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Thread: Electric Cars - I'm Trying to be Open Minded

  1. #1
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    Electric Cars - I'm Trying to be Open Minded

    A good friend was ecstatic about his new Nissan Leaf. He'd say"Lots of advantages, no oil changes! 90 mile range with no heat or air conditioning" He got around fine. That was 4 years ago. Recently I saw him walking. He said " thank goodness there's 2 chargers in town now my range dropped drastically" As of today he drives a gas car. He's waiting for a new electric car that's coming out in a year, presumably promising more than the Leaf promised.

    Ok, I do research for fun on the latest electric vehicles to see what I'm missing. Searching range, "battery life", cost and depreciation.

    Now a new term comes up "range anxiety". I believe it!

    My neighbor has a Tesla with a trailer hitch. Interesting. Yesterday a new hi-tech looking fiberglass "Happier Camper Trailer" shows up. Another thing I shake my head at. I get "range anxiety" just looking at this!

    I might be biased. I own several quality tools that I can't use because the proprietary batteries are shot. New batteries cost nearly as much as new usually better tools with new batteries. So I buy new tools. Cars that need batteries? Seems like I might have the same problem as I had with tools.

    A friend who owns 2 (gas)car repair shops says " the green aspect goes way down when you consider battery disposal long term".
    I know, they don't pollute as much, but what else am I missing?
    "Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t - you’re right."
    - Henry Ford

  2. #2
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    I hear a replacement battery for a tesla is $30,000. I would think 5 years is a fair life before range drops off too much. I understand some use propane for heating in winter. AC uses a lot of power.
    Bil lD.
    Last edited by Bill Dufour; 03-31-2018 at 5:40 PM.

  3. #3
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    Electric vehicles are here to stay and there clearly are going to be a lot more of them going forward. Battery technology is also improving "daily" which should help with things like range and battery life. That said, they are not (currently) for every need and are generally best for urban commuting type driving. Like any battery powered "thing", how one treats charge/discharge will have an effect on battery life and folks need to pay attention to that.

    Personally, I prefer the hybrid model for more general driving, where you benefit from electric power economy for lower speed, stop and go travel and "unlimited" range when traveling. I really like the way the Volt is designed in that respect...it's all electric with a small gasoline engine that's essentially a generator to recharge while traveling longer distances. And many hybrids have extraordinary "get up and go" because of the torque advantages that electric motors have. The Hylander Hybrid Limited I owned prior to my present vehicle took off like a race car if I had to stomp on it...such as trying to get out of my own driveway with peek traffic streaming by without getting killed.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  4. #4
    There is plenty of info on the actual impact footprint of an electric car in the current state of technology. You are not going to save the planet but, you are helping forward the idea. Since so much in oriented around the care and feeding of the internal combustion engine . . . well, here we are. You can always say that if we started earlier in putting the push we are putting today behind alternatives we would be farther along but, we didn't. Many electric cars offered today are throw-aways to folks of average means; the average annual maintenance cost is not yet in line with what we are used to over the life of a car. Do it if you can but, don't expect to retire on the savings .
    She said “How many woodworking tools do you need?”
    I said “Why? Do you know someone who is selling some?”


  5. #5
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    I have to admit I am in a 'best case' scenario. I am in SoCal, and put solar on my home a few years ago. Enough panels that I didn't use all it produced. I decided to get an electric car, but the range anxiety thing stopped me for a while. No way was an all electric (BEV) going to suit me, so I investigated Plug in Hybrids, like the Chevy Volt.

    The plug in hybrids can run a certain distance on all electric if you want, and when the juice runs out the motor kicks in, and you now have a normal hybrid, like an old Prius. I decided in 2013 on a Ford C-Max Energi. We got this car because it was the most SUV like available at that time. It goes 20 miles or so on electric. It will cruise just fine at 75-80 MPH on all electric, do it all the time. This 20 miles has been pretty close to what I drive on my running around, so it doesn't go to the gas motor that often. I gas up every 4 months or so.

    This was fine until the wife decided she really liked it and stole it from me. I did the only thing any red blooded car guy would do, and bought another...2014. Hers is running at 195 MPG for actual gas used since new, and mine is about 95 MPG, because I do more trips over 20 miles than she does. Mine has been taken on trips to Idaho and Wyoming twice, and never plugged in at all, just run on gas.

    We always plug it in when we get home, and keep it fully charged. No battery degradation on either car that we have noticed. Batteries are guaranteed to last 100K, I think, but 150K by CA state law.

    In your situation, I would not consider a pure BEV. The biggest problem would be the heater. Electric heaters take a lot of juice. You could just run on the motor in cold weather, which makes the heater more efficient. Interestingly, I use the A/C a lot, and it does not seem to use that much. I would recommend looking at plug in hybrids if I lived in your area. It has the advantage of both types, and the new crop goes farther than mine, like up to 50 miles or so, then the motor comes on.

    Caveat: The older Prius plug in's would not really drive on battery unless you really featherfoot it. On my car you can lock it in electric if you want. The new Prius plug in is just fine, though.
    Last edited by Rick Potter; 03-31-2018 at 1:39 PM.
    Rick Potter

    DIY journeyman,
    FWW wannabe.
    AKA Village Idiot.

  6. #6
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    On the subject of hybrids, we rented one last fall and drove it for about 10 days. It was amazing to average 49 mpg. The only problem I found was in some of the steep parking lots in Branson, MO, with the automatic transmission, it was gutless getting started if you were parked on a steep grade. Other than the start on a steep incline, on the highway it had plenty of power for passing and accelerating under normal driving conditions. Living in a town that is stepped up a hill of 700' in elevation and to climb 2,000' of elevation in any direction leaving town, I'm not sure I'd want to own one as my daily driver.
    Last edited by Ken Fitzgerald; 03-31-2018 at 6:59 PM.
    Ken

  7. #7
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    Apparently there are some Model S Tesla's (the expensive one) that have been employed as fleet vehicles for a number of years from now that are hitting the 500-600,000 mile mark and still going strong. The maintenance costs on them have been so low that they are ending up considerably cheaper in terms of lifetime cost of ownership than the $30-50K cars that were bought in parallel with them. Mechanically, electric cars are dramatically simpler to build and maintain. Not so meaningful perhaps for those of us who only drive 10,000 miles a year, but suddenly very interesting for a car-sharing or fleet use scenario where cars rack up 100K+ miles a year. Any decline in the price of batteries or increase in their performance will only make this difference bigger.

    A whole lot of my younger colleagues choose not to own a car at all, but rely on things like Zipcar to have a car when they need one (plus, of course Lyft and Uber). I suspect this may be yet another shake-up coming for the auto industry in the next decade or two, the economics may well drive a lot of people away from having personal automobiles and drive the owners of those vehicles towards electrics.

    With a range over 300 miles now there's not much cause for range anxiety for everyday driving. Oh, and they go like a bat out of you-know-where.

  8. #8
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    Andrew

    The pure electric don't have the range. Yet. They will some day. For now Hybrids are the way to go.
    Battery technology will change, and evolve, along with that performance will increase.

    I wouldn't sweat the HappieCamper trailer. The trend to lighten trailers has been going on for many years. Gas, hybrid, or electric. Lightening the trailer load improves range.
    Our horse trailer is a fiberglass composite structure made by Brenderup. It weighs 2200lbs. and can haul it's own weight in horses. Because of it's low weight, it doesn't require an electric braking system. It uses an inertia braking system.
    Last edited by Mike Cutler; 03-31-2018 at 3:24 PM.
    "The first thing you need to know, will likely be the last thing you learn." (Unknown)

  9. #9
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    No reason the camper trailer can't have a propane engine generator running while the car is moving to top up the car battery on a long trip.
    Bill D

  10. #10
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    Just yesterday, I did a 350 mile round trip in my SUV. That isn't unusual for me. It would have been an overnight trip in a Tesla. We also enjoy cross country trips where we drive 300+ miles a day. I don't want to plan my vacations around charging stations. I would like to enjoy the benefits of a plug in car but it isn't worth it to own two vehicles.

    My big problem with electric vehicles is that the government has to pay people to buy them. I don't enjoy subsidizing car companies and car buyers with my tax dollars. Some day, the technology will be able to stand on its own but not today.

  11. #11
    I need to buy a big v6 or v8 sedan while I still can.

  12. #12
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    Tesla is old news unfortunately but they kick started the whole electric thing and for that the world will be grateful. The Europeans are very close to launching their first all electric cars and the first ones will recharge to 80% in under 30 minutes, have a cup of coffee and it is done. Tesla are about to get buried in the avalanche when the Europeans wind up their production capacity and China is ramping up their requirements for manufacturers to have a sales target they have to meet.

    https://www.ft.com/content/00b36a30-...f-7f5e6a7c98a2
    Chris

    Everything I like is either illegal, immoral or fattening

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Parks View Post
    Tesla is old news unfortunately but they kick started the whole electric thing and for that the world will be grateful. The Europeans are very close to launching their first all electric cars and the first ones will recharge to 80% in under 30 minutes, have a cup of coffee and it is done. Tesla are about to get buried in the avalanche when the Europeans wind up their production capacity and China is ramping up their requirements for manufacturers to have a sales target they have to meet.

    https://www.ft.com/content/00b36a30-...f-7f5e6a7c98a2
    Chris,
    I know the thread is about cars, but isn't there more to Tesla than just cars? I read about their success in Jamestown, Australia deploying a grid scale system in 100 days that is supposedly the largest battery deployment of its kind, and they're planning on another in Victoria.
    I don't know much about the worldwide electric car market, but I'm amazed at Tesla. They're still a young company with lots of obstacles to overcome, but the audacious things they've accomplished so far seem borderline impossible. The Gigafactory, the supercharger network, the ability to manufacture in the US, their success at bucking the dealer sales model.
    Edwin

  14. #14
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    GM will be phasing out gas and diesel vehicles within the next 5 years. http://www.gm.com/mol/m-2017-oct-1002-electric.html
    Volvo, Aston Martin & Jaguar / Land Rover have announced similar plans. I'd expect other manufacturers to follow.

    Norway is moving forward with an outright ban on petroleum cars by 2025: https://www.independent.co.uk/enviro...-a7065616.html

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edwin Santos View Post
    Chris,
    I know the thread is about cars, but isn't there more to Tesla than just cars? I read about their success in Jamestown, Australia deploying a grid scale system in 100 days that is supposedly the largest battery deployment of its kind, and they're planning on another in Victoria.
    I don't know much about the worldwide electric car market, but I'm amazed at Tesla. They're still a young company with lots of obstacles to overcome, but the audacious things they've accomplished so far seem borderline impossible. The Gigafactory, the supercharger network, the ability to manufacture in the US, their success at bucking the dealer sales model.
    Edwin
    Yes, they put in this http://theconversation.com/a-month-i...ctations-89770 There were some noises about fitting every home in South Australia with solar and batteries but SA recently had a change of state government and that may change things. This is Victoria's battery http://www.afr.com/business/energy/w...0180103-h0d66q

    It is going to be interesting on what happens with Tesla as they struggle to deal with so many projects, cars, new models, trucks, space vehicles etc.
    Chris

    Everything I like is either illegal, immoral or fattening

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