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larrywww

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Reply with quote  #1 
I was somewhat nervous about getting a 100% electric vehicle, but now I am not so sure.  I felt like hybrid was a safer bet in case gas prices crash---although doesn't seem to be currently the case.

According to a website, the average cost of electricity is (on average) $1.14 a gallon.

https://stateimpact.npr.org/texas/2013/06/12/why-its-cheaper-to-charge-an-electric-car-than-fill-up-with-gas/

Plus, you can charge at night when rates are cheaper.



Now there may be some states (I hear Hawaii, for example) where electricity is pricier.

But in most places its alot cheaper.

I'm no engineer, but that seems like a deal.

But the problem is that you might want to buy your own charger---or use a network.  (These EVs can charge on a 110 outlet, but it might be slower---and it may not be a big deal if you have another vehicle).

The other thing that I like about a 100% electric is that it seems like there are fewer things to break and maintain.

I know Ward Hannigan advocated this---he always seems to be at the head of the class.

But the # of models seem rather limited.  Here is a comment from someone from the Netherlands:

"Only 9 serious offerings. And only 1 carmaker with more than 1 model. What is wrong with the USA market?

Europe is less of a disaster area.
Renault was offering 4 models a couple of year ago, Fluence, Zoe, Kangoo, Twizy.
Peugeot 2 models, iOn and Partner.
VW 2 models, e-Golf and e-Up.

Not that they are selling lots of them. But at least there is some semblance of a real market."

I've never even heard of these European models.


I've wondered about Toyota, actually---they aren't committing to EVs until something like 2025
rickencin

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An electric vehicle makes a great second car in a two car family.  The Tesla Model 3 is still in the Mercedes E class price range.  Maybe it will really be a $35,000 car in a couple years.  The Chevy Bolt and Nissan Leaf really are in the mid $30K. I see a Nissan Leaf running around town all the time.  The Chevy Volt hybrid has a gas motor as well, so it is kind of like an electric car and gasoline car in one.  I'll probably never buy anything but Toyota or Honda. Except maybe a Euro Luxo coupe.   A Honda Fit, HR-V or Toyota Corolla or C-HR are good companion gasoline cars.  If you are limited in space a Kawasaki Concours 14 doesn't take up much garage space, but it probably can't do any better than high 11's in the quarter mile, unlike the ZX-14.  The Concours should have no problem putting down 500 or 600 mile days.
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Reply with quote  #3 
California's electricity rates are substantially higher than the national average.

Where I live, I pay 19 cents per kilo watt during off peak hours, plus 10% tax. I have solar panels so I am on time-of-use metering. Of course, gas prices are also $3.40 for regular, so that is probably a wash.

How many miles a year do you drive. Would you benefit from HOV stickers that some car models offer? Do you need to drive more than 50 miles round trip?



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larrywww

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The Kawasaki is a motorcycle, right?  They have an intriguing 3 wheeled model.  They have a plug in EV motorcycle called a zero--not sure what the range is.

Translating KWH into gas prices is the part of the equation that eluded me.  Edison supposedly has special rates for EVs and Hybrids, though.

There is a German engineer who has created an EV called Sion that has solar panels on it---supposed to add 18 miles to its range---although I'm sure this would work alot better in California than Germany.
larrywww

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Reply with quote  #5 
True story.  I had a handyman who was living marginally.  The only truck he could afford had an electrical system that was somehow unfixable.  So, he he strapped a solar panel to the roof and used that.  What a character.
SFL

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Reply with quote  #6 
Everyone I know who owns a Tesla loves it.  

Elon Musk has been very clever in his approach to the market.  Until he came along, everyone else had targeted the economy car market, resulting in no-frills ugly small cars that still were too expensive for the market.  They were sales flops.  

Unlike the others, Musk targeted the high end of the market, so Tesla's cars were neither no-frills nor ugly nor tiny, but held genuine appeal for people who were willing to pay up for high-end luxury cars.  Additionally, with wealthy households the two main limitations of electric cars could easily be worked around: you need to have a place to plug it in (if you're wealthy you probably have a garage), and you need to have alternative transportation for longer drives when re-charging options are unacceptable (if you're wealthy you probably have more than one car).  

I would not personally want to own a 100% electric vehicle if that had to be my only vehicle, unless I had a place to plug it in as well as a second, non-electric, car for longer trips.  Nevertheless, Teslas have such a long range that they can be viable sole cars.  You just have to remember to plug them in overnight.  I have an acquaintance who regularly travels between San Francisco and LA in his Tesla, and he has not had any trouble "supercharging" it at a charging station along the way, as well as finding places to charge it overnight when away from home.  Apparently, many hotels now offer overnight charging, especially in California.  

I would personally consider a 100% electric car as a grocery-getter, short-distance car for use around town only.  100% electric cars are quite simple, so maintenance costs should be minimal.  Being able to avoid regular servicing (oil changes, etc.) would be a big plus.  

A hybrid can be a viable option if a 100% electric car isn't viable.  The Prius has been around for a long time and has a superb reputation, I've never met anyone who didn't like theirs.  With a plug-in Prius, you have the advantages of electric and internal combustion all in one car.  Of course you're paying for two powertrains rather than just one, so the car is a lot more complicated than a 100% electric one, but at least Toyota has figured out how to do this well.  

Most driving involves relatively short distances, so many households could probably use a hybrid in electric-only mode if they charge it every night and only drive 20 - 30 miles per day.  And the gas engine would be there as a back-up for longer trips.  Having the gas engine allows you to get rid of a lot of battery capacity, along with the expense and weight that it entails.  

One more thought - for true cheapskates, it may be possible to find free electricity.  I have a Tesla-owning friend who regularly charges his at city-owned charging locations in front of government buildings, thereby shifting his charging costs to the taxpayers.  So in some parts of the country this can be done, at least for now.  At some point, I am sure that someone will put a stop to it.   

Electric and hybrid offerings will only get better as time goes on, so if you don't like what's out there now, just wait another year or two.  

larrywww

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Reply with quote  #7 
I have a Prius Prime and I like it very much.  It only has a 29 mile range on electric only.
But I understand (though no engineer) that you can recharge the car to some extent depending which of several modes you choose to drive it in.   I thought of the 29 mile limit as a huge problem but in fact it never seems to entirely run out (unless you run it in EV mode only).  The point is that there are several modes and figuring out when to use which mode is what is desireable.

I am still trying to figure it out, and I hear there is an art to driving to encourage the charging.   The other thing is that there is a very substantial rebate, making it even more attractive, as well as a permit to drive alone in HOV lane, Edison has deals on lower electrical rates for recharging at off peak hours, and there are some rebates on high capacity chargers (though since this can charge on a 100 outlet, I may not need that unless I get a 100% EV).
SFL

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Reply with quote  #8 
The keys to driving economically include the following: 

1) avoid rapid acceleration, high speeds, etc.  Same as in gas vehicles.  
2) take advantage of regenerative braking.

Regenerative braking turns your electric motor into a generator, charging instead of discharging the batteries while you're slowing down or going downhill.  Usually, the accelerator in this mode works like an all-in-one pedal: you get power when you press it, you get regenerative braking when you take your foot off of it, and you coast when you're somewhere in between.  Similar to driving a manual transmission car in low gear.  If you drive in stop-and-go traffic or in hilly areas the savings from regenerative braking can be considerable.  

The various drive modes may provide varying degrees of regenerative braking.  Some people want their electric vehicles to behave exactly like the automatic transmission gas-powered cars they're used to, so they use a mode (if available) which allows them to "coast" when their foot is off the accelerator, thereby providing little or no regenerative braking.  Others enjoy the regenerative braking, which saves both energy and brake linings.  

My guess is that "eco" mode is likely to provide sluggish acceleration but to really take advantage of regenerative braking, and that "power" mode is likely to be the one to use when you need to be able to maximize your acceleration (getting onto freeway ramps, etc.).

Have fun experimenting!





larrywww

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Reply with quote  #9 
They also have hydrogen (fuel cell) vehicles.

Really different----their exhaust is water (H20).

But this is what hydrogen costs (according to wikkipedia)

Long Answer: Hydrogen fuel prices range from $12.85 to more than $16 per kilogram (kg), but the most common price is $13.99 per kg (equivalent on a price per energy basis to $5.60 per gallon of gasoline), which translates to an operating cost of $0.21 per mile.

Wow, $5.60 a gallon---not sure how that would pencil (though maybe you save on other features).
SFL

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Quote:
Originally Posted by larrywww
They also have hydrogen (fuel cell) vehicles.



Hydrogen-powered cars are for sale now in the US, but only in small numbers, and only in certain parts of California.  There is a limited hydrogen refueling infrastructure in California, and you have to live within a certain distance of a hydrogen fuel pump in order to be able to buy a hydrogen-powered car.  Toyota is selling hydrogen cars in the US, and I believe Honda and perhaps Hyundai are as well.  

The big German auto manufacturers have put a lot of resources into hydrogen technology over many years, but it has been slow going.  Japan is pursuing hydrogen technology very seriously. 

I have the impression that until relatively recently, battery-powered cars weren't taken seriously due to the weight, expense and other limitations of batteries.  Then Tesla came along, and battery-powered vehicles have proven to be a lot more viable than expected.  Furthermore, there is a lot more charging infrastructure in place now than might have been expected a few years back.  

The hydrogen is converted into electricity, which then runs an electric motor; so essentially a hydrogen powered car is similar to a battery-powered one, except that the heavy batteries are replaced by a much lighter hydrogen apparatus.  And a hydrogen tank can be refilled in about 5 minutes, while a battery may have to be charged for many hours.

It will be interesting to see what happens with the hydrogen technology.  Elon Musk trashes it at every opportunity he gets, and he makes some good points; but there are always two sides to that story.  Perhaps a viable car of the future will have a battery pack good for 50 - 100 miles which customers can recharge at home, supplemented by hydrogen apparatus for creating electricity for longer trips.  

We should get to see all of this within the next 5 - 10 years.


mlreits

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SFL
Everyone I know who owns a Tesla loves it.  



So true. I haven't met a Tesla owner who doesn't like it. My wife's co-worker recently bought a used Tesla Model S, and this guy is into cars. Wife asked how does he like it? He said once you've driven a Tesla, you don't want to drive any other car. 

Wife gave me a hint. She said she saw herself driving a Tesla in her dreams twice already. I told her we can get her a Model 3, but my daughter insists on a Model X. She loves the wings. Sigh.....

Here's a photo of a recent family gathering at the in-law. 3 white Teslas. They love their Model 3. The car puts a smile on your face every time you drive it. How much does that worth? White Tesla is officially banned for the next purchase in the family.

Teslas.jpg 


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mlreits

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Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by larrywww
I have a Prius Prime and I like it very much.  It only has a 29 mile range on electric only.
But I understand (though no engineer) that you can recharge the car to some extent depending which of several modes you choose to drive it in.   I thought of the 29 mile limit as a huge problem but in fact it never seems to entirely run out (unless you run it in EV mode only).  The point is that there are several modes and figuring out when to use which mode is what is desireable.

I am still trying to figure it out, and I hear there is an art to driving to encourage the charging.   The other thing is that there is a very substantial rebate, making it even more attractive, as well as a permit to drive alone in HOV lane, Edison has deals on lower electrical rates for recharging at off peak hours, and there are some rebates on high capacity chargers (though since this can charge on a 100 outlet, I may not need that unless I get a 100% EV).


Larry,

The Prius Prime is great. You did well. I've floated the idea by my wife, but it's a no go. She works 3 miles from the house so it's a perfect commuter's car for her. I guess everyone around here, who can afford a Tesla, wants a Tesla. The Model 3 is everywhere. I bet it's the same in LA.

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mlreits

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Quote:
Originally Posted by larrywww
They also have hydrogen (fuel cell) vehicles.

Really different----their exhaust is water (H20).

But this is what hydrogen costs (according to wikkipedia)

Long Answer: Hydrogen fuel prices range from $12.85 to more than $16 per kilogram (kg), but the most common price is $13.99 per kg (equivalent on a price per energy basis to $5.60 per gallon of gasoline), which translates to an operating cost of $0.21 per mile.

Wow, $5.60 a gallon---not sure how that would pencil (though maybe you save on other features).


The cost is about 3.5 cents/mile for my Model S not including the free supercharging and the savings of switching to an EV utility program. It's about 3 cents/mile for the Model 3. 

I was told CNG costs about half the price of gasoline but fueling stations are few and far in between so it's somewhat inconvenient to own one.

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larrywww

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Reply with quote  #14 
Well, I'm not going to second guess your relatives---they are entitled to their own opinion.

And I suspect that a 35,000 Tesla Model 3 (if they ever build it), maybe the best deal of all.

The way Consumer Reports judges these things, it has 3 vehicles tied with the same relatively high score (77), namely:

1. Toyota Prius Prime
2. Chevy Bolt
3. Tesla Model 3.

I haven't researched it, but I think they did a followup story where they may have modified / retracted their recommnendation on the Tesla 3

I also have been hearing some disturbing reports that the Model 3s that are coming off the assembly line have had defects (I'm not saying wheels falling off, but defects nonetheless).  This is what happens when you are just slinging product on an assembly line basis---not smart, IMHO.   And the loose remarks by Elon Musk have NOT helped----will someone muzzle that man!

Of course, the above 3 vehicles are very different.

The other thing I would say is that the total driving range of a Prius Prime is 640 miles---if that is how far one tank of gas goes, that is alot of bang for the buck.

The other thing, of course, is that I am NOT an engineer, so that part of the equation I'm going to have to rely upon the judgement of others.

But I also think that all 3 are excellent choices.  It's nice to see American vehicles in the top range again.

The reasons why i chose the Prius Prime were:
1. They were giving a large rebate (largest for all Toyotas although the other models may have rebates too)
2. They were giving me a decal to ride alone in HOV lane (though maybe this is true of all of them)
3. Southern Cal Edison and other agencies were also offering deals.

But I am NOT saying that this means only the Prius was a good deal.

rickencin

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Reply with quote  #15 
I appreciate all the information on the Toyota Prius Prime and Telsa 3.  They are on my short list for daily driver for my next car.  My 2012 PriusV has been very reliable, so this will probably be years in the future.  I can never seem to get the Lexus RX450h F Sport to the top of the list.  Oh, well. 

Like cars, houses are very mechanical.  Plumbing, Electrical, HVAC and paint and carpets.  I'll bet a lot of contractors were/are car guys.  The more mechanically inclined you are, the easier to supervise buy and hold properties and especially flipping and renovation.  It is so much easier to supervise something you can do yourself.  "Trusting" experts can lead to disaster.  People always put their self interest ahead of others self interest.  

Because automobile production is high volume, high value it has been intensely studied.

(Ford, My Life and Work, 1922)

(Ohno, Toyota Production System, Beyond Large Scale Production, 1988)

Masaaki Imai, Gemba Kaizen, 2012 (includes examples of non-car Quality Control)

The Ohno/Toyota book pretty much kicked off the demonstration of a successful implementation of the Quality revolution.


A bit of flavor of the Quality/Customer First program:

Manufacturing and Management (People and Things): Schedules, Budgets and Leadership, Exuding Confidence of Success (Cheerleeding) based on Contingency Planning. Problem Solving and Processes in Control (Statistical Process Control, Six Sigma). (Complaining is not) Training.  Science talks about “Observation, Classification, Hypothesis and Testing”, Management talks about “Plan, Do Check, Act” and military Leadership talks about “Be, Know and Do.’”. Decision making talks about “Expectations, Goals, Plans, Actions”.

Fives. 5S: sort, straighten, scrub, systematize, and standardize. 5M’s: Manpower, Machines, Materials, Methods, Measurements. Five golden rules: (1) Go to the gemba (factory floor) when problems arise, (2) check gembutsu (anything in the workplace), (3) take temporary countermeasures on the spot, (4) find and eliminate the root cause, and (5) standardize to prevent recurrence. (Imai, 2012, p. 398)

Daily Operating Time (450 minutes), Daily Production Quantity (45), Takt (Maximum Cycle or Pipeline) Time (10 minutes), Total Work Time per Piece (65 minutes), Number of Pipeline Stages (minimum 7), Final Assembly and Fishbone Configuration, One Piece Flow.  If the Work Time per Piece is 65 minutes, should it really take 3 weeks to produce a part from customer order?

I saw a TV show about production of the Dodge Charger. They were very proud of their fully robotic inventory storage and retrieval system.  Toyota's one piece flow method eliminates inventory storage and retrieval (as much as possible, mostly one piece between processes).  

 





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larrywww

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Reply with quote  #16 
In terms of electrical vehicles Nissan is coming out with new version for 2019 has 50%  longer range and 50% bigger battery, which should mean competition for chevy bolt.

https://cleantechnica.com/2018/07/18/more-powerful-2019-nissan-leaf-will-have-200-mile-range/
larrywww

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Reply with quote  #17 
Wow, the party seems to be over for Tesla.

https://money.cnn.com/2018/09/10/technology/business/tesla-stock-bonds-elon-musk/index.html
larrywww

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Reply with quote  #18 
At least, you can't criticize Elon Musk since he has checked ALL the boxes:

1. Smoking weed on radio program, check.
2. Drinking while on radio program, check.
3. Claiming to take Tesla public, then retracting that, triggering SEC investigation, check.


Now, the company is on the verge of defaulting on bonds, check.

What will happen to those Tesla buyers who are awaiting delivery and want to cancel their orders?  Will all of this end up in bankruptcy court?  (I don't know this, but the whole scenario seems increasing ugly----I don't really know).

I don't know, but not pretty.


rickencin

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Reply with quote  #19 
Quote:
Originally Posted by larrywww
At least, you can't criticize Elon Musk since he has checked ALL the boxes:

3. Claiming to take Tesla public, then retracting that, triggering SEC investigation, check.



Actually, he claimed plans to take the company private.

Henry Ford got very tired of other people being in the decision loop and paid $75 million for an original equity of $28,000, just to have total control.  Elon won't have that problem.

Well, let Henry tell it"

“The "999" (race car) did what it was intended to do: It advertised the fact that I could build a fast motorcar. A week after the race I formed the Ford Motor Company. I was vice-president, designer, master mechanic, Superintendent, and general manager. The capitalization of the company was one hundred thousand dollars, and of this I owned 25 1/2 per cent. The total amount subscribed in cash was about twenty-eight thousand dollars-which is the only money that the company has ever received for the capital fund from other than operations. In the beginning I thought that it was possible, notwithstanding my former experience, to go forward with a company in which I owned less than the controlling share. I very shortly found I had to have control and therefore in 1906, with funds that I had earned in the company, I bought enough stock to bring my holdings up to 51 per cent, and a little later bought enough more to give me 58-1/2 per cent of the company The new equipment and the whole progress have always been financed out of earnings. In 1919 my son Edsel purchased the remaining 41-1/2 per cent of the stock because certain of the minority stockholders disagreed with my policies. For these shares he paid at the rate of $12,500 for each 8 100 par and in all paid about seventy-five millions.” p. 42, Henry Ford, My Life and Work, 1922

Henry had a different slant on customer service:
For the only foundation of real business is service. A manufacturer is not through with his customer when a sale is completed. He has then only started with his customer. In the case of an automobile the sale of the machine is only something in the nature of an introduction. If the machine does not give service, then it is better for the manufacturer if he never had the introduction, for he will have the worst of all advertisements—a dissatisfied customer. There was something more than a tendency in the early days of the automobile to regard the selling of a machine as the real accomplishment and that thereafter it did not matter what happened to the buyer." p. 33, Henry Ford, My Life and Work, 1922

Elon Musk is one of those "Big Picture" guys who focuses on the opportunity and doesn't sweat the details or worry about what might go wrong.  He needs to surround himself with extremely competent, detail people to save him from himself.  Can you imagine if we had a President of the United States like that?


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larrywww

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Reply with quote  #20 
I don't disagree with your points, Rick---and I think it's great Musk has reintroduced the American carmakers to the world as great innovators again---where have they been all this time?

But I was recommending that people consider buying his cars before----I'm not sure I would do that now given the chaos, etc.   He needs to do something about his current cashflow situation and give Wall Street a better financial model, etc.

Also he needs someone a bit more stable to act as the CEO and take more of a back office role rat her than spilling his guts to reporters in an embarassing way.

Most people in his position understand that----Steve Jobs was a great entrepreneur----I am reading his biography now.  But my feeling is that if even a fraction of his angry blowups, petty feuds, etc became public knowledge, he might not have been able to achieve the success that he did.  At least he had the sense to find a more stable figure to share the limelight with.  Certainly, I'm willing to cut Elon Musk some slack because he is a great inventor---but the press reports make it seem like a total circus.

Part of the problem is this---would you trust someone to build your car who is clueless enough to be smoking a doobie in front of a journalist?   Especially doing so at a time when there's alot of bad press about an assembly line that's not working and/or at a time when the finances of the firm appears shaky.   It doesn't look good, is all I'm saying.

But clueless or not, I'm glad Elon Musk came along.
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