Sunday, June 29, 2014

For Sale; 24 Kwh Battery Packs!!

On Friday, June 27th, 2014, Nissan announced that replacement battery packs for the Nissan LEAF will be available for sale at $5499.  There are no required degradation levels for replacement of the battery pack and this is "exchange" price ONLY. IOW, you must return your existing pack. The start of this program has yet to be announced but suspect it won't be a long wait. A month or two is my guess.

There are other conditions including

* The replacement will be done at a Nissan dealership.  Although not specifically stated, I fully expect the fine print to state that 3rd party installation will not be available.

* The $5499 price will provide you a 2015 model battery replacement pack with greater heat tolerance or the long  awaited "Lizard" battery.

* Cost of installation is not included and will be set locally by the dealer doing the work.  It is expected to take 3 hours and typical shop costs run  $110 hour. (local shop rates referenced by Lakewood Ford) so with tax, total out of pocket is probably around $6,000.

* Due to the configuration differences for 2013+ MY's a bracket kit for about $225 will be required for 2011/2012's (remember some components was moved from the pack to under the hood in 2013, thus removal of the "hump" in the rear hatch storage area.)

A few people might not be happy that an outright purchase is not an option but I personally feel that Nissan is providing this as a thank you to existing LEAF owners who have chosen to support Nissan and their EV program.  The start was rocky to say the least. Range was less than most expected and degradation was much more than people had imagined.  The purchase price was high, lease terms were extreme so there had to be a LOT of math, rationalizations, and compromises for early adopters to make that "LEAP to LEAF."

But degradation happened. Some were stuck with cars that would no longer make their intended commutes and the public charging promises were under delivered or failed to materialize at all.  We then went to Nissan to ask for a battery pack cost. We got no response. Then they proposed a battery lease program but there were degradation requirements that were simply too much for people who had the longer commutes.  But the lease proposal left a lot of questions unanswered and many current LEAFers were affluent enough that leasing was a much less desirable option that outright ownership.  They added a battery degradation warranty that did help a large percentage of the affected LEAFers who mostly lived in the Southwest but again the degradation requirements were too steep for some and there were others that simply out drove the warranty limits, in some cases by a LOT.

But finally, Nissan has the right solution. The price alone makes a huge statement. It is rewarding current owners by requiring the exchange of the existing LEAF pack and charging a price for the pack that is well below market costs.  It is really pathetic that after 3½ years, we can only look at one other example of what a part from a manufacturer might cost and keep in mind, the Ford Focus battery pack has a bit more complication with its associated heating and cooling system interfaces and what not and there is no mention of an exchange price so even if we used a value of $3,000 is it still nearly three times higher than Nissan's price. I would mention how much the Ford Focus EV pack costs here but the price is obscene in every sense of the word and this is a family blog. ;)  If you must know, click on the link.   Ford does allow you to buy only half the pack but both of those options are nearly double the the Nissan price, so not much comfort there either. Many panned Nissan for not providing a price but after seeing Ford's price, I applaud Nissan for not providing a price before it was ready.  Ford gets NOTHING from me...

The other reason I think is simply business need. Unlike Tesla (ya, they did not do everything right) Nissan knew that a battery supply was crucial and they built their own factory but it still has limitations so providing only exchanges to LEAF customers will prevent (to a certain degree) non LEAFers from using the packs for home solar, etc.  Now, as we all know, someone will figure out a way to do it but at least it won't be easy. This now gives Nissan exclusivity in the market. Tesla has it with their Supercharger Network. Now, Nissan will have it with a battery replacement program that has no peers. (Yes, I am aware of the Tesla program but as mentioned before, I look at Tesla as a luxury car first, EV 2nd... a DISTANT 2nd. As their portfolio expands, I will re-evaluate) And it will maintain a supply to new LEAFs.

My 2011 LEAF went 44,598 miles before being exchanged for my current 2013. If I was to have kept the 2011 and done the battery exchange, I likely would have done it before 45,000 due to my driving need (which is quite a bit higher than normal) along with the lack of public charging (which is actually one of the best in the country, sad as that is to say) where I need it to be but even if replaced at 40,000 miles for work purposes and a total OTD cost of $6,000 (there is NO SALES TAX for "new" EV parts currently)  that is still 15 cents per mile.  add say 3 cents a mile for "fuel" and we have 18 cents per mile. My 40 mpg Corolla cost me nearly that much in fuel/maintenance and the LEAF has no maintenance to speak of and I do not expect to see any additional requirements in the fine print for battery inspections and such for the purchase option so I would be losing a little money, maybe. Since I have a gasser I use occasionally for longer commutes, I could have continued with the 2011, using it only for the commutes that were within its diminishing range. That would still account for over 2/3rds of my needs.

Now, how much better the Lizard Battery is for cycling, remains to be seen but guessing there is probably a little improvement but this program really helps the people who fell into the cracks of the warranty program.  Steve Marsh (see link above on 100,000 Mile LEAF) would have seen a cost of 6 cents per mile if he waited until 100,000 miles to replace his LEAF (he is approaching 120,000 miles now and is now a TWO LEAF owner but the new one is for the wife...)

Nissan made a small splash mostly in the EV community when they broke the 3,000 sales barrier in May, but Friday's announcement sets the groundwork for what I expect to be a wholesale shift in word of mouth advertising from current LEAF owners.  It is another exciting footnote for EVs. This is starting to get fun again!

**Note** The picture has nothing to do with the blog...just bragging!

**edit**  filled up the Corolla and despite getting over 38 mpg (A/C really took a hit!) I was over 11 cents per mile in fuel only.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Tides Have Turned

Recognizing emerging trends is THE most sought after trait in the corporate world.  The ability to see trends in their infancy and determining how best to capitalize on them has become the best way to become a billionaire before one's 30th birthday.

Television was long panned for its lack of quality programming and for years, TV did not care and the reason is because they did not have to. People watched anyway. Well, then came the internet, Androids, Netflix, etc. and all of a sudden, TV had to get better or perish and they did, BIG TIME.

Today, there is more quality programming on TV than ever. But is it too little too late? No not really, at least not yet because I am fairly convinced that the large influx of "must watch" shows has resulted in reducing the hemorrhage of viewers canceling cable to a slow bleed. It is still happening, but at least TV has bought themselves a few more good years.

But their inaction cost them. They simply did not think that people would abandon their precious cable boxes for streaming, 6 month old, TV.  But the movement is afoot. Cable companies kept raising the rates (mostly because TV in desperation had raised theirs) and soon, the TV bill became a bill that was not longer "too important to fail."

The automobile industry is also trending away from traditional cars towards EVs.  But again, automotive manufacturers appear to be missing the real trend here.  Last month, Nissan sold more than 3,000 LEAFs nationally for the first time ever. The automotive industry is hoping that this was the results of a year end push. Incentives to move out the previous models to make room for the 2015's that are currently being built for delivery soon.

Their response is to provide cars that got better mileage thinking that reducing the disparity in transportation costs would slow the EV roll.

I think they are wrong. Incentives have been around since day one, but up until now, sales have been lacking. Nissan has the bulk of the EV market with only Tesla providing any volumes but is not a threat to Nissan's market segment. I have always felt that 3,000 a month is the minimum level at which a product is officially "out there."   Granted EVs have nearly no presence in many areas of the country, including the Central West, Midwest,  Northern tier states, etc.  but after 3+ years, the real push for sales has shifted from incentives to word of mouth.  So for me; May was the "coming out" party for the LEAF.

Because you are reading this blog, you probably already plug something in every night but let me ask you; How many of you now have neighbors plugging in?  How many of you have only had these types of neighbors in the past say?  3 months? or even less?

Remember when it was a big deal to spot another LEAF?  As recently as this past Winter, I only really saw the same 4-5 LEAFs that have been bouncing around my town over the past year or two. In the last few months, that has changed and dramatically.  I live on a looped like cul de sac in the middle of the woods about 1.6 miles from town.   There are now two LEAFs that drive by my house on a regular basis. Now, keep in mind, I have no windows open on the front of the house so I do not see traffic of any kind drive by unless I happen to be coming or going. Trees obscure the road so even if outside, I generally don't see a lot of traffic driving by either.

Everywhere I go in town, I am seeing more than a handful of fellow LEAFers.  This is a trend I have previously lived thru. I was an early adopter of the Classic Prius with VIN # 1534 on the 2004 Prius.  The pattern of emerging Priuses matches up well with the pattern of emerging LEAFs.

Just as TV will be profitable for several more years despite their shrinking base, Automobile manufacturers will be too. They could simply sit on their thumbs and wait for Nissan, Tesla, Kia and VW to develop battery tech, then jump in with something then.  This is a huge gamble but one the automotive industry seems to take time and time again.

The only thing left is checking LEAF sales thru out the rest of the Summer. Is the 3,000 level a record that will stand for at least a few more months or a prelude to bigger and better things for Nissan and EVs in general?

I think its the latter, so lets see what June Sales says!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly aka "My Day Off"

Driving EVs for me started because of my concern for the environment and continues because they are fun and very cheap to drive.  But driving efficiently is not that much fun but it is still important to pick your battles. Yes, you will frequently find me rolling up to a red light at 10 mph in neutral or negotiating left turns at 30 mph because I don't want to waste energy on braking and all that but there is a limit to being frugal.  I can also guarantee that if I am first at the light, I will be two blocks down the street before anyone else gets more than 100 feet from the intersection. If you have an EV, you know why.

Yesterday when finishing my last job of the day,  I spied a LEAF from the Olympia Fire Department sitting at the light on Martin Way and Lily Road.  This is not the first foray into "cleaner" living for the eco minded city organization. They were also owners of the first Prius I had ever seen over 10 years ago. It was a 2001 Prius. They later got a few Iconic Priuses and a Ford Escape Hybrid to add to the fleet.

Speaking of Priuses, an MNL'er posted a chart comparing the sales ramp of the Prius against the LEAF. The LEAF is winning with the exception of 2010 which really shouldn't count but then again, its just a chart right?  But we are talking about the original Prius which looks more like a Corolla than anything else and lets face it, it was a relatively weak introduction for the poster child of hybrids but then again, who is to say that LEAF 2 won't match the same level of improvement as the Prius did in 2004? Well, count me as hoping the LEAF 2 does it!

July 1st, Thurston County institutes their plastic bag ban to the chagrin of the Island nation of "Baggyland" out in the Pacific. Although we expect the move to have little impact on the growth of the plastic nation, the move has gained a lot of steam among several communities in the West.  To help with the change, they are allowing retailers to charge for paper bags.  Now, that is kind of a bummer because Winco already has paper bags as an option (one I ALWAYS take) and they were free. Oh well, I guess maybe I should use my cloth bags since they do ride around with me in the car...unused.

At 55, age is beginning to get the best of me along with my waning interest in stationary exercise options.  My new house is not bike friendly. To get anywhere, I have to negotiate a hill which is really not that steep or long but then the street my neighborhood feeds is Bike Hell. It has no shoulders and although I pass by bikers crazy enough to ride on the street, I am simply not feeling that lucky. Either way, I decided to start jogging instead. Well, it took a week of going up to a mile and half or so (2/3rds of it walking) to now going over 2 miles regularly (now up to half running, albeit slowly but still running)  Anyway, I was beebopping down the Chehalis Western Trail and came up on this

It was a maintenance truck. Now the trail is the old railroad tracks that used to run thru town so its relatively straight and flat so I saw this truck with its flashing lights a good 3 minutes before getting there and it took about the same for it to fade away out of sight. As I passed, I saw a guy off the trail doing general trail maintenance and picking up garbage (guessing that is where the shopping cart came from) and the whole time, the truck WAS IDLING AWAY!!.  Now, I pick this trail because its quiet, out of the way but also easy to access at several points thru out town and its away from traffic so I do not have to huff and puff exhaust.  This kinda ruined it for me along with the fact my sales tax was paying for the gas that was idling away into thin (but getting thicker by the second) air.

Finally when heading to work (on my day off) to drop off timecards and pick up next week's work assignments, I came across this on I-5

This cute little trailer was being hauled by a truck with an EPA markings on it "for official EPA use" it said. Could not help but wonder what kind of range I could get on my LEAF while pulling it. It was no more than about 6 feet long so it couldn't have been that heavy. It was like a backyard toy camper you get for the kids to park next to the plastic play house.  Anyway, it was cute so...

Finally, my sister who has a good heart sent me this.

Its the dash of her 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid. She was so proud so I just didn't have the heart to tell her that there are not enough digits in the World to correctly "display" the MPG of my LEAF. Either way, if she is happy, I am happy.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Has Nissan Secretly Improved Their Batteries?

Heat related degradation in early LEAFs has been the largest of the few complaints owners have had with Nissan's LEAF.  People in Arizona had lost as much as a third of their range in just 2 years making a purchase of the LEAF out of the question. Nissan responded by adding a battery degradation warranty which states if you lose your 3 battery capacity bar within 5 years/60,000 miles, you get a replacement.  This roughly means you have to lose about 30% capacity. Well, there is a huge area of the country that has seen degradation but not quite that bad, namely Southern California.  Being one of the hotbeds for EV adoption makes this a much larger issue since many will just miss the level of degradation needed for a new pack.  So the warranty is not enough.

Nissan did say it was developing and testing a more heat tolerant battery that would be available soon or is already being put into production cars which is likely.  Already there is one car that is beating the degradation curve and beating it by a lot but that is only one car. So I am looking for feedback here.  Lets hear from people who have a 2013 or newer LEAF and a battery monitoring app like LEAF Spy to report their numbers ok?

Report date of purchase/lease
charging habits
daily driving needs
general location
how often the car sits out in the Sun.


Having received a few responses many of which mirror my own experiences, I have to add this

This trip I did the other day was all in town. It did not start as a range test but after 70ish miles or so, I was at 6.6 miles per Kwh mostly due to a lot of Saturday afternoon traffic which meant driving around at 10-20 mph.  It was the day before Father's Day so the shopping crowds were a bit heavier than normal I think.  As you can see, I blew up 100 miles and had plenty more to spare.  In my 2011, I purposely set out to go as far as I could which included driving around town, no freeways and no speeds above 35 mph. I ended up at just over 105 miles with no more than a few miles left in the pack.

I am not the only one. A response from someone who has 2 2011's and and 2014 and recently drove 105 miles in his 2014 with most of the trip at freeway speeds near 60 mph. He said neither of his 2011's could even come close to that performance. I concur. In my 2013, I have done several trips in the 90-95 mile range that was predominately freeway at speeds no more than 60 mph. My 2011 could not do much more than about 88 miles on its better days. And yes, my speeds range in the mid 50's and less due to traffic conditions but that is true for everyone in my area. Unlike several areas of the country, EVs are not allowed in HOV lanes unless they have 2+ occupants.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Ending Compliance

After the last two posts on the subject,  you probably already know my views about compliance EVs,  complacent car manufacturers, and inert governments but there seems to be a lot of confusion as to why this is a good idea.  Feedback from the two posts range from outrage that I would require a car company to do something it did not want to do which would destroy our concept of free market enterprise to a sort of "come what may" attitude that expects the company with the best product will rise up from the ashes and dominate like Mater from Cars. 

Well, that is how we want it to work but that is not what is going to happen.  we have all heard the rumors over the 150 MPG carburetor and how the technology was buried to protect the oil industry or the revelation that large format NiMH battery chemistry patents were held by Big Oil simply fueled the notion that big business had to power and money to bury any invention that was revolutionary enough to destroy existing industries. Electric based personal transportation is going to hurt the oil industry badly and forces are uniting against that.  Well, as most stories tend to do, the numbers have probably grown over the years but the basic premise of the rumors might not be as far from fact as we like to think. All rumors have some factual aspects of them to make them believable. This allows us to rationalize the holes in the stories and then perpetuate the myths.

On Facebook, some of the opposing views also had some basis in fact to work with. Some either used current facts or extrapolated current trends to predict what was coming down the road. Well, as we all know, we can think we know what is going to happen but no one really knows what is ahead around the bend.

forcing the car makers to build and sell in certain states is backfiring. notice how Toyota is backing out of the ev market, towards fuel cell?"

They are only getting out because we let them. What they are essentially doing is taking our money and running. By getting into fuel cells very early, they are maximizing subsidies from the government. Which is the reason they were resistant to the EV game. They missed the early payouts... Its not like they will go broke making EVs. They can put out a quality product if they want to. We simply need to create that want in them.

 "I don't want to buy a car from someone who was forced to do it and slapped together something that is going to fall apart on the road in 18 months" 

I can't agree more on this statement, BUT... this is only true if the vehicle remains in a compliance state.  It is easy to understand Toyota biting the bullet and losing ten thousand (or whatever it is) on each RAV 4 EV it sells but that only adds up to 26 million for the 2600 or so units they plan to make.  They probably saved 4 times that much by not developing their own program even after the money to Tesla was paid out.  But how many would they have to manufacture if they had to put it out to 30 or 40 states?  What if they had to manufacture 20,000 vehicles over the next 3 years? All of a sudden, its now a significant number of cars.  Slapping together something that will cost a fortune in support and service down the road is not really an option. Not with those numbers. IOW, larger volumes will force Toyota to put their best foot forward. They can't afford to push that much under the rug

"Take the oil subsidies away and that will force automakers to sell EV's and the ones that don't will perish"

Even if that were true, it would take too long to get going. Automakers are really stuck on themselves...and a 5 year development cycle. What would happen is that they would put out product, find out after a year that it wasn't working? they would put out something running on gas that got better mileage before they would do EVs.  In the best scenario, that is a few years away.  My scenario would have already put EVs on the road by then.  Besides, the premise of this post is ending compliance EVs. I NEVER said I would force others to create an EV if they did not already have one.  There are some places in this country that do not want EVs and I am in no way suggesting that we make them buy them. I am only saying that States who want them should get them.

"I won't drive a compliance car because its a hunk of junk..." 

A rising tide lifts all boats equally.  We have garbage because of compliance. Remove compliance, require a sufficient volume of cars and then they will be forced to make a good product. Profit margins are important but there is also the continuing goal of protecting the nameplate. Toyota has spent decades building a reputation and is not likely to be careless now. They suffered through some big hits with the Prius line with well publicized events like the State Trooper and family killed in a San Diego car crash when their Lexus went out of control due to suspected uncontrolled acceleration.

 This is NOTHING new here.  Toyota did it with the Prius in the 2000's.  Japanese imports did it to the Big three with compacts in the 80's.  It is really the same cycle.  But instead of waiting a decade, I say start the process now.  Nissan has been slow to respond to our needs and why? I say why not? Its not like they have ANYONE breathing down their neck. Who is stealing sales from them? NO ONE, thats who!  Would you be afraid of the RAV if you could already see the last one being made before the first one was sold? Nissan wrote those losses off 3 years ago! Why? because they can!

But what if they had to account for X number of sales per year per region, INDEFINITELY?  Bet they would be more concerned then.  I was fairly certain that the 2015 LEAF on its 4th anniversary would be the year of the bigger battery and I am willing to bet, Nissan did to. But then again, Nissan looked back and back and back and saw.... NOTHING! No footsteps, no threats, no nothing!

So, now we wait another year because no one has stepped up to challenge them. Question; why did Nissan sell 3,000 LEAFs last month?  Because the desire to own an EV is there and there is no one else feeding it.

And the more EVs there are, the better all of them will become. Sure, it will be a bit of reverse engineering, partnership forming, and "patent shaving" (is that a real term?) going on but all of them will encourage each other to build a better car.

**warning!! petition link below**

The petition states in part ;

As Toyota invests in hybrid vehicles and cleans up its larger vehicles to stay competitive, it must also invest in the emerging plug-in electric vehicle (EV) market. Recent marketing and investment decisions by Toyota indicate a lack of commitment to these types of vehicles, but now is the time for automakers to double down, not back out, on this critical piece of the clean vehicle puzzle.

***EDIT*** Rumors floating around that the Chevy Spark and the Kia Soul will be expanding their sales area. We might soon see both in WA Showrooms!

Why Is Our Power Bill So High?

I work for an inventory company. I am sure you have seen us before. An army of people in the store with small computers strapped to our waists beeping away counting the product on the shelves. That is how the company makes its money. But we actually do all kinds of stuff.  One of the things I do is what is called "Asset Protection" survey.  I simply observe and record how well a business is protecting their inventory. IOW, I record the positions and conditions of things like monitors, cameras, fire controls and burger alarms. This allows me to wander thru the bowels of all types of buildings and businesses the one thing that really got to me is how much we waste energy!

Right now, the goal is getting rid of coal plants and figuring out how to get the money to replace these plants right? After all, take a 150 MW plant off line means you have to replace it with something that is going to put out a similar amount of power right?  The other option is make the plant cleaner which means expensive upgrades to reduce emissions, etc.  Well, ya! that is a good thing but I think we are failing in that we are not "meeting in the middle."  We can reduce the power we consume and from what I see, by a lot and for what seems to be fairly moderate costs.

The other day was spent wandering around a hospital checking logs and stuff and included being a room that was literally about 100ยบ.  To prevent me from getting lost (which is pretty much guaranteed!) I was being escorted by a maintenance guy and we were talking about various things and I found out that the reason why the room was so hot was because it had passive ventilation that was simply vented to the outside air (more global warming!)  Now, I had gone from very cool conditioned rooms to much warmer patient rooms which means no matter what the weather was outside, there was almost always a need for A/C AND heating. I could not help but wonder why could they not filter the air in this oppressively hot room and pump it into the heating system to reduce the power needed to warm the air? Perhaps a heat exchanger to pre warm the water inlet to the hot water system?

I am also one of the main supervisors running the 7-Eleven Project and ya, this is back to the counting thing. After doing a few hundred (ok, maybe not that many, but it sure seems that way!) of them, I noticed the conditions of the stores varies greatly from one location to another.  The other day, I was counting ice cream and could not help but notice the back of the freezer had a frozen water fall of condensation that had permanently entombed several containers. A movie about a caveman brought back to life immediately sprang to mind but could not help but wonder why something as simple as replacing door seals to reduce moisture leakage was not done?  It would save a ton on the electric bill which was already very high but I figured the franchisee simply did not know any better.

I think what we should  be looking at is creating an energy efficiency office at some governmental level. I am not a fan of more regulation but there are some simple and cheap solutions out there that can really reduce our power consumption. They can also double as a liaison to companies providing energy efficiency solutions and as an inspection/policing agency as well.

Although this organization should have the power to levy fines, its #1 role should be education and assistance to the businesses to help them save on their power bill without a huge outlay of cash.  The Reagan Administration may have removed the Solar panels from the White House but the Department of Energy from the Carter Administration is still alive today and the States needs to create their own program as well.

Now, I mentioned a few examples of poorly managed energy usage of a few locations I have seen this past week but I am betting you know of some companies who are doing a great job.  Add them to the comments. These examples will seed the thought process for others looking to reduce their energy footprint as well.  Here in Lacey, one of the first Chargepoint stations installed was at Sunset Heating and Air.  It is supposed to be at least partially powered by the solar panels on the company's roof and it is still free to use today. Best of all, it sits across the street from one of Olympia's most famous local eateries, "Meconi's Subs"

Meconi is a house painter from Philly (i least the accent fit) who complained that no one made a decent sandwich around here. Finally someone tired of his whining said, "So, what are you going to do about it?"   He said, "Well, hold on a second!"   Soon, he put up a small building (a shack) in the driveway of the family home on Lacey Blvd and posted a sign.  The place was 2 blocks from my house and just over a block from where I was working at the time. So, I tried it and he actually did make a pretty good sub!  Soon, he expanded, and expanded again, and again!  Now, will he become a household name? Well, he is up to 4 locations all in the Olympia Area and if it were up to us? Nah, we just assume keep him all to ourselves!

But even better, Meconi also has concerns about the environment. Now, unlike the old days when the Lacey location was his only restaurant, I don't see him everytime I go there any more so have not had a chance to talk with him lately  but can't help but think he might be driving an EV...

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Exercise Your LEAF!

Touched on this before but revisiting this due to a clear and obvious result.  May was travel month. Went to Disney, Alaska and Ohio. Gone 14 days which means several extended idle periods for the LEAF.  The LEAF does not do well in a stationary state. It needs to move and the more the better.

The Alaska trip and the Ohio trip were only 6 days apart and in between was Memorial Day weekend which meant the LEAF traveled 31 miles in 3 days then sat for 5 days again.  this saw my numbers plunge to 62.71 ahr,  96.45% Hx and 21.6 kwh.

Well, like all good things, vacation came to an end and work was waiting. My first full charge netted me a GID count of 272. drove 79.6 miles, parked it charged up and the next day it was 273 with 21.8 kwh, 62.97 and 96.80. Well, an improvement I guess.

The next day it was 45.3 miles 275 GID, 22 kwh, 63.39 and 97.33. Well, headed in the right direction but this was SLOW!! So I brought out the secret weapon; Chademo!!

The next day, armed with a 13 Kwh chademo boost (way more than I needed but was slow doing paperwork!) I went 16.6 miles with 284 GID, back to my normal 22.7 kwh, 66.44 ahr and 100.95% Hx!

Now, we talking! But the Hx was a bit disappointing so did a 6 kwh Chademo boost the next day and went 95.1 miles at 284, 22.7 kwh, 66.50 ahr and 102.30% Hx. Ok, back to normal!

So, remember; Exercise your LEAF!

May 2014 Drive Report

May saw me away from home for nearly half the month with trips to California, Alaska and Ohio so I only drove about half the mileage I normally did. The Corolla drove 306.6 miles all of which was doable with the LEAF but driven to keep the car from sitting and once while sitting at an airport car lot. (Did not want to have the LEAF sitting out in the Sun for 6 days...)  Again, there was only one trip to the gas station on May 10th and so using that performance, it was about $27.00 (edited. was actually $27.38. see below for details) for fuel at 8.8 cents per mile. The real number will have to wait until my next trip to the station. Work reimbursement was $60.06 for the month bringing TCO to 73.8 cents per mile after gas, insurance, etc. is accounted for.

The LEAF drove 946.9 miles costing $19.31 benefiting from a half dozen free public charging sessions. I did manage to cough up $6.12 for fees though so it wasn't all gratis but still managed to push my per mile cost to 2.03 cents per mile.  Warmer weather played a part. I benefit from ungodly work hours which means driving during the cool part of the day frequently which means on A/C use is very doable. 3 times, I averaged over 6 miles per Kwh. Now those were short days and mostly because I was not working or working locally.  But did manage 3 days over 5.5 miles per kwh driving distances over 50 miles so those were MUCH greater accomplishments. Work kick backs totaled 274.33 including bumping up the mileage rate to 40 cents per (about time!)  TCO is now running at 16.2 cents per mile.

FYI; Ok, I admit being gone for 14 days last month contributed but my combined gas/electric bill for the month was $68!!!  Nice!

**EDIT** Finally "bit the bullet" and went to the gas station. So real cost was slightly higher at 8.93 cents per mile. This also included a small drop in efficiency getting a still very good 41.98 miles per gallon (drop probably due to using A/C!)  Fuel date was June 11th making the refuel intervals smaller at one month and one day from the previous 7 week interval. 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

We WA, We WA, We WANT!! aka; The Compliance Car Battle Cry

WA State has done a lot to promote green living. Years ago, they mandated that State fleet vehicles use alternative methods of transportation wherever feasible to reduce emissions and oil consumption. This lead to WA adopting the hybrid concept (aka the Prius) much faster than most other states. It was through force feeding the car to the masses.

First, a state worker signs out a car from the motor pool. The good cars are gone and the only thing left is that weird looking Prius. Now the pre 2004's were also a bit clunky along with weird but thankfully the state did not have a lot of them. Most are actually 2006's and up due to a huge shortage the State did not get all the Priuses they ordered, but eventually they came in.  Now, the car did ride a bit different but not overly so and well, I guess its ok but can this be real?? Am I really getting nearly 50 MPG?? How can that be?

Well, that is how it started. People were exposed to the Prius by force... but the damage was done. Soon, they were looking at their own personal cars and it did not take them long to realize that their department's gas budget had really taken a dive which was a good thing and right when the price of gas was escalating (First fill up on my 2004 Prius was July 1, 2004 and it was at $2.129 a gallon. Later that year it dropped below $2 but also went over $3)

Fast forward a decade.  Now we have EVs and the State just announced they have leased LEAFs for the first time ever.  Leasing solves a lot of issues with EVs. The high sticker price is no more, the worry of degrading batteries is no more.  It was really a win-win for all.  Best of all, it has local ties for me which really hits home, literally.  It involves the city I live in and the dealer I got my LEAF from but it likely would not have happened if WA had not mandated alternative fuel requirements AND adjusting those requirements as technology evolved (something they have not done very well! Check out the edit portion of the link at the bottom of the link)

So far so good, right!! So lets go shopping... Oh, wait. Is this it?  A LEAF or a Ford Focus (which is not available in sufficient numbers  ANYWHERE in WA to satisfy fleet requirements) Hmmm, Tesla is here!! Oh wait, that "might" not go over well with the tax payer although I would be ok with tooling around in one for work!  I guess there are plenty of half-assed EVs aka The Volt (sorry, I actually like Volts because they are a great solution for some, just not for me. Its like drinking tea in WA, simply not what we want!)

Well, ok so I guess I understand Olympia's decision making process in getting the LEAF... because there were NO OTHER CHOICES! The Focus is not really an option as fast charging is really the only way to insure the car is able to meet state fleet requirements and besides; they are already here.  Now, if there were EVs with longer ranges, L2 charging could be justified.

One of the biggest goals of EV manufacturers is exposing the masses to the EV driving experience. Test drives aside (I did all that was available and found that a 10 minute "drive around the block" experience meant little to me.) one of the easiest ways to do it is to do what Olympia has done and that is force its employees to drive them.  But again, we look at the "out clause" for the state mandate where the car must fill the need of the department in question.

There are cars out there that can do it. The RAV 4 EV has the sufficient range and the ability to recharge fairly quickly on L2 to meet the needs of many state fleets but its not available here.  We need to change that.  WA has done so much to create a friendly environment for EVs but have missed a HUGE part of the process. Compliance is a bad word. It forces the free market to be a bit less free. Not a good thing for capitalism for sure but then again; Corporations tend to put our needs a "bit" down the list. Well, its time to put our needs on page one.

WA, it is time to become a Compliance State. Give us choice!