• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

If you live in a city, get an electric (or hybrid) car!  RSS feed

 
Julia Winter
steward
Posts: 2116
Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
190
bee bike chicken food preservation hugelkultur urban
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I just want to put in a good word for electric cars. One of the worst things about city living is the air, and one of the worst things for air is cars idling in place, or crawling along in a traffic jam. If you are driving an electric car, or even a hybrid, that goes away. The engine of a hybrid tends to be disengaged at low speeds.

We've had an electric VW Golf for some time now, and we don't have a garage. We don't even have a charging station installed. We are literally running an outdoor extension cord from the only available outlet on the back of the house to our driveway, and charging the car that way. It's slow, but it works. So, you don't have to have a garage to have an electric car. A driveway is pretty important, though.

About a month ago we got a Ford C-Max Energi, the plug-in hybrid version of the C-Max. It's got an extra battery, and you can run it on just electric power for short distances. Turns out most trips in the city are short. Our first tank of gas lasted 800 miles. As the weather warms up we expect our mileage to improve even more. We are currently sharing our single electric charger between the two cars. Max gets to charge during the day (he runs out on trips in the AM and PM but comes back home in between) and EV charges overnight.

I'm not going to talk about how cheap it is to run a car on electricity, because gas is cheap right now. I'd just like to make a plea for those who can to consider going electric, for the sake of the people who live near traffic.

An old friend in Fort Atkinson, WI (not a city, a pretty small town) has a Chevy Volt and he loves it. It charges at night, in his garage, and he's averaging 80-90 mpg because of all the electric drive time he's getting. Just not having to go to the gas station is a life improver.

Of course, the best way to get around in a city is by bike.
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1282
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
16
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm just wondering if you understand how toxic electric car batteries are?
 
Julia Winter
steward
Posts: 2116
Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
190
bee bike chicken food preservation hugelkultur urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I understand many things! Yes, I will never try to eat a battery, or compost it. Similarly, I advise never trying to consume the exhaust of a petroleum burning car.

None of these transportation strategies are ideal, but you do what you can.

Max has gotten over a thousand miles on a tank of gasoline, and when we took him on a multi-day road trip, he averaged around 33mpg. That was fully loaded with 4 people, a 90lb dog and a car top luggage carrier.

Ideally we would all live within muscle-powered reach of our workplace, but until then, electric cars are part of the solution.
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1282
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
16
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yes but what about the making of them. Also, what is your plan when your car goes caput? That battery will poison the environment long after you're done using it.

I get what you're saying. We should try to save the environment best we can. I just don't like electric cars or hybrid cars as being a viable solution. I don't believe they are until the problem of the battery can be overcome.
Julia Winter wrote:I understand many things! Yes, I will never try to eat a battery, or compost it. Similarly, I advise never trying to consume the exhaust of a petroleum burning car.

None of these transportation strategies are ideal, but you do what you can.

Max has gotten over a thousand miles on a tank of gasoline, and when we took him on a multi-day road trip, he averaged around 33mpg. That was fully loaded with 4 people, a 90lb dog and a car top luggage carrier.

Ideally we would all live within muscle-powered reach of our workplace, but until then, electric cars are part of the solution.
 
Rebecca Norman
gardener
Posts: 1274
Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
128
food preservation greening the desert solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm glad you focused on the benefits of electric cars for urban life, Julia. Of course they are better for air quality in their immediate area.

But many people ignore the fact that with our current power sources, electric cars contribute much more to global pollution than gas or diesel cars, simple because of the huge inefficiencies of converting power to electricity, storing it in batteries, and then converting it back to motion.

Unless you are charging your car with your own renewable energy, then you are using the grid and even if your bill says you're using renewable sources, you are increasing demand on the grid, which is met by fossil fuels and nuclear power. Powering a car by electricity from the grid burns much more fossil fuels than if you burn a liquid fossil fuel in an internal combustion engine.

But the benefits to air quality in the vicinity of the car are absolute, and if you are using renewables to charge it, great.

Delhi is considering changing most vehicles to electric. Years ago an environmental organization, Centre for Science and Environment, pushed through a change from diesel and petrol (gasoline) to compressed natural gas for all public vehicles in Delhi. The improvement to local air quality was huge, getting rid of all that diesel, but then the number of vehicles has increased so much since then, that the quality is back to disgusting, and the govt is considering a switch to electric. The current air quality is basically deadly so it's necessary, but it will just outsource the pollution and hugely increase the overall pollution and greenhouse gasses.
 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
Posts: 6795
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
266
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
In operation, electric cars consume about one-third as much resources as do internal combustion cars. Maintenance costs are much less. Even if your electricity comes from a coal-fired power plant, your car will still pollute far less than one that burns gasoline or diesel fuel.

Electric cars are likely to put many people in the Auto industry out of business. Most maintenance is factory scheduled stuff. The days of the backyard mechanic messing with every component of a vehicle are numbered. I have watched many bozos spill fuel and oil around. The batteries from electric cars are recyclable and are not handled by bozos in their backyard. I've been studying this subject quite a bit since I may buy an electric. My brother already has one. So far, I haven't turned up one thing that justifies the various fears that I see posted on the internet.

If and when I get one, it will become the primary power source for my cabin and other things at the farm. Rather than bringing electricity to the farm on hydro wires which would cost $50,000 or so I will bring it in a car that cost around $25,000. The amount of energy available from the car is enough to power the farm for a few weeks. I live only seven and a half miles from the city where free electricity is available. Range anxiety is just not something I anticipate succumbing to.
.....
I'm not a fan of hybrid cars at all. One of the most dangerous cars for me to drive is a Toyota Prius. I found the blind spots to be huge especially when backing up. With the advancement of pure electric cars with range up to 300 kilometres, I don't think hybrids make much sense.

In British Columbia we have many free charge stations. The city of Victoria has about 300,000 people in the metropolitan area. There are 85 free charge stations. They will not remain free forever but the government says that it will be at least 5 years before A change is made.
 
Dillon Nichols
pollinator
Posts: 597
Location: Victoria BC
28
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My understanding is that lithium is very recyclable... buuut not expensive enough to incentive anyone to do a really thorough job of doing so. Seems like either continued upwards price pressure, gov. action and/or consumer pressure for products to contain x% recycled lithium could improve on this... Of course that's hardly the whole story in lithium based batteries, but some of the other parts like cobalt and nickel are already valuable enough to recycle more efficiently...
 
Steve Farmer
Posts: 397
Location: South Tenerife, Canary Islands (Spain)
3
forest garden greening the desert trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Dale Hodgins wrote:Even if your electricity comes from a coal-fired power plant, your car will still pollute far less than one that burns gasoline or diesel fuel.


Coal power plant efficiency: 33%
Grid step up + transmission + step down efficiency: 89%
Elec car battery charge/discharge efficiency cycle: 80%
Elec car motor efficiency: 75%

Total fossil fuel to elec car locomotion efficiency: 17.8%

I've used power efficiency claims from coal industry, power grid companies & Tesla. So these are going to be best case claims. I wouldn't be surprised if the real figure is nearer 10%, especially once the battery is 2 years old.

Compare this with the internal combustion engine (ICE) car at 30-45 % efficient.

Consider also that petrol/diesel contain far more energy than equivalent weight of batteries. Your elec car is humping around a huge amount of weight in batteries compared to your conventional ICE car. Experience with your laptop/mobile phone will give you an indication of how efficient your elec car batteries are going to be when the vehicle is 5 yrs old.

I see a future full of elec cars, and rightly so. Maybe 3 decades from now they will be the better solution, but best thing right now and immediate future for the planet in my opinion is to convert the grid power to renewables first, and apply renewable energy first to static usage such as elec machinery in industry and domestic uses in the home, where there isn't a need to store and transport energy in batteries.

Once there is enough renewable energy being generated to power the static stuff, elec cars will make sense. Until then, buying an elec car adds to the amount of fossil fuels being burned.

The original poster is absolutely correct to identify the benefits of the elec car in cities in terms of cleaner air. But you're not doing the child living near the power plant any favours.
 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
Posts: 6795
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
266
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here's what the Sierra Club has to say about it. I tend to believe more of what they say then I would from anyone within the car industry or the power generation industry.

https://content.sierraclub.org/evguide/myths-vs-reality

An electric car makes more sense for me than for anyone I know. That's mostly because it will solve a number of problems. There is no electricity at the farm and even if there were it's 1.2 kilometers long. An electric car could be parked in whatever location the power is needed. There's a fellow here in Victoria who uses a 3000 watt inverter on his Nissan Leaf, for emergency power. In my case it would be used to power tools at job sites. The Leaf is mid-sized as these vehicles go and the batteries contain enough power to run skill saws, jackhammers and many other tools used in construction. This would eliminate the stinky, dirty, noisy process of operating a gas-powered generator. I hate generators. They have given me nothing but grief with breakdown, damage and being stolen. The power that I have extracted from Electric Generators has probably cost me 5 to $10 per kilowatt-hour when you add it all up. Even the power that I've gotten from rented units has been very expensive when you factor in the cost of rental and if I pay myself to go and pick it up.

Range --- there are always going to be a certain amount of people who will run their vehicle out of fuel whether it be gasoline electricity whatever. I assume that these are the people who will find themselves stranded on the side of the road and out of juice. Perhaps the dealers could come up with some sort of simple IQ test.
 
Julia Winter
steward
Posts: 2116
Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
190
bee bike chicken food preservation hugelkultur urban
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Dale Hodgins wrote:Here's what the Sierra Club has to say about it. I tend to believe more of what they say then I would from anyone within the car industry or the power generation industry.

https://content.sierraclub.org/evguide/myths-vs-reality


From the above link:

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: MYTHS VS. REALITY
Myth 1: Switching to an electric vehicle will just mean that the same amount of pollution comes from the electricity generation rather than from the tailpipe — I'll just be switching from oil to coal.

Reality: According to a range of studies doing a ‘well to wheels’ analysis, an electric car leads to significantly less carbon dioxide pollution from electricity than the CO2 pollution from the oil of a conventional car with an internal combustion engine.[1][2][3] In some areas, like many on the West Coast that rely largely on wind or hydro power, the emissions are significantly lower for EVs. And that's today. As we retire more coal plants and bring cleaner sources of power online, the emissions from electric vehicle charging drop even further. Additionally, in some areas, night-time charging will increase the opportunity to take advantage of wind power -- another way to reduce emissions.

A caveat to consider is that when coal plants supply the majority of the power in a given area, electric vehicles may emit more CO2 and SO2 pollution than hybrid electric vehicles. Learn where your electricity comes from, what plans your state or community has for shifting to renewables, and whether you have options for switching to greener power.

I live in the Pacific Northwest, where we get a lot of power from hydropower, and increasingly wind. We personally have purchased 100% "clean energy" for our home. My state, Oregon, has pledged to cease all electricity production from coal by 2030 with the Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Plan.
Myth 2: Plug-in cars will lead to the production of more coal and nuclear plants.
Reality: Even if the majority of drivers switched to electric, the existing electrical grid's off-peak/nighttime capacity for power generation is sufficient without building a single new power plant. Studies have shown that electric vehicle owners will largely charge their vehicles at night when there is plenty of capacity on the grid. In some areas, new "smart charging" allows you and the utility to set up a system by which you and other electricity users distribute the load evenly during charging so that the system is not overwhelmed by increased demand.
 
Rebecca Norman
gardener
Posts: 1274
Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
128
food preservation greening the desert solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Wow, this thread is really interesting! I'm eagerly clicking on the links, happy to see that such respectable people as the Sierra Club, Dale Hodgins and Julia Winter say that I'm wrong. Thanks!

(Seriously, not sarcastic. I'll be happy if electric cars turn out to be better for the environment overall.)
 
John Weiland
Posts: 950
Location: RRV of da Nort
46
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Just to second Rebecca's comment that I'm glad to see a distilled source of information and discussion with as little bias as possible on the petrol versus electrical vehicle debate. So many articles are going to have an agenda other than resource conservation and long-term vision. And it's worth bringing context into the equation: Does it make sense that Scottsdale would use the same ratio of petrol to electric vehicles as Seattle when the solar potential is so much high in the former. I'm not saying this is a no-brainer, but a starting point for discussion.....there may in fact be good reasons why this is so, but I can't think of them.
 
Derek Brewer
Posts: 113
Location: Hatfield, PA
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm eagerly awaiting the Elio - https://www.eliomotors.com/
A gas vehicle that gets 84MPG using largely off the shelf components. The formfactor should make it much easier to navigate and park in a city, too. Now, granted, this is not a hauler or anything, but it would be a great commuter vehicle.
 
Derek Brewer
Posts: 113
Location: Hatfield, PA
2
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Dale Hodgins wrote:Derek, that is not an electric car and it has nothing to do with electric cars.


Yes, I know... as I said, it's a gas vehicle... However it's much simpler and more elegant than most electric/hybrid vehicles, as well as more financially accessible to people. It is an alternative that, I think, people should consider if they are looking at this area.

What is better, a hybrid with toxic batteries that need to be frequently replaced and very large embodied energy inputs, or a gas vehicle that gets better mileage than most hybrids, with a lot less total embodied energy and less recycling issues, but that uses fossil fuels? I'm honestly not sure, but I believe it is worth thinking about. If you could run the Elio on BioDiesel, I think it would be a simpler answer, but that's not an option that I'm aware of yet.
 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
Posts: 6795
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
266
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm interested to know how many people here have traveled in an electric car or driven one. I have driven two and been a passenger in one. They're a very common site here in Victoria. Nothing is very far here, being on the tip of an island.

I was immediately impressed by the initial torque when I rode in a Nissan Leaf.

My bicycle has a 600-watt motor and a Lithium-Ion battery. The range of this vehicle is only 20 kilometers, since I ride it hard. That's okay since nothing here is that far away within the city. It's not meant for long highway excursions.
.....
I have spoken to many people who have never tried an electric car but exhibit extreme bias against them. Some of these people cite the fact that it might be difficult to traverse the entire length of the Trans-Canada highway due to a shortage of charging facilities. I always ask whether they actually intend to do this, and when was the last time that they did it. The majority of people who I meet, work within 10 kilometres of home. Many families have two or more cars. If they really need to hop in the car and drive 5000 miles,they can use their old gas model. I like to ask people how far have you traveled out of the city in the last month. Most have not taken their car to anywhere that would exhaust the batteries on an electric model. Range anxiety is something concocted in their minds and not closely related to the reality of their daily driving experience.

In the past two years my furthest a job from Victoria was in Parksville. All of the electric cars that I've seen can travel there on a charge.
 
John Weiland
Posts: 950
Location: RRV of da Nort
46
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
@Dale H: " Range anxiety is something concocted in their minds and not closely related to the reality of their daily driving experience."

Because of our long winters and rural living, I'm not contemplating purchasing an electric car. However, I have been considering this electric motorcycle as a retirement option for summer use: http://zelectricvehicle.com/18.html

Based on the price/performance, I would prefer the T-8500 that will travel 80 miles at 65% power. (The motor for these units is housed within the rear-wheel hub, so little lost already in power transmission.) Nevertheless, that's getting worrisomely close to the 30 miles in, 30 miles back to home for traveling to the local town. If a 25-30 mph headwind kicks up, if there is unforeseen within-town detours to have to make, or any other unpredictable loss of power or efficiency, I'm not liking the idea of pushing the bike home on the last few miles that it no longer has a charge. (Clearly, some of these worry's would hold with a petrol automobile, but the support system for getting one back on the road is much better.) I've been hoping that by the time retirement arrives a few years down the road, there will be either a more efficient battery or drive system to increase the driving range. I'm not sure how easy it is to swap out batteries on such a vehicle, but it would be acceptable to me to be able to carry a smaller 'spare' in the storage compartment if it would allow me to limp home....
 
Dillon Nichols
pollinator
Posts: 597
Location: Victoria BC
28
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

I have spoken to many people who have never tried an electric car but exhibit extreme bias against them. Some of these people cite the fact that it might be difficult to traverse the entire length of the Trans-Canada highway due to a shortage of charging facilities. I always ask whether they actually intend to do this, and when was the last time that they did it. The majority of people who I meet, work within 10 kilometres of home. Many families have two or more cars. If they really need to hop in the car and drive 5000 miles,they can use their old gas model. I like to ask people how far have you traveled out of the city in the last month. Most have not taken their car to anywhere that would exhaust the batteries on an electric model. Range anxiety is something concocted in their minds and not closely related to the reality of their daily driving experience.


I too hear a lot of mostly imaginary problems with getting an EV.

I'd love to have an EV, but none of the available options have made sense for me yet. When I'm working, either it's been something where I want/need a vehicle with some cargo capacity, either my van or flatbed, neither of which has a practical(readily available, affordable) electric alternative... when I lived in the city and worked IT jobs, I simply moved within walking distance of the office, and drove once a week for all non-walkable errands/outings lumped together. My car is getting less than 5,000 KM per year on it; I'd love to replace it with an EV, but I can't come close to justifying the cost.

I do take my van farther than an electric could go on one charge, to places where charging isn't available; even if it was available, I wouldn't much enjoy planning my route around chargers and hanging around a charging station for hours each driving day. OTOH I don't take my truck that far. It only goes ~80km/h anyhow, and isn't much fun for long highway drives. I think a med-light electric pickup would be an absolutely fantastic second vehicle for many households. Tons of torque for that 0.5% of the time that it's serving as a truck... The range anxiety could be addressed with the option to throw a generator/charger in the back. For that matter, a purpose built ICE charger option that can easily be added/removed from the vehicle would turn it into a series hybrid... I think if this option existed, many people would not buy it, but feel comforted by the option existing. A truck with underbody compartments could readily accommodate such an ICE, or even auxiliary batteries...
 
Julia Winter
steward
Posts: 2116
Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
190
bee bike chicken food preservation hugelkultur urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Dale Hodgins wrote:I'm interested to know how many people here have traveled in an electric car or driven one. I have driven two and been a passenger in one. They're a very common site here in Victoria. Nothing is very far here, being on the tip of an island.

I was immediately impressed by the initial torque when I rode in a Nissan Leaf.


Electric cars are zippy, in my experience. The eGolf in particular lets you accelerate like nobody's business. The C-Max Energi has displays that turn energy efficient driving into a game, which really is fun. Every time you come to a stop, you can find out what percentage of the energy you recaptured, from 30% to 100%. Slow and steady braking is your friend for that game.

I love your idea of utilizing an electric care as a portable power source on your land, Dale. Electric cars charging at night are a great way to utilize otherwise wasted energy in the grid.

Dillon, I do think there's an untapped market for a good electric or hybrid minivan, but luckily I don't need one of those anymore. Most trains are diesel/electric hybrids, but there aren't any good trucks in that category for individuals.
 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
Posts: 10011
Location: Portugal
924
bee bike books duck forest garden greening the desert solar trees wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The is Nelly. She's a Nissan Leaf and belongs to a friend of mine in the UK.



I asked her about her experiences with Nelly, and this is what she had to say.

"I use my solar panels to charge Nelly up, so "fuel" is free. The batteries are tested every year with her service and are still at 100% or 12 cells. Depending on the speed and gradient you can get about 85 miles. But if you are whizzing up a hill on a motorway it will be less. Nelly regenerates electric when she is slowing down or going down hill. Charging at home (slow charge 3kw) from empty takes 8hrs, but on a motorway (50kw) takes 35 mins. Every service station has a fast charge. Electric cars dont pay road tax. And from my personal experience I would never buy a petrol/diesel car again. You can charge an electric car anywhere where there is a normal plug socket. Nelly is 5 years old next month.

Her nose is where she charges up. Her name is cos she looks like a elephant when she is plugged in"


Any other questions, I'll pass them on and hope she answers.

 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
Posts: 6795
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
266
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I didn't realize that the Nissan Leaf had been out for 5 years. It's possible that it hasn't been in Canada for that long. My experience goes back 3 years and it wasn't until four months ago that a family member bought one. I was jealous, but I was also the one that was harping at him for a few years to get an electric car, because of the amazing amount of fuel his wife goes through. She was burning $400 worth of gasoline per month in an old Toyota Corolla. There are many trips both personal and business but they seldom take her more than fifty kilometers from home.

I could see these cars working out for taxi companies with the Quick Charge stations everywhere. Their licensing is based on the number of cars they have on the road. I'll bet if the rules were changed so that three cars count as 2 when an electric has to be parked for charging, we would see more of them used as taxis. The cost of the actual car for a taxi company is not their greatest expense. Licensing, fuel, insurance and maintenance generally end up costing far more than the initial purchase price of the vehicle. Taxis can easily run through $2,000 worth of fuel and maintenance in a month. Only the charge time issue prevents every taxi in the city from becoming electric.

15 years ago almost every taxi on the road was a Crown Victoria. Then within a couple of years most of the market went towards the Toyota Prius. Toyota and a few other hybrids still dominate the market for taxis in Canada. I think the Prius has seen its day and the technology has advanced to the point where pure electric vehicles make more sense economically.

Half an hour from now I will start cutting an acre and a half of grass using my lawn mower that has a lithium ion battery. This is a little off topic but demonstrative of just how far battery technology has advanced. Five years ago, there was no practical way to cut this much grass with an electric lawn mower.
 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
Posts: 6795
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
266
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
A van or pickup truck would be ideal for me. If it had 200 kilometer range, as most electric cars now do, that is far more range than I require.

 I would want it to be able to pull a trailer. Usually the towing capacity of a vehicle is related to it's weight. Electric vehicles are heavy. I wouldn't mind sacrificing 50% or more of the range to be able to haul a big load of lumber firewood or other heavy goods. When looking at the amount of power stored in a Nissan Leaf, I determined that I should be able to run a job site for a week on that much power. I assume that any van or pickup truck would contain far more battery power.

The cars are all pretty sleek looking. Hopefully when they make a van or pickup truck, there will be room under the hood for inverters and a bank of chargers for contractors to charge up the many  cordless tools now available. I have about 20 items that operate on lithium ion batteries. They include 4 different chainsaws, 1 weed whacker, 2 blowers, 3 hedge cutters, 3 drills , 2 reciprocating saws, 1 circular saw, 2 flashlights and 1 cordless lamp and 1 bicycle. Job site lighting would be made much easier when there is a car or truck  to plug into.

People drive crazy distances in North America. I only put ten thousand kilometers or six thousand miles on my work truck last year. So I won't be jumping into anything until I'm very sure. Whatever I buy is likely to last me a very long time. When a truck or van does come along, it will probably be something that was designed for the Japanese or European market. Small delivery type trucks, seem like the logical first step.
 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
Posts: 6795
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
266
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I drove my brother's Nissan Leaf the other day. It's a very comfortable car with smooth acceleration and braking. He is getting better mileage than they promised, simply by driving it sensibly.

They drive many more miles than I do. Although I would love to have such a vehicle, I can't currently justify the expense. Once there is a light truck available, I will reassess the situation. For me it's all about having large amounts of power available at jobs and on the farm, without having to run power lines or muck with generators.
20160510_061309.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20160510_061309.jpg]
20160510_061322.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20160510_061322.jpg]
 
John Weiland
Posts: 950
Location: RRV of da Nort
46
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
@Dale H: "Once there is a light truck available, I will reassess the situation. For me it's all about having large amounts of power available at jobs and on the farm, without having to run power lines or muck with generators."

Dale, could you clarify this statement a bit? Are you saying that you currently are not grid-connected, but might still be interested in a light truck version of an EV? If that is the case, would you be using solar/wind or a generator to recharge this EV? And although it's not an EV issue, does Canada allow sale of the more fuel efficient Toyota and Nissan (and other make?) light-duty diesel pickups like the Hi-Lux? Are the Ford Rangers still being offered abroad (from the US) in a light diesel? Part of the reason I'm asking, and getting back to EVs, is that it seems that there are almost more EV retrofit kits for the small pickups than there are for sedans. But I also understand the range issue if you are living outside of the city. Finally, with regard to power on job sites, do you use generators or just use a power inverter off of your vehicle? Thanks.....

 
Dillon Nichols
pollinator
Posts: 597
Location: Victoria BC
28
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
John Weiland wrote:And although it's not an EV issue, does Canada allow sale of the more fuel efficient Toyota and Nissan (and other make?) light-duty diesel pickups like the Hi-Lux?


Mostly no, none of the asian diesel pickups are available new here. However, we are allowed to import used vehicles once they are 15 years old, vs 25 for the US. There are various headaches involved, but quite a few vehicles come in this way for market segments that are otherwise neglected. Largely 4x4 diesel minivans(Mitsubishi Delicas mostly, with a fair number of Toyota Hiace and some Nissans), and SUVs(Mitsubishi Pajero, Toyota Landcruisers/Hilux Surf, Nissan Patrol). Oddly enough a lot less pickup trucks are brought in. I've got a 4x4 Isuzu Elf 150 cabover flatbed with a 2.8L diesel, but it's very much a working vehicle that can barely manage a minimal highway speed; much less suitable for general use than something like a Hilux.

There are new lighter duty diesels coming available from the US manufacturers which both US and Canada are getting, talk about a long time coming! The Ram 3.0L ecodiesel was first, the 2016 Colorado has a 2.8L Duramax option. Unfortunately the upcharge for the diesel options is pretty crazy.


Part of the reason I'm asking, and getting back to EVs, is that it seems that there are almost more EV retrofit kits for the small pickups than there are for sedans.


There are, and pickups are well suited for conversion given the available space/strength, but the costs for the kits aren't low, and many are using relatively stone-age lead-acid batteries. Compared to the factory built EVs there looks to be a pretty substantial range and performance delta at a given price point, especially if the time/labor is valued at anything realistic.
 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
Posts: 6795
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
266
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am not attached to the grid and don't intend to be. It could cost as much as $50,000 for me to hook up to the grid. That buys two electric cars.

My place is 7 1/2 miles from the city. There are plenty of free places to plug in. The Greater Victoria area has 85 free charge stations. Nanaimo has about 20. I can also charge up at my customers houses and from the temporary power poles that are sometimes at my jobs. So for me, an electric car its first and foremost a Mobile Battery Bank. When I look at all the thousands of dollars people put into tinkering their own system together, an electric car or truck seems like a better bet , especially for those who have no desire to learn everything about their system.

If I do eventually put in my own power generation, it still makes sense to use a vehicle as the battery bank. Even with a vehicle, it still might make sense to have a couple of batteries left at the cabin. They could be charged from the car.

Once we do have vans and pickup trucks available, I think it would make sense for the makers to include charging stations for cordless tools and regular AC plug ins. Toyota Tacomas already have this , since they are targeting  contractors . These vehicles would naturally be attractive to contractors. Perhaps they could partner with Makita or some other good tool maker and have their own brand of cordless tools that are charged by the vehicle. I sometimes need to use a jackhammer , floor grinder or other plug-in device. These vehicles have enough stored power to run most of my jobs for many days. Being only 7 1/2 miles from the city, a vehicle that has a 150 mile range would arrive with an almost completely charged battery. Most of my jobs are in the city and I am seldom more than half a mile from a charge station. They tend to be conveniently located by coffee shops and grocery stores. I go to these places anyway. You get the reserved parking right up beside the wheelchairs.
 
Eric Hammond
Posts: 116
Location: SW Missouri
5
chicken hugelkultur solar
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Using a hybrid or electric vehicle as a battery for your house is not feasible. I'm the hybrid specialist at our dealership. You'd be surprised at how small the batteries actually are. For example a new fusion hybrid has a battery capacity of only 1.3 kw that's the same size as a t 105 golf cart battery! It relys on the regenerative braking and gas engine to quickly charge it.

Hybrids and electrics are a disaster. The parts and service costs are astronomical.

One example of the dozens I have working on hybrids. I had to put an abs module on a hybrid escape. The module was 4000 dollars. It took a literal 2 GALLONS of brake fluid to bleed the system out. Just wasted fluids.

Just the fuse for the battery is 700 dollars!

I would never own one. Way too costly
 
David Livingston
steward
Posts: 3674
Location: Anjou ,France
177
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I hear what you are saying about Hybrids but then there is this http://www.autotrader.com/car-news/nissan-shows-another-use-for-the-electric-car-emergency-power-170267

David
 
Eric Hammond
Posts: 116
Location: SW Missouri
5
chicken hugelkultur solar
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
David Livingston wrote:I hear what you are saying about Hybrids but then there is this http://www.autotrader.com/car-news/nissan-shows-another-use-for-the-electric-car-emergency-power-170267

David


The claims in that link simply arn't feasible. It says you can run your fridge clothes dryer, water heater and more at the same time....dream on. And have it last for 24 hours? Its not going to happen
 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
Posts: 10011
Location: Portugal
924
bee bike books duck forest garden greening the desert solar trees wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Eric Hammond wrote:Using a hybrid or electric vehicle as a battery for your house is not feasible. I'm the hybrid specialist at our dealership. You'd be surprised at how small the batteries actually are. For example a new fusion hybrid has a battery capacity of only 1.3 kw that's the same size as a t 105 golf cart battery! It relys on the regenerative braking and gas engine to quickly charge it.

Hybrids and electrics are a disaster. The parts and service costs are astronomical.

One example of the dozens I have working on hybrids. I had to put an abs module on a hybrid escape. The module was 4000 dollars. It took a literal 2 GALLONS of brake fluid to bleed the system out. Just wasted fluids.

Just the fuse for the battery is 700 dollars!

I would never own one. Way too costly


So what are the figures for an electric vehicle rather than a hybrid? I used to run the house on just an ordinary car battery with 200 watt solar panel, so I'm pretty sure that many of us could run one on the batteries from an electric car.
 
Eric Hammond
Posts: 116
Location: SW Missouri
5
chicken hugelkultur solar
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
A normal car battery is roughly 80 amp hours or smaller so its doubtful you ran very much in your house with one car battery and only 200 watts of panels. My system is close to 2000 watts and only 5 kw worth of batteries at this time and there is no way I could run anything like a cloths dryer, electric stove, or water heater.

A focus electri is around 23 kw worth of storage. So basically the same capacity as around 20 t 105 batteries, so nothing to sneeze at as far as battery capacity goes. But the major problem with the high voltage batteries integrated into a house is no one currently makes a solar charge controller to charge one yet! Even teslas power wall is not able to be charged by solar. Grid only chargers exist
 
David Livingston
steward
Posts: 3674
Location: Anjou ,France
177
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
http://www.iea.org/ieaenergy/issue6/volt-utilityvehiclesgarage-basedgrid.html
This is interesting as it shows people using this system now so obviously these controlers must exist in some form.
I must admit since cars can be charged up at home and since you can use Sunshine to power your home I dont why you think this is such a big problem


David
 
Eric Hammond
Posts: 116
Location: SW Missouri
5
chicken hugelkultur solar
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
David Livingston wrote:http://www.iea.org/ieaenergy/issue6/volt-utilityvehiclesgarage-basedgrid.html
This is interesting as it shows people using this system now so obviously these controlers must exist in some form.
I must admit since cars can be charged up at home and since you can use Sunshine to power your home I dont why you think this is such a big problem


David


Don't get me wrong. I'm the biggest supporter of solar technology and run my whole shop off of it.

The link you posted is exactly what I just said. You can only charge these 330 volt batteries via the grid. There are no solar charge controllers available yet. Thats not saying there wont be one day. But right now, no. Lets face it, Solar panels are 20 percent efficient on a good day. So your only option to utilze solar on grid power is the exact diagram listed in the link you posted. Convert to grid power and then inefficiently charge your car back from the grid. In the event of a power outage your inverter would switch to the battery and pull from it.

I'm posting because someone above was stating they had full intentions of going off grid with an electic car because buying electricty was too expensive to thier location. I don't remember the name of the poster above.

I cannot stress enough how bad of an idea this is.

Since no solar charge controllers exist. The only way to utilze an approximately 330 volt electric car battery of grid would be as follows:

Around 2000 dollars Minimum 2000 watts of solar panels to a 600 dollar outback charge contoller that charges a bank of lead acid batteries at 48 volts dc. I would use of set of t105 batteries just one bank. Capacity won't be super critical for this bank. That will cost around 1000 dollars. From the 48 dc batteries you will need a 2000 dollar pure sine wave from outback. This inverter is dedicated to one outlet used to charge the car battery from 110 v ac to 330 dc. Big big effieciently loss here. Then from the 330 car battery to another inverter that's around 3500 dollars to connect to your household circuit breakers.

Its the inefficies that kill you.

A 3000 dollar bank of t 105 batteries will have the same capicity as one electric car battery and you wouldn't need redudent inverters switching dc to ac and back to dc and back to ac.

Sorry for the spelling. I'm typing on my phone. ...gotta back to farming the rest of the day. If you have any further questions I ll be around tonihht
 
Eric Hammond
Posts: 116
Location: SW Missouri
5
chicken hugelkultur solar
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I forgot to mention it could take 4 days or more to charge it at 2000 watss around missouri. I can't imagine canada
 
Dillon Nichols
pollinator
Posts: 597
Location: Victoria BC
28
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Eric,

A few points to counterbalance your position:

1) You're completely right that most hybrids are indeed poorly suited to 'mobile battery bank' usage for exactly the reason you describe, but since pure EVs absolutely have the capacity to be used this way it's a bit of a red herring.

2) You're completely right that charging and using that power in an EVs 330V(or higher!) main battery is a challenge due to lack of available components; the multiple conversions are hell on efficiency, inflate system cost, and add a ton more bits to wear out or break.

However, using it can be done via the 12V subsystem, reasonably simple for the Leaf, like this: http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.php?t=13097

For some applications, this is fine, and off-grid charging is not needed.

More relevant to the majority of folks is the potential for the automakers to get on board by adding an inverter and solar controller to their home charging stations. Until some major change like this happens the adoption rate of this use will be low and limited to the enthusiasts and DIYers.



I think you misunderstand Dale's intention; I'll try to clarify and he can correct me if I'm wrong.

Dale works in town, often living on site/in his vehicle for many days at a time. He has already mentioned he has ready access to many free public chargers. I'm pretty confident he doesn't intend to run a dishwasher or clothes dryer off this car; he wants to run power tools, many of them battery powered. When the cars main battery bank starts getting lowish, he'll coordinate recharging with a trip to a grocery store or some such, which can easily be reached with only a fraction of the cars range. No fuss, no muss, no need for a cludgy $20,000 solar charging setup.


 
Eric Hammond
Posts: 116
Location: SW Missouri
5
chicken hugelkultur solar
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ah farm use. Something always has a dead battery or a tool needs to run on the farm. I understand that all too well. Heres what I did. 200 watts of solar panels screwed right on the truck! Mobile charging station.

20160514_115128.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20160514_115128.jpg]
solar-me2.jpg
[Thumbnail for solar-me2.jpg]
 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
Posts: 6795
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
266
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I wrote this before Dillon's very accurate reply. Yes that's exactly how I planned to use the power.
..............
I totally agree that hybrid batteries are not suitable for withdrawing large amounts for domestic use. I don't think hybrids are the way to go. To me, they are a stopgap technology for light vehicles and a money grab from the car companies. I think their days are numbered. I'm sure we'll still see diesel electric trains , long into the future.

  Purely electric vehicles, give far more range than I need, and they don't have two systems to be maintained. They have far larger battery banks. I know people who have been driving for 5 years without any sort of electronic incident.

I have no plans to use solar panels or any other home charging device. Should I change my mind, it would be centered around my waterfall, and not solar panels. There's no need. Grid power is readily available and usually free. Even if I had to pay for it, its $0.08 a kilowatt hour, very cheap. None of my customers have ever refused to give me electricity. Should this happen , I would drop them like a hot potato and find better customers.
.....
I have seen one car that used a 3000 watt inverter. There is never a time when I use that much power at once. He used the power directly from the vehicle, without dumping it into a battery bank or other device. The owner is a member of the Victoria electric car club. His car is the same model as my brother's. So, I don't see this as theoretical. I've driven the car in question, and seen how it is hooked up for domestic use of the power. It doesn't matter how the power got in there.

I have gotten by with a single deep cycle battery, which provides lights, radio and power for a little movie player. If hooked to the large amount of power available in a car , I might get carried away and run through up to one kilowatt hour of power every day. A decent television uses about 100 watts. If I turn on all of my led lights at once, I might be able to use 100 watts. A 200 watt pump is more than sufficient to move water from my shallow source. My Makita radio operates for about 10 hours on its battery, so they obviously aren't big power users.

 For me, electricity is used to run motors, lights and electronics. It's not something I heat with. I don't heat food , water, clothing or the living space with electricity.

An electric water heater consumes power at approximately twice the rate of a 15 amp jackhammer. I like to use the two as a comparison of what can be accomplished with a comprable quantity of electricity. Imagine the amount of water that can be heated by an electric water heater , in one hour. Now imagine the amount of concrete that can be broken buy a jackhammer in two hours. Both functions consume the same amount of electricity. A few sticks of firewood could replace the electricity ,  in heating the water. There are many complexities in trying to power a jackhammer with firewood , so the electricity hogging process of heating water should be done by burning the free fuel that lies outside my cabin door, and the running of power tools should use the electricity.
.....
For work purposes, it would be handy to have a 2000 or 3000 watt inverter.
.....
When it comes to work, I do sometimes run through some electricity. On most days I need less than 2 kilowatt hours, which is about 10% of available power in a car.  A 15 amp jackhammer runs at 1800 watts. My small table saw has about the same draw. Circular saws and reciprocating saws use less.

 Almost all of my other power tools are  cordless. My cordless electric lawn mower, three hedge cutters , two blowers, weed whacker and four chainsaws , all have their own interchangeable batteries that can be charged off site. (Landscaping business) I could fill my pickup truck with firewood twice, on the power that is stored within my various chainsaw batteries.
.....
I would never try to run a regular household with a regular idiot at the helm, using the power available from most electric vehicles. They provide far more power than I am accustomed to using.
 
Create symphonies in seed and soil. For this tiny ad:
This is an example of the new permies.com Thread Boost feature
https://permies.com/wiki/61482/Thread-Boost-feature
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!