Getting Unplugged
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Jul
28

I am a fan of electric vehicles EV’s, they are simple, clean and efficient, more efficient than an internal combustion engine ICE. Simple because it is just a battery and an electric motor, of course there are other components that are in an EV but it isn’t near the amount of its counter part. Clean because it does not emit any emissions directly. Indirectly there is still emissions from the grid and not if using solar or wind to do the charging. If we had more EV’s on the road we would be able to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and maybe help break our addiction to it. The cost per mile is very nice 2¢ vs 15¢. With the tax incentive of $7500 helps with the TCO and helps people get into one. The prices are coming down for EV’s, where they were 6 figures, are now closer to $40k to $50k and some below that.

Service is another plus for EV’s over ICE’s. With ICE’s you need to come in for an oil change every 3k miles, which is over a gallon of oil to replace. Another way of getting unplugged from oil is to get an EV.

The problem with EV’s, for me, is range. 50 to 100 miles is the average, not very far for my taste and granted that it fits within most driving distances for most peoples everyday commute. Since I travel often outside of this range, it isn’t very practical. The other is charging time; most are over night for 110v and 4 to 5 hours for 220v. The exception is the Chinese BYD E6 FE that can give you 50% charge in 10 minutes. This limits me to using an internal combustion on a road trip. Unless you are in a Volt or Velozzi you won’t get very far fast, especially since there isn’t an infrastructure for charging stations outside of California and not that many in California. Unless you like spending 4 to 5 hours at the charging station to go another 50 to 100 miles it isn’t very practical other than as a commuter.

The other concern I have is battery life and replacement. How long will the batteries last before we have to replace them and what will that cost. I have yet to find an answer for that even for the hybrids out there. I am afraid it will be a wait and see answer, when we have enough EV’s out there and time to see how long they will last and feedback from when they get replaced.

None of these concerns or problems deters me from being a fan. In time all will be addressed and adjusted to fit an ever changing lifestyle that we seem to have. As technology advances so will the EV’s, batteries will get better and so will how we charge them. Studies show that the public is accepting EV’s more than they used to, which is showing the trend toward changing our ways of car travel. Will we see EV’s in Nascar or on the Brickyard? Time will tell.

Below are a few of the up and coming models that show some promise of coming out soon and is in no particular order and is in no way a complete or in-depth list. The ones I didn’t list of the major car makers is Toyota and Honda that are working on EV’s but are not ready yet and are embracing somewhat of the Nickel Metal Hydride battery instead of the Lithium Ion.

Tesla
Price: $101,500 for the Roadster, $49,000 for the Model S
Battery: Lithium Ion 6831 Ion cells, storing 56kwh of energy
Range: 245 miles for the Roadster, 300 miles for the Model S
Charge time: 4 hours from empty, charger built into the car which can plug in anywhere 110v or 220v.
Availability: Both models available now. Tesla Motors Website

Coda
Price: Comparably priced to other mid-sized sedans of its class
Battery: Lithium Ion Phospate, 728 Ion cells, storing 33.8kwh of energy
Range: 90 to 120 miles
Charge time: 6 hours on 220v, has 110v backup charger
Availability: Preorders Summer 2010, delivery late 2010 in California only. Coda Automotive Website

Nissan Leaf
Price: $25280
Battery: Lithium Ion, 48 modules having 4 Ion cells each storing 24.7kwh of energy
Range: 100 miles
Charge time: 8 hours on 220v, 20 hours on 110v and 30 minutes to 80% for 480v quick charge station. House charging station available.
Availability: Available now, have to reserve though. Nissan LEAF Electric Car Website

BYD E6 FE
Price: No set price yet.
Battery: FE battery, 12v highly safe
Range: 186 miles
Charge time: Couldn’t find a charge time but dc380v/100a charging system. They do say that you can have 80% charge in 10 minutes.
Availability: No set date yet. BYD Auto,Build Your Dreams Website

Focus Electric
Price: Not available
Battery: Lithium Ion
Range: 100 miles
Charge time: Not available
Availability: 2011 Fords Website isn’t forth coming with a lot of information yet.

Jul
24

On this first blog, I wanted to say what this blog will be about.  I will be exploring how to get unplugged and the different ways of doing it. Alternative energy and fuel, self sustainability, living more simply and technology will be looked at to see how we can reduce our carbon footprint, reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and maybe live more healthy. In here I want to look at how we are going to power our homes, businesses, automobiles and ourselves. Make some changes along the way and be better off than where we are.

With everything that is happening in the world, in the Gulf, politically (which I would like to stay away from anything that is politically charged but government is a factor in our future way of living ) but more closer to home, what is happening in America that is requiring us to rethink and change the way we have been living.

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