Practical Considerations for Owning an Electric Car

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If we were having coffee I would tell you about…

Practical Considerations for Owning an Electric Car

What sorts of things must one consider and of which to be aware before purchasing an electric car (EV)? The main things to know are discussed below. Should you have questions, feel free to ask in the comments section.

The most common concern is range anxiety; that is, how far can the car go on a full charge of the battery? This is determined only in part by the size of the battery. The published range should be listed in the car specifications. However, the driving conditions upon which the datum is based are usually not given. I would advise that you get the biggest battery available that you can afford assuming various sizes (ranges) are available as an option.

Many variables impinge upon the actual range one can expect for a given battery size. Variables include battery manufacturer and specs, driving style, the load of passengers and cargo, electric equipment in use (e.g., air conditioning or heat, stereo, lights), tire condition and pressure, rear or all-wheel drive, and especially average speed of travel.

It seems likely that battery range values given in the car’s specs are for city driving at relatively low speeds. That’s a useful datum since most of the driving we do is around town locally. But what if you want to go on a road trip at highway speeds? Highway driving can significantly reduce the effective range of the battery because running the electric motor(s) that propels the car at high speeds drains the battery faster than low-speed driving.

On recent road trips, I collected data to determine the effect of average speed on battery usage. Air conditioning and stereo were in use throughout the trips. I was the only passenger and there was no significant cargo load.

The published range of my battery is 310 miles. The calculated range for several estimated  average speeds was as follows:

75 mph: calculated range 238-243 miles (two separate legs).

70 mph: calculated range 250 miles (one leg).

Local driving: calculated range 300 miles or approximately 3 miles for each 1% of battery charge.

Limitations in the data:

It’s important to note that the average speeds above are a rough estimate. Consequently, calculated ranges are also estimates. Speed on the highway is highly variable due to traffic speed fluctuation, passing speeds, etc.

Calculations are based on trip legs of 100 -124 miles. Longer leg distances may give somewhat different results. Ranges above are intended to illustrate the effect of speed versus battery range. They should not be used as firm metrics for trip planning. Because the variables involved, not the least of which is driving style, each driver should estimate their own ranges.

Tesla has a navigation feature called trip planning that will show you the route, Superchargers and destination chargers along the route, and the estimated level of charge upon reaching your destination. It is extremely helpful for planing trips and minimizes any range anxiety.

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Another common concern is the availability of charging stations. This should not be an issue for local driving around town if you install a separate electrical circuit in your home dedicated to charging your car. Generally, this entails hiring an electrician to install a separate 240 volt, 50 amp circuit. Using my car as an example, it takes approximately 10 hours for a full charge, or 30 miles of range per charging hour at 32 amps. Charging from 110 volt, 20 amp circuits provide approximately 3 miles of range per hour. As you can see, charging rate depends on amperage delivered by the charging source. It is also limited by the charging circuitry of the car in question.

Tesla Supercharging stations can deliver very high charging rates and can deliver a full charge in as little as an hour or so depending on how many cars are charging from the same central charging source. As long as your round trip commute and/or daily errands do not exceed say 80% of your battery range, then you simply charge the car at home each night to have it ready for the next day. In my case, I am able to program my car to begin charging at a specific time each day that it is attached to my home charging circuit (e.g., midnight when the electricity rates are lowest).

In addition, more and more public access charging stations may be found around town at locations such as libraries, city or county facilities, some parking garages or certain locations on the street. Availability varies across the country so you will want to research your locality. Here is one website with examples of some charge providers

Tesla has an extensive and expanding network of Superchargers around the country usually located in close proximity to major interstate highways and turnpikes to facilitate recharging during road trips. In addition, there is a network of so-called destination charging stations for Tesla cars that are sponsored primarily by some hotels, restaurants, etc. These are generally similar to home charging circuits in terms of speed. Some destinations may provide the service to guests at no cost, while others may charge a nominal fee.

Tesla charging hook ups are configured specifically for Tesla cars. Tesla cars come with an adapter for connection with most public charging stations.

As more and more electric cars hit the street and more carmakers produce them, we can expect the charging infrastructure to grow accordingly because adequate charging infrastructure is an important element in many buyers’ decision process. Hopefully, in time, car connection receptacles and cables will be standardized across all car makes and charging stations.

EV batteries have a limited lifetime. Just like your smart phone, the EV battery will decline in efficiency over time. Batteries used in today’s EV and hybrid cars are usually warranted for 8 years. Actual battery life will vary according to the owner’s use and charging habits.

Generally, it is recommended that one does not run the battery down below 30% and a full charge should be reserved for long road trips. Keeping the battery charge between 30-80% is recommended for maximum battery life. Conversely, if you run the battery down below 30% and/or charge above 80-90% frequently, battery life will be reduced.

We live in a very exciting time concerning technological progress. The dominance of EVs may come much faster than many expect (my prediction is within the next five years). Concerns about climate change, negative health effects of combustion emissions, technophilia, the advent of the self-driving car, and especially the fun of driving an EV will all be factors contributing to the rapid rise of the electric vehicle. I encourage everyone to take a test drive or ride in an EV so you can discover and plan for what your next vehicle will be.

The Joys of Electric Car Ownership

Tesla Roadster Launched into Space
 Credit Unknown

#weekendcoffeeshare

If we were having coffee I would tell you about…

The Joys of Owning an Electric car

Have you ever imagined what it would be like to fly through space, weightless, in your personal spaceship? That’s in part what it’s like to drive an electric car. You don’t roll down the road; you seem to glide through the void of space without sound or vibration. You are transported to a sort of dream-state. Your space vehicle accelerates effortlessly as you press the throttle. And if you go full throttle, you go into hyper-drive, thrown against the seat by the G forces. The surrounding landscape seems to blur and suddenly the vehicle that was next to you becomes a speck in the distance.

Driving an electric car is unlike any car I have ever driven. My attraction was the advanced technology and zero emissions. I did not anticipate the driving experience of such a car.

I have never been a car guy. I don’t care about how fast a car is or how sporty it looks. For me a car is just for transportation. There has never been any expectation for driving to be fun or joyful; it’s simply a means to an end.

That was then; this is now. Driving an electric car is exhilarating. I find myself driving more than ever before just for the enjoyment it brings. In an electric car you are on the high road. You can drive all you want without compunction with zero emissions. You have an immense amount of speed and power at your disposal. You can beat most internal combustion cars off the line effortlessly due to instant torque and innate power produced by the battery. Consequently, you don’t need to race the guy next to you; you know you have the power to beat him so there’s nothing to prove.

With an electric car, there are no more trips to the gas station, no more gas fumes to breathe, and very little routine maintenance. As far as I know, the only fluids in an electric car are brake fluid and coolant for the battery pack. There is no transmission, differential, spark plugs, timing belt, or tune ups. An electric car has only one gear – Go!

Should you decide to get an electric car, my advice is to make sure the interior is comfortable because you will likely be spending more time driving than you do now just for the fun of it.

My next article will discuss the practical considerations for owning an electric car.

It’s Been a While

Indian Summer by Sergey Lutsenko httpwww.picture-russia.ruenpicture46977

 

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It’s been a while since I last joined you for coffee. I have been busy preparing my new book for publication in paperback and as an eBook. It was a substantial project that is now complete. Yay!

Hopefully, I will find my way back into writing again soon. After completing a book project, there is often a concern as to whether you still have more to write about. It’s kind of like when you have been engaged in a long conversation with someone about something and you both suddenly find yourselves in an uncomfortable, awkward silence wondering where the conversation should go next.

Anyway, it’s good to be free of major projects so my mind is free to wander. I look forward to seeing what you guys have been up to.

Sleeping to Dream

 

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If we were having coffee together, I would tell you that my wedding anniversary is on Valentine’s Day. I wanted to share this song with you because it is so appropriate for how I am feeling right now.

You see my wife passed away just shy of 11 years ago. The song, Sleeping to Dream (about her) by Jason Mraz, is shared as a tribute to my wife and the love I have for her.

Number to Treat

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Source: misterimmortal.com

Source: misterimmortal.com

It’s been a while since we had coffee together. I would like to share with you something surprising about the effectiveness of prescription drugs discussed in the four-minute video below.

It has to do with the total number of prescriptions that must be given out for a particular drug in order to find one patient for whom the drug actually works. Said another way, it is the proportion of patients treated with a drug that will experience its benefits.

Here, let’s watch the video

Why is this important? When a physician prescribes a drug, many patients assume that it is necessary to mange their condition and that it will have positive effects since the drug was ostensibly designed to treat their particular ailment. Therefore, they believe that they must follow doctor’s orders and keep taking the drug even though it may not actually be having beneficial effects for them.

What should patients do? When a drug is prescribed, ask your doctor what percentage of patients treated with the drug benefit from it. Ask what you should be looking for to know that the drug is effective in treating your condition. Discuss side effects and any risks if you stop taking the drug because it does not work for you.

There is so much we don’t know about health issues and the myriad angles used by pharmaceutical companies to boost sales. I hope the video was valuable to you. Hope to see you again soon!

The Scientific Aesthetic

Lightning Storm Over the Grand Canyon Copyright by Rolph Maeder, Photography Sedona

Lightning Storm Over the Grand Canyon
Copyright by Rolph Maeder, Photography Sedona

#weekendcoffeeshare 9/17/16

If we were having coffee, I would tell you how I wanted to be a scientist since about the age of ten or eleven. Unlike most children who declare a vocation at such a young age, I never lost sight of the goal and did indeed become a scientist (now retired).

But the other day I was thinking about what it was that kept my dream alive from childhood to fruition as an adult. I mean how many young kids who say they want to be a fireman actually do it? What I realized was that I had an abiding wonder and fascination with all of the mysteries of nature. Science was a tool to reveal its secrets.

As a young boy, I wanted to explore many and varied aspects of the natural world and science. For a time I was an avid mineralogist. I made many expeditions into the creek bed behind the apartments where I lived. My holy grail was to find a geode; I never found one but found some petrified wood instead. I was disappointed at the time, but years later realized how cool and unusual that find was.

I had an inexpensive microscope and peered into the previously unseen details of all sorts of things from hair to bugs and leaves. When the Russians launched Sputnick in 1957, the first satellite, I became fascinated with rockets and space travel. Yes…of course, I fabricated my own rocket. It was a unique home design made from an aluminum pipe with balsa wood tail fins and a crude fuel made with chemicals in my chemistry set. Back then the sets included the components needed to make gun powder—oops.

I realized in retrospect that my design was badly flawed— more like a dangerous firework than a rocket— but it did manage a few flights of maybe 50 feet up before the aluminum could no longer withstand the blast. Thank God my brother and I had the good sense to run like hell when the fuse was lit!

As time went on, I began to develop a pantheistic view of the world. My vision moved beyond practical, objective aspects of my surroundings to a more aesthetic appreciation.

Into middle age, my relationship with science and nature became more inspirational and spiritual, and less investigative. Rather than study and analyze nature, I wanted to experience it. Rather than simply being a refuge from daily life, the natural world became a celebration of the diversity of life—something sacred to be revered, loved, and protected.

Thus, I have come full circle; once again I have that innocent sense of wonder and I am amazed and thrilled by the incredible beauty and complexity of the natural world around me, just as I was as a young boy growing up.

You might like to see the following related articles:

Just So…

The Golden Morning

Nature: A More Expansive Spirituality

Sentinels of Peace

Forest Sanctuary Source: discovertheforest.org

Forest Sanctuary
Source: discovertheforest.org

#weekendcoffeeshare 6/18/16

If we were having coffee today, I would tell you how much I have been feeling the need to get out among a forest of trees. Nature and wilderness have been calling to me for sometime now.

When I visited my daughter in Colorado last year, we went up to Lookout Mountain. What I really liked most about it was sitting under the trees while eating our lunch. It felt so welcoming and comforting. I could have sat there for hours and just listen to the breeze in the branches.

It was like a homecoming and having the love of family all around you. With all of the branches overhead and the tree trunks all around, I felt safe and protected. I had found sanctuary and tranquility. When it was time to go, my spirit protested, reluctant to leave a place of such beauty, serenity, and unconditional love.

Now the forest land beckons me once again. My heart yearns for reunion with my stalwart sentinels of peace.

You might like to see the following related article:

Nature: A More Expansive Spirituality