The Fine Print


The past two days have revealed additional educational opportunities regarding EVs. With temperatures ranging from mid-10s to mid-20s, I've found out that a "tankful" of electric gas on a cold day ain't as potent as a "tankful" of electric gas on a warm day.

In our effort to keep you informed of the good the bad and the ugly regarding EVs, today we're going to focus on a little of the ugly.  Let me preface this blog by saying thus; how you look at today's topic or what your personal needs are for your EV, will determine whether what I report is actually an issue for you or if it's just not a problem at all. 

Yesterday, I had to make a run to Edmond, which on most days is a piece of cake; roughly 80 miles to my destination and then a few miles to other destinations and 70 miles back to plug in.  That's a little above an average driving day but close to what I have to count on each day.

The drive was highway and Interstate from Binger to Edmond, (65 to 70 mph), but into a 15-20 mph ice cold headwind.  I literally could see the miles drain from the "tank" due to those factors and the fact that all the cabin heating is electric.  In my mind on the way to Edmond I was busy inventing a geothermal heat pump for the EV to reduce my heating cost by 75%.  If I can just figure out to get the ground loop to stop tangling up it would work.

Anyway, it became obvious that I was going to return home on static electricity and possibly a tow truck if I didn't find a level 3 charging station in the OKC area.  Great news!  There is one at the OnCue in Yukon off I-40 at Czech Hall.  It's a GreenLots.com charging station that at the moment is free of charge while a usage study is being conducted.  Our friends at OGE are sponsoring this study, so a hearty thanks to them for the juice that took me home.  (I did notice that your electricity seemed to have a lower Octane rating than ours, but thanks anyway!)

While I was stationed idly for 30 minutes waiting for my 80% charge, I read the owners manual front to back.  Lo and behold I read very helpful information the manufacturer must have felt should remain buried deeply in the book in itty bitty letters. There were lots of things that helped me understand driving conditions, weather performance, battery capacity, etc.  For instance, I found that optimal battery capacity is achieved while driving 50 mph without heating and cooling.  Interstate and sustained high speed driving reduce capacity estimates.  Jack rabbit starts and stops are not recommended.  (Dang, I hate that). Driving at full speed with the windows down changes the drag coefficient and reduces mileage.  Cabin heating can rapidly reduce the estimated mileage.  Cabin cooling will reduce the estimated mileage.  You should always park in shade with appropriate window screens and such to keep the temperature down in the summer.  So many helpful things in this little book that were unshared in the sales literature. 

About the time I finished reading the book my 80% quick charge was over and I was ready to go home.  Yes, I know I'm being a little goofy about this, but EVs are going to be a serious part of the American driving future and we want you to know all you can about it.  You should know your needs and habits before you make any buying decision, whether it's a car, a heating/cooling system, a generator, or a solar system.  Read the fine print and understand what you can and can't live without.  Do NOT just take the word of the "expert" salesman without your own research.   So, is this a negative blog regarding the EV I'm driving?  Heck no, I think the car is great!  I just have to keep learning how to adapt.  Stay tuned.   

Comments

  1. I love this blog. I work for a small cooperative in East Texas and have been driving the only electric car in the area that I have seen for 6.5 years. I think you are nailing it with your advice. Keep up the great work. I have read every entry!!

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  2. Reading this from a co-op in Colorado at 8,000 ft above sea level has me thinking we need a pilot vehicle so members can know just how much cold weather effects range.

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