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


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!