Charging rates

The gauge says it will take 19 hours to reach a full charge but an hour after I’ve started charging it says it will be fully charged in 13 hours. Go figure.

The recommendation is to keep the battery between 20-80% charge most of the time and only fully charge it to 100% when you have a longer trip. I did get it down to 9% and a lovely voice comes on to warn you that you should seek a plug soon, kind of like the light that comes on when you hit E on your gas tank.

I’ve set my charging timer to start at 8:00 p.m. and turn off when it reaches 80% charge. All in anticipation of Rate 17. By 6:00 a.m. the charge is at 80% and I’m good to go.

 

 

Language and icons

Lat night as I was describing the operation of my EV to my husband I said, “You push the on button and then you press on the gas pedal and you’re on the road.” I paused and wondered will our grand-kids ask, “Why is it called a gas pedal?” and he wondered if they would wonder “Why is the icon for charging that funny box?

There are so many terms we use today that harken back to a previous era that no longer make literal sense. We don’t “dial” someone up anymore and soon we won’t we be using that “gas” pedal.

A solar powered car?

The solar panels are now installed so I could say I’m driving a solar powered car. However, I am net metering so it’s more of a carbon offset than a direct feed into my car. I’m going through Sun Common for my solar lease.

Our average monthly usage is under 300 kWh so we don’t have a very large roof mounted array. The system was designed to include the EV but I had also assumed that I would not do all my charging at home. Other than a 15 minute charge at Healthy Living, which was free except for the $20 I spent in the store, I’ve done all my charging at home.

I haven’t even looked at gas prices for the past 2 weeks. I’m now over 600 all-electric miles, which is still way too much driving.

No gas, all torque

My husband finally decided to have a go at driving the all-electric car. We were headed back from Burlington and I had told him about my experiences using Drive versus Eco mode. Drive is great when heading out into traffic (I’ve never done 0-50 mph faster). We got off the interstate in Richmond and folks who know that intersection know that you are often presented with a small window of opportunity to make the turn. He put it in Drive and off we went. “Wheeee” he said, “that was fun.”

Week one statistics…

I know this is not a complete accounting since I’ve driven over 400 miles since last Saturday (way too much). Carwings wasn’t activated until mid-day Monday and it’s possible that not all my trips were captured since the system runs off the AT&T network and our hills are known to disrupt cell service (I may have failed to hit the ok button at the start of some of my trips). But here is what it shows:

  • Distance Traveled miles
  • Average Energy Economy miles/kWh
  • Electricity Consumption kWh
  • Travel Time hrs
  • CO2 Tailpipe Emission Reduction* lbs

So 67.4 kWh at .14 cents kWh means (you’re rates may differ as mine may once I get on Rate 17) I’ve driven nearly 300 miles for less than $10 or about 3 cents a mile.  I’ve also generated 62 cents worth of EEU charge.

Is driving electric really a net carbon saver?

Some folks have asked whether switching from gasoline to electricity really emits less carbon since electricity needs to be generated from some source. Well it does depend where you live. In Vermont we are fortunate to have carbon clean sources of energy, mostly from HydroQuebec. There have been a couple of studies that look at this issue and all seem to conclude that in Vermont, and in most other places, driving an electric vehicle is much better from a carbon emissions perspective.

The Union of Concerned Scientists issued this report: http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_vehicles/smart-transportation-solutions/advanced-vehicle-technologies/electric-cars/emissions-and-charging-costs-electric-cars.html

There’s also this report from the Climate Center: http://www.climatecentral.org/wgts/leafapp/Climate_Friendly_Cars_2012.pdf

Both show that in Vermont driving an EV is much better than an ICE from an emissions perspective.

The happening place on a Sunday morning in Jericho/Underhill

I headed up to JeriHill hardware to get a few more mums. They have the best around, 3 for $15 and a good size as well. As I exited the car a man came over and said, “I hate to pester you but can you tell me about your car?” I answered his questions and then he allowed how he had just purchased a Prius (non-plug-in) and wish he had known about the LEAF earlier since that’s what he would have bought. He had driven a Honda Insight for many years but needed a bit more room for hauling kids around. He felt that driving a Prius was a step backwards from the Insight.

He was interested in an electric vehicle as a hedge against gas prices. I told him I was leasing the car as I didn’t think it would hold its value with the rapid technology improvements and he suggested that if gas were $8 gallon it would probably not only hold its value but maybe even increase in three years. I hadn’t thought of it that way. You never know what you might learn at the hardware store.