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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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Reply with quote  #2 
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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niravmd

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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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Reply with quote  #4 
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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Reply with quote  #10 
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.


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