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Chevy Bolt

 
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My wife and I had a grid tied 9.5 kW solar system installed in August of last year and part of getting a fairly large system was our interest in purchasing an electric vehicle for at least one of us to commute to work on "free" fuel. I found that the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EVs that are coming off of their 3 year leases were significantly less expensive than comparable vehicles (Tesla model 3, Kia Niro EV, Hyundai Kona EV) with a range of 200+ miles per charge. The limited trim I've found available on CarGurus for under $12k on a nationwide search but I opted for the premium for a little under $14k mainly for the level 3 charging capability and the Bose speaker upgrade (not that the standard speakers are bad). The reason for the pricing almost being in line with the lesser range Nissan Leaf is the current stop sale nationwide from a few people having their batteries over charge and catching on fire. I'm ok with the wait for such a great price since I have a working car, and I figured I'd share the knowledge if anyone else had been looking.
-Ryan
 
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Thank you for sharing Ryan, I've had roughly the same idea, and have also been looking at the Bolt, as it seems to be the most economically viable option for the moment. I had not thought of looking at cars coming off of their lease though, so thank you for that insight.
 
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Doesn't the cost of the grid-tied system (or off grid, for that matter) become part of the cost of "fueling" an electric vehicle?  

And up to today there is no way to entirely recycle the used batteries from an electric vehicle, so where are the thousands and thousands of them going to go in a few years when they all need replacing?  

This isn't to discourage electric vehicles, but it is an ecological issue that hasn't been addressed....*s*
 
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Cristo Balete wrote:Doesn't the cost of the grid-tied system (or off grid, for that matter) become part of the cost of "fueling" an electric vehicle?  


My parents' grid tie system paid for itself in about seven years, so as long as it lasts every kilowatt hour they use now is a bonus as long as it lasts (plus what the electric company pays them for the surplus).
 
gardener
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My husband and I have a 2017 Chevy Bolt.  We love it and it has saved us thousands in gas already, but they are in the midst of a battery recall scenario.  The LG lithium-ion battery had a few fires, and so all of us with the cars right now are recommended we only charge up to 80-90%.  That's a little bit of a hassle because of the reduced range.  Our range at 80% is 180 miles - but that actually means 150, because you don't want to be driving around with less than 30 on the gauge.  Not sure when this will be fixed.  Our car battery is still under warranty and also this is a recall so it will be dealt with by GM, but I would look into all the details if I were considering buying this car right now as a second owner.  Make sure the warranty and recall carries over to you as the most recent buyer.

We do love the car anyways and would not go back to gas for our main commute about vehicle.  We live "in the middle of nowhere" and our community has no gas station.  The nearest one is 40 miles away, so with your gas-driven car you have to constantly be thinking about your gas level!  Or people have to keep gas on hand, which I don't like to do.  I'm too sensitive to the fumes, and our current unheated garage can get into the 150F range.  We are in the desert SW.

As far as environmental impact goes, there are so many factors to consider that it's very hard to figure out. Add in that besides no gas, our car takes no motor oil.  We are the first owners, and have been able to watch for three years now how it affects our electric bill (barely).  Because of our remote location and the distant proximity to gasoline, with the electric car have the advantage of being able to stay in our town indefinitely without needed to just make gasoline trips.  This is great because it helps us stick to only totally necessary trips.  Of course, we always try not to make any "gas up only" trips, and consolidate all town trips, but there are times where we have to drive our gas-powered vehicle when we could have instead taken the electric.

The Bolt has also extended the life of our gas powered 2005 SUV dramatically.  That SUV is our towing, trash trip, and picking-up-big-things vehicle, and we've managed to reduce it's mileage down to such a small amount it's astonishing.  I noticed this because it's been a year since our last oil change for the SUV and we still aren't due for one!  So we've gone less than 3000 miles in one year in the SUV, living in the Bootheel of NM, where the nearest Home Depot is over 100 miles away.  And we've been doing construction all this time.  At 2005, it's an older vehicle, but we may be able to extend our time with it by many years just by having our electric car.  So there really are a lot of factors that come into play, including your own lifestyle, that will determine how your electric car impacts the environment.

We are building an off-grid house right now and I'm designing our solar systems for this car including incorporating the slow charging.  We could charge it with the sun on a 120 volt trickle charger (a very slow charge that takes days) or depending on how we design the solar system, with a slightly faster charger that only takes about 8-10 hours of sunlight for a full charge.  Most of the time, you don't need a full recharge if you are just driving around the community, so the average charge is probably only a few hours at a time.

I'm designing a solar system for our house and a separate one for our shop. This is in part for redundancy of systems in case one is having problems, and also so that overusing the shop power doesn't wipe out our ability to be comfy in our house.  Plus our shop doesn't need a ton of battery backup with how we use it (mostly daytime use, minimal high-powered equipment).  If we can charge the car mainly on the shop power and only during the peak daytime hours then we won't be doing the least efficient thing - charging a battery from a battery.  Don't want to do that...

There are also systems coming out that allow you to run your house system off your car battery - however, that would shorten the life of your car battery.  I guess if you had a small off grid cabin that you only used part time this could be worthwhile. If you have an off grid solar system that you only use a few months a year, for example, it may be cheaper to essentially have a portable, on demand solar system (your car).  In that case, why not run it off your car, if the warranty was already up...
 
Ryan Mahony
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Hey Cristo! Figuring out what to do with batteries no longer viable for cars is a huge concern going forward. Fortunately there are companies out there already working on that problem. Here is an example. https://www.pv-magazine.com/2021/02/26/relectrify-launches-36-kw-120-kwh-storage-system-made-of-second-life-ev-batteries/

As more research is done and companies like Tesla re-formulate their batteries to include less expensive, more readily available elements, the cost both financially and to the environment will be lowered. One of my professors had a note on his office door. It read something to the effect of "If you can't grow it, you have to mine it or drill for it".

Ironically, I've found turning my yard into a food forest, that I still have to "mine it" to get some of the fertilizer, insecticide, and fungicide I will need, EVEN IF I choose organic options like Surround, Diatomaceous Earth, Copper, Lime Sulphur, etc. I see EV as the best available technology, both for performance and minimizing my impact on the environment.

As far as the additional load on my solar system, I intentionally oversized it to account for my future EV purchase. Sure I will be charging at night a lot of the time, but I will be setting my charger to start working when my rates are lower late at night, i.e. when there is a baseload on the grid where they offer lower prices and have to dump excess electricity anyway. So I see the grid tie as a win-win, other than not having power when the grid is down (I am actively researching a battery backup to fix this challenge).

Edit: To the point on additional cost for fueling, electricity is FAR CHEAPER than gasoline, even with my 32mpg highway subaru xv. As I am producing my own power vs only consuming it, that cost will be further reduced over the life of my system as rates increase.
 
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Do you think its fair to pay a road tax with electric vehicles?
 
Ryan Mahony
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John C Daley wrote:Do you think its fair to pay a road tax with electric vehicles?



Hi John! I am in Pennsylvania, and the registration cost for ICE vehicles is 35 dollars (plus some local fees). I believe the legislature is considering increasing the registration costs for EVs to somewhere between 250-300 dollars to make up for the lack of fuel surcharges. This will be either a great deal or a terrible deal depending on how many miles you drive, as gas tax is a "pay as you go" tax based on actual usage. As far as I know, PA has some of the worst roads in the nation but also some of the highest gas taxes to maintain due to the frequent freeze thaw cycles.

So in short, it probably IS fair for EVs to pay their share, but I wish there was a better system than a one time registration fee similar to the gas tax based on use.
 
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