Saturday, July 22, 2017

A Tale Of Two Pictures

I was at 3.2 miles per kwh when deciding to take pix

Are you excited? I am!  We are a week from the details of Tesla's Model 3, 6 weeks from LEAF II, and this week, VW broke ground on the charging network they are building to compensate for polluting our World while touting "clean diesel."  These are exciting times!

But what does that have to do with the picture above?  Well, lemme tell ya.  Generally at 3:45 in the morning there is not a lot going on...as long as we aren't going anywhere on I-5 that is. Thursday, I was doing my morning ritual getting ready to drive north when I found out there was an accident on the way, a bad one.  I cut my routine short, leaving 15 minutes earlier than planned and took off averaging 70-75 mph for the first 15 miles before hitting traffic that slowed me into my normal 65ish (we still don't comply with the drive right except to pass law around here)   By doing this, I arrived 3 minutes early as opposed to my planned 10 minute earlier arrival (with a 15 min later starting time!)

Before we get more into this, a bit of history.  Most of my driving home is southbound from Pierce, King or Kitsap County.  I exit I-5 from Marvin Road, hit a few roundabouts, pass by Cabela's  and hit this downslope to my neighborhood. I always coast hitting around 50ish before hitting a short rise to another downslope on the other side.  I mention this because I have seen gains on the GOM as much as 10 miles.  This allowed me to see crazy numbers the next morning when I left for work.  I knew the estimates were high and why. IOW, the term "GOM" a coined acronym for "guess-o-meter" was a very apt description. It literally made estimates based on very recent driving conditions which doesn't work for most especially when we tend to drive the same routes daily.

But Nissan does listen to us and although they don't have a trumpeting spokesman like Tesla does (Since Jobs is gone, does anyone any more?) they have still worked on getting us what we want.  But they do have to deal with entrenched corporate ideologies, outdated processes and a multi-layered approval process that has greater veto power as it moves up the ladder.

But one thing I have noticed is that during my day, my driving conditions varying wildly.  Before, I used to hypermile first thing in the morning due to the fact that I was frequently going 10 to 15 miles farther than the EPA said was possible in my 24 kwh LEAF.   Most of the time, I just couldn't justify stopping to get 2-3 kwh (which I had to do A LOT!)  Despite being authorized breaks (which cannot be waived) or meals (which could be sometimes) I didn't want to spend 15 minutes at a charger.  My driving style remained fairly static thru out the day with slowdowns for congestion a daily routine.  My GOM varied wildly during the day which caused me a sense of comical relief.  It was literally fun to tease the display into making itself a complete fool!

But then my S30 came along. I only did it because I realized that Chevy was not going to provide me an acceptable lease option so I decided the first week of November that extending my 2013 lease 6 months to get a Bolt was off the table. Sadly I was right. (To this point, they still have not)

Now, I have to admit, I was "somewhat" in the camp that a 6 kwh bump wasn't significant. But it did open up several options for me especially in Winter.  I had long since resigned myself to the fact that stopping to charge was a necessity and it was then that I realized that I was getting too old to sit in a car for 90 minutes at a time anyway.  My typical drive home (using yesterday as an example) was 52 miles taking 102 minutes. Too much sitting... It takes my legs about 10 minutes before I can walk again and part of that is due to my job where I typically walk 12-14,000 steps in less than 8 hours. (Fitbit will back me up!)

As expected, the 6 kwh bump wasn't that much of a big deal but the much steeper fast charging profile was a very unexpected surprise!  This allowed me to do much longer trips quite easily and my time at the station became much more effective. No longer was I getting 10 minutes of fast charge, 10 minutes of medium charge and 10 minutes of "barely over L2" charge. It was a full 30 minutes!  Clearly evidence that Nissan had heard us.  I can't even begin to describe how much more use I could have gotten out of my 24 kwh LEAF had it charged the same way!

Anyway, back to the picture above.  That was Thursday driving 75 mph.  So add the elapsed miles plus the GOM and you get 118.7 miles which is right in the average 118-125 miles I tend to see with a huge range of mixed driving that always includes a lot of stop and go.  I had noticed the GOM was a lot more accurate in my 2016, but this was quite literally shocking.  With the old GOM, a 3.4 mile per kwh average would likely had seen me with 95.5 mile range or less.  I snapped the pix a split second after it changed from 3.2 miles per kwh which would have been  89.9 miles.

So now its Thurday, my sleep in day.  Leaving home at 5:15 AM, headed to Tacoma, I am tooling along at my 65ish speed basically following traffic primarily in the right or center lane with occasional bursts to 70 to pass people who can't determine what speed they want to drive, etc. and snapped this and realized later (this morning in fact) that both pictures had the very same GOM reading! Well, now you know the inspiration for this blog!



Now a few things to point out.  Total estimated range will be 121.9 miles which is nearly the same as Thursday's trip despite being 10 mph slower over nearly the same distance.  Since both days, I started with 28.1 kwh available and 363 GIDs (for those of you that recall I reported the start of degradation. Sorry but it went away...)   But the reality is with a .4 mile per kwh difference, the range should vary about 11.2 miles, right?  Also, 28.1 kwh @ 3.8 miles per kwh only gets you 107 miles. So how is the GOM getting 121 miles?

Well, as mentioned, I see all kinds of traffic conditions during my day.  Because of my starting times, I don't see a lot of congestion. (Shoreline trip after getting past the Fife accident averaged 70 mph +. Try doing that at 7 AM!)  When getting home, my miles per kwh readings are averaging 4.3 or 4.4 (those two numbers come up 80% of the times for all days over 100 miles)  which means a normal range is 120.8 to 123.6!  This makes pretty clear evidence that Nissan is hearing us and one of our loudest complaints has been how deceiving the GOM is.

This brings me to a recent reveal for the 2018 LEAF of one pedal driving.  One thing we have talked about is how much B mode was appreciated and wished it would go farther and looks like Nissan is listening again. So now, for those who are in tune with LEAFers in the wild (or are a member of several dozen LEAF groups on Facebook like me) What is your prediction for new features on the 2018 LEAF based on what we have been complaining about the most?

I will leave the obvious unsaid...

Saturday, July 15, 2017

What Constitutes Abuse Of NCTC?

If you have read more than a few entries of my blog, you already know that free is in my preferred price range! And why shouldn't it be? The reality is that nothing is truly free. We have paid for it in one way or another.  Just as Tesla owners have paid for the free access to the Super Charger network, I have also paid for my access to NCTC.

Now, I have had a few comments on my charging sessions count which is currently 145 QCs,  182 L2's (there was actually one L1 in there for an hour only done to demonstrate) which lead many to believe that I was mostly charging publicly instead of at home and...well, yeah that would be correct!

So is it abuse to get way more charge than I need to get home?  Well, no not if I am not blocking anyone else from charging which actually did happen a few times but only because I was eating and not around the car but I paid for the right, right?

But I feel the need to defend half my actions so despite having 16,390ish miles on my LEAF, I have only had it 4 days over 8 months which is about 245ish days, give or take.  Now, I generally don't charge at home every day like today, I won't because I don't plan to go anywhere other than lunch or the gym or something. I have 85 miles or range more or less so don't need to charge.  Also need to consider times I have gassed it which would be more days where no charge was needed, etc.

But the reality is that the 30 kwh pack has made it easy to do a LOT of driving which means that public charging is more likely because of it. If you think that sounds counterintuitive, it really isn't. The reality is more range encourages much longer trips.  Unlike my 2013 when most of my "long" trips might have had 1-2 fast charges with an occasion 3 in there, I have done one 5 charge trip, 4 4 charge trips and the 3 charge trips I have lost track of... The month of May is a good example. I drove nearly 3300 miles but had 9 days where I drove less than 25 miles. So that leaves 22 days "averaging" nearly 150 miles a day.  But the best part of all that was most of the charging stops were incorporated into my work or "play" day so very little time just sitting there doing nothing!


  Generally I plug in for the full 30 mins whether I need it or not as long as there is not too much action going on. I tend to use Tacoma Mall most of the time because there are two stations which makes my blocking someone much less likely plus its 8 blocks from my office which I am compelled to visit waaaay more often than I want to... But because the office is 22.6 miles from my house,  this puts me in a situation where I am frequently getting home with 70-90 miles of range.

But my cheapness doesn't end here. How many of you use a credit card at chain restaurants? Like Red Robin, Applebees, etc?   And if you do, I only have to ask, why? Do you like spending more money than is needed?  I eat at these places a lot... probably more than I should but only with gift cards and why not?  Check with your credit card company. (yeah the same one you used on your last visit!) In most cases, they have great discounts on gift cards. I use got $100 of gift cards (In WA State they are not allowed to expire...) for Applebees and I will admit its probably a year's supply or so but only paid $75 so I will eat at 25% off.  Costco is another great source for discounted gift cards as well.

But back to the public charging thing. I will admit my circumstances are different than most where a lot of time (3 hours this week alone for 6 30 min sessions) charging publicly would seem like an inconvenience but of the 3 hours I charged publicly,  90 mins was "billed" to my employer for a State mandated meal period.  But overlaid on those 180 mins was also 125 mins of  "work at home" time that includes a whole bunch of stuff that can't actually be done at home.  So the reality is this week if considering lunch to be a waste of time, one could look at 55 mins of my time wasted charging but the reality is I actually used all my time charging to do something else but sometimes being there has other benefits.

2018 LEAF Test Mule

I originally only wanted to stop long enough to make a few calls and get a bathroom break but saw this so had to hang out for the full 30 mins.  So I uploaded that days job and started setting up my equipment for the next day's job instead.  As luck would not have it, they started a 2nd charging session so I decided to move to L2 and wait for them to leave and went inside to use bathroom and came out just as they were leaving so got 2 really sucky pix of the car uncovered but another EVer in South Carolina got a bunch of really good close up pix so you can check the Nissan LEAF Owners site on Facebook for those... or look below!  Thanks Calvin Greer!





Although I did not get any good pix I did do an up close walk around and the car is longer for sure so I am predicting 2" more rear leg room and larger cargo space in the hatch!

But the real excitement?  I have had a ton of fun (and made a lot of money) due to the extra 6 kwh capacity of my 2016 LEAF so just the thought of what I can do with the much greater range of the 2018 LEAF is really making me a bit giddy!


Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Clock is Ticking

Larger packs are already here but faster charging is not.  Several stories coming out with Bolters almost bragging they had to restart their fast charge sessions multi times to "fill up" while other LEAFers stating waiting over an hour for someone to complete a charge.

Does this seem fair?   My LEAF is almost never filled up after 30 mins, but I never start a 2nd session and yeah, there have been times I left knowing I would have to stop again somewhere else on the road.  But that was pretty much the "LEAF charging mantra"  Charge the lower part of the pack for greater efficiency, less heat, yada yada, right?

The other thing is that time in one spot is acceptable if its short enough. I had conditioned myself to have stops that last basically 15, 20 or 30 mins and this corresponds to the length of time I charge. How convenient is that!

Now, I am not a fan of restricting someone's charging time if they need it and we do realize that the CCS network is severely lacking in several areas including going south from Tacoma Mall, which brings me to an incident witnessed yesterday.

Bolt charging while passengers were inside apparently napping.  The charge session ended as we were walking into the mall. I did not stick around to see what was going on.  I returned about 15 mins later and their charge session had been restarted.  So its really anyone's guess as to how long they had been there.  But there was obviously others who were waiting as both L2's were full and another LEAF parked near by. I was going to charge the full 30 mins (since I was on "electrons" pulling in) but I had enough to eek it home so unplugged and left.

Maybe its time to institute a 30 min charge time limit.  Finish your first 30 mins and get back into the queue if you have to.  Public charging stations should not be monopolized by cars who have the desire to charge for 90+ mins.

Now the easiest way to do this is allow queuing on the stations like Blink does (or did...) This way, the Bolter can't run two sessions together if another Chademo car has queued up already.

Either way, chime in.

1) Should we institute a time limit on the fast chargers?

2) First come, first served even if it takes all day?

Keep in mind; the Public World has time limits imposed all kinds of things and comes with a huge level of "resigned acceptance"  We don't like it, but "them's the rules" so we grudgingly abide.

If we want more, we simply get back in line at the end and wait out another turn.  With the current state of public charging, this is something we need to adopt ASAP. There is simply way too much privileged abuse going on out there right now.



Saturday, July 8, 2017

Death By A Thousand Cuts

Recently, Washington State decided to suspend sales of Lotto and Powerball tickets in preparation of a possible government shutdown if a new budget could not be agreed on.  Everyone in the state thought it was BS and that we always go thru this doom and gloom scenario every two years on the local news only without a shred of reality. Well, New Jerseyrites have a different view on that...

Anyway, it must the season because now I seem to be seeing the same thing over and over....

"My LEAF was at 93% SOH in April but now its down to 86% only a few months later. If this keeps up, I will need an EVSE at BOTH ends of my driveway to go anywhere!"

OMG!...Seriously???   There is NOTHING you can do to degrade your pack that fast!  But the readings did happen so what did happen? 

Well, its really anyone's guess but there are a few possibilities starting from the worst (and probably least likely)

BMS Reset;  I blogged about a famous (mostly famous since this was one of the first actually verified)  BMS reset 2½ years ago detailing how someone bought a used LEAF with 12 capacity bars only to find out it was sold 6 months earlier with only 9 capacity bars.  But as luck would have it, the car was a well known one whose degradation was tracked on www.mynissanleaf.com so she got a new pack and it all worked out. 

Pack Stats Manipulation (PSM); For whatever reason, the pack numbers can be puffed up to a level not likely indicative of the pack's true condition. I have demonstrated this several times on both my 2011 and 2013.  (Haven't lost anything yet on 2016 so that is yet to be tried.) 

Here I explained how easily the numbers can swing up to 10%.  Yeah, that is like 66 to 60 ahr (done it!) or SOH from 93 to 100% (not quite as dramatic....unless its your LEAF!)  But then again, the LEAF only had 20,000 miles on it, right?  Much less than the people mentioned above. 

So lets move a year forward to March, 2016.  Now I am at 34,000 miles and ahr averaging 59ish so too late to boost the numbers?  Although it the blog was not specifically about boosting the numbers, the pix are still there to see...

Couch Potato Syndrome;  For lack of a better term, your LEAF is a lot like you. It performs sluggishly in the cold, degrades quickly in the heat and more to the point; gets fat and lazy if not exercised properly!  This is closely related to the  PSM mentioned above. 

The real question is can the LEAF be permanently damaged from lack of use? And the answer to that is yes. The reason is that degradation also suffers from the march of time.  There is a ton of anecdotal evidence that 2 LEAFs living side by side will vary only slightly in their levels of degradation even if one has driven 2 or even 3 times farther.  I we Pacific Northwesternites are lucky in that regard. 

But then again, it is a two edged sword.  Unlike Arizona that has 40 year old cars, so looking nearly new, all our 40 year old cars that spend a lot of time sitting are rarely any other color but green nowadays... 

But this does add another dimension to the purchase decision.  Previously the common ideology was "as long as I don't charge too full or run it down too low, I can do my 40 mile commute for several decades"  and that is proving to not be quite as true.... Well, sort of. You can actually go a long time in a LEAF if your needs are really that modest but we are seeing more and more doing 100,000 miles in 4 years with healthier packs.

But the reality is that no matter how your pack numbers changed, the pack does not fall off a cliff. It is well known that new packs tend to stay at max numbers longer than is realistically possible which tends to support the claim that Nissan instrumentation is not the best. (Please do not blame LEAF Spy! It only reads what is transpiring on the LEAFs data bus. Very little else is going on here. IOW, DON'T BLAME THE MESSENGER!) 

Your pack dies little by little which means everything matters.  Now before you go into panic mode and start calling around for bids to AC the garage, lets take a look at the compromises first.  

Although everything matters, you have to keep in mind, several hundred cuts may not be good but also may not be all that inconvenient either.  The extended degradation warranty on 30 kwh packs actually benefits us Pacific Northwesternites since its actually long enough for the more extreme cases we see here.  The previous 60,000 mile 5 year thing was simply hard to attain in this climate. 

We also have to think (finally!) that public charging is going to be better making opportunity charging much more convenient in the near future.

So what can we do that might make a difference? Weeeellll, SINCE YOU ASKED!!

***WARNING!! DAVE DRIVING TIPS AHEAD. APPROACH AT YOUR OWN RISK***

I am on my 3rd LEAF and as luck would have it, from all early initial impressions this one also seems that it will outperform many of yours. How lucky can I be!!

Or is it really luck?  Or maybe the question should be "What am I doing that makes my pack stand up so well?" 

Could it be slow driving?  Well that argument would have had a lot of legs on my 2011 (I was simply too paranoid to go faster) but not as much on the 2013 (With LEAF Spy, I had the confidence to drive at a speed to get me home at ~ 10 GIDs and that frequently meant 70!) but on the 2016?  Well... it only took 3½ months to get a speeding ticket.  (confession is good for the soul!) so that should tell you enough...

Could it be the Mediterranean climate of Olympia?  Well, that could be true but for the fact that the car spends most of its time sitting in parking lots in full Sun all over Western  WA, the same place most of you all live.  Climate helps, parking in garage that is shaded more than half the day helps, etc. Remember, everything matters.  Charging primarily only late at night helps. Leaving garage door open a few hours after the Sun goes down helps. I live on the edge of somewhere facing the middle of nowhere.  You have to know the area to understand this statement but theft is not a likely risk. Besides they would probably grab my bike and other stuff that sits outside unsecured all the time, first. 

Well, in my mind, its none of that.  I get more because I simply travel a lot of miles without the battery at all. 

Only God knows why the resistance to neutral driving persists today.  On the Chevy Bolt forum we still have people who are dead set against it because its supposedly unsafe but none can actually say why its unsafe and these are the same people who say they are forced to drive 10 mph over the speed limit!

Years ago when belt driven power steering was the norm, there was an issue with driving in neutral. Back when mechanical shifting was literally unrestricted, neutral driving was not a good idea. Several mentioned shifting accidentally into reverse while coasting down a hill.  Not good for the car. I did this once just to see what happened.  It only cost me two new wheels because the rear locked up long enough and hard enough to slot the lug holes on both back tires! I was lucky in that I didn't even know it happened until I got home and decided to examine the car.... Maybe I do have some luck in me!

But why do I do it?  Well, that is simple. It is "free miles."  In neutral, the battery does nearly nothing. Neutral allows you to maintain speed better as you approach traffic, a light or a likely stop.  Anticipation is key to eeking miles out of your EV and I found neutral is a lot more forgiving then light regen to the stopping point. My ultimate win?  Shifting to neutral several blocks before the stopping point only to have the light or congestion clear up just as I am rolling up to them having lost 10-15 mph. So I am starting back at 25-30 mph instead of zero.  Any law of physics will tell you that regen cannot win that game, NO MATTER WHAT. 

But the reality is I only have the ultimate win infrequently.  Maybe 10 times a day out of 100+ opportunities.  The most likely scenario is too much traffic requiring a slightly higher speed to the stopping point or simply too many cars sitting at the light, downslopes, etc.  IOW, not stopping is not an option. 

Another common scenario is the "half win." This means coasting with regen.  I do this on very steep hills where I will regen to something say 5-10 mph below the speed limit and then coast to say 5-10 over (obviously this is dependent on conditions. Don't think I am rolling down residential hills recklessly since this is not the case) and repeat as necessary.  The other time is when things happen that simply does not allow you enough time to adjust your driving to maintain maximum efficiency AKA typical Puget Sound traffic conditions.  I have been doing neutral driving so much (started with first electronic shifter in the Prius in 2004) that my normal reaction when lights change in front of me is shifting to neutral. Frequently I am going to fast to stay in neutral but I have time to gauge when regen is needed. I always drive in B mode and yea, my brake pedal is a very lonely place. 

So is neutral driving really making that much of a difference for me? Well hard to say and since an experiment would pretty much require side by side cars over several months and tens of thousands of miles, I will never find out because I am not abandoning this technique. Well maybe I will when my 500 mile LEAF shows up.  But again, I am doing this easily over 100 times a day and the shifter is showing no signs of wear and tear! (or maybe we should be looking at the pack? ;) ) 

So can we look at Neutral Driving as a thousand tiny bandaids?  

Finally; anyone with LEAF Spy probably already knows this but regen, even slight levels don't hit the pack evenly. This I have repeated pretty much every time.  Have a million pix of this including ones that split the cells exactly in half but decided on making new ones to show my less than 100% Hx to prove I am Human... 

LEAF Spy during initial regen

As you can see, not the best way to maintain the balance, right?  I would have felt better if the pack switched sides every once in a while but have yet to capture that....

So why does this not happen during a call for power? Again, several attempts using 2-3 Powerballs (must be leftover budget worries that caused me to say that.)  and pretty much an even draw. 

Gentle power draw

Ok, I will admit to using the best of 5 pix to display here.  But they were like this one. Random levels on adjoining cells. No group of cells up or down. Delta ranges from 11 to 26 mV.

So it would appear that LEAF Spy is at least partially on my side. 

So, do try this at home unless you can come up with a valid reason that neutral driving is dangerous. 


Sunday, July 2, 2017

June 2017 Drive Report; 15,000 Miles And Still Nothing To Report!

As expected, June was just as busy as May for driving.  I did use the Corolla more mostly to keep her from sitting too much and also because I had passengers on some jobs that I would have had to stop to charge on the road making it a less convenient use of their time.

I am paid for most of my commuting because its a different location every day when driving my personal vehicle but passengers are on a different pay scale which is not good so additional time on the road is not beneficial for them in most cases.  When driving alone, I can alter my travel logs to take out time for charging when I have no justification for it.  So if I stop for 30 mins to charge and qualify for a break, I will deduct that break time and roll my real time to home back the appropriate amount.

I also frequently upload assignments, download new ones, etc.  This is also considered. For example, I drive home arriving at 5 PM but on the way, I stopped  for 30 mins of charging plus "detour" time of say 10 mins. (This is time off route to get to station itself.)  So my adjusted return time goes from 5 PM to 4:20 PM.   Now if I did upload assignments, I would not take that from drive time simply because uploading pays a lot more ;) so although I am honest with the books, I also do it to maximize my profitability.

For the month,  the Corolla went 605 miles costing $39.06 or 6.46 cents per mile or 38.1 MPG. 3 or 4 occupants each time with 70 - 120 lbs of equipment each time.  Sadly, gas is still cheap which means I am sharing the road with a lot of brand new full sized, single occupant SUVs...

The LEAF traveled 2485.6 miles costing $14.78 or .59 cents per mile... for now.  I did charge at my LEAFs hometown of Campbell Nelson Everett and the Chargepoint did advise it was $3 but it has yet to appear on my billing statement anywhere.  So I am reserving the right to call this month .2 cents per mile.

One thing mentioned is how much others could expect to pay if they only charged at home at my rates (just under 10 cents per kwh) and without the 405 NCTC Kwh last month or any month, my lifetime cost runs to 2.21 cents per mile. Still nearly 300% better than the Corolla.

Degradation;  With nearly 16,000 miles on the clock, batt stats are still frozen in place.  As mentioned several times before, in my area, I think time is the prime degradation factor and have not changed my mind on this.

This is an improvement over my 2013 which started dipping below the max 284 GIDs randomly before the end of its 8th month.  I have 12 reading in July 2014 ranging from 279 and up.  Keeping in mind, I still had several 284's after this but the definite beginning of the downhill slide.

Now keep in mind; we are talking two completely different cars with a 3+ year gap in technology so some improvement should be expected. But there are differences. The 2013 was charged mostly at home seeing only 31 fast charges in its first 8 months while the 2016 has 137 with a week to go.

The 2013 was fully charged nearly every night while the 2016 has been maybe 50% of the time.  Remember, I went 3 weeks without charging at home at all. I also had the water pump issue and only charged at home once during that period as well. This all means that the 2013 probably had a better balanced pack and the 2016 stats could be held up by the very heavy usage and the large number of QCs.  This holiday weekend should tell me something....maybe.  To compensate for the 15 consecutive days worked (ending yesterday) I am off till Wednesday and with my self imposed driving ban on holidays, should put minimal miles on the LEAF. Add to that, driving the Corolla yesterday and a local job Wednesday puts my LEAF on light duty for over 5 days.  Not sure if that will be enough to see a change in stats so stay tuned!

Maintenance; Well since I am over 15,000 miles that naturally means that tire rotation #2 is in the books. A lot of people rotate every 7500 miles and I suppose that might work. Keep in mind, I did experiment with a 10,000 mile interval that failed. Simply too much wear on the fronts causing those two tires to fail the lease turn in inspection. So do 7500 if you want but I will stick with the 5,000!

Finally some pix!  (Mostly tossed in because an all text entry seems boring)

Can't tell you how cool it is to get a full 30 minutes of fast charging!
As you can see, I am a few seconds away from ending my EVGO
session and still at full speed. (amps were bouncing around and
tried to catch it at 99 but oh well!) 

First encounter with a Smart EV.  Very small but seems like
huge front passenger space. Great litle commuter but too
 small for my needs.  Plus not sure I would want to be
 crossing the Narrows regularly. But I guess batteries would 
act as a good ballast to keep it grounded

This is just a shout out to fellow LEAFer Glenn Von Wedmeier at 
Harvard Market.  Had planned to plug in since I was there several 
hours before the crowds but an expected detour did not happen and had
65 plus miles of range so I "gave up" my spot to Reach Now. :)
Plus didn't want to charge to 90%+ and let it bake in the Sun 
all day. 

And finally; Another gasser bites the dust! Have needed to 
upgrade my BBQ options for a while now. The old one was 
too small really.  Saw this on sale at Costco and simply could
not resist! This leaves the Corolla as the last "smoking holdout"
and yes, she is sweating bullets right now!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

May 2017 Drive Report; I Need A New Job!

Well the month of May realistically should have been divided up into two months.  The first 10 days was very Spring like with enough rain to smash the average rainfall for the month. This was a good thing because the rain then stopped and the Sun came out as if it was making up for its absence this year.  We hit temperatures 20+ degrees over the norm including a 14 day dry streak recorded at Seatac. Not sure but I venture to say that they have never seen 14 straight dry days in the month of May, EVER!

First off, I checked the Chevy site again and ran the lease calculator again and from what I can figure, Chevy is still not passing any significant amount of the federal tax credit to lessees.  But the issue is that I have no idea what the residual will be because no one is willing to tell me. So that means

1) The residual is so high, everyone is embarrassed to say it (One in CA mentioned something in the upper 20's but that was months ago and terms change constantly and there has been nothing revealed recently!)

2) The lease deals are so bad, no one is leasing.

Either way, my plan of being a 2 EV house is being derailed and I am running out of time.  Yeah, I know its hard to believe when you are in month 7 of a 36 month lease but...

Anyway, I realized the gasser is going to be here longer than I had hoped so I used it so the battery would not die and got new shoes for it too blowing up the TCO but the Corolla went 556.0 miles costing $36.94 (6.64 cents per mile) while averaging 39.9 miles per gallon.  I still reserve the luxury of only using the Corolla when high mpg's are likely.

The LEAF went a "bit" further at 3287.4 miles costing  $23.86 in home juice or less than a penny a mile (.7 cents to be exact) helped by 455.593 Kwh of NCTC charging. There were a few short stints of L2  mixed in but generally did not add up to much. The reality is when averaging over 100 miles a day, there was just no time for L2.

What I did all month; 
Charging while working!

Now you might say the 30 kwh LEAF gets 110 miles on a charge so what's the problem?  Well,  when we consider that the month had 8 days where I drove 20 miles or less, you can guess what the rest of the month looked like.

One thing I realized is the conception of people who charge near home are taking advantage of a free thing is not always the case. I used Tumwater several times and my local Nissan dealer twice, both of which are less than 9 miles from my house but when a day consists of jobs in Gig Harbor, Bonney Lake and then Centralia (I don't have the option to change the order), sometimes charging near home is simply required...

Either way, I am on pace to exhaust my 45,000 miles a "bit" early so I need to (In order of importance)

1) Get another EV ASAP!
2)  Buy the LEAF
3) Drive the gasser more
4) Get a new job!!

Then again.... Driving the gasser more shouldn't even be on the list!  ;)

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Its BBQ Time (For the Battery!)

The heat is on!  According to local news, this is the first Memorial Day Weekend to have at least 2 "mostly" dry days in over 20 years.  But we haven't had a drop of rain in the week preceding the holiday and if the forecast holds up, we won't see any for at least a week afterwards.  IOW, we are already seeing "Middle of August" (mostly because early July can be wetter than we want...) Weather!

But there is always two sides to any good thing and unfortunately that means its also "Battery Degradation" Season here in the Pacific Northwest.  Now, don't get me wrong, its nothing severe like Cali or other places south.  In fact we have a WA LEAFer who posted a pix of his 2013 LEAF @ 90,000 miles with all 12 bars intact musing whether his OEM tires will make to 100,000 miles. 

Tires??? Who cares! How did you get to 90,000 miles with all your battery capacity bars??


2013 LEAF Build date 06/2013

His recipe? A lot of "easy highway miles" (well, that is a bit understated!) and charging from very empty to full when he gets home on L2.  But with the weather we have been having lately, I am almost as impressed he only has 5 temperature bars. 

Any way, as you might guess the great weather we are having calls for an experiment! (As if you didn't already know this was coming.... :) ) Many 30 kwh LEAFers are seeing degradation already, some significant and all appear to have either gotten cars that spent at least a few months on the car lot or live in hot climates.  Then comes my LEAF which after 6 months and 13,000 miles, my battery stats are EXACTLY the same as the day I picked the car up on 11/11.  But I got the 2016 S Trim with 30 kwh battery; A car that was only made a few months. It probably spent less than one week on the lot.  That is one thing. 

Now the other; hot weather? Well, I can't change the weather so its being cooperative for experimental purposes is awesome! But I could also help my case by simply creating the hotness with fast charging which is what I have been doing.  

Now previously I reported that initial observations has the 30 kwh pack cooling off much quicker than the 24 kwh pack. Now before we think that larger pack means quicker heat dissipation due to lesser pack cycling, be reminded I am on pace to hit 25,000 miles in my first year which means I am just as close to the bottom of the pack as I ever was! 

Also the change in fast charge profile has created a lot more heat.  In fact, fast charging has become so efficient that I generally disconnect when the charge rate drops below 40 KW because I have enough to go where I need to go!

100 miles of range in less than 30 minutes!

But again, there is a trade off. This kind of power transfer cooks the pack!  So I was seeing temperatures well exceeding anything I had seen on my 24 kwh packs. The biggest reason was because the 24 kwh packs slowed the charge rate so quickly that I generally charged only till the rate dropped below 15-20 KW but was barely seeing 65% SOC!  

But I also noticed that unlike my 24 kwh packs, heat dissipation was much faster.  Before a 2 fast charge day would take 24-36 hours to normalize even during cool weather but I was seeing this after less than 12 hours 

Parked overnight in garage.  Previous day 145.3  miles,  2 QC's.  
L2 finish likely before 8 PM.  Pix @ 3 AM

Pretty obvious that there is a big improvement in chemistry or something else. Well we all know that there is no active cooling added.  So is it all passive cooling?  I mentioned earlier that the 30 kwh packs (or at least later versions) were built with more space between the modules.  This would allow more air to circulate and help dissipate heat. Then Brent from Portland mentioned that he was seeing more heat buildup when he blocked his front grill and deduced that Nissan may have put in venting to the pack.  This all seems to correlate to what I am seeing. 

First off, the LEAF has 3 temperature sensors and generally they run hottest to coldest with the first two being fairly close to each other while the 3rd one is somewhat cooler. A 4-8º temperature spread is common.  

Temp Sensors are 9, 10, and 11

If there was some sort of ventilation tunnel, movement should provide noticeable cooling.  Now this could also mean cooling was happening without the venting due to the additional spacing between the cells so first to check;  What does the temps look like when its 84º in the middle of a shadeless parking lot?   So the experiment;  Get a cold day, a hot day, lots of fast charging, parking and driving and see what happens, right!

Ok, first the hot day (since it happened yesterday, its also fresher in my mind) Naturally we want to start with a full charge and verify our level of degradation... :) 


Hmmm??  Tire pressures a bit lower than I like. I guess it will have to do. 

So the early drive is fairly uneventful. The plan is to stop at roughly 105 miles to grab a quick boost from the L2 Station at Little Creek Casino.  It is unshaded and I will likely need it to get to Tumwater anyway.  The day quickly warms up and with full Sun, the 84º air temperature basically means nothing.  Below illustrates the benefits of parking in the shade whenever possible!  Anyway I had a bit more range than predicted but had to upload work and Little Creek has BLAZING Wifi and grab some refreshments so stop it was!

After 25 minutes of charging on L2 in full Sun. 

I kinda blew this one. The bottom two temps went up while the hottest one went down a few 10ths. Should have done a before and after pix.  Anyway,  leaving Little Creek and heading for some real heat. But after driving 108.3 miles before the boost, I am realizing that the temperature difference I had hoped to see was there but just barely.  No more than a 8º spread which is pretty common even while moving which tells me that cooling with hot air doesn't work well! But again, solar radiation is the main player here. With air temps in the mid 80's, its more like the mid 90's and higher on the roads. 

To illustrate, lets go back to another Sunny day when temperatures were "area appropriate" 


OAT 65º

The above was after driving 50 miles after a quick charge that heated the pack to 116º on the top end. As we can see, the range is much greater.   Notice the spread from #1 and #2 is growing as well?  

To illustrate even further; What happens when the temps in the battery are high but the air temperature is much lower?  


20º temperature difference

The above pix you might recognize from my 300 mile trip which had several QCs although most were shallow but I found that 122º was about as hot as it was going to get in rainy mid 40's WA weather. I was beginning to think 9 TBs was as high as it goes.  I don't have those issues any more.  I have seen 10 TBs 3 days in a row now peaking at 126.4º   In my previous LEAFs, I hit 8 TBs one time and it only stayed on about 10 minutes and I was SUPER concerned about it. I wanted to rush home, jack up the car and set some sprinklers under the car but now?  Ah, never seen red yet so I am good!

 If we refer back to the locations of the temperature sensors, we might notice that # 9 is in a position where it would be somewhat protected from outside air influences since its more forward and higher which means if passive only cooling was in place, it would receive the least because its farthest from the edge of the case making it the likely #1 sensor in LEAF Spy and the hottest.  Sensors 10 and 11 on the diagram would be closer to the edge of the case and more apt to see outside air cooling effects.  On the flipside, sensors 10 and 11 would receive more radiant heat when parked on hot asphalt. 

But if there was a vent from the front of the car as Brent suggests and the air was coming in cool and warming up as it traveled to the back of the pack before venting out, it would make sense that without say an exhaust fan to create negative pressure, the back part of the pack would cool much slower.

But alas, the diagram above does not indicate such a channel for air flow exists.  But, if there was... 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Range Test Hypermile Style!

Holy Moly! The Weatherman is predicting 7 straight dry sunny days IN A ROW!! Could be we are finally getting into driving season?


Well of course that meant it was time for the Summer range test!... Well sort of.  Not really Summer since the test temperatures ran from 55º to 64º but close enough! At least it was dry. If you live in my neighborhood, you already know the #1 range killer is rain!

So naturally I had to start with a full charge and yes, I am still at 28.1 kwh available so with the GOM, that means I should be getting what? Well, lets see. So we started out this morning


Ok so 121 miles means LEAF thinks I will average  4.3 miles per kwh.  Well, actually that was yesterday's average more or less and the weather promises to be better and DRIER!  So I think it should be 4.5 miles per kwh or about 126 miles.

Now as mentioned in the title;  This is a hypermiling test. So it will be speeds no more than 63 mph (was going to say 60 but since I have already driven it, that would kinda sorta be a lie...) discounting occasional higher speeds on down hills, etc so its Eco B and neutral! (when applicable)   I am headed to Shelton/Grapeview which is basically freeway 25ish miles so total 50 miles counting return and the rest will be county roads at 50 mph with a little bit of residential 25-35 mph stuff as well.

I took off and as promised the Sun was out but not quite as warm as promised. It was almost 11 AM and temps were just in the mid 50's.  But things were looking good!


But then again, I was at the bottom getting ready to go back up the other side. IOW; Reality was about to kick in!  But it was a very pleasant day for a drive and I was able to bounce over to Harstine Island where the water was as smooth as glass.  Unfortunately this jaunt required a 2 mile gravel road (actually barely qualified as a trail...) to the end and back.  This was done at 15-20 mph.  Boosted my numbers a bit I guess but I think the extra weight from both road dust and mud weighed me down canceling the benefits.

Halfway! (well not really but still looked cool) 

Now normally I stop at Little Creek Casino to upload jobs (they have a BLAZINGLY fast wi fi) and grab a bit of free juice but the weather was too nice and the range didn't need a boost so I passed on the stop which is same as I passed it by without stopping.  Weird how that works, eh? 



Finally I hit the AV QC in Tumwater and this is the results.  I thought it would be much more "adventurous" than it was but if averaging 4.7 miles per kwh, I should have a range of  132 miles but the trip meter and GOM was only 127  so  since I had "extra" time, (someone beat me to the plug!) I screenshot LEAF Spy to see if the range prediction was better 


Nope, pretty much the same story here.... (I normally don't have my tires that far off, btw... ;) ) but then again, if I changed my range estimate to zero SOC and bumped the average up to 4.7 miles per kwh, it would give me... well, 2 more miles than the GOM... BUT

THEN... 

As mentioned earlier, I had to wait like 15 mins for someone to finish her charge.  So I was sitting there idling away listening to radio, charging my phone and blowing that juice on Facebook....IOW, I was still consuming power and then... 


I gained a mile! I felt much better now.  128 is much more acceptable!  But mostly because thru out most of the trip, my combined range using the two numbers was in the 132-135 range but alas, I kinda ruined it on my freeway jaunt back to town.... Oh well... 

Well, I finally got my turn on the 50 KW AV and as always when the power dropped below 40 KW, I unplugged. I now had 100 miles of range and only 34 more miles of stuff to do so needless to say, I ended the day at 4.5 miles per kwh. Must be that headwind!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Public Charging 2017

You would think after several failures, wrong turns and plain old bad decisions, public charging would have learned from the past and at least have started on the correct path after 7 years but there is little evidence of that happening so far.

Any progress that has been made has likely been obscured by the fast growing demand caused by several new plugs on the road today and the number of plugs will be growing fast.

The issues vary widely from region to region and can be based on archaic laws about who can bill for power.  In British Columbia, there is a law that prevents charging stations from billing for services in many cases so free charging is the only option.  Problem with that is many take up a charging spot all day long when they only need a few hours to charge.  One plan to remedy that is fines. One location at a college studying electric vehicle charging supported by solar is thinking of instituting 4 hour charge time after which violators are hit with $60 parking tickets.

In other regions, demand fees are making expansion into the area a very costly proposition.  Places like Grays Harbor WA (negating the SC station recently installed) only has 2 Level 2 charging stations along with a handful of 120 volt plugs.  The very existence of the Tesla SC complex should be enough of an indication of how desirable travel in the area is. Recently an article illustrated this very point using 2 location on the EVgo network.  One station saw a lot of activity while the other was used much less but their costs due to demand charges were almost the same. IOW; demand charges was most of the bill!

So what we are facing is a situation that is getting worse by the day.  EV sales have escalated. New entries Hyundai, Chevy, and VW along with refreshed models from Nissan and Kia will insure that EV sales escalate rapidly.  Add to that a whole new batch of 200 mile EVs hitting the streets within a year to challenge the Bolt and our already overrun network will fail.

Now there was a glimmer of hope for me.  VW settlement meant money put towards public charging support and they had to not favor VW so they would be both CCS and Chademo.  Washington had $122.7 Million California was the first to announce that nearly every penny would go to public charging stations.  This gave me hope that Washington would do the same, especially considering we were the 2nd largest EV market with a woefully under supported network but that was not to be.

There are two proposals in the legislation; The Senate option is the worst.

NEW SECTION. Sec. 3079. FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY 31 VW Settlement Funded Projects (40000018) 32 The appropriation in this section is subject to the following conditions and limitations:33 34 (1) The appropriation is provided solely to implement the 35 requirements of the Volkswagen "clean diesel" marketing, sales 36 practice, and products liability litigation settlement. p. 97 ESSB 5086 1 (2) All expenditures from this appropriation must be consistent with the terms of this settlement.2 3 (3) To the extent possible, projects funded through this 4 appropriation should help achieve the state's results Washington goal of 50,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2020.5 6 (4) Fifteen percent of this appropriation must be spent upon 7 projects for the acquisition, installation, operation, and 8 maintenance of new light duty zero emission vehicle supply equipment 9 and infrastructure. The department of ecology must work with the 10 department of transportation to select projects and distribute funding contained in this subsection.11 12 Appropriation: 13 General Fund—Private/Local. . . . . . . . . . . . . . $13,000,000 14 Prior Biennia (Expenditures). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $0 15 Future Biennia (Projected Costs). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $0 16 TOTAL. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $13,000,000 
The House proposal 

NEW SECTION. Sec. 3077. FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY 33 VW Settlement Funded Projects (40000018) The appropriation in this section is subject to the following conditions and limitations:  Official Print - 108 5086-S.E AMH ENGR H2636.E 1 (1) The legislature finds that it is appropriate to provide a  framework for the administration of mitigation funds provided to the  state as a beneficiary under the terms of the consent decrees entered  into by the United States, Volkswagen AG, and other participating  parties that settle emissions-related claims for 2.0 and 3.0 liter  diesel vehicles of certain models and years. The legislature deems  the department of ecology the responsible agency for the administration and expenditure of funds provided by the trustee under  the terms of the consent decrees, including the development of a  mitigation plan to guide the use of the funds, whether or not the department receives funds directly for projects included in the plan. (2) The mitigation plan and the stewardship of project implementation must adhere to the following guidelines: (a) Consideration must be given to investments in areas where public health is most impacted by nitrogen oxides pollution, and  especially in areas where disadvantaged communities reside; (b) Investments must fund, to the extent possible: (i) Projects that have not been funded or implemented by or before June 30, 2017, to mitigate nitrogen oxides pollution; and (ii) projects that do not replace projects and activities that were funded on or before June 30, 2017, for implementation after that date, to address such pollution by achieving an identical or substantially similar objective;

 (c) Investments in clean vehicles or clean engine replacements  must be shown to be cost-effective and, for the purposes of  leveraging funding, may not exceed the incremental cost of the clean vehicle or clean engine replacement, relative to the cost of a  similar conventionally fueled vehicle or conventionally fueled engine replacement;

 (d) Consideration must be given to investments in projects that employ a range of fueling technologies and emissions reduction technologies; and (e) Priority must be given to projects that have the highest benefit-cost ratios, in terms of the amount of nitrogen oxides emissions reduced per dollar invested.

(3) Funding must be allocated to eligible projects under the terms of the consent decrees in the following manner: (a)(i) No more than thirty percent of funding provided for  commercial vehicle class four through eight transit buses; Official Print - 109 5086-S.E AMH ENGR H2636.E 1 (ii) No more than twenty percent of funding provided for 2 commercial vehicle class four through eight school and shuttle buses; 3 (iii) No more than twenty percent of funding provided for (A) 4 commercial vehicle class eight local freight trucks and port drayage 5 trucks and (B) commercial vehicle class four through seven local freight trucks;6 7 (iv) No more than fifteen percent of funding provided for light duty, zero emission vehicle supply equipment;8 9 (v) No more than thirty percent of funding provided for 10 nonfederal matching funds for projects eligible under the diesel emission reduction act option; and11 12 (vi) No more than ten percent of funding provided for other 13 mitigation actions that are eligible under the consent decrees but 14 not otherwise specified under this subsection (3)(a). 15 (b) Projects that receive funding under (a)(iii) of this 16 subsection (3) and ocean-going vessels shorepower projects that 17 receive funding under (a)(vi) of this subsection (3) must include electric technologies, if practicable.18 19 (4)(a)(i) For the purposes of administering subsections 20 (3)(a)(i), (iii), and (iv) of this section, and, as needed, 21 subsection (3)(a)(vi) of this section, the department of ecology 22 shall enter into an interagency agreement with the department of 23 transportation. The department of transportation shall be responsible 24 for proposing candidate projects under these subsections, for working 25 with the department of ecology to determine their benefit-cost ratios 26 under subsection (2)(e) of this section, and for prioritizing these 27 candidate projects accordingly. The department of ecology shall work 28 collaboratively with the department of transportation to develop and 29 implement the elements of the mitigation plan that address these categories of projects.30 31 (ii) In meeting its requirements under (a)(i) of this subsection 32 (4), the department of transportation shall consider plans approved 33 under the consent decrees governing zero emission vehicle 34 infrastructure development identified in subsection (1) of this 35 section, making reasonable efforts to select candidate projects that 36 are complementary to those plans. The department of transportation 37 shall also consider and utilize, where appropriate and to the extent 38 possible, the following existing programs for alternative fuels and zero emission vehicles:39 Official Print - 110 5086-S.E AMH ENGR H2636.E 1 (A) The department of transportation's electric vehicle infrastructure bank program;2 3 (B) The state alternative fuel commercial vehicle tax credit; 4 (C) The state sales and use tax exemption for clean vehicles; and 5 (D) Public transportation grant programs administered by the department of transportation.6 7 (iii) To guide the department of transportation in meeting its 8 responsibilities under (a)(i) of this subsection (4) during the 9 2017-2019 fiscal biennium, a steering committee is established, 10 consisting of: The chairs and the ranking minority members of the 11 house of representatives and senate transportation committees, or 12 their designees; the director of the department of ecology; and the 13 secretary of transportation or his or her designee. The steering 14 committee must meet as needed to support the department of 15 transportation's contribution to the elements of the mitigation plan 16 that address the categories of projects referenced in (a)(i) of this 17 subsection (4). Staff support must be provided by the joint 18 transportation committee and nonpartisan committee staff of the house 19 of representatives and senate transportation committees. The 20 department of transportation staff must provide technical support, as needed.21 22 (b) For the purposes of administering subsection (3)(a)(ii) of 23 this section, including the development of the mitigation plan, the 24 department of ecology shall enter into an interagency agreement with 25 the office of the superintendent of public instruction. 26 (c) The department of ecology shall complete development of the 27 mitigation plan according to the timeline required by the trustee. 28 The department of ecology must submit the mitigation plan to the 29 appropriate committees of the legislature, as well as benefit-cost 30 information for projects pursuant to the guideline under subsection 31 (2)(e) of this section, on the same day that the plan is submitted to the trustee.32 33 (5) To the extent this section conflicts with the consent decrees, the consent decrees supersede it.34 35 (6) The department of ecology may modify the mitigation plan as 36 needed to comply with trustee requirements, including to the extent 37 these modifications conflict with this section. In making any 38 adjustments, the department of ecology shall consult with the 39 department of transportation and the office of the superintendent of Official Print - 111

So, its hard for me to be completely upset since zero emission school buses are important but the California proposal of mega charging complexes with 5-15 fast chargers per location would completely eliminate a lot of the range anxiety Washingtonians now experience.  I have heard too many people say "We weren't sure if XX station would be working or how busy it would be so we took the gasser instead"  comments.

The one location I use frequently; Tacoma Mall EVGO station is almost never a wait simply because there is two fast chargers.  We so desperately need these kinds of stations. Sure its nice to have a station on the way to the Olympics or the Cascades but when driving the Metro Puget Sound region, there are simply too many EVs and nowhere near enough plugs.  We need to have an acceptable level of certainty that we can charge in a timely manner on our planned routes.

We need to speak up. Allow our voices to be heard!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

6 Months!


Sometimes, life reminds you that you have something to do. I had not planned on commemorating my 6 month anniversary of the day I took my 2016 S30 home but I just happen to be sitting at the light glanced down and saw this and it hit me like lightning.

If you recall, I leased my LEAF on Veteran's Day 2016 which is.... 11/11/16! This pretty much verifies that if the odometer read in tenths, the reading would have been 11111.6 miles! And the first 6 months have told me a few things (besides wishing I had gotten more than 15,000 miles a year...)  and that is 30 kwh is a HUGE leap forward!

But first off; the basics.  My LEAF has had 96 QCs, 132 L2's, and has not lost a single digit on LEAF Spy readings. The day I picked up the car, the numbers were good but keep in mind; the little time on the lot (likely a week or two at the most) would lower the numbers a bit.


After a day or two, my numbers stabilized; ahr 82.34, kwh available (GIDs= 77.5 wh) 28.1, GIDs 363, SOH 100, Hx  101-105.

 Now we all know that driving it frequently helps boost the numbers and I guess you can say I qualify for that. Recall, I did an experiment where I drove the LEAF less than 30 miles a day for 10 days (most were under 15 miles a day) while doing one full charge, zero QCs.  Did all this a few weeks after I received the LEAF and did see the numbers go down with Hx in the low 97's and ahr down to 81.28.   So in reality, I am well over 2,000 miles a month.

As you can see from the first picture; battery pack toasting is no stranger to this car! I maybe paying for it later, but indications point to the pack cooling slightly better and one Portlandier mentioned that there is now an air tunnel from the front grill that passes thru the battery compartment. Aaron McAfee also mentioned the 30 kwh pack is constructed ever so slightly different in that there is air space between modules as if they used 2 washers instead of one.  So nothing Earth shattering but maybe we don't need it to be.

I will say on "light" days when only 1-2 sessions on a 40 KW charger is involved, I am seeing pack temps nearly normalized over night.  This was a change from my 24 kwh LEAFs where it would take well over 24 hours. What has also been noticeable is frequently a single DCFC on a 40 KW station (Yes, EVGO, I am talking about you) is about half the time, I never hit 6 TBs. That is VERY different from the 24 kwh packs!

But hit an AV station (50 KW) and the scenario changes dramatically.  Just as the 6 kwh bump "seems" insignificant, a charger that is 10 KW faster doesn't seem like it would matter that much at all, right?  Well the dash shot was about 20 mins after a stop at the Centralia AV station.  AV sessions its easy to see 7, 8 or 9 TBs!  (haven't seen 10 yet even on 5 charge days!)  I have seen 9 TBs with just 2 charging sessions a half dozen times as long as the 2nd session is an AV.   And I am not really charging to that high an SOC (sort of...) In fact, I frequently shut AV down when charging rate drops below 25-30 KW.  In the below case, I had to upload the day's work assignments which meant I could do it when I got home or do it while charging. Guess which I chose?  As you can see below, it was 8 PM and my patience ended at 40 KW (along with the uploads) .  Can't even begin to tell you how much this matter!



Let me explain further.  On my 24 kwh LEAFs, I would charge at full speed less than 10 mins.  Then the charge rate would start to drop.  So my 30 min charge session on the very same AV stations, would get me 50 to 65 miles of range depending on my starting SOC.  This made a trip of 200 miles very inconvenient. I was now hamstrung by charger placement.  I would frequently have to stop to charge 10-15 minutes simply because the next option was too far away with the problem being that as the SOC got higher, the rate of charge was too slow. We all have heard that its faster to charge on L2 than to stay on DCFC after 80% SOC which is a myth but like all myths, there is a bit of truth and the reality is you might still get a faster charge on DCFC but it will not be a runaway race over L2 after you hit about 85% SOC!

So we add a teeny bump of 6 kwh and BOOM!  Now, I am getting 80-90 miles of range in 15-20 minutes.  Check out my 300 mile roadtrip where I spent just over an hour charging.  The same trip on 24 kwh would have had me charging nearly 3 hours!  But that is only part of the story. Each stop requires time off the route besides plug time. Sometimes its a few minutes, sometimes not.  On my road trip, I stopped a few times for personal need. The car could have gone on so I could have reduced my plug time even further.  Also the trip was done during Winter during typically Northwest rainy wintery weather.  IOW; a real test of usability.  I did a similar trip on 24 kwh a few years back but during Summer or the best driving time and time spent charging was MUCH longer despite the higher efficiency numbers.

This brings me to the 2018 LEAF announcement in September.  There is now growing evidence that 40ish Kwh will be the top option with 60 kwh coming a year or two later.  I predicted the 60 kwh would be debuted by Nissan on another model (NV 200 or SUV?) so maybe a plausible explanation and this has not gone over well with the EV community who feels Nissan needs to meet the challenge of the Bolt (60 kwh) and the T 3 (55ish Kwh)  but I have to say that with the right price point, I can honestly say that it very well could be the LEAF I would buy.

Soooo, "again" I guess I am forced to say, its too early to make any long term predictions on battery improvement and what not since "again" there is nothing to report. By all indications, the pack still works like new.  Maybe I will have something to say at the end of the upcoming long hot Summer (its 42º right now...) or maybe at 22,222 miles (a few months from now. :) )

Sunday, May 7, 2017

RIP Chevy

Since I am on pace to go well over 20,000 miles this year on my LEAF, one might think that I would do anything for a longer range EV and I would do a lot and that is true!

Now don't get me wrong, the Bolt has the range. I had strongly considered it. After all, I spent premium money on my 2011 LEAF SL so it would not have been the first time I was swayed by EVvana and if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't change a thing but today is different. We are farther down the EV road where as my 2011 had to clear a path.  There are options, considerations to weigh and one thing is really quite an easy decision.  Compromising my core values was not an option.

But options are soon to be had. I have a gasser; a Corolla.  Its old, beat up,  but runs reliably well.  Its not worth much but I need to replace it. I hardly ever drive it and even with minimal insurance and super cheap tabs, its still costing me over $600 a year which brings its TCO cost to over 30 cents per mile.  I do have a co-worker, a single mother who doesn't make any money (I know this because she works at the same company I do!) who had her car stolen out of the parking lot of K-mart while working 5-6 years ago. She will never get enough money together to get another one, no matter how cheap so I was simply going to give the Corolla to her.  Her not having a car also affects how much money she can make because she isn't scheduled to work unless there is a co-worker near by working the same job.  That option is limited to two people and I am one of them.  But we only work together on pharmacy jobs which is a lot of what I do but not that much.

Either way, I need another car. A longer range car and I don't want to go EREV or hybrid or whatever the PC term is these days. I want an EV that can fill the gaps.  I am a few days short of 6 months into my 2016 LEAF lease but I don't have 2½ years to make a decision. I have 45,000 plus a bonus (thanks Ray!) miles before I pay the penalties and I can't keep driving the LEAF as my primary car at the rate I am going.  Roughly speaking I have until mid 2018 to switch the LEAF to "around town" car.

But looking at the Bolt, I am still not finding the deals.  They are not passing all of the $7500 tax credit along unlike nearly EVERYONE else.

I ran the Bolt lease calculator for May and true to form, it went down again, so I attempted to email several dealers for details and got error messages on the website stating I was missing information. Even after filling out several fields with "NA" I was still unable to send one quote request. I guess this is a way to force me into the dealership...


This was for an LT with heated seats, floor mats and QC.  Weighted price is $483 a month. Don't know the rent fee (interest) or Money Factor (interest rate) or the residual (purchase price at the end of the lease) , all of which would be needed to determine the total cost.  Now, well qualified buyers were getting 4.9% interest on purchases so guessing lease terms will not be all that great for Chevy, or at least not the .07% term I got on my current LEAF.

But if thumbnailing costs,  my total payout on the lease term would be  $17,393.  We take $1500 (on the high end) for random fees, etc., the residual would be about  ($39K - $17 K - $7.5 K or in the $14.5 K range, maybe $15.5K at the most.... But I am thinking its likely to be closer to $22K which means Chevy will be pocketing the Federal Government's gift to me!

This is something I cannot accept in even the smallest of terms.  Even if Chevy cut the price to $20,000, if they kept a penny of the federal credit on a lease, they are nothing more than shysters in my eyes.  They are dead to me.

My Conclusion;  "Chevy who?"

Saturday, May 6, 2017

April 2017 Drive Report; 30 KWH Pack Update

Another month in the can and I am past due on tire rotation #2 (which should be done sometime later today).  I decided I would keep it under 10,000 miles in the first 6 months of leasership but that didn't work so I decided to keep it under 10,000 miles within my 6th month of leasership and made it!

First off, the bad news. The gasser has been neglected so I took her out a few times. She went 105.7 miles at a rough cost of $10.08 or 6.7 cents per mile. And rough it was! The car would not idle at a steady RPM. I finally had to get gas (at about 5/8th of a tank) and that cured the issue.  FYI; gas was up 26 cents per gallon between fill ups for me (last fill up was in March) but news says Oil prices hit 7 month low so sadly, it looks like the price hike is just temporary. Where are those tax hikes when you need them!

The LEAF traveled 2207 miles costing $15.96 or less than a penny a mile. Home power was 8.9 cents per kwh and was benefited by over 350 kwh of NCTC power.




Since I am 5 days from my 6 month anniversary, I felt it appropriate to post updated battery stats and... well, nothing to report. No changes detected.

















Moving on!  As mentioned earlier, I had to evict my water pump. It was simply not pulling its weight and the new one appears to be blending in very well but as always, we want to keep an eye out on new roomies to make sure they are all they appear to be, right?

Normally, I power up LEAF Spy only in the morning to log daily stats, fast charging, or when stretching the range.  I have now started running LEAF Spy to monitor motor temps and have noticed that the peak temp seems to be around 128º F.  It is not difficult to get there if driving 70-80 miles at stretch or so (which would be a short trip for me lately)  and the temps rise rapidly to that point then bounce in the 124-128 range.  This seems to indicate the temperature control is working very well.

LEAF Spy also has columns in its log for two inverter temperature measurements but they are not working at the moment. Hope they do soon.

Another project I hope to start soon if the weatherman finally realizes the date is climate control monitoring. LEAF Spy breaks down power usage for A/C, heat, etc.  I have known for a long time that A/C is a pretty small hit on the range but I think its time to find out just how small it is.

Finally; Brent in the Portland area is grill blocking. This is an old Prius trick that did two things; heated up the Prius quicker which is needed to get the best performance but it also reduces drag.  The grill on a car has the same basic effect of having a parachute the same size hanging off your back bumper.  Instead of air slipping around the car, it goes into the grill, funnels around and leaks out. All that is creating a huge amount of drag.  So grill blocking will reduce that drag and increase your range.

FYI; NASCAR does the same thing but as we know; blocking too much of the grill on a gasser causes heat buildup which creates problems and this is "the" reason you see engines blowing up on the racetrack. Its almost never a malfunction; simply miscalculating how much of the grill to cover.  Done effectively means an extra few mph on the straightaways which is usually the difference between losing or kissing the girl!

Brent does caution that close monitoring should be maintained especially in warmer weather as there is pass thru ducting to the battery that helps to circulate air. This is a huge benefit since the 30 kwh packs charge with a much steeper profile on Chademo's so rapid heat build up is common!

Here is my 2nd charge after 30 minutes in Centralia with charge rate mostly over 45 KW.  First charge was about 90 miles and 3 hours earlier. OAT was the mid 70's which is the 2nd warmest day this car has seen (Warmest was day one!)



All this means not much grill blocking in my future but I  am still predicting 125 miles on a charge will not be a challenge for me.  I am confident I can do 140 miles if I want to and might have to try that soon!