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Should I Rent or Buy a Truck?  RSS feed

 
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I should point out that in terms of buying, I'm only willing to buy an EV.

So, I want to be as environmentally friendly as possible. And I don't plan on moving my tiny house very often at all (at most, once every few years, that is, if I build one). I want the next vehicle I buy to be an electric, specifically a Tesla. I'm currently in high school, about to go off to college, and really want to build a tiny house when I get out. The only reason I would consider buying a Tesla pickup is so I can move my tiny house, and would otherwise probably buy a Model 3. Is it worth the extra money to just go for their truck? I mean, I do want to be as self sufficient as possible (solar panels, a well for water, etc), and not being able to move my house on my own could eventually be an issue. I'm now realizing that this is probably a personal preference issue, but what do y'all think?
 
pioneer
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How many years from now will you be doing this? 

If the environmental choice is between buying a Tesla pickup to move your home every other year or renting a truck to move it, I think the answer is clear.  It's kind of like if you could buy a $100,000 electric airplane to take two trips a year instead of renting a seat on a Delta flight.  The electric plane would be more efficient during those flights, but the environmental cost to build it for those two trips would be staggering.  (I'm assuming the cost to build a Tesla pickup is greater than the cost for the model 3)

As long as we're thinking crazy thoughts...  How much does the model 3 you'd buy cost?  And how much does a used Prius or Leaf cost by comparison?  I'm guessing $10-20K less?  How much environmental benefit could you sponsor with that money instead of sinking it into a new car?
 
Robert Lacy
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Mike Jay wrote:How many years from now will you be doing this? 

If the environmental choice is between buying a Tesla pickup to move your home every other year or renting a truck to move it, I think the answer is clear.  It's kind of like if you could buy a $100,000 electric airplane to take two trips a year instead of renting a seat on a Delta flight.  The electric plane would be more efficient during those flights, but the environmental cost to build it for those two trips would be staggering.  (I'm assuming the cost to build a Tesla pickup is greater than the cost for the model 3)

As long as we're thinking crazy thoughts...  How much does the model 3 you'd buy cost?  And how much does a used Prius or Leaf cost by comparison?  I'm guessing $10-20K less?  How much environmental benefit could you sponsor with that money instead of sinking it into a new car?



It's funny, I didn't think of the environmental impact of manufacturing a new vehicle. However, I do want to go with Tesla, because they provide a great supercharging network, software updates, etc. So, a used Model S or even Model 3 by that time could work.

I was thinking more along the lines of having to rent a gasoline powered vehicle, versus buying an electric. I wasn't even thinking that by the time I'd want to move it, there would probably be EV pickups that I could rent... So, yeah haha I'll probably go with a Model 3 or S. I just do love the Tesla atmosphere and experience, and want to put that money towards a company that is truly working towards the future. I know I'm biased, but what can I say?

See, I keep thinking in terms that the world (or the U.S.) is going to end at some point in the near future. So, sometimes I get carried away with trying to be as self sufficient as possible, but how realistic is that, really? I mean, is it logical to think the world might end in my lifetime?

Anyways, thanks! I think I have my answer, I'm not a truck person, so I think just renting would be fine.
 
Mike Jay
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Cool, you'll get it figured out.  Also keep in mind that tiny homes aren't particularly light.  So it may take a larger than average gas/diesel truck to actually move it...
 
Robert Lacy
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Yeah, that makes sense. It'll probably be 10,000+ lbs.
 
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Between the weight that would require a very beefy vehicle, and the infrequency of use, I think the only reasonable route is to rent a truck when you really need it.

As far as self-sufficiency, if the world falls apart such that there are not trucks to rent, why would you expect to be able to maintain and fuel your own truck? In the extreme situation of moving becoming difficult, you would not be moving, but finding a place to settle, dig in, and build your own support network. This would not be practical when you pull up roots every couple of years.
 
pollinator
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I don't think pinning your decisions on which electric vehicles might be around whenever you are ready to do this is the most practical approach.

I like the idea of tiny houses, but I think that a design that is road-worthy on its own axles is way too restrictive and small for my liking. The only ones I have seen that I like thus far that can easily (and I use that term loosely) move around were a converted horse trailer, one of the long ones for four horses, and a converted city bus.

I prefer the idea of building tiny homes either stationary, and with modular expansion in mind, or on skids, such that it could be put onto a flatbed and transported should the need arise. Should that be the case for me, and it is possible, I would probably rent the mini flatbed version of Tesla's transport truck, whenever that comes out, and use that.

This line of reasoning is a good example of what I like to call panaceic thinking, or trying to solve all problems with one solution. Why would it make sense to base the decision of what vehicle to buy on the hypothetical need to move one's trailer every year or two? What if the electric truck isn't a good fit for your daily needs?

-CK
 
pollinator
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Robert Lacy wrote:I want to be as environmentally friendly as possible.


Robert, I would like to start by saying that I appreciate, admire, & sympathize with your commitment to be as environmentally friendly as possible.

Robert Lacy wrote:And I don't plan on moving my tiny house very often at all (at most, once every few years, that is, if I build one). I want the next vehicle I buy to be an electric, specifically a Tesla. ... The only reason I would consider buying a Tesla pickup is so I can move my tiny house, and would otherwise probably buy a Model 3. Is it worth the extra money to just go for their truck?
I was thinking more along the lines of having to rent a gasoline powered vehicle, versus buying an electric. I wasn't even thinking that by the time I'd want to move it, there would probably be EV pickups that I could rent... So, yeah haha I'll probably go with a Model 3 or S. I just do love the Tesla atmosphere and experience, and want to put that money towards a company that is truly working towards the future.


For what it's worth, I own & tow my own a 13,000 pound tiny home with my own pickup truck - & have for years now. My "daily driver" is my bicycle.

As for your question about the costs, that of course depends on your budget & how often you plan on moving it. If you are only going to move your tiny house once every few years as you mentioned, then it's much cheaper to rent a tow vehicle than own one. The costs of owning a heavy duty tow vehicle are high for multiple reasons: more expensive tires, more wear & tear on the components due to the weight it's towing, etc.
Let's take tires for example: The least expensive tire I would use for towing 10,000 pounds costs $250 per tire. After 6 years, these tires -both the 4 to 6 (dually) tires on tow vehicle and on the 4 tires tiny home / RV- will expire. Many people who are new to the tiny house / RV world experience tire blow outs because they only inspect the tire's tread. Tiny house / RV tire tread does not wear down if you do not move the house that often. However, fluctuations in outdoor temperatures, humidity as well as exposure to UV light will degrade the tire's rubber. Sometimes this degradation is visible; sometimes it is not. It is unsafe to use tires that are older than 6 years if the tires have been exposed to any of the elements, even if the tread looks good. Always inspect both tiny house / RV and truck tires for age, proper inflation, state of rubber before you tow. While towing, I inspect every tire every time I stop to fuel up, clean the windshield, use the bathroom, &/or eat. Before you tow anything / have anything towed, learn how to read the four digit date code molded into the sidewall of all tires [first 2 digits are week of manufacture, second 2 digits are year of manufacture]. Bottom line: tires are one of the many regular expenses to pencil in, both for the tiny home and the tow vehicle.
If you are moving your tiny home more than once a year & you feel it's within your budget, then you might seriously consider buying the Tesla truck. That is of course assuming the GVWR, GCWR, & GAWR math shows that your Tesla truck can practically, safely and legally tow 10,000+ pounds. Understanding & calculating these figures is just as important as understanding heavy duty tires & their maintenance.

Also, if you don't mind renting out your Tesla tow truck services, that may also be a cost effective way to go about owning that truck. Being a truck owner, I often tow things for my friends. I have even helped friends move their tiny homes with my truck when their trucks have been down for repair. Note: every truck owner will tell you: if you buy a pickup truck know that you will end up moving bulky & heavy things around for friends & family. And there's pretty much no escaping this fact, LOL!
My truck runs on 100% used cooking oil (read: a renewable resource). If the costs pencil out to rental over ownership, one environmentally friendly solution may be to pay someone from the WVO / SVO (Waste Vegetable Oil / Straight Vegetable Oil) community to move your tiny home with their vegetable oil / biodiesel powered truck. When you need to move your tiny home, feel free to PM me to find out if we are close by & I would love to help you out. If we are far, try posting a request in one of these forums:
http://www.biofuelstechnologies.com/forums/
http://www.burnveg.com/forum/
http://biodiesel.infopop.cc/6/ubb.x?a=cfrm&s=447609751

Robert Lacy wrote:I do want to be as self sufficient as possible.


Even with Teslas we are dependent on Elon Musk & his workers to provide us with these great innovations, not to mention new proprietary battery packs when the lifespan on the original pack comes to its inevitable end, not to mention all the other repair & wear parts. It doesn't matter if one owns a Tesla or a waste veggie oil powered vehicle, we are all dependent on tire manufacturers. I'm also dependent on the insects, mycorrhizal fungi, & bacteria -in fact, the entire food web- that make it possible for the plants that grow the fuel for my truck, as well as for the food that nourishes me, my friends & my family - food which is co-processed by the trillions of microscopic organisms that symbiotically coexist in my microbiome (in & on my body!). Due to the nature of our intimately interconnected biosphere, we are all interdependent.
"An individual cannot be self-sufficient, but a community can be." -Rosemary Morrow [paraphrased], Earth User's Guide to Permaculture

cheers
 
pioneer
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Owning a vehicle is as much about cost as it is about maintenance. EVs in particular need a lot more active maintenance. If you cannot reliably charge the car fully every day, hook it up to a charger when not in use,  and store it at a battery-friendly temperature controlled garage, the batteries will degrade extremely fast and make the whole thing pretty useless in a short amount of time. Combustion engines tend to be happier sitting for longer periods unused and don't whine so much about temperature flux. Also for what it's worth, for 99% of situations, a used car will be magnitudes more environmentally friendly than any possible EV could ever be. ESPECIALLY so if you only wish to use it occasionally. But that choice is up to you.

That being said, if you plan on parking your tiny house in permanent locations and only moving it occasionally, it's really not that big of a deal to hire someone to move it or rent a truck that can do so for a couple of days. I don't own a truck big enough to haul my tractor, but to be honest I wouldn't want to haul that thing even if I could. I'm happy paying someone else to do it when it needs to be done.
 
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The neighbours at the eco modders forum have a lengthy thread about trucks, and came to the conclusion that a trailer is better in most situations.

http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthread.php/buy-trailer-instead-pickup-truck-25485.html
 
pollinator
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Buy a bike , rent truck
Unless you are moving every few weeks or so .
Cost of renting truck per day hundreds
Cost of owning truck per year thousands
:-) thats my simplistic view .
Does not mattter what type of truck still thousands when you take into account buying it ,depreciation, insurance ,maintenance, fuel . The only way it would make sence is you could rent it out yourself :-) and that's a worry paper chase and time suck

David
 
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So far the batteries in electric vehicles are an unsolved problem.

EDIT: Kyle already wrote this …
They degrade on each charge/discharge cycle and over time, so even if they are never used.
Lithium-Ion batteries are also expensive to make (both in money and for the environment). So unless they are used frequently you might end up causing more pollution / damage with the manufacture of the batteries, then with the oil burned.

I just realized that if you want a tiny house, it will likely have its own battery system that is used frequently. Why not make use of that? You can get an old car and replace the engine with an electric motor. Then instead of also adding a big battery pack (I guess you still want a small one anyway), connect it to the battery system of the house.
 
pollinator
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I take the long view on this.

If all you care about is saving money right now, then yes a used vehicle that burns dead dinosaurs is the way to go.

If you care about the environment, then obviously EVs are the healthier choice in the long run. 
It's debatable which is better right now today, but eventually EVs will be MUCH better.  However, to get to that 'eventually' will take research and development and that requires money. 
Right now that R&D money is coming from the "early adopters".  If nobody buys EVs now, then it will take much longer to get to the point were we no longer burn petroleum for transport.

So I'm putting my money where I think it will do the most good (in the long run) and I bought a new Chevy Volt.  Yes it's a compromise vehicle, but I think at this point in time it is the best compromise available.  Since we bought it less than 10% of our travel has used gasoline.


Obviously if you can't afford to buy an EV, then the point is moot.  But if you can, then I think it behooves us to do so.

Regardless of whether you can afford an EV or not, using whatever car/truck you do have as little as possible is a better choice.  Whenever practical  believe it's best to walk or ride a bike.
Failing that, small electric vehicles (electric bikes/scooters) are a good choice.  They are cheaper, use smaller batteries (less environmental impact) and less electricity.

As for the original question, if you're only going to use a truck on rare occasions, then rent a truck.  It doesn't matter if the tuck is gas or electric, renting will be the cheapest, and most environmentally friendly, option.
 
Chris Kott
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I think if Tesla starts manufacturing components for other automotive manufacturers and for retrofit kits, they could make more money, do better R&D, and truly bring about the rise of the electric car.

If we could build a clone electric car from components like PCs were, we would start to see some real large-scale adoption, and innovation and creativity on the scale of individual hobbyists.

Hell, the same could be said for smartphones, or perhaps a slightly larger frankenphone that will replace the current paradigm with enhanced performance, capabilities, and the possibility of serious customisability.

For the reasons stated, I support and appreciate early adopters. They voluntarily guinea pig themselves with their own money, and we who can't afford or won't spend that kind of money benefit.

I really like the buy a bike, rent a truck idea. I would extend that thought to include the observation that you can get an EV best suited to your driving patterns, which will be a very environmentally responsible move, and rent a truck on the odd occasion you need to move your house. Should that truck at that time be an EV, all the better. And if it isn't, eventually it will be.

-CK
 
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My tiny house is a shed that I converted into a one bedroom. Sheds that's are on skids are easily moved with a flat bed tow truck. I've had to move mine once, cost 130 bucks and I didn't have to do any work besides point to where it goes.

I definitely would not buy any electric vehicle for at least 20 years until all the kinks are worked out.
 
Peter VanDerWal
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Chris Kott wrote:I think if Tesla starts manufacturing components for other automotive manufacturers and for retrofit kits, they could make more money, do better R&D, and truly bring about the rise of the electric car.

If we could build a clone electric car from components like PCs were, we would start to see some real large-scale adoption, and innovation and creativity on the scale of individual hobbyists.

-CK



There are several companies that sell parts to build your own EVs.  There were many more in the past, most have gone out of business.

Part of the problem is that what it takes to build a good EV is, pretty much everything.  In order to get a really good EV you basically have to start from the ground up and design it to be an EV.  The frame has to be designed to hold the batteries as low as possible, components should be as light as practical, etc.  I doubt that building an EV will ever be as simple as plugging a few parts into an open source chassis.

There are a few good conversions out, but for the most part conversions are mediocre EVs often with limited range and little to no payload.  I have an older pickup conversion that in reality was almost a complete rebuild.  It was build by a high school team for the EV races they used to have in Phoenix back in the 1990s.  It has a custom built light-weight frame, to lighten it up they removed things like inner fender-wells, all the sound dampening insulation, most of the bottom of the bed was cut out and replaced with aluminum sheet, etc. They replaced the transmission, front axle and steering components, rear axle, etc. with lighter parts from other vehicles. The end result was that even though it carries 1,000 lbs of batteries, the total weight was 3,160 lbs, which is basically the same amount the pickup weighted before conversion.  However, because of the lightweight axles they used, it has very little payload capacity.
This used lead-acid (golf cart) batteries and had a range of about 35-40 miles with new batteries. 

With the new LiIon batteries that are now available, you could build a similar vehicle using the original axles and maintain the cargo capacity.  However, I'm not certain it would be all that much cheaper than buying a complete vehicle.  At least not in the USA where most EV's currently qualify for a $7,500 tax credit.

I'm not trying to knock conversions, just pointing out that building a good EV requires a LOT of work.

If you're interested in a DIY EV, a couple companies that sell components and have been around for a while (15-20 years or more):
http://www.electroauto.com/
http://www.metricmind.com/
http://www.canev.com/
https://evsource.com/

There are many more, I'm just not familiar with them.

Some examples of what other people have built:
http://www.evalbum.com/

this is the entry for my pickup:
http://www.evalbum.com/334
 
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Always be careful of anybody who says, I don't want to insult you.
BUT I am going to.
I think you need to put a bit of time into working out what you want and need, they are different.
A 10,000lb trailer is a massive thing.
If the environmental stuff is as important to you as you suggested you need to think how serious you really are.
By saying that I am not saying live in a tent,
But what you aspire too aint gonna cut it.
 
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Hi John;
  Remember that Robert is still in high school.  
When I was that age I had many big dreams and plans for my future...   The only one that really worked out was  finding my wife and having children... things / priority's change after that.
At Robert's age we are allowed to have large unrealistic dreams, that if we work at... could become true.  Why its currently obvious ... that absolutely anyone could be  the president. They told me that in 1964...I didn't believe them...I do now.
By the time he has finished college his plans may have changed... Let him dream for now.
 
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