Why did this Audi park in an EV charging space?

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Because it’s an EV!!

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This is the first sighting for me of the Audi A3 e-Tron plug-in hybrid car. I was surprised to learn they start at $38,900 which is pretty decent for an Audi which one expects to be very pricey compared to an equivalent car from a regular auto maker.

I see Audi have chosen to put the plug at the front of the car like the LEAF. It hides nicely behind the front four circle emblem.

I have seen a wide variety of EV’s at work recently. Here’s a list of what I have spotted.

Car Type
Audi A3 e-TRon PHEV
BMW i3 BEV
BMW i8 PHEV
Chevy Volt PHEV
Ford CMax Energi PHEV
Ford Fusion Energi PHEV
Nissan LEAF BEV
Tesla Model S BEV
Tesla Model X BEV
Toyota RAV4 EV BEV

I regret not taking a photo of the RAV4 EV, it was bought locally from Carvana, so I might see it again one day. If you are in the market for a second hand EV, buy it from Carvana, they have quite a good stock of EV’s and sell them for less than Carmax.

Posted in BMW i3, Carvana, Electric Car, Level 2 EV Charger, Nissan LEAF, Tesla Model S | Leave a comment

100,000 Gas Free Miles!

100,000 Miles!

100,000 Miles!

After 5 1/2 years of owning my LEAF I have hit the 100,000 gas free milestone. Yoohoo!

The EV Experience.

I look forward to the next 100,000 electric miles. The car drives as well as it did when it was new. Smooth, fast and quiet. Once you’ve driven electric, you never want to go back, it’s like going from dial-up to broadband. The biggest problem I experienced was the original battery wore out prematurely requiring a major expense to replace.

EV Statistics

In those 100,000 miles I plugged the car in 6,062 times, 762 of which were rapid charge sessions. 64% of the electricity I used came from my home, 36% from public locations. In this time I have used 31.8 Megawatts of electricity, enough to power about 20,000 homes! Sounds expensive? Not really, total cost was $2,682. Still sound expensive? Had I driven my previous car for 100,000 miles the gasoline would have cost me over $14,000. So I saved $11,598.96 over driving a gas vehicle. All things being equal I should be on target to save another $11,500 over the next 100,000 miles. This estimate of savings is as accurate as I could make it. Each month I noted the miles I drove, the amount of electricity I used to charge the LEAF, the cost of gasoline and cost of electricity. I then calculated the difference between driving the LEAF and my previous car a Chevy Classic which got 25 mpg, close to the national average fuel economy. These calculations are in a spreadsheet I created.

Have you ever been offered 51 free tanks of gas by a car dealer?

One interesting statistic is that the value of free charging I received at Nissan facilities is worth $680 in electricity enough to drive 21,831 miles. This free charging is the equivalent of getting over 51 free tanks of gasoline worth $2,772.58. When was the last time a new car dealer offered you 51 free tanks of gas with the purchase of a new car? Just visit any Nissan dealer and top off your ‘tank’ whenever you feel like it. That’s a deal!

Did I break Even?

The LEAF was more expensive to buy than an equivalent gasoline car (Nissan Versa), so did I break even? The car cost $33,160 and thanks to the Federal Government and the State of Tennessee, my cost after incentives was $23,160. My fuel savings over 100,000 miles reduce my effective cost to $11,561.04. The residual value of the two vehicles is about the same leaving me $7,000 richer. But I have to include the cost of a new battery for the LEAF. So I figure I actually saved about $1,000 over buying a smaller, noisier, slower, jerkier and smellier car. The new battery should be good for another 100,000 miles so I will come out well ahead of a gasoline car when the car reaches end of life. Even without the $10,000 in incentives, it is possible to save money over the life of the car.

Would I do it again? 

Of course! I plan to get the Tesla Model 3 when it becomes available in 2017 which will cost about the same as the original LEAF. The Model 3 will provide the ability for coast to coast travel, not just regional travel and will come with a whole host of advanced features. The EV marketplace has come a long way in the last 6 years.

100,000 Gas Free Miles!

100,000 Gas Free Miles!

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

New Battery at 99,000 Miles

Old Battery capacity shows 36 miles on 3/4 charge

Old Battery capacity shows 36 miles on 3/4 charge

End of life for the old battery

Even with workplace charging I only had 8 miles to spare on a full charge. Fall temperatures reduced the range from what I was getting in the summer. With a cold snap due any day it was clear I’d struggle to make the journey to Nashville on a full charge and keep myself warm and the windows defrosted. So I decided to go ahead and buy a new battery for the LEAF.

4 day replacement

The process took longer than anticipated. Getting the battery delivered to the dealer took almost a month. Newton Nissan commented that the amount of paperwork involved for a customer purchase is much more than a warranty replacement. This is the first customer purchased replacement that Newton Nissan have done so they were unfamiliar with the process. The new battery is a 2016 style battery which is slightly different in size and shape to the 2011 original. Adapter brackets and new cables are required to make it fit. As a result a typical 4-5 hour battery swap turned into a 4 day process. Newton Nissan thought they had all the parts but overlooked the new under car battery covers they would need. I had a loaner car so the inconvenience was minor.

Better than New?

New battery sowing 96 miles on 11/12 charge.

New battery sowing 96 miles on 11/12 charge.

The new battery should be better than new. The 2016 battery I bought (first introduced in 2014) is known in the LEAF community as the “Lizard Battery”. This new battery should be capable of withstanding hot summers better than the original. I’m not holding on too much to that promise, the original battery did not perform as well as Nissan guidance suggested it would. So it’s once bitten twice shy for me this time around. It should at least last another 99,000 miles and hopefully many more at which point the car will probably be worn out itself.

Still waiting for my Tesla Model 3

I had hoped to replace the LEAF with the new Chevy Bolt EV rather than buy a new battery. However GM recently announced that they would be releasing the car on a slow release schedule instead of the nationwide launch at the end of 2016. Local GM dealers were not able to tell me when or if the car would be available in Tennessee. I just couldn’t wait until the car became available. Other choices such as the BMW i3 didn’t appeal given that  200+ mile EV’s such as the Chevy Bolt EV and Tesla Model 3 are now on the horizon.

So it looks like GM may have lost a sale. The likelihood of me converting my Tesla Model 3 reservation to a purchase just went up.

Posted in BMW i3, Chevy Bolt EV, Electric Car, Newton Nissan, Nissan LEAF, Tesla Model 3 | Tagged | 6 Comments

HCA becomes leading EV friendly employer in Tennessee, second only to Nissan.

Public EV station at HCA Capitol View. Click to enlarge

Public EV station at HCA Capitol View. This can charge two vehicles simultaneously. Click to enlarge.

HCA is a major employer in Nashville, with the recent opening of a new downtown office building in Nashville called Capitol View, HCA now has 26 EV charging stations for the use of employees (14 at Capitol View and 12 at Park Plaza) which is second only to Nissan Americas in Franklin TN. In addition to the 16 employee charging stations at Capitol View, there are two stations available for visitors near the ground floor entrance.

According to Plugshare.com other notable employers in Tennessee include Vanderbilt which has 17 EV charging stations at several locations in Nashville for use by faculty or students. The University of Tennessee in Knoxville has 15 EV charging stations. The Oak Ridge National Laboratories near Knoxville have a good number of EV charging stations for employees and visitors, but they have chosen to keep the number private.

HCA have done well to install the EV charging stations with generous charging 22 foot cables capable of reaching a dozen spaces. This avoids having to dedicate spaces to EV’s that may remain empty some of the time. Unfortunately the spaces are premium parking spaces so there will be keen competition for the spaces. HCA have chosen to make the use of the charging stations free for employees and visitors.

Workplace charging stations double the range of an electric vehicle when used for commuting. So a 73 mile 2011 LEAF is instantly transformed into a 146 mile commuter. The latest 2017 LEAF can travel 107 mile on a single charge, making it capable of commuting 214 miles per day when taking advantage of workplace charging. The GE Durastation EVSE’s installed at Capitol view are 30amp / 240volt units capable of charging at 7.2 kW, enough energy to add about 25 miles of charge per hour.

In addition to office space for HCA, the Capitol View building at 1100 Charlotte Avenue hosts a conference center and retail outlets on the lower floors. The retail spaces have yet to be occupied, this will occur in 2017.

Capitol View Entrance seen from public parking garage.

Capitol View Entrance seen from public parking garage. Click to enlarge.

 

Posted in Electric Car, GE Durastation, Level 2 EV Charger, Nissan LEAF | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

JLong extension cord provides access to blocked charging units

Both Blink charging stations blocked by construction dumpster.

Both Blink charging stations blocked by construction dumpster. Click to enlarge

I was low on charge when I arrived at the Holiday Inn Vanderbilt to attend an AITP meeting. I usually charge my car there during the monthly meetings. This month both Blink charging spaces were blocked by a construction dumpster. Fortunately I had recently purchased a JLong branded extension cord which I carried in the trunk.

Parked as close as I could. The extension "Just REached". You can see the Blink units in the background. Click to enlarge.

Parked as close as I could. The extension “Just REached”. You can see the Blink units in the background. Click to enlarge.

I parked as close as I could (about 25 feet away). The Blink provided charging cable only reached half way, and with the JLong extension cord I had just enough to make the connection!!

I see on plugshare that a Ford Fusion Energi driver had been unable to charge the previous week. Had that driver had a JLong cable, he/she would have been successful as I was.

As an EV driver you have to be like a Boy Scout. Be Prepared!

Yu can se where the Blink provided cable reached to and where I connected the JLong cable. Click to enlarge.

You can see here where the Blink provided cable reached to and where I connected the JLong cable. Click to enlarge.

JLong extension cable in the trunk. Click to enlarge

JLong extension cable in the trunk. Click to enlarge.

Posted in Blink, Electric Car, Level 2 EV Charger, Nissan LEAF | Tagged | 2 Comments

Rapid charging space blocked overnight by EV driver.

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Rapid charging space blocked by overnight parker. No, no one was asleep inside.

It’s bad enough when an EV charging space is blocked by an SUV, that’s inconsiderate at best.

What’s worse?

When an EV driver parks his/her EV in a rapid charging space and leaves it overnight. As you can see in the photo above a black LEAF parked in front of a rapid charginging unit, and judging by the dew on the windscreen, it had been there overnight at the very least. There is a “CV” sticker in the window which makes me conclude it is company owned by Nissan.

This is not the first time this particular vehicle has been parked in this way. The photo below is from August.

To cap it all, the driver didn’t even bother to charge the vehicle, on both occasions the car isn’t plugged in!!

C’mon Nissan, you know better than this.

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Bad Etiquette from Nissan employee blocking DC Fast Charge Station.

Posted in CHAdeMO, Electric Car, Level 3 EV Charger, Nissan LEAF, Opinion | Leave a comment

Fifth Capacity Bar Lost at 96,500 Miles

Lost my Fifth capacity bar in double quick time

Lost my Fifth capacity bar in double quick time

Just 8,000 miles and five months after losing the fourth capacity bar my LEAF has lost its fifth capacity bar. The loss this time has occurred twice as fast and after half the miles as it did previously which does suggest the battery is failing more rapidly.

Nissan in their initial guidance suggested that capacity loss would slow down as the battery ages, my battery is showing the opposite trend.

I am due to take the car to the dealer in about 900 miles for its 97,500 mile service, which is just a tire rotation. I will get the dealer to contact Nissan corporate to explain the more rapid battery fade and if this is covered by the original 8 year/100,000 mile warranty. This will be one of the last opportunities I will have to request warranty consideration on the battery pack.

 

Posted in Electric Car, Nissan LEAF | 2 Comments