Discussion in 'In the News' started by xcel, Sep 20, 2016.
Except GM needs BEVs for China, and selling some here makes them cheaper.
Hey, I never got killed at work. Now that I'm retired, I got TIME. Just ride my bicycle back home, then ride the bike back at end of charge. No hard thinking (or pedaling), at all. One of the other free sites is right on the Columbia River. Wow, not hard to hang around one of America's great rivers while charging, specially when the electricity is free. Plus, I got lots of binoculars & spotting scopes. Another free site is near enough to walk to my favorite Chinese restaurant. You have a tough time with free stuff, don't you.
I'm looking forward to doing those things that only cost a little time , instead of $$.
Probably be retiring around the time the next President takes his/her oath.
I think I want to play more guitar , learn to speak Polish , and of course , ride my bikes.
Apologies in advance for this long post. Feel free to skip to the next post.
I love free things like everyone else. I accept and use free things occasionally.
I have access to free Chargepoint L2 charging stations 5 miles away. I used to use these more back when I commuted to work. Work was a 1 mile easy walk or bike ride from the train station garage where there are 4 charging spots. These 4 units share current, so only 2 x 6.6 kW max for the 4 spots. These are most often used by PHEVs (I've seen Prime,Volt,i3) and lately a Bolt or two. Some of the PHEVs charge at 3.3 kW max anyway (+12 miles per hour of charging) so not an issue to share current with an adjacent user. However, this is not as good for a Bolt driver looking to make good use of the charging time with full L2 charging rates (+25 miles per hour of charging). Also, the cars are mostly parked all day so if you find all the spots taken, you'll not likely be successful the rest of the day. It is a wasted trip. A work-around would be to check the online status of those locations, but even that is no guarantee.
I have another free Chargepoint location about 16.4 to 18.5 miles away, depending on local or highway route. This one offers DC fast charging for CHAdeMO or SAE Combo. It is limited to a paltry 50 kW power rating, but more than enough for the Bolt and certainly not as damaging to the battery. I either use it when I'm in the area, or I make a special trip to make the best use of that charging time. I give myself 30 minutes to travel each way and I charge for up to an hour. The charging speed won't be the full 50 kW all the time, so I'd say it is good for 30-35 kWh in that hour. That's enough to last me for weeks. That's good use of 2 hours in my book. I've only failed to charge once in the past year+ due to another Bolt that was already there. Fortunately, I was just passing through on an errand so no real loss.
I do supplemental charging of the Bolt at home at either 110V or 220V when I feel like it. That's hardly ever. I usually leave the home charging to the wife and her Prius Prime. Zero minutes to 40 minutes of L2 charging is all that's needed to top back up to 90%. We leave a little free at the top because we live on a hill. Gas is cheap so she drives mostly on gasoline at about 60 MPG.
Our solar panels only cover about 85% of our full household usage, including all heating/cooling and car charging. We gave up our oil furnace and water heater years ago and run our HVAC on a geothermal heat pump. The water heater is a heat pump unit as well. The remaining 15% of our energy usage still comes from the grid in a net metering sense, on average. Yes, we pull more from the grid when the sun's not out. Oh, if the utility gets ideas about getting more money out of me, I'll just go totally off-grid. It would not take much of an investment to do so from where we are currently and battery storage is getting to be mainstream.
Time is precious. If you're happy being out and about while waiting for the car to charge, more power to you. I tried it but didn't like it. I have dreams of retirement, but I'm not there yet. I will probably work several more years. I think the wife will retire first even though we are about the same age. She is self-employed and getting tired of working from what I can tell. My lifelong and hard-earned retirement savings are probably good enough already, but there's never enough, right?
In the mean time, my goal is to be environmentally conscious in everything I do. I will not fly unless there's an emergency need to be somewhere across the country. I will not leave the good old U.S. of A. I will not drive for the fun of it. I had plenty of that when I was young and foolish. I don't do touristy things. I will reduce my waste and I will recycle. I will reduce my recycling by precycling. I will not live on bottled water. Filtered tap water is good enough for me. I will do penance for my wife who is not 100% on board with what I do.
Maybe I'm just a cheap bastard...
Hey , nothing wrong with being a cheap bastard, lol. Thanks for the detailed and informative post , Bill.
Thank you for sharing your environmental footprint details and outlook. You definitely walk the walk like few of us can or want to.
How is the Bolt holding up for you... any range, charging, or other unforeseen problems. From any knowledge that I have gained, Tesla seems to have the most durability, if owners want to treat the motor, battery pack & car, easy & properly. However, there is a concerted effort by "enthusiastic" drivers to max out the Tesla motor & battery pack "performance". Even tho Tesla is gaining much data on its vehicles, with lots of curvy plots, what seems to be hidden is Tesla vehicle durability in the hands of easy driving & battery protecting feather footers. I was most interested in the Hyundai Ioniq for its great efficiency. Coupled with careful featherfooting, the Ioniq seemed to be a great choice for a long future of distance travel, while still treating the battery easy. But Hyundai's choice to advance the Kona with 64 kW-hr packs & not the Ioniq really has me jumping away from the Ioniq, for a future vehicle.
We have over 42K miles on our 2017 Bolt EV Premier, and the only issues are the carpet on the front passenger wheel arch wrinkling and partly pushing away from the door jamb, and a slight noise coming from the front sway bar ends.
Thanks for asking.
There have been no surprises with range or charging. There have been no extremely hot days like in the SouthWest US, but the cold days in New England do a number on the displayed efficiency, although I think 3.2 miles per kWh (over 100 mpge) at its worst is still 2-3x better than a car with an ICE power source. An insulated and heated garage would help though just trading where the energy goes. For me and my minimal driving, the Bolt works fabulously well. I don't expect I'll be spending anything on maintenance until some fluids require replacement per the owner's manual, but that's a long way off. I have had one visit to the local EV certified Chevy dealer for a checkup at the 1 year mark.
I'm also thinking about how I can tap into the large battery as an energy source for the home, when needed in rather infrequent power outages. The simplest method is as a 12V supply driving a sine-wave inverter. For higher power, I'd have to buffer up with more batteries and lowering the overall efficiency. Directly tapping into the high voltage battery is not in my plans, at least while it is under warranty.
edit: We've had zero known defects in the 2018 Bolt and the 2017 Prime, and no issues.
Thanks! Are you receiving 3.2 mi/kWh in the winter as well or is that your overall average?
Hi Wayne, that's for 1 short trip down the hill and back 3-mile trip yesterday, and it is as low as I've seen it. The Chevy app (myChevrolet) says 3.8 mi/kWh lifetime, but that feels low. The average since the last full charge (triggered above 90-95% charge I think since I don't remember ever fully charging) is 4.4 mi/kWh (just under 150 mpge) over 1577 miles. I think Neil likely beats me on efficiency. Summer efficiencies are usually in the 5-6 mi/kWh range and sometimes reads 20+ mi/kWh when I go across town, but it always returns to 'normal' by the time I get home.
I don't know if the Chevy app accounts for charging losses... The aFCD probably does not.
3.8 miles/kWh lifetime is still pretty good and your current 4.4 mi/kWh over 1,577 miles through late fall is excellent!
Our dashboard average for the past 8K miles or so, is 4.9 miles / kWh.
Sorry for my ignorance. Long ago, I read that "forming" the battery pack (equalizing the battery voltages in all the cells?) occurs only as the pack is fully charged & should be done every 3(?) months. Lately, I haven't heard such. Presently, is "equalizing the pack" handled by the EV, or is it still important for owners to equalize the pack by fully charging?
I would hope the BMS (battery management system) is doing its job whenever it has power, but that's just my thinking as an electrical engineer. I do not know how Chevrolet does it in the Bolt. Equalizing when fully charged would be an unreliable way to do it since the period of time during which the pack is fully charged is not predictable or enforceable. One recommended use method is to fully charge the pack and immediately drive off, thereby leaving no time for the BMS to do its thing if it had to wait for a full charge. You can see how this mode would work with the programmable charging being set based on departure time.
Concern seems more around leaving the pack unused for a long period of months, so charging every few months is recommended. There is also evidence that li-ion packs last longer if not left fully charged. I'm guessing 1/3 to 1/2 charge would be okay. One data point is that DJI (drone) smart batteries (edit: actively) self discharge if left for over a pre-set period, on the order of ten days. They'll self discharge to less than 1/2 charge. Another data point. Lenovo laptops with smart battery management can be set to maintain the battery around 50% when the laptop is always plugged in. I wish more manufacturers would provide that feature. One other data point. Garmin GPS in my experience will quickly have no battery capacity left. They're often left in the sun and are usually always plugged in so fully charged for long periods of time. (awkwardly worded but intended)
edit: the Garmin is a bad example... probably a single cell battery.
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