Saturday, August 5, 2017

July 2017 Drive Report; Choices Choices Choices! So Why Are We Complaining?

Well first off, I have a confession to make.  Earlier in the month, I announced that my LEAF had finally started to degrade. After 150 QCs and 17,000 miles it was beginning its downward spiral.  ahr was at 81.90,  SOH at 98% and the usual charge it and drive it wasn't working. Well at least not for the first 3 days...

But then I got up one morning (after a 171 mile 2 QC day) and my Hx was over 105%. Highest I have seen in a while. She was back!  Although I will admit despite driving good distances regularly, my Hx has been on a slow decline ever since. Today it was at 100.02% and I am thinking the degradation did start after all and I got a very temporary reprieve.

But enough of that!  Excitement in the EV World abounds....or does it?  Tesla's long awaited Model 3 reveal was met with equal parts of enthusiasm and derision.  This was very puzzling to me.  Derision was primarily caused by pricing of options including the longer range battery.  Everyone thought it was way too much but what were they expecting?  A tricked out vehicle from a high end manufacturer at the base price?   Cmon people! lets try the real World for a change.  Tesla is like BMW, Mercedes or Cadillac.  They are a high end manufacturer and that is where they should stay.  The S and X built a reputation of cutting edge tech, no compromise public charging support, etc. but for a price. The Model 3 maybe mainstream but no more mainstream than any other high end manufacturer's "affordable" models.

I will say the whining did slow down quite a bit (Especially from the Bolt section) when the price was displayed from a another (more important imm) viewpoint.

The reality is the T3 takes the top spot no matter which range you choose if you configure the Bolt with QC but at the same time, the Bolt is seeing good incentives mostly due to very sluggish sales.  Price negotiations on Teslas don't really happen.  To put all this into perspective, my LEAF lease puts me at $163 (after incentives)  and change which does not surprise me. I knew I got a good deal.  But the Bolt is available now (in abundance in some locations) so there is a considerable tax break to consider.  The current price leader; the extended range T3 will get it but the standard T3 will have a lesser chance. Lets hope that Tesla #200,000 is sold April or July 1st.

But hold on! The Apple Cart is not full and the LEAF II could topple everything.  Now who should be the most worried?  I think Tesla is in a good spot simply because they are high end, a different class.  But GM and Nissan share the market and although LEAF II details are not out yet, I think its safe to say that both companies are taking different routes to the market.

The Bolt is to me an econobox with a battery on steroids.  They may have gone overboard a bit on the cost cutting. I think their better choice would have been a few more creature comforts in a car with 200 miles of range.  But the lack of charging support currently and Chevy's refusal to contribute probably played a big part in that decision. Add to that their shocking way of handling the federal tax credit on leases.  Maybe someone should tell them the incentive is for the customer! But the range is real and that cannot be ignored.

The Model 3 also has some compromises but still has the high end features for a cost and the Supercharger Network which Musk claims will be 3X larger by the end of next year. Near the end of last year when debating on my next EV, I lamented that the SC network might be great for driving 3,000 miles but didn't work if one only needed to drive a few hundred like me. Naturally as soon as I said that, Tesla announced plans to nearly triple the SC stations in my region. This puts an SC in every direction from me except Silverdale/Bremerton.  The best part is SC rates will be based on local market rates for electricity and WA will be at 11 cents per kwh!  Anxious to see one in the flesh. Seating height and cargo space are a prime concern for me.

But the LEAF II I expect to bridge the gap between the two.  Nissan has chosen to reveal teasers over the past few months to build anticipation for its World reveal scheduled simultaneously for Tokyo, Las Vegas and more maybe?   My guess is the LEAF will have the tech maybe not as advanced as Tesla but some autonomous driving features will be present and assuming upgradeable when more features are completed.

The range will not be as much as we want (if that is even possible) but again, its all about value. Being a current LEAFer means extra discounts and even if its the expected 40ish kwh pack, its still a significant chunk of new destinations added to the "easy" list for me!

Now I did have a chance to do a close up walkaround of a test mule and it does appear to be a somewhat larger vehicle. I am guessing a bit more rear passenger comfort. Reclining seats ala the Prius V would be nice.  More cargo space would be a plus as well.

But the redesign was probably to increase the efficiency which means that again, the extra 10 kwh will be more valuable than its face value just as the  6 kwh bump combined with the steeper charging profile was an unexpected boost in the usability of the 30 kwh LEAF.  There were other tidbits but the reveal is a month away so I am waiting to see the full story.

I will say one thing though; I may not end up with a Tesla but its looking pretty obvious that what I do get will be because of Tesla.

Anyway, back to the mundane.  To lighten the load on the LEAF lease mileage, the Corolla rolled 657.2 miles in July costing $44.78 or 6.8 cents per mile averaging 39.4 MPG.

The LEAF traveled 2125.2 miles costing $17.41 or less than a penny per mile benefiting 270 kwh of public charging during the month. The long anticipated $3.00 charge finally came thru from Chargepoint. My confusion appears to be from having several accounts from them AKA as Chargepoint not anticipating that anyone would buy more than one LEAF...

Normally the LEAF would have added roughly $44.46 to the power bill (actually probably more than that since I am barely on tier one these days) or 2.1 cents per mile.

Battery stats @ 18,000 miles remains at 100% SOH, 82.34 ahr, 363 GIDs, 28.1 kwh to use, 100ish Hx.

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