners are more likely to stick to the supercharger network, but I think Tesla’s superchargers need to be installed next to major shopping centers or any other place that can keep you busy for 30 minutes as your car regains 200 miles of range. They should have Tesla VALETs working there to handle your car for you.

    Tesla really needs to make it possible to charge drivers to recharge non-TESLA cars. Fortunately, the Model S works with ANY 110/220 volt socket.

    • 0 avatar
      Weapon

      I doubt Tesla is going to allow others to charge using the superchargers until after their network is complete. Keep in mind that Tesla owners paid 2000$ to charge at those superchargers. Last thing a Tesla owner wants to see is a leaf taking an entire day to charge at a supercharger.

      Once the network is complete, Tesla might consider letting others who license their technology to use them.

      I hear there is going to be a supercharger installed not only on the highway but city center areas and the like so malls are probably likely.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        The whole idea of the supercharger network is that it is fast. The properly equipped Leafs can get an 80% charge in 30 min at the existing network of Level 3 chargers. I know people who use them when they take their Leafs on long trips. The bonus is they too are free and really are free since you don’t have to pay $2000 to add supercharger capacity on the mid range model or step up to the long range model. If the Leaf could charge at the rate of the supercharger less than 10 min would give you that 80% charge so no there would not be a Leaf taking all day to charge at a supercharger.

        • 0 avatar
          Weapon

          First of all, the Leaf battery would fry at a supercharger. The rate a supercharger charges would be 6C charging for the Nissan Leaf. That would mean that the Leaf has to charge slower which means be there all day.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Note I said IF a Leaf could charge at that rate. The last I checked a day has 24 hrs and 30 min, which is all it takes for a Leaf to get an 80% charge at the existing network of level 3 chargers, is a small fraction of a day.

  • avatar
    Garak

    It’s silly how we are hampered by voltages, frequencies and fuses designed for the 19th century.

    • 0 avatar
      Brian P

      For the high current charging, I do not understand what is wrong with a 480V 3-phase welding plug, with a bit of additional weather protection. That plug already has a ground connector built in – it’s designed to be safe to plug in and unplug – thousands of people use a plug like this every single day. So what’s wrong with using it??

      480V is standard industrial power in the US. (It’s 600V here in Canada, but 600 to 480 V transformers to operate equipment that came from the States are commonplace.) What’s wrong with using that voltage, too??

      Houses aren’t normally built with 3-phase supply … but you don’t normally put a charger of that much capacity in your house anyways. So if you are going to have a single-phase charger in your house … what’s wrong with a 230V dryer plug?

      I don’t get why we have to come up with a new standard for stuff that ought to work fine with what we already have.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Nothing wrong with the dryer plug many of the EV enthusiasts I know plug their charging station into them. The whole reason for the charging station is to verify it is plugged into a car, find out its charge rate and disconnect power when it says it’s through. That way there aren’t live conductors unless it is plugged in. Makes it safer when plugging and unplugging out in the pouring down rain.

        • 0 avatar

          I wonder how long it will be till someone gets electrocuted whilst charging an EV.

          It is INEVITABLE.

          • 0 avatar
            Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

            I will bet a pint of good beer that more people burn, poison or otherwise injure themselves with gasoline or diesel in any given year than electrocute themselves while plugging in or unplugging a J1772, ChaDeMo or Tesla power cable, per mile driven.

          • 0 avatar
            Weapon

            Electrocuted while driving an EV? Not going to happen.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            While charging no way but a first responder w/o the proper training trying to quickly extract someone from a car that has been in a serious accident is definitely a possibility but no more so than doing the same on a Hybrid.

          • 0 avatar
            Weapon

            Scoutdude, even without the hybrid. Most cars these days come with batteries. So safety personal should know how to handle batteries. It is generally not too difficult as wires are color coded.

            To add to it, considering that EVs are safer(due to better crumple zones) and there is no risk of explosion. The probability of someone being in a situation where immediate attention is required is unlikely. But if it make people feel better, EV manufacturers have donated EVs for training. There is a video up on youtube for how to safely disassemble an EV and they destroy a Tesla Model S.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Weapon yes all cars have batteries but unlike hybrids with battery voltages higher than 250v volts the 12v battery won’t give you a lethal shock.

            It is not just the risk of explosion that could indicate the need to get the person out as quick as possible. Excessive bleeding from somewhere that isn’t easily accessible in the mangled mess is another reason that urgency could be required.

            You are correct that all mfgs produce training materials for their Hybrids and EVs but unless the person actually reads and remembers those procedures and warnings it does no good.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Nissan, Tesla, and GM need to work this out, since they’re building more plug-ins than anybody else.

    The lack of a standard is hindering EV deployment.

    Tesla’s design may have the upper hand, because battery chemistry isn’t improving very quickly – and this means you need a lot of current to charge a pack for longer range in a reasonable time.

    At this point, another tricky question will be: What to do about all the existing plug-ins on the road once a standard is arrived at?

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      I don’t know about that as most of the mfgs did sign on for the current level 2 standard. It is only the Level 3 and supercharger that hasn’t been widely accepted and by your own admission most EV owners never touch a charger outside of their home or maybe office.

      I also expect Ford to be the number one purveyor of plug in vehicles pretty soon since they have the widest choice with 3, 1 pure EV and two PHEVs.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      The nice thing about having your own standard is that you can make changes to it quickly and easily, and roll them out in a fully controllable fashion with maximum customer delight. How easy do you think it is to get changes to SAE or TEPCO standards being a member or customer, vs. actually having engineered and owning the standard in question?

      If anything, Tesla should consider licensing out their connector and related protocols the same way Apple does its own connector(s), and offering access to Superchargers for an annual fee.

  • avatar
    cwerdna

    I’m in the Bay Area, like the author. I think quite a few Bay Area EV enthusiasts (including myself) would like to check out the car and at least go for a test ride…

    I’m in the South Bay.

  • avatar
    Weapon

    First of all, the Tesla supercharger would fry most batteries that are not the Model S. Also, I am pretty sure that Tesla does not want their buyers to wait for a leaf to charge up forever on the superchargers. Your beach scenario is a perfect example, do you want to see a slow charging EV spending the entire day on the supercharger blocking the Tesla Model S cars?

    The difference here is the other EVs NEED chargers. The Tesla Model S has enough range to only needs the superchargers while traveling long distances. Though there is a rumor that Tesla might license superchargers to other companies who use their technologies. But again, this is just a rumor.

    As for your house being 100A is definitely lower then average which can cause a problem, but not as big of a problem as you think. First of all, if its an old house(as most 100A houses are old), the oven would be gas. If you did convert it to electric, still not a problem. The Tesla Model S has a timer, your not going to be baking in your oven in the middle of the night are you? Set up that the oven and the car are on the same breaker and charge the car during the night while using the oven during the day. Problem solved.

  • avatar
    AFX

    This article has me totally confused with all the talk about charging rates, kilowatts, amps, and charging plug connectors.

    You do realise that not all battery packs are the same, and there’s a charging rate limit to batteries don’t you ?. It’s not like you can take any EV battery and stick any charger on it, the batteries can only accept so much current before they overheat and catch fire or explode. You can’t just crank up the amperage on the charger and expect a faster charging time, and if even if you do crank the amperage way up it’s not good for battery life to try to fast charge them all the time. For best battery life you’re better off with using lower amperage and slower charging rates, so you don’t heat up the battery too much internally and fry it’s chemistry. Batteries don’t like cold, and they don’t like heat from fast charging either.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      All commercially EVs and PHEVs currently available have the actual charger built in the charging station is just a smart outlet with safety features. Now for DC fast charging the charging station is an actual charger and the fancy plug talks to the charger to tell it the proper voltage and rate.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      Do you know how many kW regenerative braking creates? A whole lot more than 3.3, 6.6, 13.2, or 19.2 .. With active thermal controls and high-voltage batteries you can charge ‘em pretty quick. BTW, if you use a Supercharger 3x a day every day for 8 years, Tesla will honor the battery’s warranty that whole time.

      • 0 avatar
        Alex L. Dykes

        That is true, however Tesla does not warrant the battery for capacity, they only warrant it against cell failure. So if the battery is working but has only 70% of its original capacity left, then that’s not a warrantable repair.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          Obviously, as EV technology advances and becomes accessible and a more viable option for more folks, battery replacement will have to be figured into “major” maintenance, just as a timing belt is on ICE vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      Weapon

      Generally speaking you want to charge batteries at 1C or below. 1C means full capacity in 1 hour. You can do 2C and 3C charging just fine but your going to eat through cycles (You may also want to avoid charging above 1C after 80%). Anything above that is not suggested but depends on the battery chemistry.

      Also, lithium batteries love cold weather. 0 degrees Celsius is actually ideal temperature for lithium batteries. What eats up the battery life in cold weather is the fact that the battery has to be used to heat the cabin unlike ICE which uses wasted heat for heating. Batteries don’e like hot temperatures which is why any decent EV needs thermal management.

      • 0 avatar
        AFX

        “Also, lithium batteries love cold weather. 0 degrees Celsius is actually ideal temperature for lithium batteries.”

        What ?!.

        No batteries like cold weather. I’ve been flying RC airplanes on and off for the past 8 years or so, and I can tell you from personal experience that the litium polymer batteries, or any other lithium batteries for that matter, lose their capacity in colder weather. The colder it gets the worse their perforfance is. At temperatures of around 32F the capacity and running time drops way off, and I have to use insulation around the batteries to keep them warm. I can tell not only from running time before the batteries hit the low voltage cutoff point, but also from the amount milliamps it took to charge them back up. Anybody who flies RC in the winter keeps their batteries either in their car, in a box, or in their pocket, to keep them warmed up in cold weather.

        • 0 avatar
          Weapon

          It depends on the chemistry of the battery. Li-Poly is not the same as Li-Ion. Li-Poly batteries do need to be in warm weather. Some chemistry in Li-Ion are able to withstand lower temperature. But one problem with Li-Ion is at low temperatures the sensors become incapable of reading the charge of the battery.

          • 0 avatar
            AFX

            Again, what ?!.

            Here’s a pdf of Panasonic’s own testing of their NCR18650 cells that you posted a link to above. It clearly shows on their graphs that the batteries take a hit in voltage and capacity in lower temperatures near 0 degrees Celsius, and the colder they are the worse they get. According to their graph their lithium batteries are at their best bettween 45-60 degrees Celsius.

            http://industrial.panasonic.com/www-data/pdf2/ACI4000/ACI4000CE17.pdf

            “But one problem with Li-Ion is at low temperatures the sensors become incapable of reading the charge of the battery.”

            The external sensors that they use in the RC industry are based on the voltage of the battery, and AFAIK the ones built into the cells themselves use the same low voltage cutoff principle to prevent over-discharge. It ain’t rocket science. With the sensors once the batteries hit a predetermined low voltage cutoff point that’s as far as you can go. With NiCad and NIMH batteries you might be able to fudge it a little without ruining the batteries, but with lithiums you can’t. Most 18650 cells have the sensors built right in.

  • avatar
    AFX

    Another thing I wanted to mention is this “100 mile range” on a car like this. What I’d like to see is the battery capacity graphs for long term usage and how much the capacity drops over time with more charging cycles. So far nobody’s said how much their battery capacity drops over time as the batteries wear out. This car might get “100 miles range” when it’s brand new, but what happens to it’s range the more you use the car and cycle the battery. Maybe next year your max range drops down to 95-90, then the year after that 90-85, then the year after that 85-80. Nobody knows, because this is all new unproven technology, and the manufacturers are using the public as “beta testers” for all these EV and hybrid cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      This is why you have warranties that guarantee battery longevity. The Volt, for example has such a warranty, and GM babies the battery by only offering 66% of its power (~11kWh out of 16kWh) so that its state of charge can be kept regulated in a sweet spot between overdrained and overcharged.

      • 0 avatar
        Alex L. Dykes

        If you read the fine print and ask GM about it, you will find that the Volt is also not warranted for capacity. I know, I asked their PR folks and was told that as far as they know nobody warrants for capacity. That is true of Fiat, Nissan, GM, Ford and Tesla so far. The Volt however because they only use 11kWh of the 16kWh capacity should last far longer than a pure EV which needs to use nearly 100% of rated capacity. Because of the Volt’s software the natural degradation of the batter would also not be as obvious because it would continue to allow you to use that 11kWh of capacity even when the battery has degraded to the point that 11kWh is now 100% capacity.

        • 0 avatar
          Weapon

          Actually, after the bad press. Nissan now warranties the capacity if it reaches below 30% in 5 years or 60k miles.

          • 0 avatar
            Alex L. Dykes

            30% in 60,000 miles is next to failure, I wouldn’t call that much of a capacity warranty when a 35 mile range is just ducky after 60,00 miles.

          • 0 avatar
            Weapon

            Alex, actually in automotive 30% is considered EOL. With that said, companies generally give warranties of double of what they think it will do as they don’t really want to process warranties if they can avoid to.

            Example, have you checked what your gasoline engine warranty was in terms of years/miles?

    • 0 avatar
      Weapon

      Actually, we have had lithium batteries for 30 years. We know fully well how battery cycles are. It depends on the chemistry in question. For example, on the Tesla Model S, you can travel 500k miles and you will still have over 80% capacity.

      Here is a cycle chart:
      http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-LKw9FUF4FTw/TpwqympZQxI/AAAAAAAACQQ/WNtlxyRIBQY/s400/%2BPANASONICCYCLELIFE.jpg

      Keep in mind the above chart uses more aggressive charging then you would normally do on the Tesla Model S.

      Generally speaking, manufacturers give warranties for things based on 50% of expected lifespan. That is why you should avoid EVs with 4 year warranties in favor of those with 8 year warranties. Because the 8 year warranty ones are the ones that use chemistry that will last 15-20 years.

      For reference, most gasoline engines give you 3-5 year warranty for 30-60k miles. The Tesla Model S 85kwh gives you an 8 year warranty for unlimited miles. That is how you know your getting quality.

      • 0 avatar
        AFX

        “Actually, we have had lithium batteries for 30 years. We know fully well how battery cycles are. It depends on the chemistry in question.”

        There might have been lithium batteries around for 30 years, but not being used for applications like EV cars. Maybe lithium button cell batteries, lithium laptop batteries, or lithium cell phone batteries, but only just recently have they been trying to use them in commercially available EV cars for public sale. Most everything before that was either lead-acid, NiCad, or more recently NIHM batteries.

        Since these 18650 batteries are relatively new to EV cars there’s still no real world testing of them as far as longevity goes for car use. The EV car buyers are doing the testing for the car manufacturers as beta testers at this point, the car manufacturers can’t say how well their batteries will hold up in 5-10 years, because they haven’t been tested in cars that long.

        “Generally speaking, manufacturers give warranties for things based on 50% of expected lifespan.”

        The battery warranty is only an educated guess from the car manufacturers based on the info the get from the battery manufacturers, and the car maker’s own engineers. That’s why sometimes they guess wrong or don’t design things right, and you get things like the Honda hybrid batteries failing, or the Leaf batteries failing in hot climates. Right now these hybrid and EV car companies are just winging it with their warranties based on how long they think the batteries will last. The sad thing is that they can’t even guess right sometimes on the nickle metal hydride batteries they use now, which have been out longer than lithium batteries have in consumer devices.

        • 0 avatar
          Weapon

          The batteries have not been used in EVs but have been used in many other industrial applications. There has been plenty of real life testing. There is a reason why Honda and Nissan Leaf put crappy warranty policies on their batteries. The only reason why they turned around is due to the bad press and pressure.

          The reason is simple, the cars have no thermal management systems in their batteries and they use cheap chemistry that is not very good.

          The problem is a simple one, pretty much every EV with the exception of the Tesla is a compliance car. I mean look at it this way, who else offers an 8 year no fault unlimited mile warranty?

          Though one thing, most lithium battery failure is not due to the battery actually being broken. What happens is the batteries have a protection system that if the battery is in danger, it will physically disconnect itself and only the manufacturer can revive the battery.

          • 0 avatar
            AFX

            “The problem is a simple one, pretty much every EV with the exception of the Tesla is a compliance car. I mean look at it this way, who else offers an 8 year no fault unlimited mile warranty ?”

            I have another point of view on that 8 year Tesla battery warranty. Maybe all the other manufacturers have been in the car business for a lot longer than Tesla, and they know this is all brand new technology that could come back to bite them in the ass later. Maybe GM and the other companies know that if they offered an 8 year battery warranty they could either have class action lawsuit on their hands when the batteries started failing prematurely, or they know they’d be paying out the wazoo for replacement battery warranty claims.

            Tesla is like Hyundai or Kia, they’re trying to buy market share through longer warranties than the competition in order get more buyers. Who’s to say Tesla will even be around in 8 years. What happens if all their batteries sh*t the bed before the warranty is up, it winds up costing them a ton of money, and their investors start bailing ?.

          • 0 avatar
            Weapon

            AFX, I will have to disagree. The reason why Tesla is able to offer a better warranty is because they use the best chemistry compared to the other manufacturers. They also have the best thermal management system.

            This is why when Nissan swapped to a better battery chemistry in the 2013 model and add better thermal management. They were able to offer a 5 year warranty/60k miles that covers battery degradation as well. The better chemistry you use the better you can offer.

  • avatar
    jmo

    Having someone with a commute distance that is 318% higher than the US median reviewing this car is like having a mom with four kids reviewing a Miata.

    • 0 avatar
      AFX

      “Having someone with a commute distance that is 318% higher than the US median reviewing this car is like having a mom with four kids reviewing a Miata.”

      But if we had him test a vehicle that would be more suitable for the US median commuting distance he’d have to post the review on The Truth About Bicycles instead of here.

      • 0 avatar
        ZoomZoom

        LOL, now THERE is a huge controversial feeding ground. Bicycles are maybe the only product outside of cars who’s retail prices are so tightly controlled.

        Okay, there’re cameras too.

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    I don’t care if it’s 10 dollars of electricity or 2. This entire “homebrew” mentality of EV owners helping each other out through goodwill sharing of charge stations reminds me of how the Biodiesel crowd bounces around friendly restaurants carrying several 20 gallon jugs of foul-smelling french fry and taco runoff. It’s essentially proving a point that there is no widespread EV charging network (even in Commiefornia) and most cars charge so painfully slow that an EV is really a limited market vehicle for someone who a) drives little b) has their own home with the proper 240V, high amperage outlet in their garage with a proper charging station c) has a friendly and accommodating employer who is willing to spring for a special parking space and charge station that’s compatible with their car.

    Even with the many EV tax credits and plummeting cost of chargers when we did the math it STILL doesn’t really make financial sense for my wife to have an EV for her daily 10-15 mile commute, given how many fuel efficient cars cost less than 20 grand. Last time we did the math we’d break even with the much higher cost of the EV in about 3.5 years vs a much cheaper ICE car. We really don’t care that we’re using gasoline, so the “green” aspect of it doesn’t appeal to us.

    If you think that driving an overpriced, tax subsidized, made of toxic rare earth metals curiosity makes you a front line warrior in the battle for Goddess Earth be my guest, but I don’t see a future for these things.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      @ “be my guest, but I don’t see a future for these things.”

      I was doing advance research for a cell phone company at one point in my career. We started hacking up Palm Pilot and HP PDA’s turning them into phones (at first discreetly tethered to a modded cell phone). We presented the prototypes to the boss. The idea was a phone that programmers could write phone applications and we even had a virtual keypad for dialing. He pretty much said the same thing – I don’t see a future in these things.

      Across the country maybe a few years later, I suspect the same sort of presentation was made to Steve jobs. Different result and now we have the iPhone.

      It’s the vision thing. Sometimes you have to have the ability to look at something that isn’t quite perfect, but has the potential with improvement to dominate it’s market. It’s a gamble, but you never know when some guy in a lab somewhere finds the magic bullet.

      I think electric vehicles will dominate, but it will be a slow and steady pace. So slow you don’t notice it until someday you pull into your local convenience mart and the company that Musk spins his supercharger network into is dismantling the gas pumps and digging up the tanks.

      • 0 avatar
        FJ60LandCruiser

        That’s the endless argument, that the technology will eventually improve and the electric car (which as been around essentially as long as the ICE car) will one day replace it.

        Will we have to wait another 100 years?

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          The EVs from 100 years ago had the performance and safety of a golf cart.

          (Aside: golf carts have been a commercially viable niche product for decades.)

          I’ve driven the Leaf and the Volt, and they ain’t no golf cart. Driving them is like driving any other car in their respective classes (sensible little commuter car, and near luxury passenger car), except with better low-end torque and better NVH. Yeah, yeah, they’re not able to be all things to all people, but they’re fully modern vehicles and they have a strong appeal for someone like me.

          The situation 100 years is hardly predictive. Pretty much every aspect of our technology has changed.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            I have far more experience with a Volt than I wish I did, and I wonder what your comparable near luxury car is. It’s the most cramped four door sedan I’ve ever encountered, and none of the interior materials are a grade above cars that cost half as much before subsidies. The nicest thing I can say about the controls is that they have a learning curve. It is quiet, particularly if you’re coming out of a tattered Jeep TJ, like my friend that has a Volt now. The performance is mainstream compact sedan, but the interior room is sub-sub-compact. Now that they’re familiar, the styling is pure econobox too. Whenever someone has to ride in the back seat, I wish my buddy had bought something else. Even if I’m not in the back, I wind up eating my knees to make room for whoever is. Since he got it, his situation has changed entirely. He’s changed jobs and moved from a townhouse with a garage to a highrise condo downtown, so it may well make as much sense for him as it would for me now. I haven’t had the heart to ask, since I tried to talk him out of getting it in the first place and don’t want to sound like an I-told-you-so. I know that his wife has their one designated parking spot in the building and he street parks it, so it probably isn’t spending as much time running off the batteries as it did before.

    • 0 avatar
      Weapon

      There are EVs that are under 20k after the 7.5k. Such as the Nissan Leaf and I think Chevy Spark. Then there is the SmartForTwo and that Fiat car. That is assuming that your really driving 10-15 miles per day and doing nothing else.

      Otherwise I think the only EV that is really worth it is the Tesla Model S. But it is outside of most price ranges until then Gen III.

      Also, Lithium batteries are none toxic and contain no rare earth. Your confusing it with NIMH or NiCd or maybe Lead Acid batteries?

      • 0 avatar
        Fordson

        I think the only EVs that are really worth it are ones like this Fiat, or the Leaf.

        The one thing EVs do markedly better than ICE cars is that if you charge them at home, they are way cheaper to run – way cheaper. Cars that sell at $20k once the $7.5k credit is subtracted are selling into a market where cost to run is very important.

        The one thing that a Tesla S does markedly better than other $85k-$100k cars is it way cheaper to run, if you charge at home and use the Supercharger network. But cars that sell at that price are not selling into a market where cost to run is very important.

        • 0 avatar
          Weapon

          It is not just about being cheaper to run. Overall EVs are superior to gasoline cars.

          • 0 avatar
            Fordson

            One comment ago you were saying that the only EV that is worth it is the Tesla. Now you’re saying that all EVs are better than all gasoline cars.

            So by a simple application of logic, you think the only car that is worth the purchase price is a Tesla S. Period.

            All cars have strengths and weaknesses, which I was trying to address. Let me know when you want to have a serious conversation about cars.

          • 0 avatar
            Weapon

            Nothing has changed. I am pretty clear that:

            1) The current crop of EVs other then the Model S are not really worth it.

            2) That EV technology as a whole is superior

            These 2 statements do not contradict each other.

          • 0 avatar
            Fordson

            Making an abstract statement like, “the technology is better” and saying that EVs taken as a whole are better than gasoline cars is two different things.

            You are coming across as a true believer here and true believers generally make people edge away rather than making converts.

            I am living in the real world and would seriously consider a Leaf for commuting duties – it’s great technology and a serious money-saver compared to a gas car for my 54-mile commute, but there is no way I would have none of my 3 cars able to take an extended road trip where we are stopping for like half an hour after every tankful of gas (like 400 miles). Which is the way people who use their cars for road trips drive cross-country – they are not stopping for 1.5 hours for every 3 hours on the road.

          • 0 avatar
            Weapon

            “Making an abstract statement like, “the technology is better” and saying that EVs taken as a whole are better than gasoline cars is two different things.”

            To explain it better, the Model S is an example of what we can do with EVs. We are able to build a car that is better then any other car. But when companies make compliance cars, they end up being too limited and create a stereotype. Its like the guy who bought a Chinese CFL and now is resisting to even trying the brand new LEDs.

            “You are coming across as a true believer here and true believers generally make people edge away rather than making converts.”

            I am not trying to convert you or anyone. Everyone has their needs. People’s needs differ. When evaluating any technology your going to have to look at your needs. If you tell me you drive 500 miles 2 times a month I am not going to say “Hey, go grab a tesla model s”. I usually tell people “Then wait 3-4 years for the 500 mile Model S which will better meet your needs”. Again, the worst thing you can do is force people into something they do not want as it will backfire.

            “I am living in the real world and would seriously consider a Leaf for commuting duties – it’s great technology and a serious money-saver compared to a gas car for my 54-mile commute, but there is no way I would have none of my 3 cars able to take an extended road trip where we are stopping for like half an hour after every tankful of gas (like 400 miles). Which is the way people who use their cars for road trips drive cross-country – they are not stopping for 1.5 hours for every 3 hours on the road.”

            And here is my response to you, a Nissan Leaf will work just fine for your use. But I will warn you this, your commute of 54 miles is a little high, if you do not have a charger at work. By some chance you miss charging 1 day your not going to have enough power to make your commute. Since you have other cars though that should not be too much of a problem but still something to consider.

    • 0 avatar
      AFX

      “If you think that driving an overpriced, tax subsidized, made of toxic rare earth metals curiosity makes you a front line warrior in the battle for Goddess Earth be my guest, but I don’t see a future for these things.”

      Yep, especially with the tax subsidized part. We’re paying taxes to the government so they can subsidize some douchebag to drive around in his impractical electric toy car. Cut out the government subsidy and let the EV proponents buy them at regular retail price just like everyone else.

      There is no long-term justification for owning an EV powered car. If a person REALLY wanted to save himself money you could just go on Craigslist and pick up an old used Geo Metro, Ford Aspire, or a Honda CRX-HF and be out ahead in the long run, even if it needed a new engine or transmission. But it’s not really about saving money at all, it’s about pretending to be “green”. I’ve got my electric car, oh boy, I’m saving the planet. LOL !.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        @AFX- “Electrification is inevitable. Resistance is futile.” Demographics will force vehicle electrification as global vehicle population rises into the billions.
        Batteries, fuel cells, something else? Far more knowledgeable than I can prognosticate, though it’s a safe bet Li-ion is not the end.

        Some facts exist.
        EV’s can remove vehicles (billions & billions more to come!) from the emissions to the atmosphere equation, real pollutants and CO2,
        arguments conflating power generation emissions not withstanding. The simple fact remains, energy to charge any storage device can be created without emissions. Vehicles burning any kind of fossil fuel can not avoid emissions, clean as they are today and may be tomorrow.

        Energy storage technology is receiving huge R & D money, advancing capability and driving down costs as all major manufacturers pursue some form of electrification, beginning with hybrids.

        Current government policies heavily incentivize EV’s. imo-Politicians are unlikely to back away from the Carbon issue, even if they are motivated more by the money than the science. They can easily spur the segment by tax credits, which, btw, are scheduled to end after an initial production volume is achieved. They continue to incentivize with credits and/or multipliers in various regulations. The Chinese seem particularly interested in electrification.

        EV’s are in their infancy, don’t stand on their own business case without incentives, but will take an ever increasing share of vehicle production for these reasons.

      • 0 avatar
        Weapon

        Personally I think that the government subsidizing EVs is not the solution. There is a much better solution. Require that all tail pipes in gasoline cars be completely sealed. The distribution of pollution is unfair, we should not be taking away the pollution from the owners of gasoline cars.

        • 0 avatar
          AFX

          That’s right, we need to do more about pollution !. We need to limit the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere to prevent global warming. First step is to eliminate all carbonated beverages like soda pop and flavored water, then we outlaw CO2 powered BB guns, then we get rid of Pop Rocks too, lastly we eliminate CO2 powered tap systems at bars, restaurants, and soda pop vending companies.

          Nevermind that one good volcanic eruption can have more affect on global climate change than driving your car to work.

          Yesiree Bob, we’re all gonna have electric powered cars, that don’t produce any visible tailpipe emission !. Nevermind that the elecricity has to be produced by some means. You can even have your choice of electricity producing power plants.

          You can have a coal powered plant that messes up the landscape through strip mining, polutes the water through acid mine drainage, and then you have residual fly ash to deal with after you burn the coal. The Chinese are smart though, they discovered the best way to get rid of the waste fly ash from their coal powered plants is to put it in gypsum board drywall and sell it to Americans. Yes indeedy, those Chinese are smart, never mind that the sulfur leaching out of the contaminated drywall is corroding the wiring in your house and making you sick.

          Or you can choose a natural gas powered electric power plant. Just drill a hole in the ground, dump a bunch of toxic chemicals down the hole and frack the sh*t or of the rocks to release the gas, and hope those chemicals don’t go anywhere, or that busting up that rock doesn’t affect anything nearby.

          Or you can have solar powered electricity. Just get a bunch of expensive high tech solar panels made out of rare earth materials and stick them in some place that receives a lot of sun year round. Never mind that the materials used to create the solar panels are also strip mined like the coal, it doesn’t matter because those materials are more than likely coming from another country, preferably a third-world one, so Americans don’t have to deal with the pollution created from mining them.

          Or you can have wind powered electricity. Just whack down some trees at the top of a mountain range and stick a few wind turbines there. All you need to do is make the turbines out of a sh*t load of epoxy made from petrochemicals, and carbon fiber or fiberglass. Throw in some are earth materials for the generator and you’re good to go.

          • 0 avatar
            Weapon

            Its ok, I don’t drink carbonated drinks unless there is nothing else.

            BB guns are already illegal where I live actually.

            But overall, while I would like to avoid releasing extra co2 and all. I am more concerned with local pollution then global. Long story short, I don’t leave my trash on your lawn, you don’t leave yours on mine, k?

        • 0 avatar
          E46M3_333

          Modern ICE cars don’t emit significant amounts of local pollution. EVs are being pushed as a way of reducing CO2 emissions, which is only a pollutant as a result of its supposed impact on global climate. That’s why it’s crazy for California to be regulating CO2 emissions at the same time that China in bringing a new coal fired power plant on line every week.

          • 0 avatar
            Weapon

            Modern ICE cars have definitely reduced the amounts of local pollution but it is not as insignificant as you think as it adds up. To add to it, as the car gets older it pollutes more and more hence why many states have emissions test as part the checkup.

            As far as china goes. Let them. Due to poor regulations on their coal plants, their local pollution is through the roof. They are having record cancer rates skyrocket to never before heights. Their birth defects are through the roof. 1.2 million premature deaths in 2010 due to pollution.

            That said, the excuse of saying “Hey china does it so why can’t we?”. The answer is called “leading by example”. Because their response will be “If US pollutes, why can’t we?”. It is a chicken and egg game. In the end it is important that the US is on board for cleaning up pollution. There have been many factories in china who have significantly improved their emissions, and do you know why? Because the companies that they do business with in the US required them to if they wanted to do business.

  • avatar
    Don Mynack

    I’m stunned a car that takes 8 hours to fill up at the “gas station” isn’t dominating the market. Simply stunned.

  • avatar
    sco

    I look at it this way. My ICE vehicle has a 350 mile range and recharges nearly anywhere in 2 minutes for about $40. A Leaf, Fit, etc has a 75 mile range and recharges generally in 3 hrs at very select places for maybe $5. If you a very predictable lifestyle and another car to take you on trips over 75 miles, then its all good. Otherwise EV manufacturers need to keep working.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      I only go on road trips a couple of times a year.

      How about you?

      Also, an EV leaves the house with a full battery every morning. Also, I have to remember to fill up my gas car every couple of weeks, and it’s surprisingly easy to forget.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Maybe electric cars make sense to people that find a gas gauge and a warning light insufficient reminders to fill their gas tank, but I’m not seeing it.

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          LOL.

          My driving patterns are such that I now need the idiot light. I drove a car with a broken gas gauge for years without ever running out of gas, just by remembering the mileage since my last fill-up. Now, I drive a large number of short trips and I go just long enough between fill-ups that I forget to pay attention to the gas gauge until the light comes on. It just isn’t part of my routine the way it used back when my commute was worse. Since there’s an alternative, it seems silly to go out of my way to go buy me some Jurassic swamp juice every couple of weeks.

          So, an EV would be a better daily driver for me, and the 10 seconds it takes to plug it in every day would be better than going out of my way to go get gas every couple of weeks. It’s easier to follow a checklist where you do something simple every day.

          One day I’ll forget to check my budget before driving through a car lot, and I’ll come back with a Leaf or something. The Leaf is a happy little commuter car, and I enjoy driving it quite a bit.


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  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India