Sunday, September 11, 2016

To Unplug Or Not To Unplug? That Should Never Be A Question!

Recently someone unplugged a Volt because they thought the car had completed its charge based on the lights on the car.  He might have been wrong since Chevy changed the meaning of the lights in later versions which as you know creates confusion... or does it? Why should it?  Never confused me but then again, I never bothered to learn the patterns of the Volt or any other EV for that matter.  I always just looked at the charging station.

So I took it upon myself to search out a station that does not have any indication of an active charging session.  I failed to find this.

First off; the Eaton at the West side branch of  Olympia Federal Savings and Loan. I start with this one because there is a general consensus that one voice has no power and that couldn't be farther from the truth. The tallest skyscraper must rely on EVERY stone in its foundation to stand.  A habit I started when I got my ZENN is filling out comment cards, online feedback surveys, etc. and here I started requesting charging stations.  Be it MacDonald's, the Grocery Store or my bank (I never really bank there but do use the cash machine 4-5 times a year... I also have a safe deposit box for several years now and other than putting in some gold coins that I got from my Dad 3 years ago, I haven't had the notion to open it either...) Sooooo, my surveys probably did not contribute to this station being installed... or did it?

Here an active charging session would be easy to notice.  Interesting that a "Remotely Controlled" option means it can be turned on somewhere else which makes perfect sense but why would that be important to show here unless it was also on a timer charge that has yet to be initiated?  An unusual option for a public station to say the least.

This Clipper Creek is very similar to an AV and Blink L2 in that a glance at the lights will tell if the power is flowing.

Now some don't directly tell you they are hard at work. Those you have to have a bit of patience to see the status. The older Chargepoints are a good example. Most have a two line display that scrolls various bits of information such as station ID, cost, etc but also shows charging speed. I timed it and the screen you need to watch for comes up about every 20 seconds or so but on a dual head if both sides are active, the full cycle of displays will probably take longer but eventually you will see  the charging speed of the station.

The newer Chargepoints have a full display that shows several pieces of information and also have buttons where you can select certain screens on demand

Maybe Aeroenvironment got it right when they using animated lights on top of the station to show that a charging session is active. Maybe all charging stations should have a simple status light at the top of the station so parking enforcement officers can determine the status from across the lot?

There is also SemaConnects which are the easiest because they have LEDs at the top and its simple; Blue means not charging, Green means charge session active plus most of them also have an LCD display that shows charging speed along with a "money counter" so again, it would take a few seconds but the charging station has all the info you need to make an informed decision of

"If It Ain't Charging, UNPLUG IT!"

Saturday, September 10, 2016

August 2016 Drive Report; Getting ready for Drive ELECTRIC Week!

Ok, so last month ended a while ago but in the middle of large project at work that runs every 6 months and last weekend was holiday so I am trying to get everything done this weekend that I ignored last weekend!

In August the gasser "won" the cheap transportation (in more ways than one!) contest costing me only $18.53 to carry me 316.3 miles or 5.9 cents per mile.  Although I don't include maintenance costs in these analysis, the car is likely going to cost me something down the road. Oil has to be changed as soon as the project is done since I am only 300 miles from that right now (have over 700 miles on gasser in Sept so far...)

The other possible thing is tires.  But whether I get new tires or simply dump the car is dependent on the range of my next EV. I would like to dump the car I think but we shall see...

The LEAF cost me almost double at $34.52 for the month aided by $4.68 in public charges but did go 1608.3 miles or 2.15 cents per mile.   High water battery stats; 261 GID, 20.2 kwh available, 60.45 ahr, 92.12 Hx.  Lows (mostly near the end of the month) 252, 19.5, 58.11, 87.91.

Today is the somewhat unofficial kickoff for Drive Electric Week but mostly because NRG is offering FREE CHARGING starting today and running thru next Sunday (central standard time) at midnight nationwide! So hopefully, the queues to charge won't be too bad. As always my off the charts work schedule will aide me in charging when no one else is basically conscious... still trying to decide if that is a good thing?

And NRG has been in the news a lot lately.  Recently we LEAFers became preferred customers of NRG along with preferred pricing!

Pretty cool eh?  Either way, NRG seems to be making the most noise right now in the public charging front (unlike our illustrious state :( ) and there is news that more stations are coming on line.

Fife Nissan also made a splash announcing a while back that they were putting in fast charger that would be free to LEAFers but an apparent change in management derailed the plans.  The charger is still happening but when is anyone's guess. I checked it out the other day and its in the ground  but no paving has been done yet meaning no power yet. Soon I hope...

And finally, more stories about crazy deals on LEAFs and they are starting to extend to 2016 SV/SLs as well.  One LEAFer decided to buy his 2013 SL for just over $9,000! A very good deal!  Some others who leased 2016's less than a year ago are getting discount offers of several thousand dollars and lease forgiveness if they decide to buy now.

All this has me thinking Nissan is trying to get as many titles transferred as possible before "something" happens. Well we can only guess what that "something" is. We all know that "motivated" battery research has only been in high gear for a relatively short period of time.  Previous to the EV, the big push was not more powerful batteries, it was designing battery operated devices to use significantly less power.  That is a great idea especially if its something you carry around in your pocket but a car doesn't have nearly the weight consideration issues.

Its been a year since 30 kwh came out, over 5 since 24 kwh. Its way past time to see a "real" upgrade and considering the competition coming real soon from Chevy, I think Nissan is poised to give us a significant bump in range.  40 kwh has been mentioned and makes sense simply because sure we want a 500 mile range battery just like we want a 500 mile range car but my car only has a 350ish mile range and I deal with it. Yes, its a compromise. EVERYTHING is really. Its all in how you want to deal with the various bumps in the road of life.

Either way; exciting times are just ahead.  Hopefully, NRG stepping up will motivate other charging companies to do the same.  Hopefully, Chevy putting 200 miles on the road this year will motivate others to at least boost their range. We have gone a lot of years with no changes. I think heading into 2017 we will be seeing our best year ever and here is hoping someone does it by December 20th!