Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Happy Birthday Electric Detectives

One year of Electric Detectives - 30 entries.  15 months with electric cars.

Don't break out the bubbly for battery cars yet - still looks uphill.

A reasonable start - hopefully I'll find more subjects for posts this year.

DG "Dave" Leaf

Sunday, March 10, 2013

More FUD from EV critics my friends

Critics are trying to use Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt - F.U.D.

For example - in the NY Times car section a reporter claims a Tesla S can't make a run to Boston.

In the blogosphere there are lot's of ways to make money. I've put up youtube whale videos in the hope of making a few bucks - my cousin made quite a bit after posting a grouper feeding video. No luck there but hey it's worth a try. I understand people trying to make a living off the net.

I have not monetized or put ads on this blog because I think it's very important to understand motives in the EV world. I see many posters that I believe benefit from entrenched industry. After all the net is a huge influence on opinion and 20k spread among 4 commenters for say 2 hours of work a week for a year is peanuts compared to paid ads. Anonymous too, so big oil or the repair industry can make EV's look impractical without leaving a paper trail. So everywhere you see the snide naysayer - often quite rabid in their remarks - generally never having owned an EV.

So when I'm telling you about how the EV has worked well for myself and my son - it's all from a desire to keep our climate sane, our air clean, and our dollars out of the oil cartels. That I save a bundle is cool too.

Now there are also folks on their own that believe EV's are bad - but many have been sold a bill of goods by Fox, conservative 'think tank' fronts, and the conservative PR business. Which is sad because fiscal restraint and individual responsibility are good things but somehow the GOP has let it itself be led by extremists, big oil, and the 1% into the wrong alley. You don't have be on the left to want clean water and a decent climate for your kids.

So first when the newspapers (which carry adverts for car repair and gas) have a car 'reporter' drive around in circles to run an EV out of juice - it is suspect. How is it that Dave - D G Leaf can drive his car 15k in year and not run out - all while having a 120v/240v charger with extension cord in the back of his car if I did. I have not - not once. I'm no car genius either. I make sure my map is up to date and keep apps to help locate chargers at the ready.

When you hear the FUD remember that people are afraid - afraid for their repair business. Afraid for the public waking up about the climate and climbing out of the lobster pot they are slow cooking in for the profits of oil and gas speculation.

I can tell you - if you have a gas car in the family that you can keep, an EV can be practical and fun as your second car. It's affordable and unless you are in an apartment with no charge options easy to charge. That's all we need to sell - to that market for the second family car. Then economies of scale kick in. What Tesla sells now for luxury price becomes commonplace.  Range and cost improve yearly.

It's coming - don't believe the FUD. If I can do it - so can you, and for much less money then I did.

Finally for those that are just too worried - try a spin in a Volt sometime. All the bennies of electric miles with the reassurance of a backup gas capability.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

4 of 4 - A summary for new 2013 models

Conclusion - The 2013 Leaf models - I'm very positive.

Having seen an 'S' model Leaf for $28,800 I'm jazzed at the new low price. That's my favorite.
When Kevin and I worked the DC Auto show we had a chance to see the S in person and I am just floored.

Why? The 'S' $28,800 MSRP

Nissan definitely tries to 'up sell' you.  There are things you will miss - cruise control and nav system. Chademo fast charging and the new faster charge system. Note though - my chademo 'fast' charger port is still a virgin after a year - no fast chargers yet in Maryland.  Here's the 'S' CD AM/FM stereo:

Keep your eyes on the prize though and what a winner it is.  24kwh battery with the same range as my 2012 or the older 2011.  That is about 75 miles three season driven normally with 65 on the highway.  Winter is definitely harder but even the S has heated seats and steering wheel - just like mine.  Your mileage on cold 20 degree days in Maryland will be more like 60.

Now that sounds small but I've found it to be quite adequate. Also when driven carefully I usually find I can eek out a bit more when I need to. I've never run out of juice in 15,500 miles and 15 months of use. For the first 6 months I ran with nothing but the 120v 19hr charger - which is still included. I'd get home at 5pm and plug in and most mornings leave fully charged. At that time I had a 26 mile work commute.

So if your family is looking for that second commuter car. A roomy fast electric could be perfect - consider in Maryland:

28800+850 dest+350 tags+title-dealer = $30k to take home + NO MD TAX.
Now if you pay at least $7500 a year in federal tax   $30,000 - $7,500 fed electric rebate = $22,500.

Now $22,500 is not too shabby for a family commuter that will cost you $30-$40 a month in electric and nothing in gas.

My 2012 plan is for a car that is paid off in 5 years and then get battery upgrades at 5 year intervals if needed for about 6k. At that point we're talking $100 a month for battery maintenance with the hope then battery tech continues to improve and no car payments as this vehicle will have a very long life.  Even with tires and brakes my yearly TCO will be unbelievable - imagine yours with a $22.5K car.

Plus the new liftback room is improved - mine had a hump - now 2013 it's open with fold down seats:

The interior is very roomy and comfy as evidenced by Kevin my 6 six foot son:

The 'S' is big step towards a family electric with no compromise with a great TCO.  Dropping the MSRP to $28800 is a fantastic move.

Now to be real, with all the improvements in electrics there is a second way. I've heard of lease deals for the 2013 SL ( top shiney model ) for 24 month lease at 3k down and $260 a month.  Given depreciation on E/Vs is heavy, if you are not planning on keeping it for a long time leasing is the way to go. Even with the down pay the gas saving will make this a good deal. Just remember the cheapest leases are 12000 mile per year and that isn't much. Check the mileage allowance carefully.

As I said though - I'm jazzed - these 2013 models answer the question of cost. This battle will continue to be down and dirty - big oil and their many mouthpieces are awake and dragging any threat though the mud. Nissan isn't asleep though - they have pushed 'all in'.  The Leaf has sold 50,000 world wide at the higher price point. Now Smyna TN is churning out batteries and Leaf cars made in America at ever lower prices.

Now if by 2015 they come up with range so I can look at electrics as a primary or 'only' vehicle at a price point that the average American can purchase. Like a Tesla for the common guy or gal looking for a car they can feel good about.