To EV or not to EV

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Redbarn

Burning Hunk
Jul 30, 2012
242
SE PA
We have had a BMW I3 Rex for a year now.
We do a 500 mile each way journey every month and my wife now uses the I3 for this journey.

When she started, there were only 2 Level 3 fast chargers on the route.
This meant the procedure was to drive on battery till the battery is down to 6% charge.
The Rex then starts up automatically.
Drive on the Rex for another 70 till the range is 10 miles or so.
Fill up with gas (1.9 galls maximum fill) or find a fast charger.
Repeat this cycle till you are there.

There are 5 x Level 3 fast chargers en route now so less than 100 miles is done on the Rex.
Level 2 chargers take too long to charge (circa 3 hours) and so the 20 min charges at Level 3 CCS fast chargers is the way to go.

As more charging infrastructure is added, an EV becomes a completely usable vehicle.
The real genius of Tesla is in investing in setting up the fast charging infrastructure.
This makes their cars usable as everyday transport.
The other manufacturers have missed this point completely and will surely suffer the consequences.
As 200 mile EVs become available, using an EV as primary transport becomes sensibly possible.
 

Circus

Feeling the Heat
Jan 11, 2013
292
EC Wisconsin
My biggest concern would be battery life. I've observed hybrids save on fuel only to lose the savings when replacing the battery. Wouldn't EV be worse?
 

woodgeek

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2008
4,773
SE PA
My biggest concern would be battery life. I've observed hybrids save on fuel only to lose the savings when replacing the battery. Wouldn't EV be worse?

A good question. Let's say that Li-ion EV batteries cost $300/kWh, and that they are good for 1000 full cycles (or 2000 50% discharge cycles, etc), before the battery needs to be replaced. In some sense, the electricity going to the drive motor costs whatever I pay to get it from the utility...like $0.15/kWh PLUS the cost of a battery cycle = $300kWh/1000cycles = $0.30/kWh, nearly 2X what it costs to buy....storage, especially mobile storage is expensive.

If I compute the cost per mile to 'fuel' my EV at $0.15/kWh it looks like a steal, but at $0.45/kWh not so much. Right?

In the case of my LEAF, however, the battery cost is built into my upfront cost, although you can argue that the upfront is 'hiding' some of the fuel cost. When I was figuring out my total cost of ownership, TCO, however, since I had no intention of replacing my battery during my lease, then this 'extra cost' was indeed accounted for....in the price of the 3 year lease.

Now, if my leaf gets 85 miles on a full charge, then it needs a new battery at only 85,000 miles, when an ICE car might be expected to have a good residual used car value. In the case of a LEAF with 80k miles, the value of the used car should be less than that of an equivalent ICE car with 80k miles by the cost of a replacement battery ($8k at $300/kWh). Since a lot of used, good condition sedans with $80k miles are worth maybe $10-15k, you can see that the LEAF would be worth very little...maybe $2-7k. And this about right.

An important thing here is that the rest of the car is pretty cheap...no exhaust system, no oil system, no fuel system, no transmission, no belts, little brake wear due to regen, very little scheduled maintenance. So you still win. If you count the battery cost as a fuel cost, then you have to take it off the upfront cost and the car is really cheap upfront. If you count it on the upfront, the car is a bit expensive, but not that much and then the fuel is really cheap and so is the maintenance. Bottom line: the TCO of the Gen 1 BEVs like the LEAF is quite favorable DESPITE the $300/kWh battery.

Note that a plug-in EV (or hybrid) has a smaller battery, but doesn't save on all the ICE stuff....so in the end the TCO is worse than the BEV.

----------------------------------------------------------------

The cool thing about the Gen 2 BEVs is that now the battery capacity is larger, for 200 miles on a full charge, and the costs are expected to be closer to $100 kWh (since prices have fallen since 2010 when the LEAF was developed). This means that if they still last 1000 cycles, then the battery lasts 200,000 miles rather than 85k, similar to expectations for an ICE car...and the upfront cost of the 200 mile battery is less than the upfront cost of the 80 mile battery on my 2013 LEAF. And still the same very low drivetrain and maintenance cost as the Gen 1 BEV.

What a difference....upfront is less...and can approach the upfront of an ICE car, the fuel cost is still low (if the battery cost is in the upfront) and it has a useable 200 mile range and 200k mile lifespan. MUCH nicer than the Leaf or other Gen 1s. And even though the Leaf has a respectably low lifetime TCO...the Gen 2 has even lower TCO, and starting to look very appealing as a commuter car if the 200 mile range is acceptable for your needs.
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
96,254
South Puget Sound, WA
My biggest concern would be battery life. I've observed hybrids save on fuel only to lose the savings when replacing the battery. Wouldn't EV be worse?
The battery should last at least 100K miles or more. When we sold our 7 yr old Prius the battery showed no sign of degradation. Locally cabs have regularly gotten up to 200K out of the battery.

This article points out, many folks would not replace the battery at the dealers, but instead would pick one up at a junkyard for about $500.
http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/...n-how-does-the-toyota-prius-hold-up/index.htm
 
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Redbarn

Burning Hunk
Jul 30, 2012
242
SE PA
My biggest concern would be battery life. I've observed hybrids save on fuel only to lose the savings when replacing the battery. Wouldn't EV be worse?

We leased our BMW I3 because the battery technology is changing so rapidly that the resale value at 2 years is probably circa 40% of new. BMW and/or the dealers are going to take a big financial hit on these Gen 1 EVs as they priced the lease residual at circa 70% of new.
Looking locally, there are 3 year old Leafs with no more than 30,000 miles being offered in the $10k, $11k price range.
Nothing kills resale value more than a new model in the showrooms with more EV range.

The 2017 I3 model is already being offered with about 30% more EV range in the same package envelope.
So battery life is not a concern as much as resale value is.
The batteries are actually lasting quite well.
So until the battery technology settles down, I'm going to lease rather than buy.
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
96,254
South Puget Sound, WA
Probably a good strategy for the short term. We intend to hold onto the Volt for a long time so resale is less an issue. It may be the last new car we've bought.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
17,573
Philadelphia
We have had a BMW I3 Rex for a year now.
We do a 500 mile each way journey every month and my wife now uses the I3 for this journey.

When she started, there were only 2 Level 3 fast chargers on the route.
This meant the procedure was to drive on battery till the battery is down to 6% charge.
The Rex then starts up automatically.
Drive on the Rex for another 70 till the range is 10 miles or so.
Fill up with gas (1.9 galls maximum fill) or find a fast charger.
Repeat this cycle till you are there.
Sounds like a crazy hassle.



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Redbarn

Burning Hunk
Jul 30, 2012
242
SE PA
With a 1st generation EV, it is a bit of a hassle.
But with a 200 mile range and (free) frequent fast chargers, a Tesla Model 3 would change this completely.
Part of the reason why 400,000 people put deposits down....
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
96,254
South Puget Sound, WA
I prefer the Volt's longer range. 40 (52 on gen 2) mile local electric only and a 9 gal gas tank for the generator range extender. Takes the anxiety and hassle out of long trips. This is especially important for trips that are off the beaten path or to the large areas of the west that will not have fast charger stations any time soon.
 

georgepds

Minister of Fire
Nov 25, 2012
878
Fwiiw...my gen 2 volt reads 64 miles electric range in warm weather

Non recurring Cost ~22k after all the rebates and incentives

The electric energy comes from the grid tied solar on the roof

The future is here..it's just unevenly distributed

G
 

blades

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2008
3,784
WI, Leroy
So many little in the closet cost details conveniently left out again. Recharge power supply- no matter how you cut it that is still a cost that needs to be added in weather it is your direct cost from your own system( which means breaking down and portioning all costs from day one) or from the grid- which must include all infastructure as well- Those batteries are hxxx on the environment to make or dispose of more costs to add. so your ev is not all the much greener than anything else in powered transportation. Just a extra grumpy old guy that woke up with a terrific migraine this morning.
 

Seasoned Oak

Minister of Fire
Oct 17, 2008
7,217
Eastern Central PA
The best thing about EVs is they provided competition in a transportation market devoid of any real competition. Id like to see more Natural Gas vehicles on the road too. We need choices more than anything. In everything. A market void of competition more of a monopoly than anything else.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
96,254
South Puget Sound, WA
A solar system's payback period should be calculated without adding the car charging benefit. For example, our arrays should be net positive in 2018 and 2019. They are also infrastructure that will retain value after they become net positive. The batteries are a problem mostly because of the few facilities for post processing, but fortunately solutions are arising. The most practical present reuse is in home energy storage, especially if one already has an alternate source of power like wind or solar. Still, we need a larger amount of processing facilities than currently exists. A cradle to grave responsibility requirement would help here.
 

Seasoned Oak

Minister of Fire
Oct 17, 2008
7,217
Eastern Central PA
I guess a carbon tax is still a dirty word but its probably one of the only solutions to turning the whole climate thing around.
I always liked the idea of electric onsite generation and EV transportation. I can't drill for oil but i can make power on my own property with my own equipment.
 
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