Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Tesla 3 Is A Good Thing Despite Not Ordering One

I am guessing Tesla will be pushing a half million Tesla 3 orders by the time I publish this so why did I not get on the band wagon?

After all; its a near no risk venture. I can always get my $1000 deposit back at any time right? The only thing I would be missing is the .18% interest my checking account is currently paying me for my average daily balance. It would be a "struggle" but I would find another way to replace that "income."

Well first off; I love Tesla and I want one but its not likely in the cards for me in the foreseeable future.  But Tesla is raising the bar of EV expectation which means a huge vacuum will be created in the 150ish mile range space pricewise as long as Tesla can pull off half the reservations within a reasonable time period and no I still don't believe they will have any significant deliveries of the T3 before Summer 2018.

The more significant reason is that the entire foundation holding up the T3 hype; an affordable electric vehicle with a range of over 200 miles will not be unique when it hits the streets.  Tesla has already said that the higher end trims will be built first so expect to see the first $35,000 Tesla no earlier than 2020. This gives me plenty of time to do another 3 year lease. This is the most optimistic prediction I can muster.

Depending on the source (all of which is speculation if you want to be technical) ; the average price of the T3 in preorder is between $42,000 and $44,000. Which means a chunk of T3's are probably near $50,000 when you mix in the small amount of $35,000 orders so "not a high priority" right?  Kinda like the S 40 or the S 60?  I personally think the $35,000 T3 will NEVER hit the streets. This is my expectation.  Tesla will realize there is more than enough work for higher trim T3's that lower trim is no longer needed and just like the S 40 fans, we will acquiesce...

Now I expect this comment to go over like a lead balloon.  In any "hype verses expectation" discussion, hype always wins since its based on a best case scenario but the best part of all this is that Tesla hyping the car two full years before it hits the streets means that other manufacturers are already making moves to thwart Tesla.

Ford announced they are not going toe to toe with Tesla and will likely come out with a Ford Focus EV at 100 miles in the low 30's which means mid to low 20's effective price after the various perks like fed taxes, etc (of which Ford still has a ton left)

Nissan will likely come out with LEAF II starting around 150 miles of range but I expect them to offer multiple battery sizes (as options this time) for ones who just won't feel comfortable on their 30 mile commute with less than 200 miles of range.  Expect the 150 mile version to be in the low 30's as well (Nissan will quickly exhaust their fed credits when this happens)

So yeah; love the T3 hype but only because it didn't kick everyone off the couch, it sent it off to Goodwill!!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Fast Charge Profiles

**Reader Note**
This will be a different kind of entry as it will be a work in progress for at least the next few weeks. I am posting initial reports because I know some of you check my blog randomly for new posts.  If anyone desires the CSV files the charts were created from post here with your email (probably not a good idea) or PM me at MNL or Facebook.

**Note; Costs consider the first 30 mins on QCs free due to NCTC**

4/8/16   Blink at Tahoma Market.  OAT  72ยบ.   GIDs  46-213.     kwh LEAF Spy; 12.08  Blink; 14.50  cost $.02   Starting KW; 46,  ending KW  12.2   time "about 29 mins 30 seconds but due to the .02 charge, "someone" thought it was greater than 30 mins...

kwh on 30 minute charge
 Notes; For the first time ever (granted, its not something I normally look at) I noticed a much lower charge efficiency. with 12.08 kwh going thru LEAF Spy but Blink claiming I received 14.50 kwh means and efficiency of 83%.  I have tracked this machine before and it was always over 90%.  I did not hear the LEAF's fans running (they were pretty loud on my 2011) but then again, I was at a truck stop a few hundred feet from I-5 so not the quietest area in town.

Conclusions; Blink gets a lot of complaints but I have had very little trouble with them overall. I can't help but wonder when their clock starts as I specifically wanted to stop before the 30 mins was up but apparently a 20 second cushion was not big enough. I will pay a LOT more attention to when I need to start the stopwatch next time.

3/18/16  NRG Tacoma Mall.  Several sessions here.

NRG's stations won't charge more than about 40 KW due to its maximum limit of 100 amps so wasn't expecting super big numbers and since their billing is by the minute its obvious they know how to butter the bread! This session had no major surprises.  I started the charge at 68 GIDs and it went to 100 amps giving me just under  38 KW but then started dropping at 74 GIDs. This was not a gradual drop, more of a tiered drop as it settled to 90 amps.  From this point it slowly dropped until the finish of the session which lasted 29 mins 12 seconds. (I wasn't sure whether the station would shut off by itself after my 30 min free time and wasn't willing to pay anything)   finishing with GID count 224 with final charging speed roughly 10.5 KW.  So, not the best, but ok, I suppose.


Due to me having a light schedule at work, I was naturally the first one work would call for any last minute needs (My job has several a day it seems...)  But I ended up having to criss cross the region a few times so stopped at NRG again which is just over a mile from work. But I got a hot customer that was very time sensitive so had to get a charge and fast and besides, I was so low I really couldn't go home either so I plugged in at 30 GIDs and...

WTF??? I had half as much charge from the earlier session (I was only at 6 TBs) but I was charging at half the speed??  I had two destinations to get to, one North the other East.  Now I did not have enough to make it to both without charging to make it home.  When was the last time anyone here ended up with a faster charging rate at the end of the session?? I basically charged for 30 mins at a fast charger and then left with FIFTY FOUR PERCENT STATE OF CHARGE!!  

Now why was this happening?  Heat wasn't it. Nowhere near that point. The only thing I could figure is there was an i3 on the L2. Now it would be drawing 7.2KW which is a pretty hefty bunch so could it be possible, the power is split 50-50?  Wow... I guess I have seen dumber decisions... I think...

Finally I get back to charging and no longer interested in getting my free 30 mins. I was pretty tired of this place by now so only wanted to get what I needed and go... that is IF I could do it in 30 mins or less. By now it was after 7 PM and I was lucky my last appointment of the day had no real time frame.  But as luck would have it, I was back to the 100 amps again!! And because I was at 136 GIDs (yes MORE than 100 GIDs higher than my earlier session) I was charging just under 40 KW!   I was gone in 21 minutes!

AV 3/19/16;

Despite getting an email confirmation within 2 minutes of completing my EZ Charge registration on their site; the card was not being recognized at the station. I tried both Centralia and Tumwater with the same results. Finally, I called and got two completely different responses. One time, I called and the lady verified my name and started the charge for me. The other lady completely shut down after she heard I was using an EZ Charge card and refused to help me. Now the card works fine and the "bleeding edge" is starting to heal a bit.

This session started at 79 GIDs and lasted 27 mins ending with 217 GIDs. This was the most powerful session so far starting at 125 amps and 46.5 KW. This lasted almost 3 minutes! (167 seconds).  But then again, this makes sense. Unlike Blink or NRG,  AV has an "all you can eat" $19.99 billing system there is no reason for them to throttle back the speed, right?

NRG   3/24/16;

This session was designed to look at what parameters we would want to switch to L2 in consideration of our fellow "Electronite".  Again, very surprising results.  I started the charge at 157 GIDs and 28 KW to finish it 27 minutes later at 228 GIDs and 4.7 KW.  I am posting this to prove it happened. I can only hope its some sort of anomaly.

Blink 3/25/16;

Well NRG was just really disappointing so I decided it was time to try Blink.

Here I started the charge at 64 GIDs and immediately saw 46 KW! NICE!!! Granted it only lasted a short time so guessing it was more of a battery check than anything but the end results were the significant part. After 30 mins, I was at 221 GIDs but still absorbing  11.6 KW (Keep in mind this is LEAF Spy reading so this is AFTER efficiency losses).  In fact, it took just over 44 minutes before I slowed down to the same 4.7 KW charging speed of the NRG but at 243 GIDs!

Blink 3/27/16;
Start 60 GIDs, 45 KW.  End  217 GIDs,  12.2 GIDs, charging duration  28 mins, 10 seconds.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

March 2016 Drive Report; EZ Charge Update

Because my timing sucks as usual, I am currently running various scenarios thru my head trying to decide the best course of action when my current lease runs out in December of this year.  As always, I have to deal with several promises and expectations currently running rampant in the EV World.

With the pending availability of the Bolt, LEAF II and others, I had thought about extending my current lease up to 6 months in order to get something with more range.  This means more compromise on the range. I won't lose any capacity bars but remember, I have a job that pretty much requires a lot more range than my LEAF could deliver when new, at least occasionally.  This means more public charging so when Nissan offered EZ Charge as part of their settlement, I thought this would be a great opportunity to get to know the current state of public charging companies and what my best options were, so I sacrificed my $50 and signed up.  But more on that later.

For the month, the LEAF went 1365.2 miles costing $28.94 which includes $6.99 in public charging fees. This worked out to 2.11 cents per mile which is slightly better than normal due to the charging on the EZ Charge program.

The Corolla went 649.9 miles costing $31.26 or about 4.8 cents per mile. Now all this is using the "cheap" gas that was under $2 a gallon.  Last fillup was March 9th. The cost will be going up as current prices are running in the $2.15 range, a 30 cent per gallon jump. Guess Summer time is coming!

I will be posting a lot more details as I pile up charging sessions but a few observations;

AV charges fastest actually hitting "the max" of 48 KW briefly.

NRG charges slowest, but partially due to hardware limitations. The fast charger is rated up to 500 volts but the LEAF won't get much higher than about 398 or so but the current max'es out at 100 amps on the station so best you can hope for is about 39.8 KW which is exactly what I saw.

Unlike my 2011, the SOC displayed on the chargers are pretty close to what LEAF Spy reports generally being 1-2 % off at the most.

Looks like charging efficiency is about 94-96%.  Now, I only really have a roundabout way of figuring this so if anyone has a better way or better stats, please chime in!

And finally.... Everyone is finally working ok. Now will I get 90 days free charging or will it be 84 (AV) to 89 (NRG) days?

Much more to follow!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Tesla 3 Announcement; Is This Good For Anyone Else Besides Tesla?

Guessing many of you spent this past Thursday morning waiting in line somewhere in the World to spend a grand on a dream.  Although its only been 2 days,  Tesla has already collected deposits from over a quarter million people for the T 3. That is a quarter billion in cash representing over 10 Billion in orders that is projected to take over 3 years to fill with the already optimistic planned production schedule. As always, Youtube has the video of the 3 intro and one thing that is undisputable; Elon Musk, even in his stuttering, halting delivery method, can still put on a great show.

The car is beautiful, the promises lofty, but the details were lacking. But the car is also two years away! There is a limit to predicting the future, especially in the Car World.  Specs change on a dime.  Until the supply chain is in place AND up to speed; there is no real promise the car will (or can) live up to its billing.

Tesla claims the first 3's will start showing up on the streets in late 2017 or at least 18 months from now.  Tesla has never hit a production rollout yet and I don't see them hitting this one either.  The likely scenario is no significant deliveries for at least 2 years or Spring 2018.  Production for 2018 to be no more than 50,000-75,000 and all those likely to be the high end trims over $50,000. In other words; unlike the EV which has outstanding reliability primarily due to much less moving parts, the manufacturing process has not had that luxury.  A single vendor failing to meet its promises could tumble the entire Tesla house of cards!

So, not sure I can agree with Tesla taking deposits on cars that are likely more than 2 years away from delivery with a hype that has caused a backlog of greater than 4 years which means a handful could conceivably not get their T3 until 2022!!  But then again, I guess its easier than trying to get an interest free 250 million dollar loan from the bank!

Now I love what Tesla has done and despite my protestations, I am considering a 3 in my future but will still have PLENTY of time for another EV before that.   My only hope is that no one put off a plans for an EV to wait for the 3 because they will likely have 3 years or more to wait!

As Elon stated; We need to accelerate our adoption of zero emission vehicles but my fear is that Tesla has effectively cut the market in half with a promise.